This morning, we planned our day around being at the Old Towne Square most of the day. The best way to start a day of exploration is with breakfast. We’d been selecting hotels with continental breakfast included. I know that “free” ain’t free — TANSTAAFL, ya know — but it’s just more convenient to not have to strike out in search of breakfast. However, this morning, we’d likely have been better off going elsewhere. There were kids everywhere, doing what kids do, and the community TV was tuned to Spongebob Squarepants. Urgh.
Once we hit the road, things got a little quieter, and we found ourselves near the Old Towne Square pretty quickly. The area was friendly, full of great shops and restaurants. A few stood out.
One of the first places we found was the Monroe Gallery. I’ve not been in too many galleries that focused specifically on photography, so finding this place was a real treat. The Monroe’s current exhibit, A Thousand Words, focuses on photojournalistic images, which is a little outside my normal experiential sphere, however, there were plenty of times when I had to blink back the mistiness from my eyes as I gazed upon some of these wonderful pieces. There were images by photographers I was familiar with (Eddie Adams and Joe McNally, for example), along with iconic images that I’d seen my whole life. These were serious prints too — values in the thousands and tens of thousands — as contrasted against what I print. Truthfully, this was photography as it should be… moving, emotionally, telling a complete story with no caption necessary. No epiphanies about my work from this — my photography is far, far away from photojournalistic — but I was touched, humbled and inspired to view a collection of masterpieces like this.
There were jewelry shops everywhere. Beck was “gentle” on only took in a few of them, and they were interesting. Plenty of nice pieces, unusual cuts, and not too terribly out of line pricewise. And there was everything you could want — rubies, moonstone, coins captured as jewelry… a very big selection. I think it’d be pretty easy to spend a full day just touring the jewelers’ shops, enjoying all the play-pretties.
For lunch, we stopped at the Atomic Grill. This place was a nice surprise. After wandering around in the 80° weather, we were ready for something light for lunch, and finally chose these guys from among the many choices downtown. They had loads of different beer (although surprisingly they didn’t carry Red Stripe), which under other circumstances would’ve been intriguing. However, after all I’d been through in the last few days, it was iced tea. 🙂 Beck and I each ordered a gyro, and man was it great! I was really surprised how light and flavorful it was. AG’s definitely a place I’ll revisited when I get back to Santa Fe.
After we returned to the hotel, and while on a search for a soda, Beck ran across a young guy and an older gentleman discussing photography. Had I not been so tired, I’d like to have joined them. The young guy was a Canon shooter, using a 5D and a G10. He sang the praises of the G10 to Beck… only a day after I’d done the same. You see, I’ve been finding it hard to pull out the 40D during the trip. The G10 is so small, easy to carry, and aside from superwide or super telephoto situations, it’s done everything I’d needed and anything I’ve asked. Folks looked at it, and weren’t intimated by the size, thinking it was just a point and shoot. And yet, I could do almost anything with it that my 40D would do. The young photographer basically said the same thing. Great minds, I guess.