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July 2018, vol 14 no 2

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Autumn Noelle Hall

Picture This

On the way to the Ansel Adams exhibit, we luck into a free four-hour public parking spot on a tree-lined street near the art museum. Three hours and seventy-two of his best hand-mastered black and whites later, we exchange the gallery’s darkened cool for the chili-pepper-scorch of downtown Pueblo.

stuck to our windshield
the hand-dashed nastygram
pales beside her rant –
a threat-filled tirade about
her entitlement to shade

Little wonder this belligerent businesswoman, who we later learn once food-poisoned the City Council members that hired her company to cater their Christmas affair, has renamed and relocated half a dozen times. One recovering Yelp rater suggests Eat, Pray, Die as a possible next business moniker.

If Zone 5 is the Middle Gray of emotion – a neutral attitude neither friendly nor rude – then our day develops into one of extreme contrast, zipping from her Stygian black Zone 0 to the pure-white Zone 10 of a gentle homeless man.

a small price to pay
for his Bless you today
meter money
a few cold quarters
pressed into his warm hand

What was that Hebrews verse, about being kind to strangers in case you entertain angels unaware? Even through an L glass lens, we can’t always see wings…or horns. Somehow, I doubt even F64 could clearly capture such an emotional expanse. The most profound landscapes – however expertly wrought – can hardly compare to the dodge-and-burn of the human heart.

Notes: "Yelp" refers to a website on which reviews can be posted about people, businesses, products, or services. "F64" was the name of a group of aesthetically like-minded photographers assembled by Ansel Adams and Willard Van Dyke in the 1930’s; the term F64 stems from the aperture setting of a large format camera capable of producing the greatest depth of field, and therefore the sharpest front-to-back focus. The term "Zone" is a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development.