June 27, 2013     To the Top of the World

Darcy Day Keller on top of the world, June 2013

This morning, Financial Times issued an international press release announcing the promotion of Darcy Keller to Global Communications Director. Relocating from New York City to the FT's London headquarters, she'll "lead a global communications team based in London, New York, and Hong Kong." She also "joins the FT Executive Board, which oversees the company's global strategy and performance."

Darcy Day Keller 2013

125 years old, Financial Times is one of the world's leading business news and information organizations. Average daily readership is 2.2 million. FT.com has 4.5 million registered users. In today's announcement, FT Group CEO John Ridding said, "In her six years at the Financial Times, Darcy has been instrumental in growing its global reputation for leadership and innovation in publishing, embodied by the success of the FT's metered access model and its award-winning web app. Her broad communications experience—across corporate, internal, media relations and social media—and digital expertise will be essential as the FT continues to navigate an increasingly complex media landscape and accelerate its digital business."

The press release continues, "Prior to joining the FT, Keller developed programs at The Paley Center for Media's industry think tank, the Media Council. She previously worked for the late Liz Carpenter, a renowned journalist, author and former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson. Keller holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin where she was a senior fellow in the College of Communication and graduated with high honours."

Tim Keller and Darcy Day Keller, June 2013

As regular readers know from my blog post three days ago (below), Darcy and I shared eight days with family in California last week where she told us of her promotion but swore us to secrecy until today's official announcement. I'm always proud of my daughter, but today I'm over the top. I join the rest of world (see Darcy's Facebook page) in giving Darcy my excited congratulations. It's been all the more special being able to be together with family on vacation as Darcy began her transition. I especially loved the hikes Darcy and I took together up over the Santa Monica Mountains from down near the beach in Rustic Canyon. They reminded us how much we have in common as we spurred each other on in hikes of 10, 12, and 14 miles with an elevation gain of 2000 feet. Although I took some iPhone photos (top and here), I don't need them to recall my deep enjoyment of those hikes together, already etched in long-term memory.

Congratulations, Darcy Day Keller!




June 26, 2013     The Daily Planet

Bill Fegan, Shuler Theater

After a ten-month hiatus, I got back to work for The Chronicle-News Monday, interviewing Rick Trice for a preview feature on this weekend's play at the Shuler Theater. Tuesday I took a photo of Rick with his cast, and another of Bill Fegan out front for an upcoming story on KRTN's website. Today, Wednesday, the Rick Trice feature is in the Chronicle, and that's what I love about working for a daily newspaper -- the almost immediate gratification of such a fast turnaround. I read it in the paper 16 hours after making the final revisions and submitting it.

The Chronicle is back to some reporting on Raton, and it's now available online without cost. I also post the pages with my stories here on this website, where they remain archived and available more or less forever. I'll be writing previews and reviews of the Shuler's five summer plays, as well as coverage of the July 6-7 International Santa Fe Trail Balloon Rally and other Raton stories as they develop. I'm looking forward to it!




June 24, 2013     Changing Time Zones

Darcy Day Keller in Rustic Canyon

I'm just back from a ten-day vacation that included eight days with my family in Rustic Canyon, in my hometown of Pacific Palisades, California. At right, my daughter Darcy Day Keller is using my Nikon D4 to take family photos. She and I took several long hikes together from the canyon up past Will Rogers State Park and over the Santa Monica Mountains, hikes of 10, 12, and 14 miles. Now that I'm home, I think I've temporarily outgrown Raton's Climax Canyon Nature Trail: my border collie Django and I will be doing much of our summer hiking in Sugarite Canyon State Park and atop Bartlett Mesa.

Meantime, I'm rushing out to start reporting stories for The Chronicle-News, including a preview feature before Friday's opening night of the Shuler Theater's summer season, and a preview feature for next week on the International Santa Fe Trail Balloon Rally that goes up in Raton July 5-7. I'll be back here with lots more as soon as I get a chance.




June 12, 2013     Eastern Plain

Giles Lee, Lea County Rancher

I've just submitted to Ranch & Reata my 3000-word manuscript titled "Eastern Plain: Oil and Cattle Ranching Mix It Up in Southeastern New Mexico." It's my 7th magazine feature completed during the past 14 weeks. The text is accompanied by 14 photos (see more here) from which editor A.J. Mangum will create his layouts. I'm thrilled with the essay, my longest magazine feature to date and I think my best, up there with the Brown Ranch essay written for New Mexico Magazine and later reprinted by Ranch & Reata with different photo layouts. It'll be fun to see the new work in print. It's scheduled for the August-September issue, which comes out in late August.

Two of the people who figure prominently in the feature are 90-year-old rodeo and ranching legend Giles Lee, above, and Jim Harris, below, who is director of the Lea County Museum, a photographer and prolific writer, and a former college English professor. In a roundabout way, Jim's responsible for my getting this gig in the first place.

Jim Harris, Lea County NM

Jim's gallery in Lovington is hosting a large show of my photography in August and I spent some days down there taking photographs in April. When Ranch & Reata put out a call for a "personal travel essay," I pitched myself and Lea County. I spent four more days there last week, when I met Giles Lee and others, experiencing New Mexico's southeastern county with its fascinating blend of energy production and ranching and rodeo. My experiences and reactions became the essay.

While I was in Lea County I received a query from The Chronicle-News that's resulted in my signing back on to freelance for them again, beginning with a full schedule of summer Shuler Theater coverage and the International Santa Fe Trail Balloon Rally in Raton July 5-7. Meantime, yesterday my contributor's copies of the July New Mexico Magazine arrived with my "Time Travel" road trip feature on the unique museums of Raton, Folsom, and Clayton. It should reach subscribers and newsstands this weekend. Speaking of time travel, it's already a busy summer, and good!




June 7, 2013     Panorama


I spent the last four days down in Lea County in the southeastern corner of the state for an essay I'll start tomorrow for Ranch & Reata. On the way home yesterday I stopped just south of Portales for this photo, an isolated Roosevelt County ranch and typical scene across New Mexico's eastern plains.




June 2, 2013     A New Coat of Paint


This week I'll be completing my 7th magazine feature for 3 magazines in 14 weeks, almost entirely while still teaching school full-time. And the photos here aren't even from one of those 7. (Nor are these brand new Raton flight photos on today's TKP Blog.) I've had times where I didn't blog for lack of new material. These past months I've had the opposite problem: so much material that I haven't had time to blog. The photos here are from a pitch I just made to New Mexico Magazine for a future story. As I drove through Mosquero on my way home from Clovis, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the amazing transformation of the village through a mural project being done by 14 students under the direction of Tucumcari artist-in-residence Doug Quarles and the students' teacher, Donna Hazen. The murals depict people and events in the village. I hope to go back for the magazine to get the full story.

Mosquero Village Hall and VFD

Meantime, here's a summary of the seven magazine features I've done so far this year, in the order I've done them:

A profile of Folsom pencil artist Dino Cornay for Western Horseman, due in the August issue available in mid-July.

A northeastern New Mexico road trip to take in three unique small-town museums -- at Clayton, Folsom, and Raton -- for New Mexico Magazine, July issue, due out in mid-June.

A profile of former cowboy Roy Sanders who switched from raising cows to raising boys at his group home on a ranch near Hoehne, Colorado, a great story for Ranch & Reata, June-July issue, due out in late June.

Mosquero Town & Country Market

A profile of young horsewoman Sierra Pillmore and her family, also for the issue of Ranch & Reata due out soon.

A travel feature exploring the not-so-hidden pleasures of Portales and Clovis, for an issue of New Mexico Magazine as yet unscheduled; it may be as late as 2014.

A profile of Sadie Renfro, the 90-year-old cattle rancher out Long Canyon off the Dry Cimarron Valley who in a former life was an Albuquerque bank officer. I just submitted this one, for the August-September issue of Ranch & Reata, due out in late August.

Finally, I'm returning to Lea County tomorrow to spend three days drifting around for the sole purpose of creating a 3000-word personal travel essay for Ranch & Reata that will run in the August-September issue. I already have plenty of photography from an April trip to get images for my August show at the Lovington Museum Gallery. (Those images are being printed right now by Thomas Parks at Orion Studios in Santa Fe.) This time my focus will be meeting people and experiencing the life around Lea County including Lovington, Hobbs, Eunice, Jal, Monument, Maljamar, Crossroads, Knowles, and Tatum. My editor, A.J. Mangum, wants a literary, "creative non-fiction" essay. I'll be home to write it next weekend, and I'm thrilled.




May 19, 2013     Horsing Around

Big Boy's Hat by Tim Keller

It was fun to see my "Big Boy's Hat" image in Friday's Pasatiempo, the Santa Fe New Mexican's indispensible weekly arts magazine. We were there to enjoy the New Mexico History Museum's special showing of The Hi Lo Country, the film made from Max Evans's novel. Max, now 88 years old, spoke before the screening and answered audience questions afterward. Big Boy's hat was worn in the movie by James Gammon, playing Hoover Young. Max loaned me the hat for my photo, which was used to accompany Robert Nott's Pasatiempo feature previewing Friday night's event at the museum on the Santa Fe Plaza.

Gene Peach

Besides seeing Pat and Max Evans again and enjoying Max's comments about The Hi Lo Country, a highlight for me was meeting Santa Fe photographer Gene Peach, right (not my photo), whose magazine work is always top notch and whose classic Making a Hand: Growing Up Cowboy in New Mexico is one of my favorite photography books. It includes photos of kids I've photographed myself, and Gene's photos of them are better than mine. His skill using fill flash is especially enviable and effective. In the auditorium Friday night, Gene was excited to have just signed a contract for a new coffee table book of Santa Fe images. I told him that I'll be the first to buy a copy, no doubt a great addition to my growing library of photography books.




May 12, 2013     When Pictures Grow into a Story

Pillmore family portrait by Tim Keller

Back in January, Ranch & Reata put out a call to its photographers for horizontal images of cowgirls aged late teens to early 20s for possible use on an upcoming magazine cover. Sierra Pillmore agreed to be my model and we got a great series of images, three of which I posted and discussed here in my photography blog.

Last month the editor contacted me and wondered whether I could write a story to accompany Sierra's photos. I went back and forth between him and the Pillmore family shaping a story. I interviewed the Pillmores at home and Sierra some more at school. Finally, I felt that I needed to add a family portrait to accompany my 1500-word manuscript, and this is what I got, one of my favorite family portraits ever. The feature will be available in late June and I can't imagine it not including this portrait.




May 10, 2013     The Basics

Vinnie Gumlich in "Red, White, and Tuna"

Overheard in the high school hallway from a girl in the 9th or 10th grade:

"Oh I fucking have a sore-ass arm now."

You can imagine the delight this causes an English teacher.

For the unversed, the subject is I, the verb have, the direct object arm. Oh is an interjection. A and sore-ass are adjectives modifying arm. Now and fucking are adverbs modifying have.

You can't say my blog isn't educational.




May 4, 2013     Poetry Rocks!

Kelli OrtizCheyann Duran
Dominique Zamora
Rocky Ramirez
Joanne JohnsonMark Hightree

With a growing program and fabulous guest poet-educators Manuel Gonzalez, Danny Solis, and Esmé Rodriguez Vaandrager on board, I was thrilled but not surprised to see this year's Poets in the Schools program rise to new heights. Keep an eye on Facebook's Raton Poetry page as photos, videos, and poems are added; meantime, here's a sampling of my photos from the 7th Annual Poetry Marathon at Raton High School (click any photo to enlarge).

Jeremy Gentry

From the top, left to right, are Kelli Ortiz, Cheyann Duran, Dominique Zamora, Rocky Ramirez, principal Joanne Johnson, and Mark Hightree. At right, Jeremy Gentry provokes laughter with his performance. The library stayed full all day with a total attendance around 550, including many counted multiple times because they kept coming back each period. 130 student poetry performances filled the day, which then served as a warm-up for that night's 3rd Annual Poetry Rocks! program at the Shuler Theater.

Cole Kuchan

Manny, Danny, and Esmé acted as emcees, although sometimes they succeeded in drafting students to try that role, with Cole Kuchan (left) particularly enjoying his stint as emcee. (See how Cole practiced his own poem, here.) Students are now submitting their best poems via RatonPoetry@gmail.com and many of those will be posted at Raton Poetry on Facebook and included in an online anthology. Each fall Raton High School's Poetry Out Loud recitation competition will be featured.

We're already busy planning next April's Poets in the Schools program. With Danny moving away to Minnesota, we're excited to welcome back Jessica Helen Lopez to join Esmé and Manuel. Plans are afoot to have a monthly teen poetry reading at Old Pass Gallery beginning this summer. Meantime, it's fun to hear the students buzzing about poetry and wearing Poetry Rocks! t-shirts earned by performing on the Shuler stage.




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