…did he just wink?

Tex Randall stands watch over Canyon, Texas.  He was built in the 1950s.  A few years ago the city of Canyon restored Tex.  He makes me smile every time I go by.  A few months ago I posted a photo of him in the sunrise.  A Facebook friend reached out with the most enchanting story. 

When she was a kid in the 1960s with the cold war at its apex, she started experiencing bouts of anxiety.  Her father took her to see “Big Tex”.  “Sally, when everyone goes to sleep at night, he comes alive and chases all the bad guys away.  Ain’t no one going to get you as long as “Big Tex” there is guarding Canyon.”  She knew it was a no more real than Santa Clause but it helped and all these years later, Big Tex is still a consoling figure for her in her 60’s.  I loved the oversized cowboy from the moment I saw him.  But after hearing her story, I loved him even more. 

When I heard the thunder, for whatever reason Tex came to mind and I jumped in the car as the sun was sinking and a storm was rolling in.   I have dozens of photos of Tex from different angles and in different weather.  But tonight would be my first attempt to catch him and lightning in the same frame.    Unfortunately, the storm brought little lighting but the few strikes that happened I caught.

Modern Cameras amazing things but they still can’t come close to the marvel of the human eye.  This is close to what my eye saw.  It is not what my camera saw.  There is a lot of psychology going on when we look at things.  Our eyes pan and focus here and there, we take in the small details then let our eyes roam the scene for large patterns.  The eyes are rarely still when viewing a scene like this.  My eye would focus on the lighting and then snap back on the statue with a seamless continuity that would make the few seconds blend into one memory.  The camera can’t do that. 

This is not one photo but rather it is two.  With my camera on a tripod, I exposed for Big Tex and then without moving my camera, I snapped off photos of lighting.  The two photos require radically different exposures.  In one photo I could get Tex properly exposed or the lightning but not both.  For that I have to blend to photos it’s not a “straight photo” but rather two photos blended together.  While it’s not a straight photo, it is the only way I know how to adequately portray what I remember.

As the raindrops chased me back to my car, I wondered what bad guys Big Tex was going to deal with after I fell asleep.  Big Tex doesn’t chase bad guys and Santa Clause has never visited me but sometimes when I look at him out of the corner of my eye… did he just wink?  Nahhhh