Last month, with an itch to get a couple hours away from home for no good reason at all, I visited the Very Large Array (VLA) about an hour west of Socorro, NM. If you haven’t acquainted yourself with the VLA’s work (either in person or via their website) I highly recommend it- pretty mind blowing stuff. I am very proud that the austerity of our state’s landscape is good for something beyond rattlesnakes and film crews– the VLA makes a lot of amazing astrophysics possible!
The visibility on this temperate winter day was infinite, and I fell in love with the VLA dishes, both at an iconic distance (Contact, anyone?) and up close with the zoom lens. I don’t know why, but I love me some hardware pictures. Even better than getting up close and personal with one of the dishes (which are, should you be curious, about 84 feet in diameter) was the fact that the entire area is a no cell phone zone. I found this fascinating, if not kind of redundant (ATT doesn’t cover much of the state, so my cell phone is really in a “cell phone free zone” any time I am outside the city limits). For all the technology around me- designed to listen into the deepest, quietest parts of space we can find- cell phones can ruin it all. The only thing I was permitted to listen to for about an hour and a half was the wind whipping my ears and my thoughts.
Awe inspiring, contemplative, challenging, and completely liberating, this was one of my best photo trips to date. It was BEAUTIFUL.
You can find larger versions of these pictures on Flickr.
The trip also furnished me with week’s monochrome madness picture. I love the way the light shines through the dish, especially at the edge, where metal meets sky.