Lair portrait

I have all these ideas for great landscape photos, and the equipment to at least half-assedly do it if only I knew what I was doing. But … winter happened. In winter Uncle Joel sits. And landscape photography takes a lot of physical effort, and Uncle Joel is an old (68 this month! Which is substantially older than I expected to get, so I should have taken better care of myself) painful-jointed one-legged guy.

Anyway: Insert customary excuses here. One photo I’ve wanted to take for years but just didn’t have the stuff was a portrait of my very favorite thing, the Secret Lair. I’ve tried it before, but since the Lair faces due North the light is rarely on my side. The only time the front of the Lair is ever really lit is on an early summer morning. We’re at least in Spring, so this morning I decided to give it a try. Click the thumbnails for bigger photos.

Enter impediments…


The only place from which the photo can be taken is at the top of that hill. It’s not very high, but there are no nice easy slopes. Above the talus it’s basically rock climbing, this time with a large camera case and tripod.


Nearly up…


Here we are.


There’s the Lair, not far away at all. It’s tucked into the crotch of a 50-foot ridge, sheltered from the worst of the wind and lightning. You can see the gully behind the cabin: That was the subject of quite a lot of water-management engineering before the shell was even finished, because the Lair is built on what wants to be a flood plain leading down to the wash. So far, it works.


And there’s my favorite thing in the whole world. This is a really nice lens: That’s the best Lair pic I’ve done to date, right there. Unfortunately you can’t see most of it. I’d have to chop down some junipers to show the whole thing. Since I’m not going to do that, this is as good as it gets.

Happy to find that I can still get up that hill, though. Not even winded.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Lair portrait

  1. BigWooly says:

    You’ve come a long way since I started following you, way back in the day. You should be proud of all you accomplished and the person you’ve become. You’re a good man.

  2. Robert says:

    Very cool. In the second-to-last shot, I wouldn’t have been able to see the Lair if the jeep wore camo instead of canary color.

  3. Mike says:

    I do so like the photos you have taken of the area where you live, Joel. They remind me of all the westerns I read as a kid. Big sky country.

  4. Malatrope says:

    Ah, more fodder for “Where’s Joel? The Board Game”, sequel to “Where’s Wally?”. It has been damnably difficult to pin you down. Your area has a much higher juniper density to where I thought you were, but that long butte is definitely identified (the line of hills not so much). You are well-camouflaged, but you can’t hide your roof or solar panels.

    Of course, you may have asked Google to blur out your house…

    Don’t worry, I won’t publish the lat/long when I do finally find you (*twirls Snidely Whiplash moustache*) but at least I’ll be able to drop off a trailer-full of stuff you could definitely make use of.

  5. Joel says:

    If you have a trailer load of useful stuff, you could just ask. You wouldn’t be the first visitor.

  6. Malatrope says:

    The game is more fun than just asking! But I do live 1500 miles away, so it would have to involve a visit to people I know near Prescott. Not in the near-term cards, unfortunately, as they seem to be busy trying to move further away from town.

    But it’s beautiful country.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful journey you have travelled. I’m still in Silicon Valley (in a truly wonderful out of the way mountainous place) and feel like we have both “made it”

  8. Elrod says:

    I’m a born and bred easterner but I’ve always had a fondness for the southwest. Every time I’ve visited family, some of whom are within – I’m guessing – a couple hundred miles of you I’ve been tempted to phone in my resignation and stay.

    Not in the cards for me, but I’m very glad to see someone has made it.

    Congratulations, Joel, you done good.

  9. midwestmike says:

    NIce pictures Joel. I’m wondering, if it’s not a secret, what the white structure is on top of the ridge in the second to last picture (upper right). Remember, getting old is a privilege not everyone gets. Hope you stay safe and well.

  10. matismf says:

    Now Malatrope, you could always just charter a plane and have them do a Low Altitude Parachute Extraction (LAPES) delivery…

    Bet that would impress the locals!!!

  11. Malatrope says:

    Matismf, that would be great, but I’d rather arrive in an Osprey!

To the stake with the heretic!