The Landscape Award for Travel Photography Goes to Marshall Ewing
September 23, 2012
THE PRIZE WINNING LANDSCAPE AWARD IN THE VENTURE GALLERIES TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST GOES TO MARSHALL EWING.
The desert is alive with color.
And Marshall Ewing was there on the vast flatlands around Fort Davis in West Texas to photograph the rich red blooms of an ocotillo, a plant that defies the lack of water in a barren and empty landscape.
In the distance loom the Davis Mountains, rising like great gothic towers, ancient palisades stained the color of autumn. They possess a gritty splendor, overlooking the parade ground of a lonely outpost that stood guard in a hostile country, protecting the Butterfield Stage, the forty-niners, and the wagon trains of settlers headed west.
Fort Davis and the little village that grew up around Limpia Creek were their refuge in a stunning land that had few hopes for any of them. There was no reason for them to stay. They moved on into the great unknown of unmarked trails.
The fort itself is a National Historic Site with a museum that houses relics and mementos of the post’s thirty-seven years of service against the last, desperate stand of the Apache and Comanche nations. There are fifteen restored structures, including residences on officers’ row, two sets of troop barracks, and the hospital.
The remains of Fort Davis are more extensive and impressive than those of any other southwestern fort. The sounds of its history echo sharply off the walls of Limpia Canyon, and the parade ground vibrates with the recorded reenactment of an historic retreat ceremony.
The Star Spangled Banner is played as it was scored, flat and mournful, punctuated by caissons rolling, bugles piercing, drums ruffling, the clack and rattle of horses and troopers – with sabers jangling – moving slowly down the empty field.
It is as if a ghost army is passing by.
The mountains have their own magnificence.
The land is harsh.
The prairie is endless.
Distances are so great that an old fence rider for a West Texas ranch once remarked, “I love so far out that the sun sets between our house and town.”
As you gaze across the desert, it looks as gray as ash.
The earth is streaked with shades of brown.
The mountains hide in the dark shadows.
But up close, the desert – as defiant as a cactus thorn – is also as beautiful as a cactus bloom. The small red petals clustered on the end of ocotillo branches are the single promise that life goes on no matter how hard or difficult the times or the landscape may be.
THE WINNER OF THE HISTORIC AMERICA AWARD IN THE VENTURE GALLERIES TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY.