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After hearing that it was possible to visit the Trinity Site, I have always wanted to visit. I like the experience of “being there.” Regarding history, reading the story is great, seeing pictures is fine, but, actually being there makes the experience more personal and relatable. The Trinity Site is where the first atomic bomb test was detonated on July 16, 1945. It is open only twice a year, the first Saturday in April and October. To visit you really must want to visit! It is located securely on the northern end of White Sands Missile Range and is smack-dab in the middle of Middle-of-Nowhere.
In addition to the Trinity Site, there were other places I wanted to visit in western Texas and now I had assembled a list that made the trip worth while. I wanted to meander around the lonesomeness of West Texas, photograph the missions of El Paso, research the haunts of John Wesley Hardin, and visit the least populated counties in Texas.
A word about my photography. I do not set out with a preconceived idea of what to photograph. I do not follow a “style” of photography and I am not trying to tell a story with pictures, instead I allow the place to tell me its story. I react to what I see. I allow instincts, mood, feelings, impressions to guide me to photograph what I see. It is not until I get home that I really start to pay attention and evaluate what I have photographed and listen to what story they have to tell.
One of the first things that is evident is the lack of people in the photographs. That is because there were very few people present. The towns seem eerily deserted. I say ‘seem’ because there is evidence of people, cars, newspaper racks, signs, just no people. The streets of the towns tend to be wide and stretch on endlessly to the horizon. Outside of town it is possible to drive for hours on the lonely county roads without meeting another vehicle. The landscape is quite, there are no intrusive sounds of man-made machines, only the call of a bird accentuates the whisper of the wind. The next thing that I noticed in the photographs was the color. In an landscape where the artist’s palette is made of hues of brown, when there is color it is striking.
I come away from West Texas with the feeling of its loneliness. I would not describe West Texas as desolate or even forlorn because this gives the connotation of sadness. The people of West Texas are strong and resolute, stubbornly they choose to stay in a land that resist their presence. No matter how harsh the existence, and unforgiving the land, the people let their presence be known and that is what I have photographed.
White Sands National Monument is locate within the confines of White Sands Missile Range and is open to the public..
The Sands is almost pure gypsum, fine as sugar as it sifts through your fingers.
The finely sculpted dunes are artfully defined.
To visit the Trinity Site you must really want to visit. It is located in the middle of "Middle of Nowhere."
Radar unit of White Sands Missile Range.
The Nike Hercules was fitted with a nuclear warhead built to intercept InterContinental Ballistic Missiles.
Alamogordo sits on the easter edge of White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base.
The New Mexico Museum of Space History sits at the foot of the mountains.
The Nike Ajax sits on its launcher. It was the world's first operational air defense guided missile. Designed to intercept high altitude aircraft.
On December 10, 1954 Colonel John Paul Stapp rode a rocket sled at Holloman AFB just outside Alamogordo that decelerated from 632 to 0 miles per hour in one and one-quarter seconds.
His body experienced 46.2 times the force of gravity, in essence making him weigh 6,800 pounds for that brief time.
Ham was the world's first AstroChimp, and the first free creature in outer space. He blasted off from Cape Canaveral on January 31, 1961, and traveled 155 miles in 16.5 minutes before splashing down safely in the Atlantic.
Ham lived for 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington D.C. He is buried in front of the New Mexico Museum of Space History
Trip to the Trinity Site where the world's first Atomic Bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945
Lining up for the caravn to the site.
The Stallion Gate, north entrance to White Sands Missile Range.
Trinity is only open two days a year. The first Saturday in March and the first Saturday in October.
The bomb test was made up of two explosions. The first was by conventional TNT followed a fraction of a second later by the Nuclear blast.
The Jumbo was build to house the explosions. The designers were concerned that if the second nuclear chain reaction did not take place as planned. The first TNT explosion would blow the rare plutonium all over the country side.
The Jumbo, however, was not used and the bomb was suspended from a tower.
The tower was built to suspend the bomb above the ground for detonation.
The tower was vaporized. All that remain is the concrete bases
Looking over the blast site. The thundering shock wave broke windows 120 miles away
Within milliseconds , an orangish-red fireball swept over the desert and a mushroom clooud of gray and purple towered thirty-eight thusand feet in the atmosphere.
The searing heat of the blast fused desert sand into a jade-colored glass called trinitite. Most was removed but the site continues to be littered by small pebbles of trinitite.
A Historical Marker was erected to mark "Ground Zero."