Alamos Gas Stations

alamos sonora mexico gas station photos by humberto enriquez

The Old Gas Station

 The traditional gas station is on the western edge of the busy Alameda, Alamos, sonora, Mexico. Photo by Humberto Enríquez

The busy station on the western edge of the Alameda – Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

In Alamos the gas station of Jesus Salido in the center of the town is the traditional gas station that has been serving for many years Alamos residents, tourists and anybody who have a car, motorcycle, truck or bus. One person said if you watch the peoples coming and going at the gas station you learns much about what makes Alamos go, that is true and the Alamos activities, over the years don’t change much – Humberto

A Bird’s Eye View

The Salido gas station on the Alameda seen from Guadalupe Hill. alamos, sonora, mexico .  photo by Humberto Enríquez

The Alameda gas station seen from Guadalupe Hill. Photo: Humberto Enríquez

Many things change, different people, different stores, different cars, different trees but our necessities of gas for our cars, or air for our bicycles, or tires are the same until we find energy other than fossil fuels for our cars and motorcycles – Humberto

A Wider Bird’ Eyes View of the Alameda Gas Station

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

Eco Gas Station

New natural gas station is the eco station.  alamos, sonora, mexico.Photo:  Humberto Enríquez.

There is a natural gas station in Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.


This station is one 1 km west of Alamos on the highway to Navajoa.

Modern Times Drive On Into the Future

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. another new gas station in alamos sonora mexico. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Since the year 2000 Alamos has had many changes. Alamos went back to its beginnings years with the opening of two mines and that started an avalanche of companies who serve to the mines. These past years the Municipal Government, State Government and Federal Government promoted the town as an international tourist destination. Alamos was introduced in the program of Pueblos Magicos de Mexico. Several promotional videos of the region and the town which were shown in different countries around the world to attract tourists. This produced increased – excessive flow of vehicles and the opening of more gas stations – Humberto

Where There is a Need…

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Today we have 3 gas and one natural gas station in Alamos. The oldest one is owned by “Jesus (Chuy) Salido” in the center of the town. The other gas stations are all on the road to Navajoa. “La Carretera” is located near the Alamos hospital. “El Datil” located 3 KM from Alamos. The natural gas station is located 1 km from Alamos – Humberto

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and Humberto Enríquez, all rights reserved.

Álamos Cine Festival

april 3-6, 2014 alamos film festival header

Come One, Come All… It’s movietime!

A Magical moment in a Magical Pueblo.  Photo: Joel Gastélum

A magical moment in a Pueblo Magical. Photo: Joel Gastélum

r for the fourth annual alamos film festival, small.The photo above is from the closing ceremony at the Palacio.  The theme of the festival was “100 years of Maria Felix” and Miguel Castillo is singing “Maria Bonita” with Maria Felix’s eyes projected onto the screen behind him.  After he finished singing we played the movie “Yerba Mala” which was filmed in Alamos two years ago.  There were 700 seats filled in the Palacio for the closing ceremony.

Audience inside the palacio for the 4th annual alamos film festival.  alamos, sonora, mexico. 2014. photo - Joel Gastélum

What is a festival without an audience? Photo: Joel Gastélum

Meanwhile outside in the streets

line of people waiting outside the Palacio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico to watch the film festival.  photo by Joel Gastélum

They came to be part of the film festival. photo- Joel Gastélum

 
More people were lining up outside and we were out of seats, so we made the announcement that we would also show “Yerba Mala” in the Plaza.  An additional 500 people showed up to see it in the plaza.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street.  photo - Joel Gastélum.  alamos, sonora, mexico.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Maria Felix exhibition

inside the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora.  april 5th, 2014 opening of an Maria felix exhibition.  alamos, sonora, mexico.   photo - Joel Gastélum

Inside The Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. Photo: Joel Gastélum

On Saturday, April 5th there was also a Maria Felix exhibition in the museum. The exhibit was organized by our festival president, René Solis and was put together by a curator from the museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City. The exhibition will stay in the museum for at least a month and then will go to Mexico City and Paris this summer. Seen here from left to right are Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE) and Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura).

Inside museo costumbrista de sonora.  april 5th.  maria felix exhibition. photo - Joel Gastélum

History is for us all, young and old. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Here are some of the people that make the Festival happen.

caroline Duarte, larissa veg, joel gastélum, john sheedy and Andres Montiel.  alamos film festival april 3-6 2014. alamos sonora mexico.  photo by joel gastélum.

Hard work and good friends help make a festival happen. Selfie: Joel Gastélum


This happy moment is shared by some of the folks involved with the Festival. From left to right: Carolina Daurte (Festival coordinator), Larissa Vega (Maestra de ceremonia), Joel Gastélum (festival tech guy/ photographer), John Sheedy (Festival director) and Andres Montiel (actor, workshop teacher). This looks like a place to be having fun.

It takes a community to present a film festival

A group portrait of alamos film festival organizers taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum.  alamos sonora mexico. april 3-6, 2014.

A group portrait taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum

The Festival organizers in the photo above from left to right: Rosario Alvarez (El Turismo del Palacio), luz del Carmen Parra (Representante del Turismo del Estado), Angel Flores (Representante de la Educación), René Solís (Presidente de FICAM), Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura), Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE), Antonio Estrada (Director del Museo), Sandra Bustillos Sheedy (Secretaria del Festival), John Sheedy (Director del Festival), Carolina Duarte (Coordinadora del Festival), Marisol de Vega (amiga del festival). This group portrait was taken in the Alamos Museum on April 5th during the inauguration of the Maria Felix exhibit. The exhibit is sponsored by FICAM and will go on to Mexico City and Paris this summer.

now and then spacer

Notes courtesy of John Sheedy. John is a teacher at the United World College as well as Director of the Alamos Film Festival and a filmmaker.

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and Joel Gastélum, all rights reserved.

Church Bells

64… Two churches, two bells, two men and two towns…

tino, caretaker of the church, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Tino and his beloved Bishop Reyes Cathedral face another sunset.

I knew this would be an interesting photograph. A man, who, in his face, had seen much of what life has to offer, a church bell framed by its belfry and a natural backdrop stretching from Mirador to Sierra Madres. All were lit by a low brillant sun whose golden rays were diffused by humid shimmering heat waves. We only had a moment to take this photo, as we were speaking he was summoned to fix a pressing property emergency, this is what maestro Tino did. I asked him to look towards the sun and pressed the shutter button. One click and done, another moment saved for the future, this is what Anders does.

Caretaker and bell at Aduana church, near Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Caretaker of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere Church in nearby Aduana.

La Aduana on a midweek day in late Spring is peaceful. Take away the sounds of birds, insects, burros, dogs and a handful of kids and it is really quiet. Few cars will be heard for hours.
This is a place where the past lingers on, mining sites and ruins litter hillsides, a lonely plaza’s dry fountain surrounded by buildings once busy including a store where customers’ shoes for hundreds of year have cut a groove into the floor. I visit the small church and met the caretaker who takes me on the roof so I can see the town from where the bells of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere are. The church has an interesting story involving a beautiful maiden, Indians and some rocks, but that is for a coming journal entry. It is hard to imagine what it is like when
thousands of pilgrims arrive in La Aduana, many walking along arroyos from Alamos, to honor the Virgin of Balvanere every November 21st. A breeze kicks up dust on an empty road, a crow calls, three boys in a dry creek bed laugh and the day moves on. Life in Aduana 1996 is much different than life in Aduana 1700, one can only wonder what it will be like in Aduana 2020.

two church bells at bishop reyes cathedral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photos Gary Ruble and Anders Tomlinson.

A tale of two bells, one old, one new, and how they toll.

The bells of Bishop Reyes Cathedral are part of Alamos’ daily fabric, they are a prominent voice in a complex orchestral sonic landscape. Here are old and new: a cracked bell was replaced by a shinny bell. I was raised to believe if you don’t have something good to say about something don’t say anything. This is a good rule of thumb, especially in small rural communities. There are always exceptions: this new bell didn’t make me feel good. It wasn’t inviting me, its clang was more of a warning. It is possible that the bell vibrates discordantly only to me, but I find this hard to believe, I have a good ear. Maybe it was the bell ringer’s technique. 14 years have passed, maybe it has mellowed with age. I hope so. A town so culturally rich should have a bell that touches the heart and inspires the imagination. Maybe it does now.

This marker celebrates the birthplace of Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado is another Alamos native that touched the world.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado was born in Alamos and spent his early tears in Culican, Sinola before moving with his newly widowed mother and family to Mexico City. He became a successful doctor specializing in plastic surgery and was Frida Kahlo’s bedside doctor. He made vast contibutions to the medical world. And he could sing. His beautiful tenor entertained audiences across continents. Alamos hosts a grand music festival in his honor, The Festival International Dr. Arturo Ortiz Tirado, that includes dance, art and music with workshops, lectures and concerts. The festival entertainment, centered in Alamos, also performs across Sonora visiting venues in Nogales, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon, Hutabampo and Navojoa.
The ten day event is held each year in late January.

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©2012 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Windows

20 … Looking at windows from the outside is different than looking outside from within…

little house in alamos, sonora,mexico that is painted with natural vegatation.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Can you find the little house that can be hard to see?

Walking down the dirt roads, off the nearby plaza, are ventures into another land – another time in space. It is a land of people close to the land. It is a place where the little things are of greater substance and meaning. Here nature is loud – listen to crowing roosters next door, decipher neighboring dog barks and admire native birds singing in concert with days of old and now. This is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

house covered with plants. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

This little house caught my eye as it lived and breathed.

This was a wonderful casa in Barrio El Barranco. Going green has been a concept as far back as the planet’s beginning. Most poor people of the earth are off the grid. And the use of plant materials for shelter is common across the continents. This house has it all, a tribute to its surroundings.

Remodeled home on Las Auroras.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A wonderful example of a ruin restored to modern splendor.

I first met this ruin on Calle Las Auroras while heading out to the airport 1983. It was still a ruin when I revisited in 1993. Work seemed to be underway to clean the property. I was told some Hollywood folks were in the process of bringing it back to life. Three years later it was a sparkling gem along a dusty road. Future posts will look at the resurrection of this home.

triangle windows on Calle Las Auroras.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Another window treatment on Calle Las Auroras.

This window seems to come from an earlier time and a different civilization. Stark triangles in a thick wall of adobe. It seemed there were children playing outside it’s door every time I passed by on my way to the airport and countryside.

Window bars cast dancing shadows against an alamos, sonora, mexico white washed wall.  photo by anders tomlinson.

iron shadows dance across a white washed wall.

Alamos is known for its craftsmanship. Here, there are artists amongst the trades. This ornamental, and functional, iron window bar, in the colonial centro, creates a show of strength and poetic movement as its shadows follow the passing sun. Elegance.

window bar treatment in centro alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Home security begins with window bars of many colors and designs.

Function. There is no doubt the intention is to protect. This bar design seem more suited for a commercial establishment along a busy street. It is all about intention.

Warmth Radiates off of Adobe Walls as Another Winter Day Begins.
Kite flying is popular in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Drinking beer outside the pickup with friends is popular. Fun and work go on side by side as we visit a wood shop. Video …

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Pemex

68… At the Alameda’s western edge is the gas station…

Looking northwest from The jail on Guadalupe Hill, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A summer view looking northwest from the old jail on Guadalupe Hill.

Three busy centers of Alamos can be seen above: the gas station is at the photo’s bottom left, just to the left of the two story building. The Asoc. Ganadera local de Alamos is seen to the left of the gas station with its large angled metal roof that is behind and part of the local cattlemen and ranchers association’s office. The roof’s design acts like a speaker broadcasting music from dances held here across town and off the mountains. In the middle near the right edge is La Capilla Zapopan. Chapel Zapopan was built in 1841 for Dona Juana Mallen by Don Ignacio Almada y Alvarado.

pemex gas station in the alemeda, alamos, sonora, mexico 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson.

One approaches the busy Alameda as the highway from the west ends.

The nature of my documentary efforts is capturing an area’s geography and events during a certain time period. There has been numerous times while I edited history films that I wished someone had taken a picture that benchmarked a landscape in a specific era. My photos will, hopefully, be accessible to future film makers as they look back and interpret the past. The body of my work is not commercial photography: these images were not made for someone or something. They are part and parcel of a time-capsule-database-puzzle driven by my quizzical eye. This Journal you are now reading is my attempt to make it less a puzzle by providing information about the photos and the context that they were produced in. As example, Alamos’ population has nearly doubled since I last visited and I am sure that many of these scenes have changed just as I am sure that many remain the same. I have heard for years that the jail on this hill would become a cultural center, a wonderful idea for a substantial structure with million dollar views right in the middle of town. The question becomes, is this same vantage point in 2011 a view from a cultural center or is it a photo from the old jail? All I know is this is what it looked like in 1996 and behind me was a jail with armed guards wanting me to buy inmate handcrafted horsehair products.

Looking down into gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The only gas station in town is part of a Federal monopoly.

On March 18, 1938 the Mexican government nationalized foreign oil companies operating in Mexico. This was the birth of Petroleos Mexicanos, Pemex. Today it is the second largest state owned country in the world as well as the second largest company in Latin America. Pemex has 138,000 employees and pays taxes that cover 40% of the federal government budget. The Mexican petroleum industry has come a long way from Tampico in 1876 when oil was first successfully refined into kerosene. Modern Mexico and Pemex, with assets worth USD $416 billion, are tied at the billfold.

Pemex gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Need gas? Need air? Need directions. Here is a good place to go.

If one was to spend a day watching the comings and goings at the gas station they would learn much about what makes Alamos go. People pull in for gas and air all day long: on foot with gas cans, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, big trucks and buses. Conversations take place between customers, attendants, people passing by and folks hanging out. Locals, tourists, ranchers from out back, North American community members, employers, workers, poor and rich all show up if they need gas here and now. Waiting in line can be a social event.

Late afternoon in the Alameda near the gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Another day is coming to an end, a time of reflection and preparation.

These kids are sitting across the street from the gas station. What are they thinking? And where are they today? Did they they know of Carlos Slim Helu? Currently, Carlos Slim Helu is thought to the wealthiest man on planet earth. His father, Julian, emigrated to Mexico from Lebanon at the age of 14 in 1902. Julian began his business career, and long lasting family fortune, with a dry goods store and Mexico City commercial real estate investments. Today, Carlos is chairman and CEO of Telemex and America Movil. His conglomerate Grupo Carso SAB has extensive holdings in other Mexican Companies. All together, his corporate holdings in 2011 are thought to be worth USD $74 billion.

Soon it will be time for these kids to say goodbye to each other and return to their families for dinner. The future of Mexico is tied to Pemex, the likes of Carlos Slim Helu, these kids and the kids who are now sitting in this very same place. I wonder what the kids of today are thinking?

gas station, pemex, alamos, sonora, mexico, 1993.  photo by anders tomlinson

No customer with cash, or good credit, is too small or too big.

This is a busy place in a noisy neighborhood. It is a junction that keeps Alamos, Sonora, Mexico functioning in the modern internal combustion era. In reality, not ever one in Alamos owns a car. In fact, most do not own a car and if they need to travel they walk, ride bikes, motor scooters, an occasional horse, taxis or buses. Life without a car is a slower life. Some would say it is the way to live life come sunrise, come sunset.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Rooftop Gardens

78… A rooftop that lives and breath all things Alamos…

Nuzum roof top garden across the street ffom Bishop Reyes Catheral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Elizabeth Nuzum's garden across the street from Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

Here, in the shadow of cathedral bells and angelic choirs was a multi-purpose rooftop garden. A narrow wrought iron caracol, snail, spiral staircase led one up from a back patio with a small pool to an expansive array of raised planter boxes. Elizabeth Nuzum enjoyed people, her home, her gardens and life in Alamos. For many, her husband Pember and Elizabeth were Alamos greeters, welcoming visitors inside the old wood doors on Calle Comercio. Elizabeth designed and managed her gardens while Pember kept an eye on the household finances.

Flowers and Sierra de Alamos from Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

20 feet above the street one can hold a conversation with passing clouds.

The roof top garden and its 360 degree views was a special place. The sky at night, with stars there to be touched while one laid back on a substantial Sonoran cot, was a connection to all things in all places. Rooftop eavesdropping on the comings and goings along Calle Comercio and Calle Guadaloupe Victoria tuned one in with the heartbeats of Alamos: Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Palacio, Plaza de Las Armas, Mercado, all points of the compass and all events past and present.

Nuzum roof top garden looking east at Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mirador voices, at times, arrived here with a favorable wind.

Let me count the sounds I heard up on the roof: uniformed school kids walking in groups, talking, laughing, singing, stepping off rhythms, kicking balls, kids being all things kids. Occasional horse hoofs echoing on cobblestone streets. Music from rattling car and truck radios ricocheting off narrow streets. Surround sound bird songs and calls punctuated by barking dogs, working hammer and saws and distant braying burros. All combinations of people passing by: one, two, or three generations together talking, workers, errand runners, neighbors en-route to visit neighbors or hang out in the Plaza, shop at the Alameda and Mercado or attend to business at the Palacio or… This garden overlooked the center of Centro Alamos’ rainbow of expression: joy, surprise, acceptance, expectations, anger, yearning, anticipation. greetings, farewells…

Christina Vega on Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A young girl picks flowers on the roof, a simple moment, a simple smile.

Christina Vega, daughter of Chacho and Cammie, sister of Gaspar, walked in all worlds Alamos. Her Mexican blood was Chaco’s large family and her American blood was Cammie’s parents Elizabeth and Pember and brother Kit who came to visit from his world travels. Cammie and Chacho lived modestly on Calle Ninos Heroes, a short walk from the grand roof top garden on the the other side of Guadaloupe Hill.

Christina Vega and church from Nuzum roof, alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

What does Christina see, and hear, on this spring day in 1984?

The roof’s northwest corner, with a view into the Plaza and Gazebo, was across the street from the bank. At opening time a line of people would be waiting sharing conversation. Daily masses brought people to the church’s eastern door. Funerals processions would leave the church and passed by as they headed east to the Panteon – Cemetery. Police headquarters, at times busy, were three houses to the east on Calle Comercio. Tourists speaking English, French, German and other languages would stop and chat as they headed to and from surrounding lodging. At night, one could listen to quitar playing coming from Polos restaurant’s kitchen as well as the Estudiantina practicing at the Museum. At this moment Christina is listening to the public serenade that is Alamos.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.
Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Nigthtime Power

30 … Imaginations soar with night when all one can see is lit by man or moon…

Governor's Mansion ruin at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Light and shadow, substance and form, history and echos, spirits and ghosts.

In the night, things from the past bump into modern moments. As example, aged columns, scarred by events that rushed through time, are illuminated by electricity. As example, Sonora and Sinoloa were merged into a new state of Occidente and in November 1827 Alamos was declared its capital. On January 10, 1828, Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola moved into his official residence behind the walls seen above. Here, decisions were made that shaped those days, life was lived to match royalty in Spain and the mines to the west were in full production and… You are here…

Calle Comercio at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Calle Comercio on a summer midnight, 1996. Even spirits must sleep.

If that police pickup truck, parked across the street from the Police station, wasn’t there then where could we be, and when? The answer is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico circa both 1800 and 2011. This is a portrait of power. At the western end, the cobblestones leads one up the steps and into the Cathedral’s side doors. Down the block to the east, the Governor and Bishop mansions were, and are, across the street from one another. Thousands of miles to the east is Spain, thousands of miles to the west is China and at one time they were both here, and today their DNA marches on.

The hospital in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There is no mistaking this for the past. Modern lines, modern times.

On the way into Alamos Centro a regional – basic care hospital is setback on the right. At night, this scene could be an emergency room anywhere in the world. I had need to visit after one long difficult day into night. The doctors were here in Alamos for one year’s mandatory service, a bridge between medical school and where they would go to make their livings. That night, my doctor came from outside Guadalajara and hoped he would be going to Tijuana, to be on the frontier of modern Mexico. I was impressed by how he looked me in the eyes, how he touched and probed, and by the questions he asked and how he listened and responded to my answers. He was in the moment, and the moment was all about bringing me comfort. It was not about profit or loss. It was about me.

X-rays were needed to evaluate what was happening in my chest. Alas, their x-ray machine was down for repairs. He gave me a shot to reduce my discomfort and asked me to bring him back chest x-rays. He had done all he could do. The morning began meeting the Police chief in his office, at his request, and ended up on a midnight taxi cab ride to Navajoa in search of x-rays. And this day will be another of the twelve Alamos short stories I am preparing to write.

Tis the Season of Love and Jackets.
Christmas in the Plaza de Las Armas is a time of of sharing and joy. Food, fireworks and the town coming out to be seen and see is what community is all about.

It is In The Night That the Past Dances Down Narrow Streets
Oh little town of Alamos. Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music, live and recorded, rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars pass by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic moments. Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets.

Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going. Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing. And behind the walls there are other worlds: private legacies, conversations., comforts, learnings, entertainments, deliberations, dreams.
 Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Place to Be and Be Seen
It is a wonderful feeling to sit with a friend in the plaza on a pleasant evening. Here, one can watch people come, be and go. This is the a place to be seen and see. When all have come and gone it becomes a romantic refuge for a young couple.


Imagine horse drawn carriages, burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Another Day, Another Age

Somewhere in the mountain Indian’s timeless spell, framed by stately 18th century Spanish architecture, and peppered with modern electronic gadgetry is a small quiet town whose women are beautiful and men handsome. This Shangri-La, at the very end of paved road leading from the west, is Alamos Sonora, Mexico.

The sun has risen from behind these forbiding ridges, the silence is deafening.

From here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding, virtually impenetrable
Sierra Madre Occidentals. This is the legendary “Mother Range” protecting Mexico’s great central plateau. Behold ridge after volcanic ridge, separated by deep narrow canyons, marching on for a hundred miles, and climbing to ten thousand feet where giant hawks and eagles soar. The monumental silence is all powerful. Time is reduced to mere sand, worn off of towering rock faces and airborne on the wind. These endless ridges conjure up stark silhouettes of reclining warriors, upon whose barren stomachs humble life persists. Over the horizon, to the southwest, is the famous Copper Canyon region.

Summer time is vibrant as surrounding foothills come alive with green growth.

The eye continues to sweep the horizon and returns, as it always does, to the cathedral’s classically proportioned three-tiered belfry announcing civilization on the half hour.
Past, present and future comes together, in a special way, as one walks down hand swept cobblestone streets listening to laughing children behind bougainvillea-crowned walls.
Here, is the eternal blue sky that is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

History: Time Marches On

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by AtomicSonics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza departed Alamos in September 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality.

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Summer: Explosion of Color

The rainy season arrives on a cannonade of lightning as surrounding hills turn to jungle and children of all ages, cooled and cleansed by spirited showers, dance on glistening streets…

An occasional summer storm floods three arroyos in Alamos with mountain runoff.
Summer is the rainy season. Occasional tropical storms, remnant of hurricanes, come in from the Sea of Cortez to the west. This is the morning after a storm hit the region hard the previous evening.

A summer rodeo – music concert with trained horses dancing the two step.
Throughout the summer there are activities to enjoy in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. On this day the rodeo came to town along with a Mexican pop singer who was backed up by the local “Halcon de Sierra Alamos” band. The stars of the show, which started late, were the dancing horses.

To the east, the Cuchujaqui River is a nearby Alamos summer getaway.
The Cuchujaqui River is to the east of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Three arroyos join together in Alamos and flow to the Cuchujaqui River, on to the El Fuerte River and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. It is a cooling retreat for Alamos folks especially in the hot summer. On this day, Antonio, an Alamos dentist, spear-fished one bass, a couple of catfish and many carp.
A good time was had by all.

Summer is the Alamos season of vibrant color, rains and nights of natural magic and wonder.
Lightening on a warm Alamos summer evening is a show to remember. The romantic Plaza is a wonderful vantage point. Rolling thunder punctuates child’s play and lovers embraces.

Daybreak in the Plaza is a quiet song that slowly builds into a symphony.
As the day turns from dark to light watch Alamos come alive. Everyday is a new start, another challenge, another opportunity. The late Levant Alcorn is seen collecting bird feathers on his morning walk around the Plaza de las Armas.

Estudiantina de Alamos performs before a packed Plaza as a film crew captures the event.
It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming a music concert. Estudiantina de Alamos, a crowd favorite, is performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

In the hearts of many, Alamos is the center of the universe.
Independence day starts early in the morning with a municipal parade through the town’s colonial center. Alamos school kids, the first high school in the Californias started here, and the entire city government take part. In 2010 the students added their own uniformed marching band to the parade. From children to government, Alamos continues.

This is a Blessed Season for a Multitude of Reasons.
In mid-afternoon the air pressure begins to drop and a stiff wind sweeps the valley from the west, a storm is coming. Night falls and showers start. We go from the Plaza to the Alameda and back. The following day the sun comes out and then is covered by clouds. Kids play and men work gathering sand in the arroyos. A summer day can be complex in its textures and atmospheres.

If ones wants to have fun, one can have fun. And today Alamos is smiling.
The season’s strongest storm passed through in early September. A couple of weeks later there was still a little water flowing in the arroyos. Celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day, thousands of folks, young and old, gathered in the Arroyo de la Aduana north of the Plaza.
Dancing horses, music and beer is everywhere.

Folks from all over the Alamos region gather in the arroyo to celebrate Independence Day.
And the celebration in the arroyo continues. Everyone wants to have a good time and enjoy the warm sun, brillant blue sky and the murmurs of running water. There is much to do and see. The party will continue late into the night under beautiful Sonoran stars. How romantic.

Alamos is home to the jumping bean along with elements that touch all the senses.
This video features the jumping bean, a drive into town from the west, and several cameos: church bell ringing, closeup of flood waters, timelapse of clouds passing in front of Mt. Alamos, and a street puddle at night reflecting shimmering light.

A Ranch on the outskirts of town, looks forward to the future.
Estancia Crysalis, along the El Camino Real, is a mile southeast of the Plaza in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The 140 acre ranch, on Sierra de Alamos sloping foothills, is focusing on a new day. And new opportunities gliding on tropical breezes.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality.

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Spring: Transitions Abound

Neighboring towns come to Alamos in the spring and celebrate their Indian Heritage.
Indian Day comes to Alamos in the Spring. Villagers from around the Alamos region come by bus to the Alameda and celebrate their native culture. Dancers, musicians and exhibits fill the business center with color, motion and music. Nacion Mayo and Nacion Popagayo are some of the regional dancers, musicians and exhibits competing in front of a panel of judges.

A mourning mother’s deep wails, crows cawing – perched on white crosses…
It is a warm spring day as we explore the “Pantheon” – (Cemetery) on the road to the Sierra Madres, minutes east of the Colonial Center. The ages speak here. Be it ancient mountain sounds or human voices, mourning and celebrating since 1794. All is timeless, and all thoughts are a point on our circle of life.

It all begins and ends in the Working Center of Town.
The Alameda, center of activity, transportation hub, bars, offices, shops, gas station and markets … This is Mexico working, traveling and playing. Boom boxes serenade food carts and shoe shines.

Not that long ago the best way to travel to Alamos was by mule train.
Alamos has a 5,000 foot runway, at 1,300 feet elevation, awaiting your landings and takeoffs.
The Alamos City Airport, to the west, is minutes away from downtown. Talk about arriving first class.

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.
Alamos has six seasons a year and a diversity of native and imported flora. Gardening is both a passion and industry. It can become all consuming. It can be an mental oasis, freedom from the outside world’s cares and concerns. And it is something to share with those who visit, be it bug, bird, mammal or human.

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Spring Day in the Plaza – Part One: The Race.
Spring days in the Plaza de Las Armas are a portrait of the community at large. Here, we start with small children with big back packs enroute to their classrooms. This sunny morning, there are school races, boys and girls, around the Plaza.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Two: Getting Ready for another Day.
In the cool of the morning folks go about hand sweeping and cleaning the streets and sidewalks of Alamos, Sonora, Mexiso. Residents take pride in the town’s appearance. Enjoy a 360 degree pan of the plaza from the gazebo-bandstand in its center. We end with the garbage men making their rounds.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Three: People come and go and the day goes on.
This is easter weekend in the Plaza De Las Armas. People come and go across the Plaza or are headed for the bus station to leave town for the holiday. A crowd leaves the church and will travel along the streets of Alamos following a reenactment of the Crucifixion.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Four: From Light to Night.
Afternoon shadows begin to creep across a Plaza shared by all: young and old, workers and those relaxing on a bench, going from here to there, meeting others, watching Alamos pass by, hearing the news, being one with all that surrounds… Horseback, on foot, bicycle or driving – it is wonderful to be part of the eternal promenade.

The Streets of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico become Another Time in Another Place.
Easter week in Alamos is a special Spirit. Viernas de los Delores is celebrated on Good Friday. Decorated altars are displayed in windows and doorways throughout town. In the evening people stroll the streets viewing these commemorations of Christ”s suffering. In this segment we join a reenactment of the Crucifixion through the streets of Alamos to Guadalupe Hill.

Fast paced music video that is more than its parts, much like Alamos itself..
This is an experimental clip that weds close-ups textures shot out a moving car’s window and 120 blended stills images of Alamos life. High speed video at its best. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico has never looked like this.

In another era, Estancia Crysalis was a working horse ranch.
Today, the spirits of these departed steeds, proud Arabians, are present, be it a sound of a branch breaking under weight or a small flurry of dust. Shut your eyes and listen, they are still here.


Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Winter: A Time of Grace

Buckle-up as we take a super fast car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking.

A parade of lights brings song and joy to colonial Alamos streets during Christmas.
We see a traditional Posada visiting from house to house and arriving at Casa de los Tesoros where children in their holiday attire play and adult family take in another Christmas in Alamos. It is a tradition. Another scene is a trip to the Alameda.

A special time in a special place for people who feel special.
This is the introduction to a film that was shot over the 1993 winter holidays in Alamos. This is a glorious season for the town. We start out at the airport and head east into town and visit the Alameda lined with stores and professional offices.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.

Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does.

Music is part of the Alamos fabric, the Alamos way of living.
The location is the Old Miners Hotel on the east side of Plaza de Las Armas. The event is a holiday wedding reception with imported polka band and a free flowing bar. High spirits, friends, family and a driving beat makes for a good time. Tomorrow would be another day.

Time stands still: a river moves on and letter-press printing continues.

Two days before Christmas 1993 the film crew travels out to the Rio Cuchujaqui. It is a world unto itself but not that far away from Alamos. And then we visit a print shop that has been in operation for over 100 years. Alamos had the first printing press in the Californias. One wonders if these presses are still at work. Letter presses have an imprint-edge that can be felt with the fingers and the soul.

They come from all over the region with things to buy and sell.
Sunday, north of Arroyo La Aduana, there is an open-air market filled with people and music. Meals, snacks, produce, clothing, toys, tires, bikes, tools and what ever folks bring to sale fill out both sides of a colorful promenade. It is a wonderful place to shop and meet neighbors, family and friends, new and old.

Warmth Radiates off of Adobe Walls as Another Winter Day Begins.
Kite flying is popular in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Drinking beer outside the pickup with friends is popular. Fun and work go on side by side as we visit a wood shop.

Tis the Season of Love and Jackets.
Christmas in the Plaza de Las Armas is a time of of sharing and joy. Food, fireworks and the town coming out to be seen and see is what community is all about.

Night is Filled with Sounds and an Occasional Lull of Only Stars Whispering to Each Other.
The Bells of Alamos ring through the day and night. They have for over two hundred years. We visit the bells as they are being rung, watch folks mill about the Plaza and enter the church from the belfry. And then it is out for an evening walk from the Plaza to the Alameda. And the steps we take have been taken for hundreds of years.

Towns Live On Through the Skills and Attention of Its Maestros, Craftsmen and Laborers.
Walking is a common choice of transportation in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. To school, work, play, church, shopping to the buses. There are taxis and cars but walking is the Alamos way for most. And in the day wherever you walk there are workers at work. Big jobs, little jobs, it is all work.

Exuberance is Everywhere: Listen for the Laughter of Youthful Rhythm.
Kids playing games on the streets of Alamos is a common fabric of everyday life. We also tour a couple of homes and their gardens. Smiles are honest and come easy.

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It takes a Village to Make these Films.

This is the crew that captured Alamos-Christmas-1993 and our hosts the Nuzums.

Here are, left to right, Chaco Valdez, Anders Tomlinson, Gary Ruble, Donna Beckett, Robert Harrington, Robert Ganey, Jo and Kit Nuzum, and Elizabeth and Pember Nuzum. Rudy Hale and Teri Arnold also provided assistance. A fine time was had by all. Photo-Gary Ruble.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Photo Portfolios

Chasing the moment and capturing that which allows itself to be captured.

Photographing Alamos, Sonora, Mexico was a great pleasure, and challenge, for Anders Tomlinson. His portfolio of 1,200 selected scans from 35mm film – Fuji Velvia 50, Provia 100, Provia 400 and Fujichrome Tungsten 64 – is divided into 17 subjects.

Anders shooting with a 35mm Canon body before the digital dawn.
photo- Jim Morgan

Presented below are one image representing each of the subjects with the number of images in that collection. There is a DVD of all the slide-scans that is available upon request.

Aduana Time… 25 images

This donkey could have been related to animals used to grind mercury in the 17th century, The satellite dish brings a rural Aduana school in touch with all of modern Planet Earth. photo- Anders Tomlinson

Alameda Action… 87 images

Only in the afternoon heat of a summer day is the Alameda this quiet.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Barrio Life… 222 images

Near the northern edge of town it is a simple life, not easy, but simple.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Church Days… 52 images

Our three-tiered belfry glows gold in spring morning light.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Flood Stage… 23 images

End of August, this is not the day to take a bicycle trip to the east side.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Garden Graces… 74 images

Serenity and the touch of tropical sun upon bare shoulders,
it is Alamos time... photo-Anders Tomlinson

Cemetery… 45 images

Alamos families, and friends, are here in the Cemetery-Pantheon.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Inside Walls…15 images

Art, artists and music are part of the Alamos lifestyle.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Mirador… 24 images

A summer kite festival at the Mirador ovelooking Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Views from High Ground…30 images

Alamos in the summertime from Red Cross Hill.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Nature Notes… 47 images

Looking south towards Sinola from atop Sierra de Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Night Music…90 images

Cat and dog rest near a house filled with bird cages.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Palacio… 26 images

The Palacio is the cultural and governmental center of Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Portraits… 96 images

Not all roads lead to Navojoa, but this one does.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Plaza Promenade… 109 images

Later that evening a tropical storm would tear through the Plaza.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Colonial Center… 156 images

These kids continue a long history of public education in Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Ruins…66 images

Time to restore and build a new roof, and drink beer.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Anders is looking for partners to publish a book that Anders would design using these photos.
These images will also be used in high-definition multi-media Alamos presentations.
Later this year more slides will be scanned with an emphasis on details of daily life in Alamos.

To see more Anders Alamos photos visit the Daily Journal or enjoy Alamos Slideshows
as well as Night Magic photos.

Return to the home page.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Night Magic Photos

Nightfall brings out spirits, ghosts and legends.

Oh little town of Alamos dreams, as seen from Gringo Point in the Sierra de Alamos.

Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars passe by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic.

Friends gather outside a Friday night dance.

Anders arrived his on first visit to Alamos at 4 am, after an 18 hour drive from Tijuana. Coming into town at night accented the fact he had arrived in a place where time stood still and discovery awaits. Seeing the town in morning light did not diminish his first impression.

Thick walls embrace outside and inside a house on Calle Comercio.

Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets. Dogs and cats lay together by front doors. Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going.

Romantic songs, live and recorded, come from many houses aglow with music.

Music concerts happen on a public and private level. Guitars and singing takes place all over Alamos. Singing and dancing are part of the passion for life that begins as little children and continues throughout life. It is felt with every step and heartbeat.

The plaza at night is refuge for a young couple.

It is a wonderful feeling to sit in the plaza on a pleasant evening with a friend. Here, one can watch the people come and go. The church draws people throughout the day and into the evening.
It is a joy to listen to the church choirs practice.

The Estudiantina entertains at a local hotel.

The Estudiantina de Alamos are a group of young men learning music and performance styles from the days of old. The Museo de Costumbrista de Sonora coordinates their training and busy schedules. They are bring a pride and joy wherever they go.

For over 300 years people have been in their homes on this corner.

The thick walls help keep out the cold and heat and hold in the spirits of anyone who has walked inside. If there is a place where past, present and future come together it is inside the walls of Alamos. These photos are slices, literally. from a portfolio of 100 Alamos night scenes by Anders Tomlinson. Some day Alamos may be able to look at them on exhibit or projected at night.

On a road heading out of the colonial center lights become fewer..

Imagine the horse drawn carriages, the burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night.

Two friends share thoughts at the entrance to town center.

Summer nights find townsfolk outdoors in the cooling air. The sky can light up with a roll of distant thunder. If it begins to rain people stay under the sky and embrace the blessed moisture. Listen to the crickets. Listen to your heart.

Rain is always welcomed in Alamos. It is Life.

Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing.
And behind the walls there is another world. Private legacies. Conversations. Comforts.
Learnings. Entertainments. Deliberations. Dreams…

Return to the home page or visit the Alamos photo portfolios.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.