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Marfa Flights

Aerial Views of Big Bend Country

T. Lindsay Baker

Publication Year: 2014

Take an unforgettable sky excursion over Big Bend with photographer Paul Chaplo as he captures the shapes, textures, and colors of the craggy, weathered landforms people usually see only from the ground—and some places no photographer has gone before. Flying from Marfa, and hanging precariously from the open door of an aircraft, Chaplo shares a hawk's eye view of a fiercely beautiful region, revealing the stark and magnificent landscapes carved by the force of eons of wind and water on the arid, mountainous country along the Rio Grande.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Paul Chaplo and I first came together in 2003 at the W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas in the Thurber ghost town, located west of Fort Worth. I had been hired to direct the new museum there for Tarleton State University, and the architects had selected Paul to make documentary photographs of the building they had designed. I observed at the time how particular he was about everything that had to do with this assignment. Paul...

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Photographer's Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

I have a love for the land, which goes back to my childhood days of walking on my family’s dairy farm and later hiking the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. I am a New Yorker who could live off the grid. When I came to Marfa, Texas, it was not for the art scene; it was for the...

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Lawrence John Francell

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pp. 1-9

The Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter took off from the Alpine airport with four of us on board. It was several weeks after the devastating Rock House Fire in April 2011. The pilot and copilot were DPS officers and I was a passenger...

Flight Routes Map

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p. 10

I. The Journey Begins: The Flight from Marfa, Texas

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pp. 11-26

II. Along Texas Highway 118: Heading South from Alpine, Texas

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pp. 27-38

III. Into the Heart of Big Bend National Park: Exploring the Chisos Mountains

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pp. 39-62

IV. Looking for Water: Across Tornillo Flats to Ernst Tinaja

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pp. 63-72

V. The Rio Grande: Flying Upstream to Smoky Creek

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pp. 73-92

VI. Canyons and Drug Lords: The Rio Grande Upstream from Santa Elena Village to Lajitas

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pp. 93-110

VII. In Search of Ghost Towns: Flying Inland to the Lone Star and Mariposa Quicksilver Mines

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pp. 111-122

VIII. Into the Devil's Playground: Flying North from Terlingua to Alamo de Cesario Creek

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pp. 123-132

IX. Over the Land of Plenty: Orbiting Green Valley and Paradise Valley

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pp. 133-140

X. Stepping into Enchantment: Crossing the Threshold of the Sierra Vieja to Magical Capote Falls and Candelaria

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pp. 141-154

XI. Up the Starry Stairway: Exploring the Pristine Davis Mountains and McDonald Observatory

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pp. 155-166

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pp. 167-168

At the end of my artist’s journey, we land back in Marfa after the final flight. I would never have imagined that this little town, population 1,966, would represent my return to civilization and my day-to-day life. Back on the ground, my guide and pilot...


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pp. 169-174

Series Page, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781623491789
E-ISBN-10: 1623491789
Print-ISBN-13: 9781623491680

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities
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OCLC Number: 888805938
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Marfa Flights

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Big Bend Region (Tex.) -- Pictorial works.
  • Big Bend National Park (Tex.) -- Pictorial works.
  • Landscapes -- Texas -- Big Bend Region -- Pictorial works.
  • Landscape photography -- Texas -- Big Bend Region.
  • Aerial photography -- Texas -- Big Bend Region.
  • Photography, Artistic.
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