Iglesia El Rosario

I meant to post this last week and things have gotten away from me, but on Saturday in El Salvador we went on a little sight seeing tour and one of the places we went was the Iglesia El Rosario. The church from the outside (seen above) pales in comparison to the cathedral across the Central Park in downtown San Salvador. In fact, barring the post-modern bell tower, you would never know it was a church. It looks much more like an aircraft hangar from the outside. But I cannot image that the traditional cathedral can hold a candle to the interior of the all concrete, glass and steel decor of the El Rosario.The architect designed everything from the exterior to the interior and even the stations of the cross and the stained glass that tells the stories of the Bible (you can see these in the Pano, they are very stylistic panels of steel over clear glass across the top of the doors and back wall) from the three simple materials. 

The walls are fully ventilated in a way that is really too hard to describe, but let me just say that the outside air literally blows straight through the building. I counted only  about a dozen small light sources that were not provided by God himself. Everything else was natural light.
The Stations of the Cross didn't actually show the entire body of Christ. For the most part they were just his arms, or hands. The entire space was truly a work of art. Although I didn't take my panoramic head and tripod on the day long trip, I did manage to hack together a panoramic that will give you a good idea of the space and its beauty. 

If you make it to El Salvador, please make a trip to see this amazing building. But please... take a tour guide or fixer. It's in a rather rough part of the downtown market area but is well worth the trip. 

Little Dune Buggy.....

On Saturday Fran got tired of laying around the lush gardens of the Rancho Estero Y Mar and decided to take out all her energy on the beaches of El Salvador. So we rented a dune buggy and hit the beach, it was a lot of fun. Here is a little video.
Little Dune Buggy.... from Shane Bevel on Vimeo.

Traffic Clowns

As we were pulling across a particularly hairy intersection on the Pan American Highway we heard a whistle and looked out the bus window and saw a clown. When asked about it our tour guide simply stated... "Traffic Clowns... you know, police make you cry, but clowns make you laugh!" That was really the only explanation we got. And I suppose... the only one we needed.


This funeral home on the main street of San Luis Talpa is open more than any other business in town and is available 24/7. A stark reminder of how hard life can be for the people of Central America.


Being near the Equator, the light in El Salvador is brilliant. And the sunsets are even more stunning. The first day I went out to shoot a photo I thought it looked very different and really neat, but could not quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me.... the sand is black. Like other highly volcanic areas the sand in La Libertad is made from volcanic rock and therefore is black.

La Libertad Market

After the fish market we walked across town to the main market. It was an interesting place with hundreds of nooks and back alleys and side stands. The merchants spilled out so far into the streets so far that they had to move their wares in order to allow buses to pass. We had already bought a hammock at the pier for the backyard, so we just browsed the hundreds of tiny stands and tried not to be overwhelmed by the number of people and merchants and buses. It's certainly eye opening to see how most of the world does their shopping.
After the market we headed down to the beach for lunch. Dozens of waiters stood in the streets trying to convince you that their restaurant was the best. Since they all had the same sign (provided by the El Salvadorean brewer of a great beer called simply "Pilsner") There wasn't much to choose by, so we selected pretty much at random.
For somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 total we had four beers, two plates of mussels on the half shell, two plates of small marinated shrimp, a Red Snapper served whole and pan fried with rice and vegetables and a plate of rice with calamari. Wow, what a lunch.

Puerto La Libertad

OK, Lots of back posting to do here, but let's start with the Thursday that Fran and I spent knocking around in La Libertad, El Salvador. It's not exactly a resort town but is a beautiful city with lots of kids and smiling faces. We started out the day at the Puerto La Libertad fish market. The entire market is on a pier over the Pacific Ocean. The fishermen use a long narrow boat with a traditional outboard. The more sought after catches (red snapper mostly) are sold fresh while smaller less desirable fish are dried on the concrete seawall surrounding the beach.

When the fishermen return for the day the boats are hooked to a crane at the end of the pier and are hauled up and loaded onto carts. From there the carts are rolled to the fish market at the end of the pier and the catch is off-loaded and sold. Can't get much fresher than that!


Well, we finally closed on our house here in Tulsa. It was a long process and it's not totally over yet. We still have to paint and fix a few things before we move in, but it is really a neat house. Here are some before photos. 


Old Stories Never Die

Nearly four years ago I set out for Houma, La. with a new reporter at The Times named James Ramage. Our goal was to look into the possibility of a serial killer preying on male prostitutes and drug addicts across South Louisiana. 

Today that man was convicted for the first set of deaths and sentenced to eight life sentences in prison. 

It's strange, I had nearly forgotten about the project until I read the headline today in a Houma Courier email (an email I had signed up to receive when we were working on the story and just never cancelled).

I still haven't finished reading all the back stories, but it seems that most of the men we suspected of being victims have been confirmed to be among Ronald Dominque's 23 victims. 

In fact Octavia Jones (pictured above) is now said to be related to four of the victims. We originally only knew that her nephew August Terrill Watkins was among the dead. 

It was a sad, creepy week. We talked to people who had lost friends years ago and those who had lost them recently. We even attended the funeral service for the most recent victim. 

I am sad that my paper at the time didn't see the importance in continuing to follow the story, but at the same time I am thrilled that Houma and Terrebonne parish are safer places to be. 

For more information on the killings visit www.houmatoday.com

The Photographed Photographer

It is not often that the photographer gets photographed. So here you go. Fran and I, under immense pressure from family, finally broke out the iron and had some photos made in downtown Tulsa. 

Big thanks to our friends James and Julia (Julia playing light stand at left) for helping out and making the photos. To see more of James' work check out: www.jamesplumee.com

If you desire to see more foolishness, please feel free: www.shanebevel.com/engagement

JPG Magazine

Well, after reading the magazine for quite some time I have decided to try and contribute each month to a magazine called JPG. It's an interesting setup. You submit one image each for three themes for each issue of the magazine. It doesn't yield much if you are published, but it's a cool magazine and gets me thinking about my photography in a different way.

Anyhow, check it out.

Das Haus!

Well, we did it!

We signed the contract on a house today. It's a cool little 1929 gingerbread house in Midtown Tulsa. Under 3 miles to downtown and across the street from TU, it's close to a lot of things that we like, including the apartment I am living in now.

This means that if each of you come to my house on Sept 14 and grab one thing and walk two blocks... well.... then we will be moved! So come on.

The photo above shows the house as it is now, the way it will look when we get the keys (they are replacing the awful pink roof before we close. And the third photo shows it with red brick. We hope to either sand blast the brown paint off the brick, or maybe just paint it red again.

We are so hot.... we're on FIRE!

Just as we recover from the stolen purse and the dog having heartworms... Fran gets a call at work Monday that her apartment building is on fire and she should come and check in at the office so they know everything is ok.

Next thing you know we are both at her apartment looking over the smoldering remains of her apartment.

We were able to recover a few heirloom items that we will have to restore (bubbled varnish, smoke smell, warped and cracked tabletop) and a few nice outfits went to the cleaners in a vain hope they can get the stink out. And of course we found the photos soaked in char-water, but were able to take them out of albums that night and save them.

Amazingly, a month ago I had made her bring all her valuables to my house (which is insured) and just a week ago we gave my couches to a neighbor in need and moved her new couch and chair to my house. So really, on top of her not being there, we are very blessed.

In short my friends... if you don't have a renters insurance policy or homeowners... call and get one. NOW would be a good time.


Well, after all the nasty stories I have heard about people not getting passports or it taking months on end to get them, I was terrified at the thought of not getting mine in time for my honeymoon. However this afternoon, 6 days from when I applied, I arrived home to find my passport in the mail!

Fran and I are really excited about the prospect of building houses for people to celebrate our new life together. Not to mention the beach in El Salvador is supposed to be pretty nice ;)

Anyhow, here is a little video overview from The Fuller Center of Housing about the project at St. Joseph's Home for the Poor. 

Thousands of Light Painters

Sometimes we get to slow down a bit and have a little fun with our assignments. This was one of those times. With the Tulsa area overtaken by tiny flying lanterns I drew the assignment to make a photograph to accompany the story. 

It took me more than two hours sitting in the pitch dark to make a handful of photos decent enough to turn in. Partially because of the frustration of focusing the dark, but also because the wee things are harder to photograph than you think. It took me so long that the interns who went with me soon tired of me standing around contemplating the assignment while they got bit by the not nearly as friendly mosquitos sharing the airspace with our green glowing subjects.

After they left I took a deep breath and then stepped off the deep end. I used a technique called light painting to make the two photographs you see here. Basically a long exposure (30 seconds) captures the movement of the bugs while bursts from a small flashlight are used to "paint in" the details the photographer chooses (hand, weed, boots etc)  
Now I am off to fetch a little anti-itch gel and some sleep! 

First Date

Well, it is official. After a very long weekend Frances is now a Tulsan. It was nearly an 800-mile round trip with four vehicles making the return trip. But thanks to Fran's Mom and Gary it was easy going to get all the stuff loaded up and the old apartment cleaned.

So after I finished work today and Frances took a nap we set out on the town to find a place to have our first dinner date. A trip to Braums to pick up a burger, swing by the QuickTrip to wash the bugs off the windshield and the next thing you know... we were at the movies. I mean after all that driving, what's another two hours in the car?

Catch Up!

Wow, So much has happened since I posted last. Lets run down the list real fast and get caught up.

1. I got moved and started my new job here in Tulsa. It's outstanding. The people are great. The paper is great. The assignments.... well I mean it's a slow time of the year outside of basketball, but things will pick up soon.

2. Frances got a job at the food bank here, which is an amazing facility and it's a great opportunity for her to do good work and still be here with me.

3. And the big one is that Frances and I are engaged!

So, now that you are all caught up (give me a while and I will backfill the details) I am going to post a little something about our trip to Eureka Springs, where we plan to get married on Nov 8, 2008.
First of all, if you have read my blogs before, you know that the roads in this part of the country are simply amazing, so if you ride, bring your motorcycle! This is the highway into Eureka Springs. The surface is often pristine and there aren't many straights to speak of. It was very foggy on Saturday. And rainy. And cold.
The scenery on the way in and around the town is just unreal. It's truly a step way back in time.The town itself is cleverly built on the side of a mountain with the streets being an interlocking, tangled mess of switchbacks and steep climbs. Whoever built this place really wanted to live here.
The hotel we plan on having the reception in is on the left here. The Basin Park Hotel. More about that later.
This is a limestone structure built around one of the towns many springs. I forget the name of this one, but it's a steep climb from top to bottom. So much of this town seems to be built of local limestone... including the sidewalks.Here Frances tries on a pair of socks and shoes at one of the hundreds of small shops that line the streets of the historical part of town. The main feature of said socks and shoes? They were dry.After lunch me, Fran and most importantly "The File" made our entrance to meet with the people at the Basin Park Hotel. The hotel is outrageously cool. With art deco touches and turn of the century architecture, we fell in love with it pretty quickly.The Barefoot Ballroom was much cooler than the photos we had seen. With windows all the way around and hardwood floors it will be a great place to see the people that mean the most to us during the reception.There is also this cool little billiards bar on the same floor. All of this is on the top floor of the hotel (7th I think) and the windows overlook the city and the mountains. Hopefully in November there will still be come color in the trees by then.
On our way out of town we stopped by the Thorncrown Chapel to see if they might be open (they are usually closed in the off season) and there happened to be a wedding going on, so we snuck down and shot a few photos, but didn't get to go in. If you want to see more of the chapel there is a great 360 degree virtual tour HERE.
This is what it looks like from the outside. I can't wait to go back this summer and see the inside.

Anyhow, the trip was a blast and it really got me excited about spending time with my family and friends in this amazing little town on what should be a very memorable weekend in Nov.


The Road Ahead

Before I came to live in Shreveport I had lived in three cities in less than a year. I lived in the heat and wide-open sky of North Texas, at the base of a great mountain in Virginia and in a small cabin on the swampy shores of Caddo Lake. During that time I could fit everything I owned in a one-ton 4x4 OD green Chevy Suburban. I had great adventures, met fascinating people, and even made a few decent photos along the way.
Six years ago I came to a sliding halt here in Shreveport and although it has been a great six years, I have been feeling that itch to hit the road again for some time now. The call for a new scene out my window, a new terrain to tackle and a new assignment for my vision has proved too great to ignore.

So a couple weeks ago when the Tulsa World called and offered me a job, I jumped at the chance to feel a little bit of that excitement again. Sure the paper is bigger and the staff is bigger and the town is bigger and the sports are bigger. But the real draw was for a new view from behind the camera, new people and cultures and history that provide the subjects for the stories I love to tell. I think I will find that and more in the hills of northeastern Oklahoma when I start at the World in a few weeks.

But for now, I want you to know that I will miss all of you. The people who make Shreveport what it is and the culture that surrounds it are priceless to me. I have loved hearing and telling your stories, making your acquaintance and your photographs.
I may never cover another hurricane. I may never again spend a morning watching men harvest shrimp or cotton or crawfish. I may never again hear the deafening, dull roar of an LSU home game. And I almost certainly will never fly in a B-52 again. But I will always remember the experiences that I have had here and the people I have met.As I move on to my next assignment in life, I hope that you will all stay in touch and keep me updated on your lives and the life of the city.