Punk rock baseball

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A mile underground | Inside southern New Mexico’s WIPP

A shadow falls on a wall containing stored radioactive waste 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) Signs on the corner of the mine walls 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) An employee waits for security doors to open 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) Radioactive waste is stored 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) A worker checks electronics systems by headlamp 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) Workers wait for the elevator operator to drop them 2150 ft underground inside The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act accelerate nuclear waste cleanup. (Steven St. John) Sunflowers grow alongside a saltwater evaporation pond at The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County. WIPP received $172 million as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The saltwater pond is used to capture runoff as part of the mining process. A new pond was built adjacent to this using recovery funds. (Steven St. John)

I had a once in a lifetime opportunity a few years to go inside the controversial Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP in Southern New Mexico. This was before the incident, but I thought these images delivered another look. Spooky feeling, having that much earth over top of your head.

Editors, these pictures are available for license though my website archive.

Jay McCleskey for The National Journal

You should read Daniel Libit’s article about political operative Jay McCleskey, the “Karl Rove of New Mexico” on The National Journal’s website.  I was really pleased to be asked to make these portraits of the “Shadow Governor”

 (Steven St. John)

Below are a few outtakes, more on my photographic archive.

11/17/13 11:06:08 AM -- Albuquerque NM  -- Portait of Jay McCleskey at his office in Albuquerque NM. --    Photo by Steven St John (Steven St John)11/17/13 10:29:36 AM -- Albuquerque NM  -- Portait of Jay McCleskey at his office in Albuquerque NM. --    Photo by Steven St John (Steven St John)11/17/13 11:12:34 AM -- Albuquerque NM  -- Portait of Jay McCleskey at his office in Albuquerque NM. --    Photo by Steven St John (Steven St John)11/17/13 11:05:44 AM -- Albuquerque NM  -- Portait of Jay McCleskey at his office in Albuquerque NM. --    Photo by Steven St John (Steven St John)

The view from seat 5F

As I write this, I’m in a metal tube somewhere between 30,000 – 50,000 feet above the ground heading for Seattle. As a photographer, I always try to grab a window seat. It amazes me how people are indifferent to the amazing views, silly humans take so much for granted.

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Brian Urlacher Retires

Brian Urlacher's success as an All Pro linebacker who has made it to the Super Bowl provides a charge of pride and enthusiasm for the residents of his struggling hometown of Lovington. Nike paid for this mural, depicting Urlacher in his high school uniform, which covers the side of a vacated building on South Main Street in Lovington. (Steven St. John/The Albuquerque Tribune)

Brian Urlacher is retiring. I photographed the UNM Lobo and Chicago Bear great a few times, and I also made the picture above in his home town of Lovington in the days leading up to the Superbowl. The mural was created by Nike for a commercial, and before that big game the mural was photographed by a number of local and national publications, but I liked my picture the best. I was the only photographer willing to wait around for the golden hour. I recently drove through town, and I was dishearten to see that the mural had been covers over with plain white paint. Everything is temporary.