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Jack Booth

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Confessions of a Touron

Published August 13th, 2012

By Jack Booth

I heard about an interesting creature this summer on my vacation in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. It’s the “touron,” a cross between a tourist and a moron, apparently very common in national parks. The other interesting thing I discovered is that the term applies quite aptly to me, despite any illusions I may have had to the contrary.

This realization began to take hold on the first day of Jeff Clow’s excellent Dirt Cheap Photo Tour, when we were photographing the Moulton barns, which sit in front of the Tetons amid a sea of sagebrush. You may remember sagebrush from the old Westerns. It flies around in dust storms in the form of tumbleweeds, is light green and grows so densely that you can barely see the ground three feet in front of you. I was out there firing away, and I put my camera bag down to move further to the side for a better angle. I kept moving until I was satisfied, then turned around to fetch my bag. As I looked at the huge field of green, it ...

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The Nature of a place

Published February 22nd, 2012

By Jack Booth

Sometimes when you travel, you can have such a fixed idea of how a place will be that it’s hard to shake it once you see the reality. Such was the case with Mendocino, about six hours north of San Francisco on California’s spectacular, rugged coast. Touted in guide books as “a mighty pretty corner of the continent,” all “buffed-up” and brimming with shops full of works by talented artists and weavers, this tiny village utterly failed at first glance to live up to its public relations image. Far from being buffed, it was rough and weather-beaten, with a distinct, blue-collar air, as well as shops, what few there were, that contained little more than could be found back home at the local mall. Almost as if to magnify this letdown, the town’s one-and-only public restroom was the worst I have ever seen, bar none, and that includes Philadelphia’s bars, which are not exactly among the world’s finest.

But my wife Tanya and I were there, and the coastline was pretty, so we reso ...

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