Visitors to Texas and New Mexico have marveled for centuries at the immensity of the Llano Estacado and the surprising contrast as, at the edges of the great mesa, the flat ground gives way suddenly to such spectacular formations as the Palo Duro and Caprock Canyons. In the introduction to Amarillo Flights, artist and naturalist Walt Davis chronicle the history of this region—what Paul Chaplo calls the “Llano Country”—and of those artists, mapmakers, and travelers who have tried in various ways to capture its spirit.
Working in “the vast studio of the sky,” aerial photographer Chaplo has battled high winds, turbulence, dust, ice, near-miss bird strikes, wildfire smoke, and a host of aircraft problems to show the Llano Country from a place most of us will never be. Covering more than forty thousand square miles, he explores the incredible beauty and rich cultural history of the Panhandle and the surrounding landscapes, from canyons in New Mexico and Texas to hills and plains in Oklahoma. With the help of daring pilots, numerous aircraft, and a remarkably steady hand, Chaplo manages to capture in more than 100 striking photographs the shapes, textures, and colors of the rugged landforms that cannot be perceived fully from the ground.
Sharing in his unique view from the southwestern sky, readers will experience from afar—and sometimes impossibly close—the sunlit canyons, storm-covered plains, and winding rivers cutting deep into the red earth that drew Chaplo to this region. For those who appreciate the Llano Estacado, Texas and Eastern New Mexico history, and landscape photography, this book provides a fresh and perception-challenging perspective.