Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Month: January 2021

Location Scouting, Rio Grande del Norte, National Monument, NM

It’s fun to hit the road or lack thereof, just for a day out. We made this day a fun day out with photography the secondary factor. I always have my camera on hand for when images present themselves when I least expect it. Then there is the other perspective of a preconceived image. Ansel Adams referred to it as pre-visualization. The former is how I mostly find subjects by allowing the day to unfold and present itself to me. I guess one would call it being open to the moment. I’ll settle for that. This day we were out with our friends, Chris and Carla. Company is a good thing when going off the highway on muddy, rutted roads. The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a place where you are pretty much as far away from civilization as you can get in this part of New Mexico. Speaking of location scouting, I found several locations worthy of different weather conditions with dramatic lighting pre-visualized for future trips. Thanks for looking. G

San Antonio Mountain
San Antonio Mountain from the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

Road through the Monument
Road through the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

Rocky field with Cerro Chiflo
A rocky field with Cerro Chiflo in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

I’ve added a few images below from previous trips into the National Monument. Enjoy!

Ground cover on the Volcanic Plateau
Ground cover on the Volcanic Plateau in the RGdN National Monument.

Lone tree on the plateau
Lone tree on the Volcanic Plateau.

Elk herd in the Rio Grande del Norte
Elk herd in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument looking east to near where we live.

Pronghorn in the Rio Grande del Norte
Pronghorn in the National Monument looking to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Rain on the plateau in the National Monument
Rain on the plateau in the RGdN National Monument.

ute mtn rocks 0115 0121
On the east rim of the Rio Grande Gorge with Ute Mountain.

You can read more on the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument here.

Taos and Rio Grande

Last Saturday was a most beautiful day for a photo workshop around Taos and along the Rio Grande. Here are some pictures from that day with my photographer client and new friend Harry. You can check out his website here.

We had a cold start to the day at the Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos where I’d pre-arranged to meet Harry at 6:30 am.

Saint Francis Church
Entry to the Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Saint Francis Church photo tour workshop
Photographing the Saint Francis Church. It’s colder than it looks.

Saint Francis Church sunrise
Sunrise at the Saint Francis Church.

After thirty minutes at the church we headed south to catch the sunrise behind the Taos tipis and the Sangre de Cristo foothills.

Taos Tipis
Sunrise at the Taos tipis with the Sangre de Cristo foothills.

Taking old road 570 that used to be the main road to Carson, NM we come to a dead end and a parking area for the Slide Trail. A massive landslide closed the road twenty years or so ago. Now there is a nice hiking trail and an overlook with a view of the Rio Pueblo Canyon.

Harry photographing the Rio pueblo canyon
Photographing the Rio Pueblo Canyon.

Rio Pueblo Canyon
Rio Pueblo Canyon near the confluence with the Rio Grande.

From there, as we warmed up in our cars, we made a plan to head further south to the village of Pilar on the Rio Grande. The river was placid and reflections were abundant.

Rio Grandxe reflections
Scoping out an initial shot set up.
Rio Grandxe reflections
Wide view of the scene.
Rio Grande reflections
The set up of the surreal reflections on the Rio Grande in Pilar, NM

The ice along the river’s edge made for crazy imagery. What do you see?

Ice along the Rio Rande
Ice patterns along the Rio Grande in the Orilla Verde.

Ice patterns along the Rio Grande
Ice patterns.

We headed upstream in search of eagles and bighorn sheep. We found more ice and water.

Ice water spring
Ice water spring in the Orilla Verde.

Ice build up at the spring, Orilla Verde
Ice build up around the base of the spring.

We checked all the usual spots for eagles and bighorn sheep. Today they eluded us. We did spot a Kestrel, numerous Golden-eyes and Bufflehead ducks. Fly fishermen were plentyful, probably one reason for the lack of other wildlife.

Rio Grande vista in the Orilla Verde
Rio Grande vista in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area.

Then it was on to the high bridge spanning the Rio Grande Gorge, 600 feet above the river below.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
The Rio Grande Gorge high bridge, west of Taos, NM

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge shadow
Rio Grande Gorge with the shadow of the bridge spanning the canyon and river.

Moving right along. After high winds on the bridge we headed towards the town of Taos, and stopped to check out the old trucks in El Prado (the meadows). It’s a favorite spot with this GMC truck, nicely juxtaposed with Taos Mountain. As we were leaving, wind and dust devils were to be our nemesis, so we headed back to the Saint Francis Church via some back roads around Taos.

GMC Truck Taos Mountain
GMC truck juxtaposed with Taos Mountain

Dodge truck hood ornament
Dodge truck hood ornament and Taos Mountain.

Back at the church where we will end our day the air had significantly warmed from the frigid temps in the morning hours. We found a number of different compositions and some new ones in the snow melt puddles around the building.

Saint Francis statue
Statue of Saint Francis Ranchos de Taos, with a typical blue, New Mexico sky.

San Francisco de Asis Church
Big cross at the San Francisco de Asis Church

Saint Francis Church, Reflections
Saint Francis Church, reflection in a snow melt puddle.

Crosses reflecting in a puddle
“Cross eyes”

Saint Francis church reflection
Saint Francis church reflection, the wide shot.

All these shots were taken with my iPhone 11. I hope you enjoyed the trip. As always, thank you for looking. I’ll see you next week. G

Moon, Venus, High Road to Taos

Moon and Venus, San Cristobal. I was outside at 6 am with the tripod and camera set up, cuppa tea in hand, ready for one of the last good views of Venus in the dawn light at this time of year. She rises closer to the sun from this point in her orbit. I thought I was ready, as my phone app giving the precise location indicated I would observe the celestial event slightly north of where I had set up. Well, next time I won’t stand so close to my parked vehicle’s magnetic field. I stuffed some hand warmers in my gloves, it was 7º F, and with my tea in hand, I waited. My set up was spot on target. At 6:23 am, coyotes in the village made their announcement loud and very clear across the valley. At 6:24 am, a waning crescent moon peeked over Taos Mountain. At 6:29 am, Venus joined her. This was the most heart-stopping sight that I have seen in a while. Then, around 7 am when my heart started pumping again, when my hand warmers stopped making a difference, I went in and had more tea. Thanks for looking. G

01 crescent moon taos mountain SC 6362 1
First glimpse of the waning crescent rising after the coyotes singing.
02 crescent moon venus taos mountain SC 6372 6373 2
Venus appears in an appropriate divot in Taos Mountain.
03 crescent moon venus taos mountain SC 6379 1
Distant view of the whole scene from the from the garden.
04 crescent moon venus taos mountain SC 6387 1
Rising in unison, a kind of courtship dance over the mountain.
05 crescent moon venus taos mountain SC 6426 1
At 7 am when the temperature drops.

High Road to Taos. We made a few images on a short trip to Dixon, in the Rio Grande Valley last week. After exploring Dixon for a couple of hours, we drove a short way up the hill into the Sangre de Cristos Mountains. We passed by Picuris Pueblo, which is still closed for the safety of the tribal members, and stopped at the little chapel of Sagrado Corazón. Then on to the village of Llano de San Juan where we visited some familiar pinto ponies. Black and white seemed an appropriate choice for this particular day. G

Cross shadows, Dixon, NM
Village street in Dixon, NM
Dixon shapes and shadows
Shapes and Shadows.
Cross Shadow Dixon
Watching the shadows creep along the walls.
Sagrado Corazon Picuris
Chapel of the Sagrado Corazón.
Sagrado Corazon Picuris
Shadows at the Sagrado Corazón Chapel.
Pinto Horse posing on the High Road to Taos
Pinto Pony, Llano de San Juan.
Horse Mane, Llano de San Juan
Horse mane, cowlick.
Horse markings
Markings.
Cosmic Future Bus, Llano de San Juan, NM
Cosmic Future Bus, Llano de San Juan.
Cosmic Future Bus close up
Cosmic Future Bus.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and my first expanded blog, “Photo/photos of the Week.” As always, Thank you for looking. Stay safe and be well.

Geraint

Sandhill Cranes, Bosque del Apache

Out with the old and in with the new! After 15 years and 3 months of posting a photo of the day, I’m going to start a photo of the week with an occasional post from the road. If you are already signed up you can look forward to a photo in your email every Wednesday evening. It’s time for changes and it feels like the perfect moment in time to change. I’m looking forward to moving on and have you share in the new developments. The archive pages have been updated for you to continue enjoying your favorite photos. The purchase print pages will be updated more often with new images added in easy to view categories. Photo tours are still on the agenda for 2021, with safe travel between locations in separate vehicles and socially distanced shooting on-site, not too difficult to achieve out here in the west. I hope you’ll enjoy the improvements and I look forward to your continued friendship. Happy New Year.

I made this image in the Bosque del Apache on my last trip there. Thousands of cranes and snow geese thronged around the marshes and pastures. Overhead at dusk, the light levels got low and the cranes in this shot were partially silhouetted against a pale sky. I gave the photo a distressed look using an app called Formulas. I personally like the effect, it gives me a sense of cold with snow falling. The nostalgic look reminds me that I haven’t been there for a couple of years. Thanks for looking. G

Sandhill Cranes, Bosque del Apache, (Woods of the Apache).
Sandhill Cranes, Bosque del Apache, (Woods of the Apache).

New Photo of the Week

Out with the old and in with the new! After 15 years and 3 months of posting a photo of the day, I’m going to start a photo of the week with an occasional post from the road. If you are already signed up you can look forward to a photo in your email every Wednesday evening. It’s time for changes and it feels like the perfect moment in time to change. I’m looking forward to moving on and have you share in the new developments. The archive pages have been updated for you to continue enjoying your favorite photos. The purchase print pages will be updated more often with new images added in easy to view categories. Photo tours are still on the agenda for 2021, with safe travel between locations in separate vehicles and socially distanced shooting space on-site, not too difficult to achieve out here in the west. I hope you’ll enjoy the improvements and I look forward to your continued friendship and support of my work. Geraint

Taos Mountain Shadows