Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond to Mounument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
This week I was digging in the archive, searching for stock images and a selection for a local photography exhibition. I got distracted and went down the rabbit hole. An image of the shadow event in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park last spring drew me deeper down the hole. Revisiting a photo, I tend to reminisce and then often edit it to represent more of what I felt than what I initially saw.
Click on an image to enlarge.
Monument Valley and southeast Utah are one of my all-time favorite areas. I’ve been there many, many times since my first trip in 1985. It did me a world of good to revisit there, although virtually this week.
Secondly, a picture of Taos Mountain from a few years ago, bathed in the last light before the sun set. I wanted to edit it again, bringing out the details in the little creek in the foreground.
A few days ago, Pami and I made a short drive to a favorite spot in the San Luis Valley, you know which one. First, we enjoyed the scene of hay trucks hauling half-ton bales down the narrow roads to one of the many pole barns scattered throughout the valley. A lot of the fields, and some equipment, were put to bed for winter. The pivot irrigator languished on its side wheels up, either for repair or ready to be dismantled and stored. It reminded me of a turtle on its back with legs in the air.
The tree above is home to nesting raptors. I’ve often photographed them in this tree in this area. Of course, no trip to the valley would be complete without a visit to the old homestead.
Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond. Last weekend, we had a fabulous, showing of work at the Stables Gallery in Taos. I want to thank everyone who came out and for your support in comments, compliments, and purchases. Many new works found homes. Thank you!
It’s Milky Way season! My friend, photographer, and filmmaker John Williams visited us from Boulder during the weekend. We took the opportunity to make a drive out to the Lobatos Bridge that crosses the Rio Grande in southern Colorado to capture the milky way. It was very dark on the edge of the cliffs, but we managed to pull off a decent image when an old truck crossed over, filling the area with light and fumes. One more vehicle drove over a little later, and that was it, just us, the river, the bridge, and the stars in a pristine, clear sky.
The bridge with the ghostly figure of John in the middle.
Fast approaching is my solo exhibit at Bareiss Gallery here in Taos. I look forward to seeing those who can make it. The opening reception will be on October 7, from 3 – 6 pm (maybe it will last longer). The gallery will be open 9 – 2 pm on weekdays. I’ll be there on the weekends and by appointment. Come and visit. It will be great to meet you.
As always thanks for looking. Have a great week. G
Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond. This week features a few images that highlight what we saw during a three-day photography workshop, this time with Scott a talented photographer from Houston. His enthusiasm inspired me. I think I inspired him.
Our last day was spent in the mountains. If you follow me or have taken a photography workshop with me you might recall this place, Comanche Point in the Valle Vidal, (Valley of Life). It’s looking a lot like fall up there. It won’t be long till the aspens turn color. In fact, it’s already begun.
We spent a couple of hours at our first stop in Ojo Caliente, working at this location and looking for an interesting composition. This is what I came up with on this trip. I look forward to seeing Scott’s interpretation. Here’s one from a visit last year.
The Rio Grande Gorge is home to many bighorn sheep. Every now and again a ram will pop up when you least expect it, and strike up a pose where you would want it. In this case up high against a blue New Mexico sky.
Restoration, repairing, and mudding are underway at the San José de Las Trampas church on the high road to Taos. The doorway arch has been replicated to an early look. The big doors were closed for weather sealing which allowed me to shoot a new angle. Usually, the doors are staked open which often provides a nice framing element.
At first glance, the scaffolding looked interesting and I had an idea to make a documentary image. Then the sun came out from behind a cloud and added shadows to the scene. Fortuitous.
The partially closed doors created a different look at one of the belfries.
Closing this week’s post is the harvest moon, shot from the deck as it rose over our mountains.
Last weekend saw us at the Zapata Falls campground for what turned out to be a frigidly cold night on the mountain. Fortunately, the visit to the falls made up for it. I’ve not visited the falls before, it was well worth it, and I can recommend it. Join me next winter, and I’ll take you there. Be sure to bring your crampons or your own Husky! My good friend John did just that.
Fifty miles to the west of the falls is the Monte Vista NWR, where the Sandhill Cranes were present in the thousands. I hope to post a video next week. I have to say that the Sandhill Cranes, coming in for a landing, look like amateur flyers, and all flaps down!
The sunset views from the Zapata Falls campground and parking area are incredible, as you can see in the photo below. The peaks from left to right are Challenger Point, Kit Carson Mountain, Columbia Point, Crestone Peak, and Crestone Needle. The dune field in the foreground is in continuous flux. If you feel like climbing the dunes, you will gain approximately 750 feet elevation. One step forward, two steps back, but you’ll get there! And running down is a lot of fun!
The Full “Worm Moon,” the “Sap Moon,” or “Crow Moon,” didn’t disappoint. The clouds thinned out in time, and the moon illuminated the night, keeping us awake, beaming through the windows as it traversed the night sky.
Well, we did make it to the Monte Vista NWR in southern Colorado last week, a couple of hours drive each way from home. There were plenty of Sandhill Cranes, not as many as there will be next week and the week after. My only complaint (not really a complaint) the cranes were quite far away from the accessible areas. I got this first image as they flew overhead from one marsh to another. I thank them for that! Hearing the primordial sounds the cranes make made the trip worthwhile.
Driving north from home we ran into these two creatures having a chat along the roadside. I should clarify, the raven was doing all the yacking. The eagle had nothing to say and was unperturbed by the raven or our presence. Incidentally, this is a very large raven.
It’s difficult to pass by this location on the drive to the grocery store. I whipped past this time but decided to turn around and make yet another image, (I have a lot of pictures from this location). One thing, certainly not the only thing about photography, it gets me outdoors and into nature. As cold and windy as it was, any time I am out in the environment it is a good thing.
Below is another favorite location, the “welcome tree” greeting visitors as they crest the hill rising from the Rio Grande Gorge. The tree accompanies the massive vista of the Gorge extending as far as the eye can see, that would be Colorado. I first saw this tree when I arrived in New Mexico in 1984. The tree, sadly, is on its last legs. I keep making images when I pass and I reckon I’ll be making images until it’s gone, that’s my way of honoring its presence after all these years.
Last week this crescent moon made an appearance the day after the new moon, (no moon). It was 1-2% and difficult to spot. I found it by looking through the lens in the general direction suggested by my TPE app on the phone. The clouds gave way just enough at the right time.
As always, thank you for looking. I really appreciate all the wonderful comments and compliments. Have a great week. I’m planning on it. G
We’re on the road today, heading out to the Monte Vista NWR in Colorado. I’ll be looking for Sandhill Cranes on the migratory path north after wintering in the southern climates. Assuming I get what I’m looking for, I’ll post those photos next week.
The Monte Vista refuge is situated northwest in the San Luis Valley. This week’s images are of the Blanca Peak Massif visible from just about everywhere in the Valley. The mountain range can be seen from a hundred miles south at the Rio Grande Gorge rim when hiking a little south of the high bridge over the river. I’m posting three images of my favorite views today. One I shot in black and white. I liked it so much that I converted the two others into black and whites.
Click on images to enlarge.
Driving north from Taos, this mountain range looms very large on the horizon for the whole drive, drawing one onwards to where the highway ends in Fort Garland, right at the foot of these spectacular mountains.
As always, thank you for looking and all the wonderful comments. G
We had some snow last night, about three inches in our neighborhood. Not a huge amount but a very welcome amount. I went out early this morning to catch this scene of an old adobe home on the hill in the San Cristobal Valley.
Last week I was on a Photo Tour/Workshop with two clients in the Rio Chama Valley. There was no wind and Abiquiu Lake was reflecting Cerro Pedernal very nicely. We wandered down to the rocks surrounding the lakeshore for the shot. I like the way his image looked in black and white, almost like a drawing. Cerro Pedernal means flint hill, the place where indigenous people collected obsidian for their weapons.
While in Abiquiu, we visited the ruin of Santa Rosa de Lima, one of my favorite locations on the banks of Rio Chama. Like planets, the shadows aligned perfectly.
There’s always time for a visit to the iconic Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos, arguably the most photographed church in the world. Because I visit this place often I know where the shadows fall at different times of day and seasons. This was mid December at 8:33 in the morning.
I came across this photo of the red barn from last summer, it felt like yesterday, that’s probably because I’m in the San Luis Valley every couple of weeks. I liked the geometric composition of this image.
Last but not least, below is the full panorama of the wolfmoon rising. I wanted to take a few days to put it together and work up a print file. If you would like a print and have a large space to fill please get in touch.
Have a great week. I hope it’s beautiful where you are. As always, thanks for looking. G
It’s been a busy week, so I’m making a short blog post of an epic wolf moon rising in color and black and white, over the Sangre de Cristo section of the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado. The moon was huge when it rose behind the snow-capped peaks. I was on a photo tour with my client at the time. I think we positioned ourselves just right. I had a good idea where the moon would rise drawing on my experience from my many trips throughout the area. That said, I used “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to confirm the location. It’s a wonderful app. Click on the images to enlarge.
Of course, I can’t drive past this spot without stopping to take a photo, if it’s remotely nice. The forecast calls for snow on the peaks again this evening. I’m looking forward to it. We need it!
A minimalist composition of a bench overlooking the boat dock at Abiquiu Lake. We were photographing the stark reflection of Cerro Pedernal in a glassy lake. I always remember to look in the opposite direction.
As always, thank you for looking, for all the comments and compliments. Have a good week. G
Here’s the tree I promised in last week’s post. I headed north in a dust storm. Inclement weather could be my middle name. What the dust afforded me besides spots on my sensor was a slight separation of the tree and mountain. The sky in this image of the lone tree was unexpected. The tree had lost a small limb since my previous trip. I didn’t mind. It cleaned up the composition. (Click on images to enlarge).
The dust created a nice veil of diffuse light so the poles and trees stood out. I’d not seen them so prominent before.
In the following photo, you can see the dust storm is more apparent. The trees really stood out against Ute Mountain like guardians.
Heading home a little later the wind at Sanchez Reservoir was so strong. When I stopped to shoot the ice on the shoreline I could barely open the car door. I got out and made a few so-so images then had to jump back in the car and get my legs in fast before the door slammed shut on my ankles. Did I say how cold the wind chill was? I wish I’d looked. All I can say is it was cold!!!
I knew I wanted to catch the light on the fresh snow on the peaks in the Latir Peaks Wilderness, so I headed in that direction. I’ve done this shot before almost to the day. I wasn’t disappointed this time either. The wind had subsided but the cold remained. So I parked with a view and rested the camera on the open window. With the heat on and music playing, I was comfy and waited. The last bit of light through the clouds caught Cabresto Peak just right. In the second image below, I zoomed in for a close-up.
… And a couple of my favorite images of Taos Mountain. The first shot is from the Ranchos Valley with an acequia (irrigation ditch), red willows, and snow-capped peaks of Taos Mountain.
This image of Taos Mountain was when it was bathed in the last glow of sunlight through the letterbox opening in the clouds.
Phew, we made it another year. As always thanks for looking, happy new year. G
Greetings from San Cristobal on the Winter Solstice.
I’m back on track this week, after last week’s 55-hour power outage. Though not as badly hit as some areas in northern New Mexico that were out of power for a week, I’m really happy that it came back on when it did. I was due my weekly bath night. I’m British and we bathe once a week whether we need it or not! I’m kidding. I knew as soon as I stocked up on water, food, and propane for the camp stove things would return to normal, that’s Murphey’s law, right?
I found the scene below in our back forty, a little wooded area behind our house, and really nice to wander around in the mornings. It’s not a huge expanse of trees but I like to explore with the camera and find little vignettes such as this. I shot this on the winter solstice, an alignment at the moment of the solstice at 8:59 am MT yesterday. I’d had big plans to return to Chaco Canyon for the winter solstice this year but as I would be camping the freezing temps put me off. The last time I spent the winter solstice in Chaco was in 2010 on an assignment for AAA Magazine. It was fairly mild that year. This year I stayed home and wandered around the neighborhood.
We drove north later in the day yesterday to get this image of my favorite red barn in black and white. I’ve done this type of shot here before, but at a different time of year, so I had a clue what to expect though not the position of the sun and the alignment with the holes in the roof and walls. This is as far south as the sun reaches. As you can imagine the barn was in silhouette with not much color so I went for a black and white. I like it a lot.
A few country blocks, about a mile up the road is a tree with Ute Mountain. I’m saving that particular image for another day. Over my shoulder was this picture. The two crosses are actually a fallen power pole. I’d not seen this before on many trips in the San Luis Valley so it may have occurred in a recent wind storm. I like the languishing nature of the pole.
On a photo tour a week ago we came across a Bighorn Sheep crossing the Rio Grande, with this Great Blue Heron, and the Bald eagle below, all in the same vicinity. The bighorn was crossing away from us, showing us his best side! The blue heron took up a vantage point with a commanding view of the river. We waited for it to fly and strike a fish. That didn’t happen this time. We returned to the eagle also nearby. The eagle launched off and after chasing a raven who had food returned to this familiar tree. The bald eagles are opportunistic, to say the least, and will steal what they can rather than waste energy getting it for themselves. The raven got away with its catch, probably stolen too. I love nature, and the rams behind!
And finally, the mule deer buck who visited our field last week during the full moon. Not a bad week after the blackout. Now it’s getting brighter from here on.
Coming to you from my warm office this week, as always, thank you for looking. G