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
Just three images this week. A Cedar Waxwing visited the crab apple tree in the garden yesterday and got well fed up before heading out. I was surprised it stayed around as long as it did, about thirty minutes. I got a lot of very similar images. I chose this image as it showed the bird’s bright yellow tail tips. If you expand the image you will see bits of crab apple on the wings. It was a messy eater. The second image is from the San Luis Valley on a late afternoon trip to Colorado. We live about half an hour from the state line and enjoyed watching these wild horses. A different band from last week’s photo. The third image caught my eye on the road to town. I shot it shortly before the sun dipped below the horizon. I’m saving my energy this week for the eclipse tomorrow night, the peak happens around 2 am, long after my bedtime, but I’m looking forward to a clear sky and a beautiful partial lunar eclipse.
Thanks for looking. Wish me a good night shooting the eclipse tomorrow. I hope you get to see it where you are. G
We went looking for wild horses and found them! It wasn’t the most solitary moment because there were two of us watching these beauties, but… they looked rather solitary out there on the plateau with vast amounts of space to roam.
These two chairs popped up in my archive from 2007. They had a view of the meadows and Taos Mountain. Had there been someone sitting in them they wouldn’t have exuded a lonely feeling, but… the desire to sit in them overcame me so I sat in one of them.
A cash register from days gone by at the Chile Line Depot (a cafe) in Tres Piedras, NM. I had fish and chips, my buddy David had beef and green chile quesadilla. He had apple pie a la mode for dessert and I had a pinon nut brownie. The cash register was a side attraction, but… the food, the main event, was most excellent. Check them out if you’re passing by on 285, in northern New Mexico.
West of Taos, west of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, is a ranch where the ranch hands keep an ever-watchful eye at the ranch gate. I’ve shot this before. I like the illusion of the cowboys coming over the ridge. A sunset always adds a cinematic quality to the scene. But…..
…about 20 miles north of Taos and 8 miles from San Cristobal is the village of Questa. It is a thriving community of families and newcomers who take pride in their town. I shot this image out of the car windshield. I liked the old photo feeling it had.
About 30 miles north and west of Questa is a halt on the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad, named Bountiful. There’s not a lot happening here on most days, but.. on this day, a sweet sheepherder, her husband on an ATV asked for help in getting their sheep and a donkey across the enormously busy US Highway 285. Following the perilous road crossing by the sheep and a forlorn looking donkey, a woman, independent of the others, appeared out of nowhere and trundled up. Smoking a cigarette, she blessed the day, and thanked God for everyone in it. She was followed close on her heels by her husband, he took her gently by her arm. But… unlike the sheep and the donkey, the husband seemed impervious to the traffic whizzing past. As they made their way across the same busy highway, with his wife on his arm he revealed that she had dementia. He made sure to let me know, that I had an open invite for coffee. I’ll visit one day soon. On a side note, those grain elevators and nearby silos are full of Coors barley.
As always, thank you for looking. Stay healthy happy and well. G
I’ll start with this morning at 6:30 am and the waning crescent moon rising with Mercury over the Sangre de Cristo foothills outside our dining room window. I’d just set up the camera for the moon when Mercury popped up behind the trees. I was surprised. Sometimes it’s hard to observe Mercury so close to the sunrise. It worked for me and as is said, timing is everything! A few minutes later in the second photo a little to the south, I spotted Spica (Alpha Virginis) the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. You can just about see it!
Below is a window and crumbling adobe wall at the church of San Rafael in La Cueva, NM. The parishioners do a wonderful job on the upkeep of this building. This and the other walls will be repaired soon, probably by the time of my next visit.
The abandoned homestead in the San Luis Valley that I’ve visited many times over the years stood out in the field. The white walls were stark and glowing as if newly whitewashed by an unknown inhabitant. The powerline added an element of life to the abandoned building. There are a few “No Trespassing” signs so it’s not totally abandoned.
My latest favorite dead tree is along the Rio Chama, New Mexico. I’m making plans to revisit to document its ultimate demise. Interesting how it is very much dead but exudes so much life and character. Cerro Pedernal (Georgia O’Keeffe’s mountain) makes a nice backdrop. Georgia said that God told her that if she painted the mountain enough he would give it to her. Well, I’ve probably photographed it many more times than she painted it so under those rules, it’s now mine, so there!
The crows spend the first hour of the day warming up in our old cottonwood tree. They aren’t in any hurry to leave so I often watch them through the lens and take a few shots of these fascinating birds. Sometimes there are five or six of them and at other times there are dozens, you know what I mean, “a murder of crows”.
Finally, one from a week ago in the courtyard at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos NM. It is always gorgeous and inviting at this location. Join me on a photo tour and we’ll stop in and visit.
As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. G
The iconic, autumn “Hunter’s Moon” rising over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from our driveway in San Cristobal, NM. The “Hunter’s Moon” is a favorite of all the moon names. Although I don’t hunt, the name evokes some primordial feeling in me of a greater sense of place in the grand scheme of things. Whatever it conjures up for you, I hope it’s a good feeling. The final image is from the old homestead in the San Luis Valley, Colorado.
Last week on a tour through the Moreno Valley in rain and snow we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk, rather bedraggled, sitting in the rain on this ranch gate. It didn’t seem too bothered by much at all. including me and my photography client.
It was dramatic and beautiful light today in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Working backward from today, starting with the landscape around Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
I made a couple of trips on the high road over the last week. The aspens are doing their utmost to please fall color seekers. The horses performed perfectly, positioning themselves just right.
The forest floors were already full of fallen leaves. There are plenty more to go!
The skies over New Mexico have performed quite admirably, as they usually do. This place, with the old wooden barn storage shed, is always a pleasing stop on Highway 64.
My favorite aspen group on the Cumbres Pass, just over the state line in Colorado. This is my go-to barometer for how things are progressing as far as the turning colors go. I’ll be back there tomorrow.
The colors in this image seemed appropriate for the season, on this old tractor parked in a field in Jaroso, Colorado.
Last weekend I spent three days visiting the North Clear Creek Falls in Colorado. I’d gone by the falls many times and for some reason or other, not stopped in to see them. Always on the way to somewhere else, I would scoot right past them. Well, I finally made up for it with my friend, John. We camped for two nights very nearby, intending to do a full moon shoot. Willing to accept the potential for cloudy skies and rain, we headed out, determined to have a good time camping and catching up. It did rain in the early morning hours, but we’d already got the shots. This is from Wikipedia, and this is from 9News. Be sure to read the part about the Black Swift!