Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Full Moon

Zapata Ice Falls, Sandhill Cranes, Full Worm Moon.

Greetings from a blustery day in San Cristobal.

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.

Zapata falls way in
Zapata Ice Falls, Colorado, the way in!

Zapata falls, Colorado
Zapata falls, Colorado, looking up!

Zapata ice falls, Colorado
Zapata Ice Falls, Colorado.

Geraint, Zapata falls, Colorado
Yours truly at Zapata Falls, photo by my friend, John Williams.

Kiki at Zapata falls, Colorado
Kiki (Johns huskey) at Zapata falls, Colorado.

Zapata falls, the way out.
The way out. Easy does it at Zapata falls, Colorado.

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!

Sandhill Cranes, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado
Sandhill Cranes, over the Rocky Mountains, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado.

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!

Rocky Mountains, Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado
Sunset on the Rocky Mountains and Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado.

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.

Full "worm moon" rising
Full “Worm Moon” rising over Vallecito Mountain, Taos, NM.

Full "worm moon"
Full “Worm Moon” rising over the foothills, San Cristobal, NM.

As always, thank you for looking. G

Snow Moon Rising, Fallen Tree, That Old Homestead.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM

Yesterday evening I made my monthly trip out to photograph the almost (98%) full snow moon. For all intents and purposes, the difference was barely noticeable unless you squint your eyes. Sometimes it’s a marked difference, but as you can see in the second photo imperceptible this month.

I prefer to photograph the moon in the evening before it is full because the sun is still up illuminating the landscape as the moon rises behind our mountains. This gives a nice balance of light on the moon and mountains. Here are some more moon images which happen to be available as fine art prints. If you click on the link you will get the idea.

Snow Moon Rising, Vallecito Mountain
“Snow Moon” rising, Vallecito Mountain

I began this particular evening west of Taos near the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. I saw the moon appear behind a southerly ridge and made a few hazy images. As I quickly headed back east toward the mountains the moon began to vanish again below the ridgeline. I turned north and was able to place the moon directly behind this peak and watch it rise again. The lighting now was crisp and clear, and the mountains were gently illuminated. Naturally, I know this approach as I’ve done it so many times before. TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) phone app helped me pinpoint where precisely the moon would appear and at what time. I use the app as a backup. Sometimes I’m slightly off. But not this time. The app confirmed it.

Snow Moon Rising, Vallecito Mountain
“Snow Moon” rising, over Vallecito Mountain

The image below is from a few years back after a wind storm broke the trunk of an already weakened tree, weakened by the creation of a stabilization dam on the Rio Costilla in the Valle Vidal. Despite its demise, I think it made for a nice image.

Fallen Tree, Valle Vidal
Fallen Tree, Valle Vidal

Below is an image of one of my favorite abandoned homesteads in the San Luis Valley. I’ve met the owners of some of the empty buildings who have made me feel welcome. There are other homesteads sitting out there open to all the elements. I keep visiting this place and suspect just like the impermanence of many other things in this world, it will be gone soon. For now, it continues to live a long life giving great pleasure, at least to me and a few of my adventurous photography clients.

Old homestead, San Luis Valley
That favorite old homestead, San Luis Valley

Here’s to a great week ahead with the potential for snow here in northern New Mexico. Enjoy your week where you are. And, as always, thank you for looking. G

North Clear Creek Falls, By Day, By Night, and in Black and White

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!

North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado
North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado.
North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado
North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado just after sunset.

North Clear Creek Falls by Moonlight
North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado under full moon light.

North Clear Creek Falls Black and White
North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado in black and white.

Full Moon Rise, Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The full moon rising last Saturday over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado. Commonly known as the “Worm Moon” it’s also known by these names in other cultures. Crow Moon, Sap Moon, Moon of Winds, Fish Moon. Here’s a link to the names of full moons in many other cultures. I’m rather partial to “Crow moon”. The crows in our field get busy at this time of year and show up every morning before sunrise. This is a photo of a crow with the full moon back in early December. Despite the names bestowed on a full moon, it’s a most wondrous site to behold rising over fresh snow-covered peaks of the “Sangres”. This was shot and cropped from a very large panoramic image on a photo tour/workshop. Join me in this area for a trip to see sights like this.

Full worm moon rising over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.
The full “worm moon” rising last Saturday over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado

Here’s the panorama of the whole scene. If you have room for a large print, the detail in both is amazing. Prints will be available soon.

The full moon rising last Saturday over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado
Large panorama of the full moon rising over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado

As always, thank you for looking. G

Wolf Moon Rising, Setting, Northern New Mexico.

Last week was the full Wolf Moon. It has many other names such as “Canada Goose Moon”, “Greetings Moon”, and a favorite alternative of mine, “Frost Exploding Moon”.
In this case, I’ll stick to calling it wolf moon as it is known around these parts. You can read more here.
On the night before the actual full moon, I met up with my friend John and set up, with plenty of time to spare, in order to be ready. When the moon rose behind the Northern New Mexico, Vallecito Mountain the light was still a little pale and not so dramatic, so we headed east and closer to the mountains to catch it rising over the exact same peak. On the night before the actual full moon, the landscape is bathed in the light of the setting sun as the moon, discernibly full rises in the scene making for a well-balanced exposure. We made some nice images that evening.

Wolf Moon, Vallecito Mountain
Wolf Moon, Vallecito Mountain, Northern New Mexico.

The Wolf Moon, Vallecito Mountain with the area known as Des Montes.
The Wolf Moon, Vallecito Mountain with the community of Des Montes.

I wasn’t done with the Wolf Moon yet so the following morning I got up early and drove about thirty minutes north near the Colorado State Line to watch it set around Ute Mountain and across the plateau.

Ute Mountain, a tree, with the Wolf Moon setting.
Ute Mountain tree with the Wolf Moon setting, Northern New Mexico.

Ute Mountain, Wolf Moon and across the plateau to San Antonio Mountain.
Ute Mountain, Wolf Moon, and across the plateau to San Antonio Mountain.

Road to Ute Mountain with the Wolf Moon setting.
Road to Ute Mountain with the Wolf Moon setting.

Wolf Moon across the plateau with Sunshine Valley community.
Wolf Moon across the plateau with the Sunshine Valley community.

Here’s a link to the full Wolf Moon eclipse on January 21, 2019.

As always thank you for looking in. Geraint.

American Crow, Cottonwood Tree, Full Beaver Moon

American Crow in the cottonwood tree with the full “Beaver Moon” setting. The wider shot and a cropped close up. I love early mornings in the country. Thanks for looking. G

American Crow, Cottonwood Tree, Full Beaver Moon

American Crow, Cottonwood Tree, Full Beaver Moon

Full Moon, San Cristobal Valley, NM

Full Moon, San Cristobal Valley, NM last night, waiting for the exact moment the moon is full and the subsequent eclipse. This image was at 10:44pm when the moon was precisely full. I didn’t see any difference at all that indicated an eclipse, but tonight I’m going to watch for the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn around 10:30pm. If you have binoculars you should be able to spot Jupiter’s moons, though Saturn’s rings maybe a little more elusive to see. Thanks for looking. G

Full Moon, San Cristobal Valley, NM

Full Moon Setting Over The Coyote Fence

Full moon setting over the coyote fence, Arroyo Hondo, NM. I drove out this morning for, perhaps, a dramatic shot of the moon setting across the plateau. I settled on a few images of this iconic coyote style fence on the hill, north of Arroyo Hondo, with the moon beyond. Thanks for looking. G

Full moon setting over the coyote fence, Arroyo Hondo, NM

Southern Rocky Mountains Super Moon Rise

Southern Rocky Mountains winter solstice super moon rise. I didn’t post this image at the time since the winter solstice full wolf moon eclipse was a more pertinent image for the photo of the day. Prior to the lunar eclipse that evening, this is how the moon looked, as it rose in the east, over the snow capped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range, of the southern Rocky Mountains. Thanks for looking. G

Southern Rocky Mountain Moon Rise

Full Moon, Stars, Taos Tipis, TBT

Full Moon and stars at the Taos Tipis. Throw back Thursday or flash back Friday depending on when you view this image. Delving in the archives from 2015 today, I came across this file. The light on the tipis came from the security light on the building and balanced nicely with the moon and stars. The tipis are gone. For a while they added some nice foreground subject matter against our crystal clear New Mexico skies. Things change. Thanks for looking. G

Full Moon, Taos Tipis, TBT