Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Mountains

Lunar Eclipse, Fires, Photo Tour, May 18, 2022.

Greetings from San Cristobal under a full moon eclipse and what continues to be another fire smoke-filled week.

Last week’s lunar eclipse didn’t appear for me as we were socked in with extreme fire smoke conditions on Sunday. I kept checking throughout the evening to see if the moon was visible. At about 10:15 pm, I saw the moon after totality had ended. Although I’ve witnessed the eclipse many times over the years, it’s always fun to see it each time it occurs.

Lunar Eclipse, May 15, 2022
The full moon Lunar Eclipse as seen from San Cristobal, NM, May 15, 2022

The fires in the area continue to threaten our beautiful mountains and communities. The damage to our friends and neighbors, wildlife, and landscape is incalculable. Of course, the government will put a price on the whole fiasco, but nothing can return the place to its original beauty only time.

When the fire flared up in tremendous winds last weekend, I took a drive to take in the current situation. In the images below, I came across the cattle standing in this particular posture, as they have done for several days now. I knew they would add context to the scene with Taos Valley and the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire raging in the mountains south of Taos.

Cattle in the Taos Valley with the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire
Cattle in the Taos Valley with the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire

Cattle in the Taos Valley with the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire
Cattle in the Taos Valley with the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire

Back home later in the day, I watched the fire rage on, destroying more of our beautiful landscape in its path, creating these pyrocumulus clouds.

Pyrocumulus clouds from the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire
Pyrocumulus clouds from the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak fire, NM

Thick fire smoke at 6:30 am from the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak fire, settled in and around our San Cristobal Valley and across the whole region. The mountains in the background, two miles away as the crow flies, appear and vanish throughout the days.

Thick fire smoke from the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak fire, NM
Thick fire smoke in the San Cristobal Valley, NM

Ok… enough of that. I’ll move on to another subject next week.

Below is a shot of the Saint Francis Church I stopped to visit with a client on a photo tour/workshop last week. The morning was cold and crisp. The light was pristine with clear skies, at least until after lunch. A good thing we choose the half-day morning trip.

Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Morning at the Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM

And before the wind came and disturbed my view of the lunar eclipse, it blew all the blossoms off the ornate crabapple tree in the garden. But not before this Swallowtail butterfly had its fill of the nectar. It was joined this day by thousands of honey bees.

Swallowtail Butterfly and blossoms
Swallowtail Butterfly with blossoms.

As always, thank you for looking, and for the wonderful comments and compliments. Please send good thoughts to those affected by the fire and those fighting it. G

Fire In New Mexico, May 11, 2022

Greetings from New Mexico, a fire-ravaged part of our most beautiful state.

Currently, in New Mexico, fires are burning out of control, devastating humans and wildlife, landscape, property, and the environment. This week I want to share a few images of the awesomeness of nature and the power of the fires burning. The fires are on the east side of the mountains from where I live, here in San Cristobal, and have destroyed whole communities of people who have been living here long before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth. The area burning is a favorite place of mine to visit and photograph. I’ve met many people there, and all are open and friendly as any of my immediate neighbors are.

I just spoke with a friend who evacuated to Santa Fe, NM. He says he is safe and doing well but has no idea the extent of damage or lack thereof to his family’s home and property. We hear stories like these often, wherever fires and natural disasters occur. This time it’s a little closer to home. This fire driven by high winds is relentless and impervious to anyone or anything in its way.

I’ll leave you with these three images I shot yesterday. I shot many more pictures than these. It was an awful and yet awesome sight to behold. Perhaps it’s time to take care of the environment better than we have. Maybe, nature, the climate and the world can’t afford our bucket lists and indiscriminate consumption. I love where I live. I will tread a little lighter on the land day by day.

Click on the image to enlarge. The first image is made from 15 images stiched together. The image is 8 feet wide.

Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire, NM
A view of the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire, shot overlooking the San Cristobal Valley, NM

Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak fire in New Mexico
Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak fire here in New Mexico.

Fire in New Mexico
Looking south from Highway 522 towards Taos, NM

As always thank you for looking. G

Mobile Home, The Moon, The Birds, In a Window, On the Roadside

Greetings from northern New Mexico. A mobile home in our neighborhood (so New Mexico) with the moon rising over the San Cristobal Valley.

Mobile Home, moonrise
Mobile home full moonrise, San Cristobal, NM

And the next night from the driveway as the moon slinked over the ridge.

Full moon rise Sangre de Cristo foothills
Full moon rise over the Sangre de Cristo foothills, San Cristobal, NM

The birds I’ve seen the most this winter are always American Kestrels, and this year joining them en masse are thousands of Pinyon Jays. I have never seen so many Pinyon Jays. They are raucous and over the top loud. They devoured the birdseed in the feeders in no time at all. Usually, there is a handful. I’ve added a picture below of one individual.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel
Pinyon Jay
Pinyon Jay or as we like to spell it in New Mexico, “Piñon Jay”

I couldn’t resist the juxtaposition in a window in the photo below. Everything is for sale. I just take the photo.

Guadalupe Window
Guadalupe in a Window

Drive-by shooting on the roadside. I do this a lot. Many scenes look like this here in New Mexico. Someone deposits the sofa making it someone else’s problem. If it’s in good condition, it will probably find a home. The fate of the couch is now left up to someone else. The original owner has absolved themselves of any further responsibility and saved themselves the trash dump fee. So New Mexico!

Roadside sofa, New Mexico Style
Roadside sofa, (so) New Mexico style.

Let’s end with a tranquil scene at Williams Lake in the mountains close to where I live. Last year was the first time I didn’t hike to the lake. It is a favorite hike and will be on the hiking agenda again this year as soon as the snow melts.

Williams Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Williams Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico.

I made a print of Valley of the Gods.

Valley of the Gods
New Print, Valley of the Gods

Click here to go to the purchase print page. The print is large but I can print it smaller than the sizes shown.

As always, thank you for looking and for all the kind comments and compliments over the last few weeks. Until next week, have a great week. G

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

Three Trees, Taos Mountain, Mountain Storm, New Prints.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM

The Wild Rivers Recreation Area of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a gem of a place that I like to visit throughout the year. This time I visited some of my favorite lone trees. I do like a solitary tree. A lone tree for me is like finding a friendly soul where one least expects it. These three trees are all still standing and were strong enough to withstand the high winds last December that flattened hillsides of trees in other areas. The thin layer of clouds gave an illuminated glow to the landscape like a big softbox light.

 Recreation Area, NM
Lone tree, Wild Rivers Recreation Area, NM

This old piñon pine is hanging in there and I anticipate a few more pictures until it succumbs to the elements. Its impending demise will also, no doubt, entice me to make images for years to come.

Lone tree, Wild Rivers Area
Lone tree, Wild Rivers Recreation Area, NM

Pretty much the same predicament for this tree as for the other two. The dead needles clinging to the limbs of this tree gave a nice warmth to the scene. The overcast lighting and water on the needles saturated the colors. I could see the reds from a distance and moved in closer to get this shot.

Old pine tree, Wild Rivers Area
Lone tree, Wild Rivers Recreation Area, NM

You guessed it… Taos Mountain from the deck in San Cristobal, and a last glimmer of light on the mountain before the sun disappeared for the night.

Taos Mountain from San Cristobal
Taos Mountain from San Cristobal

I found the image below in the archives while searching for the crane image to print. I’d previously published this storm cloud in black and white. It impressed me in color so here it is.

Mountain Storm, Taos NM
Mountain storm and pond, Taos NM

Three new fine art prints went out of the studio this week. If a print interessts you click on the picture to go the pertinent purchase page. This first image of the Sandhill Cranes against the Rocky Mountains, I titled “Pas de Deux”.

Sandhill Cranes, Pas de Deux
Sandhill Cranes, “Pas de Deux”, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado

Geology in the desert around Abiquiu.

Plaza Blanca Rocks
Plaza Blanca Rocks

And the Lone Tree, the “Welcome Tree” at the Taos overlook.

Lone Tree, Taos Overlook
Lone Tree, the “Welcome Tree” Taos Overlook.

Ok… one last image of a young Sandhill Crane at the Monte Vista NWR coming in for a landing.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane.

As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. 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

A bit of this and that!

This waterfall ran for a week fourteen years ago. I shot a number of images on February 14, 2008. I went back with a friend the next day after the sun came out. We had fun scrambling over the rocks. It was unusual that the temps reached 60º F that day. The snow melted and I was told by a BLM ranger that a small dam had broken above the falls. He said that the previous time he saw it flowing anywhere near to this force was twenty-six years earlier. It was a sight to behold. (Click to enlarge images).

Waterfall, Orilla Verde
Seasonal Waterfall, Orilla Verde, Valentines Day, 2008

I delved into the archives for this one. The tree held on for quite a while. It’s gone now. Of course, Cerro Pedernal is still looming large over the surrounding landscape. I shot this from the Rio Chama river road to the Desert Monastery.

Cerro Pedernal tree
Cerro Pedernal from the Rio Chama river road.

Sitting in the same folder as the image above was this image from long ago. I think I recall the plant in a pot my daughter had on a windowsill.

Succulent
Succulent.

It snowed a couple of times in the last month, so I got out and looked for an appropriate location. This building is in Costilla, New Mexico on the Colorado State Line.

Snow-bound house
Snow-bound house, inside and out.

Snow-capped Yarrow plant in the garden. All the yarrow lost their caps in the warm weather over the last couple of days. It was a pretty sight while it lasted.

Snow topped Yarrow
Snow-capped Yarrow plant in the garden.
Yarrow and Grasses
Yarrow and Grasses

One of my favorite portraits shot on Kodachrome 64, scanned and converted to black and white. I shot this on Christmas day at Taos Pueblo during the Matachines dance in the late 1980s.

Taos pueblo elder
Taos Pueblo Elder

I have a lot of fun making these blog posts. I hope you enjoy them. Thank you for all the comments and compliments. I really appreciate it. As always, thank you for looking. G

Wolf Moon Rising, Taos Mountain, Abiquiu Lake.

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.

Wolf Moon Sangre de Cristo mountains
Wolf Moon, over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.

Wolf Moon rising, black and white
Wolf Moon rising in black and white.

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!

Pueblo Peak, Taos Mountain, El Prado, New Mexico.
Pueblo Peak, Taos Mountain from El Prado, (The Meadows).

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.

Bench and boat dock at Abiquiu Lake
Bench and boat dock at Abiquiu Lake, NM

As always, thank you for looking, for all the comments and compliments. Have a good week. G

Morning Clouds, Latir Peaks, Red-Tailed Hawk, Street Figure, Wolf Moonrise.

Morning clouds yesterday over the Sangre de Cristo, (Rocky Mountains) from the dining room window. I love my views from the various rooms in the house. I saw a goldfish endeavoring to escape the fishbowl. You?

Morning Clouds
Morning Clouds, San Cristobal, NM

The high winds morphed the clouds rapidly into a badger! I’m sorry but I often see badgers in the clouds. All and any interpretations are welcome here!

Morning Cloud shapes
Morphing clouds, San Cristobal, NM

If you are interested here’s an interpretation of Badger Totem.

The following image is the snow-capped Virsylvia Peak in the Latir Peaks Wilderness. Not from the dining room window but a short drive north to the Colorado state line.

Virsylvia Peak
Virsylvia Peak in the Latir Peaks Wilderness, New Mexico.

A familiar sight on the drive to Taos, a Red-tailed Hawk in its usual place. This power pole or at other times a treetop across the street offers this raptor a view of what I suspect is a choice hunting spot. It’s gratifying to see the same bird day in and day out. I would miss this creature if it wasn’t there.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk, Taos, NM

Not a spectacular photo but I photograph what I see and like. I found this figure under my car in downtown Taos. I liked it so I’m posting it. At first, I thought it was a Lego® figure, no, but it was definitely a flattened figure becoming one with the road.

Street figure, Taos
A street figure, downtown Taos, NM

Coming up next Monday is the “Wolf Moon”. Here are five sequential images of last year’s Wolf Moon rising over Vallecito Peak from Arroyo Hondo, NM. I wish now I’d turned on the video camera. Maybe I’ll do that with next Monday’s upcoming Wolf Moon.

Wolf Moon

Wolf Moonrise

Wolf Moon rising

Full Wolf Moon

Wolf Moon over snow capped peaks

As always, thanks for looking. Have a great week. G

Mountain Sunset, Weeping Walls, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Snow

The light on the mountains at this time of year is beautiful. Although not quite a full-on Sangre color it was close. A Vallecito Mountain sunset never disappoints.

Vallecito Mountain Sunset
Last light on Vallecito Mountain Sunset

When it warmed up enough for the snow to melt it looked like all the walls in town were weeping.

Weeping walls, Taos NM
Weeping Walls, Taos NM

The day after the storm we had a little wander around the famous, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, which always looks beautiful in the snow.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM dressed in new snowfall.

Dovecotes at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Dovecotes at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM

Ladder and door, Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Ladder and door, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Main entrance at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM

Stay warm wherever you are. We had a -8ºF morning on Sunday. It’s warmed up a little since. Today it was 12ºF at 7 am, and the high was 36ºF.

As always, thank you for looking. Have a good week. G