Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Mountains

Williams Lake, Hummingbirds, Doves, Flycatcher. 06-12-2024.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week an iPhone panorama of my first view of Williams Lake in six years. I was watching the birds in the garden again when I wasn’t out walking this week. Black-chinned and Broad-tailed hummingbirds along with the same family of cowbirds, magpies, western flycatchers, and doves.

The trip yesterday to Williams Lake was spontaneous, I was heading somewhere else and decided to go in a different direction… up! It’s not a long hike and the trail was clear of most of the snow banks. Muddy and wet but the crossings were easier than I expected, an observation I made, I went up here on July 4, 1994, with my four-month-old son on my back, and the snow was so deep I had to turn around and go back down. It’s June 12 and for the most part, the trail is clear of almost all snow. Click on photos to enlarge.

Williams Lake, NM
Williams Lake with Wheeler Peak on the left, NM.

And on July 23, 2011…

Williams Lake 2011
Williams Lake 2011

Back to the garden…

The hummingbirds are enjoying the new feeder, the Eurasian-collared Doves are reconstructing last year’s nest in the ash tree and the feeders are attracting all sorts of others.

The Western Flycatcher the Ash-throated Warbler and a Juniper Titmouse are back. The Tufted Titmouse has returned after two years of absence only to find I bunged up the hole in the siding on our home where it had previously made a nest. It will have to nest somewhere else this year, perhaps in a tree!

Below is one of two Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. I love the little tongue. I believe that this is an immature female.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird San Cristobal, NM
Broad-tailed Hummingbird, San Cristobal, NM

And the Broad-tail…

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

And the Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird.

These Eurasian-collared Doves built a nest in the ash tree late last summer. They are earlier this year. The female sits in the nest and the male brings twigs to reinforce it to sustain it against the winds.

Eurasian collared Dove in nest
Eurasian collared Dove in the nest.
Eurasian collared Dove
Eurasian collared Dove with a twig.
Eurasian collared Dove with nest twigs
Eurasian collared Dove with elm twigs.

Lastly, the Western flycatcher tweeting its little heart out.

Western flycatcher
Western flycatcher.

As always, thank you for looking, comments, and compliments. I hope it’s a good week where you are.

Best wishes. G

April 17 From The Archives. 04-17-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week features the day of April 17th from ten years of my archives.

I hope everyone had a good week. April has been beautiful in northern New Mexico,,, so far. I know I said I wouldn’t say anymore regarding my feet but I’m averaging 2-3 miles a day and getting 4-6 mile hikes in. I’m so happy with my two new feet.

Over the last month, my friend, David, and I have been hiking stretches of the road through the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument that traverses the gorge rim and skirts around the base of Ute Mountain. We have hiked a different section each week with the mountain always present, beckoning. All being well, this summer will culminate in an accent of Ute Mountain.

Back to the present that began in the past, here are pictures from April 17th taken from my photo of the day archive from 2006 to 2016.

Beginning in 2016 and working back to 2006. This day we had snow and I made this image. It makes a beautiful print. A couple of hours after taking this photo, the snow was all gone.

Willow tree, Arroyo Seco, April 2016
Willow tree lane, Arroyo Seco, April 2016.

A roadside Descanso, San Ildefonso, 2015. The internet says “Descansos are deeply rooted in Southwestern Hispanic culture. The word means “resting place” and is believed to refer to the days when coffins were transported by horse and cart or carried by hand over many miles for burial in a camposanto.”

Roadside marker, San Ildefonso, NM
Roadside Descanso, San Ildefonso, NM.

Some vistas around Taos have since been transformed… developed. 2014

Taos Mountain from El Prado, NM
Taos Mountain from El Prado, NM.

Here’s a shot of mine and Pami’s shadow in Arroyo Hondo on the drive home from Taos back in 2013.

Arroyo Hondo evening shadows
Arroyo Hondo evening shadows, 2013.

Here’s a former living plant that grew out of a crack in a rock in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area of the now Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 2012.

Rock plant, Orilla Verde, NM
Rock brush, Orilla Verde, NM, 2012.

A ubiquitous Taos Raven. They are known to perch in ones or twos. This raven was probably calling for or waiting on its better half. 2011

Raven in a bare tree, Taos
Raven in a bare tree, Taos, 2011.

I’m still searching for the original high resolution file of this picture of Garetto Rivas, so I’ve added a higher resolution second image from the same day below this one. I’ve forgotten the name of his gorgeous blond horse. The second horse in tow and in training is named “Beauty”.

Garetto Rivas, Taos Cowboy
Garetto Rivas, a Taos Cowboy, 2010.

Garetto Rivas, Taos Cowboy
Garetto Rivas, Taos Cowboy, 2010.

The image below was scanned from a Kodachrome 64, transparency shot in the mid 1990’s and published on my website’s photo of the day archive on April 17, 2009.

Indian paintbrush 2009
Indian paintbrush, 2009.

Just around the corner from my former gallery in Arroyo Seco was a yoga studio festooned in Tibetan prayer flags. I recall shooting this one out of my car window in 2008.

Prayer flags in Arroyo Seco, NM, 2008
Prayer flags in Arroyo Seco, NM. 2008.

I shot the image below in 1990 and published it on my website in 2007. It has since been published in a couple of local magazines.

Saint Francis church reflecting in my 1958 Volkswagen Beetle
Saint Francis church reflecting in my 1958 Volkswagen Beetle wing mirror, 2007.

On April 17, 2006 I paid a visit to the National Cemetery in Santa Fe NM. It’s the only time I’ve been there. Since then I usually post this image on social media on Memorial Day.

The National Cemetery, Santa Fe NM. 2006
The National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM. 2006

As always, thank you for looking. I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. You can see more from my photo of the day archive here.

Have a great week. G

Photo Tour, New Mexico, Colorado. 04-10-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond. This week a two-day photo tour around northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Nature and the elements gave up some wonderful photo opportunities, beginning with Taos Mountain and the iconic grove of cottonwoods.

Photo tour, Taos mountain cottonwoods, El Prado, NM
On a photo tour of Taos and northern New Mexico.

The next stop on the photo tour was in Questa at an old house off the highway set back amongst some trees. I checked with a friend who said he would try and find me some information on this charming building and quiet setting.

House, Questa, NM
House in Questa, NM.

Following a couple of stops en route, to photograph some wild horses, we wound up at this lake in the San Luis Valley. Moody and brooding skies were the order of the day.

Lake tree, San Luis Valley, Colorado
Lake Tree, San Luis Valley, Colorado.

Speaking of the skies. Highway 142 crosses the Rio Grande in Colorado between the old town of San Luis and Heading west to Manassa home of Jack Dempsey, the “Manassa Mauler”.

Sky over Highway 142, Colorado.
The sky over Highway 142, Colorado.

Continuing the photo tour, there is also a stark view of a very subdued Rio Grande from the road bridge as it crosses the river.

Rio Grande, San Luis Valley Colorado
The Rio Grande from Highway 142, Colorado.

I came across some of last year’s milkweed pods enduring against the elements. Did I mention the frigid cold winds? My guests were admirably brave, and filled with enthusiasm for whatever conditions confronted us.

Last year's Milkweed pods.
Last year’s Milkweed pods.

Milkweed plants are a favorite subject of mine. Consider this image.

On the second day, we encountered a troupe of young Bighorn Sheep in the Orilla Verde area of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument walking on the road ahead of us.

Bighorn sheep Orilla Verde, NM
Bighorn Sheep Orilla Verde, NM.

We parked the car and followed uphill and enjoyed watching and photographing them in their prime, natural environment. I can’t help but think that the one in the middle is telling them to “gather round” and show us their best side!

Bighorn sheep gathering Orilla Verde, NM
Bighorn Sheep gathering Orilla Verde, NM.

There were many more picture opportunities. I had to stop at some point. If you are planning to be in the area this year, join me on a photo tour/workshop and I’ll show you around.

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

Taos Mountain House, Bald Eagle, Sculpture. 03-20-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week, a Taos Mountain House in a spectacular location. It’s on Taos Pueblo land. Known as Taos Mountain, its true name in English is Pueblo Peak. A bald eagle has visited the area for the last couple of weeks. The ranch hands still guard the ranch gate on Highway 64 and the eternal fight between light and darkness continues in the shadows at the Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos. My neighbor’s tree lights up at sunset during a mountain snowstorm. Click to enlarge pictures.

Taos mountain house
Taos Mountain House.

There must be a fabulous view from the back porch! Taos Mountain House is my name for this place. I made it up. Apologies in advance.

A visitor showed up in the Arroyo Hondo Valley a couple of weeks ago. A Bald Eagle usurped the Red-tailed Hawks roost. I watched it indulge in its morning ablutions after which it was ready for the hunt.

Bald eagle morning ablutions in Arroyo Hondo, NM
Bald Eagle morning ablutions in Arroyo Hondo, NM.

Eyes on the valley’s rodent population… please.

Bald eagle in Arroyo Hondo, NM
Bald Eagle, ready for the day and the hunt, Arroyo Hondo, NM.

The Ranch Hands (my name for it) sculpture at a ranch gate on Highway 64. You might recognize it from a previous post.

Ranch hands sculpture highway 64 NM
Ranch Hands sculpture Highway 64 NM.

Down at the church in Ranchos de Taos after last weekend’s snow.

Ranchos de Taos shadows and cross reflections.
Ranchos de Taos shadows and reflections.

My neighbor’s tree yesterday evening when the sun broke through the clouds just before setting. A fitting start to the beginning of Spring.

Dennis's tree at sunset
My neighbor’s tree at sunset.

As always, thanks for looking and for all the kind words, comments, and compliments. Have a great week. G

Big Sky, Mountains, Shadows, And Gorge. 02-14-2024.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week, a big sky over Taos Mountain (Pueblo Peak), shadows in Arroyo Hondo, and the high bridge spanning the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos, NM,

It isn’t hard to get a good shot of Taos Mountain. It’s more a matter of being there at the right time. I am very fortunate to have lived in this part of the world for the last 40 years. Here, I can watch the storms make their way across the plateau, morphing with the light, and arrive at any number of preplanned locations for that perfect moment.

Big Sky, Taos Mountain, Pueblo Peak
Big Sky, Taos Mountain, Pueblo Peak, El Prado.

Vallecito Mountain/Peak was covered in about a foot of fresh snow this week. I had wanted to catch a shot of the snow-covered trees barely discernable against the peaks. When the sun came out it was about an hour too late, but I did manage to capture a nice cloud. The new snow tends to melt fast when temperatures reach 40º F. I’ll do better next time.

Vallecito Mountain light with new snow
Vallecito Mountain with new snow.

Long shadows on Our Lady of Sorrows, Arroyo Hondo.

Arroyo Hondo church roof shadows
Arroyo Hondo Church roof shadows.

Shadows on the wall of the same church an hour later. I went back today. The sun has climbed high enough over the last five days that the cross shadow is close to the bottom of the wall at the same time of day.

Arroyo Hondo shadows on church wall
Arroyo Hondo shadows on the Church wall.

I got in a two-mile hike with my son Dylan, a couple of days ago. We hiked down the west rim of the Rio Grande Gorge which has numerous vistas like the one below. Often the canyon is buried in heavy shadows with contrasty light. This time it was flooded with light. Bighorn sheep were found in the rest area parking lot. I didn’t waste any pixels on them grazing amongst the gravel.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge spanning the Rio Grande Gorge.

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

Arroyo Seco, Arroyo Hondo, Winter Scenes. 02-07-2024.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week two sides of winter in Arroyo Seco and Arroyo Hondo.

As they say… “if you don’t like the weather, wait for five minutes”. The scene in the second image was shot a few days apart from the first image and about a 20º F warmer difference in temperature. Looking outside today we’ve had rain sleet, snow, hail, and blue skies. Tomorrow?… tee-shirt weather, who knows!

Arroyo Seco Lane
A winter scene in Arroyo Seco, NM.

The weather in the mountains continues to leave a lot of snow in its wake. I heard that the ski areas are doing well from the last three storms that moved through the area. That’s good for the spring run-off and the farmers. The skiers are enjoying it and apparently, it’s good powder skiing, but that part is lost on me. I’m looking forward to the peace and solitude of cross-country, and snowshoeing again.

If you look closely in the sky, upper right, in the following image you can see a flock of birds, commonly named Pinyon Jays. I waited for them to come closer but they had other intentions. Last year we had very large flocks of Pinyon Jays in the thousands in our San Cristobal Valley. I just counted 157 in this shot, a small number of the ones I saw.

Arroyo Hondo, winter
Cottonwood and Willows, Arroyo Hondo, NM.

On the day I shot the image above I drove with the windows down from Taos, across the mesa. When I got to this spot I made a U-turn to photograph one of my favorite locations.

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

The Pinyon Jay was outside the kitchen window feeding off seeds on the fence that the squirrels stole from the bird feeders and dropped. I was watching the bird through the iPhone wifi tether app on my camera with a 300mm lens.

As always, thank you for looking. I hope it’s a good week where you are. To all my friends in California, stay safe. G

Wolf Moon Rise, Truchas, Red Barn, Horses. 01-31-2024.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week, last week’s Wolf Moon rising over the Sangre de Cristo foothills, Truchas, the red barn, and snow horses.

As I mentioned last week, I was heading out to capture the wolf moon rising. The moon’s appearance lasted about ten minutes between the fast-moving clouds. I made several images during that time, and the scene below was fleeting as the sun came and went behind the clouds. I got lucky. I came away with three pictures where the elements came together. I’ll take what I can get from what presents itself.

Wolf moon rising, Arroyo Seco, NM
Wolf Moon rising, Arroyo Seco, NM

And a close-up of when I first spotted the moon from the highway heading home.

Wolf moon rising, Arroyo Seco, NM
A break in the clouds.

Read more about moons here.

I reworked this image for note cards and publication. Ansel Adams shot this scene in the 1950’s. A couple of months ago it was lit up with Xmas lights. You can still see some in this shat nailed to the crosses. It’s nice to its longevity at this location and longer still before Ansel made his iconic image.

Cross in Truchas New Mexico
Truchas, NM.

You know how attached I am to this location with the red barn. Every time I visit I see more dilapidation with new spaces for the wind to pass through. It’s beginning to corkscrew but I’m confident that the gaps will prevent the building from acting like a sail on the plain!

Red Barn in lack and white
Red barn in black and white.
Red Barn in in color
Red barn in color.

One more image I reworked this week for note cards, prints, and publication. This image has graced many a page in local magazines. Apples are the key to getting horses to come running.

Horses on the High Road to Taos
Horses on the High Road to Taos.

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

White Homestead, Mountain Peak, Shutters. 01-24-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week a white homestead in Colorado, a mountain peak, some old shutters, and a hiking trail I look forward to being on in a couple of weeks.

I love this stand alone scene near the Great Sandunes in southern Colorado. Join me on a photo tour/workshop and I’ll take you there. Winter or any other seeson here doesn’t disappoint.

White homestead ruin Colorado
White homestead in a white field, Colorado.

Take a look here at another pictuer of this homestead. There are many of these old and abandoned homesteads in the San Luis Valley.

Vallecito Mountain is a favorite peak in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. I shot this on a drive into Taos yesterday. I can’t complain about the commute or the scenery. There’s a nearly full (98%) moon tonight. If the clouds lift I’m going to head out and get some shots of the Wolf Moon rising above this peak. I hope you get to see it where you are.

Vallecito Mountain Light
Vallecito Mountain Light.

I came across this image below by chance. It’s from many years ago. I’m certain they are gone now but I will look next time that I’m in Ranchos de Taos. I shot them even longer ago in the 1980’s. After living in one place for so long, I get to see, and often document the changes. My earlier original image was shot on Kodachrome in 1989.

Ranchos de Taos wooden shuttters
Wooden Shutters, Ranchos de Taos.

In about two weeks, snow and mud permitting, I’ll be hiking up here above our village. The mountain in the distance, with snow, is Taos Mountain, and the views to the west are perfect for watching a sunset. The area burned in May 1996. You can see that regrowth is slow. Scrub oak is resilient and prolific so these hills turn many shades of rust in the autumn.

San Cristobal ridge road
The ridge road in San Cristobal.

As always thank you for looking, and for all the well wishes for my right foot. It has healed faster that the left one did, for that I am grateful. I promise to shut up about it from now on and only post pictures from my hikes and trips with my two new feet. Best wishes. G

A Heart, Ute Mountain, Raptors And More. 01-10-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond. This week a tree with heart. You’ve got to love a heart wherever you find it, Ute Mountain, Raptors, and more.

We came across this tree a few years ago. Pami and I stopped here again on our first New Year drive of 2024.

I liked how the tree is isolated from the distant background, so I made another picture of it, always having to remove the two powerlines that cross directly over the tree. I think it is worth it. After all, the power company put them in my way!

Heart tree, Costilla, NM
A tree with a heart, Costilla, NM.

You might recognize this location with the road to Ute Mountain. It’s usually the last stop on the way home.

Ute Mountain road, NM
The road to Ute Mountain, NM.

The Red-tailed Hawk had no intention of leaving its perch, so we watched for a while. We moved on before it did. I enjoy watching them wherever they choose to sit. Powerpole sitting is natural to them. Any high vantage point suits them very well. I’ve often seen them drop in from a pole onto an unsuspecting vole or garter snake.

Red -tailed Hawk, Mesita Colorado
Red-tailed Hawk, Mesita, Colorado.

Two days ago I went for a drive in the clearing snowstorm and spotted a bald eagle perched on a dead cottonwood snag in Arroyo Seco, NM.

Bald Eagle, Arroyo Seco NM
Bald Eagle, Arroyo Seco NM.

Red barn, Colorado in black and white
Red barn in black and white, Colorado.

Sometimes a thing catches my eye and I have to run with it.

Baling wire Colorado
Baling wire for the fun of it, Colorado.

This snowplow was still making passes at the snow accumulations on monday around 11 am on our way to town. It was nice to wake up to a decent amount of snow for a change. Here in San Cristobal today temperature was -1º F (-18º C) at 7am. It finally warmed up to 27º F (-2.8º C) at 3pm.

Snow Plow, Highway 522 Taos, NM
Snow Plow, Highway 522 north of Taos, NM.

As always, thank you for looking. I hope you had a good week. Stay warm where you are. G

Snow, Eagle, Bandelier, Shadows, Roads. 01-03-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. Snow, or the lack of it. More will be coming, but for now, they are making lots of snow. I shot the image below at the Angel Fire Resort. The wind dispersed the manmade snow and made for a dramatic scene.

Snow making Angel Fire
Snowmaking at Angel Fire Resort.

Angel Fire is situated at the south end of the Moreno Valley. On the north end is the village of Eagle Nest. Aptly named for the number of eagles that frequent the valley, who fish and hunt around the Eagle Nest Lake.

On the same trip last week, we spotted a juvenile bald eagle sitting atop a powerline pole. This raptor was far away so not a very striking photo but besides taking stunning photos of birds I also like to document the siting and location.

Juvenile Bald Eagle Moreno valley
Juvenile Bald Eagle Moreno Valley, NM

As you know, I’ve been sitting around with my foot elevated, so I took time to re-edit a few photos. The following two images are taken in Alcove House at Bandelier National Monument here in northern New Mexico.

Alcove house Bandelier National Monument
Kiva at Alcove House, Bandelier National Monument, NM.
Alcove house Bandelier National Monument
Alcove House, Bandelier National Monument, NM.

Yesterday I visited with a friend for a coffee in Taos. Across the street, I had a view of a little chapel. As we drank our coffees I watched the shadow in the image below creep across the roof. I just had to take another shot of this little scene. The coffee and company were good and it was warm sitting in the sunshine.

El Prado chapel shadow
El Prado Chapel shadow.

Earlier I’d driven to Arroyo Seco, The colors looked very much like they do in this photo from a few years ago.

Highway 150 to Arroyo Seco, NM
Highway 150 to Arroyo Seco, NM.

Over the years I’ve archived images of places that have since been developed. Things change.

Pueblo Peak, Taos Mountain meadow
Pueblo Peak, Taos Mountain Meadow.

Onward into another year. So far it’s a beautiful beginning. As always, thanks for looking, and all the comments, and compliments. G