Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Northern New Mexico

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

Dog And Pony, Winter Returns To Taos. 03-27-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week a dog and pony in Arroyo Hono, NM, and a return of winter with three storms in a row that dropped 4 feet of snow on the mountains. You won’t see too much of the mountains in the following photos, as they were socked in for three days. Even today they are shrouded in clouds.

To begin with, it was just the pony in Arroyo Hondo a couple of days ago.

Horse in Arroyo Hondo meadow
Pony in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico.

Shortly after, the dog appeared out of the blowing snow. Great! I thought, now we have a dog and pony show in the snow, although a little more bucolic than dog and pony shows I’ve seen over the years.

Dog and pony in Arroyo Hondo, NM
Dog and pony in the meadow Arroyo Hondo, NM.

The Bald Eagle sitting in this cottonwood tree a two weeks ago left the scene. A few Starlings and Magpies are currently hanging out there, but not on this day in blizzard conditions.

Dead cottonwood, Arroyo Hondo
Dead cottonwood, Arroyo Hondo, NM.

In El Prado, the meadows, I pulled over to the side of the road to get this scene. I’ve shot it a few times and watched it grow. Here’s one from fall in 2018.

Young cottonwood tree in El Prado, NM
Young cottonwood tree in El Prado, NM.

In the middle of these storms, we had a rainbow. Or was that a snowbow? It was snowing back there.

Spring rainbow, San Cristobal
Spring rainbow, out in the field in San Cristobal, NM.

Then, to end it all, our neighbor’s tree lit up, blazing against the sky. It always warms our views and hearts at the end of the day.

Sunset tree
Sunset tree.

As always, thank you for looking. I hope it’s beautiful where you are. 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

Full Moon, Mountain Light, Winter Flashback. 02-28-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week, under a full moon rise, as seen from our driveway. The dark shapes of the Sangre de Cristo foothills and the deep blue of a New Mexico crisp and clear sky made the full moon appear its brightest. Later that night the light from the moon kept me awake for a couple of hours from 1:30 to 3:30 am. So I played solitaire on the phone and eventually fell asleep from boredom!

Let’s call this “anatomy of a moon rise.” Click on images to enlarge.

Moon rise San Cristobal
Full Moon rising San Cristobal.
Moonrise San Cristobal
Moonrise San Cristobal.
Moonrise San Cristobal
Moonrise San Cristobal.

I love our commute to Taos from San Cristobal. I’ve said it many times, and I never tire of it. I shot the image below last night on the way home. There are more spectacular moments, but I enjoyed the way the tip of the peak was lit up.

El Salto, Arroyo Seco
Arroyo Seco, El Salto mountain light.

This image with the horses is from March 2014. We had lunch and a view similar to this yesterday, almost 2 years to the day.

Taos Mountain horses
Taos Mountain horses.

This is the view of Taos Mountain mid-winter shot in El Prado (the meadows), a flashback to 2013.

Taos Mountain El Prado
Taos Mountain winter from El Prado.

Below is a scene long gone. There’s a 12,000-foot mountain in the clouds beyond the trees.

As always, thank you for looking. G

Blue And White, Taos Mountain, Fences. 02-21-2024.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week blue and white, another sky over Taos Mountain and one man’s fence.

We’ve had a lot of days recently with blue skies like this. The old adobe buildings especially, and this church, lend themselves to photography on blue-sky days.

Saint Francis church, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Blue and white at the Saint Francis church, Ranchos de Taos, NM.

Perhaps you prefer the black and white below.

Black and white Saint Francis church, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Saint Francis Church in black and white.

Driving to Taos a few days ago I saw this sight. I think that these were dispersed contrails from a couple of passing jets. It took three wide-angle shots stitched together to get this much of the scene. I didn’t get it all in as it continued and terminated on the horizon to the west over my shoulder. See below.

Clouds over Taos Mountain, Pueblo Peak
Clouds over Taos Mountain, Pueblo Peak.

Here’s a cellphone shot out the car window looking west to the horizon. Highways in the sky.

clouds, contrails
Clouds or contrails?

Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors” in his poem Mending Wall. Below are abstract shots of one man’s fence in Arroyo Hondo, NM. In order of appearance along the roadside, from west to east.

Chainlink fence #1, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #1, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #2, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #2.
Chainlink fence #3, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #3.
Chainlink fence #4, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #4.
Chainlink fence #5, Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Chainlink fence #5.

I’ve driven by this window many times but never noticed the thoughtful pattern of the blue and green window panes. There’s always a first time for everything.

Arroyo Hondo church window and wall
Church window and wall in Arroyo Hondo, NM.

As always, thank you for looking. 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

Lenticular Clouds, Snow In Taos. 01-17-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week lenticular clouds and a snowstorm in and over Taos.

Click on the images to expand.

Lenticular clouds, Taos, NM
Lenticular clouds, Taos, NM.

This is happening today in our neck of the woods. Lenticular clouds are my favorite cloud forms; this is the time of year when they occur more frequently. Check out this link for more info on these types of clouds.

Large lenticular clouds, Taos, NM
Large lenticular clouds, Taos, NM.

And the snow over the last weekend turned Taos and northern New Mexico into a winter wonderland.

taos winter 3714
Winter in Taos, NM.
Red willows, El Prado, Taos
Red Willows in El Prado, NM.

Short and sweet this week.

As always, thank you for looking. G