Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Northern New Mexico

Close The Gate, Sunset, Dennis Hopper, Shiprock. 05-17-23.

Greetings from San Cristobal, New Mexico. This week, “Close the Gate”, a sunset from the deck, Dennis Hopper in Taos, and a short video of the outstanding Shiprock formation in the four corners area of the American Southwest.

“Close the Gate, Please!” … and don’t touch the wire in an approaching storm. Stretch gates are a favorite subject of my photography, I can’t pass one by.

Close the Gate
Please! Close the Gate.

Sunset over the north flanks of Pueblo Peak, (Taos Mountain) from the deck, naturally. I shared the view with a good friend and a glass of Talisker single malt.

Sunset 05-16-23
Sunset, with Pueblo Peak, (Taos Mountain).

It’s Dennis Hopper Day in Taos, May 27, 2023. I had the good fortune to take a number of pictures of Dennis. Here is the last photo I shot of him driving through Taos Plaza, shortly before he passed. He was very gracious to me and I enjoyed meeting him.

Dennis Hopper, Taos
Dennis Hopper, Taos Plaza, 2009

I shot the video below of Shiprock driving through the Four Corners area of the American Southwest last spring. It’s time to get out there again. Perhaps this coming fall.

As always, thank you for looking. G

Sunset Clouds, Moon Set, Bighorn Sheep, 05-10-2023.

Greetings from San Cristobal. This week some images from northern New Mexico, Scotland, and England.

I shot the dramatic image of sunset clouds from a friend’s land near the village of Tres Piedras, just off US Highway 64, the other mother road. I took the moonset out of the bedroom window. I shot it ten years ago, but this is how it looked when the full moon set last Saturday morning. We have spectacular views where we live across the volcanic plateau to the west. The clouds at sunset appear to roll over the landscape and beyond over the mountains.

Sunset clouds from Tres Piedras, NM
Sunset clouds from Tres Piedras, NM.
Moon set from San Cristobal, NM
Moon set from San Cristobal, NM.

I threw a virtual dart at one of my hard drives again, and this image of a bighorn sheep ram popped up. I don’t know much about their nature, but, I do know, they own the canyons and rocks.

Bighorn sheep ram, Rio Grande Gorge
Bighorn sheep ram, Rio Grande Gorge, NM.

An early morning shot on a photo tour at the iconic Saint Francis Church.

Shadows at the Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Shadows at the Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM.

I came across this image when scanning slides a couple of weeks ago. I collaborated with a writer in 1989 on a story on the churches on the high road to Taos. The story was not published, but we had a good time, made many images, and learned a lot about the history, people, and culture of northern New Mexico.

Padre José Lopez, Cordova, NM 1989
Padre José Lopez, Cordova, NM, Kodachrome 1989.

Rock stackers are everywhere. I shot this image in Scotland a few years ago. It doesn’t work for me in wilderness areas. Besides, cairns make less obvious trails on the mountains and moors and are essential to finding one’s way. What you see in this photo, is a place just beyond the road where bus tours and cars stop to admire the view. What do you think?

Stacked rocks, Scotland
Stacked rocks, somewhere in Scotland.

I love that nature will thrive wherever and however, it will. This tenacious tree seems to be doing quite well.

Hillside tree, Yorkshire, England
Hillside Tree, Yorkshire, England.

I’m up and fully mobile again. I’m walking up to 2+ miles a day. Some days less, some days more. Thank you so much to all my friends and family who checked in on me. Immeasurably thanks and gratitude to my lovely wife, Pami, for taking care and putting up with me!

What started with a picture of sunset clouds took me, once again, down the hard drive rabbit hole.

I look forward to seeing you in New Mexico if it’s on your travel plans this year.

As always, thank you for looking. G

Spring, Northern New Mexico. 05-03-2023

Greetings from San Cristobal, on this beautiful Spring day. The light in the late afternoon is remarkable. The clouds roll through, and spring storms envelop the valleys and the mountain peaks in waves. The sun gets through where it will, spotlighting the new growth.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

San Cristobal Valley spring
A Spring day in the San Cristobal Valley.

The acequias, irrigation ditches that divert water across northern New Mexico are flowing full in the spring runoff. This time last year, New Mexico’s largest wildfire was underway, ultimately destroying 350,000+ acres. We are very grateful for the moisture this year.

Spring in the Taos Valley an acequia, in El Prado
Water in an acequia, irrigation ditch in El Prado, NM.

Flashback to North Wales, where I lived and worked at an Outdoor Pursuit Center on the west coast in 1974-75.

The Ogwen Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in North Wales. During that year, I spent many days rock climbing in the area with the guides and instructors I worked with. The Idwal slabs in the upper left of the picture are one of the most popular places to climb in Wales. I shot this picture on a return visit to Wales in 2013.

Ogwen Valley, North Wales
Ogwen Valley, North Wales.

A year in Wales may sound like a long time to visit and see all the sites. I had never traversed the Crib Goch Ridge seen in the picture below while living there. On a visit there in 1982, it was time to add the route to the list of the places I climbed and hiked. It was a marvelous experience, one I’ll remember for life. It’s not a very difficult hike, but I did take along enough gear and clothing prepared should I have to spend the night out there. Weather in this part of Wales, with the storms coming off the Atlantic and Irish Seas, can change rapidly, turning a warm, early summer day into a winter day.

Crib Goch Snowdonia National Park, North Wales
Crib Goch, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, 1982

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

Flashback, First Impressions, New Mexico. 04-26-2023

Greetings from San Cristobal. This week, a trip down memory lane, a visual flashback of images from my first few trips and early years in New Mexico.

Looking back it’s hard to visualize almost 40 years since I took the first photograph below in November 1984. The images are in no particular order and captioned with the place and year.

Traveling down memory lane has inspired me to start scanning what will ultimately be a few thousand transparencies. All images are scans of Kodachrome 64 slide film. I hope you enjoy the visit.

John Taos Pueblo, Thanksgiving, flashback to 1984
John greeting visitors to Taos Pueblo, Thanksgiving, 1984

I’ve photographed the church of San José de Gracia in Las Trampas more times than I can count. Below is my very first shot during my first time visiting New Mexico. I have other shots from the trip but I like this one because of the dog sitting casually, minding its own business. Nowadays tourists are the ones getting in my shots.

Las Trampas church dog, 1984
Las Trampas church dog on the High Road to Taos, 1984

The sign at the Taos Inn is still welcoming visitors to Taos. No more curios that I know of. Some local characters may pass for curios.

Taos Inn neon sign, 1985
Taos Inn neon sign, 1985

I’d appreciate someone letting me know what vehicles these are. I’m pretty certain the car on the right is a Ford. Currently, the Ford and Adobe are still there.

Old cars, and adobe, Galisteo, 1986
Old Cars, and adobe, Galisteo, 1986

Traveling during August in New Mexico 1985 many small scale purveyors of local havests, their roadside stands festooned with the red and the green chiles were in abundance and a treat to photograph.

Fruit stand, Española, New Mexico, 1985
Fruit stand, Española, New Mexico, 1985
Penitente Morada, Truchas, 1988
Penitente Morada, Truchas, 1988

I shot the image below shortly after Dennis Hopper finished filming a murder scene in this old adobe building in the movie Backtrack with Jodie Foster. The adobe home was demolished this year.

Saint Francis adobe window, 1988
Saint Francis through an open adobe window, 1989

Flashback to the Ranchos de Taos Plaza when the Magic Sky Gallery (coral colored building) was open with a boardwalk and planters.

Magic Sky Gallery, Ranchos de Taos, 1988
Magic Sky Gallery, Ranchos de Taos, 1988

Flashback, Ranchos Plaza, view through a vintage truck window, 1991
Ranchos Plaza, view through the window of a vintage truck, 1991

Ranchitos Road adobe artist studio, 1988
Ranchitos Road adobe, building, and artist studio, 1988

Currently, the Stewart House” formerly a BandB buildings are no longer visible from this location, as many homes now occupy the foreground. Vallecito Peak in the background has become a favorite subject for my work. Change, is the only constant, along with death and taxes.

Stewart House Vallecito Peak 1987
“Stewart House” Highway 150, with Vallecito Peak 1987

Plenty of snow my first winter in New Mexico. That’s my 1958 Volkswagen Beetle buried there in front of the house.

Talpa, dude ranch compound 1989
Talpa, dude Ranch compound 1989

Here’s a picture of my friend and artist, Harry Vedoe when we skied from Talpa and way beyond into the hills. Later in the day we had a wonderful run down and soak in the Ponce de Leon hot springs before heading home. In the winter of February 1989, we had a lot of snow. We were able to cross-country ski out the door on many occasions.

Cross country skiing, Talpa, 1989
Flashback to cross-country skiing, Talpa, 1989

This tree has been featured in my work for many years. After thriving for many years it has finally succumbed to neglect and lack of moisture. It’s still standing, for now.

Lone tree, Taos 1993
Lone Tree, at the overlook Taos, 1993
Santa Fe 4 sale 1986
Santa Fe 4 Sale license plate, 1986
Pasquals Santa Fe, 1984
Pasqual’s Santa Fe, reading the menu, 1984

A drive to Sandia Crest revealed a trail worthy of an afternoon stroll in the fresh snowfall, with views to the west of Albuquerque.

Sandia Crest, Albuquerque, 1987
Sandia Crest, Albuquerque, 1987

The bison below escaped from the herd at Taos Pueblo. I happened to be driving along and took some shots before it was caught and returned to the Pueblo.

Escaped Bison on US 64, 1994
An escaped Bison trucking alongside US 64 Taos, 1994

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

Horses, Favorite Photos This Week. 04-05-2023

Greetings from the San Cristobal, NM. This week some of my favorite images of horses.

It was fun to revisit the extensive folder of horse photos dating back to the first shot below, which I made on a 6-megapixel Canon Rebel in 2005.

I hope you enjoy the following gallery of horse pictures as much as I do.

Two horses
Yin Yang

As it is spring, why not include a couple of images of foals. This mare and her foal were on the road to Chaco Canyon.

Chaco horses
Chaco horses, a mare and her foal.
Foal
Foal, spring ing the Moreno Valley, NM.

Shots like the next two, fascinate me. I have quite a collection of this type of image.

Horse Back
Horse back.
Horse Back
Pinto and mountains.

I titled this image, “Old Blue Eye”. He had one blue eye. He made the cover of a local visitors guide, magazine.

Blue eye
Blue eye.

The guy smelled bad but his friend was classy looking. Too much time on his hooves roaming in the wild.

Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks and his fancy friend.

This sweet mare stood motionless in the snow storm only blinking occassionally at a snowflake.

Horse in snow
Snow horse.

These three came running as fast as you can say apple. My friend always carried apples for the horses should we find them out there.

Snow horses
In the high country.

The Ranchos Valley has some high vantage points. There are many fields with horses to photograph.

Winter willows
Winter willows in the Ranchos valley.

This image was taken on a photo workshop in the San Luis Valley. I usually post it in black and white.

Band of Wild horses
Band in the San Luis Valley.

My friend Dwain, who passed too soon was happy around horses, dogs, and kids. He was a hiker, camper, fisherman, and a fabulous sculptor.

Dwains shadow
Dwains shadow.

I posted the photo below on Facebook. It found a few homes with collectors. Click here if you are interested in a print.

Galley walls

Some fun facts about horses on Wikipedia.

I want to thank everyone for all the well wishes. I’m out of my big restrictive boot and into a comfortable pair of “Hoka” walking shoes. I had no idea how comfortable these shoes were. Lucky me.

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

Big Birds, Happy Healthy World. 03-29-23

Greetings from the San Cristobal, NM. This week a series of images of some of the big birds that frequent our area.

I hope you enjoy the following gallery of big birds.

Some of the largest birds in the area are the Sandhill Cranes that pass through on their migratory route. I photographed the two below in the Bosque del Apache.

Sandhill Cranes big birds in flight
Sandhill Cranes, the big birds.

The Turkey Vulture below is about to return to our area. They are known as the harbingers of Spring. If you are interested, you can read more here.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture.

I chose these images below out of a collection of photos that showed up when I searched my hard drives for large birds. It was hard to decide which to include, so I picked the ones I distinctly remember taking the shot. I went for feeling more than anything. I hope you like them. Click on an image to enlarge it.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes, ritual dance.

Always remember the birds at the zoo like this Flamingo. I had a stunning picture of a captive eagle in the Albuquerque Zoo published in Raptors of New Mexico.

Flamingo
Flamingo

As always, thank you for looking. Keep looking up you may be surprised by what’s above and around you. G

Little Birds, Happy Neighborhood. 03-22-23

Greetings from the San Cristobal Valley, NM. This week a series of images of some of the little birds that frequent our area of the planet, more precisely, our valley.

I hope you enjoy the following gallery of little birds.

Mountain Bluebird, a little bird that frequents our valley
Eastern Bluebird, a little bird that frequents our valley.
Juvenile white crowned sparrow
Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.
Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin.

A Cassin’s Finch so I was told. It could be a glorious house finch.

Cassin's Finch little bird
Cassin’s Finch.
White Breasted Nuthatch
White Breasted Nuthatch.
Brewers Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird.
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker.
Brown Headed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird.

For the last few years, we’ve had a solitary Canyon Towhee in our garden. This shot was taken in a canyon, no less.

Canyon Towhee
Canyon Towhee.
American Robins
American Robins.

Woodhouse’s or Western Scrub-Jay?

Woodhouse's Western Scrub-Jay
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, I think!

This is a Pinyon Jay, that I’m sure of. They have arrived in large flocks in the valley over the last two years, groups of a hundred to a few thousand.

Pinyon Jay
Pinyon Jay.
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow.
Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee.
Townsend's Solitaire
Townsend’s Solitaire.
Rock Wren
Rock Wren.
Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee.
Western Tanager
Western Tanager.
Bullocks Oriole with Hummingbirds
Bullocks Oriole with Hummingbirds.

The Red-winged Blackbirds nest in the cattails. Right about now there is a frenzy of activity and nest-building. The males are kept on their guard protecting the nesting spot.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird.

The Magpie is every dog’s nemesis. They taunt our dogs and of course, our dogs take the bait.

Magpie
Magpie

This Evening Grosbeak was stunned following a window strike. I put it on the fence to recover. It did. Ten minutes later, it flew up into the crabapple tree.

Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak.
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark.

This Northern Pygmy Owl would fit into a teacup and is smaller than most of the birds above.

Northern Pygmy Owl one of the little birds
Northern Pygmy Owl.

Not one of the truly little birds but not large either. It’s about the size of an American Crow.

Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner.
American Crow
American Crow.

Finally one of the rare visitors to the valley. I only spotted one Lewis’s Woodpecker this last year. Two years ago there were three at one time in the Ash tree.

Lewis's Woodpecker
Lewis’s Woodpecker

Little birds rock the valley, my heart and soul.

Happy Spring.

As always, thank you for looking, and for all the comments, compliments, and well wishes. G

Northern New Mexico, Archive Selections. 03-15-2023

Greetings from San Cristobal in the beautiful mountains of northern New Mexico.

I threw virtual darts at the archives this week, and the following images popped up. Northern New Mexico has continued to excite me for forty years. Here’s to many more.

The first two shots were taken during drives around the extended neighborhood, with the first on an evening photo shoot with friends from Kansas City.

Reflections in a large snow melt puddle Arroyo Seco, Northern New Mexico
Reflections in a large snow melt puddle, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.

Nearby is a more expansive view across the meadow to the mountains with winter colors.

Des Montes and Taos mountains
Des Montes and the mountains of Taos.

I did a one-day shoot for AAA New Mexico Journeys Magazine eight years ago in Bandelier National Monument. The Alcove House pictured was accessible with an exciting climb up numerous, 30′ ladders. It was well worth the ascent with a backpack and tripod.

Alcove House Bandelier National Monument NM
Alcove House, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico.

The Quarai Ruins at the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument yielded this image on my third visit to the site. I created this image with three shots stitched vertically, in effect, a vertical panorama. This location isn’t technically northern New Mexico, more like central NM but I like it.

Quarai Salinas Pueblo Missions
Quarai Ruins, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

Refrain from stacking stones in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. I heard the Park Service tore it down shortly after I shot it. I know it wasn’t there on my next visit.

Cairn, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Northern New Mexico
Cairn, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM.

I enjoy a nice glass of wine when reading a book. Reading “House of Rain”, in the landscape it depicts was a perfect pairing. Thanks to Craig Childs for the many virtual adventures.

House of Rain, Craig Childs
Reading “House of Rain” by Craig Childs, and drinking wine.

One of the first panoramic shots I made of our mountains has been hanging in the waiting room at our local hospital ever since.

Taos Mountains of northern New Mexico
Taos Mountains sunset shot from across the plateau.

below is the full moon shot in the Rio Grande Gorge. I love that I can stand on top of the highest point (Wheeler Peak) in New Mexico in the morning and spend the evening deep in the Rio Grande Gorge, watching the full moon grace the ridge cradled by a bare piñon tree.

Moon rise over the Rio Grande Gorge Pilar, NM
Moonrise over the Rio Grande Gorge in Pilar, New Mexico.

As I become more mobile I’m looking forward to working with a number of new and repeat photographer/clients. Join me this spring, summer, and fall on a photo trek around some of the best photo locations northern New Mexico has to offer.

Photography tour workshops
On location in…

As always, thank you for looking. Enjoy your week. G

Iconic Ute Mountain, The Plateau, New Mexico. 03-09-2023

Greetings from San Cristobal. This week some views of Ute Mountain.

Ute Mountain is a free-standing, Dacitic, extinct Pliocene volcanic cone”. That’s a mouthful. Besides being one of my revered peaks, it is also set in one of my favorite areas, the Taos Plateau Volcanic Field and the San Luis Valley. The mountain also lies within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

The images below encompass a span of almost twenty years.

On the home front, I feel the surgery on my foot will make my photo treks much more enjoyable for years to come.

Ute Mountain clouds
A localized weather pattern over Ute Mountain.

Road to Ute mountain
Road to the mountain.

Old sheep corral with Ute Mountain
Old sheep corral out on the plateau.

Ute Mountain on the Taos Plateau
A view from Guadalupe Mountain across the Taos Plateau.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Do you recognize the peak back there?

The image below is the one that initiated my fascination with this iconic landmark. Often, I will take a drive north, a pilgrimage of sorts, to visit the mountain. Click here if you want to see more images.

Near Costilla NM
Near Costilla, New Mexico.

Lastly, a couple of shots from closer to home.

Moon rise, San Cristobal
The moon rise this week from the deck in San Cristobal, NM.

And a view across the plateau and beyond to Cerro Pedernal (not a volcano but very much resembles one), “flint peak” near Abiquiu, NM. Immortalized by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe it can be seen from a vantage point behind our home. In the photo, Cerro Pedernal is probably 65-70 miles as the crow flies. The views out west extend a hundred miles or more on clear days. The vistas open like nowhere else, and the skies go on forever.

Cerro Pedernal shot from Taos, NM
Cerro Pedernal shot from Taos, NM.

As always thank you for looking and visiting. And thank you for all the continued well wishes, comments, and compliments.

If you want the name of a wonderful foot and ankle specialist I can give you a recommendation! G

Rio Grande, Bridge, Canyon, Tree. 02-22-2023

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week the Rio Grande and surrounding views.

I’m sitting here with my foot elevated, looking out the window on our valley. The snow is blowing in high winds and chilling the air dramatically. The wind is breaching the gaps wherever it can.

Things are healing nicely with the surgery on my foot. Thank you for all the well wishes. They are welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Throwing a virtual dart at the archives this week, I came across the first image of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge shrouded in a rare, early morning fog. I decided to pull a few more pictures from that folder and add them below.

I won’t be going very far for the next few weeks. I hope to make it to the Monte Vista NWR for the return of the sandhill cranes in mid-march. Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy my revisiting the archives with me.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge carries US Highway 64 across the canyon and river 600 feet below. Highway 64, the other mother road, has one terminus in the Outer Banks, NC and the other at Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. I’ve driven this section of the road, many times, to its western terminus. It passes through scenic areas with many opportunities for image making. In my humble opinion, unless you like abandoned motels, gas stations, and 1960’s era neon signs (all great subjects in their own right), on Route 66, take US 64 for the more scenic route.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, in morning fog.
Gorge fog, Taos New Mexico
Morning fog rolls over the canyon walls.
Rio Grande morning fog
Morning fog on the river.
Gorge Bridge canyon cell phone view
Gorge bridge shadow and canyon view.
Orilla Verde Tree, Pilar NM
Snow and an iconic tree in Orilla Verde RA, Pilar NM.

Lastly, a view acros the gorge to Taos mountain. A gorge bush!

Gorge bush
Gorge bush.

As always, thank you for looking, and thank you again for all the well wishes. G