Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: San Cristobal

Bearded Iris, Arroyo Hondo, Ramada, May 25, 2022.

Greetings from San Cristobal, a week when the rains came and the bearded iris opened in its striking glory.

Down in the Arroyo Hondo Valley, the rain clouds came and opened up not only here but on the fires bringing cooler temps and much-needed relief for the firefighters around the state. So I thought of a celebratory picture of one of our beautiful bearded iris with raindrops against a backdrop of rain and reflections on the windowpane.

Bearded Iris with raindrops San Cristobal
Bearded Iris in the rain in the garden, San Cristobal, NM

I’ve photographed this scene many times in all seasons. You may remember it. It is fast becoming my equivalent of Monet’s “haystack” series.

Arroyo Hondo Cottonwood Willows Acequia
Cottonwood and willows along the Acequia in Arroyo Hondo, NM

The ramada below was something I came across many years ago and found it again digging in my archives this week. I like the minimalist simplicity, which was what caught my eye. The clouds and sky helped set the scene off.

Ramada, Santa fe, NM
Ramada on the road in Galisteo, NM

I’m happy to post a couple of uplifting images this week after the doomsday-looking pictures of the fire over the past few weeks.

As always, thank you for looking. I look forward to seeing you here a gain next week. Have a great week. G

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

Spring Blossoms, Crescent Moon, Abiquiu, May 4, 2022

Greetings from San Cristobal in the presence of spring blossoms and under a crescent moon.

Sometimes everything is available in one’s backyard. These crab apple blossoms looked particularly beautiful after a drizzling rain. The ornate white blossoms were radiant in the morning light.

Crab apple Blossoms with raindrops
Crab apple blossoms, San Cristobal, NM
White Blossoms, San Cristobal
Ornate white blossoms in the garden, San Cristobal, NM
White ornate spring blossoms
Spring blossoms are spotlighted by the sun, San Cristobal, NM

I’ve seen the following view during this phase of the moon most months here in the garden. I’ve created a few images like this in the past. Here is one and here is another one. The blossoms were so dark and the moon so bright and far away that I had to shoot two images to get them both in focus. The scene was easy to compute for the human eye. It required two images to create what my eye saw.

Waxing Crescent moon with blossoms
Waxing Crescent Moon with silhouetted blossoms.

Farther afield but very much in my broader backyard are the Rio Chama and Abiquiu Lake. I was on a photo tour last Sunday with my friend, Larry. It was a good day and yielded a few good images despite the fire smoke from three raging wildfires in the vicinity.

Rio Chama, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Rio Chama, Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Can you see the handprints? They’ve been there a long time, but they are more likely to be graffiti than authentic indigenous art. Cerro Pedernal is the mountain where native peoples went to collect obsidian for their tools. I have seen a lot of arrowheads and spearpoints in the area, particularly along the Chama River.

Abiquiu Lake rocks
Under the big rock at Abiquiu Lake with Cerro Pedernal, (flint peak), NM

As always thank you for visiting and 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

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

Snow in San Cristobal, and lots of it.

I’ve cleared the deck, walkways, and a path to the car three times today. It’s easier to move the snow in smaller doses. The sun came out for a few minutes to help melt some of it. A lot of good that was! It’s all covered again now at 4 pm. Reckon I’ll wait until tomorrow to clear some more. It will also be -4º F at sunrise tomorrow morning getting colder by Friday at -9º F. Brrrr!

Garden snow Buddha
Garden Buddha wearing a blanket of snow.

Winter Sunflowers, San Cristobal
Last summers sunflowers and cottonwood this winter in San Cristobal, NM

This is the biggest snowfall for us here in northern New Mexico this winter. I’m happy for the moister, we all are. I go out tomorrow and shoot some images. I post more next week.

As always thank you for looking. Stay safe and warm. G

Home on the Hill, Cerro Pedernal, Black and Whites

We had some snow last night, about three inches in our neighborhood. Not a huge amount but a very welcome amount. I went out early this morning to catch this scene of an old adobe home on the hill in the San Cristobal Valley.

Home on the Hill
Home on the hill, San Cristobal.

Last week I was on a Photo Tour/Workshop with two clients in the Rio Chama Valley. There was no wind and Abiquiu Lake was reflecting Cerro Pedernal very nicely. We wandered down to the rocks surrounding the lakeshore for the shot. I like the way his image looked in black and white, almost like a drawing. Cerro Pedernal means flint hill, the place where indigenous people collected obsidian for their weapons.

Cerro Pedernal reflections, Abiquiu Lake
Abiquiu Lake reflecting Cerro Pedernal, (flint peak).

While in Abiquiu, we visited the ruin of Santa Rosa de Lima, one of my favorite locations on the banks of Rio Chama. Like planets, the shadows aligned perfectly.

Santa Rosa de Lima ruin
Santa Rosa de Lima, gate and shadows.

There’s always time for a visit to the iconic Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos, arguably the most photographed church in the world. Because I visit this place often I know where the shadows fall at different times of day and seasons. This was mid December at 8:33 in the morning.

Saint Francis Church Shadows
Saint Francis Church Shadows

I came across this photo of the red barn from last summer, it felt like yesterday, that’s probably because I’m in the San Luis Valley every couple of weeks. I liked the geometric composition of this image.

Red Barn in Black and White
Red Barn in black and white San Luis Valley, Colorado.

Last but not least, below is the full panorama of the wolfmoon rising. I wanted to take a few days to put it together and work up a print file. If you would like a print and have a large space to fill please get in touch.

Wolf Moon Sangre de Cristo mountains
Wolf Moon over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains full panorama.

Have a great week. I hope it’s beautiful where you are. As always, thanks for looking. G