Greetings from San Cristobal and northern New Mexico, where the monsoon rains are abundant this year.
The monsoon season started early this season, and the forecast is for it to last through August. With a touch of shameless self-promotion, I can honestly say, now is the time to sign up for a photo tour/workshop.
I made a drive on a local backroad yesterday, and a pleasant drive it was. I shot some pictures of the dead and standing trees on the hillsides. The trees are remnants of the Hondo Fire that burned the area in May 1996. It’s a place of great solitude for me and a different kind of stark beauty. Despite the fire, the hillsides look very lush and green
And a rainbow this week from our field in San Cristobal, NM, is my favorite view of rainbows, second only to Taos Mountain. I only have to step outside the door and look. Things got a little wet after this moment.
As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. G
Greetings from San Cristobal, the place for rainbows this week.
The skies turned almost black this week and brought more much-needed rain. We’ll take it! Being prepared for rainbows with one eye on the western sky, I saw a small opening in the clouds for the sun to work its magic on the landscape. It was still raining enough to get wet and just the right amount to make this rainbow happen. I thoroughly enjoyed standing out in the light and rain for ten minutes. Who doesn’t love rainbows?
Earlier this year, I met up with my friend Larry for a trip to Abiquiu. I hauled an elk skull and antlers in the back of my 4 Runner. It is large and just fitted in there. I wanted to share a photo opportunity with Larry and create a Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired image. I chose to make an image of what Georgia may have encountered when she came across the remains before she sketched and painted them.
The artist who created this outdoor art installation has been parked for a couple of weeks along the roadside in El Prado. On this day, I noticed that the painting of Jesus featured prominently front and center. He is juxtaposed with an alien and spaceship, accompanied by artworks of native American icons, two more dead guys, musicians Jerry Garcia and Jim Morrison, and a bevy of buxom women. Hallelujah!
Here’s an image of the fox that visited a few weeks ago. He was moving quickly, and the picture is blurry though it does depict the fleeting moment it happened despite being unable to grab the camera more rapidly.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this week’s tour around the block, thank you for looking. G
Greetings from the beautiful San Cristobal and Arroyo Hondo Valleys this week. We have virga skies and verdant pastures following this year’s early monsoon season.
The rain stopped briefly after raining straight for 48 hours. The sun came out for a moment before it began again. I hadn’t been out very much over the last two weeks. Drawn by the light, I grabbed my camera and headed out. I shot this first image of the virga rain from the driveway of our house.
Within a few minutes after the first image, I hopped in the car and drove south towards Taos, where I would have access to a turnout and views across the Taos Plateau and the walking rain. You won’t find much about walking rain online, but the rain here looks like it is out for a stroll as it passes across the plateau west of Taos.
A little farther south is the beautiful Arroyo Hondo Valley. As I descended the hill and rounded the curve, this scene appeared. I stayed here for about fifteen minutes before heading home.
Sometimes all it takes is a brief moment outside to clear my head, watch the storms pass, and nature putting on a beautiful show.
Within an hour, it was raining again, a torrential downpour with hail hammering on the tin roof and skylights. Lightning and thunder pursued, giving our old dog the tremors. A cheese treat with a cracker cured it. We woke up this morning to clear skies and more rain in the forecast. I’m in no way complaining here about the moisture we need it. See how green the landscape is, compared to a week ago.
This week’s final image is of the garden Buddha surrounded by marigolds Pami planted. I made a double exposure, one of the buddha and the other to blur the marigolds. The garden is loving the rain. It reminds me of Wales. Except in Wales, it would be raining for three weeks.
As always, thank you so much for looking. Stay well, and I’ll see you here next week. G
Greetings from a rain-soaked solstice and the first day of summer in Saan Cristobal, NM
A hike in Plaza Blanca is a great place to witness a solstice moment. This image is from a photo tour in 2018. The solstice this year found me asleep in bed. The clouds covered the sun, moon, and this week’s planetary alignments yesterday morning. I slept well all the same.
There is a 12,000 feet peak in those clouds. Those two ravens know it. It’s great to know that the mountain peaks are shrouded in rain, clouds, mist, and not the choking fire smoke we experienced over the last two months. Today it has been raining for five hours straight. It feels a lot like Wales, where I grew up. Although in Wales, it would have been raining for three weeks straight.
Lastly, I wanted to add two bonus images from the High Raod to Taos. I often photograph throughout the day, well past the magic hours. The shadows in this image aren’t there any earlier. I find lots of subjects deserving almost any time of day.
In this image of the big doors at the mission church San José de Gracia de Las Trampas, I lay on my back and took two photos. I stitched them together to create this different composition. Visiting places as often as I do, I like to inspire myself to find new and different angles. That’s the beauty of being able to make return trips to become familiar with the locations.
If you are inclined to travel this summer, join me here in northern New Mexico for a private one-on-one photography tour/workshop. I’ll look forward to seeing you.
As always thank you for looking. Enjoy the weather where you are. I’m going for a walk in the rain. G
Yesterday I went on a trip with friends on the High Road to Taos. It was a lovely relaxing day with no schedule or plans except to have fun and make images.
We began our day trip in Ranchos de Taos and photographed the iconic Saint Francis Church. It’s easy to lose track of time when photo opportunities abound. When we final regrouped, we headed south, winding our way through the Rio Grande Gorge to Dixon, picking up the High Road in Peñasco, traveling on to Las Trampas, Truchas, then back to Dixon for a late lunch at the Dixon Cooperative Market and Cafe.
South through the Rio Grande Gorge brought us to the town of Dixon, where we found these two benches waiting for us in more ways than one.
After an hour of wandering around Dixon, we headed to the Picuris Pueblo, (still closed to the public) and on to the church of San Jose de Gracia de Las Trampas in Las Trampas, the ‘place of traps.’
Truchas is a twenty-minute drive south on the High Road to Taos and abounds with fascinating and quirky visuals. Truchas was the setting for the movie of the John Nichols, book Milagro Beanfield War, filmed on location in the mid-1980s and directed by Robert Redford. Below is the Truchas Mission Church, Nuestra Señora del Sagrado Rosario.
The following few images are also located in Truchas, a short walk from the mission church.
Before we began our trip, we visited Floras Valley Store in San Cristobal, where my friends came to meet me. I just had to show this sight to them.
We ended a fun day and said our farewells back in San Cristobal. I closed my day watching the “Strawberry Moon” rising over Taos Mountain.
Greetings from San Cristobal, the swallowtail butterfly capital, this week. They seem to like the San Cristobal Valley.
Many thanks for checking in and asking how we are doing with covid. One of us is doing better than the other. I’m getting there. The symptoms are mostly fatigue. I’m feeling a lot better today. Onwards.
Technically known as a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, it is the western variety of Swallowtail. They have been hanging around since the blossoms opened in May. It’s beautiful to watch their playfulness and when they land on plants, get a photograph!
This tree, highlighted against a dark, red wall, caught my eye in the morning light in Santa Fe. I’m sure it’s all leafed out by now. I must go on another walkabout in Santa Fe soon or another urban area.
Years ago, I did a series of images that amounted to a small portfolio of pictures of how the west was wired up and divided. I called it “The Wired West.” I found the image below recently. From a distance, I thought I’d seen a tumbleweed on the fence, not altogether unusual, but it turned out to be this jumble of wire stuffed down on top of the post. I surmised it was a leftover pile of baling wire from someone repairing the fence line. I added this image to the wired west folder.
As always, thank you for looking, and all the comments, and compliments on my work. G
Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. Coming down from a case of covid, we haven’t been very far in the last week. From our chairs, looking out the living room window, we can watch the immediate world unfold a few feet away on the other side of the glass.
Our cheeky squirrel is back taunting the dogs and looking for birdseed. I removed the birdseed then it took to eating some of the plants instead. We enjoy watching his crazy antics on the fence and climbing on the old Celtic cross we have in the garden. We draw the line at the plants though, and let the dogs out. They can’t catch him but get a little exercise in the chase. The squirrel and our aged dogs seem to enjoy the whole game. I’m sure if the dogs caught up with it, it wouldn’t be pretty.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.