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.
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.
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.
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.
Greetings from northern New Mexico. A mobile home in our neighborhood (so New Mexico) with the moon rising over the San Cristobal Valley.
And the next night from the driveway as the moon slinked over the ridge.
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.
I couldn’t resist the juxtaposition in a window in the photo below. Everything is for sale. I just take the photo.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
Geology in the desert around Abiquiu.
And the Lone Tree, the “Welcome Tree” at the Taos overlook.
Ok… one last image of a young Sandhill Crane at the Monte Vista NWR coming in for a landing.
As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. G
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).
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.
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.
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-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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have a great week. I hope it’s beautiful where you are. As always, thanks for looking. G
Morning clouds yesterday over the Sangre de Cristo, (Rocky Mountains) from the dining room window. I love my views from the various rooms in the house. I saw a goldfish endeavoring to escape the fishbowl. You?
The high winds morphed the clouds rapidly into a badger! I’m sorry but I often see badgers in the clouds. All and any interpretations are welcome here!
The following image is the snow-capped Virsylvia Peak in the Latir Peaks Wilderness. Not from the dining room window but a short drive north to the Colorado state line.
A familiar sight on the drive to Taos, a Red-tailed Hawk in its usual place. This power pole or at other times a treetop across the street offers this raptor a view of what I suspect is a choice hunting spot. It’s gratifying to see the same bird day in and day out. I would miss this creature if it wasn’t there.
Not a spectacular photo but I photograph what I see and like. I found this figure under my car in downtown Taos. I liked it so I’m posting it. At first, I thought it was a Lego® figure, no, but it was definitely a flattened figure becoming one with the road.
Coming up next Monday is the “Wolf Moon”. Here are five sequential images of last year’s Wolf Moon rising over Vallecito Peak from Arroyo Hondo, NM. I wish now I’d turned on the video camera. Maybe I’ll do that with next Monday’s upcoming Wolf Moon.
As always, thanks for looking. Have a great week. G
Greetings from San Cristobal on the Winter Solstice.
I’m back on track this week, after last week’s 55-hour power outage. Though not as badly hit as some areas in northern New Mexico that were out of power for a week, I’m really happy that it came back on when it did. I was due my weekly bath night. I’m British and we bathe once a week whether we need it or not! I’m kidding. I knew as soon as I stocked up on water, food, and propane for the camp stove things would return to normal, that’s Murphey’s law, right?
I found the scene below in our back forty, a little wooded area behind our house, and really nice to wander around in the mornings. It’s not a huge expanse of trees but I like to explore with the camera and find little vignettes such as this. I shot this on the winter solstice, an alignment at the moment of the solstice at 8:59 am MT yesterday. I’d had big plans to return to Chaco Canyon for the winter solstice this year but as I would be camping the freezing temps put me off. The last time I spent the winter solstice in Chaco was in 2010 on an assignment for AAA Magazine. It was fairly mild that year. This year I stayed home and wandered around the neighborhood.
We drove north later in the day yesterday to get this image of my favorite red barn in black and white. I’ve done this type of shot here before, but at a different time of year, so I had a clue what to expect though not the position of the sun and the alignment with the holes in the roof and walls. This is as far south as the sun reaches. As you can imagine the barn was in silhouette with not much color so I went for a black and white. I like it a lot.
A few country blocks, about a mile up the road is a tree with Ute Mountain. I’m saving that particular image for another day. Over my shoulder was this picture. The two crosses are actually a fallen power pole. I’d not seen this before on many trips in the San Luis Valley so it may have occurred in a recent wind storm. I like the languishing nature of the pole.
On a photo tour a week ago we came across a Bighorn Sheep crossing the Rio Grande, with this Great Blue Heron, and the Bald eagle below, all in the same vicinity. The bighorn was crossing away from us, showing us his best side! The blue heron took up a vantage point with a commanding view of the river. We waited for it to fly and strike a fish. That didn’t happen this time. We returned to the eagle also nearby. The eagle launched off and after chasing a raven who had food returned to this familiar tree. The bald eagles are opportunistic, to say the least, and will steal what they can rather than waste energy getting it for themselves. The raven got away with its catch, probably stolen too. I love nature, and the rams behind!
And finally, the mule deer buck who visited our field last week during the full moon. Not a bad week after the blackout. Now it’s getting brighter from here on.
Coming to you from my warm office this week, as always, thank you for looking. G
I was up before dawn waiting for the waning moon to rise over the Sangre de Cristo (Rocky) Mountains east of our house. I spotted the two little stars first. If you expand the image you’ll see them. I’m sorry I didn’t look up their names. You’ll also see the “earthshine” on the moon.
Two days later the waxing moon was setting over the plateau to the west of us accompanied by the crescent Venus. Venus is at its brightest right now. Soon she will set in the glare of the sun. Not to worry, she’ll be back in the eastern sky and will be joined by the moon before dawn. If you expand the image you’ll see that Venus is also in the crescent phase.
A couple of days ago I had a little time to pass waiting for an appointment so I made a quick circle around the San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos. I spotted the shadow of the bell and made this image.
I also caught this little scene from the west as the sunset warmed up the adobe and lit up the tower cross.
The weather here has been quite warm over the last couple of months and these buds on the aspen tree were tempted to bust out. They’re changing their mind this week as temperatures are destined to drop into the minus digits.
I ran up to the hardware store in Questa this evening. It took me a little longer than planned, but I did take my camera and couldn’t resist pulling over to make an image of the light on the cottonwoods before the storm. The forecast is for snow in the next couple of days. I will wait and see!
One oldie but goodie from 2008. I came across this image last week going through my files looking for images of Taos Mountain. I thought it worth sharing again. Prints are available.
As always, have a great week, and thanks for looking. G