Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Taos

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

Snow Moon Rising, Fallen Tree, That Old Homestead.

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM

Yesterday evening I made my monthly trip out to photograph the almost (98%) full snow moon. For all intents and purposes, the difference was barely noticeable unless you squint your eyes. Sometimes it’s a marked difference, but as you can see in the second photo imperceptible this month.

I prefer to photograph the moon in the evening before it is full because the sun is still up illuminating the landscape as the moon rises behind our mountains. This gives a nice balance of light on the moon and mountains. Here are some more moon images which happen to be available as fine art prints. If you click on the link you will get the idea.

Snow Moon Rising, Vallecito Mountain
“Snow Moon” rising, Vallecito Mountain

I began this particular evening west of Taos near the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. I saw the moon appear behind a southerly ridge and made a few hazy images. As I quickly headed back east toward the mountains the moon began to vanish again below the ridgeline. I turned north and was able to place the moon directly behind this peak and watch it rise again. The lighting now was crisp and clear, and the mountains were gently illuminated. Naturally, I know this approach as I’ve done it so many times before. TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) phone app helped me pinpoint where precisely the moon would appear and at what time. I use the app as a backup. Sometimes I’m slightly off. But not this time. The app confirmed it.

Snow Moon Rising, Vallecito Mountain
“Snow Moon” rising, over Vallecito Mountain

The image below is from a few years back after a wind storm broke the trunk of an already weakened tree, weakened by the creation of a stabilization dam on the Rio Costilla in the Valle Vidal. Despite its demise, I think it made for a nice image.

Fallen Tree, Valle Vidal
Fallen Tree, Valle Vidal

Below is an image of one of my favorite abandoned homesteads in the San Luis Valley. I’ve met the owners of some of the empty buildings who have made me feel welcome. There are other homesteads sitting out there open to all the elements. I keep visiting this place and suspect just like the impermanence of many other things in this world, it will be gone soon. For now, it continues to live a long life giving great pleasure, at least to me and a few of my adventurous photography clients.

Old homestead, San Luis Valley
That favorite old homestead, San Luis Valley

Here’s to a great week ahead with the potential for snow here in northern New Mexico. Enjoy your week where you are. And, as always, thank you for looking. 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

Morning Clouds, Latir Peaks, Red-Tailed Hawk, Street Figure, Wolf Moonrise.

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?

Morning Clouds
Morning Clouds, San Cristobal, NM

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!

Morning Cloud shapes
Morphing clouds, San Cristobal, NM

If you are interested here’s an interpretation of Badger Totem.

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.

Virsylvia Peak
Virsylvia Peak in the Latir Peaks Wilderness, New Mexico.

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.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk, Taos, NM

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.

Street figure, Taos
A street figure, downtown Taos, NM

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.

Wolf Moon

Wolf Moonrise

Wolf Moon rising

Full Wolf Moon

Wolf Moon over snow capped peaks

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

Mountain Sunset, Weeping Walls, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Snow

The light on the mountains at this time of year is beautiful. Although not quite a full-on Sangre color it was close. A Vallecito Mountain sunset never disappoints.

Vallecito Mountain Sunset
Last light on Vallecito Mountain Sunset

When it warmed up enough for the snow to melt it looked like all the walls in town were weeping.

Weeping walls, Taos NM
Weeping Walls, Taos NM

The day after the storm we had a little wander around the famous, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, which always looks beautiful in the snow.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM dressed in new snowfall.

Dovecotes at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Dovecotes at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM

Ladder and door, Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Ladder and door, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM
Main entrance at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos NM

Stay warm wherever you are. We had a -8ºF morning on Sunday. It’s warmed up a little since. Today it was 12ºF at 7 am, and the high was 36ºF.

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

San Luis Valley views, and Mountain Snows.

Greetings from the San Luis Valley.

Here’s the tree I promised in last week’s post. I headed north in a dust storm. Inclement weather could be my middle name. What the dust afforded me besides spots on my sensor was a slight separation of the tree and mountain. The sky in this image of the lone tree was unexpected. The tree had lost a small limb since my previous trip. I didn’t mind. It cleaned up the composition. (Click on images to enlarge).

Ute Mountain tree
Ute Mountain lone tree, San Luis Valley, CO.

The dust created a nice veil of diffuse light so the poles and trees stood out. I’d not seen them so prominent before.

Power poles with Ute Mountain
Ute Mountain with power poles and a big sky.

In the following photo, you can see the dust storm is more apparent. The trees really stood out against Ute Mountain like guardians.

Ute Mountain trees
Ute Mountain trees with San Luis Valley dust storm.

Heading home a little later the wind at Sanchez Reservoir was so strong. When I stopped to shoot the ice on the shoreline I could barely open the car door. I got out and made a few so-so images then had to jump back in the car and get my legs in fast before the door slammed shut on my ankles. Did I say how cold the wind chill was? I wish I’d looked. All I can say is it was cold!!!

I knew I wanted to catch the light on the fresh snow on the peaks in the Latir Peaks Wilderness, so I headed in that direction. I’ve done this shot before almost to the day. I wasn’t disappointed this time either. The wind had subsided but the cold remained. So I parked with a view and rested the camera on the open window. With the heat on and music playing, I was comfy and waited. The last bit of light through the clouds caught Cabresto Peak just right. In the second image below, I zoomed in for a close-up.

Wide view of Cabresto Peak, Latir Peaks Wilderness, NM
Wide view of snow on Cabresto Peak, in the Latir Peaks Wilderness, NM.

Cabresto Peak, Latir Peaks Wilderness, NM
A little closer in on Cabresto Peak..

… And a couple of my favorite images of Taos Mountain. The first shot is from the Ranchos Valley with an acequia (irrigation ditch), red willows, and snow-capped peaks of Taos Mountain.

Taos Mountain red willows
Taos Mountain red willows and snow, Ranchos de Taos, NM.

This image of Taos Mountain was when it was bathed in the last glow of sunlight through the letterbox opening in the clouds.

Taos Mountain winter light.
Taos Mountain with winter sunset light.

Phew, we made it another year. As always thanks for looking, happy new year. G

Morning Moon, Evening Moon with Venus, Saint Francis Church, Shapes and Shadows, Aspen Buds, Taos Mountain.

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.

Crescent Moon, and stars and mountain
Good morning waning moon, stars, and mountain, San Cristobal.

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.

Crescent Moon, Venus
Good night waxing moon with Venus and clouds.

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.

Saint Francis Church
The iconic Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, NM.

I also caught this little scene from the west as the sunset warmed up the adobe and lit up the tower cross.

Saint Francis Church
Saint Francis Church belfry tower.

I’ve made a similar photo of this scene before. It was almost a year ago. In this version I like the three simple arch shapes tying it together. Here are the other images from last January.

Shapes and shadows, Dixon, NM
Shapes and shadows in the Village of Dixon, NM.

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.

Aspen buds busting out, San Cristobal
Aspen buds itching to bust forth.

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!

Cottonwoods Highwaay 522, Questa, NM
Cottonwoods, Highway 522, Questa, NM

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.

Taos Mountain Sunset
Taos Mountain Cottonwoods, El Prado, NM

As always, have a great week, and thanks for looking. G