Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Taos

Storm clouds with Taos Mountain, 08-24-22

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM.

Taos Mountain was shrouded in storm clouds with a big storm brewing. The storm brought heavy rains to the valley, flooding arroyos and causing acres of yellow daisies to bust out everywhere in the county.

Here is my favorite view of Taos Mountain with storm clouds this week in El Prado (the meadows).

Taos Mountain Storm Clouds
Taos Mountain storm clouds.

I had to go and risk a sneezing fit to get a couple of shots of the Verbesina, commonly known as Golden Crownbeard, Cowpen, or Butter daisies. They are also known as American Dogweed daisies.

Verbesina, Golden Crownbeard, and Cowpen daisies
Verbesina, Golden Crownbeard, and Cowpen daisies alongside RC Gorman’s wall.
Verbesina, Golden Crownbeard, and Cowpen daisies with RC Gormans wall
Verbesina, Golden Crownbeard, and Cowpen daisies with RC Gorman’s wall.

Soon the birds will start to gather on wires for their annual migration. I’m always fascinated by the seemingly mathematical precision placement on the powerlines.

Birds on a wire, Santa Fe
Birds on a wire, Santa Fe.

The morning Mourning Dove perches in our almost dead cottonwood. I suspect these doves are Eurasian Collared Doves. They begin their morning cooing ritual outside the bedroom windows when I wake up. I call them ‘moaning’ doves because there’s no chance of going back to sleep with all their cooing that sounds like moaning to me.

Mourning dove in the morning
Mourning Dove in the morning, San Cristobal.

Lastly, a couple of shots from a walk around the Saint Francis church, (San Francisco de Asis), in Ranchos de Taos, NM.

Saint Francis church Ranchos de Taos, NM
Afternoon light at the Saint Francis church Ranchos de Taos, NM.
Saint Francis church Ranchos de Taos, NM
Shadows at the Saint Francis church Ranchos de Taos, NM.

Finally, I have four extra copies of the New Mexico Treasures Calendar. I’ve contributed images to this calendar for the last decade. In two weeks, I’ll have a drawing of the names of those who comment on this post. I’ll put everyone’s name in a hat and draw four winners.

New Mexico Treasures 2023 desk top calendar.
2023 New Mexico Treasures desktop calendar.

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

Thunder and Lightning, Portrait, August 10, 2022.

Greetings from San Cristobal and beyond. We’ve had some violent thunder and lightning this last week. While we are grateful for the moisture here, there have been tremendous flash flooding and washouts. Particularly in the Mora Valley following the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire this spring.

I could see this thunder and lightning event building from our house. I had to go for a closer look. Not far, just a few miles south, there are wide open vistas of the Taos Valley Picuris, and the Truchas Peaks and beyond. I got lucky with one shot out of the car window. I wasn’t about to get out and set up a tripod. If you think about it, standing out in the rain, I’m the tallest feature in the landscape, hanging on to a metal tripod. Yes, I have a 40-year-old tripod, its metal. A man was struck by lightning during a previous storm this week in Taos. I wish him and his family well.

Here’s what I captured from the car window.

Thunder and lightning storm with lightning strike
Thunder and lightning storm, Taos, NM

Last week we visited my long-time friend and hiking partner I met when I moved to Taos in 1988. Harry and his wife Noreen invited us to their home for lunch. We hadn’t seen them since Harry’s art show in Taos. That was before covid. It was a delightful lunch and a great time visiting them at their home across the Rio Grande Gorge. Following lunch, we sat outside in the shade where the breezes came gently off the canyon rim. Harry sat next to one of his paintings, and we all noticed what a timely portrait it would make.

And the portrait. Harry is 92.

Harry Vedoe, artist and good friend.
Harry Vedoe, Danish/American artist and good friend, Carson, NM

Coming up in September and October!

If you are fortunate to be in Taos on the weekend of September 23-25, 2022, please visit the stables gallery, where I’ll be exhibiting my photography with a group of other artists. The show will consist primarily, of new black and white images, with some of my iconic images alongside.

The Stables Gallery is located at: 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte Taos, NM 87571

On October 7-31, 2022, I will have a solo exhibition of my Sculpture and Photography, all new work, at the Bareiss Gallery here in Taos


Here’s the advertisement for the exhibit and the details.

Geraint Smith Exhibit at the Bareiss Galley Taos
Exhibition at Bareiss Gallery, Taos, NM

As always, thank you for your support, comments and compliments. Have a good week. G

Taos Mountain, Orilla Verde, Clouds, July 27, 2022

Taos Mountain beckoned across the meadows yesterday on my drive home. It always does! The lighting was intensely bright on the rocky outcroppings and peaks. It looked like snow had accumulated or, perhaps, hail.

Earlier, my son, Dylan, and I drove late afternoon along the Rio Grande south of Taos. The elusive wildlife was probably due to the number of paddlers on that stretch of the river. There were many areas of washouts along the roadside, evidenced in the very muddy river. Dylan spotted a Great Blue Heron who wasn’t having much luck fishing in the brown waters.

We drove on to the Taos Junction Bridge, where I shot the last image, in this post, of the headland that divides the confluence of the Rio Pueblo and the Rio Grande.

I’m beginning this blog at the end and winding up at the beginning.

I hope everyone is staying as hydrated and cool as possible where you are. If you enjoy the cool mountain air and a trip here appeals to you, join me on a photo tour/workshop in the high desert of northern New Mexico.

Taos Mountain storm in Black and white
Taos Mountain storm in black and white.

… and in color. I’m partial to the black and white myself.

Taos Mountain storm in color
Taos Mountain storm in color.

I shot the image below in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area The storm clouds were building. I suspect it looked like this yesterday before the deluge that washed out parts of the roads in the area. I exposed the image for the lighter areas of the clouds and picked up the little highlight on the green grasses of the bench. I lightened the shadow to bring out the other green hues on the hillsides and the rock faces. Moody, just like I experienced the scene.

Sky and Mesa, Orilla Verde, NM
The sky over, Orilla Verde Recreation Area, NM.

If you are interested in seeing more images of Taos Mountain or the Orilla Verde Recreation Area you can put these search terms in the search bar on the website.

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

Shoot it, because it’s there. July 13, 2022

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM

Shoot! In the James Bond movie, Skyfall, Naomi Harris who plays Moneypenny, is told by ‘M’ to take the shot. Of course, she hits Bond, and he survives. That’s how it goes in movies. It’s not a bad motto for this photographer as the title suggests, shoot it because it’s there! So here are a few favorites from the ‘shoot it because it’s there’ category.

This truck is parked in Questa just north of Taos. In the color version, the vehicle is yellow. I much prefer the image in black and white.

Truck in Questa, New Mexico
A truck parked in Questa, New Mexico.

Below, I caught some early morning shadows at the Saint Francis Church on the High Road to Taos.

Saint Francis church Ranchos de Taos
A number seven in the shadows at the Saint Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos.

Out for a morning coffee, where even the mundane is worth a shot for me.

Table and chairs, Taos
Cafe table and chairs in Taos.

I shot this image of a line of box springs that created a fence around a property in Elizabethtown on the Enchanted Circle Drive in the mountains of northern NM.

Box spring fence
A fence constructed of box springs in Elizabethtown, NM.

Lunch at an upstairs cafe on the Santa Fe Plaza above the outdoor diners below.

Restaurant awning Santa Fe
A restaurant awning over outside dining in Santa Fe.

Lunch in Dixon, NM. An Umbrella awning at the Dixon Coop Market and Cafe.

Coca cola umbrella awning
Coca cola umbrella awning, Dixon, NM.

On a photo tour to Abiquiu, the Rio Chama, and beyond, we stopped for lunch at the Abiquiu Inn. While waiting for the maître d’ I shot what I saw looking down.

Floor covering, Abiquiu Inn, NM
The floor covering at the Abiquiu Inn, NM.

As always. Thank you for looking. Have a great week. G

Rainbows, Elk, Art Bus, July 6, 2022

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?

Rainbows, Taos Mountain, New Mexico
Rainbows in San Cristobal with Taos Mountain lower center.

At the apex of the rainbow in the image, multiple ‘supernumerary rainbows’ or ‘supernumerary bands’s are visible. Below is the close-up.

Supernumerary rainbows or supernumerary bands, San Cristobal
Detail of ‘supernumerary rainbows’ or ‘supernumerary bands’ in the clouds.

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.

Elk skull and antlers
A Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired image in Arroyo Blanco, Abiquiu, NM.

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!

Art Bus in El Prado, Taos, NM
The ‘Art bus’ roadside vendor in El Prado, Taos, NM.

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.

Fox, San Cristobal
Fox, (lock up your chickens), in the field, San Cristobal.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this week’s tour around the block, thank you for looking. G

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