Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Winter

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

Blanca Peak, Colorado, Black and Whites

Greetings from San Cristobal.

We’re on the road today, heading out to the Monte Vista NWR in Colorado. I’ll be looking for Sandhill Cranes on the migratory path north after wintering in the southern climates. Assuming I get what I’m looking for, I’ll post those photos next week.

The Monte Vista refuge is situated northwest in the San Luis Valley. This week’s images are of the Blanca Peak Massif visible from just about everywhere in the Valley. The mountain range can be seen from a hundred miles south at the Rio Grande Gorge rim when hiking a little south of the high bridge over the river. I’m posting three images of my favorite views today. One I shot in black and white. I liked it so much that I converted the two others into black and whites.

Click on images to enlarge.

Blanca Peak, Colorado
Blanca Peak with the Rio Grande, Colorado.

Blanca Peak, Colorado
Blanca Peak across the sage brush, Colorado.

Blanca Peak, Colorado
Blanca Peak Massif from highway 139, Colorado.

Driving north from Taos, this mountain range looms very large on the horizon for the whole drive, drawing one onwards to where the highway ends in Fort Garland, right at the foot of these spectacular mountains.

As always, thank you for looking and all the wonderful comments. 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

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

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

Vallecito Mountain, Ghost Ranch, Starry Night.

It had snowed on the peaks a couple of weeks ago. The storm went on for most of the day, but as is usually the case the clouds linger as the storm clears, and the sun peeps through the cracks wherever it can. I made a short drive south to see what the potential might be for a photo. It was a subtle light that illuminated the trees and rocks of Vallecito (little valley). I made the second image a close-up shot (double click on the image to expand and see the detail) …and the third image… well what can I say? The sun had its day with the mountain peak.

Vallecito Mountain Peak New Mexico
Vallecito Mountain Peak, New Mexico

Vallecito Mountain Peak snow and sunlit
Close up of the detail on Vallecito Mountain Peak, New Mexico

Vallecito Mountain Peak
Sunset on Vallecito Mountain Peak, New Mexico

I made the image below this past summer and decided to prin it. It’s much more dramatic in color, so much so that the color will never see the light of day. I particularly liked the way the cloud appears to have been blown into position.

Ghost Ranch New Mexico
Black and white print depicting an area of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.

Black and White framed print of Ghost Ranch New Mexico
Framed back and white print of Ghost Ranch New Mexico.

Print of Ghost Ranch New Mexico hanging in a home setting
Framed print of Ghost Ranch hanging in a home setting.

Thank you to all who purchased a print of “Starry Night at the Saint Francis Church”, and the many other purchases this week. I’m grateful and appreciate all the support of my work.

Milky way, Saint Francis church
Starry Night, Saint Francis church, Ranchos de Taos, NM

As always, thank you for looking. G

Ute Mountain and the Wild Rivers Area, Winter in the Rio Grande Gorge

More snow coming to northern New Mexico in the next few days. We’re going to head out for certain if it does. We’ll stop in here at Wild Rivers Recreation Area for a view of Ute Mountain, where the wild Rio Grande makes a nice leading line. Thanks for looking. G

ute mountain wild rivers snow 9090 9095