Truchas Peaks IV

2011

Within the Sangre de Christo mountain range, 25 miles north of Santa Fe, are situated the Truchas Peaks (Spanish for “trout”). This range of four summits include the 13,102′ South Truchas Peak – the second highest peak in New Mexico – and the 13,024′ North Truchas Peak.

The birth of the Sangre de Cristos Mountains — the southernmost subrange of the Rockies — occurred 80 million years ago as the Farrallon Plate slid under the North American Plate at such a shallow angle that it formed a wider belt of north-south mountains, resulting in a broader region of lower mountains farther inland.

During the succeeding 60 million years, erosion stripped away the high rocks to reveal the ancestral rocks beneath that have since been eroded by water and glaciers, sculpting the mountains into more dramatic peaks and valleys.

Shooting east during late afternoon light, while simultaneously stroking my camera south, enabled me to intensify the texture of these north-south trending subranges of the Truchas Peaks

The fourth and final set of Truchas Peaks images, each resulting once again from single exposure camera pans, as I blend the varying textures with the constantly changing light.

Truchas Peaks<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011 Truchas Peaks II<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011 Truchas Peaks III<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011 Truchas Peaks IV<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011 Truchas Peaks V<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011 Truchas Peaks VI<br>Truchas Peaks IV — 2011

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Truchas Peaks III

2011

Within the Sangre de Christo mountain range, 25 miles north of Santa Fe, are situated the Truchas Peaks (Spanish for “trout”). This range of four summits include the 13,102′ South Truchas Peak – the second highest peak in New Mexico – and the 13,024′ North Truchas Peak.

The birth of the Sangre de Cristos Mountains — the southernmost subrange of the Rockies — occurred 80 million years ago as the Farrallon Plate slid under the North American Plate at such a shallow angle that it formed a wider belt of north-south mountains, resulting in a broader region of lower mountains farther inland.

During the succeeding 60 million years, erosion stripped away the high rocks to reveal the ancestral rocks beneath that have since been eroded by water and glaciers, sculpting the mountains into more dramatic peaks and valleys.

Shooting east during late afternoon light, while simultaneously stroking my camera south, enabled me to intensify the texture of these north-south trending subranges of the Truchas Peaks.

My third continuation of six images — each being a single exposure — by panning  these magnificent Peaks at different speeds and at varying angles, and, of course, with varying light.

Truchas Peaks<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011 Truchas Peaks II<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011 Truchas Peaks III<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011 Truchas Peaks IV<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011 Truchas Peaks V<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011 Truchas Peaks VI<br>Truchas Peaks III — 2011

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Truchas Peaks II

2011

Within the Sangre de Christo mountain range, 25 miles north of Santa Fe, are situated the Truchas Peaks (Spanish for “trout”). This range of four summits include the 13,102′ South Truchas Peak – the second highest peak in New Mexico – and the 13,024′ North Truchas Peak.

The birth of the Sangre de Cristos Mountains — the southernmost subrange of the Rockies — occurred 80 million years ago as the Farrallon Plate slid under the North American Plate at such a shallow angle that it formed a wider belt of north-south mountains, resulting in a broader region of lower mountains farther inland.

During the succeeding 60 million years, erosion stripped away the high rocks to reveal the ancestral rocks beneath that have since been eroded by water and glaciers, sculpting the mountains into more dramatic peaks and valleys.

Shooting east during late afternoon light, while simultaneously stroking my camera south, enabled me to intensify the texture of these north-south trending subranges of the Truchas Peaks.

Truchas Peaks I<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011 Truchas Peaks II<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011 Truchas Peaks III<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011 Truchas Peaks IV<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011 Truchas Peaks V<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011 Truchas Peaks VI<br>Truchas Peaks II — 2011

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Truchas Peaks I

2011

Twenty five miles northeast of Santa Fe, within the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range are a range of four identifiable summits. Truchas Peaks (Spanish for “trout”) encompass a north-south trending subrange of identifiable summits, which includes the 13,102′ South Truchas Peak — the second highest independent peak in New Mexico, as well as the 13,024′ North Truchas Peak.

The birth of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost subrange of the Rockies, began 80 million years ago when the Farallon Plate slid under the North American Plate at such a shallow subduction, it created a broad belt of mountaIns running south down North America. The low angle moved the focus of crustal melting and mountain building much farther inland than the normal 2-300 miles. Over the past 60 million years, erosion has stripped away the high rocks, revealing the ancestral rocks beneath, which have since been eroded by water and glaciers, sculpting the Rockies into dramatic peaks and valleys.

Being fortunate to capture Truchas Peaks immediately following a first snow in late light, I found this to be one of the more magnificent mountain groups within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, blending vistas of magnificent peaks together with perfect sky and clouds…

Truchas Peaks<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011 Truchas Peaks II<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011 Truchas Peaks III<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011 Truchas Peaks IV<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011 Truchas Peaks V<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011 Truchas Peaks VI<br>Truchas Peaks I — 2011

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Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face

2011

1,500’ lower, the East Face of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains continues a long descent down to the plains. Looking back 20 miles to the west across farms and ranches, the harsh light of the setting sun is blocked first by the Jemez Mountains, then by the western slopes of the Sangres, resulting in the east side appearing much softer.

The climate is also much milder in the eastern lee of the Sangres, due to considerably more precipitation.

Into Santa Fe Mountain's East Face<br>Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face — 2011 Into Santa Fe Mountain's East Face II<br>Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face — 2011 Into Santa Fe Mountain's East III<br>Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face — 2011 Into Santa Fe Mountain's East Face IV<br>Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face — 2011 Into Santa Fe Mountain's East Face V<br>Into Santa Fe Mountain’s East Face — 2011

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Valles Caldera

2012

Just 20 miles west of Santa Fe, across the Rió Grande, Los Alamos is situated in the foothills of the Jemez Mountain range, at 7,300′ the same elevation as Santa Fe. Ten miles further west of Los Alamos is Valles Caldera, now a National Preserve and the oldest of only three caldera-type volcanos in the U.S.; the other two being Yellowstone, WY, and Long Valley, CA.

Valles Caldera was formed 1.25 million years ago by massive eruptions that spewed a volume of debris estimated to be 300 times that of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens’  eruption. Valles Caldera’s most recent eruption was much smaller, occurring approximately 65,000 years ago.

The north-south Jemez Mountain range runs parallel to the Sangre de Christo Mountains, and is the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. The highest point, Chicoma Mountain (11,511′), rises dramatically above the west side of the Española Valley; its impressive 1,400′ south face overlooks Valles Caldera.

Valles Caldera<br>Valles Caldera — 2012 Valles Caldera II<br>Valles Caldera — 2012 Valles Caldera III<br>Valles Caldera — 2012 Valles Caldera IV<br>Valles Caldera — 2012 Valles Caldera V<br>Valles Caldera — 2012 Valles Caldera VI<br>Valles Caldera — 2012

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Mother’s Day Rainbows

2012

Photographed during a Monsoon just south of Santa Fe in the Galisteo Basin.

Mid-New Mexico monsoons typically occur during July and August, and are generalized by sporadic, intense thunder storms, lightning, a whole lot of rain, and beautiful rainbows.

It’s not uncommon to hear the refrain that Santa Fe only gets 7-8 inches of rain a year, usually in about 45 minutes!

Mother's Day Rainbows<br>Mother’s Day Rainbows — 2011 Mother's Day Rainbows II<br>Mother’s Day Rainbows — 2011 Mother's Day Rainbows III<br>Mother’s Day Rainbows — 2011 Mother's Day Rainbows IV<br>Mother’s Day Rainbows — 2011

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New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3

2011

Texture & Time

These six images complete my attempt to visually convey the 200 million year passage of time when Ghost Ranch’s oldest exposed rock became part of a collection of varicolored siltstone, mudstone and sandstone deposited by rivers.

Ghost Ranch<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 3/3 — 2011

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New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3

2011

Just imagine that this landscape has been a relatively stable block of the earth’s crust for 600,000,000 years; and further that the oldest rocks exposed in the Ghost Ranch area are part of a thick collection of varicolored siltstone, mudstone and sandstone deposited by rivers more than 200,000,000 years ago, when this area was located less than 1/3 of the distance from the equator than it is today.

It is no wonder that I can’t resist overlaying this landscape with my own sense of the passage of time…

Ghost Ranch W2<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W2 II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W2 III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W2 IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W2 V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W2 VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 2/3 — 2011

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New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3

2011

One hour north of Santa Fe is Georgia O’Keefe Country: vast vistas, table-topped mesas, tall cliffs, and winding rivers bordered by ancient cottonwoods.

Because this block of the earth’s crust remained relatively stable for 600 million years, the rocks around Ghost Ranch are generally flat-lying and less deformed by broad-scale folding. Situated within the broad shallow Chama Basin along the eastern margin of the Colorado Plateau’s transition to the Rio Grande Rift further east — and occupying parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado — the oldest rocks exposed in the Ghost Ranch area are a thick collection of brick-red to red siltstone, mudstone, and white to tan sandstone, deposited by rivers more than 200 million years ago, when this area was located about 10 degrees north of the equator.

In 1929, Georgia O’Keefe first began painting part of each year in northern New Mexico. In 1934 she first visited Ghost Ranch; it’s varicolored cliffs inspired some of her most famous landscapes. In 1949, she made her permanent home on a cliff above Abiquiu. O’Keefe wrote in 1977: “Such a beautiful, untouched, lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the “Faraway’. It is a place I have painted before… even now I must do it again”.

Nor have I been able to resist repeatedly overlaying this landscape with my own sense of the passage of time…

Ghost Ranch W<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011 Ghost Ranch W VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Ghost Ranch 1/3 — 2011

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New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture

2013

Most fascinating for me is the very different palette available shooting west as early light casts an orange glow on the gypsum sand, with various pan’s impact on the gypsum and the surrounding grasses.

White Sands Am<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013 White Sands Am II<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013 White Sands Am III<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013 White Sands Am IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013 White Sands Am V<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013 White Sands Am VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands AM Capture — 2013

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New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture

2011

The White Sands National Monument, located 300 miles south of Santa Fe at the northern end of Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, is nestled in the high-desert Tularosa Basin (4,200′ el.). Between the San Andres Mountain Range, to the west, and the Sacramento Mountains to the east, are the astounding white-white wave-like gypsum dunes, that over millions of years have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, comprising the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.

Between enormous upheavals in the Earth’s crust 250 million years ago, followed by the uplift of these mountains 150 million years later, these huge gypsum deposits were exposed. Rainfall and snowmelt then leeched out the gypsum, washing it down the mountainsides, to accumulate in Lake Lucero, the lowest point in the basin. Without outfall drainage, evaporation left behind layers of crystallized gypsum that prevailing southwest winds have carried up the basin, piling them in dunes as high as 50 feet.

Sand dunes are always striking as their organic shapes and patterns constantly change the absorption and reflection of light, but snow-white dunes are even more unique. Unlike most quartz desert sands, glistening white sands are composed of gypsum and calcium sulphate; also, unlike most beaches, white sand is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture, since the sand reflects rather than absorbs the sun’s rays.

This first series of images were captured shooting west as last light approaches; while in my next blog are of images shooting east, capturing early light. Equally fascinating is how low-angled winter light casts diverse color on the bright white gypsum sand. Shadowed low and flat light creates a bluish cast when shooting west toward last light, while early light casts an orange glow on the gypsum sand.

PM White Sands<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011 PM White Sands II<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011 PM White Sands III<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011 PM White Sands IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011 PM White Sands V<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011 PM White Sands VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: White Sands PM Capture — 2011

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New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4

2016

Images from these last four series represent my fourteen year (so far) quest to convey my impressions of the Bosque del Apache, as Sandhills course through dimly-lit high desert winter skies, to-and-from the wetlands, during a 3 to 4 month period each winter.

Bosque del Apache<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache VII<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 4/4 — 2016

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New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4

2016

At higher elevation, the brisk, late-light winter air barely illuminates the ever-so-quiet wetlands tapestry for the arrival of incoming migrating water fowl in the lee of the mountains to the west.

Ten to fifteen thousand mildly honking, considerably larger Sandhill Cranes follow in the wake of  the tens of thousands of smaller but much more cacophonic snow geese…

And as the very last light descends, the wetlands regain their peacefulness — until the next morning’s very first light!

Bosque del Apache<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016 Bosque del Apache VII<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 3/4 — 2016

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New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4

2012

During the coldest winter months, the Bosque del Apache’s diurnal rhythms are unbelievably consistent. At very first light the tremendous flocks of Snow Geese begin stirring, before rising in louder and larger groups that nearly blank out the sky, heading for adjoining grain fields to feed for the day; it’s only when no other creature can withstand the deafening din (transfering this bucolic scene into complete chaos), that the 12,000-to-15,000 Sandhills rise in smaller groups to also feed in the adjoining fields.

And then as the setting sun begins dropping behind the near western mountains, the enormous flocks of Snow Geese return, circling the wetlands before settling in for the night, followed more gradually by the larger, more majestic, and quieter Sandhills…

Bosque del Apache<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012 Bosque del Apache VII<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 2/4 — 2012

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New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4

20XX

Following almost a month in Eastern Europe, I’m so glad to be back home in New Mexico’s high country, above 4,000′ elevation, which includes much of central and western New Mexico.

Always exhilarated by high-desert light, I’m starting off this year’s postings by re-visiting images of my favorite New Mexico locations, beginning with the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which is fed by the Río Grande, 150 miles south of Santa Fe. Established in 1939, this is a protected migratory stop for thousands of snow geese and upwards of 15,000 Sandhill Cranes heading south in November, then returning north beginning in February for breeding season.

Early winter light warms the soft wetlands screened by the 7,000′ Chupadera Mountains immediately to the west; as the sun clears the mountains, thousands of Snow Geese’s cacophony builds until the Sandhills too, with their six-foot wingspans, begin to lift off in twos and threes, heading for the nearby grain fields to feed for the day before returning, as the sun sets, to the wetlands’ 2-4′ of water.

So, this will be the first of the 4 Bosque del Apache favorites.

Bosque del Apache<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache II<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache III<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache IV<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache V<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache VI<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4 Bosque del Apache VII<br>New Mexico Favorites: Bosque del Apache 1/4

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Nature’s Ability to Amaze…

2003

Early one winter morning 14 years ago, shortly after moving to Santa Fe, amidst its wonderful high desert landscape, I was driving up Santa Fe Mountain’s west face to continue my photographic study of its extensive Aspen stands. Upon rounding a sharp curve in the road — I happened upon an astounding and sublime surprise: a “snow spiral” which apparently had formed rolling down the steep slope. Not certain what I glimpsed, I stopped to take a closer look. And having never before seen anything like it, I just had to capture it!

Nor have I ever seen anything like it since…

Enjoy! Merry Christmas

Snow Spiral<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral II<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral IIl<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral IV<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral V<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral VI<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral VII<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003

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South Into New Mexico

2016

Further south in New Mexico’s high country — returning home to Santa Fe, where I have resided for the last 12 years — restraining my camera stroke enabled me to soften the the texture amongst the brighter colors…

South Into New Mexico<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016 South Into New Mexico II<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016 South Into New Mexico III<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016 South Into New Mexico IV<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016 South Into New Mexico V<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016 South Into New Mexico VI<br>South Into New Mexico — 2016

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains III

2015

From 20 miles north of Santa Fe, my third and final series of the west face of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. President Clinton was fond of saying, “its the economy stupid!”

Well, in photography, it’s all about the light…

On this day, the sun was “out full bore,” and because my captures were slightly earlier in the day, the sun still cleared the Jemiz Mountain range behind me; sunlight shined directly on Santa Fe Baldy, the highest peak in this section of the range. Blending the highlighted west face amongst its shadowed surroundings offered a very different series of compositions.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains III — 2015 Sangre de Cristo Mountains II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains III — 2015 Sangre de Cristo Mountains III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains III — 2015 Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains III — 2015 Sangre de Cristo Mountains V<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains III — 2015

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains II

 2015

Another series of captures from “my” 8,500′ ridge vantage point, 20 miles north of Santa Fe, offers dramatic “takes” of the Sangre’s west face — including its foothills — leading up to its 12,000′ peaks perched under a late afternoon sky.

As direct sunlight still bathes the nearby foothills, the receding Sangre peaks read as a distant blue line of demarcation that separate the Blood of Christ ridge from the Western cloud-laden sky. These three receding horizontal elements of color and texture afford an array of blending possibilities…

Sangre Mountains <br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II — 2015 Sangre Mountains II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II — 2015 Sangre Mountains III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II — 2015 Sangre Mountains IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II — 2015 Sangre Mountains V<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II — 2015

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