Sangre de Cristo Mountains X

2014

The tenth and final successive exploration (at least for now) of the west face of Santa Fe Baldy’s portion of the Sangre de Cristo range, immediately north of Santa Fe.

Eight months since my last exploration, the setting sun, through clouds scattered over the Jemez range 20 miles west, slowly diffuses Santa Fe Baldy’s own atmospherics.

Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains X - 2014 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains X - 2014 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains X - 2014 Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains X - 2014

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains IX

2013

The 9th of ten successive explorations of the Santa Fe Baldy portion of the Sangre de Cristo range, immediately north of Santa Fe.

Winter’s earlier, crisper light emphasizes Santa Fe Baldy’s west face, especially when framed with low hanging clouds.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IX - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IX - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IX - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IX - 2013

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Sange de Cristo Mountains VIII

2013

As winter sets in I continue my visual explorations of the Sangre de Cristo mountain ridge surrounding New Mexico’s 4th highest peak, Santa Fe Baldy.

Blending the snow-covered mountains’ more subtle palette allows for a very different interpretation…

Santa Fe Baldy<br> Sangre de Cristo Mountains VIII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br> Sangre de Cristo Mountains VIII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br> Sangre de Cristo Mountains VIII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br> Sangre de Cristo Mountains VIII - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains VII

2013

Continuing my visual explorations just north of Santa Fe, as the weather turns, the contrast of light, clouds and first snow intensifies against the 12,000′ Sangre de Cristo mountain ridge that surrounds New Mexico’s  4th highest peak, Santa Fe Baldy.

In turn, this further reduction of my blended elements to three emphasizes how I see and interpret this landscape.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy I<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VII - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VII - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains VI

2013

I’m now half-way through introducing the results of my visual exploration of the 12,000′ Sangre de Cristo mountain ridge clustered around Santa Fe Baldy, New Mexico’s 4th highest peak, just north of Santa Fe.

Reducing the variables in each image – shooting from the same location, and at nearly the same time – reveals not only what I am seeing, but how I am seeing. Blending my motion-strokes against the mountain tops emphasizes the light’s particular hue, and how that hue casts upon Santa Fe Baldy.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VI - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VI - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VI - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains VI - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains V

2013

This is the fifth of ten successive explorations of light’s effect on the Santa Fe Baldy portion of the Sangre de Cristo mountain rangejust north of Santa Fe. At 12,632′ elevation, Santa Fe Baldy is especially susceptible to ‛nearly last light,’ particularly when nearby clouds take on hues that compliment the mountain peak.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Christos V - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Christos V - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Christos V - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Christos V - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy V<br>Sangre de Christos V - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV

2013

The fourth of ten successive explorations of the Santa Fe Baldy portion of the Sangre de Cristo range, just north of Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy V<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains IV - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains III

2013

This is the third of my ten successive explorations of the Santa Fe Baldy portion of the Sangre de Cristo range, just north of Santa Fe. Captured with slightly earlier afternoon light, filtered with some cloud cover, the lower contrast of these images offers a closer examination of the blended hues of the foothills against the ridge lines.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristos Mountains III - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristos Mountains III - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristos Mountains III - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristos Mountains III - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy V<br>Sangre de Cristos Mountains III - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains II

2013

Returning for the second time to my “new best” vantage point, just north of Santa Fe, to capture the Sangres surrounding Santa Fe Baldy, New Mexico’s 4th highest peak, this time at early light;  “my ridge” first presents the sun breaking behind the peaks, before lighting up the early clouds in concert with the ridge lines.

I’m expecting that this extended exploration of the light’s effect on this same section of the Sangre peaks will provide me a narrow comparative study which I have not attempted before.

Sangre de Christo<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II - 2013 SangreChristo II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II - 2013 SangreChristo III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II - 2013 SangreChristo IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II - 2013 SangreChristo V<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains II - 2013

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains I

2013

Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capitol, lies along the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo (Spanish for Blood of Christ) Mountain Range, which is the most southern subrange of the Rocky Mountains. Twenty miles west of Santa Fe is the Jemez Mountain Range, with the Río Grande flowing south between the two…

Less than 20 miles north of Santa Fe is a stretch of the Sangres that includes the third and fourth highest mountains in New Mexico: Truchas Peak (13,108′) and Santa Fe Baldy (12,632′). With this section of the Sangres so close to Santa Fe and so visually accessible, I decided to do an extended study of the setting sun’s effect on these peaks during the spring and summer of 2013. My light exploration was optimally accessed by a ridge five miles west, which placed me at the upper edge of the foothills.

This vantage point allowed me to concentrate on the elements of this mountainous landscape — light, shadow, and form — while enabling me to blend these elements with the foothills, the peaks, and the sky in various combinations.

Each of the successive permutations also reflects a single capture spanning no more than an hour of New Mexico’s last light.

Santa Fe Baldy<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains I - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy II<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains I - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy III<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains I - 2013 Santa Fe Baldy IV<br>Sangre de Cristo Mountains I - 2013

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Taos Plateau

2013

Taos and Santa Fe are both situated in north central New Mexico along the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo (Spanish for Blood of Christ) Mountain Range, which comprises the most southern subrange of the Rocky Mountains. Lying just east of the Rio Grande, both towns are at about 7,000′ elevation.

Santa Fe (69,000 pop.), New Mexico’s state capitol, is located 50 miles north of Albuquerque, with Taos (5,700 pop.) situated 70 miles further north..

The third and fourth highest mountains in New Mexico, 20 miles north of Santa Fe, are Truchas Peak (13,108′), and Santa Fe Baldy (12,632′), while immediately north of Taos, New Mexico’s two highest mountains are Wheeler Peak (13,167′), and Mount Walter (13,133′).

Immediately west of Taos the 3,000 square mile volcanic field is the largest within the Rio Grande Rift valley. This very flat Taos Plateau volcanic field is especially dramatic, with the 600′ deep Rio Grande Gorge running through it and the nearly 11,000′ San Antonio Mountain at its northwestern corner, all contrasted against the 13,000′ Sangres just to its east, with their 6,000′ vertical ascent.

East Into Sangres<br>Taos Plateau - 2013 East into Sangres II<br>Taos Plateau - 2013 West across Rio Grande Gorge & Taos Plateau<br>Taos Plateau - 2013 East Across Taos Plateau<br>Taos Plateau - 2013 Cottonwood against Taos Foothills<br>Taos Plateau - 2013

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Bosque del Apache IV

2013

Returning once again to the Bosque del Apache in cold January, I wait for first light as it gradually warms the soft wetlands and rouses thousands of migrating fowl. Tens of thousands of snow geese and thousands of Sandhill Cranes raise an amazing raucous as they begin lifting off the water to spread out amongst the adjoining fields of grain. Though the snow geese are quicker to gain flight, the Sandhills with their six-foot wing spans are truly majestic as they slowly rise in powerful flight.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 to protect the last remaining 17 living Sandhill Cranes. By creating a wetlands area off a turn of the Rio Grande seventy-five years ago, Bosque del Apache has served as the major high desert refuge for the Sandhills, various strains of geese, and countless ducks migrating south in fall and returning in early spring.

Against the Chupadera Mountains to the west, the contrast of the wetlands’ water and foliage illuminated by early light makes for a photographer’s dream.

Cottonwood<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013 Winter Orange<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013 Ravens and Sandhills<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013 Wetland Early Light<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013 Sandhills Rising<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013 Wetland Ice<br>Bosque del Apache IV - 2013

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White Sands III

2013

Situated in New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, between two 8-9,000′ mountain ranges — the San Andres Mountains to the west and Sacramento Mountains to the east —White Sands, unlike most desert sands made of quartz, is composed of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Unlike sand found on most beaches, white sand is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sand reflects rather than absorbs the sun’s rays. At an average 4,000′ elevation, the estimated 275 square miles of White Sands’ dune fields is known as the world’s largest surface deposit of gypsum.

Equally fascinating is how low-angled winter light casts diverse color onto the bright white gypsum sand. Shadowed low and flat light casts blue when shooting west toward last light, while early light casts an orange glow on the gypsum sand.

This is my third visit to White Sands. Each time I see it differently, and each time I come away with images that greatly excite me. A little over a year ago I hung a show at Las Cruces Museum, eleven images from my three visits including three from this series.

West into San Andres Mountains<br>White Sands III - 2013 West into San Andres Mountains II<br>White Sands III - 2013 Early Light<br>White Sands III - 2013 Early Light II<br>White Sands III - 2013 Wind Tracks<br>White Sands III - 2013 East into Sacremento Mountains III<br>White Sands III - 2013

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Galisteo Basin Aerial

2012

Just south of Santa Fe at the southern terminus of the Rocky Mountains, the Galisteo Basin begins a 2,500′ elevation descent south over 40 miles to the Sandias adjacent to Albuquerque; And to the west it stretches beyond the Rio Grande Rift to the southern end of the foothills of the Jemez Mountains.

Surrounded by these three mountain ranges, the Galisteo Basin’s classic northern New Mexico high desert landscape offers dramatic views in all directions. Having introduced three Galisteo Basin image series captured in 2011, this posting comprises a series of the Galisteo Basin captured from a morning helicopter flight in 2012.

To view more images of the Galisteo Basin, see Galisteo Basin I, Galisteo Basin II and Galisteo Basin III.

Galisteo Basin South<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Mesa<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Galisteo Basin Southeast<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Cerrillos Hills West<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Southwest Across Rio Grande Rift<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Jemez Foothills West<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Jemez Foothills Northwest<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Rio Grande<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012

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Aspen Turning

2012

The Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountain range is the southernmost subrange of the Rockies; they begin in Southern Colorado and extend south to just below Santa Fe. At the north end of town, on the Sangre’s western slope is Santa Fe Mountain, whose west face is covered with very large Aspen stands.

Native to cold regions with cool summers at altitudes above 5,000 feet, aspens are medium-sized deciduous trees reaching as high as 100′. They generally grow in large colonies derived from a single seedling and spread by means of root suckers whose new stems may appear more than 100 feet from the parent tree. While each individual tree can live for 40 to 150 years, they send up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground, so their root systems are long-lived, in some cases for thousands of years, which is why aspen stands are considered to be ancient woodlands.

Come the end of September through mid-October, the west face of Santa Fe Mountain lights up as the Aspen leaves turn their beautiful, riotous, yellow. Illuminated by the lower angle of fall sunsets, the light is just magical.

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Santa Fe Mountain<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Sangre Foothills III<br>Aspen Turning - 2012 Santa Fe Mountain II<br>Aspen Turning - 2012

 

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Ghost Ranch West III

2012

Warm early March light on this lovely array of high desert colors, just north of Abiquiu Lake, leading west from Ghost Ranch along the dirt road to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert…

‘Georgia O’Keefe country’ is an hour north of Santa Fe, and lies within the broad shallow Chama Basin along the eastern margin of the Colorado Plateau as it transitions toward the Rio Grande Rift further east. Because the Colorado Plateau has been a relatively stable block in the Earth’s crust for at least 600 million years, the rocks around Ghost Ranch are generally flat-lying and less deformed by broad-scale folding.

The oldest exposed rocks in the ghost ranch area belong to a thick layer of brick-red to red siltstone and mudstone, and mudstone and white to tan sandstone. Deposited more than 200+ million years ago when the Ghost Ranch area was located just 10 degrees north of the equator these varicolored cliffs provide its signature palette, when raised by low-angled light.

Blended with motion, it is my intent that this palette suggest its millions of years’ passage of time.

To view more images of Ghost Ranch, see Ghost Ranch and Ghost Ranch II.

Chamita River<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Road West II<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 East Facing Butte<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Southeast Facing<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Southeast Facing II<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Chama Basin<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012

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Zocalo

2013

Zocalo is a residential community designed in the form of clustered “casitas” at the northern edge of Santa Fe by world-renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.  Spanish for “town square”, Zocalo sits in the lee of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and reflects so beautifully Legorreta’s signature use of brilliant reds and yellows in dramatic contrast to the snow-capped mountains above. The high desert setting sun even further accentuates Legorreta’s warm ‘Mexican colors’.

Zocalo<br>Zocalo - 2013 Zocalo Against Sangres<br>Zocalo - 2013 Zocalo Against Sangres II<br>Zocalo - 2013 Zocalo Against Sangres III<br>Zocalo - 2013 Santa Fe Colors<br>Zocalo - 2013 Zocalo Totem<br>Zocalo - 2013

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Bosque del Apache III

2011

Early winter light warms the soft wetlands screened against the hard Chupadera Mountains as the rising sun awakens thousands of migrating fowl. The Snow Geese’s cacophony builds and 10,000 Sandhill Cranes begin lifting off in twos and threes with their six-foot wing spans slowly, powerfully, pumping them upward.

President Clinton used to say: “It’s the economy, stupid.” With landscape, it’s the light! Never is that more pronounced than in early winter at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge with the Sandhills flying.

To view more images of Bosque del Apache, see Bosque del Apache and Bosque del Apache II

Winter Palette<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011 Winter Palette II<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011 Winter Palette III<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011 Two Sandhills In Flight<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011 Three Sandhills<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011 Bosque Apache<br>Bosque del Apache III - 2011

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Ghost Ranch West II

2012

Two and a half months after my last visit, I’m back in Georgia O’Keefe country.  This morning, as it turned out, blessed with moderate cloud cover, I had nearly an hour to capture the soft light playing on Ghost Ranch country’s many layers of siltstone, mudstone and the white to tan sandstone that rivers laid down 200 million years ago when this area was situated only about 10 degrees north of the equator.

To visually emphasize the incredible passage of time that created this dramatic landscape, I chose a soft camera stroke to blend the emulsions in the softened light with the many subtle color layers.

To view more images of Ghost Ranch, see Ghost Ranch I and Ghost Ranch III.

Road West<br>Ghost Ranch SW II- 2012 East Facing<br>Ghost Ranch SW II - 2012 Northeast Facing<br>Ghost Ranch SW II - 2012 Chamita River<br>Ghost Ranch SW II - 2012 Ghost Ranch Totem<br>Ghost Ranch SW II - 2012

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Bosque del Apache II

2012

The Bosque’s most celebrated season begins with the arrival of the Sandhill Cranes in mid-November and lasts until January-February when they head north to breed. Honking and calling 10-15,000 strong, the Sandhills congregate in groups among thousands of Snow Geese creating a spectacular migratory stop in the desert sands.

Sandhills appear gangly standing in the water on their long skinny legs.  Yet as one of North America’s larger water fowl with wingspans reaching six feet, they are definitely the stars of the Bosque show.

To view more images of Bosque del Apache, see Bosque del Apache I and Bosque del Apache III

Grasslands<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012 Wetlands<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012 Wetlands Trail<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012 Sandhill Cranes Lift Off<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012 Chupaderas<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012 High Desert Bosque<br>Bosque del Apache II - 2012

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