Bosque del Apache V: Sunset

2013

As the sun begins to set, the daily ‘fly-in’ commences with the gradual return of all the snow geese and sandhills to the relative safety of the bosque’s 3-to-4 feet of water. Announcing their arrival with incessant honking as they circle and set down, the very low-angled light of sunset provides a dramatic backdrop.

Snow Geese Fly-In<br>Bosque del Apache V: Sunset - 2013 Sandhill Fly-In<br>Bosque del Apache V: Sunset - 2013 Chupaderas at Sunset<br>Bosque del Apache V: Sunset - 2013 Chupaderas at Sunset II<br>Bosque del Apache V: Sunset - 2013

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Bosque del Apache V: Overflight

2013

Tens of thousands of snow geese and as many as 15,000 sandhill cranes begin arriving mid-November to rest and refuel from their long southern migration flights. Most will stay until the end of January, spending each night safe from predators in 2-to-3 feet of marsh water. At dawn, the snow geese begin stirring; soon their honking and flapping of wings raises to such a din, flock after flock lift off, ‛flying out’ to the surrounding fields to feed. As the sun sets, they return to the wetlands for the night.

This time of year thousands of people are drawn to Bosque Apache to witness this twice daily incredible ‛sight, sound, and motion’ show, which is further enhanced by the low-angled winter sun as the birds circle against the 7,000′ Chupadera Mountains.

Sandhill Overflies Snow Geese<br>Bosque del Apache V: Overflight - 2013 Snow Geese Overflight<br>Bosque del Apache V: Overflight - 2013 Snow Geese Overflight II<br>Bosque del Apache V: Overflight - 2013 Snow Geese Overflight III<br>Bosque del Apache V: Overflight - 2013

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Bosque del Apache V: Sandhills Rising

2013

Each morning during their migration rest at Bosque del Apache, the Sandhill Cranes rise from fields flooded by 2-3 feet of water, where they are safe from predators. In groups of 3 to 10 they fly to nearby grain fields, where they spend the day feeding, only to rise again as the day fades and return to the safety of the wetlands for the night.

Weighing 8 to 10 lbs. and with a wingspan of up to 6 feet, Sandhills look ungainly while standing, but stretch into beautiful aerodynamic form with their powerful pumping wings slowly lifting them into the sky

 

Sandhills Rising<br>Bosque del Apache VI: Sandhills Rising - 2013 Sandhills Rising II<br>Bosque del Apache VI: Sandhills Rising - 2013 Sandhills Rising III<br>Bosque del Apache VI: Sandhills Rising - 2013 Sandhills Rising IV<br>Bosque del Apache VI: Sandhills Rising - 2013 Sandhills Rising V<br>Bosque del Apache VI: Sandhills Rising - 2013
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Bosque del Apache V: Framed by Mountains

2013

Twelve years ago I moved from Maryland’s very flat, eastern shore to Santa Fe to live amongst beautiful mountains bathed by incredible high desert light. Yet I still can’t quite believe the anomaly that is the 4,500′ Bosque del Apache wetlands preserve.

The wetlands’ color and texture magically blend against the Chupadera mountains’ 7,000′ east face during the sun’s morning ascent.

Framed by Mountains<br>Framed by Mountains - 2013 Framed by Mountains II<br>Framed by Mountains - 2013 Framed by Mountains III<br>Framed by Mountains - 2013 Framed by Mountains IV<br>Framed by Mountains - 2013

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Bosque del Apache V: Wetlands

2013

As the sun begins its climb, the wetlands gradually emerge from darkness, revealing wonderfully subtle shades against the water, whether still or rippling. Continuing to climb, the light’s angle widens against increasing color variations and emerging shadows until thousands of light geese stir with their gutteral cries, as the wetland colors and textures explode…

Wet Lands<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Wet Lands II<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Wet Lands III<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Wet Lands IV<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Wet Lands V<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013

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Bosque del Apache V: Early Light

2013

This is my fifth extended visit to Bosque del Apache, one of my favorite locations in New Mexico, 160 miles south of Santa Fe. Created in 1939 to protect the last remaining 17 living sandhill cranes, the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge’s selective damming of an offshoot of the Rio Grande has developed into nearly 100 sq miles of managed wetlands and adjacent feeding fields, providing a critical stopover for migrating birds including ducks, hundreds of thousands of light geese, and now thousands of sandhill cranes.

In late fall, the bird migrations on their southern trek stop to rest and feed, then return again in early spring as they fly north for mating season. With the first rays of sun, thousands of light geese begin stirring, until their deafening cacophony raises them in waves upon waves, to be followed by hundreds of the much larger and more majestic sandhills in groups of 10 to 20 at a time. Since they only fly to surrounding fields to feed for the day, once the sun begins to set, the light geese and Sandhills rise again and return to the safety of adjoining marshes for the night.

Low-angled winter light on the wetlands, marshes, grain fields and surrounding mountains presents a spectacularly soft tableau.

Early Light<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Early Light II<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Early Light III<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Early Light IV<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013 Early Light V<br>Bosque del Apache V - 2013

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White Sands IV

2013

At 4,000′ elevation, the 275 square mile White Sands’ dune field comprises the world’s largest surface deposit of gypsum. Located 250 miles south of Albuquerque, and just north of the White Sands Missle Test Center, White Sands National Monument is situated in New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin between two 8-9,000′ North-South mountain ranges — the San Andreas Mountains to the west, and the Sacramento Mountains to the east.

The white gypsum sand is unlike typical desert sands made of quartz, or sand found on most beaches. Because the white gypsum reflects the sun’s rays resulting in a high rate of evaporation of surface moisture, the white gypsum sand is cool to the touch.

Because of southern New Mexico’s exceptionally clear weather, Germany trains their fighter pilots from an airbase 20 miles SE of White Sands; often they leave contrails that contrast dramatically against New Mexico’s blue, blue skies.

White Sands West<br>White Sands IV - 2013 White Sands East<br>White Sands IV - 2013 White Sands West II<br>White Sands IV - 2013 White Sands East II<br>White Sands IV - 2013 Jet Contrails Over White Sands<br>White Sands IV - 2013

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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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