Aspen Turning II

2018

As the temperature drops above 8,000′ elevation in early autumn, the aspen’s leaves commence turning — initially from green to bright yellow, through various hues of gold and lastly to surprising shades of orange — while the tall, slender and graceful trunks subtly shift from white to taupe.

Just north of Santa Fe, along the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range among Santa Fe Mountain’s extensive aspen stands, most of the groves begin their turn dramatically at the same time. Others change at a different pace, depending on their particular exposure to sun and wind.

These out-of-sync aspen turns are invariably more muted, with the leaves’ change often blending closely with their trunks — creating quiet, blended tapestries that are contrasted against nearby evergreens.

Overlaying these quiet forest tapestries with minimal camera strokes enables me to achieve the antidote to my lifetime preoccupation to control time. It’s no accident that my landscapes convey the serenity I have always sought in my own life…

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning III<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning IV<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning V<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018 Aspen Turning VI<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain II — 2018

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Aspen Turning I

2018

Every mid-September to mid-October, as the temperature begins dropping, aspen leaves — beginning above 8,000′ elevation on many western mountains — turn from green to bright yellow, then gold, and finally to various shades of orange, while the tall, slender, graceful trunks subtly shift from white to taupe-to-cream.

Santa Fe Mountain, immediately north of Santa Fe, and on the western side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, is one of those western mountains blessed with large aspen groves.

The ten mile drive from Santa Fe’s central square up Santa Fe’s ski mountain provides nearly continuous visual access to its many aspen groves. In fact, during early fall, it has become an annual ‘right of passage’ for residents, as well as many visitors, to go up Santa Fe mountain to see and photograph the Aspen Turning.

Having been traveling a lot during fall months, I’ve missed this early fall pilgrimage for the past  5-6 years. But this year I am remaining here in Santa Fe, and I have promised myself to spend time up on Santa Fe Mountain every possible day I can.

And, in turn, to devote the next 7 blogs — through the end of the year — to my various interpretations of ASPEN TURNING…

Aspen Turning<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning II<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning III<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning IV<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning V<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018 Aspen Turning VI<br>Aspen Turning, Santa Fe Mountain I — 2018

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Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain

2013

From about 10,000 feet elevation on Santa Fe Mountain — Santa Fe’s ski mountain — where the ski lifts rise to 13,200′ – views toward the South and Southwest offer classic New Mexico mountainous landscape under New Mexico’s equally spectacular, colorful skies.

I moved from the eastern shore of Maryland 15 years ago to place myself at the eastern edge of the amazing landscape throughout America’s west – as have so many artists of all kinds who have moved here over the last 100 years.

Never have I tired of the amazing visual access to nature’s unending western beauty.

I captured this group of pictures one evening while showing the view to out-of-town friends. I spent about an hour capturing some 20 images, from which these five best reflect my 40 year+ compulsion to overlay my images with some sense of the ever-fleeting passage of time.

Southwest Santa Fe Mountain<br>Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain — 2013 Southwest Santa Fe Mountain II<br>Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain — 2013 Southwest Santa Fe Mountain III<br>Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain — 2013 Southwest Santa Fe Mountain IV<br>Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain — 2013 Southwest Santa Fe Mountain V<br>Southwest from Santa Fe Mountain — 2013

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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 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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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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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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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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Aspen Orange

2007

Santa Fe sits on the windward side of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountain range. This southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains extends from Southern Colorado to Glorieta Pass southeast of Santa Fe.

Immediately northeast of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Mountain’s (10,350’) west face is blessed with an enormous aspen stand. Lit by the evening’s last light, they glow atop the mountain for all of Santa Fe to see.

Amongst the Aspens’ beautiful taupe trunks are the occasional aberrant blood-orange boles. Standing out like sentinels, their contrast is truly magical.

Aspen Grove<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange II<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange III<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange IV<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Orange V<br>Aspen Orange - 2007 Aspen Forest<br>Aspen Orange - 2007

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