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: 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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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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South through Western Colorado

2016

The next day’s weather enabled me to gradually alter the landscape’s texture against cloud movement…

South through Western Colorado<br>South through Western Colorado — 2016 South through Western Colorado II<br>South through Western Colorado — 2016 South through Western Colorado III<br>South through Western Colorado — 2016 South through Western Colorado IV<br>South through Western Colorado — 2016

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South through Southeast Idaho

2016

On the road again, overlaying this magnificent high country by regulating the sense of the passage of time with the car’s speed, while at the same time blending the imagery by twisting the camera…

South through Southeast Idaho<br>South through Southeast Idaho — 2016 South through Southeast Idaho II<br>South through Southeast Idaho — 2016 South through Southeast Idaho III<br>South through Southeast Idaho — 2016 South through Southeast Idaho IV<br>South through Southeast Idaho — 2016

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South through Western Montana

2016

Heading home from Alberta to Santa Fe through the sweeping vistas and muted evening light of Western Montana.

South through Western Montana<br>South through Western Montana — 2016 South through Western Montana II<br>South through Western Montana — 2016 South through Western Montana III<br>South through Western Montana — 2016 South through Western Montana IV<br>South through Western Montana — 2016 South through Western Montana V<br>South through Western Montana — 2016

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Alberta, Jasper South

2016

Heading south along the Icefields Parkway, returning from Jasper — again paralleling the Columbia ice fields —the views of the Canadian Rockies are just as incredible, modulated only by the sun’s direction and time of day…

Alberta, Jasper South<br> Alberta, Jasper South — 2016 Alberta, Jasper South II<br> Alberta, Jasper South — 2016 Alberta, Jasper South III<br> Alberta, Jasper South — 2016 Alberta, Jasper South IV<br> Alberta, Jasper South — 2016

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Alberta, Banff North

2016

Ninety minutes west of Calgary, Banff & Lake Louise begins Alberta’s spectacular 150 mile Icefields Parkway drive from Banff north to Jasper — ranked by National Geographic as one of the top 10 drives in the world. Certainly the most dramatic in Canada, it parallels the Continental Divide and the Columbia ice fields at an elevation of about 6,000′ through the magnificent Canadian Rockies.

Alberta, Banff North<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016 Alberta, Banff North II<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016 Alberta, Banff North III<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016 Alberta, Banff North IV<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016 Alberta, Banff North V<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016 Alberta, Banff North VI<br>Alberta, Banff North — 2016

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Mexico Central Plateau

2016

West of San Miguel de Allende, the Laja River rises in the Sierra Madre at about 6,000′ elevation, arches east and then south through the central plateau, past San Miguel de Allende, where it flows into the Lerma River.

Looking east 15 miles to San Miguel across Presa Allende Lake — created by the Ignacio Allende Dam to control Laja River flooding — offers a wonderful sense of Mexico’s central plateau high desert landscape.

Mexico Central Plateau<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 2016 Mexico Central Plateau II<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 2016 Mexico Central Plateau III<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 2016 Mexico Central Plateau IV<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 2016 Mexico Central Plateau V<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 2016 Mexico Central Plateau VI<br>Mexico Central Plateau — 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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Sangre de Cristo Mountains

2015

Returning to one of my favorite New Mexico palettes — just twenty miles north of my home in Santa Fe — an accessible 8,500 foot ridge offers unobstructed views across the 2-3 mile wide valley directly into the entire west face of the Blood of Christ mountain range, from its foothills all the way up and beyond its 12,000′ peaks, which are so often crowned with a continuously-modulating cloud cap as the evening light descends.

An always-varying palette of color, shadow, texture and form…

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

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