Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains

2014

This is the third and final series of the Ortiz Mountains. In each of these images, I have stroked the camera ‘with the grain,’ while simultaneously also stroking ‘cross-grain;’ the resultant complex-curve pans, enable me to add depth and volume to these images which I like to think of as my own single-frame ‘Virtual Realities.’

Virtual Reality<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality II<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality III<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality IV<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality V<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality VI<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Virtual Reality VII<br>Galisteo Basin V3: Virtual Realities of the Ortiz Mountains – 2014

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Galisteo Basin V2: Augmented Reality

2014

Continuing my visual exploration of the Ortiz Mountains, I have augmented each of these images with a stretched sense of the passage of time — in order to emphasize and meld the 30 million years consumed in their creation. Panning my camera of this small mountain range at shutter speeds of less than 1/15 second, takes me a step toward my own pursuit of Virtual Reality!

Augmented Reality<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014 Augmented Reality II<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014 Augmented Reality III<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014 Augmented Reality IV<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014 Augmented Reality V<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014 Augmented Reality VI<br>Galisteo Basin V2 – 2014

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Galisteo Basin V: Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains

2014

A while back, I had the opportunity to ‘house-sit’ for friends who live on a ridge overlooking the Ortiz Mountains in the southern quadrant of Galisteo Basin, twenty miles south of my home in Santa Fe. Three weeks of this particular view gave me the opportunity to pursue different visual themes of the Ortiz: more or less straightforward photographic capture, plus overlaying the scene with varying motion strokes to stretch, and cross-cut the scene; and then to incorporate dramatic first and last New Mexico light to once again re-integrate my strokes.

Galisteo Basin<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Galisteo Basin II<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Galisteo Basin III<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Galisteo Basin IV<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Galisteo Basin V<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014 Galisteo Basin VI<br>Visually Deconstructing the Ortiz Mountains – 2014

 

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Bosque del Apache V: Totems

2013

The initial challenge for me was to compose vertical slices of landscape within the camera vs. carving a vertical image out of an existing horizontal image. Either way though, it causes me to see differently, which is my objective. Limiting much of the surroundings enables me to emphasize verticality.

These eight totems, drawing from both approaches, are meant to provide a different perspective on one of New Mexico’s truly beautiful locations.

Marsh<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Snow Geese<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Sandhills<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Wetlands<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Bald Eagle<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Sandhill<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Cottonwood<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013 Sandhill II<br>Bosque del Apache V: Totems - 2013

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Bosque del Apache V: Last Light

2013

As the last light falls on the bosque’s marsh grasses, the range of red-browns gradually fades against the Chupadera Mountains, leaving hardly any visible contrast with the tens of thousands of snow geese and sandhills that have now settled in, quieting with only occasional chatter.

Nearby grasses bordering a canal contrast ever more softly against the flowing water in the marshes. And then it becomes so quiet, no one would believe that only a few hundred yards away a vast carpet of migratory fowl await daybreak’s signal to once again awake, rise and fly out to the fields to feed.

Last Light<br>Bosque del Apache V: Last Light - 2013 Last Light II<br>Bosque del Apache V: Last Light - 2013 Last Light III[<br>Bosque del Apache V: Last Light - 2013 Last Light IV<br>Bosque del Apache V: Last Light - 2013

 

 

 

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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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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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Great Sand Dunes II

2013

15 miles north of Blanca Peak, a Colorado sand dune field emerged as a result of the last major volcanic activity in the San Juan Mountains some 30 million years ago. As the Rio Grande carried volcanic ash eastward, prevailing southwesterly winds – offset by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains’ snowmelt – maintained the unique balance of these trapped dunes:  shifting back and forth according to the strength and direction of the prevailing wind relative to the degree of the snowmelt’s runoff.

Reaching heights of 750′, these are the highest and tallest sand dunes in North America.

Native Americans have long observed this unique dune field’s wandering, shifting nature: the Jicarilla Apaches: “it goes up and down,” and the Utes: “the land that moves back and forth.”

Great Sand Dunes I<br>Great Sand Dunes - 2013 Great Sand Dunes II<br>Great Sand Dunes - 2013 Great Sand Dunes III<br>Great Sand Dunes - 2013 Great Sand Dunes IV<br>Great Sand Dunes - 2013 Great Sand Dunes V<br>Great Sand Dunes - 2013

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Blanca Peak

2013

Twenty miles northeast of Alamosa, at the very southern end of the more extensive Sangre de Cristo range, Blanca Peak, at 14,351′, is the highest summit of the Sierra Blanca Massif, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as well as the highest point within the Rio Grande’s entire drainage basin. In addition to being the fourth highest peak in Colorado, Blanca Peak is higher than any point east in the U.S.

Known to the Navajo nation as the Sacred Mountain of the East, Blanca Peak is considered to be the eastern boundary of the Dinetah, the traditional Navajo homeland.

Blanca Peak<br>Blanca Peak - 2013 Blanca Peak II<br>Blanca Peak - 2013 Blanca Peak III<br>Blanca Peak - 2013 Blanca Peak IV<br>Blanca Peak - 2013

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San Luis Valley

2013

San Luis Valley — 8,000 sq. miles, averaging 7,600′ elevation — is the largest high desert valley in North America. Situated in south central Colorado, with a small portion extending south into central New Mexico, this gradually-sloping, 122 mile long north-to-south flat basin, 74 miles wide, separates Colorado’s two largest mountain ranges – the San Juans to the west, and the Sangre de Cristos to the east.

As part of the Rio Grande Rift, San Luis Valley extends east from the Continental Divide. The Rio Grande River rises out of the eastern San Juan Mountains and flows south into New Mexico; Colorado rivers west of the Continental Divide are drained by the Colorado River. Receiving little precipitation, the San Luis Valley is comprised of desert lands; with no clear southern boundary, it is generally considered to include the San Luis Hills of southern Colorado and the Taos Plateau of northern New Mexico.

Along the eastern edge of San Luis Valley are two significant features:

Blanca Peak, at 14,351′, is the fourth highest mountain in Colorado, and the highest peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Situated at the southern end of the more extensive Sangre de Cristo Range, it is the highest peak in both ranges, and is located 20 miles east-northeast of the town of Alamosa. Blanca Peak is also the highest point of the entire drainage basin of the Rio Grande, and is higher than any point in the U.S. east of its longitude.

Fifteen miles northwest of Blanca Peak, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is situated in the lee of the Sangre de Cristos. These sand dunes, reaching as high as 750′, are the highest in North America.

Southeast Across the San Luis Valley<br>San Luis Valley - 2013 East Across the San Luis Valley<br>San Luis Valley - 2013 Sangres Across the San Luis Valley<br>San Luis Valley - 2013 Sangres & San Juans<br>San Luis Valley - 2013

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Independence Pass

2013

At 12,095′ elevation, this narrow strip of the Continental Divide is the high and extensive Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado. Situated midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, it includes eight of the twenty highest Rocky Mountain peaks. Independence Pass is the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the US.

Overlooking the alpine tundra environment above the treeline, Independence Pass offers incredible views east of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak, and the second highest mountain in the contiguous United States.

Independence Pass<br>Independence Pass - 2013 Independence Pass II<br>Independence Pass - 2013 Independence Pass III<br>Independence Pass - 2013 Independence Pass IV<br>Independence Pass - 2013

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Mount Garfield

2013

Mount Garfield at 6,780′ elevation is the high point of the Book Cliffs range — a series of desert mountains and cliffs stretching 200 miles from western Colorado into eastern Utah, north of Grand Junction. Appearing primarily along the southern and western edge of the Tavaputs Plateau, these cliffs are largely composed of sedimentary materials that cap many of the south-facing buttes, appearing similar to a shelf of books.

Within the Colorado Plateau geologic province, these cliffs of Cretaceous sandstone begin where the Colorado River descends south through De Beque Canyon into the Grand Valley before running west to Price Canyon near Helper, UT.

Mount Garfield<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Mount Garfield II<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Book Cliffs Mountains<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Book Cliffs Mountains II<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Tavaputs Plateau<br>Mount Garfield - 2013

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Flaming Gorge

2013

The Green River is both the inflow and outflow of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, whose elevation when full is 6,040′. Created in 1964 by the completion of the Flaming Gorge Dam, the reservoir is mostly situated in Wyoming, as its northern tip is only 14 miles southwest of Rock Springs, WY. Just its southern end dips into northeastern Utah.

Rising out of western Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, the Green River is the principal tributary of the Colorado River. During John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Green River, he named the Flaming Gorge for its spectacular red sandstone cliffs surrounding this part of the river. The Green River continues south through Utah, before it merges with the Colorado River 40 miles into western Colorado.

Flaming Gorge<br>Flaming Gorge - 2013 Flaming Gorge II<br>Flaming Gorge - 2013 Gorge Surroundings<br>Flaming Gorge - 2013 Gorge Surroundings II<br>Flaming Gorge - 2013 Gorge Surroundings III<br>Flaming Gorge - 2013

 

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Wind River Range

2013

Another Rocky Mountain range in Western Wyoming, The Winds run generally NW-SE for about 100 miles, and include more than 40 peaks in excess of 13,000′. Gannett Peak, at 13,809′ is the highest mountain in Wyoming, though only 33′ higher than the 13,776′ Grand Teton. Except for Grand Teton, the next 19 highest peaks in Wyoming, are in The Winds. Two National Forests and three wilderness areas encompass most of the Wind River Range, as the Continental Divide follows its crest.

Shoshone National Forest on its east side, and Bridger-Teton National Forest to the west, and the entire Wind River range, are all part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Portions of the range are also within the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin, such as the Shoshones and Absarokas (Crow) Native Americans lived in the range beginning 7,000 and 9,000 years ago.

The Winds<br>Wind River Range - 2013 The Winds II<br>Wind River Range - 2013 The Winds III<br>Wind River Range - 2013 The Winds IV<br>Wind River Range - 2013

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The Snake River Valley

2013

The Snake River’s headwaters are formed at the consolidation of three tiny streams, at an elevation of nearly 9,000′, on the southwest flank of Two Oceans Plateau situated in western Wyoming’s portion of Yellowstone National Park.

Flowing south through Jackson Lake, the ninth longest river in the US continues on south through Jackson Hole valley between the Tetons and Wind River Range, before making a large western sweep through southern Idaho’s Snake River Canyon, and then northwest through Oregon and Washington, where it becomes the Columbia River’s largest tributary, as well as the largest North American river to empty into the Pacific Ocean.

Looking east from the Tetons – the Snake continues its 1,078 mile journey to the Pacific — between the Tetons and The Wind River Range — as it flows south through Jackson Hole.

Snake River<br>The Snake River Valley - 2013 Snake River Valley<br>The Snake River Valley - 2013 Snake River II<br>The Snake River Valley - 2013 Snake River Valley II<br>The Snake River Valley - 2013 Snake River Valley Against The Winds<br>The Snake River Valley - 2013

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The Teton Range

2013

The Rocky Mountains’ north-south Teton Range includes 9 peaks in excess of 11,000′ elevation, with Grand Teton being the highest at 13,770′. Beginning just south of Yellowstone National Park, the Teton Range is situated primarily on the Wyoming side of the state border with Idaho, with most of the range’s east slope located in the Grand Teton National Park.

This area, 2.5 billion years ago, was an ancient ocean that gradually filled with sand and volcanic debris. As additional sediment deposited over millions of years, heat and pressure metamorphosed this sediment into gneiss, until eventually magma was forced up through the cracks in the gneiss to form granite, anywhere from inches to hundreds of feet thick.

Then, 6-10 million years ago, stretching and thinning of the Earth’s crust caused movement along the Teton fault: as the fault line’s west block rose to create the Teton Range – the youngest of the Rocky Mountains — the fault’s east block collapsed forming the valley called Jackson Hole.

While the west side of the Teton Range appears as high rolling hills transitioning smoothly into flat pasture, the Teton’s spectacular east-facing granite slope — too young to have eroded into soft hills, and without lower peaks to obscure it — rises dramatically 5,000 to 7,000′ above the valley floor.

Teton Range<br>The Teton Range - 2013 Teton Range II<br>The Teton Range - 2013 Grand Teton<br>The Teton Range - 2013 Grand Teton II<br>The Teton Range - 2013 Grand Teton III<br>The Teton Range - 2013

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