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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Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon

2015

Back home from China in Santa Fe; several weeks later I drove east across the high plains of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle before heading south to Ft. Worth to see friends. En route, I stopped to have a look at Palo Duro Canyon, situated just south of Amarillo, that claims to be the second largest canyon in the U.S. Typical spring weather — wind and furious thunderstorms across Texas’ high plains — did not disappoint.

Early Spanish Explorers discovered the area and named the canyon “Palo Duro,” Spanish for “hardwood” due to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. Palo Duro Canyon’s elevation at its rim is 3,500 feet; it is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 800 feet deep, compared to the Grand Canyon — the largest in the U.S. — which is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft deep.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park comprises 30,000 acres at the north end of the canyon. Water erosion from the Red River deepens the canyon as it moves sediment downstream, while wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon.

Humans have resided in the canyon for approximately 12,000 years. Nomadic tribes hunted mammoth, giant bison, and other large game. Later, Apache Indians lived in the canyon, but were soon replaced by Comanche and Kiowa tribes, who resided in the area until 1874 when Colonel Ranald Mackenzie was sent into the area to transport them to a newly appointed reservation in Oklahoma.

In 1876, Charles Goodnight entered the canyon and opened the JA Ranch, which at its peak, supported more than 100,000 head of cattle.

Texas Panhandle<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Windmill<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Windmill II<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon II<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon III<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon IV<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Mesquite & Pinon<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015

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Let It Snow

Merry Christmas to All…

Let It Snow<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow II<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow III<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow IV<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow V<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow VI<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow VII<br>Let It Snow Let It Snow VIII<br>Let It Snow

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Abiquiu Lake

2014

Abiquiu Lake is a reservoir located in Rio Arriba County 60 miles north of Santa Fe.

The Rio Chama was damned in 1963 to create the 5,200 acre Abiquiu Lake, which is more than 12 miles long  at an elevation of 6,100 feet.

From the bluffs along the southern side of the lake, the views north of the red cliffs that frame Ghost Ranch are just beautiful. Behind (south of) the lake is the very distinctive 9,862′ mountain, Cerro Pedernal.

Abiquiu Lake<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake II<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake III<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake IV<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake V<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014

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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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