Blood Red Lunar Eclipse

Blood Red Lunar Eclipse

The Blood Red Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015, was indeed spectacular in the crystal clear high desert skies over Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In April of 2015 I had gone out in the middle of a cold night to see the brief one that occurred then. I’m glad I made the effort to see that one, because it gave me an appreciation for everything about this one that led to all of the hype.

This is a time lapse slideshow of some of my images from the eclipse:


This gallery of images highlights some of the major markers during the course of the eclipse:

This is a time lapse composite of the spectacular Blood Red Moon lunar eclipse of September 27, 2015, as seen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

blood red lunar eclipse
Time Lapse Composite of “Blood Red Moon” Eclipse on September 27, 2015, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The skies here never disappoint.

I hope you have enjoyed this presentation of images, whether you got to see the eclipse in person and especially if you did not. I appreciate your interest!


The Roadrunner, an Iconic Bird of the Desert

The roadrunner, a member of the cuckoo family, is the official Bird of the State of New Mexico. They are abundant even within the city of Albuquerque. They are regular visitors to my yard, using the ubiquitous block walls as superhighways. Unlike people, who seem to walk in the streets rather than on the sidewalks in this neighborhood, the roadrunners make great use of sidewalks and garden walls, and seem to be in the streets here only when crossing! They have smartly adapted to an urban environment.

One recent afternoon I caught sight of the young Cooper’s hawk just hanging out in what seems to have become one of its favorite spots in a pine tree, which does provide good cover for it. I was amazed that many little birds were at the feeders I provide, blissfully unaware of the presence of the hawk, who would soon be looking for dinner or an afternoon snack. I grabbed my camera and set out to photograph the hawk. As I usually do, I left the lens cap on, planning to remove it when I was settled into a chosen spot for photographing the hawk.

Silly me! I walked out the door, and about six feet to my right was a roadrunner with a hapless lizard hanging from its beak. Yes! Get that picture quick! Uh, no, remove the lens cap! In the time that took, the roadrunner swallowed it prey. Missed that one! But, the roadrunner did hang around for a few pictures before running off to another yard.

Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner. Look at that beak, capable of snapping prey in half.
Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner. Look at those feet!

I went out to photograph a hawk hiding in a tree, and instead got a roadrunner in the open and in the light. Not a bad deal overall. 🙂

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has a nice video of roadrunners in that state:

Darth Vader Jumping Spider

Darth Vader Jumping Spider

Jumping spider as Darth Vader? Well, that thought certainly crossed my mind when I saw this little spider jumping from leaf to leaf, branch to branch, on a rose bush.

jumping spider
Darth Vader Jumping Spider?

This was the funniest little spider I have seen in my yard in a long time. He first tried to stare me down, which is how I got this particular image. The scientific name for this spider is Phidippus audax, which means “daring” or “bold.” This one certainly was!!!

When I didn’t leave, it scurried under leaves, over leaves, jumped everywhere, looking around periodically to see if I were still there.

This spider could also be dressed for Halloween – black and orange! This was a particularly wonderful creature to run across unexpectedly in the yard!

jumping spider
“OK, I’m Leaving, Lady!”
Jumping Spider
Nice Backside!

While these are common in the United States and in New Mexico, this is the most colorful one I have seen in my yard. It was an unexpected pleasure, along with being a little humorous. Keep an eye out for something similar when you are out in your yard.

Autumn Sunflower

Autumn Sunflower

Autumn Sunflower. Autumn in New Mexico is a magical time of year. Corresponding to events rather than calendar dates, its beginning is generally marked by the arrival of the season’s green chile crop, with the pungent smell of roasting chiles everywhere. Major events following in quick succession are the New Mexico State Fair (EXPO NM), the Corrales Harvest Festival and Pet Parade, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (accompanied by the Corrales Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church, one of my favorites!), the Marigold Parade marking the Day of the Dead, and the the All American Thanksgiving Day celebration. For me, mixed in with that, are personal celebrations and activities with family and close friends. Autumn is my favorite time of the year in New Mexico! And, also, the busiest!

Autumn is, of course, ultimately followed by winter. (Reminder to self: buy a new snow shovel before winter’s arrival with a predicted strong El Nino!) Even early in the current season are little signs the glorious days of autumn cannot last forever. But, even these signs carry their own kind of beauty.

autumn sunflower
Fading Sunflower in Autumn

Cooper’s Hawk

Correction 10/08/2015: This is a Sharp Shinned Hawk and Not a Cooper’s Hawk!

Young Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s hawk is an accipiter that has adapted to life in what has been termed “the urban forest” of the northeast part of Albuquerque. Here, in a limited part of the city, their concentration is as great as in any of the “natural” habitats. What you see in this image is the type of environment in which you might see them.

Cooper's Hawk
Young Cooper’s Hawk

Those of you who have been regular readers here know of a rather prolonged encounter I had in August of 2014 with a young Cooper’s hawk. I had seen them passing through the yard sporadically before and after then, but I really became interested in them at that time. I kept waiting for another prolonged, intense encounter with one of these beautiful and impressive birds. A pair was known through the summer to have set up housekeeping at the arroyo at the end of the street, so I thought that sooner or later a young one might appear.

You can’t plan these things. This afternoon I was rushing around, trying to get some place on time. I had everything ready to go, and glanced out. Well, you can’t just ignore these wonderful things – any wonderful things – when they drop in, no matter how unexpected at the time. I hurriedly changed lenses, and made a few images.

I expect – perhaps I should say hope – to see more of this bird in the coming months.

Morning Sky

Morning Sky in the “Land of Enchantment”

morning sky
Another Spectacular Sunrise

Morning sky: what a way to start the day here in New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment.” And, it seems never to be the same. Day in and day out, the morning sky is different from the day before.

The very colorful sky is short-lived. Today it was four minutes, and that is typical. Over the years I have learned many of the signs that signal the possibility of a spectacular sunrise or sunset, or rainbow, and, every now and then, other phenomena.

Skies like this do not happen without clouds. If I see clouds when I awaken, I’ll watch, with camera near, and start to photograph as soon as color appears. I’ll continue photographing until the color fades. I’ve watched the position of the morning sun change throughout the seasons. I understand the expression, “up before the birds.” (The birds do come to feed shortly thereafter, though.)

Just one more amazing morning sky in New Mexico. (The intense colors at present are probably contributed to by the smoke from fires in California.)

Old Cars and Sunflowers

Old Cars and Sunflowers – Icons of New Mexico

Old cars and sunflowers are each, in their own right, icons of the New Mexico landscape. Imagine my joy as a photographer when I found the two together!

old cars and sunflowers
New Mexico Icons: Old Cars and Sunflowers

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time are aware of my interest in old adobes and every now and then, in old wooden buildings. I don’t have a series of old cars (yet 🙂 ), but more sunflowers are definitely on their way.

I could not resist this image of an old car surrounded by sunflowers!

Late Summer Insects

Late Summer Insects in Corrales, New Mexico

Late summer insects were certainly abundant yesterday at the Corrales home of friends Tim and Laurie. I met them years ago through the local rose society, and we have become great friends with a wide variety of shared interests. They grow many roses, but they also plant a wide variety of other things aimed at encouraging pollinators and other beneficial insects. Their land was covered with abundant wild sunflowers, and also naturalized with cosmos, brown-eyed Susans, coreopsis, echinacea, black bamboo, and one I found especially fascinating for the variety of insects it attracted, garlic chives. All of these had been intentionally planted at one time, and then allowed to naturalize their land, which was spectacular in its color. I have been there many times, but I had never seen so much in bloom at one time before. The insects seemed quite happy and were buzzing everywhere! This is a small sample.

Bees, many different varieties, were everywhere. This one seemed to beg to be photographed. The plant is garlic chives.

summer insects bee
Bee on Garlic Chives

If you read my other blog, Southwest Desert Gardening, you recently saw a dead one of these, a Western Green June Bug, also called a Figeater Beetle. On that one, it was easy to show the metallic underside, which was quite beautiful. On this image, you can see some of the metallic parts. The plant is cosmos.

summer insects june bug
Western Green June Bug, Figeater Beetle

This is a Narrow Waisted Wasp on Garlic Chives

summer insects wasp
Narrow Waisted Wasp

Although I generally am not a huge fan of the grasshoppers that arrive in late summer, this one seemed to have a beguiling expression, and I also liked the blue legs. Once again, the plant is Garlic Chives.

summer insects grasshopper

Butterflies will be in a separate post.

I enjoyed the opportunity to photograph these late summer insects not frequently thought of as “beautiful,” but I liked them. 🙂

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