11/5/17
Hover Fly

Sunday Musings

Sunday Musings

Sunday Musings: return to Standard Time, Marigold Parades past, the fascinating world of insects… First of all, today marks the return to Standard Time in the US. Although it is not quite so awful now that I am retired, I remember the long winter months of driving home in the dark at 5:00pm. Because daylight hours are already shorter, the long nights seem even longer. Regular readers here know I am a lover of light. So, the fall time change is not something I welcome. People ask why the Winter Solstice is not my least favorite day of the year. That is simple: the next day, the hours of daylight start to increase. But, enough of that…

The Marigold Parade

More Sunday musings: Albuquerque’s Marigold Parade tends to fall on the same day as the change to Standard Time. Now there is more than a bit of brightness. The South Valley has managed, so far, to keep it as its own. While some photographers focus on the wonderfully painted faces, I have always found the cultural statements especially fascinating. To me, the 2012 and 2013 parades were especially vibrant and creative. In contrast, the overall political mood just before the 2016 election dampened, in my opinion, the Marigold Parade. I have not publicly shown any of my images from last year. Here are a few “postcards” from previous Marigold Parades. To see large views, first click on the image. Then, on the new page, click on the dimensions shown, and you will see a detailed image.

Ofrenda (“altar”) at the West Side Community Center. I especially love the Sandia Casino bingo marker!

sunday musings marigold parade

Ofrenda

In the park before the start of the parade:

sunday usings marigold parade

Muertos y Marigolds

Painted Faces and Lowriders

sunday musings marigold parade

Painted Faces and Lowriders

Painted Faces, Low Riders, Ofrendas

sunday musings marigold parade

Marigold Parade Potpourri

I think every New Mexico parade has lowriders – “low and slow for show.” The Marigold Parade certainly features them.

Sunday Musings marigold parade

Ubiquitous Lowriders

Political Statements

Sunday Musings marigold parade

Marigold Parade and Politics

Kids and Families Are Active Participants

sunday musings and marigold parade

Marigold Parade and Families

I did a series of Kindle ebooks about Albuquerque’s Marigold Parade and Dia de los Muertos obsrvances. These are at Amazon:

The Joys of Macro Photography

Another Sunday musings macro photography is fun. This summer I worked a bit more with macro photography. I have a few images that surprised me. You have already seen the hover fly. Although I did not know what it was at the time, I was pleased with the image from the time I first saw it on the computer. In real life, I could not tell what was going on. For all intents and purposes, it appeared the insect was making love to the flower. I took around 20 images, and this is the only one that clearly shows what was going on. The hover fly was gathering nectar from a tubule of the Mexican Sunflower. It was stabilizing the tubule with its front appendages, and drinking the nectar through its specialized “suctorial proboscis.”

Hover Fly

Hover Fly on Mexican Sunflower. Note the specialized “suctorial proboscis.”

I was very happy late last week when CanonUSA on Twitter tweeted

Canon USA Imaging

@CanonUSAimaging

We’re happy also! We love the detail! This photo has been selected as #CanonFavPic

This image has definitely been added to my portfolio.

Enough musing, time to get to work. I hope you are enjoying your weekend, and that we all get through winter and standard time without too much major depression. 😐

10/26/17

Feeling Winter

Feeling Winter

Feeling winter? The weather in Albuquerque is still that beautiful autumn weather those of us who live here love so much. But, a change – hopefully brief – is coming. You know, the cold wind and significant drop in temperature. We know we are very lucky here. Even in the midst of true Winter, we will have sunny and often warm days. But I tend to turn inward in winter. I can feel winter coming.

feeling winter

New Mexico Autumn (Click to Enlarge)

Others’ Thoughts on Feeling Winter

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“But if I was still alive, I’d have a damned fine day despite the rain, despite the depression, think of something you like doing and do it!…As for me, if I was still alive, I’d have a great cup of coffee, a nice breakfast, then I’d take a drive, walk around, smoke a cigar, eye the pretty ladies…hmmm, nice lunch, yes sir! Read a good book and listen to music, maybe hang out with friends, watch some baseball on TV, love good conversation…and maybe end the night with a little romance. You know what I mean? Live, live everyday, every night, then when you get over here on the ghosty side, you’ll say like me, hey, I did pretty damned good. I hardly moped around at all. I enjoyed my precious human life to the full! Yes sir, I sucked the marrow outta them ribs! ~ Jim Stallings, If I Was Still Alive

For me, I have stockpiled what seem like endless photographs I can edit, maybe composite, play with through the cold and dark days of winter. And before Winter truly sets in, I have more photography to get done.

Finally, make the most of your day!

10/19/17
New Mexico

Uniquely New Mexico

Uniquely New Mexico: Spectacular Skies and Hot Air Balloons 🙂

Uniquely New Mexico: so many things! All of you know how much I love so many things about New Mexico. Just because wanted to, I took a few minutes to unwind with new software, my kind of sunrise, and a perfect New Mexico balloon. I think of the D H Lawrence quote almost every time I see a sunrise here with clouds.

uniquely New Mexico

The Unique Beauty of New Mexico

I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me forever. . . . the moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. . . . In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly and the old world gave way to a new.

There are all kinds of beauty in the world, thank God, though ugliness is homogeneous. . . . But for a greatness of beauty I have never experienced anything like New Mexico.

Wishing you a spectacular day wherever you are.

10/14/17
2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series 2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta: A Little Bit of Everything

2017 Balloon Fiesta Wrap-Up: although the morning mass ascensions last roughly two hours, they contain so much to see! First of all are the “simple” balloons. And then come the “special shapes.” Of course, people of all kinds, along with vendors, pilots and the chase crews, and on and on are there. I have already posted a few of the special shapes. Today I’ll post a few of the “sky jewels.” Most of all, I want to try to give readers a sense of the entire experience.

2017 Slideshow

The slideshow contains 84 images from the Mass Ascension on October 7, 2017. While you may not have been there, I hope this gives a sense of the experience. You may view in full screen by clicking on the icon at the bottom right. You may also control the volume or mute entirely.

If you prefer, you may view the 84 images on one page (or separately) in the Gallery.

Some 2017 “Sky Jewels”

While the “regular” balloons are sometimes called “plain,” they are anything but. Rather, they are very bright and colorful! These are just a few of my favorites.

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017: A Perfect Fiesta

Although winds for tomorrow’s Mass Ascension remain in question, the weather this week has been unbelievably good for the balloons. Especially relevant is that all events, so far, have gone off as scheduled. If you could not be here for the Fiesta – or even if you were – I hope you enjoy the images.

10/12/17
2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

2017 Balloon Fiesta Special Shapes

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series 2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta Special Shapes

2017 Balloon Fiesta special shapes: the crowd loves them. And, I like them too! But, in addition, I also like the “sky jewels.” Another post will show some of those. But, first of all, I want to show a few more of the Special Shapes.

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Armadillo

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Mexican Doll

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Kermie

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Buddy Beaver

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Black Sheep

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Busby the Queens

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Lottie Dottie Chicken

2017 balloon fiesta special shapes

Hyla the Frog

Finally, for those of you in the Albuquerque area, the weather looks good for the remainder of the 2017 Balloon Fiesta. Almost all the information you could need is here.

10/10/17
2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta, Part 1: Special Shapes

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 2017 Balloon Fiesta

2017 Balloon Fiesta, Part 1: A Few of the Special Shapes

2017 Balloon Fiesta, officially the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, sponsored by Canon, began October 7 this year. The day before was pretty windy, which is important. The balloons will not take off, at least for Mass Ascension, if the winds are over 10 mph. But, the forecast for Saturday morning called for calm winds. So, I took a chance and bought a Park and Ride ticket Friday afternoon for the Saturday morning events.

I was at the Park and Ride at 5:00am, got on a bus at 5:30am (the longest I ever had to wait over the years), and did not reach the Balloon Field until 7:20am. I can say the Park and Ride system had a few problems that day. Dawn Patrol, something I had really wanted to photograph this year with a dSLR instead of phone, along with opening ceremonies and the beginning of Mass Ascension ended long before I arrived. Maybe another day this year – or next… Once you are actually there, the problems getting there seem not to matter too much!

2017 Balloon Fiesta

Setting Moon, Rising Balloon

The start of this year’s Balloon Fiesta is almost a week later than last year’s. The light was definitely different. The mass ascension, starting at 7:00am, definitely began in less light (on a very clear day!). But, the moon was almost full, just beginning to wane. Here, in the foreground, is a balloon beginning to inflate. Behind it, the moon is setting and a colorful hot air balloon is rising. The magic was underway!

Some of the Special Shapes on Saturday

Mister Z:

2017 Balloon Fiesta

Mister Z, Inflating and Taking Off

Darth Vader:

2017 Balloon Fiesta

Darth Vader

Yoda:

2017 Balloon Fiesta

Yoda

That’s it for this post. Many more images – both special shapes and the simpler sky jewels – to come over time.

09/27/17
Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn cosmos: cosmos here in Albuquerque really come into their own in the fall. They are beautiful in their own right. In addition, goldfinches, finches, and even humming birds like them. More than that, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators like them. Also, they come in a wide variety, and many reseed themselves. More than that, they grow in poor soil. Therefore, they make a great annual in the high desert for many reasons. Yesterday they seemed to sparkle.

Autumn Cosmos

Cosmos Against a Beautiful Sky, before the Storm

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Autumn Cosmos

Every now and then I see a package of seeds for a variety new to me. This year I tried “Seashell Mix.” As a photographer, I love them! As a gardener, I must note the germination rate was rather low. Will they reseed themselves? Although I do not yet know, I do plan to plant them again next year.

I am continuing to have fun playing with a new program. I first tried it with Autumn Roses. Here is something with the seashell variety.

autumn cosmos

Old Friends

For friends here in New Mexico, enjoy this beautiful autumn weather and *rain,* and the flowers so abundant at present.

09/22/17
autumn

First Day of Autumn 2017

autumn

Autumn

First Day of Autumn 2017

The first day of autumn in New Mexico is always exciting. Chile roasting and the State Fair are almost over, but the Balloon Fiesta, Marigold Parade, arrival of the cranes and other migratory birds, and gorgeous days with cool, crisp nights are still ahead. This is how the day began:

autumn sunrise

Sunrise Looking WEST

While I grew Mexican sunflowers many years ago in Arizona, this is the first year I have grown them in New Mexico. I had forgotten how much I liked them. Because I now know, I plan to grow them in subsequent years. In addition, the pollinators like them, too.

autumn

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)

Other flowers that bloom well up until frost are cosmos. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Pollinators like cosmos also.

Autumn

Fall Cosmos

The first day of fall 2017 began beautifully. I was reminded of this quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

I’m going out to enjoy it now, but with sun protective clothes and hat. 🙂 Wishing you a beautiful day, too.

09/20/17
sunrise

Beautiful Start to the Day

Sunrise

sunrise

Another Typical New Mexico Sunrise

Even as a child visiting the Southwest on vacations, I understood there was something special about the light here. Rather than growing tired of it with now-constant exposure and age, I appreciate it even more. While this morning was a little nippy and the arrival of Fall is not far behind, sunrise was spectacular (even without crepuscular rays 🙂 ))))))))) )!

09/18/17
Albuquerque sky

Albuquerque Sky in 30 Minutes

Albuquerque Sky in 30 Minutes

Albuquerque sky in 30 minutes? Well, yes. Especially regular readers here know I love the skies in Albuquerque and New Mexico and all of the desert Southwest. I see something worth noting almost every day. Because late yesterday afternoon was especially noteworthy, I want to share a few images. Most of all, these all occurred within 30 minutes. Maybe this happens every day, but this time I happened to catch it. 🙂

Crepuscular Rays, 6:39pm

Albuquerque sky

Crepuscular Rays

Rainbow and Rain, 7:00pm

Albuquerque sky

Rainbow and Rain

Thunderstorm over the Sandias, 7:02pm

Albuquerque sky

Thunderstorm over the Sandias

Muted Sunset, 7:06pm

Albuquerque Sky

Muted Sunset