Crow and Crepuscular Rays

crow and crepuscular rays

We have had a stretch of cloudless sunrises the past couple of weeks. When I went out to pick up the paper this morning, I was thrilled to see some clouds. This sunrise seemed to have the potential to produce crepuscular rays. A few minutes later they did emerge. These are certainly not the most spectacular rays I have seen. You might have to look hard to see them. But the sky was beautiful in this blue hour. So, I grabbed the camera to see what I could get.

I did not see the crow until I looked at the image on the computer. It was one of those surprises that can just appear. The icing on the cake… It was a beautiful New Mexico way to start the day.

This link has a short video of the American Crow in flight.

Image New Mexico 2015

Image New Mexico 2015

Image New Mexico 2015 is Just Around the Corner

Image New Mexico 2015, begun by Pat Berrett and Tim Anderson, will be held again this year at Matrix Fine Art, which has hosted the show for the past several years. This is a juried photography show, and there are no restrictions on where the photographers live, but the images must have been created in New Mexico in the last two years. I am pleased to be showing two images this year, ‘The Observer/The Observed’ and ‘Harry’s Pearl’s,’ the latter from the series, ‘Living Jewels.’

Regular readers here have seen ‘The Observer/The Observed’ before. I created the image for myself in the dark days of January 2015, and did not intend to show it. But, after writer, fellow anthropologist, and friend Jim Stallings wrote a poem about it as a gift to me and my family, I decided to show it. It was in Insight New Mexico – Through Her Eyes and is currently on display at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education North Building until August 15.

Image New Mexico 2015
‘The Observer/The Observed’

Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow

In the lofty life of a wise old crow
Swaying in the topmost backyard branches
Like a magical clock counting down mortality’s coil,
May it not be in some secret way
We the awed observers
Have all along been honored by a wiser watcher?

– Jim Stallings

The second image is from my ‘Living Jewels’ series. Flower arrangers are quite familiar with the dwarf tree, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. This spring, here in Albuquerque, Harry put on an outstanding display of male catkins. I have titled this image ‘Harry’s Pearls.’

Image New Mexico 2015
‘Harry’s Pearls’

Matrix Fine Art is located in Albuquerque’s historic Nob Hill on the south side of Central Avenue (old Route 66), 2 1/2 blocks east of Carlisle between Solano and Aliso. The address is 3812 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108.

All images are available for purchase.

Exhibition dates: July 3 – 31, 2015
Sneak Preview: June 30 – July 2, 2015
First Friday Artscrawl Reception: Friday, July 3, 2015, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

If you are here in the Albuquerque area, I’d like to invite you to the opening reception on Friday, July 3, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. If you’ll be passing through Albuquerque some time in July, I invite you to stop at Matrix Fine Art to view Image New Mexico 2015.

UNM Digital Photography Exhibit

UNM Digital Photography Exhibit, Now Through the End of July

UNM Digital Photography Exhibit, arranged by the Digital Arts Program on the Continuing Education Campus, is up and open to the public from now through the end of July. It is in the Conference Center, the North Building.

Participants in the UNM Digital Photography Exhibit include the digital photography instructors, advanced students in the program, and graduates of the program (that would be me, 2009).

The UNM Digital Photography Exhibit is not a juried exhibit. Participants were invited to bring whatever pieces of their work they wanted to show.

The three pieces of mine that I chose have all been in juried shows. Although not intentional at the time of selection, I realized later the pieces represent a sort of developmental scheme.

‘Lily’

UNM digital photography exhibit
Lily; printed on fine art water color paper

This image was made in 2009 with a Canon G9, a somewhat advanced but still a point-and-shoot camera. To date, this is my most awarded image. It was juried into the International Biennial Exhibition of Fine Art and Documentary Photography at The Borges Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from January 19th through February 27th, 2010. It was also juried into the Corrales Fine Arts Show here in New Mexico. It was awarded “1st Place – Outstanding Achievement” in Still Life at the 8th Annual Black and White Spider Awards. It was awarded the Bronze Medal, 3rd Place in Nature-Flowers at the 2012 Paris Photo Prize, along with 3rd place for People’s Choice Award. Again, this was an early piece done with a point-and-shoot camera. The piece has special meaning because my mother grew the lily, and held a white background for me as the light was quickly fading in her garden.

‘Gathering Storm’

UNM Digital Photography Exhibit
‘Gathering Storm,’ printed on true Black and White paper

This image is from a trip to the Jemez Mountains here in New Mexico over Autumnal Equinox weekend in 2013. Everything about that entire weekend was full of the magic for which New Mexico is known. This was at the very beginning of the trip. I had planned to photograph this church before I even left home. My traveling companions could not understand why I would even bother to stop to photograph it! I just wanted to! By this time I had moved up to a Canon full frame dSLR. This image was juried into the Corrales Fine Arts Show as well as the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show.

‘The Observer/The Observed’

UNM Digital Photography Exhibit
‘The Observer/The Observed,’ giclee print on fine art canvas

This image was created this year, and of the ones in this post, has the most meaning to me. Many of you know my son was diagnosed with leukemia over Thanksgiving weekend (he is now in remission and doing quite well, I’m happy to say), and this was done as I was trying to make sense of all that was happening. In mythology of some Native Americans, Crow is a messenger between worlds, as well as a trickster who can steal light from the sky (the sun) and carry it to people who need it. I rarely see crows in my yard, and this one stayed just long enough for this image. Editing it to show what I wanted to show took a long time; it also took my mind off a lot of things; and was the most creative thing I had done after my son was diagnosed. I had not intended to show it; I did the work strictly for me. But Jim Stallings, fellow anthropologist, writer, and friend wrote a poem about it as a gift to me and my family in those dark days of winter:

Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow

In the lofty life of a wise old crow
Swaying in the topmost backyard branches
Like a magical clock counting down mortality’s coil,
May it not be in some secret way
We the awed observers
Have all along been honored by a wiser watcher?

– Jim Stallings

Jim’s poem encouraged me to enter the image, and it was juried into the 2015 InSight New Mexico show, “Through Her Eyes,” held in April. (It has also been juried into another show, to be held in July – more about that in a different post).

I invite my friends in the Albuquerque area, as well as friends who will be passing through Albuquerque between now and the end of July, to stop by the Conference Center on the UNM CE campus (Indian School and University) and see the UNM Digital Photography Exhibit, with works by the digital photography instructors, advanced students, and graduates of the digital photography program.

Revealing One’s Self

revealing one's self

Revealing One’s Self: An Inherent Dilemma for a Photographer

Revealing one’s self through photography has both good points and bad points. But doing it is inherent in the process of creating an image. How much is one willing to reveal? The degree to which a photographer is willing to do that may be what distinguishes a creative image from a snapshot.

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” — Ansel Adams

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” — Ansel Adams

A self portrait may, but not necessarily, be the most revealing of all. I created this image when I was beginning to feel better, well enough to actually make images. My family and many of my friends were horrified. Only my artist friends (painters, writers, other photographers) were not. It was an honest image, revealing one’s self, and I will admit that even I was a little surprised that this is what I produced.

revealing one's self
Lupus Fog

I would like to thank Stephen Perloff, editor of The Photo Review, for selecting this image from the 2014 Competition to appear in the online gallery,”Women’s Lives.”

Almost exactly one year to the date later I created an image very different in appearance at first glance, “The Observer/The Observed.”

revealing one's self
The Observer/The Observed

“Simply look with perceptive eyes at the world about you, and trust to your own reactions and convictions. Ask yourself: “Does this subject move me to feel, think and dream? Can I visualize a print – my own personal statement of what I feel and want to convey – from the subject before me?” — Ansel Adams

I created this image at a time of different turmoil in my life. The Crow as symbol and in myth is a powerful creature around the world, but nowhere more so than in the Southwest. Crow is a Messenger who moves between Worlds; a Trickster who can steal Light from the Sky (the Sun) and bring it to people who need it; and an astute Observer. In early January I was out photographing a cloud bank rolling over the Sandia Mountains, with a storm predicted to follow it. Suddenly, some raucous crows appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and they left as quickly as they came. This one crow, however, stayed behind, briefly, and seemed to pose for this one image, almost as a gift.

I did not intend to show this anywhere. It was personal, heavily edited, and reflected my mood at the time. In its own way, it was revealing one’s self. But, after friend, fellow anthropologist, and writer Jim Stallings wrote a short poem,

Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow

In the lofty life of a wise old crow
Swaying in the topmost backyard branches
Like a magical clock counting down mortality’s coil,
May it not be in some secret way
We the awed observers
Have all along been honored by a wiser watcher?

– Jim Stallings

as a gift to me and my family, I began to consider showing the image. It can be seen through April 26 at the Fine Arts Building at EXPO NM as part of InSight New Mexico, a photography show by New Mexico women photographers.

Neither of these two images are what I think of as “typical” of my work, although it seems more of my work these days is following in the vein of these two. It is not by purposeful intention. It may simply be that at this stage in my life I have become more introspective and don’t mind so much if the world sees that. Revealing one’s self is perhaps becoming more comfortable as I age.

2015 Insight New Mexico

through her eyes

2015 Insight New Mexico: Through Her Eyes

Insight New Mexico has become the premier photography exhibition for New Mexico women photographers. Organized by LeRoy Perea, Insight is an outgrowth of the popular ANMPAS (Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show), held in December. Both are juried shows, and it is always an honor to have images selected for showing in either one.

The theme of this year’s show is Through Her Eyes. From the press release:

Through Her Eyes” the 2015 InSight exhibit opening April 5, 2015, at Expo New Mexico showcases the work of women photographers of New Mexico. It was juried by nationally respected women photographers: Jennifer Hudson, Linda Ingraham, Margot Geist and Phyllis Burchett. The show includes more than 125 images, representing the work of 61 emerging and professional women photographers residing in the state. You will see an array of diverse subjects, themes, and unique processes, and every image is available for purchase.

I am very happy that my two images were selected for inclusion in 2015 Insight New Mexico, a show which is always fun. This year’s theme, Through Her Eyes, spoke to me. “The Observer, The Observed” was photographed and processed after I returned from Texas to be with my son. The amaryllis in “Postcard Series – Amaryllis” was photographed last year, but the processing of this image was also done after I returned from being with my son. Although rather different at first glance, the underlying theme of each is life transitions, with moments of beauty and of insight, and layers of meaning.

“The Observer, The Observed”

insight new mexico 2015
The Observer, The Observed

The Crow as symbol and in myth is a powerful creature around the world, but nowhere more so than in the Southwest. Crow is a Messenger who moves between Worlds; a Trickster who can steal Light from the Sky (the Sun) and bring it to people who need it; and an astute Observer. In early January I was out photographing a cloud bank rolling over the Sandia Mountains, with a storm predicted to follow it. Suddenly, some raucous crows appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and they left as quickly as they came. This one crow, however, stayed behind, briefly, and seemed to pose for this one image, almost as a gift.
This image will be available as a Fine Art Giclée Canvas Print.

“The Postcard Series – Amaryllis”

Insight New Mexico 2015
The Postcard Series – Amaryllis

Amaryllis – bringing life, colorful life, indoors in the winter. These flowers hold the promise of spring, while being beautiful in the present. Postcards – old postcards, saved postcards, speak to memories of the past. Past travels? Past good times with old friends? Memories of things that made us who we are? The Postcard series combines memories of the past with beauty of the present. But, beautiful flowers do not last forever. What of the future? That is for the viewer to determine…
This image will be available as a Fine Art Giclée Bamboo Watercolor Print.

The exhibit will be held in the Fine Arts Building at Expo New Mexico (the New Mexico State Fairgrounds) from April 5th through April 26th. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The cost to see the exhibit is free.

I hope to see my friends from the Albuquerque area there.

The Observer, The Observed

through her eyes

The Observer, The Observed with “Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow” by Jim Stallings

This image, once created, seemed ideal as a new header for this blog, with its subtitle, “A Southwest Point of View.” Jim had already written this poem (a gift of encouragement to my family recently), and I asked if I could post it here.

observer

Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow

In the lofty life of a wise old crow
Swaying in the topmost backyard branches
Like a magical clock counting down mortality’s coil,
May it not be in some secret way
We the awed observers
Have all along been honored by a wiser watcher?

– Jim Stallings

To read more of Jim’s work, visit Jim Stallings: Books, at Amazon.com.

Thank you for letting my readers enjoy your poem here, Jim.

(The full image from which this header was created may be seen here:
http://swdesertgardening.com/2015/02/observer-observed/ )

As the Crow Flies

crow
As the Crow Flies
crow
As the Crow Flies

“As the crow flies” generally carries the meaning of the most direct route, such as, “it is less than four miles to the river as the crow flies, but I have to drive ten miles to get there.”

This is the bird that you saw earlier in the image of a crow in the treetop, surveying all around it. This is what it looked like as it flew off that afternoon.

Although I have many birds that regularly visit my yard, and although crows are quite common in other areas of town, I do not see them often here, at least as compared with many other more common birds in my yard.

Seeing this bird in flight, after observing it for a somewhat extended time, was a real treat for me earlier in the week.

The Crow

through her eyes
The Crow
crow
The Watchful, Observant Crow on a Cold Winter Afternoon

The crow in this image was the only photographically cooperative one in a flock that appeared briefly.

This afternoon I was out photographing a cloud bank rolling over the Sandia Mountains when a very noisy flock of crows arrived on the scene. Crows certainly do demand attention when they show up!

For a brief time they settled in a tree right next to the house, meaning I did not like any of the images of them from that point. But, when most flew off, this one settled at the top of an isolated juniper tree, allowing me to create a “crow portrait.” 🙂

It was a cold, wintery day, and snow is forecast overnight. I suspect it will come from the cloud bank rolling over the Sandias. West Texas has had winter storm warnings since Tuesday, and I suspect this is part of that same system. We’ve been lucky here (if you don’t like snow) or unlucky here (if you’ll take precipitation in any form because it is needed so badly here).

This weekend temperatures are forecast to warm into the 40’s F here. I would be very happy if we (or just the surrounding mountains, even) got a lot of snow overnight, because it would melt on the streets fairly quickly tomorrow, and yet we would have some additional precipitation.

In a different vein, the image and the day beckoned me to process this image in an exaggerated manner as a cold and wintery day in the Southwest!