07/17/17
monsoon rain

Rain! The Monsoon Rain!

Rain! The Monsoon Rain!

Rain! The monsoon rain arrived at my house this afternoon! Two and a half inches in less than 40 minutes! The rain falling straight down is coming off the roof. The rain at an angle is what was blowing through. And that pond…well, I’m actually happy to see it. The temperature dropped at least 20 degrees on my back porch.

monsoon rain

Monsoon Rain and Pond

My neighborhood slopes downward from the Sandia Mountains on the east to the Rio Grande on the west. Each individual home plot is more or less level, but the yards were designed with a depression precisely for the monsoon rains. They catch the rain and allow it to sink into the ground, rather than running off. Water was running high in the streets, and there was some flash flooding. But the yards just held the excess that fell there until the ground could absorb it.

The area of such heavy rain was fairly small. For those of you who know Albuquerque, the warning was for “around Academy, east of I-25.” I only wish I had gotten some fertilizer out 🙂

I know this image in terms of beauty is not a monsoon sunrise or monsoon sunset image. But for those of us who live in the high desert, a monsoon rain is beautiful and life-giving.

Edited July 18, 2017 to add the following:

1. Southwest Desert Monsoon Season:

Southwestern Monsoon
North American Monsoon (really the Southwestern Monsoon!)

2. Albuquerque’s Localized “Little Rain” 🙂 ))))))))) yesterday

From KOAT TV “Flash Floods Slam Duke City”

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07/13/17
stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

Stormy Sunrise: Pink to Orange in Less Than Three Minutes

Stormy sunrise this morning, bringing at least the hope of rain. I did not get rain at my house, but I did enjoy photographing the sky. The gif is made with jpgs straight from the camera with no photo editing other than cropping.

stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

This may not be as impressive as the crepuscular rays at sunset a few nights ago. Nevertheless, as we enter our monsoon season, I am looking forward to seeing – hopefully – many spectacular skies. Some actual rain would also be nice. 🙂

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07/11/17
crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays at Sunset

Crepuscular Rays at Sunset

Crepuscular rays intrigue me. Most of the images I have shown you from my back yard are from sunrise, over the Sandia Mountains. A couple of nights ago, this was the view looking west. I knew trees and houses would be in the image, but I did not care. I could not get what I wanted to get without including other things. This was another spectacular New Mexico sky!

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays at Sunset, Summer 2017

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Jawaharlal Nehru

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06/21/17
summer solstice

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice, National Selfie Day, and a Day to Celebrate

Summer Solstice – the most amount of daylight in one day for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official beginning of “Summer.” I never heard of National Selfie Day before, but the Twitterverse says it is so. For me, I do not have to see an eye doctor or a skin doctor again until November. I really have nothing to complain about, because my issues were minor and fixable, but the process seemed to drag on from last October until today.

In that time, I have learned a lot about sun protection for everything, including eyes and ears. I now have UPF hats, shirts, neck coverings, etc., etc., as well as UV A&B protective glasses with dark gray lenses and my favorite, amber lenses. I want to do a few more photographs, and then I’ll post those in a post at Southwest Desert Gardening. All gardeners everywhere need sun protection, some just more than others. 🙂

But today, for Solstice (and National Selfie Day 😉 ), I wanted to say “Hello,” dressed appropriately for summer: hat for ear and face protection; UPF 30+ shirt, and very dark glasses as UV protective as possible. I should have been dressed more or less like this all the time I have lived here.

summer solstic

Summer Solstice – Susan in Sun Protective Hat, Shirt, Glasses

What looks like a BandAid is a silicone pad designed to to help flatten the scar from where skin was taken for graft to cover part of my ear where a little skin lesion was removed. It is all healing up very well.

‘Mermaid’ is just about finished with its first bloom, but I thought this bloom this morning was really pretty. I hope you enjoy it, too.

summer solstice

A Beautiful ‘Mermaid’ Bloom on Summer Solstice

Happy Solstice, and may the summer not be as hot throughout as it is today.

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06/5/17
sky clouds sunset

The Sky Tonight

The Sky Tonight; and It Is Not Even Monsoon Season Yet!

The sky tonight was reminiscent of Monsoon Season The monsoons are more than a month away. The wind was definitely blowing, but no rain fell in my part of town. But the clouds and the colors provided a spectacular end to the day. Those of you who read here regularly know the view from my back yard, looking west. I usually avoid photos in the front yard, because the “view” is basically of houses and driveways and parked cars. But the clouds and color to the northwest were spectacular enough to demand a photo. This is one of those evenings I long for an unobstructed view. Nevertheless, I remain grateful for what I do see here.

sky clouds sunset

Tonight’s Sky from the Back Yard

sky clouds cunset

Tonight’s Sky from the Front Yard

Colorful sunrises and sunsets are something we almost take for granted here. Monsoon season especially can provide spectacular skies. But even “ordinary” days here can end with a sunset like this one!

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06/2/17
bosque

Along the Corrales Bosque

Along the Corrales Bosque

The bosque along the Rio Grande is a beautiful, fascinating place. A bosque is a forest found in a narrow band along the floodplains of rivers and streams in the American Southwest. It is a prime feature running through the Greater Albuquerque metro area.

This past Sunday, when I noticed the Painted Lady swarm here, Tim and Laurie noted they had hundreds on the salvia at their property in Corrales. Of course I jumped at the chance when they invited me to come out the following day, Memorial Day, to photograph the swarming butterflies there. When it was time to leave my place in the NE Heights, I could see stormy weather in the direction of Corrales. But storms often blow through quickly here, and I wanted to go. I had no weather to speak of on the drive to Corrales, but as soon as I turned off Alameda onto Corrales Road, I could see the storm really had blown through there. Tree limbs, leaves, and puddles of water were everywhere!

However, the Painted Ladies were nowhere to be seen. They had sought shelter – somewhere – from the storm.

Over the years, I have learned that plans for photographic excursions often change in detail, but that there is always something interesting and/or beautiful to photograph. When the sky cleared a bit, Laurie went for a run in the bosque, and Tim and I walked down to the river. It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, sans butterflies!

bosque

Bosque Bridge to the Rio Grande

bosque

Reflections in the “Clear Ditch”

bosque

Walking toward the Rio Grande, the Sandia Mountains Come into View

Bosque

Rio Grande, with Sandia Mountains Beginning to Show Alpenglow

bosque

Crescent Moon at Sunset

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05/28/17
Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly Sunday

Painted Lady Butterfly Sunday

Painted Lady Butterfly – singly or in pairs – is not unusual here in Albuquerque. This Sunday morning I saw something I did not even know existed until today – a painted lady butterfly swarm! From around 10:00am until I had to get ready to meet a friend a couple of hours later, my yard was filled with these beautiful little flutterby’s. I thought I was imagining things. By the time I got back home, they were gone. But I heard about that time from Tim Price – they were swarming in Corrales! I’m sure he will have photos to post at Off Center and Not Even later on.

These are a few of my visitors today.

What are you looking at, lady?

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Coreopsis

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Coreopsis

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Coreopsis

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Pansies

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Coreopsis

Painted Lady Butterfly

On Coreopsis

As it turns out, swarming of these butterflies is a well-known phenomenon. YouTube has a beautiful video, but embedding is not allowed. You can see it by clicking here.

Life is never boring in New Mexico. There is always something to see!

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05/27/17
ants

Standing in Ants in Corrales

Standing in Ants in Corrales

Standing in ants in Corrales is easy to do if you are the least bit distracted by scenery when you are out walking. Last weekend, after checking on the giant Dr Huey rosebush, Tim, Laurie, and I walked down to the Rio Grande, which is their front yard. The river was running quite high then.

Corrales

Laurie and Tim Looking Across the Rio Grande to the Sandias

We hadn’t been in that spot long when Tim and Laurie spotted something:

Corrales

What Do They See?

A short time later, we saw this:

Corrales

A Man in a Kayak!

It was a man in a kayak, and there were two other helpers on the bank. The story behind the encounter will be the subject of another post.

When everyone was safely out of the river, we headed back to Tim and Laurie’s. The sun through the cottonwoods in the bosque was beautiful:

Corrales

Setting Sun on the Bosque

Laurie and I were enjoying the beauty of the bosque, and Tim was ahead. He turned around to see what we were doing. “Lars, you’re standing in ants!!”

ants

Standing in Ants

It was not for long, and no harm was done.

Back on their deck, we were joined by Rosencrantz, one of their very sweet cats. He partially burrowed under my hat and stayed with us as we talked and ate, as always, delicious food.

Corrales

Rosencrantz

Photographic excursions in Corrales are full of surprises and delights. More in future posts…

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05/23/17
giant Dr Huey

Giant Dr Huey 2017

Giant Dr Huey 2017

The giant Dr Huey has become probably the most important stop on the Corrales Rose Society Annual Dr Huey Tour. It is huge! We like to document its existence each year, in case it should ever disappear. We kind of laugh at ourselves when we say that, though, because this hybrid wichurana is so hardy it will probably “always” be there.

It has been so warm this year that we planned the tour a week earlier than usual. Some roses were out much earlier than usual after an unusually warm winter. Dr Huey in Corrales and Mermaid in my yard were not fooled: they hit their peak at the regular time. The first scheduled tour was “no dice.” The rescheduled tour at the regular time – third weekend in May – was perfect. For discussions and images from prior years, check out the Dr Huey section on my Southwest Desert Gardening blog.

I have many images from many very different things in Corrales that day, and those will appear in many different posts. After the Dr Huey Tour, we went back to Tim and Laurie’s place. As is usual, the day produced a lot of fun and surprises, most of which were photographed. But, this post shows the giant Dr Huey alive and well and huge in May of 2017.

giant Dr Huey

Tim Price (Over 6 Feet Tall) Under the Giant Dr Huey, for Scale. Note the Trailing Blooms on Either Side of Tim.

giant Dr Huey

Tim Price at the Giant Dr Huey. After you have gazed at his photographic equipment, note the trailing Dr Huey blooms over his right shoulder.

giant Dr Huey

Laurie Sketching Tim and the Giant Dr Huey

giant Dr Huey

Tim Photographing Laurie and Laurie Sketching Tim at the Giant Dr Huey

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04/16/17
Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache 2014

Bosque del Apache 2014, flashback to a time when things seemed pretty perfect. I was updating software today, and came across images not seen for some time. I enjoyed looking at them, and decided to share a couple here.

Bosque del Apache

Sandhill Cranes, Late Afternoon, January 17, 2014

The following morning at dawn was warm by January standards. The temperature was 19°F, no wind to speak of, and I was dressed in layers. I thought that was sufficient. My two companions that weekend went back to the car shortly after we arrived at this spot. I thought it was too beautiful to leave, and I am glad I have the images. Several hours later when I was warm enough to think sensibly again, I realized that I really had become hypothermic. The next time I plan to be out at dawn some winter day at the Bosque, I’ll have on about ten more layers!

Bosque del Apache

Dawn at Bosque del Apache, January 18, 2014

These images reminded me not only of that weekend, but also how fortunate I am to live in “The Land of Enchantment.”

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