Some Beautiful Iris

Iris

The iris were gorgeous last week at the BioPark. For my iris-loving friends, I am sorry I do not have the names of these – they were not marked. But, I think you can still enjoy the beauty of the flowers. They were everywhere throughout the BioPark.

Yellow Iris
Yellow Iris
white iris
White Iris
more white iris
More White Iris
white and purple iris
White and Purple Iris
purple iris
Purple Iris
burgundy iris
Burgundy Iris

Clematis “The President”

Clematis – a beautiful vine that can have very large flowers that come in a wide variety of colors. It grows well in the high desert of New Mexico, and is one of the first things to bloom in the spring. Depending on conditions, it may bloom again in the fall, but the fall bloom rarely matches the spring bloom.


“The President”
has large purple-blue flowers, with reddish-purple anthers, making for a spectacular display at its spring bloom.

These images come from my mother’s garden on May 5, 2013.

clematis
“The President”
clematis
“The President”
clematis
Closeup of Clematis “The President”

Clematis can make a very good companion plant for climbing roses. The vine can use the rose canes for support, but does not “choke” the rose. It will bloom first, usually before rose blooms appear. It will finish blooming about the time the roses start to bloom. The rose provides the “shady feet” the clematis needs to thrive, which is important since the vine itself needs sun.

This clematis, ‘The President,’ is not planted with a climbing rose, but is planted near ‘Gold Medal.’ It is a stunning combination when the two are blooming together.

Clematis – a wonderful addition for a spectacular and early spring bloom!

‘Spirits of the Old Adobes #1’ Recognized by Professional Women Photographers

Spirits of the Old Adobes

spirits of the old adobes
Julie Saul (Juror) selected Spirit #1 for Honorable Mention in Professional Women Photographers’ Spring 2013 International Women’s Call for Entry.

I am very happy to announce that this image from my “Spirits of the Old Adobes” series was selected by Julie Saul, Juror, for Honorable Mention in the Professional Women Photographers Spring 2013 International Women’s Call for Entry.

With over 1300 entries, I am honored to have this image included among Ms. Saul’s selections. The image will be featured in a one-year online exhibition on the Professional Women Photographers’ website.

The image, and the series from which it comes, are dear to me. The series combines images from the Adobe Project with Day of the Dead images from Fall, 2012. Both are very “New Mexico,” and to see the composite recognized by Professional Women Photographers is an honor of which I am very proud.

Thank you, Julie Saul and Professional Women Photographers!

More ‘Spirits of the Old Adobes’ can be seen here.

The Beautiful Redbud

Redbud trees – where I grew up, these trees are quite common in early spring. I have seen them in Albuquerque, but they are not so abundant here. The common variety in Oklahoma, native to the region, is Cercis canadensis var Texensis or “Texas redbud.” It is beautiful and hardy. The Albuquerque Biopark has examples of that variety, and they were blooming on Saturday. There is also the Eastern redbud, along with its many varieties.

The Biopark has another variety of redbud, Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma.’ It is the State Tree of Oklahoma. To be honest, until last Saturday I was not aware of differences between the two, or even that those two varieties existed. In walking through the BioPark, however, I turned a corner and suddenly came upon one whose flowers were darker, with much more intense color, and really markedly abundant flowers. Fortunately, that one had a marker. The common redbud is a beautiful tree; the Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma,’ is, in my eye, even more beautiful.

redbud 'Oklahoma
Redbud ‘Oklahoma’
redbud 'Oklahoma'
Redbud ‘Oklahoma’
flowering tree
Redbud
flowering tree
The beautiful redbud tree
redbud and willow
Redbud tree with weeping willow

These images are from Saturday, April 6. Yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday, April 8 and 9) we have had strong winds. I doubt many spring blooms remain, not only at the Biopark but around town. The best of the spring bloom was short-lived, but glorious while it lasted. There are the summer-blooming flowers to which to look forward: roses, hibiscus, cosmos, sunflowers, and many others. Spring bloom 2013 has been glorious!

Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs – tulips, daffodils, and others were seen in colorful abundance at the Albuquerque Biopark on Saturday. I was really glad I made it out then, because all were just beginning to look a little worn. Today (Monday) we are having high winds, and I doubt photographing the spring bloom will be as good after today as it was on the weekend.

This is just a sampling of Saturday’s spring bulb beauty.

tulip - spring bulbs
Tulip
spring bulbs - tulips
Tulips
tulips
Tulips
tulips
Tulips
daffodils
Daffodils
daffodils and tulips
Daffodils and Tulips
spring bulb - tulip
Tulip

White Flowering Trees

Yesterday so much was blooming that the beauty was almost overwhelming: flowers on the ground, and flowering trees. The air was filled with sweet scents wafting by.

Images of the redbuds will be posted in a subsequent post.

Here are images of two of the flowering trees with white blossoms. I do not know the names of these trees, only that they were beautiful and had a wonderful scent. The images do not begin to convey their beauty in reality.

flowering trees
One variety of white flowering tree
flowering trees
Another white flowering tree

Stabilizing Adobe

Stabilizing Adobe – easier said than done!

Adobe has been a long-used building material in New Mexico. As noted before, many adobe structures are weathering away, because lifestyles have changed and people no longer have the time to spend on the required maintenance.

Adobe is beautiful, and many ways have been and are being tried to create more stable adobe. This adobe wall shows two things – the adobe bricks are not placed on the ground, but instead on top of a cement foundation, and the wall is “capped” with something other than plain adobe. The goal of the former is to prevent absorption of water from the ground. The goal of the latter is help slow down the weathering of adobe from rain, wind, etc.

stabilizing adobe
Modern Adobe Wall

When we take a close look at that stabilized wall, however, we see that the adobe bricks are gradually weathering away, in spite of stabilization efforts.

stabilizing adobe
Modern Adobe Wall

As I have noted many times before, weathering adobe walls are commonplace in the New Mexico landscape. In spite of my awareness of this, I was surprised a couple of weekends ago when I turned a corner at the Biopark and saw this image:

stabilizing adobe
Wall with Supports

Those are some major supports being used to keep a wall standing! Here is another view of those supports:

stabilizing adobe
Wall with Supports

This close up view of what was covering the wall looks like stucco with cement and/or asphalt, the kind of covering that possibly kept the underlying material from breathing. I suspect the wall supports were added after this covering failed to stop the “melting” of the underlying wall, although at this time I do not know that for a fact.

stabilizing adobe
Patched wall cracking

Adobe is beautiful. It is “natural.” It blends into the landscape. It is “dirt cheap.” Those are just some of the reasons to love adobe as a construction material. But, and this is major, adobe requires constant maintenance.

Thanks to the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards

Thanks to Julio Hardy and his staff at the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards for selecting me as one of their Photographers of the Week for last week. Beginning April 10, and running for a year, I will have work in the Gallery of Photographers at that site. This is a wonderful photography award for exposure of my work.

The selection was based on the images in the last two posts here: “Spirits of the Old Adobes” and “Jellyfish Series.” “Spirits of the Old Adobes” is a personal fun project that I did mainly for myself, that combined in a fun way for me work I have done over the last 8 months. It goes beyond that, however. Every time I look at an old adobe, I wonder about the people who built it, the people who lived in it, perhaps for generations, and wonder where their descendants are now. I wonder what they believed, what rituals they observed, what were the important events in their lives, and on and on. Populating the abandoned adobes with Day of the Dead figures somehow made them feel “complete” to me at one level. I am really happy that the “Spirits of the Old Adobes” was selected for inclusion.

photography award susan brandt graham
Spirits of the Old Adobes

The other series selected is “Jellyfish in the Desert,” the jellyfish I photographed at the Albuquerque Aquarium just a little over a week ago. That also was a personal project I had wanted to do for some time. I finally went out and did it. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction in having those images recognized as well.

Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish
Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish

I’ll post a link to the Photographers Gallery when the gallery goes up on April 10. I am really pleased to have my work selected at this time, and to have it included alongside photographers such as Bobbie Goodrich (also in New Mexico), Dianne Yudelson, and Marguerite Garth, among others.

Once again, my thanks go to Julio Hardy, Alex, and the staff at WPGA for recognizing my work with this photography award. The WPGA has been supportive of my work for the last three years.

Spirits of the Old Adobes

Spirits of the Old Adobes

Every now and then it is fun to play with images that were taken at different times, for different reasons, and to combine them for a new purpose.

Regular readers here, as well as my friends, know that I have been working on collecting images of adobes, especially old and/or abandoned ones, or those being demolished. I also have some images showing “mudding,” in an attempt to preserve some of structures. These adobes, in various states of repair and disrepair, are an integral part of the New Mexico landscape.

Those of you who know New Mexico are also aware that commonly seen here are celebrations that are uncommon in other parts of the United States. El Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) is observed throughout parts of New Mexico, both through decorations and the large Muertos y Marigolds parade in Albuquerque’s South Valley.

The following images are composites made from photographs from both the Adobe Project and the Border Celebrations projects. I did them for fun. I hope you enjoy them, also.

These images are available for purchase here.

composited image
Spirits of the Old Adobes
composited image
Spirits of the Old Adobes
composited images
Spirits of the Old Adobes
composited image
Lord of the Manor

Jellyfish in the Desert

The Albuquerque Biopark has a small, but very nice, aquarium. For years I have been intrigued by the jellyfish. However, I was not sure I would ever be able to photograph the ones at the Biopark, because they are in a dark room. Additionally, the moon jellyfish are in a very dark tank. The Pacific sea nettles are in a dark room but are in a brightly lit tank. So, until yesterday, I would go, look at, and enjoy the jellyfish, but I never tried to photograph them. Yesterday I had time to think and to play, and for a Sunday there were surprisingly few people there, so I was comfortable taking my time. These are some of the images I was able to create yesterday.

Moon Jellyfish

Moon Jellyfish
Moon Jellyfish

Pacific Sea Nettle

Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle

More Moon Jellyfish

Moon jellyfish
Moon jellyfish

The Albuquerque Biopark is really a gem in the desert. For those of you who live in the area, it is a great place to visit at any time. For visitors, it is something to put on your list of things to do when you are in New Mexico.