Crepuscular rays, as many of you know, delight me when they appear. Although the term itself refers to “twilight,” Albuquerque provides a unique setting for sunrises. The uneven horizon of the Sandias to the east, with frequent mountain-capping clouds there, are perfect for these rays at sunrise. The past couple of days have been stormy, which can sometimes make for colorful images.
These rays this morning were short-lived: 2 minutes. I was lucky to see them! Now a light snow is falling. The temperature on my back porch is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.I would be very happy if a heavy snow fell in the mountains! We have had so little moisture this winter. We depend on melting snowpack for much of our water.
While the sky is dreary at the moment, the sunrise definitely made being up worthwhile!
Another blazing sunrise, which have been happening frequently this month.
Many of you have seen Tim Price’s recent skies. The skies are ablaze. You can see just a hint of crepuscular rays here… I kept hoping they would fully develop, but they remained a hint only. It did not matter; it was another spectacular New Mexico sky.
2017 Reflections: how could something that seemed at times to drag on end so quickly? Maybe it was like the brevity of the reflection of the Sandias in the Rio Grande near sunset, on a beautiful day spent with friends Tim and Laurie:
New Year’s Eve also brings my mother’s birthday. Today she turned 98 years old. In December I got a little into genealogy after buying a DNA test kit at a low price on Black Friday. Playing a bit with family trees, I found my mother has a third Great-grandmother who was born in 1782 and lived into 1887. My mother is very competitive, and is determined to outdo this relative in terms of longevity!
DNA is interesting. I’ll spend time in 2018 figuring out how I’m “49% Irish-Scotch-Welsh-British” when I thought for sure I was 75% German. At the moment I have 465 “matches”of fourth cousins or closer (I don’t know who all these people are!). Additionally, two of those are third cousins I feel like I should have known but even my mother had not heard of. DNA does not lie!
Reflections on Roses: In 2017 The ARS Board of Directors, approved Rules and Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography. I have posted a series of PowerPoint Presentations for this at Southwest Desert Gardening. The series is also posted at rose.org That was a nine-year commitment, much of it spent swimming upstream! Was it worth it? I’m still reflecting on that.
Photography in 2017: I exhibited locally this year, at ANMPAS in April, the Corrales Fine Arts Show in October 2017, and Shades of Gray in December 2017.
As always, Light was a favorite subject. Crepuscular rays continue to fascinate me. Here is a slideshow of crepuscular rays in 2017:
If you would prefer to just look at the images, you may view the gallery here.
The last moon of 2017, not quite full, gives of hint of the beauty to come in 2018!
Tomorrow, January 1, 2018 the moon will be a full super moon. Even more exciting is the Super Blood Red Blue Moon that will occur on January 31. Here in Albuquerque, totality will occur in very early morning and in a part of the sky for which I do not have a clear view. I’m going to spend some time figuring out how can get a good view and stay relatively warm. 🙂 )))))))))) (The Blood Red Moon of 2015 was at a convenient time, and I could sit on my back porch eating strawberries and drinking tea while photographing it. Not this next one…)
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!
In the park before the start of the parade:
Painted Faces and Lowriders
Painted Faces, Low Riders, Ofrendas
I think every New Mexico parade has lowriders – “low and slow for show.” The Marigold Parade certainly features them.
Kids and Families Are Active Participants
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.”
I was very happy late last week when CanonUSA on Twitter tweeted
Canon USA Imaging
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. 😐
Uniquely New Mexico: old adobes, week of many observances across cultures of visiting spirits, and especially of Day of the Dead with Albuquerque’s – so far, not commercialized – Marigold Parade, Muertos y Marigolds. Several years ago, during more than one “photographic excursion,” Tim Price and I photographed a lot of old adobes, and Laurie sketched them. Those images sat around for a while, as did some images from a couple of Marigold Parades. I don’t remember exactly when I decided to make some composites. I do remember I had a lot of fun playing. My son really likes the series, so I decided to revive a few of the images. The Gallery, Spirits of the Old Adobes, is at my portfolio site. This seemed an appropriate week to share the images.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
That’s it for this post. Many more images – both special shapes and the simpler sky jewels – to come over time.