10/7/17
2015 fine arts show

29th Old Church Fine Arts Show

The Corrales Visual Arts Council holds Fine Arts Show each year during Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta. The show is held in the Old San Ysidro Church, particularly beautiful in autumn. The show opens after the morning’s balloon events, and closes in time for you to make it to the evening’s balloon events.

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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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07/5/17
Nature's simple beauty

Nature’s Simple Beauty

Nature’s Simple Beauty

Nature’s simple beauty is refreshing after a wonderful, colorful, noisy holiday. My neighbors, organic gardeners, grow many things. While they harvested their onions last week, they left these for a few days so I could photograph them. I thank them!

First of all, a relevant quote for this post:

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Nature's simple beauty

Onions – Intertwined Beauty

Nature's simple beauty

Intertwined Onions

Nature's simple beauty

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem – Onions

Although these are plants, I could not help thinking of two posts Tim Price did on his blog this spring: Lizard Love and Snakes in Love. Nature is so full of interwining, whether you interpret them as the same or opposite in plants and animals.

In addition to the two onions in the three images above, a small one especially caught my eye. Most of all, it seemed so elegant in its simplicity.

nature's simple beauty

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06/25/17
Gladiolus

Gladiolus and Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus and Some Sunday Thoughts

Gladiolus flowers come in a very wide variety of colors and hardiness, much like many other flowers. This one is especially colorful, hardy, and reliable.

Gladiolus

Back Yard Gladiolus

Several years ago, during a total fireworks ban (I wouldn’t mind that again!), this gladiolus first bloomed on July 4. It has done so since. I’ve come to think of it as “the fireworks flower.” This year it has bloomed early, as have most of my flowers. (For rosarians, the exception was ‘Mermaid,’ that bloomed right on time!) I photograph it every year. I was happy that I managed to give this one a bit more of a three dimensional appearance than I have in the past.

For as beautiful as this gladiolus is, it is tough. It recurs without special care. It was here when I bought the house many years ago, but only when I retired did I come to really appreciate it.

I’m not sure why, but it reminded me of a Mark Twain quote:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

I have certainly found that to be true in my life. Fortunately, I have encountered more of the latter than the former, and I hope you have, too.

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An Aside
For my rose friends who read here but not at Southwest Desert Gardening, I include a link to a PowerPoint presentation on examples of “open bloom, stamens showing” under the 2016 ARS Photography Guidelines. For the blog, I converted it to a pdf file, but it is available as a PowerPoint. I will be doing a series of these to promote interest in photography of roses for the 2018 ARS National Convention and Rose Show in San Diego. The link may be shared.

Photographing Open Bloom Roses

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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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04/29/17

Beautiful New Photography Book

Beautiful New Photography Book

This beautiful new photography book was a gift from a dear friend earlier this month. I have found it to be a source of inspiration for reassessing my own photography, as well as just a joy to view. I do not ordinarily use posts here to promote the work of others. However, I think some of you will enjoy this book as much as I have, and I wanted to let you know about it. This Land: An American Portrait by Jack Spencer with foreword by Jon Meacham:

photography book

My Amazon Review

This magnificent volume of some 140 photographic images spans thirteen years and the Lower 48 States. Begun in 2003, partially as a response to 9/11, this photographic essay, with intense and raw beauty, is a search for meaning by a photographic artist. The images as they came out of the camera were a starting point for creating images Spencer saw in his “mind’s eye.” This is not a glossy travel brochure with beautiful travel images designed to entice tourists to visit, jump out of the car, take a snapshot, and move on to the next spot. Indeed, it is the exact opposite. These are images over which to linger, to contemplate what the artist was thinking as he created each image and what he hoped to show us. These are images that open the mind and encourage the viewer to look deeply and differently at the world around him/herself. What is the meaning of each image, and, taken as a whole, what do they say about the meaning of America? There are probably as many answers as there are viewers of the book.

Jon Meacham, in his Foreword, writes of what he finds “surprising images” in the book. Those were not surprising images to me. I live in “The Land of Enchantment,” which, in some ways, is still a frontier. But Spencer’s treatment of images from places I know, such as Truchas and Cerrillos, New Mexico, made me see them in a different way. This is a book that will influence my photography going forward.

Spencer is saddened, appalled that the majority of people he encountered seemed to be unaware of the beauty around them: “I was constantly stunned by the sheer volume of sleepwalking masses.” And, “…a phrase from the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas does come to mind: ‘The kingdom of heaven is spread out across the earth but men do not see it.’” I was not surprised when he noted that sometimes the beauty was so great he knew no camera could capture it, and that he would watch a scene, with camera packed.

I was fortunate to receive the book as a gift from a friend who knew the images would speak to me. Photographers and artists will find much to enjoy here. People who have quietly enjoyed the beauty of this country, whether in their own back yards or along country back roads or in local, state, or National Parks, or anywhere, for that matter, will find the book and its images offer a chance for reflection about many facets of life. Those groups are a natural audience. But, a group to whom I would especially recommend this book are parents with children of all ages. Study the images and your responses to them. Show them to your children, and let them tell you what they see. Discuss the history of this country, and the magnificent beauty there for the seeing. Help them open their eyes, not just to look, but to see. Five stars.

If you have the time and interest, take a look at this beautiful landscape photography book, available at Amazon and elsewhere. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

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04/14/17
spring garden

Spring Garden

Spring Garden

Spring garden – on a beautiful Albuquerque day like today being out in the garden is always pleasant. Today was an especially pleasant and interesting spring day. Friend and fellow photographer Tim Price, whom many of you know from his blog, TandL Photos, took me to an early morning appointment with the eye doctor. We then came back to the house and sat out on the patio, just enjoying the day, catching up on life, and looking for beautiful and interesting things to photograph.

This is the first part of a two part “tandem blog.” The second part is here, “Lizard Love.

spring garden

Sky Even More Beautiful than Usual

spring garden

Reliably Colorful Pansies

spring garden

More Reliably Colorful Pansies

spring garden

White Clematis Beginning to Bloom

Continue reading

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02/1/17
pomegranates fruit myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Pomegranates: fruit of myths; regular readers here – thank you! – are familiar with the myth of Persephone. Enjoyable for eating today, they are also wonderful photographic subjects.

pomegranates fruit myths

Pomegranates: Fruit of Myths

Some quotes:

“And the pomegranates, like memories, are bittersweet as we huddle together, remembering just how good life used to be”
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall

“So where does the name Adam’s apple come from? Most people say that it is from the notion that this bump was caused by the forbidden fruit getting stuck in the throat of Adam in the Garden of Eden. There is a problem with this theory because some Hebrew scholars believe that the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate. The Koran claims that the forbidden fruit was a banana. So take your pick—Adam’s apple, Adam’s pomegranate, Adam’s banana. Eve clearly chewed before swallowing.”
Author: Mark Leyner

The pomegranate as a fruit and in myths and religion has a very long history throughout the world. With this image, I wanted to create a “feel” for its Middle Eastern origins as well as a sense of age.

A Note About Photography

As this is a photography blog, I want to mention something all serious photographers know well. That is, cameras do not create images, people do. The camera is but one tool for the creation of photographic images. When I hear, Öh, but so-and-so has a good camera,” I am reminded of an old joke loved by photographers.

A photographer is invited to dinner. During dinner the hostess says, “You do beautiful photography. You must have a great camera.” To which the photographer replies, “The dinner was delicious. You must have a great stove.”

Serious photographers do something with their images daily, most of which are never seen by the world. They learn something each day, be it about their camera, other equipment, or themselves. This affects every image created, going forward.

Life issues have temporarily decreased my blogging time, but not daily photography of some sort. Many thanks to everyone who continues to check in here periodically.

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01/22/17
playfulness

Playfulness and Life

Playfulness – what is it and why should anyone care? Most commonly associated with children, playfulness in adults has been more recently studied by researchers.

playfulness

Playfulness – Finding or Creating the Magical

We often think of children when we think of play. But being able to play may be what makes some people happier than others. The ability to play as an adult, as defined the above-referenced article, seems to be innate rather than learned. But even people who are able to enjoy being in their own heads, imagining and seeing the magical aspects of life, may not be able to do it all of the time.

Photography is one outlet for play for me at this time. Creating images of my world is fun. At this time last year I was engrossed with the Persephone series. Looking back through those images now, this is a composite of many aspects of my life. It is only in retrospect that I see it that way. It occurred to me when I came across the Frida Kahlo quote about her painting:
“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”

I guess this is mine:

2016 shows

I choose Both, Free as a Bird

Some winters I find it harder than others to feel like playing. Winters are always the worst, and some are worse than others. But here in New Mexico, even sunsets in winter can seem to offer some hope of a better tomorrow.

sunset

Sandia Sunset after Snow

If all else fails, a look back at the 2016 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta can reveal a playfulness that appeals to all ages, children and adults.

2016 Balloon Fiesta

Just One of Many Special Shapes at the 2016 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Playfulness and Life

Wishing you a day, week, and life filled with the hope of joy and playfulness.

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