Cooper’s Hawk on a Cold, Wet Day

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk, Hunkered Down on a Cold, Wet Day in Albuquerque

It was a cold, wet morning in Albuquerque.

This Cooper’s Hawk has been a regular visitor since August. It usually moves around a lot, often flying in for a meal and leaving when it is finished eating.

It was hunkered down like this when I first saw it on this day, and it stayed for about three hours. (It must have had its breakfast before settling down in that tree).

Other than keeping a watchful eye on me when I was photographing it, it did not appear disturbed by my presence.

Rose Photography

Rose Photography Winners from the 2014 Albuquerque Rose Show

Rose photography winners from the 2014 Albuquerque Rose Show are available in a calendar for 2015 from the Albuquerque Rose Society. I am pleased to have had five images selected as winners in the 2014 show and included in the 2015 calendar.

rose photography Gemini
Gemini, from The Postcard Series
Best of Show, Best of Rose Art
rose photography Leonidas
Best of Black and White (Challenge Class)
Silver Medal Award for Photographer Grown Rose
rose photography Distant Drums
Distant Drums
Winner Best of Theme (The Artistic Rose) and Bronze Medal Award for Photographer Grown Rose
rose photography Gemini
Best of Class and Best of Section, The Rose
Gold Medal Award for Photographer Grown Rose
rose photography Dream Weaver
Dream Weaver
Best of Class, Rose Sprays

Beginning in 2008, I began to work on some standardization for judging of photographs in rose shows in the Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society. In 2009, I was appointed the first Chairman for Photography in the PSWD, and held that post for the next three years. As an ARS Accredited Rose Horticulture and Rose Arrangement Judge, I wanted to work to develop guidelines for a third division in our rose shows, Photography. I appointed the working committee, with that goal in mind.
I have been very happy to see Photography added to many rose shows, and also to see many of those use the guidelines and score card developed under my Chairmanship. You may read a history of my work as Chairman of the PSWD Photography Committee at this link.

I did enjoy entering images in the 2014 Albuquerque Rose Show, however. I was happy to donate these images to the Albuquerque Rose Society for their 2015 Calendar, one of their projects for raising money for the Society.

November Sunrise

November Sunrise
November Sunrise
November Sunrise
November Sunrise

New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment” is known for its light and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Sunrises such as this November sunrise may not happen every day, but they do occur with remarkable regularity.

DH Lawrence stated it beautifully, and the New Mexico Magazine provided the quote:

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. As those mornings when I went with a hoe along the ditch to the canyon, at the ranch, and stood in fierce, proud silence of the Rockies, or their foothills, to look far over the desert to the blue mountains away in Arizona, blue as chalcedony, with the sagebrush desert sweeping gray-blue in between, dotted with tiny cube-crystals of houses: the vast amphitheater of lofty, indomitable desert, sweeping round to the ponderous Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the East, and coming up flush at the pine-dotted foothills of the Rockies! What splendor! Only the tawny eagle could really sail out into the splendor of it all.”

First seeing, and then photographing a sunrise requires getting up in time to see it. 🙂 That would be very easy to do if one knew the night before that a sunrise like this would occur. For this particular sunrise and photograph, I thank my cat for demanding that I get up and provide breakfast! It was definitely worth it!

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk Display
Cooper’s Hawk, Immature

This weekend, I had the opportunity to observe and photograph an immature Cooper’s hawk for almost an hour. I was very fortunate in actually seeing it fly into a juniper tree, where it was quite well hidden. I would not have seen it, had I not seen it fly in.

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk Display

Over the years, I have seen this and other hawks in the neighborhood. This is the longest time, however, I have had the opportunity to be “up close and personal” in such an intimate way with any wild animal, bird or otherwise. I knew at the time I had seen something extraordinary. Later, processing the images over several days, I saw many things I had not “seen” at the time. I have evolved from finding this an “interesting’ encounter to developing a tremendous amount of respect for this young hawk. This slide show contains many images from the encounter; some better than others. I include so many in hopes of sharing the depth of my encounter with this bird and its with me.

To see the image in full screen mode, click on the button in the lower right hand corner. To control the volume of the soundtrack, click on the button just to the left of it. I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Cooper's hawk
Close up of talon with prey

Albuquerque seems to be an ideal spot for the Cooper’s Hawk! I do indeed live in an “urban forest” area, and my own yard could be described as such. I feed many small birds at a variety of feeders, an enjoy seeing them daily and as they change seasonally.

I had accidentally seen this hawk fly into the tree. When I heard my scrub jays going nuts, I was concerned about a little fledgling scrub jay I have been attempting to encourage to come closer by feeding peanuts when I was out. I had been out and taken a few images, but the bird was hidden enough I did not try for more, initially. But, when I heard the jays, I thought if I went out, perhaps the hawk would fly someplace else for dinner that particular day. I took my camera, although I thought good images would not be possible.

The hawk had moved to a much better spot for photography. Still concerned about the fledgling jay, and with the hawk showing no signs of leaving, I decided to keep moving closer and closer. When I got close enough, this hawk put on an amazing display, which I interpreted (and still do) as a challenge to me. It was beautiful and mesmerizing; I had never seen anything like it. It seemed to go on forever, and I kept photographing. In reality, the entire display lasted 18 seconds!!!

Study on Cooper’s hawks in Albuquerque

Cornell Labs Information Page on Cooper’s Hawks

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show, Corrales, New Mexico

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show

The 25th Old Church Fine Arts Show presented by the Visual Arts Council of the Corrales Historical Society opened on Friday, October 4 with a wonderful reception for artists and their family and friends. The 2013 Exhibition of Fine Art is open daily from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, closing on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM.

Fine Arts Flyer
Fine Arts Flyer

Net proceeds and donation from Artists’ sales go to the preservation and maintenance of the Old Church. Visit the Visual Arts Council on the web at

The Old Church is a beautiful venue for a Fine Art Show, as these images from this year’s show indicate:

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show
25th Old Church Fine Arts Show

All adobe structures require constant maintenance. The Old Church is a much-loved historic structure, and this spring it received its annual “mudding.” On July 26, 2013, the Albuquerque metro area along the Rio Grande River was hard-hit by a strong, severe storm, eventually described by the National Weather Service as “hurricane strength.” Odd for the desert, but it did happen. The north side of this beautiful old historic building was severely damaged. A lot of time and money will be required to restore it to its condition before the storm.

Old Church north wall
Old Church north wall

Winners were announced at the Opening Reception on Friday, October 4. Congratulations to Frank Dobrushken for Best of Show with his black and white photograph, “The Dancers.”
Cheryl Cathcart was awarded Second Place for “Suspended in Air.”
I was very pleased to received Third Place for “Floral Fireworks.”
Thanks to Jurors of the Show, and to the Visual Arts Council.

Floral Fireworks
Floral Fireworks

I have a second piece in the show, “Cycles of Life: Sacred Datura:”

sacred datura
sacred datura

25th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

25th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

The Corrales Fine Arts Show, held annually during Balloon Fiesta at the historic Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, New Mexico, is set to kick off the fall fine arts show season in the Albuquerque region. This will be the 25th Annual Fine Arts Show held by the Visual Arts Council to raise money to support the upkeep of this beautiful old adobe church. This is a venue in which I love to show my work. The show has all kinds of work in it, not just photography. While there is photography, there is also painting of all varieties, especially oils and watercolors; textiles; pottery; just a great variety.

I would like to thank this year’s jurors for selecting two of my pieces for inclusion in this show: ‘Floral Fireworks’ and ‘Sacred Datura.’

corrales fine arts show
Floral Fireworks – Gladiolus that always blooms on the Fourth of July
corrales fine arts dshow
Life Cycle of Sacred Datura – an iconic plant of the Desert Southwest

The show is open 11:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, October 5-12, 2013, and
11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday, October 13, 2013.

You may find more information on the Old San Ysidro Church and direction to it at this link.

If you live in the area, or if you will be visiting during Balloon Fiesta, make the Old Church and the Fine Arts Show a stop on your visit. There is no charge, and parking is free. The church is a part of old New Mexico, and part of the proceeds for the sale of artwork goes for maintenance of the Old Church.

A big thank you to the jurors of this year’s show.

Curve-Billed Thrasher

Curve-Billed Thrasher

Unlike yesterday, I did not set out this morning to photograph birds in the yard. I had a lot of things on my mind, and went straight to the computer to start checking email. But, there was a most beautiful song, loud and clear, coming through the window. I know the songs of many of the birds that frequent my yard, but I did not recognize this one. I looked out the window and saw this curve-billed thrasher singing its heart out on top of the “look out tree.”

I see curve-billed thrashers on my patio, when they come to get peanuts I leave out, mainly for the jays. But I cannot remember seeing one in this tree, or especially hearing its beautiful song. It was a wonderful start to the morning.

bird curve-billed thrasher
Curve-billed thrasher

This video was made by T.Stone in Arizona in 2010, and lets you hear the beautiful song of this bird.

The Early Bird Gets the Water, the Worm, the Seed, and the Photo

Yesterday morning I was out photographing flowers in the yard. I noticed a lot of birds, but did not have the best lens on the camera for that type of photography. So, this morning I got up early and went out to see what birds were out today.

This is a juvenile scrub jay. The jays love peanuts, but will come for the water in a bird bath. This summer has been so hot and dry – New Mexico is in the midst of “extreme drought” – that many birds will come for the water, even without food being put out.

Bird scrub jay
Scrub jay

This is a white winged dove, keeping a wary eye on me. The pine tree shows damage from both drought and disease (dry trees are more susceptible to disease), but that tree is home to several birds. I hope it manages to survive.

white winged dove
White winged dove

For as long as I have lived here, a variety of birds have used this juniper as a type of “look out.” Birds also nest in this tree. This image shows a robin and a scrub jay. Scrub jays do not like to share, and the jay soon chased the robin off.

robin and scrub jay
Robin and scrub jay

House finches, goldfinches, road runners, sparrows, hummingbirds, and mourning doves are also seen very frequently here, so expect more bird photos.


Tonight’s so called “supermoon,” when the moon is closer to the earth than at some other times, making it appear larger and brighter.

Supermoon, June 23, 2013


Reflections on a Spring Day

Water is a valued resource in the desert, especially in these days of severe drought. Ponds can be found in places along and near the Rio Grande River, and a variety of plants and animals are attracted to such spots. Water is life-giving.

Sometimes water can be appreciated for simple beauty. I loved the various reflections in the water this particular day – the duck, the clouds, the trees, the rocks…

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