Tim and I share a birthday. For years we have done something on that day. Yesterday was no exception. This year we opted for a quiet day in the bosque and along the banks of the Rio Grande. It was a spectacular, cloudless afternoon. We saw a lot of crows, some geese, and a couple of cranes. Over the next couple of weeks many more cranes will be arriving. Yesterday, above all, colors took center stage.
Silver, one of the Price cats, seemed to be watching for his people’s return. As you can see, Tim had cameras with him.
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!
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.
We hadn’t been in that spot long when Tim and Laurie spotted something:
A short time later, we saw this:
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:
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!!”
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.
Photographic excursions in Corrales are full of surprises and delights. More in future posts…
Water Is Life (“El Agua es Vida”): Acequias in New Mexico
Water is life everywhere in the world. The peoples of New Mexico readily express this truth. “El agua es vida” signs and banners appear in many places, such as floats at the annual Marigold Parade.
New Mexico is in the Desert Southwest. The Rio Grande River blesses the state. Albuquerque, the largest city in the state, grew up around the river. But many different peoples populated small settlements close to the river for hundreds of years.
Recently, on a rather chilly and definitely dismal day, I got to have a wonderful visit with Tim and Laurie In Corrales. Because they live right along the Rio Grande, I have walked the ditch bank with them many times. We have photographed the acequia from which they get water to irrigate their land. I have photographed this many times, and never got images that I really liked. Those other times, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the leaves were green, and water with reflections was in the acequia. You might think that could make a nice picture. For me, the overcast and dismal sky, dry acequia, and brown leaves made images I liked better.
Walking along the ditch bank, you often meet other people. A gentleman passed by with this beautiful German Shepherd!
After a wonderful afternoon out photographing many interesting things in the bosque, we came back to a warm home and fabulous dinner prepared by Laurie and Tim! Great friends, photography, and food – what more could anyone ask?
Autumn is the most glorious time in New Mexico, for so many reasons.
As 2014 draws to an end, a winter storm is bearing down to ring in the New Year. This seemed a good day to revisit one of the spectacular autumn days on the Rio Grande.
The large trees are cottonwood trees. Cottonwoods are found along the Rio Grande, but not far out from it. They are some of the major trees of a southwest forest along the Rio Grande, a forest referred to as “the bosque.” New Mexicans love the bosque, and Albuquerque has miles of bike and walking trails through and along the bosque.
This particular image is from Corrales, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande is just out of the image to the east. The mountains you glimpse are the Sandias.