Sunday Musings

Hover Fly

Sunday Musings

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!

sunday musings marigold parade

In the park before the start of the parade:

sunday usings marigold parade
Muertos y Marigolds

Painted Faces and Lowriders

sunday musings marigold parade
Painted Faces and Lowriders

Painted Faces, Low Riders, Ofrendas

sunday musings marigold parade
Marigold Parade Potpourri

I think every New Mexico parade has lowriders – “low and slow for show.” The Marigold Parade certainly features them.

Sunday Musings marigold parade
Ubiquitous Lowriders

Political Statements

Sunday Musings marigold parade
Marigold Parade and Politics

Kids and Families Are Active Participants

sunday musings and marigold parade
Marigold Parade and Families

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.”

Hover Fly
Hover Fly on Mexican Sunflower. Note the 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. 😐

Day of the Dead Albuquerque Style

day of the dead
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Albuquerque Style. A Look Back at Some Previous Observances.

day of the dead albuquerque
Traditional Ofrenda or “Offerings” for the Returning Spirits

Day of the Dead Albuquerque Style will not happen in 2016 until early November. The Marigold Parade is Albuquerque’s major public observance of this ritual, which had it origins in Mexico long before the arrival of the Spaniards. The Marigold Parade is always enjoyable, and can be educational as well. Given that this is a Presidential election year, with all the politics surrounding this particular election, the 2016 observance in Albuquerque could be one of the best yet.

Day of the Dead celebrations have become popular in the American Southwest in recent years. Many of these have commercial appeal, and may have very little to do with the origins of the celebration or its function in maintaining cultural identity. To date, Albuquerque’s public celebration has avoided commercial ties, and has remained an expression of Albuquerque’s Hispanic culture.

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is not “Mexican Halloween,” nor All Saints Day or All Souls Day. Elements of Catholicism were incorporated into original native rituals when the Spaniards arrived. The day celebrates the return of the spirits of the deceased. This is not scary or frightening. It is cause for celebration. Preparations include laying out favorite foods of the departed, so that the spirits may enjoy the aromas. Favorite items are placed as offerings. Marigold petals are strewn in a path to show the spirits the way home. “Honoring the dead, loving the living” is a frequently heard phrase.

Preparations for the following year’s events begin almost as soon as the Parade is over. Plans and activities can be followed at Muertos y Marigolds. The 2016 Parade theme is “Sheep don’t vote, feed the chupacabra. ¡Reclamando nuestra querencia!” which definitely points to an emphasis on getting out the vote for the Presidential election two days later.

Albuquerque’s Day of the Dead observance holds much appeal to me as a resident, as a social anthropologist, and as a photographer. I have completed two volumes of a three volume set interpreting Day of the Dead observances here, from the ubiquitous lowriders of Part 1; Beliefs, Culture, and Politics of Part 2; and Celebrating Life of Part 3.

The first two volumes are now available in Kindle format at Amazon.

Many thanks to Lewis Baker who captured the both the meaning and the fun-loving spirit of the Marigold Parade in a jaw-dropping review of “Lowriders:”

The role of the Marigold flowers attached to the dramatic pneumatic Low and Slow dancing cars from earlier decades help lead the way home; and one imagines these hearty souls who once graced these shimmering desert highways with their canvas water bags dangling from doors and hood ornaments in these oldest models of cars find in this bouncing rebirth a joyful nostalgia for their human years in this Southwestern Land of Enchantment.

“Celebrating Life” should be out later this month or early in August.

Celebrating 2015

Celebrating 2015

Happy New Year!

Cosmos, still seemingly dancing in 2015!

This little cosmos seems to still be dancing in the New Year, 2015!

Wishing everyone a very happy 2015, filled with health and happiness (and, a little later in the year, more flowers of all varieties). And beautiful sunsets and sunrises; magnificent vistas; marvelous historic structures; cute animals; wonderful people; and all the things that make us celebrate life!

Dia de los Muertos at Las Laguna Gallery

Dia de los Muertos

“Day of the Dead”

dia de los muertos
October 3 – 31, 2013, artwork related to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) will be featured at the Las Laguna Gallery in Laguna Beach, California.

From October 3 through October 31, artwork in a variety of media will be featured at Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, California.

Dia de los Muertos, the day the spirits of the dead are welcomed back, and honored with special foods and offerings at altars made especially for the occasion, is a major holiday in Mexico. Not surprisingly, it is also a major festive occasion in New Mexico and elsewhere in the Southwest.

I am pleased to have two images in this show:

composited image
Julie Saul (Juror) selected Spirit #1 for Honorable Mention in Professional Women Photographers’ Spring 2013 International Women’s Call for Entry.
The Old San Ysidro Church
The Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales, New Mexico

The opening reception promises to be a lot of fun. In addition to usual reception fare (wine, appetizers, music), there will be face painting for all ages.

If you are going to be in the Laguna Beach area in October, consider visiting the show at the Las Laguna Gallery.

5th Annual Pollux Awards Announced

5th Annual Pollux Awards

The results of the 5th Annual Pollux Awards have just been announced, and I am very honored and happy that five of my images placed as Finalists in this year’s competition.

In the category, “People,” my image ‘Muertos, Marigolds, y Motorcycles 1’ was a finalist.

5th annual Pollux Awards
Muertos, Marigolds, y Motorcylces

‘Spirits of the Old Adobes, Spirit 3’ was named a Finalist in Digital Manipulation.

5th annual pollux awards composited images
Spirits of the Old Adobes

Two images were finalists in the category, “Nature.”

finalist, Pollux awards
Life Cycle of Sacred Datura – an iconic plant of the Desert Southwest

This image will be shown in the Corrales Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church during Balloon Fiesta, October 4 -13, 2013. It is also a finalist for this year’s Julia Margaret Cameron Award.

The second image in the “Nature” category to be named a finalist is this Japanese sea nettle. This image also won 3rd Place in the People’s Choice Awards in this year’s PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris.

pollux awards, Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish
Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish

A fifth image, ‘The Wonder of It All,’ was named a finalist in the “Portrait” category.

I would like to thank the WPGA and juror Julio Hardy for recognizing these five images.

I would also like to congratulate all the winners. Many of my friends are winners in multiple categories, and I’ll list them later, when I am sure I have checked and double checked to make sure I have not left anyone out.

This has been a good day! 🙂

El Dia de los Muertos

El Dia de los Muertos – literally, “Day of the Dead.” Celebrated widely throughout Latin America, New Mexico has its own way of celebrating. It is all about “Honoring the Dead, Loving the Living.”

El Dia de los Muertos
“Honoring the Dead, Loving the Living”

The Muertos y Marigold Parade in Albuquerque’s South Valley celebrated its 20th Anniversary this year on November 4th, which was made all the more interesting because this was 2 days before the US Presidential Election.

People have asked for prints of images from the Parade, and they are now available for purchase at El Dia de los Muertos Gallery at Susan Brandt Graham Photography.

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