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.
The first day of autumn in New Mexico is always exciting. Chile roasting and the State Fair are almost over, but the Balloon Fiesta, Marigold Parade, arrival of the cranes and other migratory birds, and gorgeous days with cool, crisp nights are still ahead. This is how the day began:
While I grew Mexican sunflowers many years ago in Arizona, this is the first year I have grown them in New Mexico. I had forgotten how much I liked them. Because I now know, I plan to grow them in subsequent years. In addition, the pollinators like them, too.
Other flowers that bloom well up until frost are cosmos. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Pollinators like cosmos also.
The first day of fall 2017 began beautifully. I was reminded of this quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Even as a child visiting the Southwest on vacations, I understood there was something special about the light here. Rather than growing tired of it with now-constant exposure and age, I appreciate it even more. While this morning was a little nippy and the arrival of Fall is not far behind, sunrise was spectacular (even without crepuscular rays 🙂 ))))))))) )!
Albuquerque sky in 30 minutes? Well, yes. Especially regular readers here know I love the skies in Albuquerque and New Mexico and all of the desert Southwest. I see something worth noting almost every day. Because late yesterday afternoon was especially noteworthy, I want to share a few images. Most of all, these all occurred within 30 minutes. Maybe this happens every day, but this time I happened to catch it. 🙂
Anticrepuscular rays are a phenomenon that occurs opposite a rising or setting sun. I first became aware of them on the weekend of autumnal equinox, 2013. After dinner, looking down from Los Alamos across to Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountains was something I had never seen before, and it was spectacular! To the west were huge, roiling, golden clouds, remnants of a storm I had driven through earlier. They were also precursor to a new forming storm. But the view to the east was calm. The sky was blue, and soft pink rays seemed to emanate from the middle of the Sangre de Cristos. It was breathtaking. At the time I did not know what I was seeing, but I knew I was fortunate to be seeing it. Camera? It was in the motel.
Anticrepuscular Rays in Albuquerque
Fast forward to Albuquerque, summer 2017. Those of you who read here often know that I have discovered how frequently crepuscular rays occur here. I just have to look for them. As an early riser, I can prepare for what looks like a promising sunrise long before it happens. I watch for it to develop, and have the camera with the right lens handy. One day I had “hit the wall” and overslept until 6:30am. Bright orange light coming through the blinds and curtains awakened me, heralding a colorful sunrise. By the time a sunrise is orange, it is almost over. I had no time to waste. Grabbing the camera, which still had a 100mm lens in place, I ran out. No time to change to a landscape lens, I thought. It should be more or less OK for the typical shot east from my back yard.
Then I turned and looked west. You never know what you might see. This is what I saw. I thought it was pretty, but I did not yet realize what I was looking at.
I went into the front yard to pick up the newspaper, and this is what I saw. Was I kicking myself for not changing the lens before I went out? Yes.
I returned to the back and took another shot looking west. Note how much lighter the sky has become. Total time elapsed from the first sunrise image to this last one? 5 minutes, 6:45am-6:50am.
More in the Future?
Many of you have seen the variety of crepuscular rays I have posted here. Now that I have seen anticrepuscualr rays here, I’m hoping that all it requires is an awareness to begin to see them more often. And, if not, well, I was fortunate to see them for a second time.
Smoke from a distant fire, in this case, multiple fires in the west, has made its way into New Mexico and Albuquerque. The sky has been hazy for several days. My eyes have burned a bit. I knew the smoke was here, but had not paid too much attention. Until last evening, that is. When I went out to change the water in the hummingbird feeders, I caught a glimpse of the moon rising over the Sandias. The moon seemed huge, but rather than the bright silver I’m used to seeing, it was a muddy red. By the time I got my camera, the moon was already up, but the same color. When I plan to photograph the moon, I generally use a tripod. This wasn’t planned and I didn’t have time. Such is life.
From 7:30pm MDT:
With thoughts for all the people affected by the fires burning in the west, the firefighters, other emergency responders, as well as those affected by Harvey and those facing the threat of Irma.
This old song always comes to mind when fires are burning and smoke is in the air:
Monsoon rain and roses have been outstanding this year!
In July, I showed the first real rain at my house of the 2017 monsoon season. It was unusual, dropping 2.5 inches of rain in 40 minutes. Overall, I’ve gotten almost 7 inches of rain this monsoon season. The transformational power of rain in the desert is remarkable.
July 17, 2017:
August 21, 2017:
The roses have responded in like manner.
The hybrid tea ‘Gemini’ has put out many sprays, which will appear at a later time. The one-to-a-stem blooms have had the perfect form for which this particular rose is known. This image is from the other night, after a brief monsoon shower. The new ARS guidelines that will be coming out later this month strongly suggest avoiding images with water droplets on the petals. I agree with avoiding such images if the light is wrong and the droplets light up as blank, a real distraction. But raindrops on roses after a gentle life-giving rain in the desert? I will photograph and show such images, happily. ‘Gemini’ is one of my favorite hybrid tea roses to grow in Albuquerque. “Raindrops on roses…” The stucco of my house, against which most of my hybrid teas grow, is the background.
Another of my favorite hybrid tea roses in the desert is ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ It has also responded to the monsoon rains. While I frequently get sprays on ‘Gemini,’ most ‘Veterans’ Honor’ blooms for me are one-to-a-stem. However, it produced a spray this year. This is not any kind of classic spray form by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, I kind of like the almost ‘golden spiral’ effect of this spray, the always-gorgeous color, and healthy foliage seen here.
Although Albuquerque will see some additional rain this year, the monsoon season is rapidly drawing to a close. From my perspective, as well as that of my yard and flowers, this has been a great – and much needed – monsoon year!
2017 Eclipse shadows and bokeh were what I photographed yesterday. Albuquerque had a partial eclipse, rather than the total eclipse seen in a large swath of this country. But, any eclipse is exciting. I photographed what I know how to photograph, and learned some new things and a better appreciation of light along the way. For beautiful images of the eclipse itself as seen in Albuquerque, do yourself a favor and visit and visit Tim Price’s blog, Off Center and Not Even
I photographed these eclipse shadows on the sidewalk at my mother’s house six minutes after the peak of the eclipse here. The light was filtered through her crab apple trees. Clouds rolled over the sun, then left a clear sun briefly, then rolled over again. You will see much sharper shadows of the eclipse from areas with clear skies Nevertheless, I find these an interesting phenomenon. It is a safe way to view an eclipse.
I knew about the shadows, and have photographed them before. Until yesterday, I had never thought about eclipse bokeh. Yesterday I learned about it accidentally. Had I known, I would have spent more time photographing birds and sunflowers in my yard! Not until I was processing casually shot images did I realize what I was seeing.
This image of the floribunda rose ‘Fabulous!’ is from May. The bokeh, the light filtered through the tree, is clear and round. This is normal bokeh.
Look at the bokeh in this image, taken when the eclipse was about three-quarters over. Note the distortion, and how different it appears from the bokeh in the image above. The eclipse is present in the bokeh! Seeing that in processing the image was an “Ah, hah!” moment for me. While it makes perfect sense, I had just never thought about it before.
This is a closer crop:
Albuquerque saw only a partial solar eclipse yesterday. Nevertheless, I had so much fun photographing eclipse shadows and learning that the eclipse appears in bokeh! Most of all, because I had never thought about bokeh during an eclipse, this was a very exciting learning experience about light for me! Finally, I hope you enjoy the images too! 🙂