Sunday, May 29, 2011

Classical Gas Museum..sorta'.......

The Highlight of this second to last day in New Mexico was the Classical Gas Museum in Embudo, NM, which is located along the Rio Grande, halfway between Espanola and Taos. Johnnie Meier, the owner, is president of the Route 66 New Mexico Association and contributing editor to the Route 66 and American Roads magazines. He is a voice for Route 66 restoration and commemoration and is the major force behind a  project to restore old neon signs at motels and restaurants across the State of New Mexico. I made more shots with my iPhone there than I did with the "big" camera, but these are a few I did make with the "big" camera. The "Museum" is not what one would think of..instead it is an old storefront along highway 66 with rusting old pumps lined up outside along with an assortment of other found or collected things. Inside he has for sale among other memorabilia, reproduction signs and gas globes. It was a fun place to shoot!

HDR shot Porcessed with Nik Silver Efex 2

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Echo Canyon, Plaza Blanca and Bandolier Nat Monument

On Day 4 of the New Mexico Adventure with Steve Gottleib we headed out of Chama and to Echo Canyon. It was another blue sky New Mexico morning. While the group headed toward the main attraction, The Echo part of the canyon; I set up to capture the opening shot above, yes from the parking lot. So if it looks great who knows? I loved the sage in the foreground illuminated by the morning light and the way the the tops of the canyon walls step down to the butte in the distance topped off by a cloud.

From Echo Canyon we headed on to Plaza Blanca. This is truly a magical place. The landscape is so grand, it is almost better from a distance. We hiked into the canyon area and up a dry wash. I once again, found my own way up the hillside to an elevation point where I could get a better perspective. I spent a lot of time just looking. With my beach eyes, I spotted the remains of some aspen leaves which had been trapped as the flowing waters receded. So I made a shot. I loved the combination of the dry with the idea of flowing water that left impressions in the sand. I toned this image B&W in Nik Silver Efex 2 and then brushed back in some of the faded color on the Aspen leaves in a layer in Photoshop.
Next stop was Bandolier National Monument. I hiked the main loop trail and made a few shots. What a place!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tierra Wools

Outside the store the houses and landscape is charming nestled in the mountains of the Sangre De Christos. This image has a Snapart2 Pastel filter applied.

Tierra Wools is a weaver, spinner, grower owned company in Los Ojos, New Mexico, a remote mountain town. We stopped here to photograph whatever presented. I had my 105 macro mounted on my camera and went inside the store into the spinning workshop area. Unfortunately there were no weavers working, but the yarns and looms were interesting. The wool used here is from the Churro Sheep a Spanish introduced sheep that has become endangered and are now being raised by breeders for their wool.The products they sell are beautiful! Check out their site on the link above!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tierra Amarilla a sense of Place May 11

Have been a bit busy the last two days conducting morning workshops and doing afternoon chores so I am now just getting back to continuing the New Mexico Adventure story and shots. After passing over the mountains and out of the snow....we headed down to Tierra Amarilla...a small town on the way to Chama. After making a quick lunch stop at T.A. Lobo Cafe, we had about an hour free to roam a little.
I loved the assortment of buildings in the opening image and got low on the ground to include the wonderful sagebrush as a foreground element. I enjoyed how the colors of the vegetation and soil echoed the colors of the buildings.
And as always when you see a great scene shoot it many ways! I also liked isolating pieces of the interesting buildings.
As with most of these small New Mexico towns there are lots of abandoned buildings. How sad to see this charming structure abandoned. Could it have been a gas station, or a little store, there is no telling..but I am sure someone there would know, as with all small towns, there is history. The man below would probably know...I met him in the Three Ravens Coffee shop. (if you have time the link is an interesting story on the owner) One of the group had gone into the shop and spotted the owner who had such a character face. He told Steve Gottlieb and Steve said OK we should go in and take it as a photo op. However, when everyone else was working the owner, I noticed this handsome man sitting alone drinking some coffee. He had such a wonderful dress and personal color. I have always been a sucker for a man with dark hair and deep brown eyes! .....Obviously Spanish influence. (My first real boyfriend was part American Indian, with dark hair and dark eyes.) Well, I asked if I could take his photo, he was willing, so I went out to the car and grabbed my flash. By the time I got back another participant had sat down at his table, so I enjoyed making some images while they were engaged. Turns out Mr. Morales is the County Clerk for Rio Arriba County.

From here we went on to the other side of town to visit The Tierra Wools Company..(that will be another blog) but while there I was invited to enter the San Jose Church by a local who stopped to see what I was photographing. It was a beautiful little church, as he had said, and I made a couple shots while there. I only grabbed this shot as I was  leaving so I could remember the name of the church, now I wish I had taken a bit more time to make a super composition as this church really was charming!

And sometimes you find not so interesting subjects can really tell a story, these metal tubs were filled with stone, as the stone in the structure of the building they were sitting in front of. I always let my composition students know that generally odd number of subjects make the most interesting comps, so when I saw THREE tubs I had to shoot them...more later this week on New Mexico as time allows..

Friday, May 20, 2011

The High Road to Chama Rt 64 May 11 ~ Trees

On Wednesday, after leaving the Earthship Community we headed to Chama via Rt 64. A grove of aspens invited us to stop and along the highway and make some images. Some of the group shimmed through some barbed wire to get into the grove and shoot up with wide angle lenses, but I chose to to walk back down the road where I first spotted the aspens with some beautiful orange undergrowth. I love to swipe trees and thought the orange undergrowth would add to the image. I also made some shots by swiping the upper reaches of the trees and a couple straight shots too. I could have stayed there for quite a while working lots of different angles with lots of different lenses, but not everyone had the same perspective, so we departed rather shortly after stopping. While there I noticed it had started to snow! I love the snow and was excited to see it!
 As we drove higher into the mountain on our way to Chama the snow became fierce and the temperature dropped to 29 degrees. Steve turned into a park area for a rest stop for the group and then one of the group proceeded to get stuck in a snow bank. I took the opportunity to make a few shots.
I could have also stayed here a while but it was on to Tierra Amarilla (after getting the stuck van out of the snow) for some town and wool shots....more on that tomorrow....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Earthship Rt 64 on the Road to Chama Wednesday , May 11

After stopping at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge for a few shots we headed north toward Chama on Rt 64. The skies were darkening and two inches of snow were predicted for Chama. Shortly after getting in our cars Steve Gottlieb spotted an unusual site with interesting architecture and he turned off the road to see what photo ops might be there...well it was the most interesting and unusual site I have seen. It was the location of "The Greater World Earthship Community" . We spent some time there fascinated by the architecture, creativity and environment. This was not a scheduled stop, but once again Steve was open to the serendipity of the adventure, guess that's why he calls it an adventure, you never really know what you will discover! The shots here are only representative of a small area near the visitor center. If you click on the link you will see the site is huge; and yes there was even an old truck, which Steve help the guys use their flash to capture the passenger compartment. Much more happened this day but that's for another blog...I felt this location deserved one all of it's own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cimarron and the EX UU Ranch Tuesday May 10

Monday, May 9th I met up with and joined Steve Gottlieb and his Horizon Photography workshop group for his New Mexico Adventure...... Now, I am not one to pack up a suitcase every night and head somewhere else, as I enjoy getting to know a location, but Steve had planned a different stop every night of his adventure so I quickly learned about living out of a suitcase. It wasn't as bad as I thought! Tuesday morning we headed north out of Santa Fe to Taos and made a few stops along the way. One of the stops was in Cimarron. Yes, the Cimarron, which is Spanish for wild or unruly, of the Old West fame or infamy. We had lunch in the famous St. James Hotel. What a treat that was, I always loved the old west stories and lore. There are reportedly 400 hundred bullet holes in the old tin ceiling. While there I picked up some interesting reading material which chronicles the gunfights in the late 1800's and it seems like Clay Allison was quite a shot as the record of the gunfights at the St. James Hotel reports that within three years, he shot 6 men and killed 6 men at the St. James Bar. There was also a printed copy of the "OLD" hotel guest rules from the day which amused me so...that I just have to share this one..."Guests are requested to use proper care and caution when shooting at each other in the dining room, as a reckless discharge of firearms is liable to result in the unnecessary killing of innocent and unsuspecting parties."
    While there one of our group spotted a darling little girl and her mom and dad in cowboy boots and she wanted to get a shot of the boots. So we began a conversation with them, and not only did we have a nice conversation, but they invited the group to the ranch, where they train cutting horses....I mentioned the invite to Steve and he decided, along with the group, to embrace the serendipity and we all headed out to the EX UU Ranch.
   This is what I loved about Steve he was always so willing to seize an opportunity and flex with his schedule. So all the shots here were made that afternoon in the blazing sun of northern New Mexico with the wind blowing and dust flying! I really enjoyed this stop as I used to ride and have always enjoyed romantic ideas of the Cowboys in the West. ;- ) Love the boots, the tooled leather saddles and the hats! but not the dust! At this stop I did most of my shooting with my Nikon lens: 70-200 2.8.
I put some Snapart2 on this one just for fun....
Snapart2 on this one as well.......

Processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro2

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch: Sunday May 8

Sunday morning in New Mexico, was the same as all the other mornings had been, crystal clear blue sky and sunny! I enjoyed a cafe breakfast, took my morning walk in town and then headed out on the road. I had decided to make today's day trip to Abiquiu and the Ghost Ranch. Most of you will recognize the town of Abiquiu as Georgia O'Keefe's place of residence in New Mexico, as well as the Ghost Ranch for some time...and until her death in Abiquiu. I wanted to see and be where she had created such wonderful art. The drive was easy and beautiful heading north out of Santa Fe. I stopped as I approached Abiquiu Lake and took a little detour exploring the lake area and some surrounding side roads. I made some iPhone shots but did not pull the big camera out, until I was near the Ghost Ranch, when the sun was illuminating the rock face. These images were all made of the rock formations, just before Ghost Ranch from the highway. There is a great pull off nearby and one has only to hike back up the highway a little bit to make these shots. I suppose one could also crawl over or under the barbed wire, but being alone I decided not to. The late afternoon light was creating a wonderful play of shadow and light in the landscape; something one has to get used to in New Mexico. After shooting I headed back to Santa Fe and had a wonderful dinner at The Coyote Cafe.

The last three images here I used Alien Skin's Snapart2 on the images in the Pastel Style giving them a bit of a painterly look.
This image was created near Abiquiu Lake and was the only  nightfall that even came close to a cloudy sky with interest. It is an HDR image processed in Nik HDR Efex.

Looking south to Abiquiu Lake.

Painted Hills at Sunset, Snapart2 Pastel.