30 December 2011

Do-Over: Two Trees

Two Trees at Sunset, Bosque del Apache NWR, Oct. 2011
It is sunny and WARM (mid-50s) today, so I'll just be a moment before heading outside with the kids and the dogs. Based on feedback I received on the original posting of this photo, I've been wanting to re-process the image to give the trees more "breathing room." I know I tend to crop in too closely, probably fearing that details (like the bird perching atop the dead tree above) will be lost in a larger image, but really the point of landscapes seems to be large ideas rather than small details. I still need to work on that. Meanwhile, here's the revised image, and I do indeed like it much better than my earlier version. I always appreciate feedback, including constructive criticism; nothing like another set of eyes to offer a different perspective.

27 December 2011

Ice, Ice, Baby

Icicle detail, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
Icicle at sunset
I never imagined an icicle could look so... alluring.... So my "Appreciate Winter's Unique Beauty" series continues thanks to bountiful ice and snow. Our weather has been off the charts lately; the first official day of winter brought us our fourth winter storm, and this one was a monster for us in central and western New Mexico. The scenery is amazing, though, and just the icicles on my house (now melted) provided some great images. The photo above is not a macro (that would have given better clarity but I couldn't find my macro filter in the Christmas mess) but rather a close-up taken from the image at left. It still has some very cool details and looks like a glass sculpture of a woman's body. I was shocked to see that my camera managed to capture the icicle's surface frost and interior bubbles. More Photoshopping would surely clean up the detail in the reflections, and I'll be looking harder for that macro filter now that I see what this camera is capable of.

22 December 2011

What A Real Pro Can Do

Rosy Finch in a whole new light
I asked a friend to help me learn more about Photoshop and bring a bit more "art" to my photos, and WOW did I learn a lot. Watching a professional work was a great experience in itself, and to come up with this result, which may or may not be "finished" (I think it's already fabulous), was beyond what I'd hoped for. So, what am I gonna do during my vacation (besides finally finish my course project)? Play, play, play! And, not that I need another reason to want to hang out with this great person, but hey, I'm sure I'll need a refresher course soon. Next up: a re-do of the hummingbird pictures; thanks to your feedback and my great tutelage I have some ideas of how to make them... outstanding? Well, I'll try.

20 December 2011

Post-Processing Experiments: Hummingbird Images Revisited

I am staying up way too late these days playing in Photoshop, lately with the Topaz B/W plug-in. Working with the latter I am finally breaking free of my visual literalism (or whatever you'd call it) to consider what other elements of an image besides stark realism might express the essence of the subject. I always want the most crisp image possible and recall being disappointed when I first opened these images; without a ridiculously expensive fast telephoto lens, hummingbirds are close to impossible to capture "perfectly."

Last night I opened three hummingbird images I took during the summer and started abstracting them; the results were nice, but... still very realistic. Tonight, having had so much fun earlier with today's bird images, I opened the hummingbird images again and went further into abstraction. The blur works here; especially in the top photo I marvel at the clarity of the little dude's eye and head/neck feathers.

I still need to work with the tinting; I see these as a series, perhaps matted or at least hung together, and think the color should be consistent among them. But I can't decide between a warmer or a cooler tone... what do you think?

19 December 2011

Birds at Play

Rosy Finch, Digital photo in Opalotype style, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
Dark-eyed Junco
It is still snowing here in Western New Mexico, and it is lovely. I refilled the bird feeders this morning, knowing my little buddies wouldn't be able to get to much of their natural food thanks to our heavy snow today, and here they are, giving me and the kitties a wonderful show. The front feeder has been taken over by doves, who drop enough feed on the ground that I'm hoping some quail will come by later. I don't see them often because I live in town and many dogs roam around, but when the weather keeps the dogs (and people) hunkered down the quail probably feel safer coming out from their brushy cover.

Female Finch
We have a feeder in the back yard, too, and I moved it closer to the sliding glass doors in the living room so I could get some good shots of them feeding and fussing. I used my 55-200mm zoom lens for these images; I was going to sell this lens because I've never been impressed by its optics but decided to hold off to see if it gave better results with the new camera. These are good enough for now, I think. I processed them as always in Photoshop, then ran them through the Topaz Labs B/W Effects filter to add a vintage feel by desaturating (though I never can bring myself to eliminate the color altogether), adding grain and vignettes, and so forth. These images are all done in the "Opalotype" style, which mimics an early photographic process of printing images directly on milk glass (also called opal glass). Like many black-and-white prints opalotypes were often hand-tinted with just a blush of color. I'm in LUVVV with this style, so please bear with me as I work it to death in the next few processing sessions....

Mr. and Mrs. Finch at dinner

The Creative Exchange: Snowfall

Midnight Snow, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
I'm linking up with Lisa and friends at The Creative Exchange, always a showcase for amazing and unique photography. We've had storms blowing through one after another for the past few weeks now, which wouldn't seem unusual for most people this time of year. But I live in New Mexico, and when I tell people in other parts of the country about our snow they exclaim, "But how is that possible??"

I'm no fan of winter weather, but if this recent trend signals the end of our wretched La Nina cycle of the past year and some, I can live with it. For a while.

Intimate Landscapes: Glass Chile, Revisited

Hand-blown Glass Chile, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
Oh, my. The new camera does indeed have a better sensor, providing a much clearer, less noisy image. I had to do a lot less processing to bring out the clarity in this image than I did on those in my previous glass chile post, and good God look at those colors.

I think winter will be a bit more bearable now. Huge thanks to my dad for giving me this camera for Christmas, and for believing in my photography.

18 December 2011

Intimate Landscapes: Old Rugged Cross

Rusted Iron Cross Detail 1, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
It's cloudy and raw outside, so the kids and I are staying in... and trying not to get on each other's nerves. (They're annoyed with me at the moment because I won't climb a rickety ladder to try to hoist the 45-pound fake Christmas tree out of the garage rafters....) Today's diversion: photography, with my new camera and the f1.8 35mm lens, and stuff around the house that looks cool in the low winter sunlight.

Rusted Iron Cross Detail 2, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
This cross came from the store/gallery I owned and ran till 2007; I bought it in Juarez in 2006 from an ironworker who had accidentally discovered after a freak rainstorm that his beautifully made crosses looked even better with the rich rusted patina that grows on iron after it is exposed to the elements. This cross looks just divine hung on a whitewashed adobe wall, but since I don't currently have such a wall I can make do with an old tapestry for the backdrop.

Rusted Iron Cross Detail 3, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011

I Heart Macro: Morning Frost

Light Morning Frost, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011

Close-up of Heavy Frost
Time for I Heart Macro! What a winter we've had already -- two major storms so far and another due on Monday -- and it's not even technically winter yet. Two mornings ago the frost was so heavy on my windshield that it took almost 10 minutes of blasting hot air through the defroster to clear it off. I did think to grab a few photos (including the one in my previous post) with my early Christmas gift, a Nikon D5100 that is a step up from the D3000 I've been using for the past year and a half. The D5100 offers a better sensor and much better light sensitivity, and although I haven't yet figured out most of the settings I was able to grab some pretty cool frost photos while waiting for the car to heat up. The second photo shows a close-up of much larger frost crystals; I ran the image through Topaz Labs' B/W Effects for a quick enhancement and may play around with some tinting later on. I have a sad feeling I'll be getting lots of frost and snow images this winter... yes, we need the precipitation, but I can live without the cold and the inconvenience of being stuck at home when I'd rather be out working or playing.

17 December 2011

Winter's Bone

Looking up through morning frost, Magdalena, NM, December 2011
"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it..."
-Andrew Wyeth

I don't agree with the "prefer" part of this quote; I much prefer the lush abundance of summer and the easy living that comes with the long, warm days. Winter drives me indoors, away from the sun and fresh air, and the short days leave me slightly bereft, especially in these weeks around Winter Solstice. Winter's Bone, a stark depiction of loss and redemption in rural Missouri, highlights both the cold, grim harshness of midwinter and the bone-deep resilience we summon to survive it. I'll be calling on my reserves a lot this winter and will also be hoping for a trip someplace warm before long to refill the well....

14 December 2011

12 December 2011

Post-Processing Experiments: Toning and Tinting

Dog stole my chair.
No running water thanks to an unexpected hard-enough freeze. More snow on the way. And then I go to sit by the fire, one of winter's few pleasures (for me), and my seat is taken. Fine then, I'll just go crawl into bed and hibernate. I think bears hibernate not just to save energy but to spare themselves the inconveniences of winter. Maybe I'm projecting a bit....

I used a flash on this photo, the effects of which I always end up hating, so I ran it through Topaz's B/W effects plug-in and took away most of, but not all of, the color. Riley is a bit out of focus, something to check more carefully next time.

07 December 2011

The Dark of December

Fuchsia in bloom, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011

I posted this poem about a year ago, and it bears repeating as we in the Northern Hemisphere slump toward the darkest day of the year.

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

-Oliver Herford

We do get "real winter" here in New Mexico, USA, but thankfully we also get a lot of sun, which I can enjoy all winter thanks to two large south-facing sliding glass doors. Last year I packed trays of greens and then seed starts onto open shelves in these sunny spaces, a successful endeavor I plan to repeat along with overwintering some tender perennials I can't bear to leave to the elements. Fuchsias have always been among my favorite plants. They're a bit temperamental -- they need conditions that are not too hot, not too cold, not too sunny, not too dim -- but I persist in growing them and did quite well with this plant on the shady front porch this summer.

As cold weather descended, I decided to see if it could overwinter inside, and so far, so good. I took these shots with my 35mm f1.8 lens, which is getting a lot of use these days because I'm snowed in and bored almost to tears because, really, I'm not much of a homebody. I want to be outside. All the time, or close to it, or at least by an open window. I did make it outside for a while yesterday to sweep and shovel snow, dust off and bring in wood for the fireplace, and play with Maggie and the dogs just before the sunset, which probably kept me from losing my marbles altogether.

We are nearer to spring....

Fuchsia buds, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011

06 December 2011

Snow Day

Sleepy pup, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
We got 10 inches of snow up here yesterday, followed by a biting cold front that drove the temperature down to -5 by midnight. This all made for treacherous roads (even major lengths of I-25 were closed until late this morning) that probably won't be safe to drive for another day or so, so I had to cancel on five clients today and am trying to keep from going crazy with cabin fever. The dogs and the cats are all bouncing off the walls, literally except for Lucy, but every time I open the door to let them out they rear back and glare at me as if to say, "What is this -- make it WARM!" I guess I could catch up on paperwork and coursework and cleaning, but I'd much rather be working with clients and socializing with colleagues after several days of being housebound. Maybe the dogs and I will walk around town so I can get some photos and they can, well, sniff everything like dogs do, and run and play, and burn off some energy. I guess winter is really here, dang it.

05 December 2011

Still Life in Glass and Geode

Hand-blown glass chile on geode fragment, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011

One benefit of staying in on a wintry day is looking closely at everyday objects and figuring out ways to see them differently. I used my somewhat neglected 35mm f1.8 lens for these shots; it's a very fast lens, which I don't really need outdoors, and the shallow depth of field that happens at such a low f-stop doesn't work well with moving critters or wind-tossed flowers. Yesterday, stuck indoors in low light, I had a chance to rediscover its versatility and unique perspective. I gave this glass chile, made by an Albuquerque artist, to my mom two years ago, and the geode fragment came from a hike I took way up into the Magdalenas last summer. Nothing compares to natural light, and the weather was so volatile today that these shots, taken maybe five minutes apart, show an entirely different sky in the background as clouds tumbled from the mountains into town.

04 December 2011

I Heart Macro: Staying In

Angel Wing Begonia, Magdalena, NM, Dec. 2011
Last winter I gave myself the assignment to explore winter colors and textures, and though I doubt I'll ever grow fond of the season I did enjoy gaining a new perspective on its subtle natural beauty. This year I'm revisiting the assignment and, for now at least, will be exploring what might be termed "intimate landscapes," that is, the small beauties I find and create within my and others' homes this season. This shot was just what I was hoping to present for this week's I Heart Macro. The begonia plant, still a baby, was a cutting from a dear friend's plant (hers is easily 6 feet tall) and has graciously decided to begin blooming just as winter finishes off the last of my tender flowering plants outside. I got some other nice indoor shots today that I'll share during the week as I find time to Photoshop them. I hope you all have a good week.

28 November 2011

"Limited Edition" -- Yeah, that's it.

Riley the cock-eared, knock-kneed, bigfoot mystery mutt, June 2011
Still a cock-eared bigfoot goofball, and we love him for it
I saw a great sign today: "You're not weird; you're a limited edition."

I will totally be using that line with my clients this week, especially the teenagers.

Not that being "weird" is a terrible thing, right? Kids call each other weird as a put-down (adults do, too, but usually behind each other's backs because, you know, we're so much more civilized than mere children), and everyone is afraid of being "weird." Yet the most memorable, approachable, endearing people (and animals) I've known have all been "weird" as in different, unusual, quirky, eccentric.... Maybe it's something a person can better appreciate in others as well as self with age and wisdom. I find it fascinating that "weird" is also a noun that derives from an old Scottish word meaning destiny or fate -- it seems fitting, given that some people, at least, move away from "normal" as they age and free themselves to explore and express their unique selves.

27 November 2011

Ballad of a Runaway Horse

Precita, Drago, and Blaze roaming the range, Magdalena, NM, June 2011
Since June I've had the great pleasure of being able to go out to my dad's property north of town not only to let the dogs run and enjoy the stillness but also to commune with a small band of horses belonging to friends. It has taken some time to get to know them, for them to trust me and for me to tune into and read their cues so I don't scare or push them away. Now, even if I forget to bring them treats, they seem pleased to see me and usually walk with me and the dogs for a while before heading off to graze on their own. They are proving to be very therapeutic company both for their calm, centered presence and as occasional mirrors for issues I can't see or understand using my "rational," word-dependent left brain.

La bella Precita
Precita, the lone mare in the group, was skittish with me in the beginning and I had to approach her slowly, but over time her trust has grown and now she's usually the first one to find me and the last one to wander away. Sometimes when I'm standing or sitting among the horses she comes up to me and gently nuzzles my hand or even rests her big mug on my shoulder. Other times she comes up and nudges me, then dances away with a little crow-hop and buck as if to say, hey, loosen up -- find your Inner Mustang and play a little, or just bolt and run, whatever it takes to get away from that dust devil kicking up in your head. No words, no analysis, just play for a change.

Today Precita trots up to greet me and nudges my arm just as I'm focusing my camera on a nice shot of near-twins Blaze and Drago mirroring each other perfectly. I'm still feeling raw about something that happened yesterday, and I'm so intent on getting a perfect photograph -- what, am I on assignment from National Geographic here? -- that I push her back and she snorts, which startles Drago who looks like he might break the mirror pattern. Prescita once again nudges me gently and, annoyed that the camera gets shaken again, I put an elbow to her jaw and exclaim "Git!" She rears back from me and then puts her head down by her hooves to rub it, and it's then that I see the chunk of half-dead cholla caught in her mane just behind her ears, the long thorns likely digging deep into her neck. I realize Precita is in fact trying to tell me something important. I can't "hear" her because my head is churning with my own stuff that compels me to callously bat away this creature who simply wants to stand near me and, by the way, would I be so kind as to remove this awful thing digging into her neck.

Just as I reach up toward her, Precita turns tail and bolts up the hill, stopping for a moment to buck the living crap out of some imaginary demon riding her and yanking the reins and spurring her flank raw, then charges over the crest and out of sight. I thought, wow, that's some hell of a tantrum, girl. A hour or so later, as I'm sitting on a rock watching the other horses graze, I feel a soft nudge at my shoulder. I slowly raise my hand to her and she nuzzles it gently, standing quietly behind me as if to say, okay, I'm done now, I'm back, we can be friends again. And finally, I get the cholla out of her mane.

I'm glad she trusted me enough to come back, eventually.

I know that sometimes we forget how to use our words.

And sometimes we just don't want to use our words. Sometimes bolting and bucking and running far away feel so much better than stammering and struggling to say just the right words. We run away just to get it all out, just to say, fine, you weren't really listening anyway so to hell with you. (For now.)

Humans can be really dumb sometimes. They ignore or mistreat or take for granted those who care about them, four-legged and two-legged, then wonder why they get left behind in a cloud of dust. A few wise ones ponder their part in what happened, wait and hope for their runaway friend to come back, and do their best not to callously provoke another galloping tantrum. I understand why Precita runs: she's been penned up and reined in hard and spurred raw, and she never wants to go there again.

25 November 2011

Stormy Weather

The horses have grown their winter coats, and not a moment too soon as cold storms begin blowing across the plains. We got a bit of rain here last night, but the precipitation mostly hung around in the mountains and left a good amount of snow to brighten up the view. I took the dogs for a long run today and visited the horses today to make sure they have flowing water (they do) and just to stand with them in stillness. Blaze let me lean on him for a good while, sheltering me from the brisk winds and occasionally nuzzling my pockets for treats. All I had was an apple Larabar, but he seemed quite pleased with the exchange. As was I.

17 November 2011

Post-Processing Experiments: Color and Exposure

Devil's Weed (altered photograph), Magdalena, NM, Nov. 2011
I posted the "realistic" version of this Devil's Weed pod a few weeks ago but kept thinking it needed something.... So tonight, having had a LONG day and an unexpected long drive home (but much-needed for both myself and my girl child who was really missing her mama tonight), and feeling very far from calm or sleep, I thought I'd put on some music and play with some images in Photoshop. The image above started out with an accident: while working with a "hue" slider I slipped it way too far to the right, then... hmmm. And then, to the left... whoa, that's kinda cool. Then Monkey Mind woke up in a kerfluffle and I had a moment of, Oh, no, that's TOO FAR out there -- totally not believable -- what am I thinking -- let's just go back to realistic, shall we.... Just then, this line played through my headphones and, given that I have the music cranked up to GOODGODWOMANAREYOUFREAKIN'DEAF, I did manage to really hear it:

and if I close my mind in fear
please pry it open *

And so I kept playing, letting my fingers slip and slide across the color palettes and exposure settings, recklessly prying open my safe ideas of "realistic," and soon I realized I was letting go of the day's stresses and disappointments and my expectations and rules and everything else that walls me in when I allow it to. What is "realistic," and what's so sacred about it that I give up the freedom to play and have fun and just let the process go where it will, even if it goes someplace I'm not expecting to go?

I don't care whether this image is "right" or not. I think it's pretty cool.

* lyric from "The Outlaw Torn," Metallica {why, yes, I do listen to heavy metal sometimes...}

16 November 2011

Post-Processing Experiments: Tone and Texture

Bosque Sunset, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM, Nov. 2011
A great conversation with some artists recently inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone in photo processing. I tend towards realism, which makes photography a perfect medium for me (not to mention I can't paint or draw worth a plugged nickel), but sometimes a photograph captures a moment that might be better expressed less literally, more figuratively... I'm not sure what the best words are to express this, so I've spent the past few days playing visually to see how I respond on a gut level to various effects.

I saw right away that this photo in its raw form was kind of flat; the composition was okay, the detail was pretty good but not good enough to zoom in (have I mentioned that I'm dying for a fast telephoto lens? Next year, perhaps), and the color was good but not striking enough to carry the image. So I applied Photoshop's black-and-white filter, which was okay but not fabulous (I do much prefer color to B/W -- my own visual bias), and then slowly ramped the color back up and added sepia and selenium toning (using Topaz Labs' new B&W Effects, which is a fun and fabulous Photoshop add-in) to "antique" the image. This seemed to bring out the snow geese, which helped me realize that I didn't really have one stand-out focal element in this image -- oh, pretty birds! oh, pretty trees! oh, cool lines! -- and that perhaps this is what I struggle with most in landscapes.

So, food for thought. Please feel free to offer whatever feedback you have on this image; it's definitely a work in progress. I'm really enjoying the process of experimenting and letting go of the idea that I have to create a "perfect" image, and I'm open to suggestions and inspiration.

14 November 2011

Mi Familia

My brother visited last month and enjoyed some family time, some adventure time (a motorcycle trip to and into the Grand Canyon with Dad), and lots of autumn sunshine. His departure was delayed one day because of that crazy snowstorm that charged up the East Coast... yo, bro, I think it's a sign. Dad took this picture of us in Box Canyon (aka The Box), about 10 miles west of Socorro, and I just had to shake my head looking through the shots because my boychild is intentionally making a goofy face in every single one.

One day, he will regret that.


11 November 2011

Ramblings with Riley

I haven't had much time for photo processing lately, but I try to at least look through my recent photos every few days to see what stands out and play a bit. I love this evening shot (above) of Riley because it really highlights his huge feet, and as he begins filling out (showing his Mastiff side a bit more every day) he is becoming a very handsome dog. He's not easy to catch standing still; the shot at right is much more typical of him, especially when we're out on the property. That morning he thought it would be fun to dash into the pond, roll around and get good and muddy, then run full-tilt towards me -- there's a wake-up call for you. He is a handful but is also a big sweetie, and I'm very glad Dad rescued him for us.

07 November 2011


Cosmos, Nov. 2011, Magdalena, NM
This amazingly hardy and beautiful cosmos greeted me this morning, having weathered several hard frosts over the past few nights, and it seemed a perfect symbol for this particular day that I call my re-birthday. Three years ago today I finally let go of a "coping mechanism" that I sensed was doing me far more harm than good. As my mental fog lifted I began to see and hear and feel so much more clearly -- and so much better -- than I imagined possible. Things I struggled with began to make sense, or to simply fall away as unimportant. I began to learn how to deal with events and situations and learn from them, and move on, and I began to feel strong enough to face rather than duck discomfort and uncertainty. I turned inward and found my core; now I turn outward to really live this life I've been given and to be there for others as others have been there for me. "Cosmos" refers to entities ranging from this cheerful flower to the whole universe, but the term (from the Greek kosmos, "order") also connotes harmony, which manifests in every living thing that emerges miraculously from the darkness and chaos of not-living.

01 November 2011

Days Like This

My Favorite Pumpkin, Magdalena, NM, Nov. 2011
Any day that starts with a few moments of sunshine in the garden is already a good day, and yet this day managed to get even better. The seeds sown during my past few years of slow, persistent, sometimes imperceptible effort and transformation have finally begun to bear fruit, and I saw it so clearly today when a client facing some pretty major challenges told me he was beginning to realize that no one is helpless, that even when he has no idea what to do he keeps trying anyway, and that whatever happens he will know he did his best and never gave up. He didn't get this from me or from a book or some spiritual guru; he found it within himself. What a daring journey to embark on, trekking deep into the wilderness of heart and soul; some days I feel like a sherpa, and it feels like a huge privilege that people ask me to walk with them during their travels.

30 October 2011

Studying Contrast

Two Trees at Sunset, Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico, Oct. 2011
I'm in the middle of bedtime madness with the kids, but I just had to post one of my favorite shots from today's trek to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. I might finally be getting the hang of landscapes... maybe because I've given up trying to follow The Rules and just shoot what I like. As I began working with and cropping this image, I realized that it really needed to stay near-centered, which breaks the sacred Rule of Thirds, because... well, it's about two trees, it's about contrast, and to me this is what the picture needs to look like. I'm pretty sure I'll look at it five years hence and see how I could have done it "better," but today, yeah, it's one of my favorites. The color in the Bosque right now is stunning, and while the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese have returned for the winter, the crickets and cicadas and other "singing" bugs are still there to amp up the auditory experience.


The appropriately named Devil's Weed (Datura stramonium), Magdalena, NM, Oct. 2011
Not much to say today, but I wanted to participate in I Heart Macro this week (I find everyone's entries so beautiful and inspiring, especially this dandelion) so I grabbed a shot of a native plant that seems to embody the harshness of our ongoing drought. Today the kids and the dogs and I will be heading down the hill towards water, to hike along the Rio Grande bosque (wetlands) where the cottonwoods are deep gold, the tamarisks are brilliant auburn, and the Sandhill cranes are starting to settle in for the winter. I hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday -- to East Coast friends and family I send a good thought for digging out of that nasty cold white stuff....

29 October 2011

Embracing Change

Cold Front, Magdalena Mountains, Oct. 2011
As predicted, a major cold front swept into New Mexico this week, bringing a strong chill, snow up north, and amazing cloud formations. On my way out of town on Thursday morning I had to pull over to catch this shot; I was entranced by how the clouds embraced the ridge, draping the canyons as if protecting their wildlife from the sudden chill. And then, the ravens; the image at left is a crop from the one above. I fervently wish I had a fast, crisp long lens (300mm zoom at least) to really capture the detail instead of having to over-process the image to bring it out... but this will do for now.