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.

21 October 2011

Harvest Time

Final Harvest, Magdalena, NM, Oct. 2011
October is incredibly beautiful here in New Mexico, with the deepest blue skies, golden sunshine, changing leaves... and of course it's a bittersweet time for any gardener because it brings frosts that slow and finally still the garden. Here's one of my last harvests of this wonderful, colorful season: plum and heirloom striped tomatoes, tomatillos, purple bell and yellow banana peppers, and fiery cayennes. Salsa, baby. Not that I've had much energy given my schedule and commute, but this weekend I hope to make and can some serious salsa and tomato sauce, and also bake with some of the wonderful pumpkins I pulled out of the garden earlier this week. What I'll miss most about this year's garden, which is now all but gone: wandering the rows and stuffing myself with cherry and pear tomatoes as I gathered produce for the next few days' meals. Methinks a greenhouse is in my future....

15 October 2011

Shadow Self

Self-portrait (with Apache) in sun and shadow on raw dirt. Magdalena, NM, Oct. 2011
I don't like neglecting my blog, but you know how it is when things press in and choices have to be made. I had to start ramping up my internship hours this week, which means more time in and commuting to/from Albuquerque, so I can finish the program next June and finally start working for money in this new career. Marital/family therapy seems like a great fit for me. And I have lots of ideas for making the career my own with twists like canine and equine therapy for kids (and maybe adults) with PTSD, therapy retreats for couples and families, that sort of thing -- somewhere down the road. In the meantime, I'm working, learning, and taking care of myself and my kids and animals, including spending as much time as I can out on the property in the open air. I love it when the horses come out to greet us, and the dogs take off after rabbits, and the kids start running and climbing and howling like banshees and just letting off steam. If I could build a house out there right now I would, because it is where I find peace almost without effort: I just have to stand for a moment in the stillness, and my soul settles. What a treasure.

05 October 2011

Drinking It In

Hollyhock bud after the rain, Magdalena, NM, Oct. 2011

Double rainbow in the Magdalena Mountains, Oct. 2011
Yesterday was a day of thick clouds and steady rain that gave trees and grasses and perennials a much-needed drenching before the weather turns cold. It revived my flower gardens that are bestowing a final burst of color on us, and today I noticed new cilantro seedlings around the herb bed just in time for that final batch of salsa. As frost approaches -- it's quite possible we'll get at least a light frost this weekend -- I feel (as always) that I just haven't had enough time in the garden. I will especially miss wandering through the rows with Maggie, both of us eating handful after handful of cherry tomatoes and little pear tomatoes; I had planted five or six different varieties to hedge my bets, and they all produced quite well. My favorites: the orange cherry tomatoes -- even sweeter than the red ones, which themselves were hard to beat. Summer is just never long enough for me.... Another gift yesterday: just before sunset, the sun broke through low clouds to give us a beautiful double rainbow. Enchanting, as always.