29 April 2012


Drago and Precita, Magdalena, NM, April 2012
The New Guys (still getting used to the camera, and to me)
Here are a few more photos from yesterday, including a tender moment between two of the herd's sweetest -- and most spirited -- steeds. I have many, many photos of Doc's horses and keep taking more both to work on shooting technique and because they're so much fun to watch and interact with. When Doc first put them out on Dad's property last summer they watched me warily from afar, then slowly approached (nosing my pockets for treats) but shied away again when I pulled out my camera.

Bringing apples and carrots and just letting the camera hang around my neck helped them get used to it, and now they don't seem to notice it at all. They do get curious when I get down on a knee for a wider-angle shot; yesterday Goliath (the mule in the bottom shot) kept sticking his nose in my ear and nudging the camera. Maybe he was jealous that I wasn't taking more pictures of him... When I was composing the shot at right Goliath had his giant mug on my shoulder. I guess he did me a favor when he snorted right in my ear because it compelled the light grey horse to turn towards me. These two guys are part of Doc's outfitting crew but have been living on another ranch till recently and still don't let me get too close. Time to bring out a bag of apples, I think.

Precita and Goliath (he's annoyed I didn't bring feed out with me), under a beautiful spring sky

28 April 2012


Scapula, Magdalena, NM, April 2012
My photo mojo dropped by today, bringing me some inspiration not only to get out and take some shots but also to spend a bit of time exploring perspective. This was a great day to do that because our sky, usually a boring (hah!) solid blue, became more interesting over the morning as a front moved in with broad swaths of lacy clouds. The image below is my usual style of close-up with just enough background to suggest context. I usually get as close as I can to flowers because their detail is always so fascinating. Today, though, as I moved around for a different view, the sky that came into view behind the flowers offered amazing texture and color, compelling me to zoom way out (from 55 to 18mm) to get the shot at left.   Looking at this one I realize I need to expand the depth of field because landscapes, unlike close-ups (I hesitate to say I do macro because I don't have a true macro lens), seem to require clear focus from foreground to background. In both landscape shots, especially that on the left, the clouds would have better detail and the shot would do more justice to their beauty.

For the shot shown at the top of this post I'll confess to moving the bone, a weathered scapula from one of the many cattle that roamed this land before my parents bought a parcel of it in 2006. The daisies have sprung up in the past few weeks thanks to a few good rains, and I like the contrast between new life and old. I am happy with all of these, and to improve the landscape shots I'll finally read my camera manual to get the aperture and shutter speed settings right for full depth of field. I'll also need to work on light since a landscape naturally has a much broader range of tones that I haven't yet learned how to manage in the camera and in post-processing. So, more experimentation -- and I'll hope for more clouds (not usually on my wish list; I came to New Mexico for the sun!) to make my experiments more interesting and fun.

22 April 2012

Mas Flores

Irises, Albuquerque BioPark (aka ABQ zoo), April 2012
This has been a lovely spring so far. Aside from a few days of cold (including an apple-bud-killing frost two weekends ago) and some wind, the weather has been quite mild and pleasant. As I think about changes I've been through from year to year, I see that what looks like dramatic change in this past year started long before but did not become visible until quite recently. A garden metaphor obviously applies here: roots must grow strong and deep for the flowers to bloom in their full glory. Bring on some sunny, warm weather and watch the beauty arise, beauty arising from deep within the dark, damp earth where it waited for the sun and warmth to welcome it into being.

06 April 2012

Happy Springtime

Tulips, Magdalena, NM, April 2012
My spring bulbs have all bloomed so beautifully this year, more than doubling the number of blooms from last year. This has given me enough to cut and bring inside while leaving plenty to brighten up the garden.  I was going to buy myself flowers yesterday on my way home from Albuquerque but then remembered I have just what I want right here at home. How often that is true, for so many things.

01 April 2012

Spontaneous Genius

A horse's eye view (by Maggie), Magdalena, NM, March 2012

I wish I could say I took this picture (the second one is a closer crop of the first) based on careful planning and composition, but I didn't even take this. My Maggie picked up my camera and started snapping away yesterday while I was helping to unsaddle the horses, and this shot, as spontaneous as it was, seems to perfectly express her creativity. She sees me doing close-ups all the time, so I'm fairly certain she did choose this perspective on purpose, and we could attribute the cool lens flare and amazing reflection in the horse's eye to luck. Still, Maggie saw something through the viewfinder that compelled her to release the shutter and capture this moment. And so, in yet another medium, my little sprite expresses her creative talents. Maybe I'm biased (ya think?) but I'm awestruck.