Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo

A week ago I drove down the Turquoise Trail south of Santa Fe to photograph the Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo. Joining me were Steven Bundy and John Farnsworth, a couple of great shooters and good friends. Thanks to Steve for the heads-up. Last year, you may recall, we photographed the National Day of the Cowboy at the very same Mortenson Ranch.

My mission was hone my skills at action shots, not something I do much of. I clicked the shutter about 2,000 times. Don’t know if it’s a record but it’s right up there. Because I took so many cowboys in action images and have yet to edit and edit and edit them to get to the best 500, here are some faces in the crowd.

Next week there’ll an onslaught of swirling dust, whirling cows and intrepid cowboys and cowgirls in non-stop action. Here's a taste:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adobe on the Prairie

Somewhere on the Blue Highways between Des Moines, NM and Branson, CO on my way to Bent's Old Fort I spied the sleeping bones of this adobe farmhouse. The dipping sun cast a gorgeous glow on the little dwelling. At least it glowed in the color iteration which I may or may not have shared with you a couple of years back. Funny thing. I have no fool proof method of knowing whether I’ve already posted an image but, instead, must rely on my steel trap of a mind to recall 500 some odd posts or would need to review ten years of posts to know for sure. That chore, thank you very much, isn’t going to happen.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

La Morada

The newly mudded Morada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Looking back at the path of the cross from the fourteenth station 

La Morada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the mother ship of northern New Mexico’s and southern Colorado’s eighty plus moradas or lay chapels. They were built by the faithful when the Catholic church failed to provide churches and priests to their mixed breed flock in the campo. What grew in their stead in the early 19th century was a conservative brand of Catholicism that featured bloody acts of penance. There are thought to be about twelve active tribunals in northern New Mexico. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ojo Sarco

The unincorporated village of Ojo Sarco lies in a gorgeous high valley east of Dixon, south of Peñasco and west of Las Trampas. Gotta love those musical monikers. Drive east from Dixon on SR 75. Just out of town take the right fork onto SR 580 which becomes CR 69 just as it turns to dirt. A short but scenic journey through red rock country delivers you to the little church and its sagging neighbor.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tyrrell Errata

Earthy Tyrrell coffee cups on the seconds shelf

Oops! I misspelled Al Tyrrell's name and, hence, web address. My apologies to the talented potter and to you. It would be to see more.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Al Tyrell's Cups

I have one of Al Tyrrell’s coffee cups for every day of the week. I’m a big fan of hand thrown pottery, generally, and Al’s lighter than air tazzas fit my thumb and index finger like a glove. I choose the color and shape of the morning’s cup based on a feeling, like selecting what to wear on a given day. Today's is my newest from last Sunday, a lovely granite and burnt sienna number.

The cups shown above reside on Al’s seconds shelf outside opposite his kiln. Damned if I can tell why they're seconds which is not to suggest that I buy seconds. Anyway, I‘ve used a shallow depth of field because I like the softness and how the image fades into the background.

Al says “Dishes in natural colors created to bring beauty to everyday life.” Visit his studio in Dixon, New Mexico or at

Yeah, I know. With all this talk about colors this probably ought to be in, well, color but black and white's my thing. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

On the way in the rain

On the way from Malaga to Gaucin by the way of Ronda I passed through a rainstorm and came upon this crumbling finca just as the deluge stopped.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Leave your mark on the world

Last week’s post was a quiet little effort, almost a throwaway it seemed. But then came comments that told me that the graffiti on the walls of the church in Taiban, NM was thought provoking to some. I told my friend, the noted painter Steven Day, that I didn't know whether the sobering verse ending with "I had to kill myself" was genuinely moving or simply maudlin.

I've learned that the church was built at the cost of $250 in 1908 in the town of Taiban, NM and that it served a congregation of Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists till 1936 when the town withered to nothingness and vanished entirely by World War Two.                     

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sometimes it pays to pull over on the side of the road if your curiosity is piqued

Inside the abandoned Presbyterian church between Taiban and Tolar, New Mexico is a range of earthly writings. Some like exhibit one above are exuberantly positive. Others like exhibit two are as dark as dark can be. 

Several years back I re-visited Fort Ord, the long closed army base where I partook of basic training in the summer of 1960. There, too, I came across wrenching graffiti in the barren halls where young men laughed and learned to be soldiers. As best I could figure, squatters had bedded down in the decaying barracks and left us mementos of their angst and desperation. 

My examination of the little church's interior walls affected me the same way.

I applaud the message of the headline I purloined from the south facing wall.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vantage Points

The little church between Taiban and Tolar grabbed me and won't let go. Here's the little treasure from the west and and directly up to the eaves.

I’m experimenting with file size as I try to solve the riddle of Facebook’s annoying crops. Facebook viewers please click on the image to be sure you see the whole thing.

Next week a little of what’s written inside the proud edifice.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Church and Sky

East of Fort Sumner, best known as the place where Pat Garrett plugged Billy the Kid, spread empty flats that are indistinguishable from arid West Texas. Ahead lies Clovis, NM where Buddy Holly recorded his early hits. The ribbon of US Highway 84 slices through the arid steppes with only the remains of tiny railroad towns like Taiban and Tolar to relieve the sameness. Standing alone between them is a shuttered Presbyterian church begging to be remembered. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Payback time

A few days ago my friend John Farnsworth posted an image of me from his favorite café cum duck blind in Antigua. Not to be outdone, here’s payback for his entirely too candid candid. Might even be from the same afternoon. Take that, guapo!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Out like a lion

Last Wednesday Mother Nature threw us a curve ball as yesterday’s 70 become today’s 40 with winds to 50mph. Didn’t exactly need that to tell the truth. Still, look on the bright side. The blustery winds and low clouds gave us this display.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Betwixt and Between

Green River, Utah is a withering former mining town just off I-70 in the center of the state. It’s a place that you stop when you can’t drive any farther. You left Grand Junction in your rear view mirror a 100 miles ago and it’s 100 more to the next services in Salina. When you do condescend to take the off ramp you discover a bevy of decaying buildings and the most incredible light come sundown. This little shed at a railroad siding on the south side of town is one such treasure.

973 souls populate the once thriving uranium mining mecca, the site of a defunct missile launch complex and now the potential host of a nuclear power plant. It's a slippery slope to oblivion.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mesa Vista

Ghost Ranch is one of New Mexico’s iconic locations, all red rock mesas, piñon pines and scrub. It’s makes for a perfect photo jaunt which when combined with lunch at Bode’s General Store in nearby Abiquiu. After lunch jump over to Plaza Blanca for more New Mexico magic.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's still life

For three weeks I’ve felt like I’ve had one foot in Guatemala and the other here in New Mexico. I miss the adventure and freedom of being in a new place yet I'm glad to be back home. I've been musing about the nature of travel, especially the kind that allows enough time in a place to feel like you almost live there. It’s like having two lives and those two lives add up to more than the sum of the parts. Two and a half lives maybe or three. It makes life seem larger, longer and maybe even slower which in my advanced middle age seems handy.

Today I get back to the basics of black and white photography with a couple of still lifes, the shallow depth of field barbed wire from the village of Golondrinas which lies between Mora and Watrous, New Mexico and the succulent from the cliff walk in Laguna Beach after a rain. The raindrop flecked agave probably says desert to you not the Mediterranean environs of Southern California. I live for these little misdirections.    

Sunday, March 05, 2017

This and that in Antigua

The cross of the church at the Convent of the Conception

We're winding down on the trip that never ends. Time to get on with contemporary New Mexican imagery methinks. Then again, one never knows.

On the chicken bus to Pastores from Antigua.

Camera shy in Antigua.

Madonna at the market

Volcan Agua at dusk from Avenida 3

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black and white only different

John Farnsworth lurking in his "duck blind" his iPhone at the ready.

One afternoon I was wandering around Antigua with my good friend, the noted painter and photographer John Farnsworth. We photographed, grabbed lunch at Rincon Tipico and John said he wanted to show me his favorite art gallery in Antigua, possibly the Americas. We visited the handsome La Antigua Galería de Arte on 4a Calle Oriente. It was as fine as  he touted.  When we finished, we darted into the photography gallery next door. I don’t remember the name of that establishment but vividly recall the work of its primary photographer. He, a recently deceased American who had living in Antigua for 30 years, had removed most of the color  from his environmental portraits while leaving the faces in muted skin tones. While I normally find so-called “spot color” to be contrived his were masterful in their subtlety. 

I tried to emulate the treatment here with highly adequate results. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Convento de la Concepción

Iglesia de la Concepción

The Convent of the Conception was built on land donated to the Catholic church in 1563 and was completed by Bishop Francisco Marroquín in 1620. The adjoining church was completed in 1729. The convent was considered the most elegant in the region and, in the words of English Dominican friar Thomas Gage, "The other convents are also very rich but after the Dominicans nothing could come close to the ruins of Conception." So, too, was the city of Antigua the epitome of Spanish city planning and architecture. It was considered the second most splendid city in Spanish America after Mexico City itself.

Iglesia de la Concepción from Calle 4

Young Mayas beside the northern wall of the ruins of El Convento de la Concepción

Native Antigueña Juana de Maldonado y Paz took her vows just as the convent was being completed so that she could devote herself completely to her artistic and intellectual pursuits. She took the name Sister Juana de la Concepción. She was not required to pay a dowry because her services as a musician were in such demand. Her father, a prominent judge, built Sister Juana living quarters that were known for their opulence and soon her rooms were full of poets, painters and writers. In 1648 she became the abbess of Concepción a role she filled till her death in 1666.

Among the descriptions of the convent are these numbers: 103 nuns referred to as "inmates", 140 pupils and 700 maids and slaves. Clearly, this was a four star convent.

The reign of Antigua as the second jewel in the Spanish crown was cut short when the city along with the convent and church were severely damaged by the earthquake of 1751 and leveled by the massive Santa Marta quake of 1773.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More Faces of Antigua

While I collect myself after twelve claustrophobic hours in airborne steerage yesterday here are more faces of Antigua. I attribute the paucity of wordage in today’s entry to the aforementioned fatigue. That and pounding music that reached my ninth floor digs in Guatemala City's Zona 10 till 2 am. I didn't think that was possible.

Maybe just one more.

The Mennonite attire surprises, yes? 

And, finally, big props to the best backdrops in the known world.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Ruinas y la gente

Antigua is a trove of street photography and of ruins left by the earthquake of 1773. The enormous quake prompted the capital of Guatemala to move from Antigua to Ciudad Vieja and later to Guatemala City. That was a good thing for Antigua and for visitors who can revel in the Spanish Colonial city, Guatemala’s cultural hub. The beautiful town has remained small and its colonial architecture and abundant ruins occupy every block or so it seems.

Today, however, we look at the human stories that prevail on its streets.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bent to the task

An abiding image of Antigua is that of indigenous women from the campo (the countryside) bent to work from dawn to dusk, toting the heavy loads of life. While their colorful Mayan attire would seem to call for the technicolor treatment, black and white conveys the weight of their burden more fully. And the shadows lend a certain poignancy to the depictions it seems to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I am woman hear me roar

From Helen Reddy’s 1971 paean to feminism to the central park in Antigua, Guatemala the voices of a hundred or so women and not a few men were raised in solidarity and in hope and resistance of the virulent strain of intolerance, misogyny and xenophobia that has swept 43% of our country. To observe it was to be lifted by the joyful noise. Here are faces in a crowd of strong women the likes of which were heard in the millions around the globe.

Helen Reddy turned 75 years old in October.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Por Qué No

The photograph called Lonely Place came in second in the renowned Keeler, California photographic sweepstakes of 2006. This is my fallback post since I will be jet-lagged somewhere in Central America on the 15th and reeling from an excess of cerveza negra consumed at my pocket sized favorite corner bar. Por Qué No.

That proved to be wishful thinking as Por Que No was cerrado on domingo and I wound up at a British pub waiting an hour for a mediocre burger while quaffing dark beer and watching the Green Bay packers eke out a victory over the favored Dallas Cowboys with three seconds to go. One Brit, one Welsh rugby player cum sailor and one Utah Mormon later I'm posting this with only a modicum of interest. Yawn.