Some of these photographic experiences can be quite “arresting” for me, even as I am just looking through the viewfinder. The skies here are so grand and imposing at times that it will make anyone feel microscopic in importance. Maybe that’s a good thing….once in a while.
Category: Cloud Formations
Exceptional clouds. Only in New Mexico.
Gloom But No Doom!
This place is sunny and bright about 98% of the time. But when the sun sets, things can get pretty dramatic. Also, when it gets gloomy, it really gets gloomy. But we never have more than a day of that, so I have to move fast to capture the theatrical lighting. That’s me with my dog in the top photo. She’s learned to stand still when Mom is photographing.
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2 responses to “Gloom But No Doom!”
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What is it about “vanishing points” that draws us in? I’m talking more about the emotional level of it. Of course the eye will follow a line like that out to the horizon, but there’s more to it than that. I know there’s more to it when I’m photographing it. Maybe it’s that we all disappear into eternity? So I’ll just leave it there.
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Thoughts on Photography
Clouds on Stage, Santa Fe
Early morning is a great time to shoot. Of course so is evening, but I’m an early bird, so those photo-ops suite me much more. I’m still not bored with photographing my immediate neighborhood and even the front yard, All of these were taken within 100 yards of my home. As a matter of fact, there’s my white car parked in the driveway. I think the image is clear enough for you to even see what the make is, and maybe even the specific model. And best of all, there’s my dog to the right.
I’m still very happy shooting with the Sony A7r—. All those other numbers after the name are too much for me. Also, still with the basic lens, sometimes considered a kit lens, the 28-60mm. I think that lens was made for this camera. It’s just a flawless combination and I love that it’s small and weather sealed. Blowing dust is more of an issue here more than rain….generally. Although lately we’ve been getting drenched. Hoping for a great ski season with all the abundant moisture.
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Cloud Parade #3648!
Monsoon Season is supposed to be finished, but somehow they haven’t gotten that message. We’re delighted. The rain is always welcome here and so are these theatrical cloud formations. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that motorists will literally pull off to the side of the road to watch the show. I should know!
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Santa Fe clouds. Monsoons.
What else can I say? They just keep putting on a show. I’m sure they’re very proud of themselves. Clouds are like that. They want us to look at them and be in awe. Come to think of it, being in “awe” is a pretty good state of mind to visit from time to time…after you’ve paid the bills that is. The photo below doesn’t exactly feature clouds, but I liked the contrast between the two subjects.
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3 responses to “Cloud Chatter”
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One Cloud Only. Comments?
This is one picture of a cloud posted yesterday. Only this time it is much higher resolution. My camera, shooting in uncompressed RAW, can capture amazing gradations of tone in the sky and clouds. Then I compress that image for the web and everything is lost. Instead, I thought I’d try posting just one image of higher resolution and see what happens.
You can click on this image to get the full size. If anyone notices any improvement, I’d sure like to hear about it. I think it looks better and all that banding in the previous Gallery photos from 8/5/22 is much improved.
It’s likely that these images are compressed twice: once by me and another time by the WordPress protocol (probably).
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5 responses to “One Cloud Only. Comments?”
The ever changing cloud formations up here continue to hold my undivided attention. I can’t seem to get enough of it and I can’t seem to stop looking. Funny that I’m never bored by this vista. They form, then morph, then merge, then dissipate, like “thoughts”. I find that I can’t leave home without the camera around my neck….just in case one of them calls to me!
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‘Tis the Season For Sky
Skies like this leave me in awe and feeling very small.
On a technical note, adding a tint to some of these, does NOT translate well into the compressed version needed for the web. It bugs me, but as I have said before, a) I think I’ll live, and b) Life goes on!
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Not Quite Ansel Adams
Can’t Get Enough of…
Well, I hope I’m not boring everyone who visits “santafeandme” these days. But we are in our Monsoon Season and that means epically amazing cloud formations and lots of storms.
When I’m driving, I have to remind myself to: “Keep your eyes on the road.” It’s really difficult and more often than not, I have to pull over and “click”. Some of these formations look positively nuclear or Biblical, or both! Others look like highways in the sky. I can’t stop myself, it’s worse than chocolate. So “clouds” may be the theme on this blog for a couple more weeks…
…Oh, that’s not true either. Clouds and Sky are just a major facet of the scenery in New Mexico’s high country all year.
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New Mexico Raw
Raw is the right word to describe the landscapes here in New Mexico…especially when the weather is changing and the skies become very dramatic. These were taken just a few minutes before sunset. Because we’re at altitude (7000′) the air is crystal clear. Of course another reason for that is because there aren’t many people here! We’re in a rural area, so there are even fewer people and the air and the skies are even more clear than in town (Santa Fe). These low light situations with high contrast clouds as the sun catches them, “asks” a lot of the camera. I shoot RAW so I could lighten these quite easily, but I’m going for the mood of the scene and how it impressed me as I stood there. I should say, “how it captured me!” So there you have some silhouettes, solid inky black with little or no detail. The modern cameras are amazing for preserving detail and tone; and I know that I could have pulled that out of those areas.
These were taken, quite recently, with the Sony A7Riii. I’m pretty much in love with the camera. I love the size, the lightness, the fluidity in using it. It seems to read my mind, and who knows, with AI, maybe it is! I read a review of it by Ken Rockwell in which he referred to the A7Riii as “clairvoyant”. That’s really the perfect choice of words, so I’ll just lift that description from his article.
I used the very basic Sony FE 50mm f1.8 lens which “serious” photographers would probably scoff at. Well, I’m amazed by it and I am serious! And unless I were printing images one acre large, I bet that most of us would not be able to tell the difference between it and one of the breath-takingly expensive Sony G or Master lenses. Its clarity and performance are astounding.
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5 responses to “New Mexico Raw”
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Backyard Treasure Trove
Sometimes, not only is it a lazy day, it’s a “why bother to go anywhere else to shoot day.” That describes my backyard out here in the wilds of New Mexico. Sometimes an amazing scene appears out of nowhere and I’ll just grab the nearest camera. That may not be the best one, but light changes so fast around here that I can’t get particular. Since most of the focus is on sky and clouds, that creates a big problem when crunching these down as small JPEGs. Because there is so much subtlety and gradation in those clouds, they tend to become blotchy as they are compressed. So I have to compromise.
Life goes on.
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“Look Ma. Jesus is comin’.”
This is supposed to be a site dedicated to black and white photographs only. But I’m going to make an exception here. This was the “Biblical” event in our skies that I was awed by as I drove home yesterday. It filled the entire sky and here is the jpeg-compressed pale imitation of what I saw. I had to pull over and just watch as the light changed. Luckily I had the Olympus M5iii with me. For a small sensor, I’m always amazed at how able it is. I haven’t added any color or contrast.
Olympus 12-45mm Pro
Earth & Sky Santa Fe
Earth and Sky. I never tire of these two as subjects. To some it might seem repetitive, but to me it’s always fresh and new. Some of these are from my backyard. But all of them are within just a few miles of home. Finding the “new” and “interesting” in your own, well-worn, backyard and town, might seem daunting; but I’m still enjoying.
New Mexico Light Show
We never get tired of the dramatic play of light in New Mexico. Because we’re at 7000 feet, and higher, we get these deep blue skies. Well, that translates into a deep gray in these black and white photos.
The picture at the top and bottom right was taken with a new camera for me. It’s been around for awhile, but curiosity made me give it a try. That’s the Olympus OMD M5 M3. I had one of the earliest Olympus OMs a long time ago. It was called the OM-1, a film camera, and it was unique for its time…small and beautifully crafted. I think I wore it out. The Zuiko lenses were fantastic even then.
So that was part of the influence that moved me to try Olympus once more. I liked the possibility of “focus stacking” in camera and the 1:1 format which I love but cannot get with the Sony A6500 (which is another gem). That image was shot with the lens which Olympus is now packaging as a kit with the camera body, the weather-proof, 12-45mm f4. That’s the equivalent of a 24-90mm in full frame terms. I’ve shot many more pictures since, and I am impressed. Really impressed with it. That’s a micro 4/3rds sensor that honestly rivals the quality of the A6500. Of course the 6500 can see in the dark when paired up with the Sigma 56mm f1.4, but the IBIS on this camera is astounding and nothing like I’ve ever experienced. The lens is also astounding. The weather-proofing is probably second to none as well. And it’s small and light just like its great, great, great, grandparent the OM-1.
The pictures on the sand dunes were taken at White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico. If you don’t have a weather-sealed camera and lens in that environment when the winds kick up, your camera is done for!
I see quite a bit of color-banding and hazing in some of the images. That results from crunching these pictures into JPEGS that will load reasonably fast. The color is NOT part of the original RAW or PSD files. I don’t know why that happened this time since I’m using the same procedure as always. I increased the resolution and I’m still seeing it. I think it’s due to the amazing subtlety and gradation of the clouds and sky.
Others shots show first snow in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Maybe it will be an early ski season? The other pictures of people walking were taken in my neighborhood. There’s a lot of space out here. Not many people. I like that.
After more than a year of being shut down, I became accustomed to NOT seeing anything in the sky except for clouds, birds and weather. It may sound strange, but this line in the sky caught my attention. I have to say that I liked the abstract quality of it.
New Mexico Sky Show
The light in this part of the country never ceases to amaze. You can be the worst photographer in the world and still come out lookin’ pretty good! I’m transfixed by it half the time. But, camera is always with me.
I just got the fairly new Sony 28-60mm “kit” lens. I like this lens because #1 it’s weather sealed. That’s important to me, and not just for moisture, but for dust. When it starts to blow out here in New Mexico, we end up with half of the Nevada desert settling on us. The winds do blow out of the West. I guess that’s why they refer to them as the “Prevailing Westerlies” huh?
The lens seems to be wonderful, but I am NOT a pixel-peeper. I just want it to work well in all conditions and be VERY easy to carry. That way I’m encouraged to always have it with me. It did great this morning with snow falling.
After all that bragging about New Mexico light: full disclosure: the photo in the upper left is from Sicily and the one in the upper right is from Florida. So there, we can all have good light and no one should get too stuck up about it, right?
Landscape New Mexico
The advantage of always having a camera with me is that I can capture light and scenes that sometimes only last for minutes. As I have mentioned before, my camera of first choice is the Sony A6500. But, when I am skiing and involved in other outdoor activities like that, I still use the Sony HX99. It’s SO small, yet has all the adjustments of the A6500 or nearly so. I hope everyone out there in the Ether is staying safe. Cheers.
Snow Time in New Mexico
I went skiing for the first time this season. We have little snow in our mountains and we’re limited to three or four runs. I don’t care. The views there are amazing and the snow was fast.
At this time of the year, the shadows are long and dramatic and I love the way they print the snow with strong linear patterns. I’m always attracted to those strong black and white, figure/ground scenes. For mountain activities, I use the VERY small Sony HX-99 camera. It fits in the front of my jacket where it can stay nice and warm. This camera has a tiny sensor (1/2 inch) but it shoots RAW. It always amazes me. And for anyone who doesn’t need to make large prints, give it a try. It’s a lot of camera in a really small package.
It’s unusual for the weather to be gloomy here. We ski in bright sunshine most of the season. But when it snows, it snows! Our snow is feather-light most of the time. That’s great for powder skiing, but it takes a while to establish a base as a result.
This is a land of geographical contrasts.
Santa Fe Architecture
These were all taken in my area, Santa Fe, New Mexico—with the exception of the picture of the tiled roof, which was taken in Sicily.
Sicily is truly a place of dreams.
Galisteo Rodeo New Mexico
Rodeo is part of New Mexico culture, and there is a small one very close to my house. Of course the words “very close” out here means about 20 miles away. These shots are from one of my visits. We can all see rodeo events on TV, but you rarely see this part, the part where a man dies right on the hardpack ground. These men are tough, but they are not immortal. In the bottom photo is a young cowboy, 25 years old, being carried from the arena. He had a wife and new child. The paramedics were there quickly, but to no avail. It still upsets me to this day. That’s his hat laying on the ground.
I decided to include the “Junkyard Jesus” photo. This is another interesting site relatively nearby. I guess it’s called Outsider Art. Someone in the boonies has been collecting what other people would call “junk”, and he, or she, has arranged all of it into an enormous stretch of make-believe. It changes all the time. I find it rich.
The first shot was taken at one of our reservoirs.
It’s a quite large expanse and people boat and swim there.
Santa Fe Railroad Lamy
The railroad pictures are from several different locations in the Santa Fe area—that being either the Lamy Stop or the old station in downtown Santa Fe. The photo with the two young people standing out on a flat car, is from a July 4th train trip that would depart the Lamy Station, after a barbecue, and then wind its way to downtown, where it would stop on the tracks just in time to get a superb view of the fireworks display put on by the City of Santa Fe. The ride started in downtown Santa Fe and ended there about 5 hours later. A really fun trip.
Botanical Southwest Images
Smoke has been a real issue around here for over a week. We have fires in New Mexico, just north of my home. But we are mainly getting smoke brought in by the prevailing Westerly winds out of California. Just about the time that clears up, the winds shift and we get smoke from the fires in Colorado and locally.
At times the mountains are completely obscured by smoke. Unusual. New Mexico is known for its pristine-sharp skies.
The one photo up there attempts to show just how much the view has been obscured from the back of my home which usually provides a glorious, sharp, panorama of the mountains—The Sangre de Cristos to be precise. Macro and close-up photography is moving along. I really don’t know where the dividing line between “macro” and “close-up” is exactly. If there’s a “rule”, I am unaware of it, and probably wouldn’t care anyway!
Don’t know why, just felt like publishing more photos than usual. Such is the artistic temperament I guess.
Santa Fe Harp and Child
Macro photography is something new to me. It’s very difficult. First of all, you have no depth of field and any movement of the camera results in a blur. Tripod use is a must. But, despite the fussiness, I love it, so I’ll be adding that to the other photographic interests of mine. “Street Photography” simply must remain high on my priorities’ list. Santa Fe is full of interesting people, but I guess that’s true everywhere.
What makes New Mexico so special is the light. The place is luminous.
Lamy New Mexico Rail Depot
Well, here’s a diverse group. I do like the railyard(s), so they always seem to pop up in any collection of mine. The tall church at the bottom is in downtown Santa Fe. And what’s the attraction of peeled paint in the gallery below? Nothing more than the design and organization of horizontals and verticals which always seems to settle me, even when the theme appears to be “decrepit/has seen better days”.
Early Evening Skies of Santa Fe New Mexico
It was starting to get late and I found myself walking around in downtown Santa Fe. The light was catching the Loretto Chapel perfectly. In the top two images, the sky really did look like that.
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