The skies at higher altitudes become blue-black. We see that a lot here because we are routinely skiing at 12,000 feet. These two shots, however, were taken a little lower down the mountain, at around 10,000 feet. But the skies are still dark on a sunny day. Here’s what I saw yesterday at our local ski area. Still using the Sony a5100 for the ultimate in portability.
It’s only recently occurred to me that I seem to be responding to “letterforms” in the landscape. Sounds weird, but there’s something to it. I have another website where I allow myself to cut loose on that attraction and simply dig into the intersecting angels and shapes found in all letters, typography. There must be some linkage between many of my photographs and that interest/attraction to type.
By the way, if you’re curious to see something completely differently from this site, you can check out typomania.us. I never noticed, or thought about, the possible connection between the pursuits in “typomania” and this website.
When you get up to the mountains early in the morning and early in the season, you’ll find the most dramatic lighting and shadows. Those peaks you see here are over 12,000 feet high. I like taking shots from the different chairlifts just for the vantage point. But that does create technical issues (aside from freezing hands that is). Naturally, there’s a lot of movement in all directions. Of course that can be countered, somewhat, with a high shutter speed. And it’s so intensely bright up there that I can leave the ISO at 100 for this camera….the Sony A5100. Yeah, it’s one of those “older” cameras, but it’s great for up here. It’s basically an APS-C sensor with a lens attached. Keep it warm and safe between shots and it just keeps on going. I can’t lug large kit up the mountain and this little gem is perfect. Brrrr, it’s cold up there, dress warmly.
Every year this very long road in the middle of Santa Fe, lights up for Christmas. And many of the people do the same. Lots of “walking Christmas trees” to be found there, cleverly disguised as human beings. Canyon Road draws people from everywhere because it’s renowned for the high quality art galleries. I’ve included one or two photos of that here.
A photographer from the Santa Fe New Mexican was on assignment to document the festivities. He wanted to photograph a group of us who were wearing particularly ostentatious lights. And of course I had to get into a conversation about his gear. And that gear was impressive! You’ll see a shot of it in the gallery.
From a technical point of view, this is a difficult assignment even though it’s filled with lights, color and motion. You’re being jossled every step of the way. But everyone is having a great time, often bursting into song at the sight of some light display that evokes song! This whole scenario puts any camera and photographer to the test. I was using a full-frame Sony with an f/1.8 lens. I don’t think it would be possible any other way. I had ISO on Auto, which I normally detest, but there’s no choice in these conditions. I learn a lot everytime I pick up the camera; and I guess that’s what it’s all about.
Well, Merry Christmas everyone, ’til next year.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
7 responses to “Santa Fe Christmas Eve: Canyon Road 2022”
Christmas: My favorite holiday and it was lovely from start to finish. I got into a little bit of trouble with a Bouche de Noel, if you’re familiar with that low-cal confection. Hope your Christmas was good was too!
Oh yes indeed. They’ve had the luminarias up since the day after Thanksgiving. That’s the tradition here. The Plaza gets all lighted up the evening after Thanksgiving and everyone packs in there to hear the countdown after sunset, and then WOW, they turn on all those gorgeous lights. Everyone loves it.
This variety of magic is quite common in the Autumn mornings, but only for a couple of weeks. So get up early and watch as the sun gently illuminates the landscape. Early morning fog can be mysterious and yet also calming. I saw this and was glad the camera was nearby. This is not like the usual photos I post. Northern New Mexico is a “contrasty” place due to the high altitude and almost constant sun.
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.
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.
YES!!! Vanishing points can affect us emotionally! That’s so true! It’s almost like we can follow the path to infinity but within the relatively safe boundaries of an image – no need to worry about getting lost, etc. Those photographs are marvelous!!! For pure movement, my fav is the very long sidewalk. It takes me on a journey, footfall by footfall, and I don’t have to leave my chair! 👏👏♥️👏👏
Night photography is something I haven’t done very much with, but I’m thinking that’s been a bit of an oversight. I shot these with the Tamron 20mm f2.8, wide open, of course, with the Sony A7r3. I think a 1.4 lens would have made short work of this. That also means: $$$$. Right? Maybe Santa will bring me one.
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 smallandweather 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.
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!
Sometimes I get lazy and just take the Sony HX99 with me. It’s small and fairly easy to use, but not quite a “point and shoot”. I have to say that the smallness of these really small cameras can also be an impediment. There is such a thing as “too small” and this camera just borders on that. But, it fits in a pocket or ski jacket and that is inviting.
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.
Rating: 4 out of 3.
3 responses to “Cloud Chatter”
Ansel Adams would be proud! You’ve got me staring at clouds all the time now but until recently its been too hot to go shoot them at sunset. 👍
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).
To be honest, there isn’t a lot of difference when viewing these pictures on my iPad screen, unless I zoom right in. Maybe I might spot a slight difference on my higher resolution computer monitor, but does it really matter? In my opinion it’s the overall feel of the picture that counts, the composition, the emotional feel of the image, not the technical excellence. I’ve pretty much accepted that saving images for viewing on web will involve lots of compression and I prefer seeing images in print anyway. Your images are already fantastic, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
First of all your image is bigger than my monitor so Firefox scales it down to 52%. Yes its sharper and easier to see the detail and the 2.21MB file loaded instantly. That being said most people won’t notice, think about all those who read these blogs on a phone or, iPad. ☝
Ming Thein used to over-sharpen a lot of his images and it was very obvious, surprising for a professional photographer of his caliber. But he was obsessed with quality, think Robert Pirsig in Lila. If you didn’t read it he drives himself insane.
By using thumbnails and a gallery people will click to see a larger version and it loads quickly, just figure out the maximum size that’s practical and save as a high resolution if not the highest.
“The world comes to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would like to think all fit together somehow, but that in fact never do.” Robert Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals
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!
There’s really little reason to worry about file size, especially when you use thumbnails. I try to keep my images under 600KB but a lot of people upload full size color images straight from their camera, like 4000 x 6000px. Jane Laurie once told me she uses settings in Lightroom to export her images at 500KB or less but I’ve seen some of hers at well over 1MB. As for using a WEBP for faster loading its ridiculous and likely reduces quality even more.
I think we have a lot in common sweating the small stuff, ask the clouds if anything really matters. 😎
Dogs are one of my favorite subjects. My association with them has been a life-long love affair starting with the first one, a big fawn-colored boxer named Laird. He did not live long. It saddens me to write of it all these years later. He developed bone cancer shortly after he was 2 years old! My father was a physician and was absolutely devoted to this animal. He took him to every human oncologist in the city in a vain attempt to save him. After Laird came Cindy, a big, beautiful standard poodle. That kicked off the love affair with poodles, which has lasted a lifetime.
The photograph of the white poodle is “Lucky”…the latest permanent residence in my home. That’s a long story. And we all have long stories regarding our best-friend-pooches. Right? Lucky is now 18 months old and full of spunk and vinegar. He is the best friend and rough-house-buddy of Flicka, the German Shepherd mix rescue-dog that you see here from time to time. Both of them are smarter, and definitely more sensitive, than many human beings I know and have known. And that’s a fact.
That “dog” way out there, isolated in the vastness of this place is definitely NOT a dog, but rather a close relative. We have many coyotes here and they walk around and visit the yard from time to time. You can’t imagine how much I want to feed them, but I know that’s a bad idea. And I don’t. How they survive out there is a mystery to me.
Rating: 3 out of 3.
One response to “Oh Dogs”
Poor Laird. We lost one of our kitties to cancer in 2020. Nice dog portraits.
Every time I head downtown, I make it a point to stop in at The Monroe Gallery of Photography. There you’ll see the originals of great photographers, both contemporary and past. I stopped in there a few days ago and asked the director if I could take some photos at a discreet distance, of course. She was so glad that I had asked and immediately said, “Sure you may.” I told her that I would be posting them on my website and she was fine with that too.
But what I didn’t say to her, because it didn’t occur to me at the time, was that in “post” it might occur to me to play “make believe” or “make pretend” and insert one or two of my photos into these magnificent gallery displays. Wishful thinking maybe. I am NOT in this Gallery by a long shot. They don’t even know who I am. This is just me having some, I hope, innocent fun. I am NOT in any gallery anywhere. So there. Full disclosure on that score. Just a little photographic prankster-ism.
P.S. If there are any lawyers out there who know of any law I might be breaking, do let me know. I think I’ve given pretty blunt full disclosure.
Rating: 3 out of 3.
4 responses to “Monroe Gallery”
I’m no lawyer, but if you aren’t profiting from the photos of the photos in the gallery, and the gallery doesn’t complain, I don’t think you have to worry about anything, I’ve never been to The Monroe Gallery of Photography. I’m 50 miles south of Santa Fe and rarely visit.
Believe me, I’m not doing anything to these clouds. This is how they look. People just stop what they’re doing to gaze upward. At least I’m not the only one! It reminds me of the movie, “Independence Day”, if any of you saw that.
Shot these with the Sony A7r3. I like hearing reports from others about their experiences with the cameras and lenses they’re using. I learn a lot from that. What it comes down to, of course, is a personal choice. How does the camera feel in the hand? Does it fit? Does its position of controls and options work with the way my brain works? That’s what it comes down to because here’s what I’ve discovered: all of the modern cameras and lenses are excellent. I should know. I have a quite an assortment in my Photo Stable. We have to split hairs to make an argument for one brand or model over the other. At least that’s what I’ve discovered.
Having said all that: this Sony A7r3 (I hate the naming conventions) is an absolute winner for me. We’re just a good fit. It’s beautifully constructed (that matters to me) and it’s light weight and easy to carry around all day with the small FE f4, 28-60mm lens on it. And the whole kit is weather and dust sealed. The “dust” part matters a lot out here. Anyway….we’re a good match. And may we live happily ever after.
Fantastic, I’ve been trying to shoot clouds like that for a long time with little success. As for dust my RX-100 now has dust on the sensor, probably from using a blower on the lens which is not recommended for compact cameras. I read a post suggesting I use a vacuum while zooming the lens in and out but its sounds crazy. This happened with my last one too but it took about 7 years. So I’ll use my A6000 and 35mm prime which I love but often leave at home because I tell myself I’m just going out for a quick ride.
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!
The “big” moral question of the day is: Is it OK to feature color images on what is mainly a black-and-white photography blog? I just have this sneaking feeling that I’m cheating in some way.
But here’s why I can’t resist. Normally we’re quite dry here, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s posting, we’re in Monsoon Season. That means that the plants jump to life, including what’s growing in my garden. I just stand there and look at the patterns in the leaves. I love it. It’s mystical to me. It’s miraculous and I drink it in. So, OF COURSE when I come back down to Earth, I just have to take a picture of it. And the colors are intoxicating. Maybe we’re not used to it. The “palette” here is usually rather soft and pastel-like. So, these plants with their saturated greens and yellows just beg me to have their picture taken. Plants are like that. They can be quite vain you know.
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.
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.