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.

Faces of Santa Fe

I was going downtown anyway to pick up some great olive oil at my favorite shop. I had already ordered it over the phone earlier in the day and they were holding it for me. So of course I just had to take advantage of another photo-op downtown. I had the “heavy-hitter” Sony AR7II with me, all hooked up with my favorite “nifty fifty” f 1.8 lens. Ready to rock-and-roll as the saying goes, but for one thing: mea culpa…I made a real beginner’s error and had not checked the battery before leaving. I must have been too preoccupied dreaming about all the interesting things that I could cook, bake or stir-fry with the oil I was picking up. So yeah, I got off one shot before seeing: “Battery Exhausted” flash onto the rear screen. That gets to happen once.

But, to the rescue, and always in my handbag, was the much-discussed Sony HX-99 with its tiny sensor, but huge zoom. Long story, but here are those photos. True, you don’t get the detail and dynamic range out of the smaller sensor, but somehow, for street shots, I don’t care. I almost prefer the softer image. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Snow Patterns by Front Gate

Sometimes I say to myself, “Just step outside your own front door. Don’t go more than 20 meters in any direction, and see what’s there.” That is amazingly difficult. We had a nice blizzard the other day, but now it’s starting to melt. It was late afternoon when I went out, but it didn’t take long to become attracted to the strong light-play of pattern and design that was right under my feet.

Once again, I’m using a fairly “simple” camera by today’s standards. Well, not really. But it’s an older one, probably considered a “dinosaur” these days—and probably out of production. I think it does a great job with only a 1″ sensor. I love that the original Sony RX-10 (first edition) is weather-sealed, has a good Zeiss lens on it and a constant 2.8 aperture throughout the 24-200mm range. Macro is outstanding as well. I’ve kept it all these years because I still enjoy using it and I’m still impressed with the quality of the images. And remember, these images are crunched way down as JPEGs. The originals are RAW.

Goats = Weed Control

This is a rural part of New Mexico. Most of New Mexico is rural so that’s no surprise. The way we control weeds sometimes is to bring in a herd of goats (some sheep mixed in) and just let them graze. They do a great job. No pesticides needed. No one out here uses pesticides anyway. The place is still too pristine and pretty to allow that. And, we’re all fairly conscious about how that effects the bees. A lot of people out here like to grow their own food. I wish I had a greenhouse!

Here are some nice portraits of the kids I met today. They completely ignored me…too intent on what they were doing. Me too.

And, by the way…what’s the best camera? Ok, we all know the answer to that question…The one you have with you. I always have the little Sony HX99 tucked away in my hand bag. It does shoot RAW and has no anti-aliasing filter. That gives a boost to the small sensor. As I have mentioned before, if this camera were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to operate it. It is a miracle of miniaturization.

Photo Class Gone Awry!

Several years ago I was in a photo class at our local college. There were some very talented people in there. We all got along great and had a total ball posting our photographs to FaceBook. In response, we were supposed to post serious, highly intellectual commentary for each photo. That was too heavy for me and I wanted to have fun. Some “Sprite” possessed me and I spontaneously started writing very short stories for each photo.

These are selections from just one of the students who had to endure this—although, he loved it. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. GK Chesterton once said (paraphrasing) “The reason that angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly”. This is an odd posting for me, but I thought it had some comedic, and photographic merit. Any maybe someone out there will get a chuckle or two out of it. We sure could use more of that! So here they are…my Great Literary Responses to the wonderful work of Henry Aragoncillo, fellow photo student at the Santa Fe Community College. These are ALL his photographs.

Bleak, Dark and Moody

We haven’t gotten a lot of snow this year. It keeps missing us, but all the surrounding areas are getting epic amounts. Oh well, January is typically a dry month in the local mountains. February and March are generally when we get most of our snow pack which is so important for the Spring run-off. The smoke in the lower right photograph is the result of what’s called a “Controlled Burn” around here. The Forest Service will start a fire to burn out dead leaves and logs that could ignite during the hot weather.

Today was bleak, very dark and moody up there, as my title suggests. We are skiing at 12,000 feet and mountain weather can change VERY quickly and dramatically. I always have the tiny Sony HX-99 with me because it fits in the front ski pocket and I hardly know it’s there. The sensor is small, but I continue to be amazed at what a good job it does…capturing a lot of detail with a pretty nice dynamic range. I used to try carrying the “real” camera with me, but it was just too much effort and it put an expensive camera in harm’s way. I couldn’t adequately protect it. By the way, I also would NOT want to fall on it! Ouch and Snap.

“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

Merry Christmas Happy New Year

As usual, we got all packed up (me with camera gear) and headed downtown to see the lights and half of Santa Fe as they strolled up and down Canyon Road. Even the adults don’t tire of seeing the whole place lit up so prettily for Christmas. We had dinner at a lovely restaurant nearby and then walked from there. It was raining as we got started! It was supposed to snow. At least the rain stopped and it was a great evening. We love Christmas and so does this city. I took way too many photographs and have probably posted too many as well. But it sure was fun. A happy and safe 2022 to all who read this. (Sorry for slow download speeds. I’ve crunched these photos way down, but there are a lot of them.)

Round Things: 12.20.21

Why the fascination with “things round”? Maybe it’s the time of year. Rounds and Circles have all sorts of connections with cycles, rhythms, and things eternal. So maybe that’s why, but I’m just guessing. Right now we’re all looking forward to our annual Christmas Walk on Canyon Road. We may even have snow. Of course I’ll have the camera with me, my see-in-the-dark Sony a6500 with the Sigma 56mm, f1.4 lens.

By the way, most of the produce shown came from my garden!

Earth & Sky Santa Fe: 11.12.21

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: 9.30.21

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.

Oh Dogs! 9.8.21

Here you have a dog lover. That’s me (not in the photo). I snap a shot of them whenever some pooch catches my eye. I have three at home, a veritable “pack”. One of them is only 7 months old. They get along great with each other and they are sublimely happy out here in a rural area. They get lots of exercise and lots of playing together. And of course, being dogs, the best part for them is barking at anything that moves! We do have a lot of coyotes and other wild critters out here and that’s always cause for a major ruckus. These are all local dog citizens from the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.

The last photo down there are two of mine, very proud of themselves for having just picked a sunflower. They walked around like that, side-by-side for over a minute. That’s “Lucky” on the left (7 months old) and “Flicka” on the right (2 years old).

I love the ethereal and grainy effect of the night time shots.

If Looks Could Kill: 6.30.21

This really is a case where “If Looks Could Kill”, I might not be here. I really don’t think this person was annoyed with me for the photograph. I was pretty discrete, just looking down at the camera. OK, I’ll admit it was stealthy, but the camera was NOT pointed in her face. (Such is the advantage of the flip-up screen on the A6500 as opposed to the swing-out variety.) So that leaves me with the conclusion that here we have a portrait of a human being having a bad day. She and her friend were wearing the same amulet. It appeared to be something from ancient Egypt. She could definitely use a little more of the Sun God in her life!

It was raining (finally) in Santa Fe, yesterday. I love to take photos in the rain and generally in inclement weather, so off I went to see what fortune had in store for me.

___________________________________________

In Egyptian mythology, Ra was the god of the sun. He was the most important god in Ancient Egypt. He had many names, such as Amun-Ra, and Ra-Horakhty. It was said he was born each morning in the East, and died each night in the West.

By the way, you might like to drop in on my other
mostly-black-and-white site that features
graphic design interpretations
of this present time.
It’s NOT political.

Air Lines: 6.3.21

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.

Animation•Mandala•PhotoMotion: 4.26.21

tessellero series number two

This is a bit of architectural detail from a trip to Sicily. This recessed sculpture was quite far away, but the zoom did a good job. This comes from a time when people took time to beautify a building or any artifact. Any comparisons to the modern world will have to be made by the reader, we’ve come a long way?

Santa Fe Railyard Extreme: 4.17.21

These pictures were taken at a very rural train station called Lamy. The two people dancing were part of a celebration that took place out there in July. The old train would leave from downtown Santa Fe and chug along until we arrived in Lamy. I had the Fisheye with me at that time. It can be a fun lens once in a while and I think these shots made the most of it.

Animated • Mandala • Kaleidoscope: 4/2/21

Something new for In Black and White. Photos

Here I have taken one of my black and white photographs and converted it into an animated Mandala/Kaleidoscope.

However, Kaleidoscopes and Mandalas do share something in common, if only on a formal level.

tessellero series number one

Theatre Santa Fe, NM: 3.22.21

There is ALWAYS something artistic or theatrical going on in this town. We’re a quite small city with a very large art scene! I think there’s something for everyone. I happen to appreciate both modern dance and traditional. Our philharmonic is wonderful as are our choral groups which famously perform every Christmas Eve. Of course they perform throughout the year as well.

New Mexico Sky Show: 3.17.21

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?

I said that I might do this at some point just to see if anyone is paying attention. Oops…screaming color in a black and white website. That’s me on the chairlift and I hardly ever take a “Selfie”. But the Sony HX99 that I carry for skiing, makes it easy, so I couldn’t resist.

Back to the main topic: I’m having such a good time visiting all the photo, art and graffiti sites that WordPress hosts. There is such great talent out there.

I’ve been taking a lot of shots of the graffiti found in New Mexico, specifically in the Santa Fe area. Those pictures are entirely different from what you see here. And they belong in their own dedicated site, which is where I have put them. But if you’re of a mind to, drop in. Do. It’s bright and colorful, a little off the wall, and you’ll find some surprisingly good artists.

Shadowy and Alone: 3.7.21

Shooting in low light is a challenge in itself. Modern cameras have become much better at this. In the “old” days we had to “push-process” the negatives to pull every bit of information from them. Now, we have cameras with ISOs (ASA in Old Speak) of 100,000. And we thought Tri-X was good with an ASA of 400. Those pictures with the really long shadows (which totally entranced me) were shot with a SONY NEX-5r. I guess that’s considered a dinosaur by today’s standards, but I still enjoy it for its good image quality and small-enough-to-fit-anywhere characteristics. Also, every image on this site, and all sites, have been crunched and crushed to the limit. So you are never seeing the full quality of the original. If it looks OK here, it looks a lot better “in person”. With the NEX, I was using the much maligned “kit” lens, that 16-50mm. All lenses have their limits, but the idea is to find the optimal combinations for each lens. I love that lens for its petite-ness.

Well, enough tech-talk for today!

Landscape New Mexico: 2.25.21

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.

Santa Fe Railyard: 2.5.21

Bad Weather. But I love that.

Just walking around, almost mindlessly, and yet on another plane, quite attentively, I can stumble upon some interesting scenes. These are from downtown Santa Fe and the Railyard area. I like moving around in bad weather. It’s helpful to have a camera and a lens that can tolerate these conditions. The Sony 6500, so far, has proven itself to be a Champ. Even so, I’m careful with it, sheltering it as much as possible. Maybe this is why equipment tends to last a long time with me. I use it hard, but treat it like gold.

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Cowboys, Bikes, Walkers, New Mexico: 1.25.21

I think, as I’ve mentioned before, that I don’t really start out with any particular intent regarding what it is I want to photograph. It comes to me, or it doesn’t. Sometimes, it’s just “no picture” and that’s all there is to it. Other times it’s like a flood. This is a very rural state, not many people and lots of wide open spaces. Even downtown Santa Fe isn’t really very big compared to other cities. I like that aspect of living here. No pollution. No crowds. But the light is often times, magical.

Ski The Wintersun in New Mexico: 1.4.21

We’re not having the greatest Winter for skiing. But we have enough to go up and have some fun. Of course we’re known for our Wintersun. It’s true. We normally ski in bright sunlight with blue-black skies. I love that for black and white shots.

I get up there early and this time of year, the shadows are long and dark. It makes for some wonderful designs and patterns. I just visited Marcus’ website and read about how he feels like a kid in a sandbox when the light plays across some strong architectural features and he has camera in hand. I understand completely. And that’s how I see things when I get up into the mountains early. This is the best time of year to be up there and shooting. These strong dark and light patterns are seductive.

Don’t laugh too hard, but I like to carry the Sony HX-99 for these excursions. Purists might not take it seriously, but it makes carrying a camera into that environment possible. It does shoot RAW and that’s important, particularly for a camera that only has a 1/2″ sensor. But I am always amazed at what a good job it does. I don’t know how well the images would look if they were enlarged a lot. But for smaller prints, I bet they’d be fine. Considering that I was in motion on the ski lift for these pictures, I’m pleased with the results. I expected blurs! The HX-99 has all of the adjustments that I need and want and the layout of the controls is almost identical to the A6500 and the AR7II. It fits in the front of my ski jacket. If this camera were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to operate it. It’s a miracle of miniaturization. Nice job Sony.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Christmas Lights: 12.30.20

Every year, on December 24th, we look forward to the “Walk on Canyon Road“. This is a long and winding old street that is mostly filled with galleries, shops and restaurants. There are bonfires burning along the entire walk. In traditional New Mexico lore, the purpose of those fires is to light the way for the Christ child. All of the businesses decorate with lights and garlands. The galleries are open and often serve small sweets and sometimes hot drinks. It’s great to get inside, not just to look at the latest art, but to get warm! Santa Fe is cold on a December night. (Sadly, that Walk was cancelled this year.)

The picture up there of the kids in a tree house, is from one of the galleries. This is a life sized sculpture, nestled in the branches of a very old and very large tree.

This year, the entire Canyon Road Walk was cancelled due to you-know-what. I’m at the point of saying ENOUGH. It’s an outdoor event, in the bitter cold. No COVID would last for 2 seconds in that. We barely do. But, the event did not occur this year. So, last night I decided to go walk around anyway with a neighbor. There were some lights, hardly any people and no traffic. I still think it was worth it. Then we went over to the Plaza which was in fact brightly decorated as usual. We both agreed it was worth the effort.

Here is an image from last year.

I used the Sony A6500 with a Sigma 56mm f1.4 lens. That combination can literally see in the dark. I let the camera choose the ISO, and the highest number it “chose” was only 6400. I am amazed at how little grain there is. Cameras have come a long way since I started doing this. All this, in a very light and easy to carry package. The Sigma lens is also weather-protected as is the 6500. A very nice duo indeed!

Happy New Year to All! Here’s to a much better 2021.

Merry Snowy Christmas from Santa Fe, New Mexico! 12.24.20

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. And a happy holiday to all, no matter what you may be celebrating. But whatever it is, I hope it’s fattening!

Santa Fe Street Scenes: 12.17.20

This is my favorite photographic “haunt”—city streets. Most of these were taken in my home town of Santa Fe, New Mexico. But the two of them with the long shadows were taken in Telluride, Colorado. Telluride has EPIC skiing and is a wonderful village as well. The restaurants are also excellent.

Snow Time in New Mexico: 12.8.20


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.


Please visit the sister site to this one for something
quite different.

Santa Fe Architecture: 12.28.20

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.


I’ve just started a new site which is dedicated solely to COLOR!
In these dreary times, color just “hits the spot”. I could never give up on black and white, but color is a wonderful counterpoint. Visit “In Living Color.photos”.

Large Political Rally Santa Fe NM: 11.21.20

Political opinion is not the purpose of this site. I document what I see when I am “street shooting and I do not care what the subject might happen to be.

I will simply document what I see.
This was in fact a “first” for me because generally I stay far away from crowds. But this was too compelling and photographically rich not to explore it.



Heading downtown today, we were suddenly stuck in an enormous traffic jam, moving just inches at a time. And most of the time just standing still. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that this was a Trump Rally just getting ready to form up. Or call it a protest or however else you want to name it.

But it was in fact peaceful and disciplined.


The camera cannot convey how many people were jammed into the street on both sides—each one carrying a flag or banner.

As I have mentioned before, I always have the camera with me. Many days I don’t even get one shot. That’s ok. The 6500 is small enough that it’s never in my way and that encourages me to take it with.

This was not just one or two small groups of people. These shots above are just at the edge of it. There were people with bull horns and others shouting their message. No one gave me a hard time as I zipped around trying to get some good shots. There had to have been many thousands there.




Regarding “Jay” (if that was in fact his name I don’t know) who I reference in the photo above. He wore a logo identifying himself as a “Proud Boy”. I’d heard only bad things about this group. But I decided to approach him and try to chat anyway. I’m a shrimp and Jay is HUGE. He could not have been nicer or more respectful to this geek (me) with a camera in hand, trying to strike up a conversation. He condemns racism and all forms of hatred, but he loves this country and deeply values law and order. That’s why he was part of this rally. He impressed me. It would be hard not to like him.

As I mentioned, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. The passion and fervor were palpable, and yet they were all disciplined, respectful and made a big effort not to block traffic. I just thought that it deserved to be documented. And even though I’ve let some color sneak through here and there, I still believe that it has a place on this website.

Street Scenes, Sicily and Santa Fe, NM: 11.18.20

Above are pictures from Sicily and one of the Roman ruins. The city scenes are from, I don’t remember which Sicilian city exactly! And I didn’t take notes.

Below are street scenes from a city that I do remember, namely Santa Fe New Mexico. Good thing that I remember that since I live here. I just walk about with nothing particular in mind until something grabs me, or even just slowly presents itself. Sometimes I just perch myself somewhere and wait. This is a great hobby.

I might have been pretty good as a pro.

Botanical Abstracts and Critters: 11.10.20

Sometimes when we get a good snowfall, I put on the xcountry skis and go out to take shots of the interesting and prickly plant population; but “Lines and Critters” pretty much says it all.

People are often surprised to hear that Santa Fe, New Mexico gets any snow at all. We do! It’s fluffy-light-weight, low-density snow, just the kind that skiers love! We are at 7000 feet and that changes things a lot. The surrounding mountains top 12,000 feet and our ski area is excellent. Plenty of good tree skiing even at 12,000 feet, due to our southern latitude.

New Mexico: Ski the Winter Sun!

Abstract Photos, Sicily and Santa Fe NM: 10.26.20

Sometimes when I’m out shooting, all I can look at are patterns and shapes and textures. I seem to get captured by them. I’m supposed to be the one “capturing”, but most of the time, the tables get turned on me. I’m fascinated by things like “Figure/Ground” relationships, and maybe that’s why black and photography just seems to work for me. I keep thinking of another artist, Anselm Kiefer when I look at my abstract images of dirt, rocks, hay and brambles—not to insult Anselm. I like his work a lot.

The circle of rocks were just sitting there like that. It reminded me of one of my favorite artists, Andrew Goldsworthy. And maybe I like Andrew Goldsworthy because his work reminds me of the inherent patterns in nature—he just has a gift for amplifying them. Strong shadows also always pull me in—but then there’s that figure/ground thing going on—abstraction seems to be the result.

I guess there are different levels of “abstraction”. Sometimes I can’t even tell what the thing was or where it came from when I look at some abstract photographs. But these still have enough of the context within them, so maybe I should call them “Semi-Abstractions”. Who cares, right?

Galisteo Rodeo New Mexico: 10.15.20

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: 10.6.20

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.

Tribute to my Swiss friend Helene Egger: 9.29.20

An email just arrived today, September 29th 2020 telling me that a dear friend, a loyal friend, a mountaineering and skiing friend, a cooking and baking friend, a gardening and knew-how-to-grow-everything-friend, a teacher of Swiss dialects friend, a long-time-long-distance telephone friend—telling me that she had died peacefully in her beloved Canada, with her beloved family. That was on Wednesday, September 23rd 2020

And, as I have said before, this is my website, so if I want to get mushy, I will; and let no one interfere.

So Helene, you’re over there and I’m over here. You were always far more accepting of that fact of life than I ever was or probably ever will be. I know it’s a sign of maturity and “centered-ness”, but I’m not there yet.

I thought you’d like this picture of a Nasturtium held up high against the light of the New Mexico sky. And even though this site is dedicated to black and white photography ONLY, I decided to make an exception for you.

Just about a month ago we’d had a lengthy discussion about growing potatoes—something you excelled at—and knew so much about from your early childhood experiences on the farm in Canton Aargau. I’m so glad I got to see that place and know your parents. So there’s a green photograph of my potato plants. They are happy. It will be a good harvest this year—one which will be turned into a Raclette dinner for many guests.

And there’s a photo of the gate to my courtyard and front door. That door is open, and it’s that way for a reason, so whenever you feel like visiting, just walk right in.

Thank you for your support and hospitality when I was alone in a foreign place. Thank you for warmly welcoming me into your family.
Thank you for always making me feel even more welcome in your home than I even was in my own.
Thanks for all the great laughs.
Thank you for all the great meals. Who can forget Choucroute Garni with beans from the farm?
Thank you for Engelberg, and Villars, and Flaine and Montana-Crans and Les Grands Montets and so much more. You will be, you are, missed.

Say “Hi” from me to everyone, OK?


Botanical Simple Gifts, Judy Collins, Thanks: 9.28.20

Sometimes the simplest and most unexpected experiences and images are the most revelatory. I mean that sincerely. Something breaks through that really grabs you.

Here’s an image that exemplifies that. I was walking around in the kitchen taking care of chores, when I looked up and noticed the sun shining through and illuminating these Angel Wing Begonias that I keep near the window—mountains peeking through beyond. The play of light was entrancing, and I not only felt entranced, I felt grateful. Strange how that works when we’re least expecting it, right? The camera was nearby, so here it is. It won’t win any contests, but it took me somewhere amazing.

You gotta love that it’s an ANGEL WING Begonia, right?

I was almost immediately reminded of an old Shaker Song called “Simple Gifts”, one of my favorites. I never planned for video to EVER be part of this site; but I always loved the way Judy Collins interpreted it. Here she is as a kid! 1963.

Enjoy your day, and be sure to enjoy simple gifts. They really are all around us.