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.

“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: 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.

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.

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 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”.

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.

HummingBirds and Motorcycles Santa Fe: 8.30.20

Yesterday I decided it was time to take a bike (motorcycle-vroom) ride over to The Randall Davis Audubon Center in Santa Fe. This is one of my favorite rides and destinations. The winding road, by name of Canyon Road, which leads to it, always makes me feel like I’m in Southern Spain or Provence. It has that kind of “look and feel”. And, just as an aside, Santa Fe does have a relatively large number of French nationals living here—close to three thousand. I often wonder if their impression is the same.

You gotta love the juxtaposition of motorcycle and hummingbird, right?

Back to the story. ( I don’t just meander on my motorcycle.) I made a couple of stops along the way and then headed up there. I’ve been trying to hone my technique for photographing hummingbirds. They love New Mexico and we have many varieties. Who doesn’t feel the allure of, and the fascination with, these seasonal visitors?

But “Why?” you ask, would I want to photograph those guys in black and white? Doesn’t that seem like a travesty of some kind? Here’s why: I hoped to show some of their delicacy, their grace and their amazing aerobatics. Most of the time they’re just a blur! I thought, that by deleting color, I could better communicate those characteristics. Plus, my “pull” is to black and white photography. So there. That was the challenge.

More than that, I wanted to convey their tinyness, almost invisibleness, in the environment. You could mistake them for a bug zinging by!

These guys are not easy to photograph!

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Botanical Southwest Images: 8.26.20

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.

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White Sands New Mexico, Bandelier NM: 8.13.20

Some of these are from Bandelier National Park, others are from White Sands. The one of the cat is out my front door. The lone skier is from a hike I took with my dog. For places like White Sands, it really helps to have a camera that has some weather sealing. It was blowing so hard that it hurt our skin. For sure the sand and dust would have gotten into the camera. The Moon would have been more hospitable.

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Cliffs, Water, Honda 500cc Motorcycle: 7.17.20

Rode up to the ski area today and looked at rocks and water. Most people would say “yawn”, but I liked it. The air smelled good. In retrospect, I seem to have been focusing on diagonals and abstract forms. I never think about it at the time. The Honda was running great…not at all bothered by the altitude. Me neither.

Not too many people up there and I always like that. I like the silence.

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