In the Southwest, July and August are the two wettest months of the year, when Albuquerque receives one-third of its annual 9.5-inch precipitation. This season is ruefully yclept "Monsoon Season" by the locals.
Monsoon Season brings lots of clouds -- amazing, awesome clouds -- but little of their moisture reaches the ground because the air is so dry. The fickle clouds, however, bring a visual feast for the photographer.
Sunrises are dramatic and colorful . . .
The clouds build up in the afternoon . . .
and when they're overhead, they look strange and dangerous . . .
Or even downright apocalyptic . . .
Sometimes you get a great sunrise and apocalyptic clouds:
When it finally does rain, it comes with lightning:
And an occasional piece of a rainbow:
If you would like to see larger versions of these and more, you can go to my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.
As I have said before in this space, once the weather warms up there are festivals or celebrations happening virtually every week across New Mexico.
Locally, the town of Bernalillo, NM (population about 8,500), hosts Las Fiestas de San Lorenzo, a three-day street fair celebrating the patron saint of the town. It's not a large event like the ones in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, but it is typical of the many events that celebrate the diversity of cultures in New Mexico.
The centerpiece of Las Fiestas is La Danza de los Matachines -- twelve masked individuals dancing to the traditional Spanish instruments (guitar and violin), carrying wooden tridents and gourd rattles.
Unfortunately, I somehow completely missed this part. So next year I'll pay more attention and post another blog about that.
This post, perforce, will be about the other elements of Las Fiestas -- in particular, music, dancing, and classic cars (with a few bicycles and motorcycles thrown in for good measure).
Let's start with the cars. New Mexicans love their cars, and some take loving care of the old ones. For Las Fiestas, the Albuquerque chapter of Viejitos Car Club (principally, but not exclusively, focused on the lowrider style vehicles) brought about 20 for display along the main street:
Parked so close together they were difficult to photograph individually, so I got a few whole cars and lots of details:
I mentioned the bicycles and motorcycles. Here are a few:
As for the music, it was a mix of Hispanic and country/western. The groups perform in a large tent (complete with dance floor) set up in front of City Hall. This one is called Ana Maria y Sangre Latino:
And the dancers are everyday people. Here's my favorite couple:
One other observation: the iconography of these festivals is principally -- and very graphically -- religious. Here's the T-shirt booth:
But stacked next to shirts depicting a crucified Jesus are shirts depicting a couple of other religions:
If you would like to see larger versions of these images (and more), visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.