Monday, November 26, 2018

Two Mornings Along the Charles

 . . . alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits . . . I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related . . .  I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer.  I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.  I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are, grand and beautiful.

                                                                        -- Henry David Thoreau, diary entry, January 7, 1857

In between two suburbs of Boston there's a wetlands conservation area along the Charles River called Cutler Park.  It's a quiet, peaceful, and mostly hidden enclave where wildlife and forest flourish.

For the final four years we lived in Boston Cutler Park served for me as a retreat from the travails of daily life in the city, as well as a rich location for photography.  You can see images from some of those days by clicking here, here, or here.

Six years after we left Boston, I was able to return to Cutler Park on two successive mornings in mid-October.  Thankfully, the place had changed very little, although of course some of the older trees had fallen and some of the younger trees I remembered from previous years were noticeably taller.  The cycle of life continues.

The two mornings were very different, providing different light and creating different moods.

On the first morning, the sunrise poured red gold light on the horizon, and delicate cotton balls of fog drifted across the Charles River.

Overhead, some Canada geese flew, honking all the way.

The sun came up . . .

and filled the forest with light.

The next morning's sky was overcast and brought a totally different mood.  Along the river before dawn, a single ghostly swan mysteriously appeared, the only sound the beating of its huge wings . . .

 . . . and then a solitary kayaker glided by, paddle gently tugging the water.

As the invisible sun rose behind the thick blanket of clouds, it revealed texture that had been hidden in the earlier darkness.

And in the dark forest, openings in the canopy illuminated the trail in pools of soft light.

If you would like to see these and additional images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dia de los Muertos y Marigolds

Every year on the Sunday after Halloween, the predominantly Hispanic community of Albuquerque's South Valley neighborhood stages a parade celebrating Dia de los Muertos y Marigolds -- the Day of the Dead and Marigolds.  (Marigolds are the traditional flower used in the celebration; they are said to help guide the ancestral spirits on their annual visit to the land of the living.)

(And if you don't know much about the Day of the Dead, I encourage you to rent the movie "Coco" which was released a year ago.)

The South Valley parade features musical groups . . .

community groups, 


 low-rider automobiles, 

and more.  

The parade also has no shortage of expressions of social and political issues.

The most popular feature of the celebration -- and the one that is most fun for me as a photographer -- is face-painting, primarily to create the appearance of a skeleton head.  Some facial decorations are very simple . . .

while others are more elaborate.

And beyond face-painting and head decoration, many go all out with amazing costumes . . .

And of course there's always someone who marches to a different drummer . . .

It's a celebration of family and culture for the entire community.

If you would like to see these images and more in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

New Mexico Reunion Photo Expedition - Day 3

[This is the third of a three-part series about a reunion photography tour in New Mexico over the Labor Day weekend.  See previous posts (dated October 7 and October 10) for the first two installments and background.]

After two long days of travel and intense on-location photography, on Day 3 we chilled out during the morning, gathering our physical and psychic resources for a long afternoon drive to a shoot in the badlands of northwest New Mexico.

The sky was full of mixed clouds, and we had no idea what it would be like when we arrived at our destination.  But we had no choice, as this was the last day we could visit this particular location.

When we arrived, the sky looked like this . . .

Not great light, but at least we had some clouds to work with.  And periodically the sun would break through and give us some shadows and texture.

For me, this badlands area is a landscape photographer's dream.  It contains weird piles of fragile, crumbly, light and dark shale and mud laid down 60 to 100 million years ago.  Think of it!  When this material was originally deposited, dinosaurs walked on it and human beings didn't even exist.

The formations are littered with more recent volcanic and conglomerate rocks that were transported to this dry area by erosion and water that no longer flows except in tiny rivulets from the occasional desert showers.

As we walked around the area, clouds were dropping rain, but most of it never reached the ground because the desert air was so devoid of moisture.  This is a common phenomenon out here, and it's called virga.

But to our delight, there was enough rain and sunlight to create partial rainbows, and dramatic shafts of light, so we shot them every way we could.

Eventually, of course, the sun fell below the clouds at the horizon, providing some beautiful crepuscular rays.

In the east, the receding storm clouds caught the last light, and we headed home.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing images from our New Mexico photo expedition.  If you would like to see these images and more in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.