Thursday, February 4, 2021

Covid Respite #12, Part 1 - Lybrook Badlands


(This is Part 1 of a two-part story.  Part 2 will be posted in a few days.)

After the holidays, it was time for another Covid Respite getaway with my photographer friend, Alan . . . this time to the Lybrook Badlands in northwest New Mexico.

The Lybrook Badlands are a 10-mile wide expanse of huge dried mud hills, washes, hoodoos (in a few areas), and rocky debris, surrounded by 100-foot high mesas and plateaus, with little vegetation and no marked trails.  Alan and I have been to this area a couple of times, so for this trip we chose to approach it from one of the mesas overlooking the vast valley of hills and rocks.

As we have done for all these trips during the pandemic, we took separate vehicles.  We drove up on the mesa via a service road for oil and gas pipeline installations (note the yellow stakes indicating pipeline in the image below).

Then we hiked to the edge of the mesa to find a downward path into the area.  The view was magnificent.

We found a relatively easy slope that took us down a ridge surrounded by the reddish-brown-gray hills and ravines that are the predominant features of the area.

We walked down as far as we could toward the floor of the valley, stopping only when the drop-off was too steep.

Although the view was magnificent, the light was not my favorite.  As you might be able to tell from the images above, the view into the valley was southward, looking toward the low-elevation mid-day winter sun, so most of the features were back-lit.  For photographing the wide views, this was unfriendly lighting.  

But for photographing smaller-scale elements, it turned the redddish-brown-gray mud hills into a deep charcoal, and accentuated their tones, shapes, and crumbly texture.  So that's where I focused most of my shooting.

There were also patches of snow tucked into ravines and the shaded sides of the hills.

After a few hours, it was time to head back to the cars, and then on to home.

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



  1. you took and processed some very creative and interesting shots that were not affected by the poor lighting. good work. / Barry