Monday, April 26, 2021

Covid Respite #17 - Clouds at Sunrise over the Sandia Mountains


For this Covid Respite all I had to do was step out my back door with camera in hand (well, actually, on a tripod).

Occasionally -- maybe a couple of times a month -- the clouds and the sun out here combine for a beautiful sunrise.  Last week we had one of those mornings.

Early on, it didn't look too promising:  heavy dark clouds overhead and all the way beyond the Sandia Mountains (about 10 miles away).

The clouds here generally move from west to east, and can block the sun at the horizon behind the mountains, so I wasn't optimistic.  But sometimes the clouds dissipate as the sun comes up because the air is so dry.  Any warmth at all, and they evaporate.

As the sky brightened, I could see interesting textures on the underside of the overcast:

Although it was calm at ground level, clearly there was a lot of wind action up there:

The cloud bank was beginning to shrink from the northeast (left side of the image below) . . .

 . . . but was still strong and interesting to the southeast:

As the sun came up, the cloud bank began to shrink significantly . . .

. . . and six minutes later it was almost completely gone:

In 29 minutes it went from this . . .

                                  . . . to this:

The show was over, but it was a good one!

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


Monday, April 5, 2021

Covid Respite #16 - Golden Hour Above Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah


For landscape photographers, Golden Hour light is highly desirable.  It's a photographic holy grail, with its low angle and warm color that can make almost any landscape look great.  Over the years, I have occasionally succeeded in finding and shooting in this kind of light.  You can read about it in some of my earlier posts here and here.

In all of those previous Golden Hour situations, I was shooting from ground level.  But with my new drone, I can now shoot from above.  Since the beginning of the year, I'd been waiting for an opportunity to shoot in the New Mexico badlands at Golden Hour.  Last week, it appeared.

As you have probably deduced from many of my previous posts, the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wilderness area is one of my favorite places in the northwest New Mexico badlands.  Usually I travel there with photography buddies, but on this trip I was introducing Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah to a Corrales couple who are neighbors and friends.

They had never been to Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah, so we waited for a good weather day to make the trip.  (Good weather = temps in the mid 60s, light wind, and, for photography purposes, some clouds.)  Serving as their guide, I enjoyed watching them discover the amazing landscape of Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah:

As a consequence, I didn't take as many pictures as I ordinarily would.  But I managed to grab a few, featuring the ubiquitous hoodoos and other dramatic features of the area:

Best of all, we experienced a magical moment when we were graced by the presence of some horses that we occasionally see traveling in the valley:

My primary purpose on this trip was to give my guests a good tour.  But of course I brought along my drone in hopes of getting some Golden Hour images from above.  Near the end of the day, I released my charges to explore on their own, and unpacked the drone.

The sky and clouds cooperated, giving us brilliant unobstructed sunlight for about 20 minutes just before sunset.  The light was so rich that I actually had to de-saturate these images a bit.

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