Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field . . .
-- T. S. Eliot, "East Coker" in Four Quartets
There's a small north-south chain of mountains east of Albuquerque. North of I-40 they're called the Sandia Mountains; south of I-40 they're the Manzano Mountains. Collectively, they're referred to as the East Mountains.
A couple of weeks ago, for my 21st (and perhaps last) Covid Respite trip, my friend, Bruce, and I took a day trip to photograph some of the scenery on the other side of those mountains.
We visited and photographed two small-town cemeteries (Chilili and Willard) . . .
. . . one of the three Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument sites (Quarai) . . .
a small church in the village of Punta de Agua . . .
. . . and an old Sears and Roebuck catalog house outside of Estancia.
And of course our trip would not be complete without an abandoned pickup in an empty field.
Here's a map of our route:
As you might have noticed, we had two very different skies to work with. Morning was clear and bright, with only a few clouds. The afternoon sky filled with low clouds which provided a 5-minute shower between Willard and Estancia (I actually had to turn on my windshield wipers!) and a dramatic look for the cemetery and old house images.
So here are a few images from each location, starting with the Campo Santo de Chilili, which we visited twice -- once outbound, once on the return.
Chilili, NM, Cemetery - Morning
Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument - Quarai Site
The Quarai Mission church and convent were built between 1627 and 1632. (Note, friends, that this was only 7-12 years after the Pilgrims arrived in New England.) These were Spanish settlements, and as with the other Salinas Mission sites, a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raiding led the Spanish to abandon Quarai in 1678. The area was resettled by Mexicans and Spanish about 1820, and then burned by the Apaches in 1830.
San Vicente de Paul Catholic Church - Punta de Agua, NM
A couple of miles from the Quarai ruins is the little village of Punta de Agua, and its classic Roman Catholic church built in 1878.
Classic New Mexico Icon
Between Punta de Agua and the Quarai ruins we spotted this old pickup.
Willard, NM, Cemetery
As we arrived in Willard about 1:00pm, the clouds were building up . . .
This one looked like a good candidate for black-and-white (and a slightly different composition):
Within half an hour, the sky was filled with dark lowering clouds -- great for much more dramatic and emotional images.
|Notice the lizard in lower left|
Ayers House, Estancia, NM
This is a classic New Mexico scene that has been photographed thousands of times, but I'd never been to it until this trip. Apparently you're not a true New Mexico photographer until you've photographed this house.
The house was built from a DIY kit ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog in the early 1920s, so it's about 100 years old now. Here's a video with a bit more of the story -- click here.
Chilili, NM, Cemetery - Afternoon
The clouds were still hanging around by the time we returned to the Chilili Cemetery on our way home, providing a completely different look from our morning visit . . . and requiring a different compositional strategy: on the ground looking up.
Finally, although vandals had been warned, we were relieved to see that photographers were welcome:
Returning home, we capped off our trip with a great sunset:
If you would like to see these images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.