Plaza Blanca (The White Place), New Mexico

Although on private land, the Dar Al Islam education center and mosque welcomes visitors who wish to hike and view the awe inspiring landscapes. This landscape is best known from some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting or maybe from the many motion pictures which have used it as a backdrop. This landscape lies in a valley of the Rio Chama hills near the village of Abiquiu. O’Keeffe made a series of paintings about the area she called “The White Place”, or in Spanish “Plaza Blanca”.

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The entrance sign to the Plaza Blanca, New Mexico.“You are welcome to enjoy the Plaza Blanca, White Place. Because of it’s fragile shapes and forms, it is necessary to walk lightly on the lands.”

The entrance trail.There’s more than one direction to hike into the area but this well worn path seemed to be the most popular.

The central drainage of the plaza.The trail leads into the main drainage of the plaza which shows signs of serious flash floods and erosion.

Cottonwood trees grow in the central drainage.Enough water is captured in the central drainage to support the needs of New Mexico cottonwood trees.

Close-up of the light colored rock of the White Place.A close-up of the fragile rock on the way to one of the slot canyons.

Hard rock close-up of Plaza Blanca.After some research about “The White Place” the rock of it’s formations and slots is white limestone.

Hiking one of the slots.The water carved slots invite you in for a bit of exploring.

The climb up and out.If you don’t have climbing skills you might consider turning around here, the next on is a real doozy.

Water carved landscape.The softer layers erode into bizarre formations.

They are called hoodoos.The large, harder cap rock atop this hoodoo creates a cap on this limestone formation. The softer rock below the cap rock erodes faster.

The amazing architecture.The amazing architecture is all around.

The eroded landscape.The eroded landscape could make one think they were walking on the moon. Note the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Sante Fe National Forest can be seen in the background.

Limestone formation of the Plaza Blanca.The rocks in the foreground were of many types, granite, quartz, basalt and more. I wonder how they all got here?

The hoodoos on the White Place.More hoodoos.

Hoodoo landscape.Upon exiting be sure a look back.

Cholla cactus and the white limestone.The cholla cactus is just one of several varieties you must watch out for on you hike. So now it’s your turn to head out to Plaza Blanca for an awe inspiring afternoon hike.

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A Morning at the Bosque del Apache NWR

A morning at “The Bosque” requires a very early start!

The previous evening was spent in the refuge with much success both for wildlife, waterfowl and New Mexico’s spectacular light (images can be found here). The night was spent at the Best Western Hotel, a short walk from dinner and brews at the Socorro Springs Brewing Company. A predawn departure got us to the refuge shortly after first light, and this is what we found.

The Bosque del Apache is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whose plan “is to provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience”.

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A early morning Bobcat at the Bosque del Apache.Moments before sunrise at the beginning of the South Loop this Bobcat was spotted out on the prowl.

First light on a group of Pintail ducks.First light on a group of Pintail ducks.

This group of Sandhill Cranes were waiting for the morning thaw, their legs were frozen into the ice.This group of Sandhill Cranes were waiting for the thaw, their legs were frozen into the ice. A large flock of Snow Geese can be seen in the background, in flight, off to the day’s feeding grounds.

A small group of Mule Deer were found foraging in the brisk morning temperatures.A small group of Mule Deer were found foraging in the brisk morning temperatures.

The morning feeding grounds for some of the Sandhill Cranes.The morning feeding grounds for some of the Sandhill Cranes was in the corn fields specifically planted to provide nourishment these migrating birds.

Morning light on a Coopers Hawk.Morning light on a Coopers Hawk.  These swift and agile raptors are common in woodlands and can navigate through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds.

Meadow Lark.The delightful melodic morning song of the Western Meadow Lark adds to a perfect sunrise. To take a listen go here.

Canada Geese on the North Loop.Canada Geese on the North Loop.

All Northern Harriers have a white rump patch that is obvious in flight.A frequently seen raptor, the Northern Harrier has a white rump patch that is obvious in flight. These raptors fly low over fields and marshes as they watch and listen for small animals.

View from the Flight Deck area.View from the Flight Deck area.

Bald Eagle on a perch.A favorite perch for the Bald Eagles is a large dead cottonwood in the marsh.

Northern Shoveler having a morning nap.A male Northern Shoveler taking a nap.

American Coot.The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. They’re close relatives of the gangly Sandhill Crane and rails.

The male is easy to identify by his striking markings and long tail.The male Pintail duck is easy to identify by his striking markings and long tail.

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

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An Evening at the Bosque del Apache NWR

Just one short evening at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge parades such a spectacle of sights, sounds, color and controlled chaos but before we get into that, a brief note on “The Bosque”.

The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, known to locals as “The Bosque,” is 9 mi. south of Socorro, and about two and a half hours from New Mexico’s capitol city, Santa Fe. Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes and other migrating birds from all over North America come to The Bosque to spend their winter and bask in fiery sunsets, blue skies and special light. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whose plan “is to provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience”.

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Snow Geese at the entrance.Arriving at 3:20 PM on December 4th we were greeted at the South Crane Pond with a murmuration Snow Geese.

Snow Geese on the water.A  white morph juvenile in front, a Blue morph juvenile in the middle and a white morph adult can be seen in the background.

Huge numbers of waterfowl on the water.Snow Geese prefer to travel with friends and family, foraging together on their wintering grounds for roots and tubers in muddy fields and marshes.

Single Snow Goose in the morning.A quick stretch before taking flight.

The Javelina of the Bosque del Apache.Javelina thrive in the Bosque, feeding on various native plants such as prickly pear, as well as roots, tubers, and other green vegetation.

Sandhill Cranes at their evening feeding grounds.Proceeding along the South Loop, one of the fields had a large group of Sandhill Cranes busy at their evening feeding ground.

Sandhill Crane flying overhead.Several flew directly overhead.

Mallard ducks high in New Mexico's skies.Mallard ducks overhead.

Cottonwood trees in the eveing light.The evening light added a golden hue to the already gold autumn colors.

Time to find a new spot for this Great Blue Heron.Watching Great Blue Heron hunting in the shallow water is always a pleasure. Get a little too close and off they go.

Northern Shoveler floats on the evening water of the Bosque del Apache.Northern Shoveler ducks are frequently seen here. Their distinctive elongated spoon shaped bill helps distinguish them from the other dabbling ducks.

Evening light at the Bosque del Apache.One  of the many ponds on the South Loop.

Kestrel perched on a large tree.There are several dead trees that provide perfect perches. Here an American Kestrel keeps a watchful eye for a quick snack.

Flock of Grackles on a high perch over water.As the light fades, a group of Common Grackles settle in for the night.

Sandhill Cranes ot sunset on the Bosque del Apache NWR.From the area of the Flight Deck, Sandhill Cranes continue to feed as darkness envelops The Bosque.

Sandhill Cranes at last light on the Bosque del Apache.….three hours later, 6 PM and the last light of the day brings color to the still water.

More information about the Bosque del Apache can be found at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bosque_del_apache/

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Motorcycle Privilege – Featured

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Photography PrintsMotorcyclist are a special breed. While participating in a local event for motorcycle riders, I couldn’t stop myself from taking photographs, lots of photographs. This I thought was a somewhat humorous image because motorcyclist, myself included, feel that certain rules (signs) do not apply.  Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Deer Creek Double Waterfall – Featured

Featured on Fine Art America

The below image is now featured in two Fine Art America groups, Images That Excite and Grand Canyon National Park. Click here to view on my website.

Art PrintsDeer Creek has cut a short, deep canyon within the Grand Canyon National Park more specifically know as the Deer Creek Narrows. I approached this unique natural wonder by raft via the Colorado River. Starting at Lee’s Ferry, traveling 137 river miles over 14 days, I camped on the rivers edge across from Deer Creek Falls. A trail just downstream of the falls heads up to the narrows through the Tapeats Sandstone. The waterfall in the upper portion of the photograph is the first of several as the water enters the narrows section and joins the Colorado River below.

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Deer Creek has cut a short, deep canyon within the Grand Canyon National Park.Thanks for stopping in.

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Deer Creek Double Waterfall

Deer Creek has cut a short, deep canyon within the Grand Canyon National Park more specifically know as the Deer Creek Narrows. I approached this unique natural wonder by raft via the Colorado River. Starting at Lee’s Ferry, traveling 137 river miles over 14 days, I camped on the rivers edge across from Deer Creek Falls. A trail just downstream of the falls heads up to the narrows through the Tapeats Sandstone. The waterfall in the upper portion of the photograph is the first of several as the water enters the narrows section and joins the Colorado River below.

(click on image to enlarge)

Deer Creek has cut a short, deep canyon within the Grand Canyon National Park.To view all the options for purchasing a print, card or tote bag click here.

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Bosque Sunset – Featured Image

Featured Image on Fine Art America

Driving the loop or hiking the trails of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge brings sights and sounds from one of New Mexico’s best wildlife destinations. This image was created as I drove the loop and stopping to admire the Autumn sunset. Bosque del Apache, which translates as “Woods of the Apache”, is 57,331 acres located along the Rio Grande in the Land of Enchantment.

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The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.“The New Mexico Land of Enchantment Group is honored that you chose to submit your work to the group and we are proud to feature your magnificent image on the Homepage in the Featured Images.”

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Pony at the Pump – Ojo Caliente, NM

Pony at the Pump

This pony photo won the Taos True Photo Contest in the “Quirky” category sponsored by Taos Mountain Outfitters. The contest results can be found in this weeks (9/8/16) Arts and Entertainment Magazine of the Taos News, “Tempo”. The three categories for the photos were: Good, Bad and Quirky. I submitted one for each but it seems the “Pony at the Pump” fit the bill.

While stopping in a t Oliver's Market in Ojo Calient I found a pony at the pump.This photo can be found on my website here to order your copy.

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Roily Water Featured

Roily Water

This photograph is now featured in the Fine Art America group “Images That Excite You”.

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Featured image of the water of the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.This photo is a close-up of the slit laden water from the Little Colorado as it mixes in with the clear water of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. To me it almost appears to be smoke.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landscapes on the planet. But this natural masterpiece of the Colorado River faces a battery of threats. Unless the Department of the Interior acts to stop these threats, one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures will be scarred forever.

Featured image as seen on my website.

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Roily Water

Roily Water Abstract

This photo is a close-up of the slit laden water from the Little Colorado as it mixes in with the clear water of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. To me it almost appears to be smoke.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landscapes on the planet. But this natural masterpiece of the Colorado River faces a battery of threats. Unless the Department of the Interior acts to stop these threats, one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures will be scarred forever.

(click on image to enlarge)

Water of the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.This image is from my 2012 rafting adventure down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon when we stopped for lunch at the confluence of the Little Colorado which was running muddy.

Art PrintsTo view this image on my website click here.

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