Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Category

Poppy Impression

Saturday, October 18th, 2014


Well, photography has been about the furthest thing from my mind this week as I have been busy closing on my new house and working out all the last minute bugs.  So, I had to pull something out of the archives to process at the last minute. This poppy was shot in April at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens. It was a little too scruffy around the edges to work as a straight photograph but with the Cezanne II treatment in Topaz Impression it looks pretty good.

Day 35 – Grist Mill

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014


Yesterday I was busy preparing a show for my virtual gallery and didn’t get out to shoot anything new.  The show is called “New Mexico Swan Song” and is a collection of images shot at El Rancho de las Golondorinos, a living history museum near Santa Fe.  Honestly, I processed so many images yesterday I don’t remember exactly what I did.  I now there was some cropping.  Looks there there should have been some straightening.  I also ran it through CEP but I think it was mainly detail extraction.  You can see the show at


Saturday, May 24th, 2014


I haven’t shared a flower in awhile and it IS that time of year.  I was on Mr. Toad’s wild ride this week with pre-moving chores.  But when my artists group headed out to El Rancho de las Golondorinos I had to carve out a few hours to join them.  I was expecting to be working on the vast array of New Mexicana available at this living history museum but the irises in the front garden were so stunning they stole the show.

In this image I blended two photos shot at f 16 and f2.8 in order to get the flower totally sharp and the background blurred. Then I took it in to Color Efex Pro and added a small amount of detail extraction and a darken/lighten center filter.  And that’s all it took to create this lovely flower portrait.  I can see it with a purplish texture but I think it looks just fine au natural.


Saturday, May 3rd, 2014


This week’s photo shoot was cancelled due to windy showery weather so I had to revert to last weeks images from the Quaker Garden in Santa Fe.

I’m always a sucker for bicycles and the door with the heart behind it made this one special.  This is another case where I intentionally over processed the detail in order to give the image a more painterly look.  This was done using Nik Color Efex Pro detail extractor.  I also used two darken lighten center filters to highlight the heart and the bicycle.


Saturday, April 5th, 2014





Here is another good exercise in post processing.  My photography workshop went to Jackalope, a very fine retail establishment here in Santa Fe, where I came across this very self possessed store cat on duty.   He struck such a regal, cattly pose I just had to take his picture.  When I got it home though I wasn’t too happy with the orange can sitting on red concrete.  Simple solution.  I selected the cat using the quick selection tool in Photoshop, inverted the selection, added a hue/saturation layer and adjusted the color until I found one I liked.  I then took the image into Topaz simplify and scrolled through until I found a painterly treatment I liked.

Bosque del Apache

Saturday, March 1st, 2014


If you are any kind of nature photographer you must know that the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, NM is one of the iconic locations to photograph birds.  Since moving to New Mexico I have made the two hour trek to the Bosque 9 times.  Some years I made it twice, some years I missed due to health or other priorities.  Over the years I have made some great photographs and learned a lot about shooting moving targets in near darkness. I thought it was time I put them together in an accessible format.  Last year I learned to make animated slideshows using Photoshop and decided that would be the perfect tool for the job.  If you would like to give it a try check out Colin Smith’s book “Video in Photoshop for Photographers and Designers” published by Peachpit Press.

It took some serious editing but I boiled it down to 30 images which have been given the Ken Burnsian treatment of panning and zooming. I also set it to music which dictated the length at about 4 and a half minutes.  Go to to view.

Winter Leaf

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014


This image was taken with my smart phone.  I did not set out to photograph with my smart phone it just happened that way.  You see it was a beautiful day in New Mexico and I was wracking my brain for someplace to shoot outside that was not too far from home.  I kept thinking of the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque but kept rejecting the idea as being too early in the season.  It finally dawned on me that it was high time I checked out the Rio Grande Nature Center.  I was so excited about the idea I ran and gathered up my photo gear.  But I had a few errands to run first so I got that done and then jumped in my car and headed south.  When I got to the Nature Center it was so warm I just had to take off my jacket.  I opened the back of the car to put away my jacket and get out my camera and just froze.  No camera bag. I hadn’t stopped anywhere between home and the parking lot so the only conclusion was that my camera bag was 50 miles away sitting on the bed in my guest room.  So, I was forced to test the theory that the best camera is the one you have with you which in this case was the 8mp camera on my Samsung Galaxy SII.  I have to say that I chose that phone specifically for the quality of the camera but had used it very little in that way.  So off I went down the trails at the Nature Center.  I am sure the other visitors thought I was crazy as I snapped away shooting dead leaves with my cell phone. Unfortunately, the battery gave out before I had quite exhausted all the great subjects that even a winter’s day at the Nature Center had to offer. And if that wasn’t bad enough it was just as I was plugging the phone into my computer to download the pictures that my hard drive failed.  In the process of regrouping my computational and telecommunications needs I right-graded the smart phone to a tablet (more practical for email and internet) and a flip phone (simplify, simplify, simplify). As for the Galaxy SII?  I think it will go into permanent airplane mode and rest in the glove compartment of my car awaiting the next camera emergency.

Colors of New Mexico

Saturday, February 1st, 2014


When the weather interferes with my plans, as it did this week, I find myself trolling through the files looking for images that I might process differently based on new skills or new software.  This one was shot at Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico back in November of 2006.  Out of the camera the image looked dull and uninteresting and didn’t really capture the depth of color that I wanted to portray.  I have since learned to use Nik Color Efex pro to really make an image pop and I applied those techniques here:  Detail Extractor, Brilliance Warmth, Darken Lighten Center.  It has almost become a mantra!

Cottonwood Tree

Saturday, January 4th, 2014






I originally planned to post my favorite image from 2013 as the first image of the year but I am getting bored with best ofs and recaps and 2013 in general so I decided to move forward and start with something new. (If you really want to see my pick for best of 2013 go to   Besides, after a month of cold weather, roof repairs and holidays I needed to get out of the house.  So I headed on over to Las Vegas (the one in New Mexico) National Wildlife Refuge to see what I could find.  Now, I have to say that one of my best wildlife photography days ever was my first visit to LVNWR back in January of 2008.  I’m not sure what is going on but the last few trips I have come up completely empty handed.

So, I decided this trip that if the wildlife weren’t showing up (and they weren’t) I would just be open to seeing what else I could find to photograph.  I did see a couple of hawks roosting in trees but they were not in places I could easily pull over and set up without scaring them away.

I had taken an interest in this old cottonwood tree the last time I was there but, intent on photographing raptors, I passed it by.  Unfortunately, this time it was about a half mile down a road behind a locked gate.  Fortunately, there was a hole in the fence big enough to shoot through with my telephoto lens.

When I got the image home the first thing I did was crop in to get more tree and less road in the picture. The clear blue sky didn’t really suit the mood I wanted to portray so I decided to go with a sepia toned monochrome. I used the Wet Rocks filter in Silver Efex Pro and added some contrast and structure.  I have to admit I didn’t really notice the tumbleweed in the road when I made the shot and I think it tends to overbalance the image on the right side.  But there really wasn’t much I could do about it given the locked gate and technical limitations (or maybe I should say economic since I just can’t afford a 600mm lens).  Anyway, I do rather like the shadow it casts into the road.

I added a lens falloff vignette which really helped to focus attention on the tree.  I can never resist the frames in Silver Efex Pro though I do have some concerns about how to make them work with a window mat but I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Christmas Lights

Saturday, December 28th, 2013


This week’s photography consisted of a couple of strolls around the neighborhood to photograph Christmas Lights. Once in awhile you just know as soon as you push the shutter release button that you’ve nailed it.  So it was with this image.  I did adjust the exposure slightly in levels and cropped off some distracting lights on the right side.  Otherwise this is how it came out of the EOS M.  By the way this was shot handheld at IOS 6400.  I will probably have to do some noise reduction if I ever want to print it large but for the web it looks just fine.