photography from the ground up

A Bisti Wonderland

Of all the times I’ve been to the Bisti Wilderness, this is only the third time I’ve been there with snow on the ground. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have been there this time if I didn’t have a Photo Tour to lead. We met at the Bisti turn-off on NM 371 at 8 AM. After giving my safety briefing, we set out across the snow covered terrain.

A-Bisti-Winter

The first stop was the Brown Hoodoos. I almost eliminated this part of the tour due to the slippery footing combined with the climb required to reach them, but once we got there, I was happy that I made the effort. The scenery more than made up for the risk and my clients were delighted.

Bisti-Wonderland

After spending a half hour or so I decided we needed to move on. The forecast called for warmer temperatures in the afternoon and I knew that would mean the snow would melt turning the mostly-clay ground into a muddy quagmire.

Egg-Garden-Winter

We made the hike out to the Egg Garden in good time and here we spent another forty-five minutes or so. I began to realize that there were parts of the landscape that were more defined because of the snow and the contrast it provided, and other parts that seemed less photogenic because of it. The Garden was in the latter category, but my tour participants were having a great time nonetheless.

Remnants-Of-A-Lost-World

From the Egg Garden, we moved on to the Petrified Trees and here we lingered the longest. It was while we were here that the mud began to raise its ugly head.

Wilderness-Winter

The next stop was the Eagle’s Nest and by now we were walking in the runoff channels which was easier than walking in the ooze. This is an image of the approach to the Nest–it’s the prominent feature in the distance. You can see the muddy water flowing in the wash on the left.

An-Alien-Assembly

We circled the Eagle’s Nest and then made our way back over to Alamo Wash which by now was running deeper than I have ever seen it run. This meant we had to start walking in the mud, but we were also at the final stop on the tour. Now all we had to do was trek close to four miles back to the parking area. I made this image in a small area of hoodoos just north of the Eagle’s Nest and began to pack up my gear in preparation for the return hike.

Lucas-&-Tomas-Bisti-Tour

It was then that Tomas noticed the cranes. A flock of Sandhill cranes–probably migrating to Bosque del Apache–were battling the winds to make it to their wintering grounds, still more than two hundred miles to the southwest. They were too far away to make a good image, but you can see them (the small dots to the right of the rock formation) in this one that I made of my intrepid clients watching them fly by.

The walk out was more strenuous and it did take longer than usual due to the muddy conditions, but we laughed at our plodding and sliding most of the way out. At one point, we were all stuck on a slight incline and none of us could make any headway; the greasy caliche mud was so slick that we had to backtrack and find another route. It was a good day though. My clients came away with some good images, and I with some nice images and some good stories to tell.

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16 responses

  1. Wonderful images Jim 🙂

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

  2. Wow! 🙂

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

  3. Fabulous images as always Jim. Stunning.

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

  4. Beautiful! I am amazed by all the wonderful images on this planet ….that I didn’t even know existed. Thank you for taking these photos.

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    • Thanks Mary. There are some amazing images out there just waiting for someone to find them.

      Like

      January 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

  5. Wonderful landscape.Super!

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm

  6. Reblogged this on transientexistence and commented:
    Tremendous shots of this world’s pure beauty.

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

  7. Gorgeous shots…where exactly is this location? Is it easy to get to (in relation to hiking…do you need serious gear to get there?)

    Like

    January 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    • Thanks Desiree. The Bisti Wilderness is in northwest New Mexico. It is one of the badlands in the San Juan Basin. It’s relatively easy to get to, but very easy to get lost in. I would suggest a GPS with waypoint and tracking capability. I lead tours there if you’re interested.

      Like

      January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

  8. WDC

    Reblogged this on Ecodelphinus.com.

    Like

    January 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  9. superb 🙂

    Like

    January 14, 2013 at 2:57 am

  10. infreegarden

    Very nice pictures! It does not really look like you are on Earth:)

    Like

    March 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

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