photography from the ground up

Viva el Norte

 

The back roads of northern New Mexico are a treasure trove for a photographer willing to spend the time and energy driving from one remote village to another. I happen to live in one of those villages, so for me, it’s like visiting the neighbors.

I’ve discovered I have a thing for windows. More to the point, I have a thing for old windows in old walls. This first image required several trips before I got it right. I wanted to get the frame just so; the weathered log post plays an important part in the composition and the elevation proved to be tricky–I finally returned with a ladder in order to capture a satisfactory version of the photograph.

Nikon Df Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 F8 1/80 ISO 400

 

These adobe walls are about worn to the nub and the window frames, along with the viga used for a header, will eventually join the pile of rubble. As I drove past, I noticed how the windows were aligned and that is what drew me to make a photograph. The sage in the foreground also provides a nice anchor for the scene.

Nikon Df Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 F11 1/500 ISO 800

 

This scene literally jumped out at me as I rounded a curve in the road just south of Taos. I spent quite a while shooting from different angles, and when I edited the images, I chose this version because I like the spatial relationship between the tree and the mailbox.

Nikon Df Nikkor 24-70mm F8 1/400 ISO 400

 

I saw a photograph of this bar in a book titled Gone to Sanctuary From the Sins of Confusion that my friend Robin had loaned me. The book is a compilation by photographer John Kiewit who traveled the west for three decades from the late sixties through the late nineties making images of the places he saw along the way. The book was published in 1997 and, sadly, John died a few years later. But I was so taken by his work and the subject matter that I started driving to the places from the book which were relatively close to me. It became akin to a pilgrimage. Unfortunately, most of the locations have changed so drastically they are no longer worth photographing. This scene, however, was virtually unchanged from the image John made all those years ago. This one photograph made the entire quest worthwhile.

Nikon Df Nikkor 24-120mm f4 F8 1/640 ISO 400

 

I wish I could have visited this bar in it’s heyday, I’m willing to bet it was a pretty rowdy place, like something out of The Milagro Beanfield War–just my style. But now it sits abandoned, nothing more than a curiosity for passers-by and wandering photographers. Viva el Norte.

Nikon Df Nikkor 24-70mm F8 1/160 ISO 400

4 responses

  1. Magnificent

    Like

    December 4, 2021 at 3:05 am

  2. Diane D Lewis

    Jim, your photography is awesome. I love every shot!! Diane

    Like

    December 4, 2021 at 9:33 am

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