Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In the Morning Sun
Several posts ago, I devoted some time to sharing a drive we did on the Johnson Mesa when the clouds were so low, we were driving thru them.  Well, the drive this day was in the bright sunshine!
Circling Birds
There’s something about the circling birds near the deserted homestead that makes the scene feel forlorn, even in the bright sunshine!
On this day, we explored some of the dirt roads that lead to various homesteads or ranch pastures.  For this image, I got out of our Jeep so that I could capture the lines of both the dirt road and barbed wire fenceline as they both wind off into the horizon.
Meadow Graveyard
On one of the dirt roads, we passed a very small graveyard in a meadow.  It was fenced it, and there didn’t seem to be many graves in there.  Well, actually, a more accurate statement would be there weren’t many visible headstones in it.  As you can see, it was very overgrown.  It was the gate with the cross on it that drew our attention.
Old Barn Window
On our way back from our morning adventure, we passed an old barn half falling down.  I just love the look of the weathered rough wood and the reflection of the ground in the window glass.  I’m actually sort of amazed that the glass was still in it, unbroken!

In Flight
Sometimes as we drive along in the country, we see birds in flight.  I really love seeing the birds soaring in the big blue sky – it sort of captures the image of freedom and flying – better than any written definition!
Look at the wingspan on this bird – I think it was a very large raven, altho I’m not certain.  I love the detail of the feathered wing on the right.
It’s not often that I get the chance to capture a hawk (I think!) this relatively close.  This guy was just sitting on the top of the phone pole surveying the area, looking for food perhaps?
Take Off
And, he’s taking off!  I was lucky enough to capture this move, too!  I love how his claws amplify the stretching that happens as he leaps to get airborne!
In Flight
And, here is freedom and light!  I love how he’s sort of back-lit by the morning sun.  Again, the detail in his feathers can be seen so easily.

A Word from Miki
Hi – I know you’re usually reading my Mom’s take on the fun I have while camping with my people pack, but this time, she’s letting me write her blog post! 
Miki’s Swimming Hole
I’m always glad when Mom and Dad decide to camp at Abiquiu Lake, because this is probably my favorite swimming hole.  Mom likes the view, but I like the easy access to water!
I See the Splash
I especially love it when Dad tosses a stick for me to retrieve!  I always watch first to see the splash, so that I have an idea of where it is……
My Swimming Hole
…and then off I go!  I like this swimming hole because the rock slabs under the water give me a nice entry way into the water!  I’m really not a diver – I have beautiful large ears, and hate it when water gets in them!
Bringin’ In The Stick
Dad usually tosses me the stick a number of times.  Now that I’m 9 years old, I can’t fetch as much as I used to.  Here’s me coming in for the last time in this swimming session.  I’m pretty tuckered out, but I love the water!
Miki’s Domain
After my swim, Mom, Dad and I took a walk around the area of my swimming hole so I can dry off a bit before getting back in the Jeep.  For some reason, they don’t seem to like it very well when I shake off in the Jeep.  I’m just trying to give them an idea of how great the water is, but, my good intentions seem to be lost on them – oh, well!  I was enjoying the scenery when Mom got this picture of me.
Miki and the Pedernal
Mom really likes the mountain thing in the background.  Some artist she really likes (someone named Georgia) liked to paint this a long time ago.  I think it looks pretty good behind me!  What a great day this was!
Woof, woof !  (Puppy speak for Enjoy!)

Lake Abiquiu Views
We camped at Abiquiu Lake, not far from Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch.  The area around the lake is beautiful, with some fabulous views.  Take a look…….
Abiquiu Lake
We’re at the old boat ramp, where Miki likes to swim.  She certainly has picked out a great spot, hasn’t she?  You can’t see it from here, but just off to the left as you look at this image, is the Pedernal.
Late Summer New Mexico
We walked around Miki’s “swimming hole” and I found this wonderful scene and had to capture it!  I love the warm colors of the earth and leaves up against the clear blue skies with fluffy white clouds.
And, here’s the view that sort of dominates the campground and surrounding area – the Pedernal, one of Georgia O’Keefe’s favorite subject for her iconic art.  If you look closely, you can see 2 hikers enjoying the view, too. (They are just to the right of the bush that’s sort of in the lower middle of the image.)

Yellow, Purple and Green
Late summer brought some pretty blooms in the Abiquiu Lake area.  Take a look at the three colors that seem to make up this pallet.
Delicate Sunflower
Most of the sunflowers are gone, but here’s one of the last remaining ones.  It looked gentle and almost surreal.

Super Green Bloom
When I saw this bright green bloom, I had to capture it as an image.  I have no idea what this is, but, beside the color, I really like the spikey look of the plant, and I like the contrast in textures between the plants and the leaves.

Late Summer Thistle
I really like the purple color of this bloom, and the detail of not only the bloom, but also the green support structure of the bloom.  The purple looks sort of soft in reality, while the green looks sharply spikey.

Purple Aster
The other type of flower that was still around were purple asters – at least, that’s what I think they were!  You can see that most of the heads of the flowers are brown and dying.  Pretty soon, these blooms will be gone for this season as well.

Late Summer Bloom
This flower is what is called a Goldenrod; I think I didn’t have a reference book on flowers, so I’m doing the identification of blooms from my memory.  My dad was horribly allergic to goldenrod, but it sure does make a lovely image, especially with the soft-focus background.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Capulin Volcano National Monument

We had tried to visit this monument a few years ago, but there had been a rainstorm the night before we visited back then, and created a bit of a landslide that blocked the road.  This year, we had no such problem and we were able to get to the rim and actually walk down into the caldera.

Capulin Volcano erupted about 60,000 years ago.  This was the end of a period of regional volcanism that began about 9 million years ago.  It’s now extinct, and there are grasses, wildflowers and other plant live are now living in that caldera.
View into the Capulin Volcano

From this image, you can see the various plant life forms that are growing in the caldera.  This is actually taken from the perspective of being inside the caldera.  I was partially down into the caldera.
Capulin Caldera Rim

As I walked down into the caldera, I looked up at the rim and thought this was a very cool perspective.  Perhaps others have been in a caldera, but this is pretty much my first one – at least that’s this easy to delineate as one!
Looking Down Capulin

For this image, I focused on looking directly down the caldera from the path I was on.  The cinders that you see in the foreground were what made up the cone of the volcano!
View of Ancient Volcanos

As I said above, the Capulin Volcano erupted at the end of a period of regional volcanism.  As we looked out on the area surrounding Capulin from the near rim of the caldera, you can see the other ancient volcanoes that once were.  This is a particularly striking view – at least I think so!


Fulsom, NM – Semi-Ghost Town
After we left the mesa, we came across what I call a semi-ghost town, called Fulsom, New Mexico.  In the 2010 census, the population was 56, down from 75 in 2000. 
The town is named after Frances Fulsom, the fiancĂ©e of Grover Cleveland.  She married Cleveland when she was 21 years old, in the White House (the only marriage to take place in the White House), and became the youngest first lady in history.  When you first enter the town, tho, there is a historical marker citing the bravery of another woman of Fulsom – Sarah “Sally” J. Rooke.  Sally was a telephone operator and on the night of August 27, 1908, she received a call that a “wall of water” was rushing down the Dry Cimarron River towards Fulsom.  She stayed at her switchboard that night, warning others and saving countless lives.  She, however, was not as lucky and perished in the flood that night.  Telephone operators from around the country contributed 4,334 dimes to honor her with the memorial.
There are a few sights worth highlighting in this glimpse back at yesterday…..
Wanted Poster
In the window of the old Fulsom Supply Company store, this wanted poster still hangs.  The door is padlocked and the inside is full of debris and items left when the store closed.  Is this wanted poster “real”?  I wish I could say this poster appears to have dated back to the day when Jesse James roamed the West, but truly, it looked a bit too new for that!
Fulsom Hotel
This is the old “sign” for the Fulsom Hotel, painted right on the building!  I love how the tree hovers over the window on the second floor.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had seen a ghostly apparition!
Look Into the Past
This is a simple image, but that old chair inside a deserted hotel just made me think about how many people sat in it, and what their lives were like.  I could make up entire stories – did Sally sit on it at one time? – but I’ll spare you!
Front Door
I like the inconsistency between the rough wood and brick front of the hotel and the reflection in the window that almost looks metallic.  The black iron gate is in front of the front door of the hotel and the window, I imagine, looked into or out from the lobby.
Interior Rock Wall
 I like this image because it makes me wonder what the interior rock wall was part of - the lobby, bar, restaurant?  I also like the reflection of the small little 2-lane road that you can see that runs thru the town.

Wildlife on the Mesa
In addition to the great scenery and deserted homesteads on Johnson Mesa, we also saw some wildlife…..

When we were starting out, we saw a deer just of the side of the road, sort of walking casually in the brush.  When he realized we were approaching, he quickly turned and ran.  I managed to capture him, and from the blurred scenery behind him, you get an idea of how quickly he accelerated!

Watching Deer
Here you get a better idea of what this little deer looked like – he paused and just watched us from further away from the road.

Curious Antelope
As we drove along the mesa, we came across a herd of antelope.  I thought they looked particularly adorable when they hesitated and watched us watching them!

Mama Deer
Back to the deer again – this time a mama deer stopped and watched us with a couple of her little ones……

Mama Leaps
…and then took off gracefully leaping over a fence…..

Baby One Leaps
….followed first by baby #1…..

Baby Two Leaps
…and then baby #2!  I just love the white tails flipping up as they sailed over the fence!  What was amazing by all 3 of them was that they did these leaps from almost a standing position!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Johnson Mesa Cemetery
Directly across the road from the church lies the cemetery, and reflects, for the most part, a taste of the past.  I slipped the latch keeping the gate closed, and when in to explore the memories there.  There were a few “modern” headstones, but for the most part, this sampling reflects a good example of the type of monuments I saw there.
Baby Bella
I guess the name Bella was popular back at the turn of the previous century, too.  Baby Bella died in 1897, the year that the church was dedicated.  Who knows?  Her funeral may have been the first in the then new church.  You can’t see it all that well in this image, but she was only 2 years old when she died.  Who knows why?  Maybe disease – I believe life would have been hard on the mesa back then.
Young Headstone
Another relatively short life – only 42 at her death.  You can’t tell from this image, but it was a woman’s headstone.  I purposefully focused on the rough texture of the headstone.  It makes me think that it may have been hand carved, given the time we were talking about, and the distance they were from any sort of larger town or city.
This was a very old monument – in fact, it was just a simple wooden cross.  I purposefully converted the image to primarily black & white, because the age of the cross made me feel like this was the only appropriate way to display it.  The colors of the flowers indicated that someone still cares about whoever is laid to rest there.  Altho the flowers were artificial, they were clean, so I’m guessing they were relatively new.
World War Headstone
I left this image as a color image because the field grasses and flowering weeds provided a nice contrast to the stark white headstone.  This headstone is of a service man, Roy Henry Butt, who died during one of the world wars.  I didn’t intrude on the grave to get more information.  It was enough to know he was in service when he died, protecting our country.  If you look closely at the lower right corner of the headstone, you can see an empty frame.  I’m guessing at one point, there was a photograph of some sort in the frame, but it is now long gone.
Overmyer Child
The saddest headstones are the ones of the young babies or children.  I had to photograph this grave and headstone from almost directly above it, because the headstone laid flat to the ground.  No dates are shown, which makes me wonder if this was perhaps a baby who died in childbirth.  The simple, wooden cross is almost breathtakingly poignant.
It seems almost disrespectful to end this post in my typical fashion, with the word “enjoy”, but to honor those in this cemetery, I will say…
“Enjoy the life given you”

Johnson Mesa Church
There is a church that still stands on Johnson Mesa.  It’s now known as Johnson Mesa Church, established in 1897.  Originally, tho, it was called St. John Episcopal Church, and the stone on the front of the church refers to it as such.  Let’s take a look around…….
Johnson Mesa Church
The church stands alone out in a field, and on this morning, it felt incredibly lonely.  Again, a vintage touch was added to the processing to accentuate this feeling.
Outside Looking In
I walked around the church, peering into the windows to capture what felt like a quiet moment in a church, from the outside looking in.  The church pews are perfectly in order and ready for Sunday service.
Inside and Out
I continued to walk around the church and caught this interesting image.  You can clearly see the inside of the church and, in this case, the front door of the church, with the stained glass decorative window above it.  Look more closely, and you can see a reflection of the fields behind me, both the land and the clouds rolling. 
We drove along Johnson Mesa on the morning of the low clouds.  The clouds created a sort of yesterday feel to whatever we saw.  And, there is a history of Johnson Mesa that dates back to the 1880’s.  Elijah Johnson was the first white settler on the mesa, and he pastured cattle there.  In the late 1880’s, dissatisfied railroad workers and coal miners settled there, and before too long, the entire mesa was filled with homesteads, each of about 160 acres.  However, due to the long cold winters, and an influenza epidemic, the population dropped, and kept dropping.  Today, no one lives on the mesa, altho some ranchers spend the summers here, tending to their cattle.  In fact, as we drove up onto the mesa, there was a gate stating that the mesa would be closed off during “inclement weather” – I think that means winter!  But, for now, let’s take a look back to yesterday…..
House in the Meadow
This was the first house we came upon.  As I peered thru the trees at the house to get the best view of this old homestead, I decided the best way to show off this treasure was to convert the image to a black and white image, with a paper texture to add to the vintage feel of the scene.
Along the Fence
As I mentioned above, some ranchers allow their cattle to graze on the mesa.  It’s getting close to the end of summer, so these cattle will be making their way down to lower pastures soon.
Down the Road
The road seemed to always be coming up to meet us out of nowhere, due to the low clouds.  Again, this image, taken on a whim, reminded me of driving off into…….I don’t know what.
The Old Farmstead
This old farmstead seemed to be one that may be used thru the summer.  I’m guessing that due to the horses that were kept in a pasture close to the old cabin.  Again, I converted this to a black and white image with paper texture added, but then added back a bit of color.
Lonely Life
For this image, I left the image in color, but enhanced the moody feel of the low clouds.  It adds a very lonely feel to the scene, and considering how few homesteads there are on the mesa, that feeling is probably close to the reality of life on Johnson Mesa.
Old Homestead
In this final image, I processed the image without any vintage touches.  I liked the texture on the deserted cabin, and any vintage effect obliterated that texture.  In this image, you can see the clouds are beginning to lift (that’s why you can see another mesa in the background), altho it’s still a very moody morning.
There’s more to come from Johnson Mesa, so……