Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bosque del Apache

I've been working on a rather lengthy post with LOTS of pictures from the Salinas Pueblos, and while I had intended that to be my next blog, today was a truly magical day.

We got up early and took a drive down to Fort Craig, an old civil war fort located some 20 miles south of Socorro. Then we visited an incredible museum, the El Camino Real Historical Center, but that's a whole blog in itself.

The magic came when the sun began to set over at the Bosque. Everything came together perfectly and I was enchanted. The cranes have arrived in force, the weather was a mild 50 degrees and the planets seem to have been in some kind of alignment.

Please bear with me here, there are a LOT of pictures, and while some are not as sharp as I would like, these all mean something special to me. Some will have captions, and some will just speak for themselves. Remember that you can always click on a photo for a larger image.

I'll start with a wide shot so you can get a feel for the Bosque.

The Bosque teems with wildlife,
but the geese and the cranes are the true stars of the show.

The water is surrounded by lush foliage,
setting the scene for these amazing panoramas

The water was so still, I just kept shooting reflection shots.

I love the way the greenery looks, reflected in the ponds

I ALMOST caught this one landing . . .

The cranes love to stick their heads in the water,
there must be something really yummy on the bottom

I loved the light on this pair

These two seemed to be doing some kind of a dance,
following each other in such a straight line.

I liked the way they all look so peaceful.

I was entranced with the reflection of the sky on the water,
the birds,
the smell,
the sounds,
the feel of the soft breezes . . .

The cranes do seem to preen and enjoy themselves to such a degree

More reflections.

It's getting darker, I like the silhouettes

More silhouettes

This arrangement appealed to me

As did this shot

The mountains here in New Mexico
continue to amaze me,
Will I ever grow tired of them?

I've never experienced light like this anywhere else
New Mexico is really
the Land of Enchantment

Another wide shot

Even as it's getting darker, I continue to take pictures.
The light seems to change every minute

I manage to catch a few cranes in flight

This fellow reminds me of those old flamingo pictures from the 1930s

These next two shots show some of the cranes landing and taking off

And again, there's the light

This is some of the delicate foliage that surrounds these ponds

The sun continues to set

Don't these mountains look like an Eyvind Earle painting?

If you enlarge this next one, you'll see I got a few more birds in flight.
These guys are really quick, and with the fading light,
I really couldn't catch many of them.

One final shot as the sun dips below the mountains

Days like this one will stay in my heart forever.

My Life is Really Good.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Capilla Peak

Just outside the town of Manzano is a sign that reads Capilla Peak 9 Miles. For months, we meant to make the trip. When we finally did, what a wonderful drive it was!

In order to reach the summit, you have to 9 miles up a dirt road. It's a lovely drive, and when you finally reach the top (some 10,000 feet) there's an amazing campground. Unfortunately, there would be no way for us to get Cholula up this road (and I really wouldn't try it without a high clearance f wheel drive vehicle), but I thought I'd share some photos of the peak.

This is one of the shelters in the campground, can you believe the view? There was even firewood, neatly stacked by each one. And remember you can always click on any photo for a larger version

The foliage on the peak was stunning and the air was so clear, I took lots of pictures. I really loved these fall leaves against the beautiful blue New Mexico sky.

The pines on the summit were bright and green, nicely crisp and I was particularly taken with hos they shined in the sunlight.

Here's one more shot of the pines, this time with the sun shining through.

On the very top of the mountain, there was a variety of colored rocks and a great assortment of tiny plants. I really liked these tiny red flowers.

A shot of one of the fall leaves, hanging on for dear life.

While hanging around up on the peak, I experimented a bit with different colors in the camera. Most of the pictures didn't come out too well, but I liked the look of this one.

This one was taken as we were descending after a glorious afternoon. The views from this drive were so memorable, I recommend it to anyone who is traveling in the area.

You won't be disappointed, and neither were we.

Can you see now why I always say Life is Good?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Baaack!

What can I say? I guess the reason I don't post more often is that I always want the posts to be perfect, and I never think they're actually ready. So I look at the blog and I have all these posts started but not perfected, then it seems to be so out of date that it doesn't seem timely . . .

But I've just decided to bite the bullet and post anyway.

We spent our time at Manzano, attended the Balloon Fiesta, spent some more time in Albuquerque with friends, then went back to Manzano for a few and are now at the Birdwatchers RV Park, just outside of Bosque del Apache, which is an amazing place.

I have a ton of photos, some of which I'll be posting in no particular order, but for right now, here's just a few.

This is the view out our back window at Birdwatchers RV Park

Bosque del Apache
is this amazing preserve where sandhill cranes, snow geese and LOTS of other birds choose to hang out this time of year. I have to admit that visiting here has given me SERIOUS camera envy. The truth is that I just don't have the type of camera to get the pictures of these incredible birds that I would like.

That said, I'm OK with some of my wide shots. While they're not as sharp as I would like they do give an idea of how wonderful nature can be.

Remember that you can always click on a picture for a larger version.

This shot shows a field covered with snow geese

And here they are taking off . . .

This shot was taken as the sun was setting. If you look really close you can see some cranes in the sky, but they're REALLY small.

And finally, here's a shot of the Very Large Array. Hopefully I'll get it together to post a few more photos in the next couple of days.

As always, our life is really good (and that's quite possibly why I don't post as often as I should, we're having a wonderful time)