Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cottonwoods and Others

Cottonwoods at Aztec Ruins

Aspens get all the credit as far as New Mexico tourism is concerned. But the cottonwoods were grand this year. And they had the extra boost of being along full rivers because of rains. The reflections of the colors doubled their impact.

Reflections on the Rio Grande

The Chama River through Abiquiu

Chama River from Highway Overlook

Just the top of a huge Cottonwood

The wet summer and fall allowed a lot native plants to get into the fall dress up contest. Below is the most glorious salt bush I have ever seen.

Salt Bush

The banks of rivers are host to any number of willows scrub oak, native grasses and other plants which get into the spirit of fall even on a fogging morning on the San Juan River

Waterfall on the San Juan

Above the Hot Springs in Pagosa

Let's hope for a wet winter and summer and a 2015 fall every bit as glorious as this one was.


Old Friends
 I promised a blog on aspens. Or at least my favorite photos of aspens this year. It was a long and beautiful season and then it was over. I took so many photos and this is just a quick pick of my favorites. It must begin with my old friends in the neighborhood who are always featured in my heart.


I record this little grove again and again in all kids of weather and all stages of their transformation from green to red to barren.


Some of my favorite aspen photographs this year where taken in stormy weather. The dark clouds with the sun peaking through made for great contrast. And the dark clouds made their appearance more than once as the leaves turned. And then fell.

And then there was new territory just when I though Aspen colors were gone.

Buckle Lake Road in Colorado

Purple Mountain in gold

And then sometimes it is just a single tree which sums up the fall season.

Putting on a show

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 43 - 2014 in Images

Day 295

Last week was a busy week for the camera and the dry darkroom. The photography trek with Terry Rowe produced over 600 photographs which had to be sorted and processed. Then like a person addicted I grabbed the camera and went to Las Vegas, New Mexico to take more photos. 

The Plaza at Ranchos de Taos and the church of San Francisco de Assi dominates this week's photos, and yet of all the photographs they were the ones taken closest to home. But it is also an area normally dominated by tourists and thus prevents clear and uncluttered access to the perfect angle. And on this particular day it had rained all night and was still misting a bit. The water and wet and clouds added another dimension. 

Day 296

Of the ones I took that morning this is one of my favorites. I love the starkness of the bell tower in black and white. Thank you pigeons for your participation.  And in the photo below I even got one pigeon in flight.

Day 297

The rain added dark streaks to the sides of the adobe walls and highlighted the straw used in the mix. Modern adobes often used stucco for exterior finish because it is more maintenance free. But if you stucco both inside and outside you end up with what is called an eggshell adobe where between the two stucco layers the adobe bricks degrade and crumble. Sometimes mud is just better.

Day 298

Could not resist the picture of hollyhocks against the adobe wall. These seemed to be trying to grow as high as the wall. But the reason we had stopped was to get a photo of the church reflected in puddles. Geraint Smith of Taos had done a very stunning photograph of it recently. We had to stop and give it a try.

San Francisco de Assi of  Ranchos de Taos
Bonus photo for the week

Some weeks you end of with more pictures than you need. And this certainly was one. The folder for week 43 had eight photos in it. I could have shuffled it over to week 44 but that folder is filled too. It has been a fantastic fall season with rich images to record. So a bonus photograph for the week for those who came to read the weekly blog for the 365 Day Photography Challenge.

Day 299
Truck at Ojo Caliente

This week's photo selections seemed to be almost all vertical. Horizontal can be so much more restful for the viewer. And the photographer. You have no idea of some of the contortions you have to get into for a vertical image. With the red truck it was just a matter of where to take the picture from. I wanted the building and the dog and the pumpkins in there too. Sidestepping back and forth while holding the camera up to your eye begins to look like a dance, and feel like an aerobic exercise when you do it in a partial squat.

While taking pictures of buildings from the side walk in front of them means you have to lean backwards and twist for the right angle. Yes, one could cross the street but then you have all the cars in front. Besides where is the exercise in that.

Day 300
Building in Las Vegas, New Mexico

By comparison the below vista of the Chama River in Abiquiu was a piece of cake. Terry and I had just finished lunch and were wrapping up fixings and trash to move on when clouds and light conspired to illuminate the golden cottonwoods on the other side of the river.

Day 301
Along the Chama River

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mag 243 - House Socks

Socks provided by Magpie Tales

House Socks
for those chilly mornings
As fall flows into winter
barefoot mornings

Sunday mornings
with coffee and toast
the New York Times laid out
robe and house socks

Not slippers
those are for company
one always lost
but house socks hand knitted

House socks
for those Sunday mornings in
when only comfort counts
as winter howls

J. Binford-Bell
October 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

There are photographs, and there are photographs

Rock Slide?

Perhaps we all begin with taking the "we-were-there" sort of photos. Or at least those sort of photos are our first exposure to photography whether it was with the Kodak box camera my father gave me or the modern iphone of today. We all seem to want to record where we were and who we were with.

And if the conversation overheard in one of the pools at the Hot Springs was any indication we love to have those photographs or paintings with a mountain, a stream and a blue sky with puffy clouds. I have even been known to take a few myself. I also take detail photographs of architectural elements or rocks, etc to use in paintings. And then there are my "Let's-have-some-fun" shots.

I loved the four rocks above. I know enough geology to deduce how they got on top of this barren ridge of Navajo sandstone but I thought it was fun to tilt it as if they would slide off.

River Rocks
Rocks are one of my favorite things. Anyone want to give me a surprise gift just drop off a truck load of round river rocks. But I admit to taking this picture because of the patterns on the big rock. I think it looks like a cliff face in one of my canyon paintings yet to be painted.

But I also like things people do with rocks. Like the Anasazi at Aztec Ruins. No, the Aztec were never there that we know of. Though there are some indications the Chacoan cultures traded with the Aztecs.


There has to be a painting in the photograph above too. Though it just may end up being a mere detail in a larger work. What, however, gets conjured up in my mind involves a snake slithering through the hole in the back. Hey, us artists are known for strange minds. There is also mentally a woven rug hanging from the cross pole and blowing in a breeze.

Passage Over
No I do not think I am going to paint a bridge from underneath but I love architectural elements, and the new aluminum panels just were very reflective and cool.

Running horse mural
It is probably, for those familiar with my work, pretty obvious as to why I took this picture. And yes in my folders there is a version of it far more representative. I had a debate while sketching out my most recent mustang painting and it was because we read left to right the horses should run that way. These clearly do not. I find it very interesting. Also the landscape dominates this painting where with my horse paintings the horses dominate. I have also toyed with pintos in my horse herds, and rejected them. Next horse painting will have pintos in it.

Clouds in my coffee

I have my painting style and most likely I am sticking with it but I toy at times with a more abstract approach. Photography allows me to do that without spending lots of time and energy and money with paints and a canvas.

On Golden Pond

I admit to a certain enticement to the surrealist movement. I have any number of photography friends looking for the tripod achieved knife edge clarity which would have allowed you to count the scales on the gold fish in this pond. I, on the other hand, toy with the question of how much of a photograph has to be in focus.

Pools over Pools

I think not a lot. As I work myself through the last few days of photographs from my trip there will be the "serious" photos as well as more like this no doubt. Stay in touch with this blog and Binford-Bell Studio as well as Binford's Back Country Photography. Yes, there are some mountains with streams and puffy white clouds and gold aspens.

Week 42 - 2014 in Photographs

Day 288
The last couple days of this week I was off on a photography trek with a friend and only the last photo of this blog is reflective of that. Because I often store photos in folders for the coming week I realize I am way ahead of myself. It is difficult to do this blog about the past week without thinking of the photos I will be posting in the week ahead.

Day 289
Aspens this time of year come in two categories - going, and gone. But gone shows their wonderful structure and often against unsettled skies.

Day 290
You have to love the juxtaposition. And noisy skies make for great black and white compositions.

Day 291

And reflections are best in the waning days of fall whether they are in ponds or puddles or glass.

Day 292
Even distant ponds have their slice of reflection.

Day 293

And you never quite know where you will find that splash of color on the hillside or a building or the end days of flowers.

Day 294

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 41 - 2014 in Images

Day 281
Fall Begins

It is a very colorful time of the year here in New Mexico and my bow to that time is this solitary tree. And one of aspens in reflection below. I am going to do a blog just on the aspens and soon, but this week three of my posts for the 365 day challenge were in black and white. There is a challenge going around on Facebook of posting five days of black and white photos. It got me thinking out of the box. I have even done aspens in black and white and posted on Binford-Bell Studio.

Day 285
Fall Reflections

And then there was this prescribed burn a but out of control across the Taos Volcanic plateau which I captured when I returned from Albuquerque. Burning in the Carson behind a ridge of volcanoes it looked a but like an eruption.

Day 282

The fire added a layer of smoke which sunk into the gorge offering an unique perspective on this landmark. Even though I posted this later in the week I am posting it here because the pictures were taken in the same few minutes. Stopped for the dramatic smoke photo but remembered to turn a complete circle and found this beautiful photographic opportunity.

I have photographed this land mark a lot and never been totally satisfied and the haze would have been the perfect excuse to not take the time.

Day 286
The Gorge

I have taken and posted lots of hollyhock pictures this year. They and poppies are my favorite flowers and they all performed well this year. This delicate pink hollyhock with the rain drops in the early morning was a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time.

Day 283
Hollyhock after the Rain

The two remaining posts were returns to Cold Creek and a look at the two falls in black and white. In color these two features were very busy. The black and white treatment brings out the textures better on the big fall below.

Day 284
Big Falls on Clear Creek

Not as happy with the result of black and white on the little falls except that it defines the depth better, and makes you want to look further into the image.

Day 287
Little Falls on Clear Creek

Sunday, October 12, 2014

First Selfie - Magpie 241

Vivian Maier - Self Portrait

Decades before
Photography 101 at UNM
Exercise two
Take a self portrait
to illustrate who you are.

Dad's old Rolex
survivor of WWII
Take one
Black and white film
to be developed and printed.

Hand held flash
Newest thing from Kodak 
Six Jacqui's
Receding in mirrors
all with the same serious expression.

Jacqui Binford-Bell
October 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Magpie 240 - Fleeing

Image by Tom Chambers and provided by The Mag

Not this place
this beautiful place
but him
this time here
with him.

away from him
he had become
with their time

who they were
in the sandstone
a couple
the blood red cliffs.

J. Binford-Bell
October 2014