Pentimento. Well, not quite. But, it’s close. Pentimento is a technique used on a work of art in which the artist changes his or her mind and is said to repent. Sometime he erases or washes an entire piece of art revealing a painting or drawing underneath. In this case, I found some graffiti that had been stripped away to reveal more graffiti on the wall behind it. This forms its own kind of art. Most likely, this graffiti art was created by to competing taggers. over a short period of time. My role in all of this was to reveal the image in my own way.
If you drive to Las Lunas, you eventually come to the Isleta Indian Reservation. While you cannot photograph the reservation without permission from the tribal elders — something that is extremely hard to get — you can photograph the churches and missions on Indian land with the church’s permission. That’s much easier to obtain. Just ask. So, I asked and I was allowed to photograph this particular church from inside and outside. The image is a little folk sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which a 16th Century icon of the Virgin Mary. She is still a special cultural icon to people of Mexican descent as well as Native Americans. Her feast day is 12 December. There is a lot more to be known about her, but that’s a story for another day. One thing that I can say, is that as I photograph the churches of New Mexico I’ve discovered that there is no shortage of paintings, sculptures, carvings and retablos of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Many artists talk about the wonderful and amazing light found in New Mexico. But, that’s not all. The skies and the clouds are often pretty wonderful too. Since there is rarely any humidity — we are, after all, high desert — the skies are generally clean and blue. When clouds do roll in, especially in late spring and early summer, the are well defined and dramatic. Clouds, by themselves, are not always a good picture. But, if you can compose the picture so there is some kind of contrasting element in it, the clouds just seem to sing. In this case, I contrasted the steeple of St. Phillip Neri, the ancient church in Albuquerque’s Old Town with the clouds as nature made them.
It’s 1 June, which means I edit my Picture A Day take for the past month. It was a pretty good month from the looks of my final selects. That’s saying something since my shooting has been a little restricted. But, I reckon that if I shoot every day, something good will eventually make an appearance. Besides, the discipline of actually going out and making pictures every day, whether I want to or not, is good for me. As I’ve said in the past, it’s amazing how quickly a “shooters block” disappears when you walk outside of your door and have a look around. This picture was made on I-40 just entering Albuquerque. Yes, I shot through the window of my car while driving about 70 mph. I never learn.
It’s Sunday. And, if it’s Sunday that means I’m testing new imagery software. This is something called Topaz. It does a lot of the actions that I would normally do by hand. It sharpens slightly, It saturates (or de-saturates) color, it enhances the over all image. It’s a Photoshop plug-in and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
The scene is one of the wet markets in Hong Kong. This one happens to be in Central and you can see it from the “travelator” which used to be called the world’s longest escalator. This picture was made at dusk with only the vendor’s lighting as a main light and a little bit of overflow from the ambient light in the street.
As late spring turns into summer in New Mexico, the local farmers markets begin to open. Generally each of them only opens on one day of the week. You can buy local farm produce of all kinds — tomatoes, chilies, peaches, strawberries and even blueberries can be found at the various markets. One of my favorite markets is the one found in Los Ranchos near the Rio Grande River. It’s open on Saturday Morning. It’s located in a part of regional Albuquerque that feels like I want New Mexico to feel. During the summer months you have to get there early since it closes by noon because of the heat. Getting there early assures you of the pick of the crops for that weekend.
The Indian Market comes to Santa Fe in July. No, no, no… you are not buying Indians. You are buying Indian art, like these sterling silver squash blossom button covers. These particular pieces of art were photographed on an artist who was also wearing a red velvet shirt. It’s an interesting event and some 40,000 people visit per day. It pretty much takes up all of the central area of the city including the Plaza and many side streets. Of course, there is nowhere to park. But, the even is well worth the time to look around and visit with the artists and craftsmen who come from all over the Southwest and the rest of the country. There are many of great photographic possibilities as well as plenty of opportunities to buy far more stuff then you need.
I have a little assignment to shoot the churches of New Mexico. Luckily, from a cultural standpoint, this interests me a lot. New Mexico, because its history is a very Catholic place. Seems, that I keep picking places that have that. New Orleans was the same way. Good think that I’m Catholic. Well, sorta… To me, there is a certain beauty in ancient churches.
New Mexico’s spring weather has finally gotten back to something that seems normal. After a few weeks of very unseasonable highs, we had four days of clouds and rain. Then came a “cooling down” period — as the weather guy says. The minute that happens, it seems that we start getting a lot of early morning balloon flights because the wind pattern called “the box” is reconstructed. The box is cooler air that flows downward into the valleys and near the Rio Grande. It occurs in the morning. It is quieter air. And, it is very good for balloonists. It is also one of the reasons that the International Balloon Fiesta is held here in the fall. Not only is it good for balloonists, but it is good for photographers who want to make pictures of ascending and floating balloons. I’m one of them. Balloons make me smile.