Under cloud-filled skies, providing advance notice of pending change, a lone yucca (Dasylirion wheeleri) thrives. Late afternoon light floods the foothills and valleys within the confines of the City of Rocks SP in New Mexico. The “city” is a geologic formation made up of large, sculptured rock columns, or pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets.
EF 70-200mm @ 73mm; f/16 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 800
Awesome image , the light is reminiscent of the one in South East Australia at this time of year.
Thank you, Ismar. The light in New Mexico is SPECTACULAR. When Arthur Pack told Georgia O’Keefe that his area of New Mexico was “the best place in the world” she went there, fell n love with it and subsequently split her time betweenNew York and New Mexico.
Sharp peaks, windswept cliffs, deep gorges—everything about New Mexico’s landscape is dramatic and severe. The light glints off surfaces at surprising angles, and the scenery can change at any bend in the road. The altitude ranges from around 7,000 feet in Santa Fe to more than 13,000 feet at Wheeler, north of Taos. So, if you’re not gasping for breath from the scenery alone, you almost certainly will be from the thin air.
It seems, to those who try to understand New Mexico, that her many edges meet in a most peculiar fashion that gives her climate, landscape, and society their character. It is here that the Rocky Mountains finally end in a chaos of parallel ridges. Here the Great Plains lap at last against the edge of these mountains. And here the Sonoran Desert—spread over an immensity of Mexico—is finally overcome by too much altitude and too many late summer thunderstorms. No other state offers such an abrupt contrast in landscape.
These edge forces shape New Mexico’s climate. It is too far west to get more than a weak fringe of the Gulf Stream air, and too many mountain ranges east to feel the full effects of the Pacific Westerlies, and on the very boundry of those great arctic blizzards which bulge down out of Canada across the nation’s midlands. The net effect of location and altitude is a sort of cancellation—a climate basically dry, mild and dominated by the sun. The thin, dry air moderates the summer’s heat, and almost constant sunlight warms the winters.
These are the very geologic and atmospheric ingredients that have attracted artists and photographers to this land for decades.
Bob – what an insightful and very deeply felt description of the land in question. You are obviously very emotionally connected to it. The way you wrote this reflects the strong link as well as your depth of knowledge which I am sure came after you discovered what New Mexico looks and feels. Were you borne there or ? I too tend to get emotionally attached to a particular geographic area and feel what can only be described as a spiritual connection to it.
There is also a plenty of room for making a nice visual journey through this land which , to the best of my knowledge, does not get the attention it deserves. Not sure if you are familiar with the recent ‘slow TV trend’ but it looks like that a 30 min documentary on this land by the likes of National Geographic or BBC Earth would be a stunning thing to watch especially if they had someone like you to consult where and when to shoot it.
Thank you, Ismar. I was not born in New Mexico. I had never spent any time there before I became a photographer. My first working visit resulted in a book titled Sun, Sand & Silence. It was composed of photos and text which includes the text in my first response, above. I have since visited the state regularly.