Photogenic sites in New Mexico? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

My parents moved to Albuquerque about a year and a half ago, and when I go to visit them the first week of October, 2000, it will be the first opportunity I will have had to really spend time making photographs in NM. I'd like get out and make some LF landscape photos while I'm there, and would appreciate recommendations from anyone familiar with NM for sites and subjects that would be worthwhile, preferably not more than a few hours from Albuquerque. I have been to the Bosque del Apache, and White Sands may be too far. I will be attending the annual balloon festival one day (using only 35mm), but would like to hear other recommendations as well. I'm open to shooting both the well-known and the out-of-the way areas.

Thank you for any recommendations you can provide.


-- Dan Blair (, September 05, 2000


If you like aspens, they should still be good at lower elevations in the Sangres, around Red River and Eagle's Nest. Should be nice color up around Chama, and always nice color in the Mesozoic rocks between Abiqueque (sp?) and Ghost Ranch, northwest of Espanola.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, September 05, 2000.

You can get sites and locations from those who have been there, look at their images and then go to the same old places and shoot the same things others have done. Or, get a New Mexico map & look at place names that sound interesting and go there without looking at others work or finding out if the locations are 'photo favorites'. Use the map & go to these places & shoot your way. Maybe they have been photographed by every famous photographer to ever vixit NM, maybe not. But you will find them and the exploration will help to stimulate your creativity and get better images than you would when going to 'the same old places'. Drive back roads and dirt track and hike up small, un-named canyons and gullies. Go to the overlooks & don't be afraid to get away from the car. We have too many images already of the overphotographed 'same old places' done by those who have seen what has already been done and go to get their version. Just drive and look and find your own version of photo paradise.

-- Dan Smith (, September 05, 2000.

El Morro National Monument, Chaco Canyon, Acoma Pueblo, Gila National Monument.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, September 05, 2000.

Dan: What subjects do you like? B&W? Color? Try Tent Rocks. It's has a narrow canyon and is near the Cochiti Pueblo about 50min. north of Albuquerque. Very accessible and some great photographic subjects in B&W or color. You really can't go wrong anywhere in NM. Let me know where you went and how you liked it. Good luck. Dave

-- David Lewis (, September 05, 2000.

I don't necessarily agree with Dan Smith's comments. If you are relatively new to art or photography or large format, you might do well by re-photographing subjects shot by acknowledged masters. For instance the church at Rancho do Taos as been photographed by all the "brand name" masters each in a different way. No reason on earth not to try it your way or some one else's way just for practice.

Besides, the church is re plastered every year or so and always comes out looking a little different itself.

Some people assimilate and synthesize by imitating. Nothing wrong with that as long as you realize the process.

-- John Hennessy (, September 05, 2000.


-- Tom Raymondson (, September 05, 2000.

Taos, Ranchos de Taos, try the high or the low road from Taos to Santa Fe, Chaco Canyon, Bandelier Nat'l Monument, White Sands Nat'l Monument, Canyon de Chelley, etc.

Stop in and see Dick Sullivan at Bostick and Sullivan, Albuquerque; I'm sure he'll make plenty of recommendations.

-- Chad Jarvis (, September 06, 2000.

You might want to try the petroglyphsto the west of ABQ. The road to the North of ABQ that goes through Cerillos and mAdrid on the way to Santa Fe is also interesting (I don't remember the number). South of ABQ there are some dramatic desert mountain ranges, specifically the Ladrones North of Socorro. If you are willing to go as far south as Socorro you could take 64 to Magadlena and beyond: The plains of Saint Augistine have a very wide open feel which is made surreal by the presence of an array of large radio-telescopes. The Gila has some incredible and little visited spots, but it is worth a separate trip.


-- Dave Leon (, September 06, 2000.

My two cents worth: West of ABQ on the interstate go to Acoma Pueblo. Restrictions on cameras apply; no tripods at all, but the pueblo is neat. North of Santa Fe San Ildefonso, a charming puebo. Taos: Taos Pueblo, the above mentioned church; church at Las Trampas. Also: an alternate project is to photograph contemporary New Mexico in ABQ, Santa Fe, etc. In 30 years or less those contemporary areas will evoke the good ol' days nostalgia that the historcally photgenic areas now evoke. In other words become your own Paul Strand and Ansel Adams a nd photgraph your time. Alex Harris: Red, White and Blue in NM (imprecise title, but Phot caries it give syou idea of what you might try. Enjoy the state. Your parents live in a wonderful area. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (, September 06, 2000.

The real answer: just about every square inch of the state. The suggestion on looking at how New Mexicans of from 10-20 years ago and now have re-interpreted traditional forms for their homes, stores, churches is an excellent one. If you had the time to go past Taos all the way to the Raton Pass and then turned back to New Mexico, you are eyeballing one of the extraordinary landscapes-I would submit-in all the world.

-- David Stein (, September 06, 2000.

Dan, you are going to one of the most photogenic areas of the US. Just get in the car and go North, South, East, or West, it won't be long before you stop and pull out the camera. My suggestions: in Albuquerque, at Old Town after you have photographed the front of the cathedral (like everyone else)go to the rear parking lot of the church where you will find a very large cottonwood tree. Photograph the Madonna that was carved into the trunk about 60 years ago. To the West of Albuquerque: Laguna Pueblo, Acoma Sky City, El Morro National Monument, Petroglyph National Monument, Chaco Canyon. To the Norteast of Albuquerque: take the Old Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe through Madrid an artist community now and very unique. Pecos National Monument, Las Vegas, Fort Union. Drive from Fort Union through Mora over the mountains to Rancho de Taos and try to photograph the rear of the cathedral without the gas meter in your shot. Taos pueblo is nice but get there early it closes at 4:30. If you are planning to visit Ghost Ranch forget it, they usually require a two month advance reservation but the landscape in the surrounding area is worth the drive. A word of caution, if you stop to photograph Camel Rock on the north side a Santa Fe there are two small hills that offer a good view shooting from the west but this summer there were swarms of flying ants that didn't like tourists. As I said earlier, just get in the car and drive, there isn't any bad location in new Mexico. Have fun and good shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, September 07, 2000.

Added to many great places - go SE and see the missions on E side of Manzano Mountains, go NW to include the paved/dirt loop S of interstate past Acoma around to Ventana arch and El Moro. (parts of this may be wilderness since I've been there - lava tube ice caves and cinder cones in area called El Malpais), If time permits, Angel Peak is a nice side trip or overnight campout to combine with entering Chaco Canyon from the north. Enjoy your visit - you'll want more!

-- Jay Piper (, September 16, 2000.

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