Albuquerque, Gallup & Sante Fe this weekend : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Last minute, limited time trip to the Albuquerque, Sante Fe and Gallup vicinities. Any advice on where I should concentrate to get the most out of my time and not be wandering aimlessly! What should I leave until I have more time and what should I look for and spend time shooting this coming weekend?


John Bailey

-- John Bailey (, June 11, 2001


Hi. I'm an Albuquerque resident and amateur LF photograper. I don't do much landscape, but I know this area real well (been here since '75). One thing to keep in mind is that it's real hot and dry here now. There are a lot of things I could point you toward but kind of need a better sense of what you're after. Why don't you send me an email? I'll respond and not put everybody else to sleep. -jeff buckels

-- Jeff Buckels (, June 11, 2001.

One piece of worthwhile advise. Don't try to "sneak" a picture of the native Americans. In Santa Fe they will turn away before you can click the shutter, and in Gallop you may find yourself accidentally knocked into the street with your broken camera. Respect their dignity, and ask first.

-- Bill (, June 11, 2001.

A couple of years ago I found some nice architectural details to photograph in Santa Fe, in and around the Plaza, early before the crowds. Nuthin' much in Albuquerque, but I probably just didn't know where to look.

-- Tom Raymondson (, June 12, 2001.

Chaco canyon, northeast of Gallup is a great place to get good photos. It should be on your map.

-- Ron Shaw (, June 12, 2001.

With apologies to Jeff, I didn't find Albuquerque to be a very interesting city from a photographic standpoint in the few days I spent there. Perhaps I just didn't know the places to go, and living there Jeff undoubtedly knows a lot more than I do, but FWIW (and subject to what Jeff or someone else better informed than I am might tell you) I'd skip Albuquerque and concentrate on the other two.

-- Brian Ellis (, June 12, 2001.

John, first off, when you arrive in Abq. have at least one meal at the Frontier on Central across from UNM. Good "la college grub". Try the Bisti badlands on, get this, route 666. take I40 west to 666 then north, you'll see it when you get to it. It is an amazing place. From there head to Shiprock at Farmington, then hit Canyon de Chelly just over in AZ. I also love the Ghost Ranch area. You won't find Ghost Ranch but there are some back roads to take you to Rio Chama. It's a good place to camp and explore for a couple of days. Have a great time!


ps. much of what I have told you about is on Navajo land to be aware and don't trespass. Don't ignore signs and bring lots

-- Echard Wheeler (, June 12, 2001.

The Frontier Restaurant?!! Egaaads. Of all the places you could eat in ABQ, and you're actually recommending the Frontier? The only thing that's worth the time is the giant cinnamon role - and that's a cholesterol/heartburn fest. How about B's 2 on Zuni two blocks west of Wyoming for a real down home New Mexican meal. Or, El Norteno on Zuni two blocks east of San Pedro for real Mexican food? All within about 2-1/2 miles of the Frontier or (Frontire depending upon you culinary tastes). If you head east (towards the mountains) on Central, Zuni is parallel to Central and you're also headed towards Cedar Crest (information following). Central will ultimately meet I- 40 east at Tramway (about 5 miles from either restaurant).

Nothing to photograph in ABQ? It's certainly not "scenic" like Santa Fe, but there is the entire West Mesa, and with a good 4WD you can get lost out there for hours poking around.

If you want to go to Santa Fe - don't go up I-25. Go east on I-40 and get off at the Cedar Crest exit. Go up north 14 - much better, and you actually might find photos along the way. As far as Indian reservations, the Navajos are the nicest about not really caring if you drive around on the rez. Most all other reservations are posted - and they mean business.

I always like the back road to Farmington this time of year. North out of Santa Fe to Tierra Amarilla, then to Chama, then across New Mexico 64 to Farmington (stay overnight). At that point you could turn south on NM 44 and go to Chaco Canyon (you can turn at either Blanco Trading Post, or save your vehicle and turn further south down NM44 at Nageezi.

South out of the Park will take you to Crown Point where you can either turn and go to Gallup or go south to I-40 and turn back towards ABQ. At Grants you could go tour Mt. Taylor. Has some good gravel roads that take you around the back side of the mountain. On the way out to Mt. Taylor you go past uranium mines, tailing piles etc. Nuclear energy for everyone!

Too much to do - how much time do you have??

-- steve (, June 12, 2001.


Before I start Questioning my techniques and getting all depressed because I'm not doing it(photography) the "Right Way"!! Please tell me that "Wandering Aimlessly" is not in the big list of things you should NOT do in LF..... If it is, I'm screwed because it seems my best exposures(for Pleasure) have taken place during major bouts of "wandering aimlessly", especially in the three towns you have mentioned. My advice, Start VERY early and Finish VERY late and in between take Steve's advice on the chow!!!

Good Luck,


-- R.(Mac) McDonald (, June 12, 2001.

Wandering aimlessly is exactly the point. That's how to turn a ride into a photo adventure. Remember the rules:

1. There are no rules.

2. Ignore rule No.1.

3. Modify the plan.

Freestyle's the best. Too many side roads, little towns, things that need to be seen. Heck, I'd get off of NM84 on my way to Tierra Amarilla and take NM96 through Coyote and then NM112 to Lindrith just to see if anything's changed or looks different.

THEN on to Tierra Amarilla - and who knows, maybe the Great Sand Dunes, heck they're just up the road about 1.5 hours at that point. Over 17 to Antonito, and then if you know how to do it north out of Antonito to CO147 and across to San Luis, then up to Fort Garland and the Dunes. After that??? West past the alligator farm to Mosca and then to Alamosa over Wolf Creek Pass overnight in Durango ...whew.. then down to Farmington --- or over to Mesa Verde and THEN down to Shiprock? Back to Farmington. Take NM371 through Bisti to Thoreau then back to ABQ? Or....

-- steve (, June 12, 2001.

I cant for the life of me understand why someone would NOT want to wander aimlessly. I've wandered aimlessly for 2 months in the SW. 2 Years ago I wandered aimlessly for 39 days in the NW. This year I'm going to wander again.

What was rule 1 again? Having a sense of direction is nice if you're a compass.

-- Wayne (, June 13, 2001.

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