Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog en-us (C) Daryl A. Black (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Mon, 13 May 2024 01:39:00 GMT Mon, 13 May 2024 01:39:00 GMT Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog 112 120 woven into a day When I awoke this morning, something was missing.  For the first time in two weeks, not one leaf on the aspen trees outside our bedroom window was moving.  The wind has been so consistent that the quiet - just for a moment - was odd.  But what a welcome change!  We managed to walk every day except one, and when we saw people on the street in the area, the responses ranged from "I'm going home.  The wind is too crazy", to "I am getting just a little tired of the wind."  Wind makes everything more difficult, but we still consider ourselves lucky.  I think about how amazing it is that the birds can survive.  And the men who were building a house near us had their hands full, applying tar paper and mesh before stucco, hoping it wouldn't take flight after they departed for the day.  But wind is part of nature and it does churn the water in lakes, bringing sediment to the surface, and keeping them healthy.   So we adapted, doing things like walking and watering in the early morning hours, and the remainders of the days were excellent for hunkering down.  For me, that meant doing photography when possible, and developing and organizing when the wind was in its howling mode.  Fred was weaving.  Part of the photography work this week was of his latest rug.  It was woven into the day.  But I thought I would feature some of his work since he completed Rug 400.     



Rug 401

Navajo Chiefs Blanket motif, with hand-dyed cochineal and indigo wool from Rainbow Fiber Coop, natural white from iii dog farm, and natural dark grey from Tierra Wools

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Detail, Rug 401

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Rug 402

made of 100% Navajo-Churro wool, cochineal from Rainbow Fiber Coop, as well as natural dark and light grey, and dyed Tierra Amarilla from Tierra Wools 

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Rug 403

100% Navajo-Churro Wool from Tierra Wools.  The top and bottom panels of the rug are comprised of six different dye lots of Chile Colorado, while the center panel is natural light and dark grey.  The three panels are separated by Tierra Amarilla.  This rug is listed in the New Mexico True Summer Gift Guide.

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Rug 405

It is made of 100% Navajo-Churro wool from the Rainbow Fiber Coop, with a field of natural dark grey, punctuated by cochineal motifs sometimes called Chinle Stars.   

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Rug 405, under construction  

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Thanks to Barbara F. R., TTT, Tim, Jean & Sam, Steve, Catherine S., Rebecca A., and Ingrid for commenting on last week's blog.  

I hope some of you were able to photograph the northern lights courtesy of solar flares this weekend, and that the coming week is a more gentle transition into late spring and early summer.

until next Monday,


 a passion for the image©  

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Big Sage Artisans Black Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Fred iiidogfarm Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography Rainbow Fiber Coop Tierra Wools weaving Mon, 13 May 2024 01:38:37 GMT
spurred on "The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin "Aquila" or "eagle"; this is in obvious reference to the spurred, "hook" shapes within the blooms, that many gardeners say resemble an eagle's talons."  I have to ponder that one, from the good folks at Wikipedia.  But the spurs of all columbine flowers are definitely distinctive, and make identifying the Colorado state flower along with other varieties much easier.   The particular columbine I spent the week photographing - Origami Red and White - is most likely a hybrid of Aquilegia vulgaris, the European variety.  The Origami Red and White is a semi-dwarf variety, the flowers of which are large in relation to the plant and really pack a photographic punch.  The image below shows the cup with the yellow stamens inside.  There can be as many as fifty of these per flowers, and are quite apparent to hummingbirds as well as pollinating insects.        

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As is always the case when I have camera in hand, my goal is to shoot from as many angles as possible.  The technique also enables me to view the spurs, which give the columbine a bit of an alien look.  In all the images below, you can clearly see the spurs.  What appears to be a glistening ball or blob on the end of each spur actually secretes nectar.  

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Thanks to Victoria, Christina, Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Marilyn G., Steve, Charleen, and Carolyn S. for commenting this week!

I hope you are all "spurred on" to photograph your own world during the week ahead.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Aquilegia Blacks Crossing Photography Columbine Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography Sun, 05 May 2024 23:08:23 GMT
more spring abundance Despite the temperature roller coaster ride in northern New Mexico this week, nature continues to surprise and amaze.  Nearly everyone I see while walking comments about how beautiful the trees and flowers look this year, some giving advice on where to look for particularly outstanding blooms.  It had to be, then, that at least one more blog would feature this spring abundance.  This time, with members of the lily or Liliaceae family, since all tulips are members of that botanical family.  As much as I tried, and spent plenty of time trying to identify the tulips I photographed this week, I only found one confirmed name.  But does it matter when they are showing off so brilliantly?  Like the plain yellow tulip - so complex and so stunning.  Even the bud is more than worth photographing.

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It doesn't take long for the buds to open, revealing all.  

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A little shadow play in the nearly unfurled bud.

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Here is another specimen I had never seen before this year.  Again, I thought I had come close to a name but, alas did not.  We'll just have to settle on its looks!

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I found this tulip in a local cemetery.  Again, clueless as to the specific name.  

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Last but not least, some different photographs of the one tulip I think I identified. It is a species tulip Tulip clusiana.  I am grateful to Tami for planting it!

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Many of you know that I collection quotations.  I have an overflowing binder and another folder packed with them, in addition to Barlett's Familiar Quotations.  I just felt that the words below written by Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert was more than appropriate for spring and these times in which we are living.  He wrote it on the 2nd of May in 2009

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try."


Thanks to Jim and Louise, Victoria, M. Fred, Barbara F. R., Marilyn G., Catherine S., Minna, Steve, Ingrid, Ann, and Pater for your comments this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers Liliaceae family nature New Mexico photography tulip clusiana tulips Mon, 29 Apr 2024 04:16:40 GMT
an abundance of spring Many mornings last week, before the wind began its daily grind, I stood beneath ornamental apple, pear, plum, and peach trees, staring in awe at their blossoms, and inhaling one of the finest fragrances nature has to offer.  The hum of hundreds of bees made it absolutely mesmerizing.  It was as if I had been transported to an extraordinary place.  Needless to say, today's blog is image-heavy, and that is fine.    

I actually cannot recall the last time I saw a peach tree in bloom.  But a text from a friend last week asking if I would like to photograph her peach tree sent me into action.  What a display of varying shades of fuchsia!

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Although I had been shooting multiple photographs of crab apple blossoms as well as pear blossoms throughout the week, it wasn't until I really looked at this bud along with the flat open characteristics of the fully revealed peach flowers that something hit me.  They were a bit like some of the Austrian copper roses growing in older areas of Santa Fe.  The reason is because many fruit trees belong to the Rosaceae or rose family.  The family includes apples, peaches, pears, plums, almonds, and apricots, along with numerous others.  The family contains 2,500+ species.  The peach bud below was a beauty.

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Our neighbor, Carol's, pear tree, on the other hand, was a puzzle.  No one seemed to know what it was.  I spent hours over several days searching its characteristics on the internet and in numerous plant books without luck.  The closest I could come was either an ornamental pear tree or a crabapple.  The puzzlement was the fact that many ornamental pears were described as having blossoms that smelled like fish.  Her tree was just the opposite and had the most delightful smell for weeks.  Thankfully, another neighbor took a small sample to a local nursery where the person identified it.  

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Masses of white blossoms, the petals of which fall like snow flakes, created a beauty of their own.

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Then there were the crabapple trees.  Since their bloom period is what I would call time-sensitive, I never tire of trying to capture them in slightly different ways to show them to the world.  At the risk of boring you, below is a small collection.

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Whether in sun, shadow, or silhouette, the clusters of flowers - near or from a distance - are a pleasure, and also offer some surprises.

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Finally, just to demonstrate that the flowers are not always the prize, this flowering plum has a trunk that was definitely influenced by the predominant winds out of the southwest.

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Thanks to Barbara for texting a photo of her peach tree and asking if I wanted to photograph it.  I am also grateful to Charleen, Ingrid, Terry T., Jean & Sam, Kay, Catherine, Steve, Rebecca, Marilyn G., Paule, Robert, and TTT for writing this week and for hanging hummingbird feeders.  May all of you be graced with blossoms and birds of many colors in the coming days.   

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) apples blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico peaches pears photography plums rose family spring still life Sun, 21 Apr 2024 16:54:14 GMT
deadlines and arrivals In the United States, 15 April is traditionally the deadline for submitting one's income tax forms/payments to the government.  Oddly enough, it also has become the near-official arrival date of hummingbirds in northern New Mexico.  And while living in Taos County, we began looking for these amazing creatures at the beginning of April, hanging a feeder even as temperatures dipped well below freezing, in which case, we would bring the feeder into the garage.  The first type of hummingbird to arrive was the broad-tailed hummer.  We knew because the male "scouts" arrive first, their wings making what is described as a metallic or cricket-like trill.  It is unlike anything else in nature, and when you hear it, you will know. However, considering the thousands of photographs I took while living there, I have none of the broad-tailed hummingbird with its fuchsia-colored throat.  

The black-chinned hummingbird is the next to arrive in the northern part of the state.  Even if they have to remain in stasis during a spring snow storm, as were the ones shown below.  They were just starting to awaken.  I took advantage of the situation to shoot some images.

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In flight, as all hummingbirds are, they are mind-boggling machines.  According to, New Mexico has broad-tailed and black-chinned currently in residence short of an Anna's and two rufous sightings near Las Cruces.  They winter in the Seattle area, so it is no surprise they are not residents in New Mexico.  From Houston to Chicago and Florida to New York, the entire map is covered with Anna's hummingbird sightings.  No photographs of those either but the black-chinned keep us company.    

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The great majority of photographs I shot over 20 summers were rufous.  They usually arrived in July, creating chaos at the four one-quart bird feeders we hung every year.  It made the aerial circus that much more interesting.  

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There is a reason they are called rufous which means reddish-brown in color, but sometimes the males are day-glow orange, as is the dude below.

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Looking at the map in Hummingbird Central, it appears there are hummers almost everywhere in the United States right now, so I hope you see or hear one speeding by in your neighborhood soon.  Many in the world have never seen one, and when they do for the first time, the fascination is endless.  May it be that way for you upon seeing the first one of the season!

Thanks for Louise, Tim, Jean & Sam, Carol M., Lawrence, Barbara F. R., Victoria, Steve, and Tomas for commenting on last week's blog.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black-chinned hummingbirds Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black hummingbirds nature New Mexico photography rufous hummingbirds Mon, 15 Apr 2024 01:11:50 GMT
little things Spring in New Mexico is unfurling at a faster pace each day.  The recent frost in parts of northern New Mexico was not deep enough to damage too much in the way of flowering tree blossoms, thankfully and ironically, due to the spring winds.  Anything that could take flight this week did, including a piece of pink day-glow plastic tape that may be a permanent fixture in the Russian olive tree in the open space near us.  Unless, that is, a raven finds it a fascinating piece of interior decoration for its nest.  Adding to the excitement of spring is the solar eclipse, beginning at 10:06 PDT, 11:06 MDT, 12:06 CDT, and 1:06 EDT.  The path of totality of that eclipse is across many of America's major cities, effecting many more than last year's annular eclipse that we in New Mexico witnessed last October.  People gathering in places in its path easily represents the biggest collective party of the year.

But it was little things in the garden that caught my attention.  When winds were light, I headed out with my camera to take advantage of the calm.  The Daffodil 'Tazetta Minnow' are sweet little things measuring barely an inch in circumference, and were among the first garden blooms this year.

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Then there are the Ornithogalum dubium or Star of Bethlehem.  Part of the asparagus family and like the asparagus, they produce nice stalks of flowers.  

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Last but definitely not least, here is a Vinca bloom just awaiting its closeup in the detritus next to a water catchment container hose bib.



My thanks for Christina W., Tim, Suz, Veronica, Barbara F. R., Kay, Jean & Sam, Lisa, Peggy, Catherine, Steve, Paule, and Robert for writing this week, to Cristina for providing some of the subject matter, and to all of you for reading and following my sometimes wildly diverse subject matter!

May the world never cease to amaze you.  Happy Eclipsing!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daffodil Tazetta Minnow Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico Ornithogalulm photography Star of Bethlehem Vinca Mon, 08 Apr 2024 15:26:06 GMT
product photography challenge Happy April Fool's Day!

This week's blog began because I needed a watch.  I have always loved watches and when Fred suggested he buy me a watch for my birthday, I hemmed and hawed for a minute or two and went to the computer to search for watches made in America by American small businesses.  There were more small businesses than I expected and an astounding number of watches.  Dive watches, aviators watches, dress watches.  Reasonably priced to extremely expensive.  And I wasn't even looking for a digital time piece or smart watch.  Going through the lists of "best American-made watches", I was finding the same companies featured.  Many of the watches seem to be made for men or those with larger wrists.  When I stumbled upon The Waterloo watch at DuFrane Watches, I did wonder if it would simply be too big.  So my next step was to send an email to the owner and watch designer Steven Lee with a wrist measurement.  He responded very quickly with photographs and measurements of the watch and strap.  In my mind, that was a really good sign.  After several more questions answered almost immediately, I placed the order, despite the name Waterloo and Napoleon's defeat.  Why name a watch Waterloo?  As it turns out, Waterloo is the short-lived, original name for what is now Austin, Texas, and apparently, many businesses carry the name.  From Waterloo Sparkling Water Company and Waterloo Records, to the Waterloo Ice House, usage of it is very common.

Looking at the great product photography on the DuFrane website, it was truly crazy for me to think I could equal that, which I absolutely did not. But since I had told Mr. Lee I would send him some images, I spent a good chunk of time working on that evasive image.  It was an excellent photographic challenge, in which soft but balance light is the key.  The first image comes close, with natural brown Navajo-churro wool from Cedar Mesa Ranch in Dolores, Colorado.

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The afternoon light in the image below is much too harsh, lending a more dramatic look, rather than soft.  On some level, it works.

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Then there are the images of me wearing the watch.  My skin is of a certain age that lends mostly freckles and spots rather than smoothness.  Makes the rocks a perfect backdrop.  Fred shot these images. 

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Since I started with a shot of the watch on wool, it just seem appropriate to include one my very multi-colored hair and the watch.

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The light on the watch and rug is balanced enough to bring out the best in the watch.  This is Fred's latest rug, 403.

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My thanks to Barbara F. R., Ingrid, Jean & Sam, Victoria, Terry T., Char, Kay, Marilyn G., Catherine, Sara, TTT, Steve, Pauli, and Rebecca A. for commenting this week, to Carol, Pater, and Fred for encouraging me to use this as a blog subject, and to Steven Lee and Fred for providing the watch and backdrops.  

Spring has definitely arrived in New Mexico as well as many other places in the northern hemisphere, and my hope is that all of you embrace it and its many joys in the coming weeks!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) American made Big Sage Artisans Blacks Crossing Photography Cedar Mesa Ranch Daryl A. Black DuFrane Watches Fred Black New Mexico photography product photography Steven Lee watches Mon, 01 Apr 2024 01:18:26 GMT
of blossoms and bees Taking a break from rendering the photographs I had shot of the first daffodil of the season, I walked to the window and, to my surprise, noticed that several apricot trees were in bloom.  It seemed a little early, and although there were flowering fruit trees in bloom at the Santa Fe Railyard Park, I had not seen any in the neighborhood.  That exciting occurrence sent me out the door with camera in hand to capture the first blossoms of the season on the two apricot trees in the neighborhood open space.  The two trees seem very happy and natural, since not much in the way of pruning or maintenance has been done on the branches, leaving them in gnarly glory.  I was ducking inside and out the branches, squatting down and also giving myself as much height as I could to capture the white blossoms and still encased buds.  

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Suddenly, flying insects were showing up on the camera monitor.  A closer look indicated that honey bees were already in residence, primed for pollen procurement.  It seemed early for the bees as well, but this was due to my lack of observation.  Oh, they had been here alright.  I just hadn't noticed.  The hairs on these bees appear as if a fine barber had given them a buzz cut on top, while the end of their abdomens are shiny black.  The wings are beautifully delineated, with sections that almost look like stained glass.   

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Thanks to Ingrid, Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Cristina W., Lisa S., Pauli, and Steve for checking in and commenting last week.  

With luck, each of you will be able to make some exciting and interesting discoveries while out with your smart phones and cameras this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) apricot blossoms bees Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers honey bees nature New Mexico photography Sun, 24 Mar 2024 20:08:07 GMT
a bit of the green Given that St. Patrick's Day celebrations have been going on all weekend, Major League Baseball games begin mid-week in Seoul, South Korea, spring breakers are headed in hordes to warmer and greener parts of the country, and the vernal or spring equinox is Tuesday, 19 March this year, it only seemed appropriate to show some green in this week's blog.  In elevations over 7,000 feet, spring is slower in coming, but bulbs are poking through the soil, despite what photographer extraordinaire Steve Immel eluded to last week, "when hasn't it snowed in March and April?"  Which is, of course, what it did this weekend.  Regardless, it is so interesting to me that the shoots of some bulbs go straight up through the soil and snow, while on others, the foliage that appears unfurls in almost otherworldly ways.  All bulbs look like lumps or mud balls, and yet, after they are placed into the ground, coming up when the time is right, they produce such stunning leaves and flowers.  That is the case with the tulip bulb. Tulip foliage is definitely photogenic.  The whirls and twists and leaves creating bowls give no hint as to the ultimate character of the bloom that awaits.

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I hope that however you celebrate spring, your cameras and phones go with you to capture incredible shots - from northern lights in Finland to baseball around the world, and pickleball in Arizona and Mexico!

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Ann A., Jean & Sam, Carol and Larry M., Marilyn G., Debbie S., Lluvia, Victoria, Peggy, Steve, Char, & Brenda for commenting last week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography bulbs Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography tulip bulbs Mon, 18 Mar 2024 01:07:35 GMT
signs of spring Signs of spring are everywhere in this second week of March.  The amount of daylight is becoming longer at an ever increasing rate as the Vernal Equinox - this year on 19 March - approaches.  Although there are no flowers in evidence just yet, in the early morning hours, a trip out the door ushers in a chorus of glorious noise from the bushes and trees.  The birds are keenly aware that the season is upon us.  Assorted finches, juncos, bluebirds, solitaires, sparrows, jays, crows, canyon and rufous sided towhees, and ravens are vying for attention.  But the robins in massive numbers are the most evident.  In addition to assorted chirps and other sounds, there are several songs they sing.  Set aside the fact that some of those probably mean, "Hey, this is my territory" or "I saw her first".  Whatever the reason, they are speed dating and making preparations to nest.  And the warmer temperatures lure them to assorted water dishes to bathe.  It seems there is nothing robins like more than bathing.   Note the lone solitaire on the rock, waiting for the basin to clear.




Depending on the dish size, several can bathe together while others drink.  Note the juncos hanging around the side of the dish in the upper third and lower half of this photograph.  They particularly like to slurp water off plants and other objects as the drops fall.




This robin required a private bath.


So as many of you plan or begin spring travel, I hope that your cameras and phones will accompany you to document the season.

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Robert, Tim, Jean & Sam, Kay C., TTT, Marilyn G., Steve, and Rebecca for writing this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black juncos nature New Mexico photography robins solitaires spring wildlife Mon, 11 Mar 2024 15:24:17 GMT
walls talking Since the beginning of our existence on Planet Earth, humans have sought and developed the shelter they needed to stay alive and store necessities for that same purpose. The structures vary in construction, but most have one thing in common - walls.  Whether they are solid or flexible, walls provide safety from the elements and predators.  When Homo Sapiens had enough time and resources to embellish their surroundings, they did so. Perhaps it was a need to view something interesting on the inside of the walls, but decoration on both the interior and exterior came fairly early in our history.  It is not surprising that homes and buildings around the world have differing styles, types, and colors of finishes.  In every city, even one with fewer than 100,000 people, which is considered a "small" city like Santa Fe, the variety of walls and finishes is huge.  During the years of living in Santa Fe, I have heard people say something to the effect of "everything looks the same.  All seem to be the brown mud look.  How boring."  I beg to differ.

Walking through the Railyard and downtown areas, there is a wide variety of architectural adornment.  For example, the new dormitory at the New Mexico School for the Arts in the Railyard area has a combination of territorial style and art deco brick/tile parapets.  Generally, one or two layers of bricks are laid vertically, creating a sharp edging.  The Palace of the Governors and the Bataan Building are two examples of this style. But the School for the Arts has added two horizontal layers, giving the traditional design just a bit of an art deco look. 

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This multi-layered parapet treatment with red tile graduating into a double stacked territorial, is followed by connected diamonds, and finished with angled uprights on the face of the building at 271 West San Francisco, near the Lensic Theater.

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The shadow play of the architectural elements in the former Yoberri space, which now houses Henry and the Fish, definitely make the walls talk.

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The Lensic Theater, which is featured in the mosaic below created by youth artists from Fine Arts for Children and Teens (FACT) in 2003, reflects the pseudo-Moorish, Spanish Renaissance character of the building exterior.   The Lensic itself deserves a separate photo shoot and blog.   

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Demonstrating the fact that Santa Fe still carries some funk is Evaneglo's Cocktail Lounge "Santa Fe's favorite hangout and live music destination"near the Santa Fe Plaza on the corner of San Francisco and Galiseto.  Talk to anyone who has lived in Santa Fe since it was established in 1971 and, and I guarantee those walls will talk.

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On the corner of Palace and Cathedral stands the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.  The Federal Building which was built between 1920 and 1922, and originally was the post office (along with other government offices), was renovated between 1990 and 1992 to house the museum. Like a number of the buildings in downtown, it was built of brick and reinforced concrete, and "the architects modeled the facade after the portico of Palace of the Governors and its central pavilion after the auditorium of Museum of Fine Arts."  (SAH Archipedia). The painting on the east side is the "graffiti inspired work of Yakita Starr Fields".

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native ArtsIAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Finally, the Allan Houser Art Park on the west side of the museum, currently features a mural by Ehren Lee Natay (Kewa Pueblo-Dine').

Architecture - Santa Fe - IAIA gate and muralArchitecture - Santa Fe - IAIA gate and mural


Thank you for going on this tour of Santa Fe with me.  And thanks to Marilyn G., Catherine, Steve, TTT, Barbara F. R., and Jean & Sam for your comments last week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) allan houser art park architectural embellishments architecture blacks crossing photography daryl a. black ehren lee natay institute of american indian arts museum of contemporary native arts mosaics new mexico parapets photography santa fe Sun, 03 Mar 2024 22:21:51 GMT
new reflecting old Since the first railroad train pulled into the city of Santa Fe in February of 1880, change and development and how to deal with them have been major issues for the City Different.  They are for any city.  But because Santa Fe was originally built and connected by wagon and burro trails, fairly narrow in scope, winding down to the river and up into the hills, neat and tidy development is complicated.  It is not flat, so a grid system, such as that in Albuquerque where north to south and east to west streets dominate, is impossible.   The native landscape stretched and shaped the city in interesting ways.   And when construction is proposed, archaeological digs are frequently part of the planning and construction process. Renovation of the greater Railyard area was a long time coming, and is still ongoing.  But a recent exploration of the downtown or historic area of Santa Fe told us, once again, why we loved the place at first blush in the 70s, and why we still do.

I had actually been to both Lamy and Santa Fe on the train during my time as a Girl Scout.  It was a day-long, wonderful outing of which I have great memories.  The fact that the railroad spur line ended up in this place is a story unto itself, but the area known as The Railyard continues to change.  Thankfully, one of the original concepts for the area proposed by the Catellus Development Corporation, formed by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company, which called for the leveling of most of the buildings and removal of the train tracks, was rejected by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Commission and the City Council.  It also would have allowed buildings up to six stories high to be built, when heretofore the Eldorado Hotel was the tallest building. Its abrupt three story edifice in itself raised quite a stink.  I remember the years - decades actually - of wrangling and plans.  One thing about Santa Fe, for which I am eternally grateful, is that when it comes to the historic downtown area, things take time.  That is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to large development. Redevelopment of some of the surrounding areas, including the Baca Railyard, were completed first.  And, in the end, the Railyard still houses trains, including the Rail Runner that serves as transportation between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  

A concise piece and video about the history of the area is contained in the link below.



The Sky Railway Adventure Train offers rides with meals and entertainment.

Santa Fe Sky Railway engine 2/2024Santa Fe Sky Railway engine 2/2024


Given the time and planning things take in the greater Santa Fe historic area, it did not surprise me to hear of the massive discussions about the New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary.  Designed by DNCA + StudioGP, its purpose was "to create an innovative structure that adapted an existing building as a showplace for the art of our time".   Its opening in September of 2023 drew huge crowds.  The original building on the site was a warehouse constructed in 1936, owned by the Charles Ilfeld Company.  In 1960, the building was sold to the state of New Mexico where it became the Records and Archive Center.  During our trips into Santa Fe from Taos County, where we were living at the time, we began to see bits and pieces of the building being chipped away and wondered what was happening.  A good portion of the building was eventually demolished, but the main two story wall on Guadalupe Street and its territorial style brick parapets retained as an homage to its original design. The metal louvres on both the north and south sides of the building give it a slightly abrupt and dramatic look.  Not a surprise to me in the least that the design instantly elicited a love-hate relationship from the community.

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Windows on the south and east sides of the building window reflect the original Santa Fe Railway building, and other buildings along Guadalupe Street.

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New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary 2024 4New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary 2024 4


Vladam Contemporary has a few surprises, including exterior oscillating light displays, and recorded whale sounds.  After all, one of the missions of the New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem is to provide a dedicated educational educational space lacking in the immediate downtown area around the Plaza. 

New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary 2024 4New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary 2024 4


But as the Railyard continues to alter its ego to include a new hotel in the former building of Outside Magazine on Market Street, the water tower tells it all.  This area was and remains firmly grounded in the railroad that originally prompted outside interest and brought people to the Capitol.


Old and new, there are still amazing spaces and places to explore in Santa Fe, complemented by the amazing and ever-present smell of food -from chile, bacon, and barbecue to baked goods and coffee.

Thanks to Minna, Barbara F. R., Jean and Sam, Victoria, Catherine, Steve for your comments last week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©






(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture blacks crossing photography buildings daryl a. black details new mexico new mexico museum of art vladem contemporary photography santa fe santa fe railyard sky railway train cars vladem contemporary Mon, 26 Feb 2024 17:08:50 GMT
turn, turn, turn As I long as I can remember, the month of February always offered a spring thaw, sometimes brief, sometimes a week or two, but it happened without fail.  The trend proved true regardless of where we lived in New Mexico - in the western, northern or central part of the state - and it was always a treat.  Then March arrives, dashing hopes of an early spring.  But this week, it is time to celebrate the false spring, with high temperatures in the 50s and lows in the high 20s and low 30s.  And the amount of daylight each day is more.  In Santa Fe, today will be 2 minutes and 7 seconds longer.  In the San Francisco area, it will be 2 minutes 18 seconds longer, and in Seattle, it will be 3 minutes 19 seconds longer.  On the other side of the world in Tel Aviv, it will be 1 minute 51 seconds longer.  The change is happening at an ever increasing rate as we head to the vernal equinox. In addition to the birds feeling it, as evidenced by the increased singing - lovely but quite territorial in nature - the change is also reflected in the shadows and light on walls and other objects.  There is nothing like a stuccoed wall to show the beauty of light, even if it is in shadow.  

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The juxtaposition of light and shadow always adds drama to an inanimate object.

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And little displays one can witness at the oddest times and places, make all photographers smile.  

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The changes in light as we head toward spring reminds me of the great rock song  "Turn, Turn, Turn" released by the Byrds in 1965.  Almost word for word from the book of Ecclesiastes in the King James version of the Bible, the song was an anthem of the times, and it remains one of the truest explanations of life that I have read (not to mention some great, honest guitar work)

"To everything turn, turn, turn

There is a season turn, turn, turn,

And a time to every purpose 

Under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal,

A time to laugh, a time to weep


and the last three lines of the song sum it up


A time for love, a time for hate

A time for peace

I swear its not too late"


Not all the verses are given here, but you can find the song lyrics online, as well as the Bible verses.


Thanks to Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Steve, Marilyn G., Catherine, Ingrid, and Lawrence J. for your comments this week.

May you all feel the touch of spring (or autumn in the southern hemisphere) this week, and capture it with your cameras or in your beings!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Ecclesiastes nature New Mexico photography The Byrds Turn Turn Mon, 19 Feb 2024 17:03:00 GMT
a week of love If one starts a week with Sunday, this week has something for everyone to love.  For American football and sports fans (not to mention gamblers), the Superbowl was the biggest event all year.  For those who like a grand party, Mardi Gras and Carnival are in full swing, culminating on Fat Tuesday.  And Wednesday is for lovers - Valentine's Day. What better way to celebrate than with flowers, particularly the beautiful roses pictured here.  Nothing like an aged cowboy boot to highlight them.

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These roses have so many petals tightly packed that they almost like flowing water.

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Valetine's Day rose 2024 4Valetine's Day rose 2024 4

My hope is that during these days that frequently feel very unsettled in the world, the week of love does indeed bring a bounty of love, joy, and peace to everyone!   Thanks to Barbara F. R., Marilyn R., Christina W., Robert, Mary G., Minna, Paule, TTT, Suz, Sandra B., Lisa S., Catherine S., Kay C., Charlie, Steve, and Claudia for your comments, and to Ingrid for your gift and inspiration this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cowboy boot Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography roses still life Mon, 12 Feb 2024 15:48:29 GMT
milestones This week was a milestone, of sorts, for Fred.  He completed Rug # 400, which means that, to date, he has woven 468 pieces since he began learning to weave at Tierra Wools in the summer of 2003.  Obviously, the class work stuck and he never looked back. I'll talk more about 400 in a moment, but first, I need to talk about Rug # 399.

Rug 399Rug 399

Woven of 100% Navajo-Churro wool, this rug features natural indigo and cochineal, natural white, and natural dark grey.  The middle section design is called a Spider Woman Cross.   Fred wove the surrounding indigo wool in slightly more of an oval shape.  Zefren from the Shiprock area, dyed both the indigo and cochineal in this rug.  The images directly below are details of Rug 399.

Rug 399 detail 1Rug 399 detail 1

Rug 399 detail 3Rug 399 detail 3


Turning to Rug #400, Fred took Connie Taylor's words of wisdom during one of the first Wool Festivals in which he participated in 2005 at Kit Carson Park in Taos.  Connie said "Put the red one in front."  And she was absolutely correct.  Whether people are keen on having a large red rug in their homes or not, it certainly does gather attention.  400 is no different.  Bold and dramatic both in color and design, the weaving consists of wool sourced from three different flocks, two different mills, and eight different dye lots (one of them off of our kitchen stove top). With all the differences in wool and how it was spun, Fred feels it contains a bit of  Wabi Sabi, or in Japanese, imperfections.  

Rug 400 detail 2Rug 400 detail 2



The image below shows how the variations in color are used to create "mesas" and the space in between.

Rug 400 detail 3Rug 400 detail 3



And here is Rug # 400, in all is red glory!

Rug 400Rug 400



But milestones come and go.  Not to burn daylight, here is Fred, once again, obscured by warp, using his instrument to make the rhythm of his next project.

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Pure tapestry, each of the eight pieces required its own balls of wool.

Coasters 1Coasters 1


A huge heaping of thanks to so many of you who have followed Fred's weaving journey, and helped along the way!


Thanks also to Barbara F. R., Sam & Jean, Steve, Victoria, Minna, Suz, Char, Robert, Sara W., Gustavo, Christina, Lawrence, Char, and Ingrid for adding to last week's blog with your comments!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cochineal Daryl A. Black Fred Black indigo Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography Rainbow Fiber Coop rugs Spider Woman Cross Tierra weaving Wools Zefren Mon, 05 Feb 2024 16:12:06 GMT
eyes and colors This week had me wishing, once again, that I had taken physics in high school and college.  It seems everything with which people deal on a daily basis involves three subjects that many students tend to avoid in school - math, chemistry, and physics.  Particularly in photography, all these subjects come into play.  Today's subject, once again, has to do with the physics of light.

 "Whiteness and all gray Colors between white and black, may be compounded of Colors, and the whiteness of the Sun's Light is compounded of all the primary Colors mix'd in a due Proportion."  Sir Isaac Newton, 1704.   His book Opticks was published in 1704.  It should be on my reading list...

But let me digress a bit.  Every person who has a taken a photograph - whether with a camera or a phone - knows that her or his own eyes, light, and the piece of equipment are essential elements of the image that is ultimately produced.  And when one of those elements is missing or behaving oddly, things are not quite right.  The only reason I began delving into the subject matter again is because I had a cataract removed this week, and the results were quite astonishing.  Everyone I have talked with says that, but the results are hard to explain.  So my mission was to try to come up with a clear explanation of the difference in the colors that I was seeing, and that was a tough one.  

As wonky as it is, I now have the ideal laboratory for experimentation - one eye containing a brand new lens and the other with my birth lens, aged by a few years.  By closing one eye and keeping the other open, I can instantaneously compare the view.  So to begin the work, I turned again to my favorite source on the subject of color - The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair.  I proceeded to search the book trying to identify one that most closely resembled how my eye was being filtered.  St. Clair's "white" category, seemed to include the closest matches, although given variations in the book printing process, none really matched.  Isabelline leans more toward a pale yellow, whereas whitewash feels peachy to me.  Chalk is close, but not a true fit.  Which took me to Shirley Williams' "Color Wheel Artist" website, discovering the intricacies of Hue, Tint, Tone, and Shade. As a photographer rather than a painter, my knowledge of color is mostly experiential, enhanced by some reading, and not color theory.  So I turned to my photographs to see if one existed that could duplicate the filtration color.


Was the fall hollyhock bloom, with its bright yellow-green throat and yellow-white petals a possibility?  Sadly, no.

hollyhock, late fallhollyhock, late fall



How about the curved-bill thrasher in her cholla cactus nest?  A bit dark and smokey.

Birds - curve billed thrasher 4Birds - curve billed thrasher 4


Any part of the mushroom show below, gill to center?  Nice variations in color but it was not close enough.


The image of Great Sand Dunes in Colorado also has a wide variety of possibilities.  Getting closer.  

Great Sand DunesGreat Sand Dunes


But the one photograph that seemed to replicate the filtration is one of wildfire smoke I took on 29 April 2022.  The gradation from the right hand side to the left in the image shows blue sky being slowly obscured by a graduated filter of St. Clair's colors of Isabelline, chalk, and beige.  The contrail adds a special touch.

forest fire smoke 29 April 2022forest fire smoke 29 April 2022

When a wildfire has been extinguished and is no longer burning, the smokey haze clears, resulting in a stunning brightness and blueness in the sky. It is truly incredible.  Exactly like having a lens with many miles on it removed.  I am lucky to live in a time and place in which there are medical professionals and facilities available to make cataract removal possible.  And I am grateful to have such excellent auto-focus features on my cameras in this time of vision transition!

"The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most." - John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice 



Thanks to Christina, Barbara F. R., Tim A., Minna, Brenda M., Ann A., David O., Charlie K. C., Catherine, Steve, Jean & Sam, Lucia, and Charleen for writing this week.     

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography color color theory color wheel artist daryl a. black eye kassia st. clair photography shirley williams the secret lives of color Mon, 29 Jan 2024 02:38:45 GMT
humble yet essential I would be hard-pressed to find someone staring at the onions in a grocery store.  Unlike shoppers gazing at the cheese cases as if they were at the Guggenheim taking in a Monet or van Gogh, people just grab the humble onion, and lob it into their basket or cart, not giving it another thought. Not me. I look deeply at the onions, as if part of my soul is contained therein.  To me, they are essential and vital to many prepared dishes. Onions cleanse the eyes by making them water when you slice and chop them, and when cooked, pique our tastebuds.  One person with whom I did a shoot several years ago said I went in circles while photographing my subjects, which I tend to do.  This was true of the onions I photographed this week. Just like the right human or other animal, these root crops are extremely photogenic. 


The purple or so-called red onions, have a deep rich color, with which I am certain a person could dye fabric.  The stems left to dry add gnarly character.

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As is the case with the flavor, the shape and color of the humble onion has multiple layers.

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I like this particular image because the dried growth ends of the onion remind me of a dirt road.  It is hard to tell where it leads.

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The handmade basket by fiber artist Donna Coates, complements the onion veins.  The two photographs that follow just let the yellow onion show off a bit.   

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Shall we all chop the humble onion, cook it the way we choose, and by doing so stave off the chill of winter?

The days are getting longer.  Here in northern New Mexico, there will be 1 minute and 28 seconds more daylight today.  Near the border of the United States and Canada, it will be 2 minutes and 23 seconds longer.

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Catherine S., Christina, Jean & Sam, Steve, Marilyn G., and Rebecca for commenting this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food New Mexico onions photography purple onions still life photography yellow onions Sun, 21 Jan 2024 21:24:05 GMT
aged roses and new snow We have been lucky this week.  Snow has fallen during the night and throughout the day on several occasions.  Almost any location in the Southwestern United States can use moisture in whatever form it presents itself.  This time, it happened to be snow rather than rain, either in a powder skiers dream of, or wet and solid, worthy of an igloo or snowman.  It was powder both days, a bit easier to remove with shovel or hefty strokes of a broom.  The temperatures were such that it simply did not start melting until today.  Which left the perfect photography backdrop.

Roses, in all their glory, make compelling photographic subjects.  From bud to initial and full bloom, and even as they dry and take on that aged copper patina, they offer beauty, ready to be captured.  Although it is frowned upon in the world of Feng Shui, I tend to keep some dried roses just for the subtle color and shapes of their chameleon selves.  Put together with the mottled mini-landscape partially melted snow provides, they shine as if in original bloom.  Here are two images of a dried miniature rose bud from last March.  In all of the photographs here, the granular snow is a big player.

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A lone petal on the snow carries shades of pink and burnished orange.

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The full stems with buds and leaves

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Two different angles and a slightly darker take on the roses adds a bit of mystery.

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And finally, a very Victorian-looking rose, shares its subtleties.   aged roses and snow 6aged roses and snow 6

As I said in my mini-book Complex and Sublime:  flowers through the lens, I beg to differ with Gertrude Stein who said "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose", which they are.  But then.....


Thanks to Marilyn G., Gustavo, Jean & Sam, Char, Steve, Barbara F. R., Marilyn R., Dianne J., Robert, Lucia, Kay C. for writing last week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico photography roses snow still life photography Mon, 15 Jan 2024 15:56:02 GMT
of plaids and tartans Perhaps it is because a blanket of grey skies has hung over us for more days than is normal in the sunny Land of Enchantment, leaving us feeling very Scottish.  Or it could be due to a text message asking about what would be an appropriate tartan to wear.  Or due to a recent gift of a wool muffler made of the official New Mexico tartan.  Regardless, today's blog delves into the colorful world of plaids and tartans.

Early woven clothing, rugs, and wall decorations share certain characteristics.  Historically, they were made of wool, and many still are.  Chimayo and Navajo weaving carry designs and colors that may be specific to certain areas, just as Scottish tartans identify a community.  And this from Christina Garton writing for the magazine Handwoven explains a lot.  "All tartans are plaid.  However not all plaids are tartan!  Both plaids and tartans are woven of stripes that meet at 90-degree angles. Tartans have an identical pattern of stripes running vertically and horizontally, resulting in overlapping square grids."  (Handwoven 18 October 2022).   But there is something else that make tartans unique.  Thinking about how many modern homes are built is helpful.  They have an upright structure, for instance of wooden 2x4 or 2x6 studs/uprights onto which dry wall or other siding is attached.  These provide the skeleton or frame of a house.  When it comes to weaving, the warp or wool strung on a frame or loom serves the same purpose as the 2x4s.  The  wool weft is a little like the dry wall or siding which is then applied to the warp in various colors and designs.  In Southwestern weaving, the warp skeleton then disappears within the body of the weft.  One can only see the warp at the top and bottom of the weaving.  That is why Rio Grande, Chimayo, and Navajo weaving and most modern weavings are called weft faced.  Tartans are made using what is called a "balanced weave" wherein both warp and weft are visible.  Below is a fine MacLean of Duart red muted tartan swatch. 

MacLean of Duart red mutedMacLean of Duart red muted  



A personal disclaimer.  I struggled with geometry in school, and weaving is filled with geometry.  So I will just add a couple of things that make tartans distinctive.  "The plaid of a tartan is called a sett.  The sett is made up of a series of woven threads which cross at right angles."  Jeff Ezell, Heraldry Crests.  "Tartan is recorded by counting the threads of each colour that appear in the sett. The thread count not only describes the width of the stripes on a sett, but also the colours used. For example, the thread count "K4 R24 K24 Y4" corresponds to 4 black threads, 24 redthreads, 24 black threads, 4 yellow threads. The first and last threads of the thread count are the pivot points."  I admit I have yet to wrap my head around that part, but for those of you who can and are interested, the link above will lead you to the really detailed and excellent posting by Jeff Ezell.  


In the mean time, visuals might help.  This is a muffler woven in Ireland, actually.  It is a Black Stewart tartan.  Looking at the warp ends (fringe), you can see the sett and how the weft is worked into the warp.  

  Black StewartBlack Stewart

Black Stewart color setsBlack Stewart color sets



Given the intensity of the red in this tartan, it is hard to believe it is also a MacLean of Duart, as is the tartan in the first photograph.  Frequently, tartans have multiple styles with different colors, including ancient, modern, muted, dress, and hunting (usually darker for camouflage purposes). 

MacLean of Duart redMacLean of Duart red



Here is yet another MacLean, with the same sett but the weaver has chosen to substitute a maroon or burgundy color yarn for the bright red.  

Maclean tieMaclean tie




The Black Watch tartan (a regimental tartan also worn by coachmen and servants in the late 1800s ) is comprised of black, dark green, and navy blue yarn.

Black Watch tartanBlack Watch tartan


One of the most frequently seen tartans is the Royal Stewart.  Shortbread lovers will recognize it from the boxes.

Royal StewartRoyal Stewart



Finally, a photograph of the New Mexico tartan, officially registered in 1996, with the colors of our state flag nicely included in its setts.

New Mexico TartanNew Mexico Tartan     


Thanks to Char and Robert for getting me rolling on this, and to Fred for the geometry lesson!


Starting out the New Year right were Victoria, Christine, Tim A. Minna, Gustavo, Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Lisa S., M. Fred, Tomas, Catherine S., Steve, Rebecca, and Ingrid who wrote and commented this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black design New Mexico photography plaids tartans weaving wool Mon, 08 Jan 2024 02:27:24 GMT
The New Year The New York Times online had a wonderful feature yesterday titled "Your Best Advice for 2023".  Many of us make lists - both mental and written - of things we are going to do in the new year.  Statistics may prove that some of those goals fall by the wayside as early as February, while quite a few people are serious about trying to achieve specific things and reach those goals throughout the year.  What better way for artists of different media to start a year than to start new work, bring work to completion, and pushing it out the door.  In that regard, I am doing shameless self-promotion here of the three books on which I have been working in 2023.  I used Blurb Books, and am very pleased with the quality of the paper and printing, and speed with which they were printed.  It took some work to take the photographs, do research, and format each page of the book, and then set up the structure through which people can purchase them.  Because short printing runs (1-9 copies) are pricey, rather than a huge publisher printing thousands of copies, I hope you are not too shocked by the prices.  All are softcover.  


The first is a 10 x 8 book titled Geological Portraits:  photographic memories of some extraordinary places.

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photo books 2photo books 2



The second and third are Complex and Sublime:  flowers through the lens.   I printed two different sizes - one 7 x 7 and the other in Blurb's new "mini-book" version which is 5 x 5.  That required some adjustment of photo placement on the 7 x 7 edition, but it was all part of the learning experience.  Again, both are soft cover, and the mini has a matte-finished cover.  It is a perfect little jewel to keep on a desk, side or coffee table for a spurt of color and refreshment.

photo books 3photo books 3

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Finally, here is a photograph of the trio.

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You can check out the first several pages of the book by clicking on the link below and/or purchase them if you are so inclined.


Member Profile: Daryl Black | Blurb


Thanks for Orlando, TTT, Marilyn R., Christina, Barbara, Steve, Jean & Sam, Lawrence, Ingrid, Catherine, Rebecca, Claudia, Minna, Robert, and Marilyn G. for rounding out 2023 with your comments.  I hope that 2024 is year that becomes a bit more peaceful and one wherein kindness is in greater supply.  May all of you find your creative juices bubbling over like a well-filled glass of champagne! 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Blurb Blurb Books books Complex and Sublime: flowers through the lens Daryl A. Black flowers Geological Portraits: photographic memories of some extraordinary places geology landscapes nature New Mexico photography Sun, 31 Dec 2023 21:29:07 GMT
Christmas 2023 A bright blue sky is greeting us this Christmas morning, as crows and ravens circle the sky to the accompaniment of "The Bells of Dublin" by the Chieftains. Ice remains on the landscape after a most welcome warm rain fell on Saturday, followed by graupel and snow.  The chill will be with us for several days but the brightness of the day will not be diminished.  We think of those who dare to celebrate the day and the season, despite too many horrors that lay heavy on the world.  The bravery of those in war zones cannot be overstated.  But the circle of life continues and few things demonstrate that as well as plant life, which waits patiently for the increased sunlight and warmer temperatures.  Matter of fact, tomorrow, there will be 12 more seconds of daylight in our part of the world.  I let the Amaryllis, which is cultivated commercially to give humans a quick fix of bright, bold life in six weeks during the winter months, say the rest and wish you a Happy Christmas Day!


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And to complete the Christmas wish, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.

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Thanks to Marilyn G., Minna, Jean & Sam, Steve, Barbara F. R., Lisa S., and Rebecca for your blog comments about last week's blog.

Best wishes for a gentle and joyous week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) amaryllis blacks crossing photography christmas daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico photography still life winter Mon, 25 Dec 2023 16:59:44 GMT
all about the light In photography, light (or lack thereof) is everything.  Humans and all animals recognize, on some level, the effect of light on their lives and behavior.  It must have been horrifying for our early ancestors when the daylight disappeared.  Did they wonder whether it would return, and if so, when?  It was probably a relatively short period of time before they realized the appearance of light as day and night was a trend.  But when the number of daylight or nighttime hours changed with the seasons, that was huge. Nature offered ways of tracking the light in the form of shadows on rocks, and through tree branches, but a good many people throughout the world were thinking about the light's track during the year.  Stone circles can be found almost everywhere in the world, and many are in northern or far southern latitudes where there are significantly fewer hours of light in their respective winter seasons.  We learned that in Scotland years ago while visiting in February, when the sun would come up around 9 a.m. and set around 3 p.m.  Not knowing where the heck we were going in some cases, our mission was to find the next bed and breakfast between those hours.  You can definitely see the darkness from the scanned slide below.  As I recall, this photograph was taken around 10:30 a.m. 

Standing stones in the shadow of Ben Lawers on the outskirts of Killeen, Perthshire, Scotland.

standing stones near Killin, Pethshire, Scotland in the shadow of Ben Lawers 1991standing stones near Killin, Pethshire, Scotland in the shadow of Ben Lawers 1991Scanner



All of this leads to the fact that Thursday 21 December, is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere.  It occurs quite late in the day at 10:27 p.m., according to the Farmers' Almanac.  "The winter solstice marks the official beginning of astronomical winter (as opposed to meteorological winter, which starts about three weeks before the solstice). The winter solstice occurs once a year in each hemisphere: once in the Northern Hemisphere (in December) and once in the Southern Hemisphere (in June). It marks the start of each hemisphere’s winter season. When one hemisphere is experiencing its winter solstice, the other is simultaneously experiencing its summer solstice!"  Northern or southern, artificial or natural, it is all about the light.  We consider ourselves lucky to have electric lights, especially having lived with only kerosene lamps at one point.




After the sun rises, there are usually bright blue skies to greet us in New Mexico.  Occasionally, like this weekend, the sky was dotted with high cirrus clouds, and contrails (condensation trails), courtesy of the thousands of airplanes literally criss-crossing the sky.

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When the sun does set, sometimes I am lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to catch and photograph it.



Then there are occasions when photographers simply have to look around their immediate environment to see the play of light and shadow against a wall to know where the sun is in the sky.  Very subtle gradations of white and gray fill the image below.  


I will be celebrating the return of light, be it only a matter of seconds per day.  But we can still revel in and relish the return of those seconds to our days!

Happy Solstice and thanks to Suz, Minna, Christina, Barbara F. R., Paule, Tim A., Karla P., Catherine, Steve, Geula, Lisa, Robert, Marilyn G., Jean & Sam, and Rebecca for touching base this week about the blog.

until next Monday,


 a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black light nature New Mexico photography shadows sky solstice sunset winter solstice Mon, 18 Dec 2023 18:00:53 GMT
left over right and under, right over left and under The words in today's blog title were the ones we were always taught in Girl Scouts, as far as tying a square knot is concerned.  It is the same knot that Fred uses to produce the Damascus edge on select rugs. But first, here is an image of Rug 397 in progress on the loom.

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To secure the ends of the weaving, he ties 366 knots on the top and bottom, and then reverses the process and ties 366 more knots also on the top and bottom, resulting in 366 square knots.  When he finishes that process, he adds another touch to the rug - maritime cabling - which secures the Damascus edge.  He ties one knot at the end of each cable for a total of 92 knots before the rug is complete. Complicated but extremely strong as well as beautiful.  

The photographs below show how he uses this treatment on the warp ends of his rug.  The first step after removing the rug from the loom is to trim the edges of the warp.  Notice the engineer's scale being using to keep the length exactly even.  

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In the next three photographs, he is tying knots - the first knot in the warp, followed by the second.

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The cabling is the last step before the rug is completed.  You can see the structure or architectural elements in the finished piece.

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Fred has included a "Spirit Line" or ch'ihónít'i in Navajo, in the lower right hand corner of the rug.  A weaver puts her/his spirit into a piece, and the spirit line provides a pathway for the spirit to exit the work.

Rug 397 Spirit LineRug 397 Spirit Line

Thanks to all of you who commented this week and for your often creative words, including Connie, Barbara F. R., Charleen, Christina, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Marilyn G., Veronica (who geeked out at the blog, a high compliment indeed), Steve, Catherine, and Sara.  May you be presented with wonderful photographable things and events this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) big sage artisans blacks crossing photography damascus edge in weaving daryl a. black design fabric fred black hand weaving navajo-churro new mexico photography rugs weaving wool Mon, 11 Dec 2023 02:28:35 GMT
shutter work 101 Nature gifted us heavy, wet snow last week.  You could have built an igloo with it.  It was the first really substantial snow in several years and something in which neighborhood dogs were reveling.  I, on the other hand, was out with my camera for a personal workshop in shutter speeds. And the snow continued to fall for roughly four hours during the morning, which provided plenty of opportunity to photograph walls, gates, and doors in different conditions of winter dress.

One of the reasons I bought the Fujifilm X-T5 camera is that it has the same knobs and buttons cameras of yore had before electronic menus were developed - ASA, f stops, shutter speeds.  I can change everything without having to scroll through an electronic menu.  The camera has the menus as well, but being able to do it on the fly is always handy unless you have tons of presets.  I shifted between 1/8th of a second and as high as 1/2,000 of a second to achieve certain effect while the snow was falling.  Starting with this shot, you can see what appear to be streaks on both the gate and the stucco walls.  That is the falling snow at 1/40 of a second.

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I basically shot close to 150 images, and during the process, I found 1/30 of s second more to my liking for the effect I was trying to achieve, which was a combination of the patterns in the existing patterns in the stucco and the long lines of falling snow.  The black and white image here demonstrates the early morning grayness that came with the snow.

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In the image below, a bit of a breeze had come up, changing the angle of the streaks.

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I also experimented with stopping the snow.  Even at 1/2000 of a second (a relatively short period of time for the light to come through the lens) the intensity and size of the flakes made a difference in the clarity.  It was a too dark at faster than 1/2,000 to provide any contrast between the snow and the wall.

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Thanks to TTT, Barbara F. R., Connie, Steve, Lisa S., Rebecca, Ingrid, and Claudia for writing this week.

As the winter solstice approaches and nights are longer, I hope you still find time to be outside with camera in hand (after shoveling) to document the season.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico patterns photography shutter speeds snow stucco walls winter Mon, 04 Dec 2023 15:10:07 GMT
lovely leftovers Many people worldwide celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving on Thursday, and, no doubt, in a variety of ways.  Most probably involved food, friends, and family.  Even if the groaning board did not contain turkey and dressing, there was likely an assortment of leftovers.  How lovely they are!  Due to the fact that I see the world in terms of capturing it with a camera, I frequently discover something that needs to be photographed. Whether it is a surprise or intentional, capturing the special food offered in thanks was an agenda item last week.


I noticed the refraction of light caused by sun coming through a partially filled glass of claret, after only crumbs of chicken and dressing remained in the dish.  

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My father once told me that his mother made pumpkin pie using carrots rather than pumpkin while his family was living in Canada raising wheat.  It makes sense.  Same color and texture after they are cooked and pureed.  And the traditional spices would probably make it impossible to tell the difference.  The pie slice in both photographs below was made with pumpkin puree poured into a homemade crust and baked.  Two different angles, with slightly altered natural light.

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And last but not least, a gifted slice of pecan tart, as only the queen of these delicious desserts, Ingrid, can make it.  Layers of lusciousness!

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Thanks to Marilyn R., Barbara F. R., Kay C., Jean & Sam, Catherine, TTT, Lawrence, and Steve for commenting during this busy holiday week.

My hope is that everyone reading had the opportunity to celebrate, one way or another.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food New Mexico photography pie still life tart Thanksgiving Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:56:09 GMT
Thanksgiving rush You could feel the rush on the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Locals in need of specific goodies for the traditional holidays meals, people with license plates from different states having dazed and confused looks on their faces, and that unidentifiable feel of urgency to get things done.  It was obvious that the Thanksgiving rush was on and what better place to feel it than by driving in downtown Santa Fe.  

The Farmers' Market was packed with vendors both inside the Market pavilion and outside under pop-up tents.  And even at 9 a.m., many folks were already busy buying, eating, laughing, and talking in a boisterous and festive way.  I joined in the fray because I was on a mission to purchase dried Chimayo red chile powder, cream cheese, and honey from a local vendor.

But the route to achieve the mission is hardly ever a direct one.  In the outside booths, I found the chile, and numerous intricately crafted wreaths and ristras. If you have ever tried to construct these beauties, you have a pretty good idea how much work is involved.

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Entering the Market building, I spotted the Camino de Paz School and Farm table.  Located in Santa Cruz, the students and teachers make THE best cream cheese on the planet, as well as several varieties of "quark".  The chile powder is a Chimayo seed variety grown by Jesus Guzman and his partner, Kate, who gave good advice on the heat of each kind.

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Feeling pretty good about scoring two out of three items in a relatively short period of time, I had to stop and chat with the owners of CLC Pecans in Hobbs, who happen to be neighbors, and were reveling in the birth of their first grand child.  Walking a bit further, I found Steve at Buckin' Bee Honey and Candles. His table was attracting a lot of attention, so it would have been rude to strike up a conversation.  Just asked him if I could take some photographs and he kindly agreed.

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 Another neighbor, Gustavo, raved about how perfect Steve's honey was on bread with butter, so I had to try it.  I also promised him a loaf when I bake next time.    


Thanks to Barbara F. R., Christina, Minna, Lluvia, Jean & Sam, Catherine, Ann A., TTT, and Steve for commenting this week and to all of you for reading throughout the year.  I am grateful and thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography buckin' bee honey camino de paz school and farm chile daryl a. black farmers' market new mexico photography Mon, 20 Nov 2023 16:31:35 GMT
not letting go just yet After a week with a taste of winter, our part of the world has been given a reprieve, and stunning autumn days have returned.  Mind you, the .05/inch of moisture that fell in the form of snow was not quite enough to deeply dampen the land, but it did give the plants and trees that still have leaves some much deserved moisture.  Thankfully, autumn is not letting go, nor are some of the leaves on an assortment of trees and bushes, the names of many I do not know, but the colors and designs by nature in the leaves are quite incredible.  This blog is image heavy and I will leave them for you to ponder and describe in your minds as you see fit.  Many of the images below are from assorted flowering fruit trees. 

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As you can see, nature is doing some truly weird and wonderful watercolor work on the trees.  Happy as a clam I am!


Thanks to all of you who commented this week, including Minna, Barbara F. R., Victoria, Dianne J., Jean and Sam, Terry T., Marilyn G., TTT, Steve, Pater Ingrid, and Rebecca.  With luck, all of you will be able to get out this week and enjoy the season, especially with your cameras and phones in hand!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black leaves nature New Mexico photography still life tree Mon, 13 Nov 2023 03:17:17 GMT
coasting in black and white A call from the archivist at the Santa Fe Institute where I photographed scientists from 1995 to 1997 tested my organizational and memory skills this week.  It was excellent to look at the hundreds of photographs I made with film using both 35mm and 1 3/4 x 2 1/4 cameras, developed into negatives, and made into contact sheets and prints was a great exercise. The Institute is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year and a number of books are being updated and republished.  Thus, the need for a few of my photographs.  

In addition to the Santa Fe Institute work and the other books on which I am been spending time curating, designing and writing, I have toyed for some time about using photographs for a black and white/food-themed set of coasters.  People still use coasters.  Whereas many have turned in their mouse pads and are using the trackpad/touchpad on their laptops, coasters are still part of the home dining and coffee tables.  I was also thinking in terms of food and beverages as part of the set.  Included in today's blog are some of the many possibilities.  The first is a beautifully cast door handle on the Bamberg Backerei in Bamberg, Germany.


A shop with numerous goodies in Bratislava, Slovakia

A New Mexico-made tart being served.

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Fancy dancing shoes deftly sculpted of marzipan in a Vienna shop.

Demel Eiscreme in Vienna

Glowing onions

A touch of vin rouge...


...with a touch of brie in Vienna

Just another sampling of the lovely randomness in a photographer's life. 

It was good to hear from so many of you last week including Barbara F. R., Tim A., Ann A., Lawrence J., TTT, Marilyn G. Steve, Catherine, Rebecca, and Carol.

I hope that the upcoming week contains some creative and interesting photographic adventures!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black and white photography Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food photography photography still life travel photography Mon, 06 Nov 2023 02:06:15 GMT
the mad curator strikes again Given the events of the past couple of weeks in the Middle East and the United States, and in political arenas here and abroad, I did what is probably typical of artists and journalists who are not covering "the main stories".  They ponder, wonder what is right, and then continue with their art or writing, despite horrible events and conditions and circumstances in which others find themselves.  And the work for me was curating photographs for the three books I am putting together, along with some organizational work on images I made from 1995 to 1997 of scientists at the Santa Fe Institute.  These were made with black and white film, using both 35 mm and 1 and 3/4 by 2 1/4 format cameras. I developed and printed the film in a local public darkroom.  It left me wishing I had been more diligent in my recording of the people I had photographed on my negative sleeves and proof sheets.  But the new archivist at the Institute who contacted me recently about the photographs should be able to fill in some of the blanks.

That project aside, here is a selection of photographs for one of the books on flowers.  The image below was made in Arizona during a spring time bloom.  California poppies and owl clover are the dominant flowers.  


Foxglove saturated with fog in Point Reyes, California


Tulip and clouds

Salmon-colored poppy

Polish Spirit clematis

For this particular book, I wanted to feature flowers in both interesting natural settings and in quirky and traditional still life-inspired settings.  Curating like mad tends to focus one's eye on what might truly be interesting to others.  Which means you may see another blog of this ilk in the near future.

Thanks to Christina, TTT, Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Catherine, Steve, and Rebecca for commenting this week.  In New Mexico, we have moved from what has been one of the most spectacular autumns ever to early winter, overnight.  Hope all of you have been able to keep warm.

until next week,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography clematis clover Daryl A. Black flowers foxgloves nature New Mexico owl photography poppies. Sun, 29 Oct 2023 21:22:42 GMT
first impressions Those of you who have been following my blog for years know that autumn is my favorite season.  It is also one time during the year that I experiment with the concept of impressionism.  The autumn palette is expansive and loves the camera lens, offering boundless opportunities to willing photographers.  Close-up or long range, it never fails to satisfy.  Stucco walls provide soft, mottled backdrops for the aspen below.  Full disclosure here.  I made some adjustments to the colors and contrast that resulted in an image somewhat out of the ordinary for an aspen photograph.    


If you see a tree that is screaming red in New Mexico, it is probably a maple of some sort.  In years past, the leaves on this particular tree had more burgundy hues.  This year, orange and yellow are emerging.  Perhaps because of the dryness.  I don't know.  Regardless, it is quite the specimen.


Rather than having the sun behind me on this shot, it was in front of me, showing the backlighting on the leaves.  

Leaves on ash trees here are the first to fall.  They develop what I call "skirts" or layers of leaves that remain on the trees while others are blowing in the wind.  The leaves on this particular skirt went from pale yellow to a ruddy gold.  These first ash tree closeups begin to provide some elements of impressionism.

The aspen tree reflections in the images below definitely move closer to the small pinpoints characteristic of impressionistic brush strokes.

I suspect there will be additional photographs in future blogs featuring autumn.  It is evolving before us, and, after all, these were just "first impressions."


How wonderful it was to hear from so many of you last week, and especially to see the photographs you sent of the eclipse designs you saw on both the ground and walls.  I loved the fact that Connie used a colander as her pinhole camera.  In this world that sometimes seems very nearly insane, creativity abounds, and brings joy.  

Thanks to Char, Dianne F., Barbara F. R., Marilyn R., Minna, Claudia, Connie, TTT, Tim A., Brenda, Jean & Sam, Christina W., Victoria, Rebecca, Steve, Carol, Terry T., and Marilyn G. for writing this week!  It appears that in many places across the globe, the weather will continue to provide great opportunities for photography, and I hope you will be able to take advantage of it.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) ash trees aspen trees autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black gold leaves maple trees nature New Mexico photography red trees Sat, 21 Oct 2023 21:22:41 GMT
light and semi-dark I had planned to include more photographs from the Mountain and Valley Wool Association's Santa Fe Wool Festival in today's blog, but a once-in-a-lifetime event and serendipity interfered.  An annular (meaning shaped like or forming a ring) eclipse took a direct path over New Mexico from the northwestern corner of the state to the southeastern corner, giving people in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque a front row seat.  Many at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta stayed on the field to witness the eclipse.  It was yet another physics lesson about light.  

Some of you had asked earlier in the week whether I was going to photograph it.  I am not an astronomy photographer nor do I have the equipment to venture into the realm.  I leave that to the experts in the field and there are many amazing dark sky photographers who were out shooting with perfect placement for the eclipse.  But the eclipse morning had surprises waiting for us.

As we do during the weekend, we walked over to the middle school track about half a mile from our house to do our martial arts workout and a couple of jogs around the track.  Thought it might be interesting to do our routine during the eclipse, just to see what would happen and how it would feel.  There are 25 different forms we do, and about halfway through, I noticed that the big elm tree under which we practice was not exhibiting its normal shadow patterns.  In actuality, the shadows were becoming the shape of a three quarters or a waxing gibbous moon.  My original thinking was that I was imagining things.  The patterns were fascinating.  There were several people around the track who were awaiting the eclipse so I ran over to get them and show them the shadows.  Kid in a candy shop that I am, it seemed my responsibility to show people what was happening.  We kept on doing our forms when up walks our neighbor, Rebecca, and we showed her.  At this point the patterns were becoming thinner and thinner, revealing the fact that the sun was quickly being obscured by the moon, leaving slivers of light and shadow.  The tree leaves were acting as a pinhole camera, directly focusing the light.  Luckily, she had her phone and was kind enough to loan it to me.  I was totally unprepared for the occurrence. 

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In this image, you can see the trunk and limbs of the trees in addition to the leaf shadow effect.

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Given a bit more contrast, the slinky like shadows take on a rolling look.  Having heard that the our part of New Mexico would have roughly 86% darkness, it was interesting to witness the light in the sky very gradually change from the bright, autumnal light to what I would term semi-dark.  There was something about the eclipse that was deep and stirring.  Something from the early days of human evolution.  The event was both "smile" and "sigh" worthy.   

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Granted, these shots are not quite as sexy as the ring and darkened sun that many astronomy photographers got during the eclipse.  But thanks to our neighbor, I was able to capture a different take on this extraordinary event.


By the way, here are two screen shots of the sun being tracked by our solar panels.  In the first, a nice bell curve reflecting a normal, sunny pattern. 



The dip in the bell curve show below was the precise time when the eclipse began to happen over us.  



Thanks to all of you who read and commented on last week's blog, including Barbara F. R., Tim, Minna, Marilyn G., Jean and Sam, Claudia, TTT, Geula, Steve, Ingrid, Christina W., Sara, and to Rebecca for providing the tool to record the Saturday's eclipse.    So many of you have extremely busy lives while others are experiencing so many extenuating circumstances that my appreciation of your comments has increased exponentially!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) . annular eclipse blacks crossing photography daryl a. black light new mexico photography shadows Mon, 16 Oct 2023 15:45:30 GMT
inland fiber sea The first weekend in October is a beautiful time in New Mexico, filled with abundant activities, including the 9 days of squeal and ooh and ah-filled moments during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  The city population expands easily by 100,000 people.  However, balloons were not the only featured stars of the weekend.  A plethora of events included the Abiquiú Studio Tour, the Taos Wools Festival, Indigenous Peoples' Day weekend celebrations, and a curated exhibit by Emily Trujillo of Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayo, which opened on Friday and will run through April 1, 2024 at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art on Museum Hill in Santa Fe.  In addition, thousands of people head to the high country to see the gold and red of aspen trees.  

But I happily spent the weekend at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds for the Mountain and Valley Wool Association's 40th Wool Festival, as support staff for my husband, Fred, at his display space.  Photographic opportunities were in abundance and I took advantage of as many as I could.

As a casual observer, I could tell that many visitors were totally overwhelmed by the abundance and variety of fiber products, and an "inland sea of color".  Looking closer, one begins to sense the number of different skills present at the Festival.  Eric Wilson, a fiber artist from Cortez, Colorado, had (as his business card puts it) had hand-spun yarn, crochet and knit goodies, handprinted yarn and roving, and lastercut notions. Watching him work throughout the weekend, I would guess he spent a minimum of eight hours spinning a very fine yarn.  I asked if his foot and leg get tired.  His answered "You get used to it."

You can see how fine the wool is between his thumbs in this photograph.


Minna at Lana Dura renders wool into felt, using natural wool colors.  

The festival truly is a celebration of animal fiber, and the llamas and alpacas are always show stoppers, particular for children.  I finally got a simple answer about the visual differences between the two statuesque and beautiful animals.  Llama are taller but their ears look more like bananas, while the alpacas are shorter and have pointed ears.  The llama below is a magnificent creature, designed for roaming the pampas of South America.  With their long necks and flexibility, they are able to reach food wherever they find it.  



I loved this alpaca and its top knot, ever curious, always mewing to the world as if saying,  "Hmmm, what is going on here?  Is there something to eat?  Do I know this person?" 

Sheep shearing was also a featured element of the festival, and Tom Barr - an institution in sheep shearing around New Mexico and southern Colorado - has a skill like no other.  Upper body strength and flexibility are essential here, as you can see by his positions working with the sheep while shearing.  He has one of the sheep's legs in his left hand while shearing under parts with his right.  His knees are keeping the animal under control as well.

I always worry a bit about the horns...

Another thing I pondered as the Wool Festival ended Sunday afternoon, is how incredibly flexible all the vendors are.  From using all the fiber they can in any way they can, and not wasting a thing. to taking apart their exhibits, it was like a tribe of plains Indians, moving their camps across the prairie.  The process is quick, efficient, and part of who they are.  Not something most people recognize when they attend a fair.  But the fiber community, in many ways, is like a family of like-mind people who believe in what they do.  


Thanks to Barbara F. R., Steve, Catherine, Christina W., and Char for commenting on last week's blog, and all of you who stopped by the exhibit space this weekend - friends old and new!  And kudos to the vendors for their creativity and sharing it with the wider world.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) animals blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fiber new mexico photography weaving wool festival Mon, 09 Oct 2023 15:39:40 GMT
of words, images, and randomness It is the first Monday in October.  The autumnal equinox is a week past, evidenced by the shorter days, and trees beginning to shed their summer garb.  October is a very busy month for artists and balloonists alike.  And aside from retrieving several of Fred's rugs and wool from Tierra Wools in Chama and Centinela in Chimayo, as well as an early afternoon chat with friends from California outside on the Museum Hill plaza, my head has been deep into the three books that are my current photographic projects.  Choosing photographs and background paper, and organizing them into a logical but interesting layout, as well as writing text and selecting type fonts tends to have a dizzying effect on the old brain.  Since the creative juices are really flowing, the flow continues into other parts of life.  A random selection of images and words accompany me throughout the work day.  Thus, today's blog is also a random set of images from the week.  

I photographed this dancing gent eleven years ago when photographer and friend, Steve Immel and I had cameras in hand, exploring Santa Fe. Here are the "then" and "now" photographs. 

One mission was to shoot a decent photograph of a piece of obsidian, for one of the books in process. Much more difficult than I thought it would be.  But here is a test shot and finger selfie.

Because the statuesque Ponderosa pine trees have a mention in one of the books, I feature one here.

And the topping on the cake of randomness, is a hummingbird trumpet or zauschneria.

Zauschneria "Hummingbird Trumpet" 1 2023Zauschneria "Hummingbird Trumpet" 1 2023

Sincere thanks to all of you who commented last week, including Barbara F. R., Victoria, Connie, Kathryn and Gene, Anne O., Marilyn G., Lisa S., Tomas, Brenda, Steve, Ann A. Ingrid, and Catherine, and a huge debt of gratitude to Christina W. who provided a new home for Rug 386 this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) art blacks crossing photography daryl a. black museum of indian arts and culture new mexico obsidian photography ponderosa pine trees Mon, 02 Oct 2023 01:46:08 GMT
Wool Festival 2023 The Mountain and Valley Wool Association was founded in Antonito, Colorado in 1983, with the mission to "promote fiber from all fiber bearing animals - especially those in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas -and to pass on the rich history of the fiber-related crafts to the next group of fiber enthusiasts."  Members of MAVWA produced the Taos Wool Festival for 38 years at Kit Carson Park.  Because of extenuating circumstances, the festival was moved from Taos to Santa Fe last year, and this year's festival in Santa Fe will be its 40th.  Fred had a booth at the Taos Wool Festival for 13 years, and will be back in the festival this year at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds located at 3229 Rodeo Road, east of the intersection of Cerrillos Road and Rodeo Road.  Fred's exhibit space for his business - Big Sage Artisans - will be A-04A in the Animal Pavilion.  We'll be happily ensconced with the critters - alpacas, llamas, rabbits, goats, and of course, sheep. 

Fred has been busy preparing work for the festival.  This week's blog features 8 of the 20 rugs he will have on exhibit.  The event is a good opportunity to see his work in the flesh and feel the ample texture and colors of rug-weight Navajo-Churro wool.    


Rug 344


Rug 370

Rug 370 product picture 1Rug 370 product picture 1


Rug 375

Rug 375Rug 375


Rug 381

Rug 381Rug 381


Rug 386

Rug 386Rug 386


Rug 391

Rug 391Rug 391


Rug 392

Rug 392Rug 392


Rug 393

Rug 393Rug 393

The 40th MAVWA Wool Festival will be held on Saturday, October 7 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, October 8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  The juried show is free and open to the public, and features the fiber work of 58 different fiber vendors as well as food vendors offering snacks, beverages, and lunch items.  

Thanks to Tim A., Christina, Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Deb R., TTT, Lucia, Terry T., and Steve for commenting on last week's blog!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Big Sage Artisans Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Fred Black MAVWA Mountain and Valley Wool Association Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography weaving Wool Festival Sun, 24 Sep 2023 21:05:50 GMT
mysteries of flight I am fascinated by birds in flight.  Some birds spend a lot of time on the ground, scratching with their bills and feet for their food, and then suddenly take to the air, as if to escape. Canyon towhees scrounge around parked motor vehicles to see what insects might be on the undercarriage or stuck in the grills. Others, including bluebirds, phoebes and flycatchers hunt flying insects, diving and turning wildly and abruptly until they catch the insect mid-air with a resounding snap.  Some are scavengers and cleaners, while others contribute to the continuation of species by eating fruit and seeds and discreetly (or not) depositing them on the ground.  But hummingbirds.  Ah, hummingbirds. They are the most amazing fliers, and I never tire of watching them.  Their aerial maneuvers and dog fights are challenging to photograph, and I have literally taken thousands of photographs of them over the years, particularly when we were living in Taos County.  So when circumstances aligned at a friend's house last week to photograph both hummingbirds and a drone, it was far too tempting to ignore.

While talking and eating, we could watch the world to the south, and a storm developing.  Since one hardly ever knows where and when it will rain in New Mexico, we watched and waited.  It ended up being quite the storm, complete with probably two inches of rain and hail.  As happens here, after the sky had opened and literally poured its contents onto the land, the sun emerged.  And as good documentary filmmakers do these days, our host pulled out her drone and computer system, preparing it to fly.  While it was taking off, I took some shots of it before it left our sight.  She flew the drone over the arroyos, and we watched in real-time as the water tore through them and over the land to end up, eventually, in the Rio Chama.  The drone looks rather alien in nature. 

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drone 3drone 3

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As with any aircraft, take offs and landings are the most tenuous times.  On this particular day, not landing in the water was also a priority.  Notice in this image that the propellers are still in motion, as they are in the other photographs.

drone 4drone 4

Because the storm had been a good twenty minutes in length, the hummingbirds needed to eat after it exited.  Got to keep those tiny bodies and hearts going.  I suspect these are all female rufous hummingbirds, although they could have been broad-tailed, except I did not hear the audible trilling of their wings that is one of their identifiers.    

hummingbird in Medanales 2hummingbird in Medanales 2

hummingbird in Medanales 1hummingbird in Medanales 1

hummingbird in Medanales 3hummingbird in Medanales 3

And after the rain, and the flights of the hummingbirds and drones, I still marvel at and appreciate the great mysteries of how both fly.

Thanks, Cristina, for the wonderful real-time show.

And thanks to TTT, Larry & Carol, Charleen, Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Steve, Christina, Pater, Lisa S., Ingrid, Catherine, and Marilyn R. for your comments on last week's blog. Enjoy the changing seasons, wherever you are in the world.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black drones hummingbirds nature New Mexico photography Sun, 17 Sep 2023 20:57:08 GMT
web of life As the horrible day in American history - 9/11/2001 - is being remembered- I ponder life and its connections or webs that bring us together.  An example from nature is a spider we have been watching with interest, trying to avoid and keep from walking through its web that is tethered to our patio walls, which have become its patio walls and home.  Far from being an insect photographer, I sometimes cannot help myself and must observe and then pull out my cameras to see what can be caught.

Araneus gemmoides or the cat-faced spider, is part of a family of orb weavers.  The lifespan is said to be a few weeks, but this particular female must feel quite comfortable and happy here because we have been watching her for at least a month.  We know it is a female because of its very large abdomen, as you can see here.  She was skillfully moving around her web and drinking water from the strands.  The cat-faced spiders' legs are quite long and spindly, and although I did not capture her using her legs for weaving, you can see how see they are used to construct the web.  The photographs were made over three days and late evenings.  

spider, cat face 4spider, cat face 4


You can see how very delicate the fibers appear but they are incredibly strong.  The "hairs" on the spider are actually trichobothria or sensory organs. The abdomens has spinnerets or spigots from which the protein is emitted to create a silk that is so strong it withstands wind and rain, and human idiots walking through the web.

spider, cat face 2spider, cat face 2

spider, cat face 1spider, cat face 1

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And the pre-Halloween special is this odd image created with a flashlight after sundown.

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The reason it is called a Cat-Face spider

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Many thanks to Barbara F. R., Christina, Jean & Sam, TTT, Catherine, Pat L., Carolyn, Steve, and Lucia for commenting last week.  It looks like we may have, surprisingly, a rainy week in northern New Mexico, offering its own opportunities for photography.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Cat faced spider new mexico photography spiders webs Mon, 11 Sep 2023 15:09:29 GMT
labor of love It is Labor Day, 2023.  Although 1894 was the year the U. S. Congress declared the first Monday in September every year as a holiday to honor American workers, the first celebration happened in 1882 in New York.  The holiday also dates back to the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886.  According to an article in Wikipedia, a rally by labor organizers "began peacefully in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after the events at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, during which one person was killed and many workers injured.[3] An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded."  In other words, it was a significant and history-making event, after which "eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy."  Seven were sentenced to death.  Blood was shed to improve working conditions in factories, and to create the eight hour work day, holidays, and weekends. That should never be forgotten. To read more, Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Haymarket Affair.

Today, the holiday is so beloved that huge numbers of people are on the highways and in the skies, taking advantage of the three day weekend.  I doubt the workers involved in labor rallies at that time imagined such a thing, or foresaw sales on sofas and other stuff as part of the holiday.  But the fight for decent treatment of workers prevails, as members of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Writers' Guild of America continue their strike action.  Even though many think of these strikes as being frivolities, there are serious issues involved, including the use of artificial intelligence to replace actors' images and to write scripts. Copyrighting work is almost always an issue for artists.  I am glad people are still fighting for their rights in the workplace, wherever that may be.  

In addition, there is a huge amount of work in America being done by a relatively unrecognized group of people - volunteers.  Quietly, but steadily and efficiently, these people perform labors of love every day in almost every area, including in schools, libraries, hospitals, animal shelters, food banks, gardens, within the national park system, and numerous non-profit and emergency aid organizations.  Given last week's blog on Valles Caldera, I thought more information was called for about the volunteers or near-volunteers who have contributed to the restoration of the area and other wilderness and ranch locations damaged in years past by humans, other animals, and machines.  

Renea Roberts - producer, editor, and director for R3 Productions - along with her team and contributors, are putting together a five-part documentary series on water restoration titled Thinking Like Water.  It features renowned forester and water wizard Bill Zeedyk.  Zeedyk is author of Let the Water Do the Work:  Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels.  Anyone who has lived in the Southwest has seen channel cuts, also called head cuts.  Many people see it as erosion, which it is, but it can be fixed.  Zeedyk and numerous volunteers he has mentored over the years, have worked on restoring these cuts, including at Valles Caldera.  Zeedyk's restoration strategies have been adopted by many government agencies, paid contractors, and private landowners, in addition to the all volunteer Albuquerque Wildlife Federation. The Thinking Like Water website is well worth exploring. along with the trailer for Thinking Like Water, front and center on the link.  At just over twelve minutes long, it is a great introduction to Zeedyk and volunteer restoration work in the Southwest.  You can learn more about and support the project, and spread the word about it.  I raise a glass to all of you who volunteer! 


East Fork of the Jemez River, a good case for meandering

Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 5Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 5

It was exciting to see how many of you have visited Valles Caldera in years past and were just as enchanted by the place as I am, including Barbara F. R., Victoria, Donna and Dave, Catherine S., Claudia, Tim, Ingrid, Ann A., Lawrence, Jean and Sam, M. Fred B., Marilyn G., Terry T., and Steve. Thanks also to documentary filmmaker Cristina McCandless, who among others, is doing drone footage for the series and alerted me to it.  

Since today (in addition to being Labor Day) is the first Monday of meteorological autumn, I hope all of you are ready with cameras in hand to take advantage of the special light that comes with the season.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©








(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Don Unser Labor Day nature New Mexico photography Renea Roberts Thinking Like Water volunteers William deBuys Sun, 03 Sep 2023 21:10:50 GMT
Valles Caldera There is a very large hole in northern New Mexico.  A circular depression in the earth that covers some 13 miles in width.  It is Valles Caldera, formerly known as Valle Grande.  Now part of the National Park Service, its official name is Valles Caldera National Preserve.  From NM Highway 4 via Los Alamos, or U. S. 550 through Jemez Springs to NM 4, at first glance, you might not even see anything other than a lower, grassy spot with volcanic plugs, cones, and other features surrounding it.  But according to the Park Service, when you stand anywhere in the middle, "you are standing in a sunken volcano.  Its eruption 1.25 million years ago was 300 times larger than Mt. St. Helens in 1980."  To say it altered New Mexico's landscape radically is an understatement.  "Ejected ash fell as far as Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming".  Not to mention what happened to the immediate area.  Cerro La Jara is a tree-covered small, broad bump (hardly the technical term) in the right middle of the photograph below.  There is an easy trail walking trail that surrounds it.  By walking it, you begin to get a feel for how big the area is, and how you really are in a huge basin.

Valles Caldera and Cerro La Jara 2023Valles Caldera and Cerro La Jara 2023  

We New Mexicans appreciate all water features.  The East Fork of the Jemez River, which some from the wetter parts of the country might call a creek, runs through the caldera.  The image below is looking east. 

Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 1 2023Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 1 2023

Looking west along the river, you will notice other volcanic features.

Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 2 2023Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 2 2023

Grasses being laid down by the water in the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 3Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River 3

Coots and their chicks take advantage of the water.

Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River - coots - 2023Valles Caldera East Fork of the Jemez River - coots - 2023

I suspect many of you reading this have hiked extensively in the caldera, whereas my experience is relatively new and limited.  But it is an extraordinary piece of New Mexico.  With luck, you will be able to visit, walk, and hike Valles Caldera at some point in the future.

Thanks to Lawrence, Victoria, Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Earle, Lisa S., Steve, and Catherine for following along and commenting last week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Jemez River mountains nature New Mexico photography Valles Caldera volcanoes Mon, 28 Aug 2023 01:11:15 GMT
Indian Market One of the largest yearly art events in Santa Fe, and probably New Mexico, is the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Indian Market.  It was held this weekend on the Plaza and surrounding streets.  This year's market was the 101st, and it was the first we had attended in five years.  It was a joy to spend time at the market.  In addition to seeing some incredible art, the people watching was unsurpassed.

Some 51 years ago, we first encountered the Indian Market on a rainy August afternoon in Santa Fe.  We had just been married and were taking everything in, not really knowing what it was.  It has grown and expanded remarkably since then, with the 2023 market featuring more than 900 American Indian artists.  Our visit this year was primarily to enable Fred to meet one of the weavers in the Rainbow Fiber Coop, along with seeing the work of others featured on Instagram.  From my 31 July blog, you might remember the beautiful Navajo-Churro wool that Fred purchased in lustrous indigo and cochineal. Here is Zefren-M, the weaver (and jeweler) who dyed the wool, styling in his reversible pancho.  

Zefren-M 1 Indian Market 2023Zefren-M 1 Indian Market 2023    

Zefren-M 2 Indian Market 2023Zefren-M 2 Indian Market 2023

Zefren-M 3 Indian Market 2023Zefren-M 3 Indian Market 2023

Fred finally was able to start Rug 393 last week, using Efren's indigo and cochineal-dyed wool, along with Rainbow Fiber Coop dark grey.

Rug 393 detail 1Rug 393 detail 1

Rug 393 detail 2Rug 393 detail 2  

And Indian Market would not be complete with a surprise or two, one of which came in the form of a swallowtail butterfly in a puddle of water on Palace Avenue.

Swallowtail on Palace AvenueSwallowtail on Palace Avenue

Thanks to Tim A., Char, Barbara F. R., Claudia, Jean & Sam, Steve, and Catherine for your comments this week. 

until next Monday, 


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fred black indian market new mexico photography southwestern association for indian arts swaia swallowtail butterfly weaving zefren-m Mon, 21 Aug 2023 00:57:29 GMT
Gilman Tunnels Having lived much of my life in New Mexico, I often find myself wondering why there are so many places in the state about which I have read or heard very little or nothing.  One such place is the Gilman Tunnels in the Jemez National Recreation Area, roughly five miles northwest of the intersection of Highway 4 and Highway 485.  I read about the tunnels while researching the Jemez Mountains, and they certainly are impressive.  I was dwarfed by the height of the massive granite jumbles and stacks out of which they were blasted and cut.  The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources division of New Mexico Tech (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology) in Socorro provides both historical and scientific data on the area.

"Two narrow and unusually high tunnels were cut through Precambrian granite in the 1920s to facilitate passage of logging trains through this particularly rugged and constricted section of Guadalupe Canyon, known as the Guadalupe Box. Logs that were harvested in the western Jemez Mountains in the 1920s were taken by narrow-gauge railroad to a sawmill in Bernalillo. The tunnels were enlarged in the 1930s to accommodate logging trucks."  ( Not only was I impressed by the size of the tunnels and the colossal rock of the area, but by the work that must have been required to find a suitable area and survey it in the first place, and then to blast and clear rock, without having the luxury of fossil fuels and trucks to haul materials.  The original road to the area was probably sketchy to say the least.  Like many of the tunnels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, was well as other places around the world, human power made the project possible.  The image below is of the first tunnel you would approach driving from Jemez Springs on Highway 485.

Gilman Tunnels 2Gilman Tunnels 2

Two closeups of the tunnel ceilings and walls

Gilman Tunnels 3Gilman Tunnels 3


Gilman Tunnels 1Gilman Tunnels 1

I insert this detail of the southern part of the Guadalupe Box detail as a demonstration of the massive rock and complexity of it.  Some of the rock sheets seem to be shaggy and ready to slough off at any time.  Notice a cave forming in the center of the bottom third of the photograph.  

Gilman Tunnels/Guadalupe Box 2Gilman Tunnels/Guadalupe Box 2

shooting north in the Guadalupe Box

Gilman Tunnels/Guadalupe BoxGilman Tunnels/Guadalupe Box

"The lower stretch of the Guadalupe River canyon exposes a thick section, including Permian redbeds of the Yeso Formation, Glorieta sandstone, and Triassic Moenkopi and Chinle strata, capped by thick exposures of Bandelier tuff." ( I can guarantee you my memory won't hold all this information, but the photograph, again, demonstrates the incredible and complicated (not to mention beautiful) geologic history of the area. 

Gilman tunnels - Guadalupe Box 1Gilman tunnels - Guadalupe Box 1

As the seasons begin to change and move toward the equinox next month, I hope you are able to get out and take advantage of the special light.  The trip to the Gilman Tunnels is well worth your time.  Although Highway 485 is the former railway grade and bed, it is well maintained and an easy drive.  If you continue further into the Guadalupe Box region, the road which carries the number 376, requires a four-wheel drive vehicle.

My thanks to Tim A., Connie T., TTT, Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Catherine, and Steve for commenting this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black geology gilman tunnels guadalupe box jemez national recreation area jemez river new mexico new mexico bureau of geology and natural resources photography rio guadalupe rocks Sun, 13 Aug 2023 22:16:24 GMT
this and that As the summer heat continues here and in many places around the globe, and beads of sweat roll down my brow, I still find myself grateful for living at 7,000 feet elevation in the Southwest, where a breeze or a pool of shade can provide almost immediate cooling.  Opening windows in the early morning hours allows cooler air to fill the house before the heat of the day sets in.  It provides periods of time for writing, developing and curating photographs, working on several online books I am putting together, and jelling other ideas that pop randomly and whirl around in my brain.  Plus spending what seemed far too much time researching different businesses for self-publishing books took up part of the week.  But it is always an adventure, and an occasional surprise to see where things lead.  Searching through photographs for another project I am doing involving black and white images, I came across this photograph of a hummingbird I rendered in 2018.  Bizarre but fascinating.

hummingbird abstract 2018hummingbird abstract 2018   

These red columbines that were growing along a waterfall on the Aspen Vista Trail near the Santa Fe Ski Basin are remarkably similar to the Aquilegia "Little lanterns" columbines I planted in our yard.  They are, no doubt, related.

Columbine, red 1 2023Columbine, red 1 2023

The shooting stars, also growing near the same waterfall, were a refreshing surprise.

Shooting Star 1 2023Shooting Star 1 2023

Both sides of the trail were covered with Richardson's geraniums.  Ever wonder how the bright red house plants and these are related?

Richardson's geranium 1 2023Richardson's geranium 1 2023

I am considering the images above and others for one of the books I am designing.  The other book will feature some geological portraits in New Mexico and southern Colorado.  Naturally, the Ghost Ranch area near Abiquiu will be an integral part.

O'Keefe Country landscapes - still life by natureO'Keefe Country landscapes - still life by nature

O'Keefe Country landscapes designs in sandstoneO'Keefe Country landscapes designs in sandstone

Who knows what will evolve during the week in the world of writing and photography for all of us?


Thanks to Connie T., Robert, Terry T., Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Robert, and Kelli D., for commenting this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch blacks crossing photography books daryl a. black nature new mexico photography red columbines Richardson's geranium shooting stars Mon, 07 Aug 2023 01:28:38 GMT
a bug and a seed It was literally Christmas in July when Fred received the box containing ten pounds of Navajo-Churro wool from the Rainbow Fiber Co-op.  Skeins of the indigo and cochineal-dyed wool are eye popping.  But first, some background on the Co-op.  

"Rainbow Fiber Co-Op is a Diné-led agricultural co-operative established to improve the financial sustainability and equitable market outcomes for the remaining flocks of Dibé dits’ozí (Navajo-Churro sheep) on the Navajo Nation. Our mission is to close the gap between rural Diné shepherds and an e-commerce marketplace for their wool."  You can find more information, see their product, and even shop online by looking at their website linked here.

Using one of my favorite references on color The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, I was able to expand on my knowledge of both colors, which in the case of cochineal was that the dye is made from a bug.  

Rainbow Fiber Coop indigo and cochinealRainbow Fiber Coop indigo and cochineal

It never ceases to amaze me how things are discovered and put to use in human lives.  According to St. Clair, the insect from which cochineal is made, was not actually identified as an insect until the 17th century, when its confirmation was made under a microscope.  Dactylopius coccus, specifically the female, is no larger than the size of a pinhead.  Dactylopius dines voraciously on the prickly pear cactus, where they can be found in "snowy white clusters on the sunny side of the prickly pear cactus leaf...If you were to pluck one off and squeeze hard enough to crush it, your guilty fingers would be stained bright crimson."  It is one of the most brilliant and flexible of the natural dyes.  St. Clair adds that "it was used as a dye in Central and South America from at least the second century B. C. and became intrinsic to the Aztec and Inca Empires."  In the hands of a skilled dye master, including Zefren Anderson based in Shiprock, who dyed the wool shown here, the color shines in all its glory.  It is called Navajo-Churro Zefren's Red Cochineal.  The wound balls are the Co-op's dark gray, which I found to be quite reflective of the light in which it was photographed.  Perhaps that is because the Navajo-Churro sheep wander through the many colors of their environments?

Rainbow Fiber Coop cochineal and charcoal greyRainbow Fiber Coop cochineal and charcoal grey

Rainbow Fiber Coop cochinealRainbow Fiber Coop cochineal

Shifting now to indigo or the seed mentioned in today's blog title.  Indigofera tinctoria or true indigo, is a member of the pea/bean family - Fabaceae. St. Clair, again in The Secret Lives of Color, indicates that although its origins were thought to be in India, the Middle East and Africa, it grows in many areas world-wide and its discovery and use for dying could have been made in numerous places.  Apparently, it is notoriously difficult to render and create the dye, and thus was given great value.  "Males of the Tuareg tribe in Northern Africa are given tagelmusts, or headscarves, at a special ceremony that marks their transition from boy to man.  The most prestigious in the community wear the glossiest indigo tagelmusts, whose gloriously resonant hue is developed through multiple rounds of dying and beating.  Because it has always been so highly prized, indigo has, from as far back as records and educated guesswork allow, been a bedrock of global trade."  The gloss or patina in the indigo from Rainbow Fiber Coop is quite apparent in the images included here.

Rainbow Fiber Coop indigo, cochineal, and charcoal greyRainbow Fiber Coop indigo, cochineal, and charcoal grey

Rainbow Fiber Coop indigoRainbow Fiber Coop indigo

Rainbow Fiber Cooper indigo, charcoal grey, and cochinealRainbow Fiber Cooper indigo, charcoal grey, and cochineal

Fred has not yet used the cochineal or indigo, but the dark grey field from the co-op was used in Rug 391.

Rug 390Rug 390

Thanks to Connie Taylor, Zefren Anderson, Kelli Dunaj, Nikyle Begay, and all the artisans, herders, spinners and dyers who are involved in the Rainbow Fiber Co-op and its mission, and of course the Dibé dits’ozí (Navajo-Churro sheep).

TTT, Ann A., Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Marilyn G., Steve, and Marilyn R. commented on last week's blog and I thank you for your words.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography cochineal daryl a. black indigo kassia st. clair navajo-churro wool new mexico photography prickly pear cactus rainbow fiber coop the secret lives of color weaving zefren anderson Mon, 31 Jul 2023 15:16:35 GMT
the power of nature Nature is part of us and we are part of nature.  Sometimes we notice it more than others, especially when nature reflects the changing climate, as has been the case for the past couple of weeks, or the truth be known, decades.  It was just much more profound this July than during years past. Searing heat around the planet, drenching rains resulting in deadly flooding, wildfires that sent holiday makers on the Isle of Rhodes literally packing.  Hardly anyone was spared the impact of and power of nature, whether it was from a major catastrophic event or things that, in the scheme of things,  were relatively minor.  Ants, eau de skunk, or bears and deer joining neighbors for dining.  The Power of Nature surrounds us, so why not take joy and find things that make us smile?  

As someone who appreciates gardens as a source of that good energy when things are busy enough to keep me out of the mountains or desserts, I turn my camera on them.  My continuing missions this week included selecting photographs for a couple of different collections I am honing for books, and rug photography for Fred's portfolio.  But at this time of year when some flowers are starting to wane, the knockout garden standby is a plant that always pleases from the moment its first leaf pokes through the soil until the frost take holds. That is the hosta.  Because many of the varieties have ample leaves that are variegated, beautifully shaped and delineated, the leaves rather than the subdued flowers are the stars. Although the flowers are nice surprises when they do appear.  The leaves create an automatic backdrop for the light purple flowers. 

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Showing off the leaves are hostas' speciality.

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I almost missed these flowers, sheltering under a neighboring leaf.

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It was intensely gratifying to hear from so many of you last week in regard to the agave bloom stalk life cycle.  It is still in bloom, with just about all of the bloom pods fully opened.  Some of you mentioned that you had seen blooms this year, including in Arizona, Oregon, and California.  So thank you, Christina, Victoria, TTT, Sandra B., Barbara F. R., Ross, Claudia, Charlie, Ann A., Susie, Terry T., Debbie, Marilyn G., Robert, Steve, Ingrid, Catherine, and Bob S. for your input and comments!  May your week be filled with nature's delights!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers hostas nature New Mexico photography Mon, 24 Jul 2023 15:09:04 GMT
alien plants? There are plants on this earth that look extremely alien or other worldly.  In my 4 June blog, I featured the yucca, the blooms of which can look quite alien.  But the process by which the agave (in the same family as yuccas) blooms is truly bizarre.

The agave likes heat.  It can grow in desert, high desert, and tropical climates, and many of its species have subdued and lovely shades of verdigris, making them perfect elements for New Mexico gardens.  Below is an image of the plant featured in today's blog two years before it evolved into its alien stage.

Because most agaves have many years on them before they arrive in a garden from their native habitats
 - as many as thirty or more - one can never really know its age or when it will bloom.  So when the bloom stalk appeared one day in a local garden around the corner, and continued to grow literally feet every day, we looked forward to seeing its progress on our daily walks.  This image was made on 4 June.  How much taller would it get?

Just 11 days later, on 15 June, I used a friend's height for scale (Robert says he's just shy of 6') demonstrating how much the stalk had grown.

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Another 15 days later, it had gained possibly another four feet and the bloom pods were starting to reveal themselves. 

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Each one of these branched inflorescences will explode, exposing bright yellow flower parts.

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The images below were made yesterday, another 16 days after the pods started to appear.  The bloom cycle lasts 3-4 months, and happens just once in a lifetime.  New agave-lets appear in the bloom bundle and fall to the ground.  Under the right conditions, they may grow into new agaves.  Which is the point, since, unfortunately, the agave has put its life energy into the process and then dies.  I feel lucky to have witnessed its life cycle.  As you can tell, this agave has not quite finished its presentation.

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Numerous stamens are waving in the breeze loaded with pollen.  The bees had already discovered the newly unfurled pods.

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Hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are able to deal with whatever weather conditions nature presents this week.  Thanks to Debbie & Steve, Marilyn G., TTT, Barbara F. R., Steve, Jean & Sam, and Lawrence for commenting this week.  And thanks to Ann for growing and caring for this agave, and to Robert for giving the bloom stalk scale.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) agave Blacks Crossing Photography bloom spikes Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography Mon, 17 Jul 2023 02:40:00 GMT
following the blooms Since I have been immersed during the last month in flower photography, specifically photographing peonies, it seemed appropriate to follow the peony blooms for one more week.  The blooms are long gone from the garden and the vase, but they remain visually alive, courtesy of cameras and technology.

Nearly every photo shoot I do involves some sort of backdrop for the subject, whether it is natural or human made.  To photograph the peonies featured in today's blog, I chose three colors as possibilities - grey, white, and black.  Two different black fabrics were used.  All three colors demonstrate how different a subject can be, dependent on texture and color of a backdrop.

The first two photographs show why so many photographers use a neutral grey for portraiture of any kind.  It is soft and capable of producing a lush color spectrum.

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White changes everything. The pink peony in the first photograph below  (which reminds me of the artwork of Charles Rennie Macintosh - architect, designer, and artist - who influenced Art Nouveau and the Secessionist Movement) has a pink tinge to it.

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White on white has a lightness to it that is completely different from the grey.

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Finally, black can be quite dramatic when used as a backdrop.  It is bold and pulls the eye from the backdrop, leaving only the subject for the viewer to peruse, as shown here, and in the image of the base of the peony.  

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I "pulled" the shadows a bit in the image below to show just a hint of the texture provided by the black lace fabric.

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Despite the fact that it was the 4th of July weekend, many of you commented on last week's blog including Mary Pat., Ann A., TTT, Terry T., Jean & Sam, Lucia, Christina, Steve, Marilyn G., Carol and Larry M., Barbara F. R., Robert, and Pauli.  Your comments are very much appreciated!  By the way, "Seating for One" seemed to be your favorite from the entrants for Shadow and Light Magazine.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico peonies photography still life photography Sun, 09 Jul 2023 23:41:20 GMT
time sensitive There are many eminently photographable things that are more or less static - mountains, meadows, trees, buildings, sculpture - and others that are not.  I would call those "time sensitive".  In other words, as a photographer, one needs to make the photograph relatively quickly or the subject changes.  Time sensitive things include plants with showy blooms.  Some have a long bloom cycle with changes within that cycle, while others seem to happen suddenly and disappear just as quickly.  I have spent the last three weeks making over 300 images of peonies - both in a garden setting and against backdrops - trying to capture the beauty with efficiency and daily attention to their changing nature.  

I also devoted time in the past month curating images for Shadow and Light Magazine's Color It Red special issue competition.  Below are a few of the images I included.

"Seating for One"



"Shade Sails"

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"weaving detail"

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"Carol's peony"

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And I wish I had made the competition deadline with this beauty, but perhaps next year.  

"Peony on black 1"

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I hope all of you in the United States have a safe and beautiful Independence Day holiday.  

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Paule M., Victoria, Marilyn G., Catherine, Lisa S., Marilyn R., Steve, Ingrid and Dianne J. for your kind and most welcome comments on last week's blog.  My gratitude also goes to Cristina and Carol for providing the blooming inspiration!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Color It Red Daryl A. Black fiber flowers nature New Mexico peonies photography red Shadow and Light Magazine still life Mon, 03 Jul 2023 15:10:15 GMT
mountain refractions From certain points in the city of Santa Fe, one can look up and see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  In that first glance, the season becomes evident.  Gold and red in autumn, snow in winter, bare stone in early spring, and then shades of green begin to creep up the slopes as the aspen come into leaf.  The draw of the mountains is clear, and we must get to the rarified air to see what is on nature's menu in June.  Walking from roughly 9,900 feet to 10,600 feet in elevation on the Aspen Vista Trail changes everything.  There is something about it that is difficult to explain. You can feel the whole of nature in your bones and senses.  There were surprises, in the forms of brisk waterfalls and growth on the conifers that only happens when there is a good snow pack.  And many different wildflowers, some of which I had not seen in quite some time.  A future blog will hold some images of those, but today, water - that wonderful resource holding our bodies together - is the subject.

Mountain streams and waterfalls in New Mexico are petite compared to those in other locations around the world.  Nonetheless, they are gems. Using roughly 1/30 of a second shutter speed gave a most interesting photographic effect.  At first blush, the shutter speed slows down the water just enough to give a nice blur, as shown below.

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But focusing in, the water appeared, at times, to be one sheet of shrink wrap flowing over the rocks.

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I hope your screen is big enough to see a couple of things in the shot below.  The lens captures the water, making it appear that it was frozen in time.  Also, in the bottom third of the shot, toward the center, there is a diagonal line of five dots that appear to have been applied by a white pen.  There are a couple of other places in the bottom half of the photograph where this happens as well.  It is water literally stopped in frame.

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Pulling back offers an image of the sequence of three drops of the falls.

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Not only did the waterfalls fascinate me, but the resulting slower water as it crossed the trail/road captured my attention.  Water gently moving over rocks and sand.  The sequence of photographs below were captured at 1/170 of a second at f8, allowing refraction to be caught in the most interesting ways. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, a ray of light can be refracted by water, air, or glass which causes the light ray to change direction when it enters at an angle.  There was so much happening in several places that I spent a good amount of time watching and photographing the light and water dance.  Viewing the results was the equivalent of finding jewels in the water.  

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Knowing full well that there are many of you reading who are in the throes of very uncomfortable heat, my hope is that it won't last long and allow you to enjoy summer.  Thanks to Lucia, Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, Peggy, Steve, Claudia, TTT, Marilyn G., Catherine, Karla P., Charlie K. C., M. Fred, Veronica, Lena D., and Bill & Sue for kind comments this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Aspen. Vista Trail Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black mountains nature New Mexico photography refractions water waterfalls Sun, 25 Jun 2023 22:32:55 GMT
fiber abounds Artists of any ilk know there is much more involved in creating a piece than the end product.  It is the culmination of concept, materials procurement, resources, communication, production, and advertising.  That was the essence of this week in Fred's weaving business.  Not only was he able to make new contacts with people in the Navajo-Churro wool business, including Kelli Dunaj at Rainbow Fiber Co-Op (more at, a Dine' led agricultural cooperative, but he ordered 30 pounds of their natural dark grey rug weight Navajo-Churro wool.  Fiber will be even more abundant in the loom room when that joyous order arrives.   Until then, he continues to weave and just completed Rug 389, a detail of which is shown below.

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He dyed four pounds of a natural oatmeal color from iiiDogFarm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque - two pounds a Flame Red from Greener Shades and two pounds of the same red along with a pinch of Greener Shades Sunshine Yellow.  Thanks to Andrea Harrell and Lulu, Cody, Gabe, and Bubba for sharing their wool.  The pure Flame Red-dyed is on the left hand side of the image, the natural oatmeal on which it is dyed is in the middle, and on the right side are the skeins dyed with Flame Red and added Sunshine Yellow.      

Navajo-Churro wool, hand dyed by Fred BlackNavajo-Churro wool, hand dyed by Fred Black


The last time I featured Fred's weaving here was in March while he was working on Rug 384 in which he used remnants from last year's weaving.  Because all the wool he uses is hand-dyed, dye lots vary, and thus, each and every rug is different.

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Rug 385, below, is in the Moki style, which utilizes narrow stripes.

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Rug 386 is as close as Fred gets to a pictorial weaving.

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Hanging over a balustrade or wall, an observer can see "weather" in the rug - stylized clouds with rain or virga above the mesas and canyon, and a river running through it.   

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Rug 387 is in the style of a Navajo Chief's blanket (Phase II)

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Finally, a blending of six different dye lots of the same red - Chile Colorado (from Tierra Wools in Chama) - using the ombre or shading technique, make Rug 388 pop.

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It was great to hear from Bill and Sue, TTT, Connie, Barbara F. R., Christina W., Charlie, Sam & Jean, Marilyn G., Steve, Ingrid and Marta this week!

Hope your week, and particularly the Solstice on Wednesday, bring extra light to your photography and your lives.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) big sage artisans blacks crossing photography connie taylor daryl a. black fiber fred black iiidogfarm navajo-churro wool new mexico photography rainbow fiber coop weaving Sun, 18 Jun 2023 21:49:11 GMT
paper or poppy At the risk of becoming known exclusively as a flower/plant/garden photographer, which is not the case, I, nonetheless, venture again this week into the world of flowers.  Some extraordinary poppies in a neighbor's yard captured my attention.  Fully three to four feet tall in all their glory, they were hard to resist.  The saturated salmon color of the poppy below - Papaver orientalis - reflects the Latin meaning of the genus name "pop up".  But you can also see why it is one of the favorite flowers made with crepe paper.

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The white of the poppy below does not diminish its beauty in any way, with the large blotches of inky color at the base.  An orchestra of nature is playing furiously in the middle of the flower. 

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a black and white photograph showing more of the inner workings

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I had never seen this color of poppy before.  Depending on the light, the color ranged from mauve to plum to purple.  Each is stunning.  

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Thanks to Victoria, Lisa S., Barbara F. R., M. Fred, Kay, Christina W., Ann A., Steve, Marilyn G., and Catherine for commenting this week!  I hope you find some excellent subjects to photograph during the coming week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography poppies still life Sun, 11 Jun 2023 20:40:27 GMT
equal time On 14 March 1927, House Bill # 371 officially declared the yucca (Yucca glauca) the New Mexico state flower.  I am the first to admit my time photographing the impressive flower stalks is limited.  But after spending a good chunk of time photographing columbines, the Colorado state flower, I thought it was appropriate to give our state flower equal time.  Viewing, researching, and photographing them - close and personal - resulted in some true appreciation for the people who chose to add the yucca to our state symbology.  Researching the botanical family for the yucca was a bit of a rabbit hole, however.  In years past, the yucca was considered part the the lily (Liliaceae) family, but now a group of new families in the old lily family have emerged.  From what I gather, it is now considered part of the Agavaceae family, a group of plants that over the millennia have been used for everything from shampoo and soap, to shoes and tequila.  Apparently, every part of a yucca is edible, except for the roots.  

The flower stalks of the yucca go through quite an evolution before coming to full bloom.  Emerging from the bottom of the plant, surrounded by green leaf spikes, they look like alien creatures.

The brown/burgundy color begins to lighten as the blooms start to open.


Thread-like filaments curling along the leaves' edges are pure design.


The blooms are quite delicate and lovely, counterpoints to the needle-sharp leaves.

Yucca blooms have a sheen that makes them look like ripe fruit.

I must include here the mammoth bloom stalk of an agave plant I noticed for the first time this morning.  Watching it evolve is going to be very interesting!


Thanks to all of you who commented on my Memorial Day blog and the meaning of the day, including Victoria, Barbara F. R., David O., Phyllis, Jean & Sam, Connie, Brenda, Ann A., Sara, Earle, Orlando, Steve, and Ingrid.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico New Mexico State flower photography yuccas Mon, 05 Jun 2023 01:32:50 GMT
we remember It is Memorial Day in the United States of America, a day designated by Congress on 11 May 1950, to honor U. S. military members who died while in service.  

"In honor and recognition of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer and reflection.  The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance."  

President Biden proclaimed today, May 29, 2023 as a day of prayer for permanent peace.  "I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day."

Memorial Day has become a collective day of remembrance of all who have died and passed from our lives.  There are sometimes heated discussions about why only military members are remembered and not peacemakers and conscientious objectors to war.  But one thing I suspect most people can agree upon is the idea, wish, or prayer for permanent peace.

In the spirit of remembering and peace, I am including photographs that seem particularly peaceful, each for different reasons, but that conjure those feelings. As is the case with the bench image below, surrounded by leaves in a cemetery, the images can be in urban or more natural settings.

A reflection of the Grand Teton in Jenny Lake, with stones

A dried lotus blossom among leaves draws in both the eyes and the spirit.

There is nothing like a healthy, open ponderosa pine forest and the smell of the sun-heated bark emitting a butterscotch/vanilla fragrance. 


Williams Lake on the way to Wheeler Peak in New Mexico is the perfect resting spot.


Looking up through an aspen canopy of fall quaking leaves settles the soul....

Trees - aspen 2021 4.jpgTrees - aspen 2021 4.jpg does the sight of a columbine flower in deep shade.

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I hope that each of you has a Memorial Day filled with good memories of those who have passed and with new memories of those with whom you celebrate!

Thanks to Ingrid, Barbara F. R., Connie, Steve, Catherine, Jean and Sam, Heather H., and Bill and Sue for writing this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©






(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen trees Blacks Crossing Photography columbines Daryl A. Black Jenny Lake Grand Tetons Memorial Day New Mexico photography Ponderosa pine trees Williams Lake Mon, 29 May 2023 01:36:40 GMT
inside, out, and all around In between the most delicious and welcome rain showers this week, my camera and I were photographing numerous columbines.  The state flower of Colorado, the columbine is complicated and photogenic, and there are abundant species.  Here is an image I took years ago of a Rocky Mountain Columbine Aquilegia caerulea, along the Winsor Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest.  Needless to say, it was love at first sight and I have been growing and photographing different species ever since. 

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Like breeds or species of all stripes, columbine come in different sizes, colors, and shapes.  To begin the parade is the columbine "Little Lanterns". In Latin, Aquilegia canadensis is diminutive.  Rather than unfurled petals, the little lantern hangs down from the stem, like a lantern, and more like a bud.  The spurs come together at the top of the flower.

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The image below was taken in the morning after one of this week's rains the evening before.

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Next in size is the columbine Origami Red and White Aquilegia caerulea, the same species as the Rocky Mountain Columbine, with similar structural features, but different color and size. 

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The next two photographs are of a columbine Swallowtail Aquilegia species.  It has not yet completely opened, given the cooler temperatures.

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Finally, McKana Giants Aquilegia mckana hybrida columbines, are the largest as far as the actual plant is concerned, with a maximum size of 36 inches in height.  It was a fascinating challenge to try to photograph these amazing flowers, inside the depths of the petals, outside the petals, and complete with spurs all around.

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It was great to hear from so many of you last week, including Victoria, Barbara F. R., Char, Jean & Sam, Steve, Catherine, Marilyn, Connie T., Heather F. H., Lluvia, Robert, and Lawrence J.   I hope all of you are finding wonderful things to ponder and photograph on this exceptional planet of ours.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aquilegia blacks crossing photography columbines daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico photography Mon, 22 May 2023 02:13:14 GMT
red dirt The human brain is an extremely complicated entity.  And each human brain, although basically structured the same way, is different.  It dictates how we learn and how we remember.  Driving around the Jemez Mountains during the last couple of weeks has brought back memories but has also made me realize how our memories are heavily based on a person's age and interests at any given time.  For instance, I did not remember while driving the miles of highway shoulders and pullouts that they are composed of red dirt. I am so accustomed to seeing varying shades of tan or light brown sand and gravel that comprise dirt roads in the state, that I had totally forgotten or perhaps had never noticed the red.  Of course, I wasn't driving during many of those early visits to the Jemez and possibly was seeing different things. Too young to drive.  I suspect many of you have a broader knowledge of the geologic makeup of the region than I do.  Pumice, obsidian, flint, tuff, and red scoria are familiar to me.  But the rest I have just begun to research.  I knew it was there because several women from Jemez Pueblo showed a group of us young Girl Scouts where they procured their clay for making pots.  I would have no clue where those places were and would absolutely not be able to find them today. Regardless, the red sandstone remains, and it is just as brilliant and eye-popping as it was in the late 1960s.  Driving from Highway 550 to Highway 4 through San Ysidro and Jemez Pueblo to Jemez Springs, is a real visual treat.

I made this photograph of the geological jumble along the west side of the highway.  The pillars in the top of the image (could be maar deposits) give way to red sandstone layers of a different type and consistency.  It is vintage Jemez.

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Layers worked by water and wind and time abound.

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These resemble a human-constructed dwelling.

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Sandstone guardian

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Thanks for Barbara F. R., Lisa S., Jim & Louise W., Steve, Geula, Catherine, Steve, Christina, Robert, Paule, Claudia, and Pauli for writing this week.  

Who knows what next Monday will offer?  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Elza Seligman Girl Scout Camp Jemez Mountains Jemez Pueblo landscapes nature New Mexico photography Mon, 15 May 2023 02:16:27 GMT
layers of memories Today's blog is courtesy of a question asked a month ago by friend and photographer extraordinaire, Steve Immel.  In the process of curating photographs of California to select ten of his best for an article, Steve asked how would I do the same when it came to New Mexico.  It was truly a brain game that made me look through numerous slides and prints, as well as digital images.  I certainly know what some of my favorite places are, but found representative photographs sorely lacking.  From Bandelier National Monument, to Jemez Springs, Soda Dam, Battleship Rock and Valles Caldera, the Jemez Mountains are rich in volcanic formations and ponderosa pine forests (also known as western yellow pine). They form the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains.  I almost feel as though the area is part of my DNA, having spent two weeks each summer for ten years at Girl Scout camps in the area.  In my opinion. the sensory richness of the area is very nearly unmatched.  So you now have fair warning that much of my photographic work for the coming summer months will be a revisit to some of the most beautiful and compelling parts of the area. 

Since the beginning of April when temperatures began to warm, the small towns of San Ysidro and Jemez Springs, New Mexico, experienced flooding from the runoff of excellent winter mountain snows.  The snow melt prompted warnings about not pulling off the side of Highway 4 because of the rushing water.  Every time I checked the state of New Mexico highway conditions map, indications were given about the highway being patrolled and police telling people they would not be allowed to utilize the shoulders for parking.  But the latest warnings were from the third week in April and I decided last week might be a good time to take a photographic trip to Soda Dam, north of Jemez Springs and Jemez Pueblo.  The drive would be enjoyable even if pulling off was not allowed.

As it turned out, the day was perfection, and the small parking area near Soda Dam was not only open but empty short of one vehicle.  For at least forty-five minutes, we had the place to ourselves.  I mentioned the sensory richness of the Jemez earlier.  As we opened the car doors, the smell of sulphur took us back, I am not certain where or even to what time, but it was the start of a heady experience - a delicious stew of smells and sounds.  The roar of the water made me realize why the authorities cautioned people not to go near the river.  Although there are many more public swimming pools in the state than during my childhood, there are still a good many who do not know how to swim.  The speed and intensity of the water would have taken even skilled swimmers for quite a ride. 

It is best to begin with a full shot of Soda Dam and the Jemez River going through the calcareous rock.  Layer upon layer of history deposit themselves in the formation, which, according to, is fifty feet high and fifty feet wide at the bottom.

Soda Dam, New Mexico - 2023 15Soda Dam, New Mexico - 2023 15

Within the body of the dam are small caverns and gnarled, contorted layers, shaped and worked by nature.

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The noise of the water rushing through the opening was impressive, shown in the trio of progressively closer images.

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The other-worldly nature of these formations cannot be overstated.  It is seriously complicated by forces geologists can identify but the likes of me cannot.  

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A detail of the lower right hand part of the formation (travertine deposit) in the image of above makes me think of a wood burl.  

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Finally, since Soda Dam is part of the Jemez area, filled with geothermal features, and the dam is fed by 117° water from Valles Caldera, several types of algae or cyanobacteria, thrive here.

Soda Dam, New Mexico 2023 30Soda Dam, New Mexico 2023 30

Thanks for coming along for the ride, and my appreciation goes to Bill P., Barbara F. R., Christina, Lisa S., Jean and Sam, Steve, and Catherine for commenting last week.  Some very uniquely layered red dirt will be the feature of my next biog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black geology Jemez Mountains landscapes nature New Mexico photography Soda Dam travel volcanic activity Sun, 07 May 2023 19:08:45 GMT
market bubble I heard a story some time ago about a stock market bubble in the 1600s (1636-1637) is the date given by multiple sources) about tulip speculation, and wondered, as I continued to photograph lovely yellow tulips, if it was true.  According to Investopedia, it was indeed the case that "speculation drove the value of tulip bulbs to extremes.  At the market's peak, the rarest tulip bulbs traded for six times the average person's annual salary."  "At the height of the bubble, tulips sold for approximately 10,000 guilders, equal to the value of a mansion on the Amsterdam Grand Canal."  At the time, the most expensive tulips were the Semper Augustus - a beauty of cream and burgundy-red flowing stripes - and the Viceroy, which was red mixed with yellow striations, according to The Garden of Eden blog.  Investopedia gave a bit of a disclaimer by indicating that the amount being paid could have been greatly exaggerated, but there is documentation of the wealthy paying exorbitant prices to place them in their gardens. However, by the end of 1637, due to any number of things that apply to finances and the stock market yet today, including leverage, the tulip bubble burst in dramatic fashion.  Another cautionary tale.  Today, bulbs are amazingly inexpensive for the beauty they impart.  Which is why I continue to photograph them, even the solid yellow ones in their plainness.  Sometimes, the single color allows a photographer to get close and define the bowls and petals, and appreciate nature's touch. Both images were shot at around 2 p.m, and, courtesy of variable cloud cover,  it was possible to capture two different moods. 

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Flowers - tulip 3 2023 3Flowers - tulip 3 2023 3       

Like every person who has taken their phone or camera out to capture snow on patio furniture, after the recent, wonderful snowfall, I made my way outside, camera in hand, as the sun was beginning to melt the snow in the late morning light.

Flowers - tulip and snow 2023 1Flowers - tulip and snow 2023 1

Flowers - tulip and snow 2023 3Flowers - tulip and snow 2023 3

As the tulips declare "Happy May Day", I thank Barbara F. R., Terry T., Catherine S., Jean & Sam, Steve, Bill P., and Larry & Carol for your comments on last week's blog!  I like to imagine all of you out and about with your cameras/phones this week, making photographic magic happen!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography tulips yellow Mon, 01 May 2023 01:16:07 GMT
a blog full of buds The buds are everywhere and in abundance.  It is spring, which in New Mexico also means that either the wind or a late frost may diminish their beauty.  I figured with both of those things forecast this week, I needed to get out and shoot as much as I could.  For the past week, the blossoms have beckoned.  Today's blog is heavy with buds from bulbs and flowering fruit trees alike.

First featured are assorted flowering plum tree blossoms that have been in bloom for several weeks.  It was during one of my first shoots of those trees I realized that the buds were equally perfect subjects.  Here is an image of buds and blossoms providing color rather than focus and form. That is left to the branch shadows on a stucco wall generating a bit of an abstraction.

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Below is a single flowering plum tree bud.  It is why I pursued buds this week and why it was well worth the time.

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Here is another flowering fruit tree bud.  I have no idea what type of tree it graces, but am guessing it could be a crabapple.

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The buds here that are beginning to open are actually on the same tree as the bud featured in the previous photograph.

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Pulling away from the closeups gives an entirely different  perspective.

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The tulip buds I photographed took their time in opening.  Here is what I would call phase 2, when the color begins to appear.

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The bud here is poised to open.  In addition to the flower, I liked the waves created by the tulip leaves at the base.

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It opens.

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It was terrific to hear from so many of you last week, including Barbara F. R., Sandra B., Bill P., Lisa S., Jean & Sam, Ann A., Steve, Catherine, M. Fred, and Ingrid!  With luck, you will make some wonderful discoveries when you are out and about this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography buds Daryl A. Black flower buds flowering fruit trees flowering plum blossoms flowers nature New Mexico photography tulips Sun, 23 Apr 2023 21:32:03 GMT
all in the cup Spring really burst forth in this part of the Southwest last week, and with it, many more blooms of assorted types.  So in addition to photographing weaving details, I spent a good bit of time in the garden exploring assorted daffodils and flowering fruit trees.  In addition to the flowers, it occurred to me that buds are very nearly as beautiful themselves.  Those will be included in a future blog.  But today, it is all about the daffodil cup or corona.


The daffodil "Ice Follies" was featured in last week's blog, but the way light and shadow enveloped the ruffled cup shown here, made it a feature this week.

Flowers - daffodils - Ice Follies 2023 8Flowers - daffodils - Ice Follies 2023 8  


The same is true for this King Alfred daffodil.  The structure of the cup looks so sturdy that it seems to be able to hold almost anything.

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On the other hand, the Thalia daffodil shown below has petals and a cup that, in proportion, seem much longer and more delicate. 

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The stamens look like a starfish contained within the cup.

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Finally, the Tazetta daffodil or minnow, has very diminutive flowers, measuring one inch or 2.54 centimeters.  It was on-the-ground photography for this one. 

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Thanks to Christina, Barbara F. R., Lisa S., Ingrid, Catherine, Marilyn G., Steve, Lawrence, and Susie for commenting on last week's blog.  Yours words in addition to the flowers, are a breath of spring!

I hope you and your cameras will be out and about this week, discovering the evolution of life!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography daffodils Daryl A. Black flowers Ice Follies daffodils King Alfred daffodils nature New Mexico photography Tazetta daffodils Thalia daffodils Sun, 16 Apr 2023 22:56:34 GMT
a nod to spring After fits and starts from nature, we are having some true spring days in the southern Rocky Mountains.  To celebrate, today's blog is a nod to the season from the flower world, specifically daffodils.  Although some forsythia bushes are beginning to bloom in the city, there are few plants or trees blooming right now, particularly since a late frost claimed many of the early apricot buds and flowers.  So the harbingers and sure signs of spring happen to be the daffodils in our garden.

Two varieties are included in today's blog.  The Ice Follies bulbs produce a medium-sized flower with white petals and a yellow cup.  Here is a group I photographed in bright, late afternoon light.

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The photographs that follow were made between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning, when available light was bright but softer in feel.

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The cups are filled with pollen, a veritable flow of it.

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There is mystery produced by the shadow and light in the two images below.

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Every single part of the cup is apparent in this image.

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A smaller daffodil or narcissus bulb carrying the name Tete a Tete, produces flowers with a combination of yellow petals and orange cups.  This one is nodding until the warmth of the sun helps it unfurl. 

Flowers - daffodils - Tete a Tete 2023Flowers - daffodils - Tete a Tete 2023

Thanks to Ross, Ingrid, Barbara F. R., Steve, Catherine, and Charleen for commenting this week.  Happy Trails to Cristina, and Robert as they return home from their travels.  And may all you photographers who are reading this find more than ample subject matter to photograph as seasons change in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography daffodils Daryl A. Black flowers Ice Follies daffodils nature New Mexico photography Tete a Tete daffodils Sun, 09 Apr 2023 21:10:58 GMT
the painted landscape Before humans (including painter Georgia O'Keefe) arrived on the scene, the earth's geologic forces were at work, and the shaping is ongoing. We are simply unable to see the change in terms of a day, week, month or year, or even decades.  The painted landscape in northern New Mexico, west of Abiquiu, could easily be a geology master class, millennia in the making.

Echo Amphitheater is part of New Mexico's Carson National Forest.  Most people who enter the area do so to experience the acoustic wonder. Below is an image of the amphitheater itself that produces the great echoes.  

Echo Amphitheater 1Echo Amphitheater 1  

Listening to people whispering, yelling, whistling, clapping their hands and making assorted noises and then hearing the sound ricochet is compelling.  But to me, the formations around it are the most amazing elements of the place.  You can almost see the original artist at work, layering the sandstone and applying  desert varnish over the centuries.

Echo Amphitheater 2 (1)Echo Amphitheater 2 (1)  

Formations surrounding the amphitheater are stunning in their layering and color palette.

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Weather shapes, softens, and alters the colors over time. 

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One can see pillars forming in the monolithic masses of Jurassic Entrada Formation sandstone (pink to orange) and in the caps of Jurassic Todilito Formation limestone.  These are just the basics of a very complicated geological region, described further in an article from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Echo Amphitheater 6Echo Amphitheater 6

The geological region extends east of Echo Amphitheater, as shown here, and into the Ghost Ranch area.  Jurassic Entrada sandstone is found throughout much of the American West, including in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, in addition to northwestern New Mexico.     

Echo Amphitheater/O'Keefe County 1Echo Amphitheater/O'Keefe County 1

Although Echo Amphitheater is currently closed for renovation, work is expected to be complete by late fall or early winter.  (The irony of the previous sentence just hit me!). You can still drive up to the bar gate and enjoy the landscape and quiet.  

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Peggy, Veronica, Christina, Catherine, Donna & Dave, Steve, Lisa S., Sara, and Jean and Sam for your comments on last week's blog.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography carson national forest daryl a. black echo amphitheater geology Jurassic Entrada formation Jurassic Todilito Formation new mexico photography rock formations Sun, 02 Apr 2023 20:37:22 GMT
the stone of March Oddly enough, this week's blog began with one of the base leaves of a head of green cabbage, and how it seemed a perfect cup in which to photograph the birthstone of March - aquamarine.  A bit like an oyster and its pearl.  On the wall calendar I look at everyday while working at the computer, is a rather large number of people who were born in or who married in March, starting with Susie S. and proceeding to Steve and Peggy, Debbie and Rock, Jan T., Brenda M., Terry T., Andrea S., Deb H. Jean G., Sam G., Sam W., Sara M. W., and ending with Carol R.  So one thing lead to another and ultimately camera setups celebrating the March birthstone.

As you can tell from my regular use of the cabbage in numerous images, I find them weirdly photogenic.  Lots of nice, soft curves and variations in shades of color seem to make a single leaf a perfect backdrop.  Even as I placed and photographed the necklace, I could hear the question of a friend "What are you smoking up there?"  Nothing but imagination gone wild.

Still life - aquamraine & cabbage 2Still life - aquamraine & cabbage 2

By working with my macro lens, the cabbage background is a little more mysterious and the stone and necklace more pronounced.   Still life - aquamarine & cabbage leaf 1Still life - aquamarine & cabbage leaf 1

Shooting it from a slightly lower angle, the stone and chain are almost like an oyster and pearl

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Speaking of shells, I used a large clam shell for the presentation below.

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Far from being an expert on sea shells and marine life, I needed to do a bit of searching for this shell, a small conch.

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Using another angle of the conch and aquamarine, the natural light filtered through storm clouds accentuated the blue hue of the stone.

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Happy Birthdays and Anniversaries to everyone whose names are on calendar, and to those I may have missed.  I hope you have had grand celebrations and that the last week of March does indeed go out like a lamb.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aquamarine Blacks Crossing Photography cabbage Daryl A. Black March New Mexico photography shells still life photography Sun, 26 Mar 2023 21:33:18 GMT
off the loom Many artists - including weavers and photographers who live in colder climates - use winter as a season for indoor work.  Whether it is the art itself, organization, bookkeeping, or public relations, artists continue to work during the darker season.

This is the case for my husband Fred, who weaves six hours a day, using 125 pounds of Navajo-Churro wool, and producing 20-24 pieces of weaving (mostly rugs) annually.  Between the beginning of January and the Ides of March this year, he wove four rugs.


January brought Rug 380 from the loom room.  The rug's field is oatmeal grey, dyed black, cobalt, and chile colorado.

Rug 380Rug 380

For Rug 381, a piece where arts and crafts tradition meet the Southwest, Fred used a light natural grey wool as the field, dyed black for the borders, and Ganado red.  It appears to the eye that he used a dark grey, but while weaving, he alternated light grey and dyed black, which produced the look of dark grey. Here it is in progress on the loom.

Rug 381 detailRug 381 detail


Below is an image of the completed rug.

Rug 381Rug 381

In the detail below, notice the single line or shot of light grey just beneath the top of the black border.  It is the last line of light grey, a way out, as it were.  This is used historically in Navajo or Dine' weaving, and is frequently called a "spirit line" or "weaver's path", according to Navajo historian Wally Brown.  In Navajo or Dine', ch'ihónít'i - a weaver's path - is added to a bordered rug in order to keep the weaver's mind from being locked up inside the rug by the solid border.  You can read more about this and other traditions at Mr. Brown's website here.

Rug 381 Spirit line detailRug 381 Spirit line detail

In the third piece of 2023, Rug 382, Fred used a very dense and luscious natural charcoal grey, along with dyed wool in cobalt blue, chile colorado, and Tierra Amarilla.  It feels supportive and spongy underfoot.

Rug 382Rug 382


The quartet is completed by Rug 383, with wool dyed at Tierra Wools in brown heather, red heather, rust heather, calabasa, Tierra Amarilla, turquoise, and iron springs.  

Rug 383Rug 383

I brought the pieces together with some of the wool used in them.

Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 1Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 1

A slightly different angle

Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 2Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 2

Today is the spring or vernal equinox, a time of emergence.  I hope it is also a time of unbridled creativity for all of you!  Thanks to Barbara F. R., Melissa M., Terry T., Steve, Catherine, and Robert for commenting this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©









(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Big Sage Artisans Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography rugs Tierra Wools Wally Brown weaving Sun, 19 Mar 2023 19:33:30 GMT
hungry? Not that I am intentionally trying to make you hungry, but I spent what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time this week reviewing images, and creating and photographing food.  It is something I enjoy doing, and this time, it was a contest for the Santa Fe Reporter Food and Restaurant edition that got my creative juices going.  When I assembled the photographs (according to the specs, "images are of finely plated restaurant dishes; home-cooked successes; gorgeous ingredients from the garden; or other artful interpretations") and tucked them in a folder on the computer, I was pleased until I discovered the contest entry fee was for each image.  It required that I be a bit more discerning about my choices. The images included in today's blog were some of the "also rans", but each holds its own interest.  

As I have indicated before, when you prepare something for photography but intend to eat said subject, timing is of the essence - both to make the photograph and to eat the dish in a timely fashion.  I had pondered backdrops and locations, using them at a variety of times during the week, with both natural and other lighting, and made lists of which images in what conditions worked and which did not.

Because of the higher temperature and shorter potential window of time that presents itself when making a pizza, (a pesto pizza) I only used two locations. The first was on a pizza stone and table in some nice controlled natural afternoon light.

pesto pizza 1pesto pizza 1

In the second shot, some natural light was filled with LED lights.

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Below is a shot of green chile enchiladas.

green chile enchiladagreen chile enchilada

Homemade bread using natural light from the south and west

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Finally, an image utilizing an iris and chocolates gifted to me some years ago.  My lack of adequate documentation leaves me without the local chocolatier's name.  The designer chocolates could have been from either Chocolate Smith or Kakawa Chocolate House.


Thanks to Paule, TTT, Dianne J., Ann A., Ingrid, Carol, and Robert for your blog feedback this week.  Despite flooding and massive snow in California, spring seems to be bursting there, with blossoms on fruit and ornamental fruit trees bombing every disaster video.  Things are happening here as well, with the first sighting of migrating cedar wax wings visiting the neighborhood this week.  I hope your cameras and binoculars are in hand as the week progresses.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food photography nature New Mexico photography still life Sun, 12 Mar 2023 20:09:47 GMT
splash of spring Since the 1st of March is the beginning of meteorological spring, and since we saw two honeybees yesterday despite patches of snow here and there, and since the first daffodils are emerging from the ground, it is time to include a splash of spring color in today's blog.  Mind you, there will be many frosts, much wind, and probably (hopefully) more snow on the New Mexico landscape before most plants start to bloom, but some of the beauties included here will make appearances in the next month or so.  

Some of the first flowers to bloom on the mesas are ground huggers, and to capture a good image, photographers need to be equally adept at either sitting or laying on your back to achieve that.  The Easter daisies suddenly seem to appear at one's feet.  Wandering lazily, I sometimes stepped on them before I realized they were there.


Another ground hugger is the Santa Fe phlox, shown below.  In a good year after much snow and rain, it is everywhere, in what seems to be the worst, cracking soil.  

The cacti - including hedgehog and claret cup - throw splashes of brilliant fuchsia, red/orange, and yellow at your feet and in pockets of sandstone.

Very site specific and somewhat picky about where they grow, paintbrush can be real show offs in years with good moisture.

Finally, turning to the mountains just after the snow melts, at elevations between, I am guessing, 8,000-9,000 feet, wild iris are spectacular.  They are great fans of wetness, growing along streams or in somewhat boggy areas.  Huge fields of them cover parts of the Pecos Wilderness as well as areas along Highway 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.   

Thanks to TTT, Veronica, Barbara F. R., Christina, Brenda, Kay, Pauli, M. Fred, Catherine, Heather H. and Steve for reading and commenting this week!  It is wonderful to hear from each and every one of you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography claret cup cactus daryl a. black easter daisy flowers hedgehog cactus nature new mexico paintbrush photography wild iris Sun, 05 Mar 2023 23:28:24 GMT
New Mexico encore When I started blogging in 2010, which seems a lifetime ago, one of my purposes was, basically, to show a week in a photographer's life.  As I have written here many times, artist, sculptor, and photographer Sam Taylor once told me that "if you consider yourself an artist, you have to do your art every day."  I take that to heart and do just that.  Being a photographer and writer, the breadth of what can be done in a single day is substantial.  I do both.  This week, there has been much to document in my journal (in a burgeoning "Pages" file on the computer), as I also continued last week's curating process of New Mexico photographs for publication.  Thus, today's blog is an encore presentation of some of the photographs I have selected.  

In the image below, a healthy thunderstorm is developing over the western part of Taos County.  If you look closely in the bottom third of the photograph, there appears to be a black line.  That line or gash is actually the Rio Grande Gorge, concealing he 800 foot depth of the opening until one comes much closer. The photograph was taken from Highway 68.


Another broad landscape is produced by the lava flow and sandstone of which El Malpais National Monument between Grants and Gallup is comprised.

Malpais 1 2022Malpais 1 2022


One can find the flowers known as paintbrush in many New Mexico locations, but not all come complete with a well-aged deer antler.


The Brazos Cliffs south of Chama

Brazos Cliffs New Mexico 2021 2Brazos Cliffs New Mexico 2021 2


Native American corn


Ft. Union, in the northeastern side of the state, was once a crossroads for commerce, settlers moving west, and the military.


The boots below are a little fancy for the likes of Ft. Union, but they are a New Mexico tradition.


Buildings of religious significance - including Catholic churches and kivas - can be found in every town, village, and pueblo.  Here is a modern church in adobe style at sunset.

It was wonderful to hear from so many of you last week, including Christina, Marilyn, Lawrence, Ann M., Dianne J., Heather H., Steve, Catherine, Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Victoria, Brenda, Carol, and Ingrid.  ¡Muchas gracias!

until next week,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Brazos Cliffs Daryl A. Black El Malpais Fort Union marmot Native American corn New Mexico paintbrush flower photography Rio Grande Gorge Taos Mon, 27 Feb 2023 23:35:00 GMT
New Mexico not Fargo The past week, photographically, has been spent curating photographs for publications in a variety of media sources.  Negatives, slides, and digital images are all in the mix.  There was a good chunk of time in the late 1970s through roughly 2005 when I was writing and publishing fast and furiously.  After that, my focus was on blogging, entering art festivals in Taos County and nationwide, both physically and electronically, as well as working with a select few publications.  Thanks to two different neighbors and a couple of friends who keep me well-stocked with assorted magazines and books, I decided it was high time for me to return to the publishing world and get my work into broader distribution.  I also felt that given the fact that our beautiful sunny sky for which the great American Southwest is known had reverted to a backdrop more in keeping with Fargo, it was time to bring some brilliance to your computer, tablet, and phone screens.  Across the seasons, here is a selection of New Mexico images, starting with what I call "Yin and Yang" coyotes.  No alteration involved here.  These siblings were keeping warm on a rainy day. 


Claret cup cactus on the Arroyo Hondo trail south of Santa Fe

Rio Grande Gorge



There is hardly anything more iconic in New Mexico than the geology of the Abiquiu area.


Cottonwoods found along rivers and streams in the state are trees for every season. 

The colors of chile are everywhere.

chiles for OCAchiles for OCA

From the old world to the new, flamenco is also part of who we are.... are rodeos around the state.

As the hints of a slight change of season fill the air, I hope you have ample opportunity to enjoy and photograph the world around you!


Thanks to Victoria, Jean and Sam, Ingrid, Christina, Barbara F. R., M. Fred, Catherine, Robert, Carol, and Steve for commenting this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Abiquiu geology Blacks Crossing Photography claret cup cactus Daryl A. Black flamenco feet landscapes nature New Mexico photography Rio Grande Gorge rodeo Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:51:24 GMT
gaggles and a flotilla As promised last week, today's blog features snow geese at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro, New Mexico.  While attempting to capture the sandhill cranes to the sound of bursts from multiple cameras, I noticed a band of white almost directly across the water. It was snow geese that we hand seen earlier from a distance.  I suspected they would probably move by the time we drove over to the other side of the north loop.  But there was a large gaggle still there, eating, stretching their wings, dozing, and talking.  If I only knew the language.  It ranged from a steady, friendly din of squawks to outright cacophonous at times. In my sight, they were dazzling.

Bosque - snow geese 1Bosque - snow geese 1

Because there were so many, the geese poured over onto the road, as if waiting for their closeups.  They always seem to be on a mission.

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One of the most fascinating things about birds is their feathers.  They seem absolutely perfect.  The neck feathers look as if they have been braided or woven like a rope.

Water beads on the feathers.

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Occasionally, they seem to form a flotilla, with most heading in one direction on the water...

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...and the next minute, they are out on their own.  Ultimately, the group prevails.

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By the way, many of you wrote during the week to say that wild turkeys are literally running wild in towns all over the United States, from the West Coast to the East coast, and are considered pests.  The same is true for both Canadian and snow geese, demonstrating the sometimes tenuous intersection of humans and nature. 


Thanks for Barbara F. R., TTT, Suz, M.Fred, Paule, Ann A., Steve, Luella, Orlando, Catherine, Heather H., Brenda, Christina, Robert, and Jean and Sam for your comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds blacks crossing photography bosque del apache wildlife refuge daryl a. black nature new mexico photography snow geese Sun, 12 Feb 2023 18:47:22 GMT
for the birds Given the ten-day forecast and the clear weather predicted, it was time to head to another of New Mexico's jewels - Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro and a short drive from San Antonio.  It is one of those places to which nearly as many photographers flock as birds, and it is extraordinary.  Fred and I were trying to think of the last (and only) time we were there.  35-40 years ago?  Regardless, seeing so much water alone was worth the price of admission, as they say.  It gave us a larger picture of the vast extent of the acequia system along the Rio Grande, the fields that are fed by that river water, as well as the habitats it supports.  

Bosque del Apache is known for being the wintering ground for sandhill cranes and snow geese, and both were still there in good numbers.  Our plan was to spend the day, and charge our electric Bolt along the way.  Since we did not spend the night in Socorro, I did not plan on catching sunrise and sunset shots of huge flocks of birds rising into the sky and/or flying in from other areas.  My plan was to look, and be surprised and content with what could be found and photographed.  I most certainly was.  

First, a photograph of a sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) in the field.  Other photographers with perhaps 300 mm lenses as opposed to my 70-200 lens, were shooting bursts of 5 shots at a time.  There was much complaining about the cranes having their heads down, enjoying the goodies in the fields, and digging the dirt with their ample beaks.  The sure identifying mark is the red on the crown.

Bosque 2023 sandhill cranes 4Bosque 2023 sandhill cranes 4  

While shooting the sandhill cranes scattered throughout the fields, two Tundra swans took flight.  The docent at the gate told us we might see them.  Apparently, they have only been around the Bosque the last two-three years.  

Bosque 2023 - tundra swanBosque 2023 - tundra swan


While touring the north loop of the refuge, I was surprised by a group of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).  As long as I have been hiking in New Mexico, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen turkeys.  Here they were in all their glory.  I think these may be the Rio Grande variety.

Bosque 2023 - turkey 1Bosque 2023 - turkey 1

Bosque 2023 - turkey 4Bosque 2023 - turkey 4    


I am the first to admit my near-total lack of knowledge about water fowl.  When I saw these ducks, I thought they were mallards.  But after downloading the photographs and comparing the bills of mallards, I knew I was completely wrong.  These "dabbler ducks" are Spatula clypeata or northern shovelers, and I was totally enchanted by them.  Their thick, stout bills are designed for shoveling and retaining all the assorted bottom goodies found in shallower reaches.

Bosque - shoveler (northern) 3Bosque - shoveler (northern) 3

My mission in the image below was to catch the shoveler's wake.

Bosque - shoveler (northern) 2Bosque - shoveler (northern) 2

As with many of the birds we saw, they were doing one of four things.  Eating, sleeping, talking, or stretching and flapping their wings.  This shoveler was catching a quick rest, always aware with an eye open.

Bosque - shoveler (northern) 4Bosque - shoveler (northern) 4

Here is a female shoveler, also at rest.  

Bosque - shoveler (northern) 5Bosque - shoveler (northern) 5

I figure all of the birds are bulking up for breeding and nesting season.  Next week:  snow geese in abundance.


Thanks for Barbara F. R., Victoria, Paule, Jean & Sam, Lawrence, Ingrid, Steve, and Catherine for commenting on last week's blog.  

I hope that wherever you are this week, great photographic opportunities present themselves.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge dabbler ducks Daryl A. Black nature photography sandhill crane shovelers tundra swan wild turkeys Sun, 05 Feb 2023 23:07:06 GMT
a little light lunch In photography, as is the case with almost everything else is life, the devil is in the details. Viewing the food photography every day in the online New York Times, I take mental notes of how the prepared dish is lit, arranged, in which dish or dishes it is contained,  as well as the backdrop. What I noticed most recently in the Times is that the photographs shifted from a dark background and dishes to much lighter.  Both food and photography are great interests of mine, and I tend to notice these things photographing food as still life.  When doing a cooked dish or baked goods shot, the subject matter has to be prepared first, and organization is the key.  After things like soups and stews are prepared, a photographer can take her or his time, in most cases.  I ladled a broccoli, red pepper, and cheddar chowder into a small bowl, photographed it, and put it back into the pot.  Then it was on to the almond flour muffins.  When they finished baking, I removed them from the muffin tin and placed one on a plate, filled the bowl with chowder again and did a second shoot.  Just barely in time for the first knock on our door.  The table still needed to be dressed, but our friends are easy.  We can talk and do that at the same time.  

The solids of this chowder or soup get cut first.  Unless a photographer has assistants, or is altering the food in some way, potatoes are time-critical because of oxidation.  I didn't spend much time dawdling.   Natural light and dimmed overhead light were used.

Cheese and vegetable soupl 1Cheese and vegetable soupl 1

The initial ladle of soup is shown here in two slightly different positions.  The golden hue of the cheese gives its own backdrop to the veggies.

Cheese and vegetable soupl 3Cheese and vegetable soupl 3

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The accompanying muffin completes the light lunch.  

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Each time I photograph food, I realize what a true art it is, and that I have a lot to learn.  But what is cooking, photography, and life without a daily lesson?


Thanks to Brenda, Barbara F. R., Ingrid, Sandra B., TTT, Suz, Catherine, Steve, Kay, Robert, Christina, and Paule for your thoughtfulness and comments last week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cheese chowder Daryl A. Black food photography photography soup still life vegetables Mon, 30 Jan 2023 16:17:17 GMT
per chance to photograph Each season presents itself to the observer or photographer in its on way.  It is up to us to look for those wedges of space and time that make themselves available.  During winter, storms here frequently come from the west, heralded into the picture by wind in fits and starts.  Then, suddenly, huge, nearly blinding flakes of snow fall from the sky with great mass and speed, obscuring all else.  Such was the case last week.  I went into the garage and noticed that the personnel door was flocked.  It took no more than about ten seconds to realize this is something that needed to be photographed - like a rainbow - immediately.  The combination of door and snow was too much to ignore.

Shooting from the inside out, which backlit the snow and left the decorative uprights in shadow, brought the abstract shapes and architectural elements of the arts and crafts door almost equally into focus.  You can see a hint of color in each, courtesy of the stucco wall.  All the images in this series were taken with the Fujifilm X-T5 and 30 millimeter macro lens.

snow-flocked door 5snow-flocked door 5  

snow-flocked door 1snow-flocked door 1


Each glass panel creates its own abstraction. 

snow-flocked door 8snow-flocked door 8

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The graceful curve spanning the uprights gave the snow scene its own delineation.

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A second image, similar to the one above, reminded me of a bow drawn with an arrow held on the rest.

snow-flocked door 10snow-flocked door 10

Thanks to Barbara, TTT, Pauli, Steve, Brenda, Christina, Jean and Sam, Terry T., Victoria, Catherine, and M. Fred for commenting this week.  I hope that each of you has a chance encounter to photograph this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture arts and crafts movement Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black frost New Mexico photography snow still life winter Mon, 23 Jan 2023 16:37:42 GMT
basic black and white A fresh, new year, and time to enter Shadow and Light Magazine's Black and White 2023 photo competition.  Actually, I entered in December and already know that the cover winner was a photograph by Heidi Egerman, but a number of slots for 6-8 runners up and finalists remain.  Still, I wanted to present a selection here for you to see.  The drama of clouds above stuccoed walls fit the shadow and light requirement.

cloud image 4 January 2022.jpgcloud image 4 January 2022.jpg   


The Pecos National Monument mission church shadows with distinct shadow and light characteristics seemed a good choice as well.

The kiva ladder at Pecos has much more subtle shades of black, white, and grey.

The white Columbine below reflects a sharp white and leaves that fade to black.

And the rose in shadow harkens the early days of black and white photography.

Roses - Corliss 2022 2Roses - Corliss 2022 2


Here's to you, Ben, with our admiration and thanks!  May you have fair winds and following seas. 


Thanks to Christina, Steve, Barbara F. R., TTT, Connie, Suz, Earle, Catherine, Jean & Sam, Victoria, and Ingrid for your comments this week, even though some of you had power outages and an excess of rain water knocking at your doors.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black and white Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico Pecos National Monument photography roses Shadow and Light Mon, 16 Jan 2023 00:37:02 GMT
music of the loom One doesn't need to look far in our offices to see fiber - whether it is a random piece that has floated onto the floor, joining other pieces of wool fuzz in a corner - or a full-blown rug.  One of the nice things about doing art as your passion and business is that it is not dictated by holidays. Fred and I both work at what we do every day.  The rhythm of the loom is not far away, with the beater bar (shown on the left-hand side of the image below) being moved forward and back to pack the wool tightly into the design.   The sound of the shuttle going through the warp and zing of it being thrown makes a music all its own.   

Rug 379 detail 3Rug 379 detail 3

The rhythm section is the warp - the strands of which can be seen here.  It provides the structural baseline of the weft or design. 

Rug 379 detail 1Rug 379 detail 1


Rug 379 is a variation on the theme of a Spider Woman Cross.  In many cultures it represents the gift that Spider Woman gave to humans, teaching them to spin thread and weave.

Rug 379Rug 379  


Rug 380 has four movements separated by the same complex design including what are sometimes called hourglasses or Chinle stars - artistic elements used in weaving world-wide.  The melody is in the eyes of the beholder or the ears of the listener.  

Rug 380Rug 380

Rug 380 detail 4Rug 380 detail 4

Rug 380 detail 1Rug 380 detail 1

Shooting the rugs and their details, provided some excellent exercises in the past month, learning about and using both the 30 mm macro and 16-80 XF zoom lenses on the Fujifilm X-T5 mirrorless camera.

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Ann M., Mary Pat, Veronica L., Connie, Steve, Catherine, Kay, Lisa, TTT, Andrea, Ann A., Dianne J., Maryanne, and Robert for your comments and inspiration this week.

until next week,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black fiber Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography Spiderwoman Cross weaving Mon, 09 Jan 2023 16:51:08 GMT
new year, new lens It is a new year.  And this first blog features my recent practice with a new lens, the Fujinon aspherical lens, 30 mm macro, 1:2.8.  The smaller the number on the lens after the 1, the bigger the aperture or opening, and greater amount of light the lens allows in.  This is important in a close-up or macro lens because often, the smaller the subject matter, the less light might fall on it, particularly in circumstances where light cannot necessarily be controlled.  Enough on the technical. One thing is certain, I am already smitten with this lens.  My thrift has kept me from ever purchasing a macro.  Another one of those things that makes a person say "I should have done this a long time ago."

Pomegranates and bromeliads were the unwitting subjects.  Luckily, they didn't mind.  As a fellow photographer said when I was working with her on a spontaneous photo shoot, "You shoot in circles around your subject".  That is true.  I circle it, change positions, get down on the floor or ground, shoot from above, basically trying to get as many angles as I can, and change backgrounds.  It is all a grand experiment.

The pomegranate's skin looks like a cross between a dyed, treated piece of leather, and a planetary surface.  The "crater" in this planetary image is the calyx, in which the stamens (male fertilizing organ of a flower) are housed.  

Food - pomegranate 1 2022Food - pomegranate 1 2022


Here are a few of the backgrounds on which I placed the fruit, each showing different streaks and splotches of color in it.

Food - pomegranate 5 2022Food - pomegranate 5 2022

Food - pomegranate 6 2022Food - pomegranate 6 2022

Food - pomegranate 9 2022Food - pomegranate 9 2022

The next subject is a bromeliad.  For most in the United States, these are houseplants, but in coastal California and desert areas, they are outdoor plants.  Much to my surprise, the bromeliad is in the same family as the pineapple, as well as Spanish moss and some epiphytic orchids.  They are native to the tropics and subtropical areas of the Americas, and one is native to tropical areas of west Africa.  (Thanks to the folks at Wikipedia for the information.) 

Although the above photograph shows what most people would recognize, I wanted to capture something different, and thus, went for the leaf stalk.  These are three different images made as I turned the pot in the incoming light.

Flowers - bromeliad 2 2023Flowers - bromeliad 2 2023

Flowers - bromeliad 3 2023Flowers - bromeliad 3 2023

The acuteness of focus is revealed in different parts of the inner leaves because of the shallow depth of field.  Thanks for your patience as I share, photographically, the reason I love the macro lens.


Thanks to TTT, Barbara F. R., Lisa, Steve, Kay C., Catherine S., Pauli, Robert, Sara, Char, Jean & Sam, and Ingrid for your comments on last week's blog.  

My wish for 2023 is that it is full of creativity and learning as you pursue life's secrets and challenges.

until next Monday,


      a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography bromeliads Daryl A. Black flowers food nature New Mexico photography pomegranates still life Mon, 02 Jan 2023 00:14:47 GMT
flickers and projections The sun is streaming through the window onto my hands as I write on this Christmas morning.  A rotation of seasonal music is playing, including that of pianist George Winston, the Chieftains, and the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas, written and performed by renowned jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, along with Fred Marshal and Monty Ludwig on double bass, and Jerry Granelli and Colin Bailey on drums.  A combination of music that makes me smile and brings tears of joy to my eyes.  It is perfect.

Last night after dark, we walked around the neighborhood since we had been told many people were putting up farolitos.  The farolito is so simple and magical.  All it takes is a paper bag, the likes of which some of us carried to school filled with our lunches.  Make a nice cuff on the top of the bag to give it structure.  Pour enough sand or dirt to weigh down the bag and keep it from blowing in the wind (about one-quarter to one-third of the bag).  Place a votive candle on the sand.  That is it.  The gentle curve of a wall or linear character of a city sidewalk are only enhanced by the little fires.


Wall projections complement the farolitos in the next two images.


The outline of a patio wall draped with traditional lights cuts to the night sky.

Blue lights lend a mystical look to the stucco and stair rail.

I hope you are able to bask in the lights of the season as we move into 2023 next week!


Thanks to Barbara F.R., Steve, TTT, Ann A., Catherine, Carol, and Pater for your comments this week.  And a very Happy Birthday to Ben! 


until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Christmas decorations Daryl A. Black farolitos holidays New Mexico photography Sun, 25 Dec 2022 19:36:57 GMT
into the light This week is one of wonder and light.  Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began last night.  Wednesday is the Winter Solstice, and Sunday is Christmas.  In many ways, when you think about it, the time has been celebrated for millennia by people on Earth as a transition from the darkness into light.

Most in the northern hemisphere have noticed that the days seem to be shorter and the nights longer.  It is true.  As we approach the solstice this Wednesday, 21 December, which is the day with the least light of any day of the year, each day becomes shorter.  For instance, today, the length of the day in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be 9 hours and 44 seconds.  Tomorrow will be 6 seconds shorter.  And that varies the farther north you go. The people in London, for instance, will have 7 hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds of daylight on the solstice.  In Stockholm, the sunrise on the winter solstice is at 9:40 in the morning.  It sets at 2:18 in the afternoon.  That is a little over five and a half hours of daylight.  It gives me the chills just thinking about it!  

So in today's blog, I celebrate light in whatever form it comes, even if subdued.  Remember on Thursday morning, the days will begin their lengthening process as we move toward spring.  In northern New Mexico, our farolitos (and in central and southern New Mexico luminarias) serve as reminders of light and new beginnings.


We are lucky to have electricity that cleverly provides as much or as little light as one prefers.

And there are always candles that have lit the way for humans since their invention.

wine reflectionwine reflection

I end the week's celebratory blog with a photograph I made in March of 2013, of St. Francis de Asis church in Ranchos de Taos.  It was after a milonga (tango dance) at Old Martina's Hall, and snow had begun to fall.  I had my camera with me because I was taking photographs of pre-milonga dance lessons.  One of our tango buddies, Steve Villalobos said, as we all walked outside into a light snow, "Look at that.  The church is beautiful.  You have your camera.  Why don't you take some pictures?"  I was hesitant.  Too dark, I thought, and way too cold.  But Steve is always adventurous, and as an artist himself, knows a good thing when he sees it.  So, with camera in hand, I walked to the sidewalk and made some photographs with my trusty Nikon D800 and 70-200 mm lens.  The ISO was 6400 and with a shutter speed 1/25 of a second.  By golly, it worked, and the resulting photographs ended up being the few night shots of the church in winter, without farolitos.  Thanks, Steve!

Ranchos church on a snowy nightRanchos church on a snowy night

As we go into the light of the holidays and beyond, I thank everyone who commented this week including Pauli, Barbara F. R., Catherine, Ann, Lisa, Ingrid & Robert, Steve, and Christina.  Happy Birthday to Marilyn R., Lena D., Dave K.,and  Jessica F.  And the happiest of holidays to all of you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black light New Mexico photography Solstice Mon, 19 Dec 2022 17:05:59 GMT
baubles and balls When a person walks or runs every day, particularly if the route is similar or the same, you tend to pick up little hints about others who walk daily. You meet the dogs and learn their names before you learn the names of their owners, or people with whom you have casual conversations.  It was at least a year before we learned the name of a man we saw applying a clear protective film, known as a clear bra, to the fronts of the most outrageously beautiful and expensive vehicles.  It was always a treat to see on which vehicle he was working on any given day.  Anthony is a true professional, and while I walked yesterday, he was moving a new BMW.  He had just finished applying the film onto the entirety of the 240i. Camera in hand, I asked him if I could shoot some photographs, and he said yes.  How could I resist?  As I frequently say, that is a story for another day.

But back to today's blog.  While walking during the Christmas season, outdoor decorations pop up little by little, day by day, some even before Thanksgiving.  There are human-sized snowmen, with air pumping inside at a steady flow, that seem to frighten even the boldest and biggest dogs. And being New Mexico, bagolitos (the plastic, all-weather version of the traditional farolito made of paper bags and candles) appear on the roof parapets at a rapid pace.  Two more houses were outfitted yesterday.  But a real surprise appeared around Thanksgiving - a beautiful, good-sized blue spruce tree in the front of a guest house that is gorgeous at all times of year, had been dressed for the season.  The first time I saw it, my thought was that a designer and crew had done this, which is possible.  Sporting a dazzling variety of baubles and balls in many finishes and colors, the tree is definitely a knockout.  I knew eventually I needed to photograph it.

The sun stars and reflections on the glossy balls were impressive.


The strings of matte-finished balls I had never seen before.  Light fell on them and radiated in a completely different way.  They were all fascinating.

Just one more reflection might say "And to all a Goodnight!"

Thanks to Phyllis, Catherine, Jean & Sam, Brenda, Orlando, Lucia, Kay, Barbara F. R., Steve, TTT, Carol P., Dianne James, Ingrid, and Terry for commenting last week.  Feliz Cumpleaños, Fernando and Debbie.  I hope each of you is finding delight in the season!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Christmas Daryl A. Black New Mexico ornaments ornaments" photography still life Mon, 12 Dec 2022 16:58:27 GMT
technical and beautiful This week in photography here in Santa Fe was more utilitarian than art, but as every photographer, writer, artist, or tradesperson knows, both the technical and the beautiful are involved in every production.  Photographers and videographers of all stripes will recognize and perhaps cringe at some of the photographs, while some of you will laugh, recognizing all too well elements involved.  I am speaking of wires and cords for everything from computers and cameras to stand alone hard drives, USB hubs, and other accessories.  At least the mass isn't quite as complicated as is the scene under the hood of our electric car.

With every new piece of equipment, an old one might be jettisoned (or not), and a learning curve ensues, including the first steps.  "Before using the (fill in the blank), remove and identify everything in the box."  This in itself might require a YouTube search, which, thankfully, almost always answers one's question.  The new mirrorless camera that was added to the weaving side of the work space provided more excitement to this week's lessons in the technical.   It came with four different plugs for use in different countries around the world.  Of course, they are not labeled, so it is like playing with blocks and putting them together.  Even the dude on the YouTube video briefly juggled the plugs in his hand saying that the camera comes with plugs from different countries.  Clear enough.  I find the one that works in the United States while keeping the others in their plastic bags, to tuck in the camera bag for future travel usage.  Next.  Connect the wires, meaning determine whether the end that goes in the computer or USB hub is a USB A, B, or C cord, shift things around if the instructions say "Do not use in a USB hub but plug it directly into your computer."  OK. Shift things around in the hub and in the back of the computer.  Don't you just love the explosion of pasta running from point A to point B?

Some elements don't necessarily need a permanent home on a desktop, such as this wonderful scanner my sister gave me for Christmas.  You use it when you need a scanner and provide a home for it (as I do with my portable CD drive) elsewhere until the need arises.  One of my winter projects will be to select and scan the slides and negatives I will use the most.

Amidst the desk pasta, I find this setup totally comforting.  See those beautifully familiar dials on the top of the camera?  It is like coming home to my old Minolta single lens reflex film cameras from the days of yore.  Instead of going into a menu, you can set the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO/ASA from the top of the camera.  


The photograph below was made with the Fujifilm X-T5.  It is Fred's latest, Rug 378.  Both exemplify the combination of the technical and the beautiful.

Rug 378Rug 378

The detail of Rug 378 here was made with a Nikon 5200 and 18-55 lens.

Rug 378 detailRug 378 detail

Despite the brain conditioning required, I continue to be dumfounded and delighted with the improvements in all technical applications, and for the beauty in this world.  I am eternally grateful.


Thanks to Catherine, Barbara F. R., Pauli, Veronica, Christina, Marilyn, Steve, and Lisa for commenting on last week's blog.  Birthday wishes to Ingrid, Fred, Dan D., Fernando R., Debbie, S., Marilyn R., Sam D., Dave K., Jessica F., and Ben D. S.

until next Monday,


a passion for the images© 







(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) weaver black and white photography blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fred black fujifilm photography rug 378 Mon, 05 Dec 2022 18:24:32 GMT
gift bag of black and white Two photography gifts landed in my lap this week.  The first was a compact digital scanner that my sister was kind enough to give me as a Christmas gift.  Not being one to delay opening a box, I opened the first box and then realized what it was.  So why not get into it?  I began scanning some color slides as test subjects, learning how to use a very new and improved machine.  My mission over the cold winter months is to curate what transparencies/slides I feel really need digitizing, make a list, and get to work.

The second gift was a notification from Shadow and Light Magazine about their upcoming competition "Black and White".  Using black and white film, and developing and making prints from that film was how I worked in the field from 1994 to roughly 2005.  I loved working in the darkroom and found I developed some tactile and navigational skills from bumping around in complete darkness as well as low light.  But when I attended the grand opening of the then new Farmington Public Library building and encountered the local newspaper's reporter with four cameras on his body, all of which were digital, I realized the world of photography was taking a leap.  I needed to go along with it.  Photography is changing once again.  I recently read that there will be no more DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras produced by the likes of Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji or any of the other larger manufacturers.  Their new cameras will all be "mirrorless". That is a story for another day.

The images below are some of what I have selected as possible entrants for the "Black and White" competition.  Knowing this is a busy time of year, any thoughts or comments you might have regarding these would be much appreciated.


Clouds and walls


Pecos National Historical Park arches


Viga shadows, Pecos National Historical Park

Kiva ladder, Pecos National Historical Park

Aspen trees and clouds

Trees - aspen 2021 8.jpgTrees - aspen 2021 8.jpg

Rose red

Rose white

Sporan with all its regalia


And finally, Not the End of the Trail


Many thanks to Charlie, Veronica, Catherine, Ann A., Terry T., Jean and Sam, Steve, and Ingrid for writing about last week's blog.  

Special wishes this week to Ben, Cristina, and Wayne.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture aspen black and white photography Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico Pecos National Monument photography roses Shadow and Light Magazine still life Mon, 28 Nov 2022 15:43:44 GMT
abundance and more In the days of yore, those ancient times when I was growing up in Albuquerque, the food we savored on a day-to-day basis was seasonal.  Since our state has never been the agricultural powerhouse that California was and is, the fresh food we consumed was dictated by items, truth be told, that were able to survive the shipping process.  Now called non-perishable veggies - cabbage, root crops, celebrity, and iceberg lettuce and the like - were staples.  In the case of fruit, storage was a factor, so although apples, oranges, and for some odd reason bananas were available all winter, we would only begin to see strawberries in the supermarkets around Easter, when the crop was coming in from California.  And you couldn't get a decent tomato until the hot midwest summer months.  You had to wait until August for local corn from the north valley in Albuquerque, and it was a joyful experience to eat, lathered with butter, salt, and pepper.  Since freezers were dinky things inside a refrigerator, if you did own a stand-alone freezer, (many on farms and ranches already did) your family was special.  Some in New Mexico roasted and then dried green chile, along with red chile hung in ristras, but freezers weren't commonplace, I am guessing until the 1960s.  It was then that green chile could be roasted and frozen for later use, along with berries, corn, peas, and other vegetables.  All of this background is wrapped in my reaction to food in American stores in 2022. I never cease to be amazed at the availability and variety of fresh food in any given grocery store on any given day.  Abundance hardly covers it.  We are extremely lucky and very grateful.  With Thanksgiving approaching on Thursday and the groaning board of food that will be on many tables, I thought some food photography might be appropriate.

corn images-2corn images-2

Victoria's applesVictoria's apples

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Lush greens like these were grown in home gardens, in-season.



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Happy Thanksgiving!  

I am thankful for Victoria, Melissa, Char, Pauli, Steve, Catherine, Donna K., Robert, Dianne, Fred, and Ingrid, and all of you for following this blog and keeping in touch throughout the year.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) apples Blacks Crossing Photography chiles Daryl A. Black food New Mexico pears photography pomegranates pumpkins squash Thanksgiving turkey Mon, 21 Nov 2022 16:52:04 GMT
all the rage Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a mention online or in print about pickleball.  The game has been around since its "invention" in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.  Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell are credited with devising the game (ostensibly after not being able to locate a badminton shuttlecock), challenging their children to use different types of balls and rackets.  The rest is history.  I became aware of the game because of a friend, Gigi LeMaster, who began play in 2011, and eventually became a world-wide champion.  She is a member of the pickleball Hall of Fame and competes and teaches internationally.  After originally using a whiffle ball, a ball unique to the game was developed. The polymer ball should measure between 2.87 and 2.97 (73-75 mm) in diameter, weigh between .78 and .935 ounces (22.1 and 26.5 grams) with 26 to 40 evenly-spaced holes.  The paddle is hard-faced and should not exceed 24 inches wide (0.61m) and 17 inches long.  The image below gives you a visual of both items.

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 8Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 8

Not knowing much about the game at all except that it is challenging enough physically and mentally, and just plain fun for people to quickly become obsessed by it.  And is a game that fits any personality, body type, age, or competitive spirit.  It can played with extreme intensity or at a more leisurely pace, which contributes to its popularity.  I spent part of a morning photographing our friend, Ingrid, her fellow players, and others on the courts at the Ft. Marcy Recreation Complex in Santa Fe last week.  Armed with both my Nikons with both the 70-200 mm lens and 18-55 mm lenses, I photographed only the second sport I have ever photographed (a rodeo in Aztec, New Mexico was the other).  I learned a lot, including the facts that I needed just a slightly faster shutter speed (used 1/1600), and that there are ample opportunities to get shots of derrières.

On this particular morning, it did not take long to discover that the people who were playing were all quite competitive and very active in their play.  I took over 200 photographs in half an hour, basically because I did not know what to look for, and I wanted to get some decent shots.  I will continue to photograph pickleball play, but here is a sampling of my first foray into the game.

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  Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 8Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 8

Thanks to Ingrid for allowing me to photograph her and the games, and to Barbara F. R., TTT, Steve, Catherine, Donna K., Phyllis, Ann A., Marilyn, Pater, and Lisa for commenting on last week's blog.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography complex daryl a. black ft. marcy recreation complex Gigi LeMaster new mexico photography pickleball Santa Fe sport photography Sun, 13 Nov 2022 22:14:45 GMT
a tree for all seasons Beauty surrounds us every day, but it tends to be a little more vocal in the autumn months.  Following the first snowfall of the season and subsequent wind, many deciduous trees, including the aspen and cottonwoods, shed their leaves, leaving them to dry, crunching delightfully underfoot.  One tree in our neighborhood remains full of leaves, ablaze in color in the early morning and late afternoon hours.  This Pyrus or ornamental pear tree stops people in their tracks, staring in wonder.  The same thing happens in the spring when it presents massive plumes of white flowers.  It is a landscaper's joy and a tree for all seasons.  One wouldn't know from the photograph below that the color is actually on the wain.

The pears are diminutive and non-edible but lovely in their own way.

The leaves of this particular tree are quite fleshy and shiny, which may be the reason they hang on the tree longer in the autumn.


Discoveries such as these make a photographer's day, and my hope is that you have many similar encounters this week.

Thanks to Barbara F. R., Peggy I., TTT, Steve, Ann M., Jean and Sam, Catherine, Robert, Dianne, and Ingrid for writing about last week's blog!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico orange ornamental pear trees photography red trees yellow Mon, 07 Nov 2022 17:01:31 GMT
riparian mystery The human body is comprised largely of water.  Depending on body fat and fitness, our bodies house between 60-75% water.  It is no wonder that most, if not all humans, have an attraction to, if not physical and emotional need, to be near water and feel its afterglow.  

Santa Fe actually does have a river running through it, albeit diminutive much of the time, and being neither broad nor wide, it is not always visible because of the trees that line it.  Those trees, including willow and cottonwood, provide habitat for myriad species of birds and other creatures, and cool shade during the spring, summer, and fall.  The tangles of trees and riparian species creates almost a fantasy landscape - light and ethereal with a touch of mystery.  Being Halloween, I felt El Parque del Rio or the river park that flows linearly through Santa Fe, would be a bewitching blog for today.  The photographs I made using my Nikon D800 with 70-200 mm lens, harken back to early oil paintings of the American West.

The image below puts one into the river's dreamscape.

Thanks to Julie, Barbara F. R., Robert, TTT, Jean & Sam, Veronica, Anne O., Char, Steve, Luella, Z, Dianne J., Paule, and Ann A. for your comments this week.  Happy Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography Santa Fe River Trail Mon, 31 Oct 2022 15:04:59 GMT
a work in progress Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 3Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 3

A friend steered me in the direction of part of the Rail Trail in Santa Fe this week, where he frequently bicycles, taking in a variety of views of the city.  Between Siringo Road and St. Michael's Drive along the trail is a work in progress.  Not a painted mural but one that is being lovingly made of mosaic tiles, along with other ceramic elements, including clay birds created by 5th grade students at Aspen Magnet School, and studded with gears, sprockets, and other bicycle parts supplied by Mellow Velo.  The mosaic is the brain child of mosaic artist Julie Deery, (shown in the image above) and it is a community project in every sense of the word.  Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to participate in the project, and with roughly forty linear feet of wall to cover, the more the merrier.  Titled "Generations", it already is a fascinating splash of texture and color.  

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 1Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 1

Two panels of concrete block wall are now covered, with mountains of expressions below and the sky above filled with mandalas.

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Under the direction of Deery, mosaics and other elements are applied in grout.  

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Pulling back from the current part of the mural, one can see what passengers will be able to see from the Rail Runner train. 

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 6Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 6

If you are interested in volunteering or know of youth organizations or schools, or other organizations including bicycle groups who would like to participate or contribute, email Julie Deery at [email protected].  Check out her website at  My plan is to continue photographing this community art project as it progresses.  Work will pause after the first frost but begin again in the spring.

Thanks to all of you who wrote this week, including Barbara F. R., TTT, Catherine, Steve, and Christina, and to Robert for keeping his eyes peeled!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Aspen Magnet School Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Generations Julie Deery Mellow Velo mosaics New Mexico photography Rail Trails Santa Fe Seniors on Bikes Sun, 23 Oct 2022 23:02:17 GMT
autumn leaves as backdrop Nature provides the most enticing backdrops, and among some of them are autumn leaves.  The ash tree leaves are turning yellow at a very fast pace, and following the recent wind and rain, they are almost all on the ground.  You have seen odd pairings of objects and backdrops in my blogs before, so it is not terribly surprising that my mind went to a beautiful yellow onion.  Onion skins have a luster that is enhanced by any number of colors and textures.  I took the single and ever-so-humble onion with me on a search of ash tree leaves this weekend, in relatively low light and also broken shade.  Below are the results.

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I have always liked the way the head of the onion or greens look when they are cut off and the end dries.  Without having a functioning auto-focus, it was a bit of a challenge to hold the onion in my hand and have it adequately focus.  But what would still-life photography be without a challenge?

Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 2Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 2

It is also interesting to see a black and white image of almost anything wherein the tones and light are the major features rather than the color.

Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 1Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 1

But the bright green of the parsley nest pairs with the onion skin to make it pop.

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Many thanks to Christina, Lisa, TTT, Steve, Catherine, BFR, Elida, Char, and Lawrence for your comments this week.  Since there is plenty of fall color in the lower elevations of the mountain areas and the river valleys of the west, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy it, with or without cameras or smart phones in hand!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn backdrops Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black leaves nature New Mexico onions photography still life Mon, 17 Oct 2022 03:18:03 GMT
aspen beneath nature's blanket Viewing fall color in the Rocky Mountain west is a spectator sport, as it probably is all over the world, because under perfect conditions, it can be one of nature's perfect plays.  The best of the colors show themselves in our area any time between the last week in September and the second week in October.  Looking at the Sangre de Cristo mountains from our part of Santa Fe, and given the forecast for rain much of the week, we decided that Monday was probably an excellent day for aspen viewing on the way to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.  And it was indeed, despite the heavy skies. Many in Santa Fe were thinking that same thing, as the trailheads and parking areas were packed with cars and buses disgorging all sorts of folks and dogs.  Occasionally, the grey blanket relaxed, emptying some of its contents.

For photography, this type of sky is not necessarily ideal as far as brilliant panoramic views are concerned, but there is always something to shoot. I saw several people with cameras on tripods trying to capture the best of what the day had to offer.  And it was a splendid and damp day in the rarified air.  The gold in the aspen was spectacular.

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Shades of red and orange were scattered everywhere.

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Each leaf, dotted with raindrops, made its own statement.

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I couldn't resist photographing raindrops that had landed and pooled like a ball of mercury into the middle of nature's gold.

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My obsession with aspen trunks will probably be with me forever.  They are fascinating.

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To me, the photograph below is the essence of "forest primeval", with layer upon layer of aspen trunks, leaves, and duff, emitting a fragrance that carries one's spirit back to the beginning of time.

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The momentarily empty trail, edged with assorted color, reflected the dream-like state of a day in the high country.

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Thanks to Charlie, Christina, Veronica, TTT, Victoria, Catherine, and Steve for writing this week!  I hope each of you will pack your cameras or smart phones with you wherever you go.  The whole of our world is worth documenting.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen Aspen Vista Trail autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black fall color mountain color nature New Mexico photography Santa Fe still life Sun, 09 Oct 2022 19:06:32 GMT
fiber abounds Fiber of many types and stripes was in abundance this week, as the Mountain and Valley Wool Association presented its first Wool Festival in Santa Fe this weekend.  The MVWA board made the difficult decision to move the festival from its previous location in Taos after 38 years to the Santa Fe County Rodeo Grounds.  Having participated in the festival for 13 years, Fred decided he needed to scope out the new digs.  

The rodeo grounds have a number of buildings in addition to ample booth space, both indoors and outside, and barns for sheep, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, and other livestock.  Word has it that the grounds were packed on Saturday, and more people were arriving as we finished our reconnoiter on Sunday morning.    

The skies were leaden with the promise of rain, and the wind was picking up as we strolled the grounds.  Having experienced weather of every sort when the festival was held in Taos, our hearts went out to the vendors trying to keep their tents and products from flying away.  Case in point, the scarves and other apparel by Carol Garnand, shown below.

From indigo dyed fabric using ice to elements of nature including leaves and flowers, Garnand's pieces showed both interesting design and color combinations.

If you don't include the logo for the Mountain and Valley Wool Association itself, the Phoenix Fiber Mill wins the prize in my book for best logo.  

Not to mention the myriad socks available from the mill, some of which are shown below.

Just in time for Day of the Dead or Die del Muerto celebrations are these wool skulls created by Ellen and Eric Sibelius of Ellen's Wooly Wonders.  

Here is a combination of wooly wonders of the ocean variety.

Since fiber abounds every day in our home, here is a detail from Fred's latest rug, 376, featuring natural grey, Tierra Amarilla, Sangre de Cristo, yellow heather (the green color), dyed black, and Mora Mills blue and purple. 

I hope your first week in October brings abundant opportunities for interesting and challenging photography.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Carol Garnand Daryl A. Black Ellen's Wooly Wonders fiber Mountain and Valley Wool Festival New Mexico Phoenix Fiber Mill photography wool Sun, 02 Oct 2022 22:34:49 GMT
Snake Woman If you are currently in the Santa Fe area, an exhibit at the FOMA Gallery should be on your list of photography exhibits to see.  Photographer and activist  J. E. Newman and wildlife activist and artist Victoria Seale collaborated on a project that explores coexistence, comfort zones, and beauty, and resulted in the exhibit that hangs through the end of the month.  As the title indicates, it does involve snakes.  Not live ones in the gallery but in the photographs with Victoria.  The first two photographs are similar to ones hanging at the gallery.  


Below are a few images I took of Victoria inside the gallery, featuring more of the project results.  She was certainly better with those snakes than I would have been!



FOMA Gallery is located at 333 Montezuma Unit B in the Guadalupe Center, on the corner of Guadalupe and Montezuma.  For more information, contact the gallery at 505-660-0121.

Thanks to Victoria and Joe for allowing me to use photographs and to Victoria for allowing me to photograph her in the gallery.  And thanks to Steve, Marilyn, Catherine, Claudia, Lisa, TTT, and Ingrid for commenting on last week's blog.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) santa fe blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraiture foma gallery j. e. newman nature photography snakes victoria seale Sun, 25 Sep 2022 21:28:35 GMT
among the vines During the past week, there were hints of change in the air.  A low temperature of 49° one morning sealed the deal.  There is nothing like the coolness to remind me, again, that the autumnal equinox is on its way, this year on Thursday,  22 September.  It is time to explore farmers' markets, fields, and vineyards, and document the goodness and beauty that lies therein.  During the mid-1990s, I visited, wrote articles about, and photographed a number of New Mexico wineries for Rocky Mountain Gardener, Rocky Mountain Living, Adventure West, the State of New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs "Moments of Enchantment" radio segment, as well as other publications.  Quite frankly, until this week, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed researching the state's wine industry, and the feeling of being among the vines, growing and developing at their own pace.  Having grown veggies in our own raised beds at 7,800 feet elevation for nearly twenty years, I have great admiration and appreciation for people who grow and process food for a living.  The feeling took me to Vivac Winery near Dixon last week, on what turned out to be another spectacular day in the American West.

Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 9Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 9

Liliana Padberg, Co-Owner and Certified Sommelier at the winery, was kind enough to allow me to roam the vineyards and make photographs.  I had not visited the winery since the tasting room opened in 2004.  My writing had been done too early for Vivac to be included.  It was high time for a visit.

As humans, we are always discovering and altering the the food we eat.  Even if most of us have some expectations about wine, we don't necessarily think about the experimentation that goes into making it.  This is long-range planning in the strictest sense of the word.  Vintners, especially those in New Mexico who are trying to work with our notorious late frosts in the spring and early frosts in the fall, are constantly trying to discover the best grapes for the climates and soils in which they plant their grapes.  While interviewing the late Henry Street of Ponderosa Valley Vineyards and Winery in 1998, I discovered he had a test plot of 420 new plants, 10 red and 8 white of 25 cultivars from the former Soviet Union to follow their vigor and hardiness at 5,800 elevation.  At Vivac, the elevation is similar - roughly 6,000 feet.  Among the rows of vines here are Pinot Meunier, planted in 2021.  A red grape, it is part of the grape trio used in champagne to add body and richness.  The gnarly juniper post adds to the character of the rows.  

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The oldest vines I found were the Riesling, planted in 2011.

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Petit Verdot vines, a red wine grape, were also planted in 2011.  Netting protects the grapes that have not yet been harvested.  Barrancos Blancos, the sandstone mountain in the background, appears on the Vivác label.

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Vines for Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian white grape, were planted in 2013, followed by Arandell vines, planted in 2015.  Arandell is a red grape that is disease resistant and winter hardy in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  

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What a lovely setting in which to taste wine!  

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Because I favor reds, I chose Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon for the flight.

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The Syrah and Cabinet definitely had legs!

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Although a major portion of the grapes used in Vivac wines are grown in the Deming, New Mexico area, all the winemaking happens at Vivac.  And grapes in three estate vineyards, "Fire Vineyard", planted in 1999, "1725" (2008 and 2010), and Abbott Vineyard, are organically farmed in the Dixon area.

"Vivác Winery, along with other growers in the area, are currently working to have the Northern Rio Grande Valley named as its own AVA (American Viticulture Area)."  Long term planning indeed.  

There is such an abundance of information and history about grapes, and wine growing and making in New Mexico, and on the history of the Padbergs and Vivác Winery that it cannot be covered in this blog.  I highly recommend an in-person or website visit to learn more.

Vivac Winery is located at the corner of Highway 68 and 75 and is open daily Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.and Sundays 11-6.  Summer hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a. m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m-8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Call 505-579-4441 or cruise the website for additional information. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Arandell blacks crossing photography daryl a. black grapes new mexico petit verdot photography pinot meunier riesling viticulture vivac winery Mon, 19 Sep 2022 17:12:09 GMT
best of the harvest It is in the air.  The feel, the slight morning chill, the light.  Life is working its way into autumn in the northern hemisphere.  And it is harvest time.  The photographic possibilities are nearly endless in both subject matter and joy.  Included in today's blog are a few photographs I made in a number of places, beginning with the peppers in a Budapest, Hungary market.

Onions and garlic at a Vienna, Austria market

onions at Farmers' Market in Vienna, Austriaonions at Farmers' Market in Vienna, Austria

This very odd, texturally and vibrant fruit is a dragon fruit or Pitaya.  A new world member of the Cactataceae family, it originated in southern Mexico and Central America, but is now grown and cultivated world-wide.  I photographed it in the Vienna Farmers' Market at about this time of year.    

Home grown in Taos County a number of years ago.  The best tomato crop we ever had.

tomato croptomato crop

Assorted miniature squash and pumpkins from a friend's garden with a backdrop of Navajo-churro wool

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The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is also loaded with wonderful eye-popping veggies and fruit, including this bok choy. 

Farmers' Market bok choiFarmers' Market bok choi


Also from the Santa Fe Farmers' Market are these purple radishes, the Jarrahdale squash, and the New Mexico chiles shown below in succession.


I was delighted to hear from so many of you this week about fathers and grandfathers, brothers, and spouses who belonged to unions or still do, or who were union organizers.  Thanks to Connie, Earle, Catherine, Steve, TTT, Christina, and Jean & Same for your comments and great stories related to last week's Labor Day blog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) austria blacks crossing photography bok choy chiles daryl a. black dragon fruit farmers' markets food jack fruit jarrahdale squash lettuce new mexico onions photography squash tomatoes vienna Sun, 11 Sep 2022 22:47:05 GMT
Labor Day 2022 Memorial Day and Labor Day sandwich the official summer/travel season in the United States, and each holiday has its origin stories.  Because labor unions were not particularly popular with business owners, and the fight for and against them exists even today, Labor Day did not become a national holiday until the 1930s and beyond.  It is celebrated on the first Monday in September.

Some background.  Two different McGuires - Matthew Maguire, Secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882, while in the same year, P. J. McGuire, General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, "suggested setting aside a day for a 'general holiday for the laboring classes' to honor those 'who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.' "  The Knights of Labor and the Central Labor Union were promoting it as day to celebrate labor.  Numerous unions and organized labor groups were coming together around the idea of the day to insure a day off for workers.  Countries around the world have celebrated labor on 1 May as International Workers Day, but President Grover Cleveland was concerned that using that day would associate it with socialist and anarchist movements.  The first state to make it an official September holiday was Oregon, in 1887.  By 1894, thirty states were celebrating Labor Day.  My thanks to all those who labor in this world today, many of whom are working despite the holiday, including those at Wikipedia from which I gleaned much of the above information.  

I have known for quite some time that my maternal grandfather was a staunch union member.  An iron and steel worker and immigrant from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Dominik kept his union card handy at all times.  He joined the union in 1920, I am assuming, after becoming an American citizen.  I read somewhere that many of the first unions would not accept neither people of color nor immigrants.  Here is a copy of his 25 year membership certificate.


Below is the seal of the Grand Lodge International Association of Machinists Washington D. C.   It is now the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, an AFL-CIO/CLC trade union.  That union represents over 646,000 workers in the United States and Canada.  The backdrop for the seal is a wonderful spatula made for us by our good friend, Earle, who would have a lot to discuss with Grandpa.  A master metal worker in his own right, Earle builds custom cars, and designs and fabricates automotive parts. 

There are probably more than a few people who don't understand the big deal about labor unions.  This tidy paragraph by Deepa Shivaram of NPR says a lot.  "Do you enjoy not having to work weekends?  The 40-hour work week?  Having sick days and paid time off?  You can thank labor leaders for that."

Have a magnificent first week of September!

Thanks to Luella, Jim & Louise, Barbara F. R., Elida, Char, Steve, Jean & Sam, Lawrence, Catherine, Charlie K. C., and Steve for writing this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Greenback Labor Party International Association of Machinists Labor Day labor unions Matthew Maguire New Mexico P. J. McGuire photography Mon, 05 Sep 2022 15:58:07 GMT
mysteries of the forest A thick overcast blanketed the mountains, opened only by the aspen.  Near 10,000 feet, fog, mist, and then rain enveloped us as we walked up the Aspen Vista Trail near the Santa Fe Ski Basin.  It was a day to breathe in the rarified air, and enter a dream-like state, surrounded by moisture and growing things.  The "fix" is as important to us as walking on the beach is to many.  Because of the soggy surroundings, the trail was blissfully uncrowded.  Raucous stellar's jays and chipmunks' admonishments for disturbing their day echoed through the trees. And the rain fell.  It was a magnificent morning.  I had brought my camera, knowing there would be some late summer flowers.  The purple asters were in full bloom.  A gentleman passed us and we shared greetings.  He then said "Have you seen any mushrooms the color of your shirt?  They were everywhere when I was here last week." I was wearing a coral-colored fleece.  I said "Not a one."  As we made our way back down, looking like drowned rats, there was a side trail and curiosity made me take it.  In the back of my mind were thoughts of those mushrooms, so my head and eyes went down, searching. Oh, there is one.  And another and another as I made my way down a slight incline.  Everywhere I turned, there were mushrooms.  And me with just enough knowledge to put in a thimble and no guidebook.  But I had my camera.  Fred was pointing them out.  Life was definitely good.

Upon our return and after downloading the day's work into the computer, my mission was then to take a stab at identifying the beauties.  Working my way through hundreds of online images, complete with identifying information, it was apparent there was everything from bracket or shelf fungus to Russulas and wax caps, to a whole slew of things I have yet been able to identify.  But it has been one heck of a fun ride.  Haven't had that many giggles doing a nature shoot in some time, and I am ready to go back for more.

Given the darkness of the forest and the grey skies, I used my in-camera flash about half the time.  First, I'll start with what I know - shelf fungus. The particular variety shown here is called turkey tail shelf or bracket fungus (Trametes versicolor).  The turkey tail is a Polypore and a wood decomposer, found on downed logs or trees.

As the hiker had mentioned, there were indeed hundreds of coral or rosy colored mushrooms in the mix.  Some are in the genus Russula, including the one below, shot from above.


This Russula rosea or Rosy Brittlegill (my best guess) had been broken off at the base by a forest creature, showing the gills beneath the cap.  There was a lot of fine dining happening in the forest litter.


One of the other things I know about mushrooms or fungi is that some have gills.  But when pouring through online material, I found they also can have pores, or teeth.  Mind you, I have no clue what this particular mushroom is, but the teeth are clearly visible.  Looking at many of the mushrooms and fungi, I thought I had landed on another planet.  Definitely other worldly.


There are also wax cap mushrooms.  The one below could be of that variety.

This particular one reminds me of what a neighbor said about one of her paving bricks being pushed up.  She thought it was a tree root until it was flipped over and a mushroom lay beneath it.

The mushroom below was on its side with gills in plain view.  They are part of the reproductive process.

I was having entirely too much fun, but here are a few more beauties.

I particularly love the design in the stem of the tiny variety below.   

It was abundantly clear to me that more research and intensive course work would be needed before I would ever think about harvesting and eating any mushrooms or fungi from the wild.  But my bet is that there was a combination of edible, poisonous, and hallucinogenic species in the forest primeval that day. 


I hope the final days of August are filled with photographic possibilities and exploration.  Thanks to Loretta, Jean & Sam, Suz, Christina, TTT, Steve, and Catherine for writing this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen vista trail blacks crossing photography bracket fungus daryl a. black fungi mushrooms new mexico photography polypores russell roses santa fe national forest turkeytail fungus Sun, 28 Aug 2022 23:00:17 GMT
100 years and counting In the pouring rain fifty years ago, roughly twenty-four hours after our wedding, Fred and I literally stumbled onto an arts and crafts fair on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe.  At the time, we had no idea what it was, but there were crowds of people peering in the booths and strolling the streets.  There was more Native American art than we had ever seen in one place before. It was really cool.  Little did we know, we were witnessing the SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts) Santa Fe Indian Market.  Since then, we have attended twenty times or more, with friends and family, discovering artisans from whom we would purchase art over the years.  This year's Indian Market was the 100th event, and, thankfully, we don't see any sign of it slowing down.  We did not attend this year, but seeing media photographs of this year's market, the younger generation of artisans are adding their own style to the mix, literally taking traditional arts and tweaking them.  It is exciting to see.

In honor of the 100th, today's blog features some Native American art from years past.  The coral inlay bracelet shown here was made by Rod Kaskalla of Zuni Pueblo, holding a concho belt crafted by Robert Johnson, a Navajo silversmith from the Chaco Canyon area.  The backdrop is a rug woven by Shirley Dennison in the Teec Nos Pos style with wool made using natural, vegetable dyes.  She is a member of the Ramah Navajo Weavers Association.

Teec Nos Pos style rug, concho belt, and coral braceletTeec Nos Pos style rug, concho belt, and coral bracelet

Below is the same inlay bracelet along with another holding larger pieces of coral on a Ramah Navajo Weavers Association sampler rug titled "Storm" by Linda Nelson.  

Storm rug and inlaid coral braceletsStorm rug and inlaid coral bracelets

Below is the Navajo concho belt and the coral inlay bracelet on the "Storm" weaving.

Storm rug, inlaid coral bracelt, and concho beltStorm rug, inlaid coral bracelt, and concho belt

Robert Johnson's concho belt surrounding the Storm

Storm rug and conchoStorm rug and concho

A necklace comprised of coral beads rests on a rug woven by L. Yazzie, of Ramah, in 1992.

coral beed necklace and Ramah Navajo rugcoral beed necklace and Ramah Navajo rug

No Indian Market event would be complete without a squash blossom necklace.  This one was purchased from weaver Pearl Sunrise in 1971.  I suspect it was made by her husband Bill Sunrise.

squash blossom necklacesquash blossom necklace

Thanks to Jean and Sam, TTT, Dave O., Char, Catherine, Luella, Steve, and Dianne for commenting on last week's blog.  I always enjoying hearing from you and appreciate your comments.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography concho belt Daryl A. Black Indian Market inlaid coral jewelry L. Yazzie Linda Nelson Native American art New Mexico Pearl Sunrise photography Ramah Navajo Weavers Association Rod Kaskalla Santa Fe Shirley Dennison Southwestern Association for Indian Arts SWAIA Zuni inlay Sun, 21 Aug 2022 22:27:18 GMT
the power of art The third Monday in August.  A time when many students are headed back to school while some in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the final days of their summer vacations.  But regardless of where you are on this planet, it has been quite the week as far as politics, climate change and the world condition are concerned.   Perhaps some solace might be appropriate.

For years, people have waxed poetic or railed against art.  Oscar Wilde, in the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray (consider the context) "All art is quite useless."  But the quotation from John F. Kennedy in October of 1963 at Amherst College seems to aptly fit these times.  "When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations.  When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence.  When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment."   The only poetry included here is from nature, specifically flowers.  They can provide solace, a sense of calm, beauty, and sometimes excitement all in the same unfurling of a petal.  One of this summer's columbine plants is going through a second bloom cycle.  Lucky us! 


There is hardly anything at this time of year (short of the smell of chile roasting), that awakens the senses and spirit like a sunflower.

May art in its many forms, be part of your life this week!


Thanks to the artists and poets all who wrote about last week's blog including Charlie K. C., Lawrence, Victoria, Connie, Steve, TTT, Catherine,

Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., and Marilyn.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography columbines Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography sunflowers Mon, 15 Aug 2022 14:18:10 GMT
optical illusion of pick and pick Although the fun of working on the Blurb family reunion book mentioned in last week's blog continues, cameras emerged to photograph Fred's latest Navajo-Churro wool rug and details of it.  He used a weaving technique called "pick and pick" exclusively throughout the piece.  I searched the web and found an explanation of the process.  

"With Pick and Pick you weave one weft in one direction in one color and then another weft in that same direction in another color to make a line instead of weaving in one direction and then back in the other direction."  What the technique does is set up a number of optical illusions from almost every direction.  Below are images showing two different details within the body of the rug.

Rug 373 detail BRug 373 detail B

Rug 373 detail ARug 373 detail A


As I watched Fred weaving this rug, I realized how much focus it took to get it right.  He couldn't even listen to music during the process.

Rug 373Rug 373


Rug 373 colorsRug 373 colors

From left to right the colors are natural dark grey (warp), Tierra Wools-dyed chokecherry heather, Brazos Cliffs, Yellow heather (dyed on charcoal grey), red heather, and calabaza


And when we took it to Tierra Wools to sell on Saturday, I realized how much the colors in their own way spoke of the natural landscape.  Years ago at Fred's Taos Wool Festival booth, a group of people were talking at length about color theory.  After they left, one woman who remained asked the question "Does it occur in nature?"  A sublime and straightforward way of explaining colors and how they work.  It was fascinating to see how the yellow heather and red heather worked to produce a combination straight from the New Mexico landscape.


Thanks to Lisa, Barbara, TTT, Christina, Steve, Ingrid, and Fred for comments and contributions to this week's blog.  I hope the beauty of August presents itself for your viewing and photography throughout the week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fred black navajo-churro wool new mexico photography pick and pick weaving Mon, 08 Aug 2022 16:13:42 GMT
joy and organization There is a reason (many, actually) that businesses and organizations as well as families, hire "event planners".  To coordinate any party, wedding, or other event, and pull it off seamlessly, takes certain skills.  In last week's blog, you read about and viewed a few of the photographs from the Aufleger family reunion near Taos.  It was dedicated to the patriarch, Gaylord, who passed away in 2019.  The coordination of it, and presentation of his belongings in addition to the altar were put together by one of the daughters, Cindy.  She is an artist in her own right and there was both joy and organization in the 2022 gathering.  She was the one who called me originally in 2013 to photograph the first event, contacted me in 2015 for their next party, and for this year's reunion as well.  

As I have said before, photographing weddings and other events requires the basics, i. e., viewing the venue to see what areas might provide the best shooting possibilities given time of year, light, etc., charging all batteries, and having cameras and other equipment, if any, ready. But one should also select clothes that are comfortable but appropriate given that you might be on the ground, climbing on furniture or dealing with animals.  Check out this totally spontaneous image, grabbed when Arlo joined in the fun.

Photographs during events run the gamut from spontaneous... formal or more purposeful... requests from attendees or organizers.  In this case, Marilyn, the family matriarch, wanted photographs with the grandchildren, including the one shown below.

One of the couples was looking for a Christmas card image.  I spent some time with them to find different possibilities.


And generally, a random opportunity for some quick modeling presents itself.  Possible web page materials?

Generations apart with shared gifts


Thanks again to the Auflegers for offering the opportunities to photograph them over the years.

My appreciation to those of you who commented last week, including Sue G., Victoria, Kay, Lisa, Jean & Sam, Diane D., Ann A.,  Dianne J., Barbara, and Steve.

Same time, different blog next Monday??

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraiture family reunions new mexico people photography Mon, 01 Aug 2022 16:16:23 GMT
reunion Yesterday's sky and combination of overcast skies with thunderstorms in the distance and dappled sunlight provided a near-perfect backdrop for the family reunion I photographed near Taos.  This was the third reunion I was lucky enough to photograph for them.  There was one member of the crew missing but celebrated, one who had grown up so much that I did not recognize her, two engagements, and one wedding since that last time I saw the family in 2015.  Everyone looked pretty much the same and full of life.  Next week's blog will go into this in greater depth but I wanted to provide a glimpse today.

Like weddings, family reunions hold different elements that need to be captured photographically.  There are specific requests from individuals - shots of couples with children, parents with children and grandchildren, spontaneous fun shots, and of course, one has to document the gathering with the all-important group photograph.  Sometimes, there is a non-human element that becomes an added personality.  In this particular event, it was hats, and thus, the "hat trick" below that only a 22-year old could pull off this well.

At the other end of the age scale is the beautiful matriarch of the clan, who donned the hat below with style and class.

The felt western fedora and top hat made a good pair for the day... did the straw hat accentuating a coiffed beard and ink


Mother and Daughter glam shot

This week, I will be editing and rendering all the reunion photographs, and examples will be featured in next week's blog.


Thanks to Jean & Sam, Victoria, Barbara & Clyde, Geula, Maria, Larry & Carol, Christina, Steve, Catherine, Barbara, Marilyn, and David O. for writing this week.  A special thanks to the Aufleger Family for being creative and flexible during the shoot.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black environmental portraiture family reunions New Mexico people photography Taos Mon, 25 Jul 2022 15:23:57 GMT
continual curation As summer progresses and heat soaks the earth, life slows down to a snail's or, perhaps, a beetle's pace.  Before writing this, I watched a darkling beetle (family Tenebrionidae with some 20,000 species) taking its morning stroll, following the base of a stucco wall.  Perhaps it slowed or fell and could not correct its position, but it caught the attention of hundreds of ants that were busy, well, shall we say, looking for the juicy bits?  Too much?  But that is how I sometimes feel during the process of curating photographs for various projects.  I look for the most interesting or juicy photographs, regardless of category, and analyze them.  Once again, preparing to enter a photography contest, shooting a family reunion, and photographically revisiting a friend I photographed in 1997, I returned this week to slides, discs, and digitized as well as digital images to explore and ponder how to proceed in each area.  Today's blog is image-heavy but hopefully will be enjoyable for you to view.

The woman I hope to photograph later this summer or early fall is quite different from Jessica, seen in the images below.  However, the photographs make my mind think about different options - reality, fantasy, historic?


Family reunions are a little like weddings in that many people are gathered in one place for a particular purpose - getting together after years apart.

Then, the subject of landscapes pops up as the subject matter of Shadow and Light Magazine's upcoming contest.  My dilemma will be whether to go with verdant and green...


...stark and beautiful...

...or geology based.



Planning, pondering, and continually curating are all part of the photographic process, and a great way to work those little grey cells during toasty, sweat laden summer days.  You might want to subscribe to Shadow and Light Magazine online.  Although none of my images were chosen for the Color It Red contest, the images that did are quite incredible, and challenge me to be more creative.

Thanks to so many of you for commenting on last week's blog including Barbara F. R., Lisa, Connie, Victoria, Terry T., TTT, Charlie, Kay, Ronnie, Diane D., Steve, Christine, Carolyn S., Monica L., Catherine, Jean & Same, Andrea S., and Ingrid!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Brazos Daryl A. Black Echo Amphitheatre El Malpais Great Sand Dunes landscapes New Mexico photography Rio Grande del Norte Shadow and Light Magazine weddings Mon, 18 Jul 2022 15:56:43 GMT
season of the arts The summer art festival season began mid-week in Santa Fe with the International Folk Art Market on Museum Hill.  It will be followed on July 28-29 by the traditional Spanish Market in its 67th year on the Plaza, and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Indian Market August 18-19, also on the Plaza.  We attended our first Indian Market on the 27th of August 1972, in the pouring rain, while on our honeymoon.  We spent the next night sharing a sleeping bag on top of a concrete picnic table in Hyde Park on the way to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.  But that is a story for another day.

Fred will be participating in another art event, by entering the AGAATI Foundation Global Eco Artisans Award competition.  The "AGAATI Foundation is committed to celebrate and conserve handmade creativity, elevate visibility and the value of artisan made, leading to the socio-economic development of the global artisan communities."  The word AGAATI is from the Sanskrit word Agati meaning arriving or arising.  As with all competitions, a certain amount of preparation is required, including writing and photography.  So the local photography department enjoyed the challenge of shooting photographs of Fred's latest work, Rug 370, for his application.

The rug is made of Navajo-Churro wool, the black/blue/silver field of which is from Andrea Harrell's flock we visited in north Albuquerque in May. It has a lot of lanolin in it and is quite lustrous.  For the AGAATI Foundation, "work in progress" images were needed.  Here is a shot of the middle of a Celtic knot in "chile Colorado" and with a beautiful gold through line of "Tierra Amarilla" from Tierra Wools. The blue is from the mill in Mora, New Mexico.  The knot is pure math/geometry and beyond my comprehension.   


Here is an image of the completed knot, and below it, the finished rug.

Rug 370 detailRug 370 detail

Rug 370 product picture 3Rug 370 product picture 3

Fred uses several methods for finishing the edges of the warp or skeleton of the rug, resulting in the fringe at the bottom.  Here is a traditional Rio Grande treatment.  It is made by gathering four strands of warp together in a single knot, finished with a maritime cabling and one more knot.  It keeps the rug from unraveling.


On Rug 370 for the AGAATI competition, he used what is called a Damascus edge, a continuous series of square knots, again finished with maritime cabling.


Thanks to Fred and to everyone involved in the farm-to-finished piece process including, Andrea Harrell, Molly and Antonio Manzanares and Nathan and Toni at Tierra Wools, Connie Taylor, and the folks at the mills in Wyoming and in Mora.  

And thanks to everyone for reading last week's blog, including Ingrid, Barbara, Larry and Carol M., Kay, Catherine, Jean & Sam, Wayne, and Steve.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) AGAATI Foundation Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool photography rugs weaving Sun, 10 Jul 2022 22:38:40 GMT
Independence Day In these United (and some days not so united) States of America, the 4th of July is celebrated as the day a huge North American land mass officially declared its independence from Great Britain.  The Second Continental Congress voted for the Lee Resolution on 2 July and adopted the Declaration of Independence two days later in 1776.  John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail:

"The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more." (Wikipedia)

Short of the precise date, Adams made an apt prediction.  Last night when we heard what we thought was a bomb it dawned on us that, yes, it was the 3rd of July, the day before the official date of independence, and people love to start celebrating early.  I could not help going into my photographic vault or morgue, for a few shots of fireworks.

I am always surprised by the way fireworks are developed and how they "photograph".  Each has its own pyrotechnic material in order to achieve noise, smoke, light, and floating debris.  The trajectory on the image below creates a palm tree type effect given the slow shutter speed needed to capture it in the dark.  


The lily below has its own fireworks in the middle - stamens that reveal a metallic, almost day-glow color.  It qualifies as nature's firework, don't you think?


Aerial confetti abounds!


Thanks to Barbara, TTT, Ben, Wayne, Louise & Jim, TPLue, Catherine, Kay, Steve, Lisa, Ingrid, Jean & Sam, and Lawrence for your comments on last week's blog! 

Have a safe and delightful holiday.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) 4th of July Blacks Crossing Photography celebrations Daryl A. Black fireworks Independence Day John Adams lily New Mexico photography Mon, 04 Jul 2022 15:06:37 GMT
raindrop joy It has been a miraculously rainy week in northern New Mexico, which, for the most part, has helped firefighters working on the two biggest wildfires in our state's history.  During the monsoon season, rain can be a mixed blessing as it pertains to forest fires.  There is always the risk of flooding in the burn scar areas, and the soil can become saturated and muddy.  That is not what firefighters need.  But rain is almost always welcome in the American Southwest.  I reveled in it this week, and took the opportunity to photograph hollyhocks wearing raindrops.  Instead of photographing the inside of the flowers, the undersides was where the drops were more prevalent.   

hollyhock raindrops 1 2022hollyhock raindrops 1 2022  

hollyhock raindrops 2 2022hollyhock raindrops 2 2022

hollyhock raindrops 3 2022hollyhock raindrops 3 2022

With every flower, there is an opportunity for an abstract or still life, and the two below fall into that category.

hollyhock raindrops 5 2022hollyhock raindrops 5 2022

hollyhock raindrops 4 2022hollyhock raindrops 4 2022

Finally, a hollyhock, as if leaning against the stucco, resting, full of raindrop joy.

hollyhock raindrops 6 2022hollyhock raindrops 6 2022


Thanks to Christina, Claudia, Jean & Sam, Steve, Catherine, Ingrid, and Wayne for your kind words about last week's blog.  


A quote from photographer Ansel Adams tops off this week's blog.

"Life is your art.  An open, aware heart is your camera.  A oneness with your world is your film."

Thanks for sending the Adams' wisdom, Victoria!

until next Monday, 


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers hollyhocks New Mexico photography rain drops Santa Fe still life Mon, 27 Jun 2022 01:44:29 GMT
made in the shade As everyone in the Southwest knows and appreciates, the shade of a big tree, even a healthy yucca, calms the eyes and keeps the shaded area from heating further.  Shade trees actually reduce the peak temperatures by 2-9 degrees, and more on some surfaces, through evapotranspiration, according to the EPA.  But like a sturdy wide-brimmed hat, the shade also keeps your brain from baking!

I have never really experienced the joy of having a big shade tree under which shade-loving plants can grow until we returned to Santa Fe and inherited an ash tree.  It opened up all sorts of gardening possibilities, even for a relatively small space.

Although hollyhocks seem to grow in both sun and shade, the ones in the neighborhood and in the vicinity of the ash, are quite happy where they are.  It is always interesting to watch the sun and shadow play on their big flowers, and try to capture them with my cameras.


Although I did plant delphiniums before, these Pacific Giant Summer skies have exceeded all my expectations.  

The delphiniums also held a surprise for me, once I took a closer look.  They are extremely hairy.  And toxic.

Sometimes, plants that are green or variegated can be under appreciated.  Hostas might be in that category but this particular variety, with its white tipped leaves, give the visual feel of being brushed with paint.

Thanks to all of you who voted for the assorted images in last week's blog, including Ann A., Jean & Sam, Debbie S., Connie T., TTT, Charlie, Victoria, Steve, Kay, Marilyn R., Wayne, Stewart, Sara, Ingrid, Pauli, and Gail.  It appears there was a tie between the radishes and the Primary Palette, with the paintbrush in snow and the autumn leaf chosen as close seconds after that.  I will let you know if any of the images tickle the judges fancy.  

Have a terrific week and for those in New Mexico, let's revel in the rain together, and enjoy the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice, on Tuesday!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black delphiniums flowers hollyhocks hostas New Mexico photography shade loving plants Mon, 20 Jun 2022 00:58:11 GMT
red enough? It is that time of year again to assemble entrants for Shadow and Light Magazine's Color It Red contest.  So this particular blog is photograph-heavy.  I am never 100% sure if all "reds" qualify or if it is fire-engine red, tomato red, or wine red that the judges are considering.  Most of those are included here.  Are they red enough?    

If you have a moment, could you let me know which images you like the best out of the group?  That will help me cull the ones I will eventually enter.  Thank you!



autumn leaf

Indian paintbrush (Castellija spp). flowers in snow

rug detail

Rug 366Rug 366

apples on autumn leaves

primary colors - sky, adobe, red canopy

Fred in Rug 347 at El Malpais National Monument

rose arch




Thanks to Barbara F. R., Christina, Kay, Steve, Jean & Sam, Dianne, Catherine, Ann A., and Wayne for commenting this week.  Have a great week with lots of photographic surprises!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black leaves nature New Mexico photography red roses Mon, 13 Jun 2022 00:58:23 GMT
crenation It was some years, probably decades ago (and I have no idea how long), that I first heard or read the word crenulation, in reference to fabric.  It was a nice piece of literary license.  Because when I searched the word, there were several spellings, meanings, and uses.  The first - crenulation - is geological in context.  Crenulation cleavage is a fabric formed in gneiss, a metamorphic rock with a banded layer such as feldspar, quartz, or mica. The second is crenellation, referring to crenels or notches cut into solid straight parapet walls, such as those present in many castles.  The third is crenation.  The modern Latin word crena means scalloped or notched or according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, it applies to anything with irregularly wavy or serrated outline.  Most of the photographs I have taken and continue to take are of sedimentary rock formations, so I am short of any metamorphic examples.  Thus, I will begin with two examples of crenels.  The first is in Koblenz, Germany, of the Marksburg Castle tower....


....followed by the Goldenes Kreuz (Golden Cross) Castle in the Old Town part of Regensburg, Germany, also featuring crenels.



There are thousands of examples in nature of crenation.  The yellow day lily, poppy bloom, and yellow and fuchsia-colored prickly pear (Opuntia spp) images below all fit the definition of crenation nicely.



But the final photograph of the pheasant's eye daffodil, with its highly notched center cup, really shouts the Merriam Webster definition.

pheasant's eye crenationpheasant's eye crenation

Seashells also come to mind when I think of crenation.  My knowledge of shells it not great but here is a type of scallop shell, which literally fits the definition.


As you can tell from today's blog, occasionally I establish and tackle continuing education assignments for myself, and this week's blog was one of those.  


Thanks to Heather, Christina, Debbie S., Barbara F. R., Wayne, Catherine, Marilyn, Ingrid, Charlie, and Donna C. for commenting on last week's blog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture Blacks Crossing Photography castles crenation crenelation crenels Daryl A. Black flowers nature photography scallop shell Sun, 05 Jun 2022 20:46:59 GMT
the churro factor  

Andrea Harrell of iiidogfarm

People who raise animals are perpetually busy and in motion.  Attending to their basic needs, including feeding, watering, and exercising, are only part of the day.  Procuring food, giving vaccinations, and in the case of Navajo-Churro sheep, shearing once and sometimes twice a year are part of life.  Andrea does her own shearing.  Lambing and general clean up make certain times of year busier than others.  From having Connie Taylor - head of the New Mexico Navajo-Churro Sheep Association and expert in the breed - as a neighbor for nearly twenty years, we had some expectation of what we would find upon meeting Andrea Harrell in the beautiful Los Ranchos area of Albuquerque.  As is true with Connie, Andrea is a woman of great energy and many interests, another wonderful overachiever.  In addition to being a neonatal nurse practitioner, and a great photographer - - she and her husband grow crops in the fertile soil that skirts the Rio Grande.  She also has a flock of sheep including several Navajo-Churro.   Her "boys" include Bigs, Kam, and Fisher.  Andrea cares for them deeply, as is clear from the photographs below.  She enticed them with Baker's Bits treats.


Take a smell first.  Fred being introduced to one of the boys whose fleece will eventually yield a beautiful charcoal wool for one of his rugs.  Check out that gorgeous coat!



You can almost feel the lanolin in the wool.  Fred can't wait to weave with it.


Andrea with one of this year's lambs.  And she was a quick one.  Note Mama, always present, in the left hand corner of the shot.


Thanks to Andrea and all the sheep for letting us interrupt her very busy day (she is already working her twelve hour nursing shift as I write), and for keeping Navajo-Churro sheep alive in north Albuquerque.

Christina, Suz, Mary G., Kay, Steve, Wayne, Jean & Sam, Orlando T., TTT, M. Fred, Pauli, Barbara, TPLue, Claudia, Donna C., Marta, Victoria, Ingrid and Dianne for commenting on last week's blog.  Although the fires continue to burn in New Mexico, we are hoping the worst is in the rear view mirror, and the forecast for possible rain this week comes to pass.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Andrea Harrell Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Los Ranchos Navajo-Churro sheep New Mexico photography wool Mon, 30 May 2022 14:39:17 GMT
Pecos National Historical Park A short drive this week to Pecos National Historical Park was in the "we have not been there in some time" category.  In point of fact, we had not visited this wonderful part of the National Park Service system since the mid-90s.  Which is ridiculous because it is only 30 miles away from our house.  In addition to the site, I was curious if we could see the fire area from the park, since smoke from the west side of the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire is visible from many places in Santa Fe.  It was a little like a disconcerting photo bomb as I looked through the camera lens.

After walking the short trail up to the mesa where the remains of the Pecos Church stand, it is easy to see why people have lived here and why humans from the Paleoindians and Puebloans to the Spanish conquistadors to Mexican and Anglo armies chose this place.  It is on a mesa with nearly 360 degree views of surrounding mountains above and streams below.  Considering it is adobe on rock wall foundations, the church is a massive edifice on the grassy knoll. 


Smoke from the fire can be seen in the right hand third of the photograph, if you look left from the kiva ladder.


There is something about kivas.  More than simply a hole in the ground with a ladder, the smell and coolness of the earth and the latillas in kivas, in addition to centuries of ceremonial activities, give them a curious and comforting feel.  

The ladder reaches to the sky.

One of the most fascinating elements of the church itself is the archways.  It is unusual to see an arch in early Southwestern architecture.  Moorish influence may be at play here.  Arches provide openings from one room to another.  The second archway reveals a buttress with adobes stacked at an angle to support the wall.    



The shadows of different elements in the Pecos Church are fascinating.  Below, structural timbers frame the archway. 


Shot from almost any angle, the mass of the church is undeniable.

I would recommend a visit to Pecos National Historical Park to anyone, but particularly to those who live in New Mexico or are visiting Santa Fe.  It is a very short drive and worth the time.  You may also be able to see employees and interns mixing adobe bricks and plaster for continued stabilization.  However, while searching the Park Service site this morning, I was surprised to learn that two days after this photo shoot, the Park had been closed due to the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.  As always in photography, timing is everything, along with luck.  


Thanks, Kara, Wayne, Barbara, Jean & Sam, Marilyn, Catherine, Sandra, Lisa S. and TTT for your kind comments this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe architecture Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black mission churches New Mexico Pecos National Historical Park photography Sun, 22 May 2022 19:31:24 GMT
where there is wind Awakening this spring morning to high winds, one thing was assured.  Pollen and dust would fill the air, but it doesn't necessarily follow that there will be smoke.  However, at 7 a.m., the sky was dirty, tinged with yellow, and full of smoke from the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.  I cannot even imagine how miserable the fire fighters are, and the risks they take protecting the forests and homes and humans and other animals.  The pyrocumulonimbus "bombs" that form above heat sources, including wildfires and volcanic eruptions, have been all too common in New Mexico the last month.  I have been gradually documenting what we see from here. The image below is a great example rising in the Sangre de Cristo mountains over the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.  Thick, dark smoke can be seen building at the base of the bomb.  The fire has burned over 288,968 acres and is on its way to becoming the biggest wildfire in New Mexico history.

The Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez Mountains has also provided plenty of sky drama in the last month.  At 45,605 acres, the firefighters were able to gain more control over the weekend, when winds moderated.  

Except for the pyrocumulonimubus explosions above the fires, commercial airliners fly high above the smoke or around the formations, and contrails or vapor trails can be seen in both the third photograph as well as the one above.


This year reminded me of the two year period of 2011 and 2012 which brought the Pacheco Canyon Fire, the Whitewater Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest (the largest in our history), and Las Conchas Fire in Los Alamos.  It made me wonder what the amounts of precipitation were in both years.  I distinctly remember seeing and photographing plumes from the Pacheco Canyon Fire, wondering how dire the situation would become. We had ashes on the roof of our house in Taos County, and very windy conditions existed into the middle of July of 2011, when the monsoon season came to the rescue.  We were more than grateful in 2012 when the monsoon began on 12 June with 1.22 inches of moisture, including 3 inches of hail.  Not knowing certainly does not prevent one from hoping there will be a vigorous monsoon season this year.  And a black-chinned hummingbird hovered at our sliding glass door this morning.  A good omen?  How do those .50/ounce to 1.5 ounce bundles of energy survive the wind and smoke?  

hummer black chinnedhummer black chinned


Many thanks to all of you for reading, and to TTT, Barbara, M. Fred, Steve, Pauli, Phyllis, Catherine, Lisa, Wayne, and Char for commenting last week.  Wherever you are this week, may your explorations feed your minds and your hearts!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black-chinned hummingbirds Blacks Crossing Photography Cerro Pelado Fire Daryl A. Black forest fires Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire New Mexico photography Santa Fe Mon, 16 May 2022 15:21:49 GMT
garden dancers I look at Columbine flowers and they make me smile.  They are like little dancers in the garden, poised for anything, including the winds that have been our near-constant companions during the last two months.  The first ones to bloom in our gardens are the Aguilegia canadensis "Little Lanterns". The diminutive flowers have red outer petals surrounding a yellow "cup" comprised of petals and holding the stamens and pistils. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Columbine flower is the "spur".  All the 60-70 species in the Aquilegia genus of flowers have spurs.  What I did not know is that the spurs are different in shape depending on the flower's primary pollinators.  The Little Lanterns are small and challenging to photograph, and this is more of an example than one of my best photographic efforts.    

The Little Lanterns and Origami Red and White remind me of a sea creature like a squid in their bud stages, with the spurs almost propelling the flower forward.

Here is the Origami in bloom.

When purchasing a "pot luck" variety of Columbine, like McKana Giant Hybrids, one never knows what the flower color will be.  This first example falls in the broad coral color category.  The inner flowers are a delicate cream color while the stamens and pistils are bright yellow.  

The next three McKana Giant images show red sepals with a yellow cup formed by what are termed "blades".  

No blue Columbine flowers yet from the group of five I planted last year.  They are the Aguilegia caerules, which also happens to be the Colorado state flower.  They can be seen along streams in the mountains of northern New Mexico as well.  

Thank you Suz, Steve, Catherine, Ingrid, Greg C., Barbara, and Lawrence for commenting this week.  I hope you are enjoying nature in whatever season you find yourself!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aquilegia aquilegia canadensis little lanterns blacks crossing photography columbines daryl a. black flowers mckana giant hybrids nature new mexico origami red and white photography Sun, 08 May 2022 23:42:55 GMT
music to my ears Shrouded by stories of the bizarre, supernatural, ghostly figures, rattling skeletons and gloom, cemeteries have been given a bad, or at the very least, a spooky rap.  But the ones that are lovingly cared for and beautifully landscaped are like parks of peace for the living, brimming with history.  Being in close proximity to one definitely has its advantages.  Like any airport or train terminal, there are a million stories found therein.  And frequently, music.  Whenever we hear music that is not coming from neighbors or any technology in our home, our eyes turn to the cemetery.  There have been mariachis playing nearly every kind of instrument (including bass guitar and even a tuba), rock music, and yesterday, as it happens, bagpipes and a snare drum being skillfully utilized by the New Mexico Fire and Police Pipes and Drums.  Music to my ears!

As anyone who falls into the category of spouses and other family members as well as friends of photographers, you learn fairly quickly that if you are with a photographer, especially one with a camera in hand, you are no longer safe from being dragged into a potential photo shoot.  You will be waiting.  And this is what happened yesterday.  Is that music?  Up to the office window, and what do I see but bagpipers in the cemetery parking lot - tuning up and preparing for what was a sizable event attended by many members of the Española Police Department.  I really wanted to photograph the pipers.  Really, REALLY needed to do it, so brunch guests or not, it was off to Rivera Memorial Gardens.  After watching the pipers and drummer a bit, with fascination and some hesitation, I finally made my move and asked if they would allow me to photograph them.  They were very kind and willing as they were tuning their instruments.  Trying to always be prepared, I had brought business cards with me and passed them out.  They walked away from the Kiva Chapel so they could tune without disturbing the service in progress.  I followed, and began to make images as they tuned. It was interesting to hear them talk about music in general, and proceed to tune the reeds.  Things had dried between the time the pipers arrived and the time they would be playing.  I did not know that Great Highland bagpipes have three drones within which wooden reeds are housed - one bass and two tenors.  The chanter, which also contains a reed, is used to play the melody.  The piece into which the piper blows is comprised of a mouthpiece, blowpipe, and blowpipe stock.  

It shouldn't have surprised me, but it did, to hear them working on the scales as part of their preparation, as other concert musicians do.  Here is Greg Cheyne and his pipes, and another member of the group tuning one of the pipes in the lower right hand corner of the image.  James Lamb, Pipe Major, is also shown with his pipes in the second photograph.  The chanter has holes in it, like a penny whistle, that are covered or uncovered with the fingers to play the melody.       


Fred Hawkins with his snare drum, methodically provides solemn percussion.


In this environmental portrait, both the pipes and Cheyne share the spotlight.

Brandon Davis, Pipe Corporal, his uniform, and pipes

A sporan which serves as a pocket, pouch, or purse, is worn with a kilt.  The kilt plaid is called "American Heritage".

No pipers outfit would be complete without a sgian dubh (roughly pronounced skeen doo) or dirk, which is a Highland dress knife, worn in the sock.  It must have come in handy walking the moors and highlands of Scotland.

In perfect order, walking back to the Kiva Chapel. 

Thanks to the New Mexico Fire and Police Pipes and Drums members Fred Hawkins, Brandon Davis, Greg Cheyne, and James Lamb for their willingness to be interrupted by a photographer.  They play music for events statewide and beyond.  Since the organization conducts services for fire, police, and military members around the state at no cost, donations help with travel and equipment costs.  To donate or for more information, check out their website.

My thanks as well to Barbara F. R., Jean & Same, TP Lue, Steve, Ingrid, Ann A., Sandra B., TTT for commenting on this week's blog, and to And to Ingrid, Robert, and Fred for having part of their day occupied by photography.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) American Heritage plaid bagpipes blacks crossing photography cemetery dirk environmental portraiture music musicians New Mexico Fire and Police Pipes and Drums photography Rivera Memorial Gardens sgian dubh Mon, 02 May 2022 02:16:23 GMT
spring opportunities Everything in nature is cyclic.  Growing things abide by their own cycles, and in many cases, the beauty of the cycle is demonstrated only once or twice a year.  So when spring presents photographic opportunities once a year, as is the case with flowering fruit trees, it becomes a priority for me. Throughout the past month, I have been photographing flowering fruit trees in private homes, in the Rivera Memorial Gardens, and at the Santa Fe Community College.  Although I am unable to identify a good many of them down to the Latin genus and species name, there seems to be an abundances of apples, crabapples, and flowering plums, which all seem to thrive here.  I had asked the owners of a house with gorgeous trees if I could photograph them and they were gracious enough to say yes.   Shown below are flowers of what I believe to be a weeping crabapple, with a stunning caramel-colored bark that makes the tree flashy year-round.  


A neighbor's apple tree, complete with soft pint and peach-colored buds.

When I walked into a grouping of three trees in an open space, I noticed a din and originally thought it was traffic noise.  But tuning my ears, I realized the trees were full of bees and the sound they were making was fascinating.  With that many blooms to be worked, I knew there would be a photo bomb or two, as happened in the image below.  

This apple tree has gnarled and peeled bark, with an envelope area where a limb had been cut at some point.  It made for a story-book composition.   

I can see using this very soft focus image as a backdrop or illustration for a future wedding book.

The blue sky filled the spaces between the flowers, branches, and leaves below, adding to the color palette.

I am lucky enough to have a view of this tree from the office and it has offered a blast of fuchsia color for over a week.  It is always amazing that the blooms seem to stay attached, regardless of the 30-60 mile per hour winds that have been with us for what seems like the whole of April.


Finally, today's botany lesson.  The tree shown below is almost at the end of its bloom cycle, with the yellow anthers and white filaments, no longer surrounded by petals.  Anthers and filaments make up the stamen or male part of the flower.  To me, the design rendered by the stamens shows how much is involved in the natural world. 


I hope that this final week of April 2022 is full of wonders and photographic adventures for all of you.  Thanks to Lisa, Barbara F. R., Lawrence, Victoria, Ingrid, Steve, Kay, Heather, TTT, Jean & Sam, Wayne, Catherine, and Earle for commenting on last week's blog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography blossoms Daryl A. Black flowering fruit trees nature New Mexico photography trees Sun, 24 Apr 2022 23:12:27 GMT
a perfect backdrop Our recent trip to El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico, served many purposes, including a product shoot featuring two of Fred's rugs.  After walking around the nature-carved pillars and rubble for a bit, he found a protected area that not only kept the wind from shredding us but provided a perfect backdrop for his work.  It was part of the Sandstone Bluffs area off of Highway 117.


Rug 347 has a bit of a flying carpet look laying on the slab of sandstone, and in the second image beneath the massive, contorted and beautiful wall.

Since it is woven in the style of a Navajo Chief's Blanket, it seemed appropriate to demonstrate how it might be worn.

To me, Rug 344 is quite western, if there is such a thing, with geometric elements representing mesas and the reflected sky. It was not until we rolled it onto the sandstone that I realized one of the colors very nearly matched the rock.


Below is Fred's woven panel stitched to a jean's jacket.

Rug 344, 347, and the jacket panel are woven of 100% Navajo-Churro wool, both warp and weft.  Thanks to Connie Taylor for bringing awareness to and helping Navajo-Churro sheep thrive, and for dying the wool that Fred has used to weave since his first piece, made in 2003.  Thanks to Fred for his patience with this photographer, and to Barbara F. R., Lisa, Jean & Sam, Ingrid, Connie, Claudia, Louise & Jim, Marilyn, and Steve for commenting last week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black El Malpais National Monument Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography product photography sandstone weaving Mon, 18 Apr 2022 14:34:33 GMT
El Malpais It was a bit like visiting an old friend upon arriving at El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico last week.  During his time working at the Bureau of Land Management in Albuquerque during college, Fred walked all over the Sandstone Bluff area, and surveyed roads and hiking trails.  In October of 1994, we walked the Zuni-Acoma trail with our friend, Robert, across a sea of black lava that seems to stretch forever. The image below shows the mass of it, deposited by an eruption from nearby Mt. Taylor.  To walk that particular trail, one needs a vehicle on each end of the trail.  Robert's wife, Ingrid, was kind enough to meet us on the other side to ferry us back to our vehicle.  

Our trip this week just included exploration of the Sandstone Bluff area, because it was also a test of the real-time range of our electric Chevy Bolt. Going to La Ventanna Arch might have exceeded our range, for returning to Santa Fe without stopping to charge.  But we enjoyed walking all over the rock, exploring the folds and colors of the sandstone.  Although some formations had calved or lost pieces, much was the same.  


The sandstone is a brilliant counterpoint to the lava, and the colors are so intense that on a sunny day, which it was, it feels like it is burning your retinas!


The oranges, rust, ochre, pink, and red are stunning.


While I was desperately hoping that some of the tinajas, or stone basins, would be holding water, not a drop was to be found.  Just grains of sand and gravel. Junipers hang on for dear life.



Although the wind was howling and I was practically eating my hair while shooting, we found a protected area to do a product shoot with several of Fred and his rugs.  Those photographs will be featured next week.  


Thanks to Jean and Sam, Barbara F. R., Jim W., Lisa S., Marilyn, Christina, Steve, and Char for commenting this week!  I hope each of you is able to explore the wealth of spring blossoms, despite the windy days.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black El Malpais geology landscapes national monuments New Mexico photography rock formations Sun, 10 Apr 2022 22:53:20 GMT
and so it begins Suddenly, it is April, and seemingly, just as suddenly, many things have evolved from sticks to green or colorful buds and flowers.  All of you know I frequently photograph blooms in various stages, and part of that process is finding creative ways of seeing and making images of them.  I intentionally planted lots of daffodil bulbs two years ago to bring color and joy to our outdoor, publicly-seen spaces.  Over 100 of them, in actuality.  I chose five different types with size, color, and bloom times in mind, to keep things lively over a month or so.  An early morning shower on the first day I shot dotted the cups and petals with rain drops.

Daffodils 2022 3Daffodils 2022 3    

Daffodils 2022 1Daffodils 2022 1


This particular variety named "Ice Follies" comes complete with a bright yellow cup and white petals.

Daffodils 2022 2Daffodils 2022 2


As is sometimes the case, the back with its sheath from which the daffodil emerges, is just an interesting as the front of the flower itself.

Daffodils 2022 4Daffodils 2022 4

The sheath also makes an interesting part of a  black and white study.

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A flower shoot is incomplete for me until I get down and dirty to get the intimate details.  I looked like a turtle that ended up on its back while photographing these.

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Dianne, Lisa, Ingrid, Debbie S., Steve, Catherine, Barbara F. R., Wayne, and Victoria were kind enough to comment this week.

My thanks for all of you! 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image ©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography close ups daffodils Daryl A. Black flowers gardens nature New Mexico photography still life Sun, 03 Apr 2022 16:38:20 GMT
on the rocks The days of "near spring" weather continue here in the southern Rocky Mountains.  Last week, a wet, soaking snow fell, providing much needed moisture to the earth and to the bulbs, shrubs, and trees that will soon be in bloom.  But there is nothing like seeing the bright and bold during the waiting period.  We are lucky to have access to flowers literally from around the globe, introducing brilliance to both interior spaces and exterior landscapes.  As always, my search for a variety of backdrops continues, so the roses here ended up "on the rocks".


Although rocks like these don't hold the color that roses do, they complement the different colors of roses below in fascinating ways. 




Thanks to Dianne, Donna C., Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Victoria, TTT, Connie, Ann A., Steve, Bill & Sue, Wayne, and Diane for kind comments this week, and to Ingrid and Robert for providing the inspiration!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography rocks roses Mon, 28 Mar 2022 16:41:47 GMT
contest work Since I received an email from B&H Photo Video in New York - my place for purchasing cameras, computers, photo and digital paper and inks, and scanners - I have been pouring over photographs that would be suitable entrants for the "B&H Depth of Field Challenge" categories.  I needed to make sure that I had permission of the subjects before I submitted entries.  Trying to decide to submit color or black and white had to be considered as well, since many of the sponsors lean heavily toward color images.  

Although my tendency is to try to second guess what judges may like, in a couple of categories I threw caution to the wind, as it were, because second guessing is nearly impossible.

The categories are:  Portrait, Wedding Day, Commercial/Editorial, Shot on Film, Group Portrait, Aerial Wedding, Creative Lighting, and Album Cover.  I entered the first five categories.  Only one photograph per category was allowed.

Since nearly every photograph I make - from people to animals to plants to landscapes - are portraits, I could have gone in any direction.  But I chose people. Trying to offer a combination of spontaneous, classic portraiture and the choice of black and white or color made it challenging.  I like the two images of Travis below.


The image of "Zorba" at the door of his restaurant on Crete is a study in spontaneity.  

But this photo of Jessica is evocative on several levels, so I chose it for the "Portrait" category.



One of the group photos from Kara and Eero's wedding combined both formality and fun, so it seemed like a good entry for the "Wedding Day" category.


I was choosing between Ashley and Buf for the "Commercial/Editorial" category.

Buf is very photogenic and a terrific black and white subject,  but he was making something rather than advertising something, so I went with Ashley, modeling work at Taos Fiber Arts.

The next category "Shot on Film" took me back to a photograph I made with a Mamiya 1 3/4 x 2 1/4 format camera.  It was my first foray into any format camera larger than 35 mm, and it was before I began using Ilford HP 400 film, which I used for all my later portraits prior to digital photography.  This image was shot using Kodak Plus X Pan.  It was developed using the Sprint Developer offered at the Santa Fe Community College dark room.   Being a filmmaker himself, Walter Chappell was a compelling subject.



There were many possible entrants for the "Group Portrait" category.  The suggestion for the category was "we want to see those pre-COVID (or masked and vaxxed) group portraits featuring two or more subjects".  I have always been fond of this photograph of Paloma and Fred dancing at a Taos restaurant.   


But the word "subject" in the challenge instructions was the key.  It didn't say people.  I would love to see the reaction to my "Group Portrait" entry - good, bad, or dumfounded.  At least it might make someone smile.

Thanks to Victoria, Ann M., Barbara F. R., Paule, Jean & Sam, Steve, Catherine and Ingrid for commenting this week.  To hear from so many who were born before or during World War II, or had family members deeply involved was enlightening.  In the same vein, many stories are already emerging from Ukraine and Russia, as well as numerous bordering countries.  Nice to see Arnold Schwarzenegger's Twitter post, primarily addressed to the Russian and Ukrainian people in such a beautiful and respectful way this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) b&h photo and video blacks crossing photography daryl a. black depth of field contest environmental portraits fashion photography Sun, 20 Mar 2022 19:38:51 GMT
a place to call home I have been pondering the lives of the Ukrainian people this week because of the unprovoked war inflicted on them by the Russians.  Over 2.7 million people have left the country, and are now in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and points beyond.  It is nearly impossible to wrap one's head around the number.  But this number may help put it in perspective.  New Mexico has 2,120,220 people in the state, the country's fifth largest in territory, spread over 121,590 square miles of land.  The number of refugees from Ukraine would be equivalent to our entire state moving to Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and other states.  Just imagine the chaos, traffic and tragedy.  Ukraine was a vibrant, tech-filled, young country filled with innovation, creativity, and promise.  I have no doubt that it will remain that way, but for now, physically, the people and landscape are a bit worse for wear.  

And then my mind goes to the countries my sister and I visited in 2014 that are receiving refugees.  Hungary, Slovakia, even Germany, and wonder how both the refugees and the citizenry of those countries are doing.  A military base in Ukraine only eleven miles from the Polish border was attacked on Sunday.  That, alone, holds wretched ramifications.  There are many people in the whole of Europe who remember personally or have heard from relatives and friends how life was during World War II. None of them want to repeat those days and are nervous about what else Russia has in mind.  Today's blog celebrates, in photographs, some regular people in these countries doing what they do, with the hope that they will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy soon.  And once again, have a place to call home.


In Budapest, Hungary local police do their jobs before a football match between a Hungarian team and an Irish team.

A street musician near the center of Budapest


Moving on to Bratislava, Slovakia, a shopkeeper at Folk Folk

Bratislava has a vibrant music scene and September is one of the biggest months for music in and around the city.  Try as I might to find the event to which these people were attached, I could not.   But energy, color, and much percussion abounded.

A driver was ready to take tourists around the area.


As a counterpoint to the drumming and dancing, a harpist played just around the corner.  


A tightrope walker on a rainy, grey day in Regensburg, Germany,  finishes this sequence.

My thoughts are with all who are without a home in these unsettled times.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Bratislava Slovakia Budapest Hungary Daryl A. Black photography Regensburg Germany Ukraine Sun, 13 Mar 2022 20:10:02 GMT
intersection of DC and AC These blogs, like the weather, seem to feature things that come together gradually or collide, like warm spring days and winter snow squalls in March here in the Rocky Mountain west.  Bright blue skies were slowly replacing the overcast that brought a lush, wet snow to the landscape as I began writing Sunday morning.  Those with passive solar homes or with homes receiving energy from solar panels count on that bright sunshine for peak warmth and efficiency.  

Our modern electrical systems evolved thanks to the discovery and development of what is called direct current or DC power, and alternating current or AC power.  I don't pretend to have much comprehension of either, but having lived off-grid with a photovoltaic system for twenty years, I have learned a few things.  Since my intellectual capacity leans more toward memorization than technical understanding, I know the wattage of just about every appliance in the house.  How they work?  Well, bits and pieces take hold from time to time.  One is that DC energy or direct current is a one directional flow of electrical current.  We use many things in our daily lives that are powered by DC including cell phones, laptops, flashlights, and any kind of tool or implement that uses a battery.  AC or alternating current is what we use when we turn on a light or an appliance in our homes.  It literally alternates or, according to Wikipedia "reverses direction and changes its magnitude continually..."  

During the 1800s, numerous inventors were working on these strategies for energy production and communication, including Guglielmo Marconi, Alessandro Volta (his battery was the Voltaic pile), French physicist Andre' Marie-Ampere, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison, to name a few. Two ironies emerged from the competition for electrical transmission in the United States between Tesla and Edison.  Ultimately, the nod for what we now call "the grid" , was given to Tesla who promoted AC.  However, the Tesla automobiles are based on DC energy, intersecting with and changed into AC to run Nikola Tesla's AC brushless induction motor.  Although Thomas Edison helped develop and promote DC energy, many of the power companies in this country are named after Edison, despite the fact that they use AC.

And what does all this have to do with me and photography?  Not a whole lot, except that I photographed the technicians and equipment from Positive Energy Solar as they installed two Tesla  Powerwalls this week in our garage.  Because of that delicate intersection between DC and AC, the process was actually more complicated and took longer than the original installation of the solar panels on the roof.  But the completed process would fulfill our plan to have a backup system in the event of an extended power outage in the area.


To begin the job, organization is the key, as the photograph below demonstrates.  


The first day was spent installing new circuit breaker and shut off boxes, both in the garage and outside, in preparation for DC and AC joining together.


On Day Two, the Powerwalls made their debut.


Powerwalls are two rather hefty solid state batteries, a variation of the types of batteries used in electric automobiles.  At 300 pounds a piece, a dolly and muscle was required to maneuver them into place.  The Powerwalls are made to fit together front to back, taking less space wherever they are installed.



It takes teamwork to do a great job, and they did!

It was like Christmas morning having these beauties installed and being able to read real-time energy production, use, and savings courtesy of an app.  One of the other bells and whistles are these Steam Punk green lights that pulsate when the batteries are charing. Probably a frivolity but we definitely get a giggle out of watching the lights.

Thanks for your indulgence as I tried to put into words and photographs a small example of the intersection of DC and AC.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) AC alternating current Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black DC direct current New Mexico photography Positive Energy Solar Santa Fe solar power Tesla Powerwalls Sun, 06 Mar 2022 21:03:44 GMT
intersection of glass and light Many of you know by visiting my blogs every week that I am fascinated by the play of light on and through glass.  Several months ago, I discovered the wonder of three overhead lights shining through wine glasses.   Merriam Webster defines this result as refraction or the bending of a ray of light passing from one medium (in this case, glass) to another (the tile behind it).  My first reaction was that the result was quite similar to the art nouveau style used so effectively by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in furniture, paintings and drawings.  His flowers and roses are particularly wonderful.  Many of his works are still under copyright, so I am reluctant to include them here.  But in the photograph below that I shot in 2014 of one exterior wall of the Vienna Secession Building or Secessionsgebäude, the style of work is apparent.  Built in 1898 by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the Secession Building features two key artists in the Secession Movement - Gustav Klimt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  

I saw elements of the work in the refracted light through the glass.


The position of the glass in relation to the overhead lights created a different "rose" in each image.

Using a slightly different shape of glass produced more of a flower base than unfolding rose.


The flares shown in the next two images are at such an angle that rainbow colors appear.  I also put water in the bowl of the glass, which impacted the outcome. 

Three lights, three flares

Thanks to M. Fred, Barbara, Christina, Geula, Lawrence, TTT, Luella, Jean & Sam, Wayne, Ingrid, and Steve for commenting this week as we enter the month of March with its feel of spring.  I hope you are able to explore all of it this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography charles rennie mackintosh daryl a. black glass light new mexico photography refraction still life photograph vienna secession building Mon, 28 Feb 2022 16:19:03 GMT
weaving olympics The 2022 Olympic Games concluded on Sunday in Beijing.  Having watched many of the events, and witnessed the near perfection and incredible physical prowess of the athletes, I continue to be in awe of what they do with their bodies.  But I also know that regular people do extraordinary things.  From doing home and road construction, and building fences in sub-freezing temperatures, to stocking store shelves and keeping gardens and streets tidy and free of litter, most people are doing their own Olympic Games every day.  Not to mention those in the health care fields who are into their third grueling year of caring for patients during the pandemic.  So here's to those who do their very best in amazing ways every day.

Weight and balance is essential in many sports and it reminded me of what Fred does for five to six hours every day at the loom.  In a way, he is doing his own sport, shifting weight from one treadle to the other.  For him and all weavers, the weather is not the variable but the wool with which he weaves. Depending on the quality of the warp and spin of the weft, he has to make adjustments. In the spirit of the games, here is the weaving game. Notice the impeccable equipment, the loom with a few extra bolts and the sandbags as ballast.  He is shifting his weight between the treadles as he throws the shuttle.







And the weight changes continue.


Here is a detail of Fred's new arts and crafts style rug, in what is known as the Glasgow Style.  Charles Rennie Mackintosh was among the designers, architects, and artists in the Glasgow School movement.  

Rug 363 detail.jpgRug 363 detail.jpg


As I mentioned earlier, when a material like four-ply warp becomes one or two ply in spots, the weaver has to catch that and compensate, so there are no breaks in the body of the rug.  Sometimes, instead of doing rugs that are 60+ inches in length, he makes square rugs, like Rug 362, shown below.

Or he gets creative and weaves something totally new, like the bags or bolsas here. He wove two designs side by side.  They are all eleven inches high.  The two on the left are 11" x 7".  The two on the right are 11" x  9".  They are handwoven, hand-knotted, and hand cabled with no lining or clasps, and are open at the top.  All of his work is 100% Navajo-Churro wool, both warp and weft.    

Bolsas 1, 2, 3, 4Bolsas 1, 2, 3, 4


Fred's feet continue to shift from treadle to treadle as the weaving olympics continue.


Thanks to Barbara, Victoria, Dianne, Wayne, Ann A., Orlando, Lisa, TTT, Steve, and Ingrid for commenting this week.  

Feliz Cumpleaños, M. Fred and Diane!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fred black navajo-churro wool new mexico photography weaving Sun, 20 Feb 2022 22:18:42 GMT
roses for all 14 February 2022.  Despite the continuing pandemic, the climate changing seemingly by the minute, and multiple possibilities of violence around our dear and wonderful planet, there is still and always room for love.  And that love is celebrated today, Valentine's Day, in many ways. So I extend my wishes to each of you by featuring the magical flower - the rose - in today's blog.  In myth and legend, story and song, the rose evokes multiple visions, demonstrating stunning beauty, fragrance, and romance.  Here are roses for all, each one telling its own story.


Roses - August 2021 - 5Roses - August 2021 - 5






Even in rain or after drying, they demonstrate profound strength and a sometimes difficult to identify sterling character.


Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, complete with abundant joy and beauty!

Special thanks to Barbara, Connie, Luella, Wayne, Charlie (love the haiku), Jean and Sam, Dianne, Pauli, Steve, Ingrid, Catherine, and Marta for commenting this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers New Mexico photography roses Valentine's Day Mon, 14 Feb 2022 15:08:46 GMT
warmth, anyone? Fully realizing that those of us living in New Mexico have been nearly irrevocably spoiled by the weather this year, the past week brought winter to the fore in a big way.  With low temperatures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings of 0, 4, 9, and 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and high temperatures below freezing for four days as well, my brain craved warmth.  A few places make me whimsical about it, but one location in New Mexico - El Malpais National Monument near Grants - just says warmth.  Massive volcanic lava flows from nearby Mt. Taylor cover the area, making it actually hazardous and exposed in the summer.  But above the flows are sandstone formations that hold their own warmth in solidity as well as color.  Below, a lone Ponderosa pine is fed by water that falls into and is held by crevices.

One of the more notable features of the area is La Ventana Arch.  I could spend a great deal of time photographing every detail of the arch.  The shot below is a bit of an illusion, as the arch is in the foreground and blends into other formations behind it. 



Holes and possible future arches can be found on both sides of the arch.  As the sandstone weathers, holes are created while other areas are varnished and smoothed.

The vertical wall on another side of the arch shows spectacular shades of desert varnish on the stone.  


El Malpais National Monument is roughly 72 miles west of Albuquerque off of Interstate 40 near Grants.  All trails are open but the visitor center is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the caves on the west side of the monument are closed for a long deserved rest (the National Park Service calls it "resource protection and public safety").  

Thanks to Lucia, Kay, Barbara, Victoria, Ingrid, Larry & Donna, Wayne, Christina, Steve, and Jean & Sam for commenting this week.  

Birthday wishes to Sue P., Luella, Barbara O., M. Fred, and Diane D., and Happy Anniversary to Gigi and JJ, and Susie and Bogie, all celebrating during the month of February.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black El Malpais National Monument geology Grants New Mexico La Ventana arch landscapes New Mexico photography sandstone Sun, 06 Feb 2022 21:55:38 GMT
sky watch Today is the last blog of January 2022, demonstrating, once again, how days and weeks and months seem to be compressing, leaving me wondering how days disappear into thin air.  But it is January and winter in the northern hemisphere.  A flurry of cloud activity painted across the sky mid-week, hinting at the possibility of snow, and providing dynamic photographic possibilities.

Most of the clouds forming were of the cirrus variety in the higher atmosphere.  All I knew is that they were on the move and I had to grab my camera to catch them as they moved from the eastern sky, tracking across the north to the west and then south.  Nearly every variety of cirrus clouds was on display.  



Although the color of blue skies and feathery clouds framed by the building walls is brilliant, I liked the idea of taking one image to black and white.


Once again, I felt compelled to use the sky as backdrop for the second bloom stalk of the amaryllis.

cloud and amaryllis 1 2022.jpgcloud and amaryllis 1 2022.jpg

cloud image and amaryllis 3 2022.jpgcloud image and amaryllis 3 2022.jpg


After the wind, it did eventually snow.  Six inches in some parts of Santa Fe.  Our total was 2-4 inches,  measuring .21 in liquid after it was melted.   Here is a shot of the entire bloom stalked against snow, with blue tinges on the right side and pinkish on the upper left where the sun was beginning to reflect off the stucco wall.


I hope the skies wherever you are allow for some fascinating watching and photographic experimentation for you this week!  Thanks to Barbara, Char, Lisa, Paule, Wayne, Sandra, Pauli, Christina, Barbara O., Steve, Jean and Sam, Catherine, Veronica, and Dianne for getting in touch this week.  And Happy Birthday, Connie!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) amaryllis blacks crossing photography clouds daryl a. black flowers new mexico photography sky photography snow weather Mon, 31 Jan 2022 01:41:42 GMT
of shortbread and Burns 25 January 1759 is the birthdate of renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns.  It is said that friends of the poet of romance got together to celebrate his life for the first time in 1801, after his death in 1796.  Although a traditional Burns Dinner consists of haggis (organ meats from sheep, lamb, and some beef with oats, onions, and spices cooked in a sheep's stomach), neeps, (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) along with a wee dram of whiskey or single malt or two or three, no doubt. Since Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne, I suspect the words are read or the song is sung at every good Burns Night.  

Although not on the traditional menu for a Burns Dinner, shortbread and tea would be a tasty but light afternoon repast before the big evening, and that is what we will be having, thanks to Fred's sister, who makes the finest shortbread this side of Edinburgh, with plenty of real butter.  Notice the fork piercings in each log of shortbread, a traditional marking.   


No Burns celebration would be complete without a reading from the works of the poet.  The book shown below, a bit worse for wear, was published in 1883, and has graced many tables and shelves before making its way to our humble abode.  We have Fred's Gran - otherwise known as Margaret Bryce Borthwick Low Rockingham Bell - to thank for the book.  One of these two cups also came from Gran as an engagement gift fifty years ago.  The other was a wedding gift from one of his aunts.  Both were believers in the tradition of shortbread and tea in bone china tea cups.  


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
     For auld lang syne.
     We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
     For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.



Thanks to Barbara, Christina, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Sara, Lisa, Steve, and Dianne for your wonderful and meaty comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography plaids Robert Burns Scotland shortbread tea Mon, 24 Jan 2022 02:40:24 GMT
vegetables The word "vegetable" conjures different things in different people.  Perhaps overcooked and tasteless and "I'm not eating that"  to fresh, crunchy and flavorful.  As a photographer with an interest in details, I can't help but analyze both the inside and outside of certain vegetables, looking for the design, color, and patina.  So just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder in my blog, I present cabbage and onions.

The outsides of cabbages are a little like a fine fabric that has pleats and folds pressed into it, radiating from the bottom along the center line all the way to the top.


The sheen or patina on this red cabbage just seems to glow in the light.


And the tightness of individual layers are pure design wonder, a little like the rocks on which this cross-section sits.  


Onions - whether wild or cultivated - say "botanical" to me - with or without flowers.


Nothing like that windswept look from a vegetable.


Photographic subjects can be found anywhere, near or far, and I trust that many of you will find your own subjects this week. 

Have fun!


Thanks to Jean and Sam, Kay, Barbara, Catherine, Ann A., Steve, Connie, and Ingrid for commenting on last week's blog!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cabbage Daryl A. Black food green New Mexico onions photography purple still life photography vegetables Mon, 17 Jan 2022 18:01:50 GMT
color in winter There are places in the world, even in the northern hemisphere, where color doesn't wain during the winter months.  Many flowers are in bloom, even as I write this, in California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, as well as coastal Canada, in the southern United States and Mexico as well. Parts of the Mediterranean have myriad flowers that provide winter color in the region.  Having grown up in New Mexico, however, I never saw a winter flower (outside a building, florist's shop, or nursery) in bloom until I was 21 and in California, visiting my future husband and his family. To say I was blown away by seeing all the glorious flowers in winter is an understatement. 

A bit of history is necessary here.  Thanks to the intrepid and peripatetic Portuguese, a big, brash winter blues-bashing flower appeared on the scene in Europe, possibly as early as the 16th century.  The amaryllis, native to South Africa, with its varied colors and patterns, became wildly popular, was hybridized and tweaked, and went on to brighten homes in Europe and the wider world.  Appropriately, the name amaryllis is from the Greek "amarysso" which means "to sparkle".  A great many names are attached to it, including Christmas Lily, March Lily, Madonna Lily, and St. Joseph's Staff.

After the first bud of our amaryllis opened some five days ago, my camera was in hand, right through the unfurling of the fourth bud.  Each day, I would put the pot in assorted and different pools of natural light - both inside and outside the house - during different times of day and with different back grounds.  Here is a sampling of the 100+ photographs I shot over the week.  The computer mouse was a little worse for wear, as it gathered flour, bread dough, and dirt remnants on it between shoots.  Here is a shot of the first flower to open. 

Flowers - amaryllis 5 2022Flowers - amaryllis 5 2022  


The throats and backs of the flowers have their own beauty,  as shown in the photographs below.

Flowers - amaryllis 10 2022Flowers - amaryllis 10 2022

Flowers - amaryllis 16 2022Flowers - amaryllis 16 2022


In this shot, I held a flashlight to bring added light to the interior of the bloom.

Flowers - amaryllis 11 2022Flowers - amaryllis 11 2022


A second bud is ready to open in this botanical.

Flowers - amaryllis 4  2022Flowers - amaryllis 4 2022


There were two flowers open at this point, but I focused on one in order to give "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, room to breathe.


Afternoon light saturated the colors of the amaryllis in its full glory.


Thanks to Ingrid and Robert, and to Barbara, Christina, Lisa, TTT, Sara, Wayne, Jean and Sam, Steve, Catherine, and Dianne for contributing to my blogs!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) amaryllis Blacks Crossing Photography bulbs Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography red still life Mon, 10 Jan 2022 16:24:13 GMT
the opening chapter Today is the third page of the opening chapter of 2022.  Although the snow tragically came a day too late for many residents of Louisville and Superior, Coloraodo, New Mexico was gifted rain and snow to close out the year.  That is worth celebrating.  It has been far too long since there was decent moisture in much of the state.  Following shoveling and sweeping, there is always photography.  As is frequently the case, in the aftermath of a storm, bright sunshine and blue skies prevail.


The patterns and layers created by snowflakes crashing into and plastering stucco walls never ceases to fascinate me.


The same is true of the way it coats aspen trunks.


Fingers of ice create still life.


Water falling from canales creates baubles and bubbles on anything it encounters in temperatures like the 7° low this morning.