Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog en-us @ Daryl A. Black (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Mon, 29 May 2023 01:37:00 GMT Mon, 29 May 2023 01:37:00 GMT Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog 112 120 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. 

Columbines - Rocky Mountain (Aquilegia cerulea)Columbines - Rocky Mountain (Aquilegia cerulea)KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 9 2023Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 9 2023

Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 13 2023Columbine - McKana Giant (Mckana hybrida) 13 2023

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.

Jemez Country geology 2023 1Jemez Country geology 2023 1     


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Below is a shot of green chile enchiladas.

Homemade bread using natural light from the south and west

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Here is a female shoveler, also at rest.  

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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.

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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.

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Each glass panel creates its own abstraction. 

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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.

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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.   

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

New World order 2New World order 2


50th anniversary gathering tapas 150th anniversary gathering tapas 1

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



Harvest set up 2Harvest set up 2

fingerling potatoesfingerling potatoes

turkey and dressingturkey and dressingKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 18Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 18

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 21Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 21

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 11Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 11

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 20Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 20

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 5Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 5

Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 19Pickleball photo shoot Santa Fe 2022 19

  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.

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 12Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 12   

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 10Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 10

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

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 14Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 14

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 11Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 11

Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 22Santa Fe Rail Trail mural 2022 22

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  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.

Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 4Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 4

Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 3Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 3

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.

Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 5Autumn 2022 - onion and leaves 5


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.

Autumn 2022 7Autumn 2022 7

Shades of red and orange were scattered everywhere.

Autumn 2022 5Autumn 2022 5

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

Autmn 2022 1Autmn 2022 1

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

Autumn 2022 2Autumn 2022 2

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

Autumn 2022 6Autumn 2022 6

Autumn 2022 4Autumn 2022 4

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.

Autumn 2022 3Autumn 2022 3

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

Autumn 2022 8Autumn 2022 8

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.  

Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 4Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 4

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.

Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 2Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 for blog 2

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.  

Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 10Vivac Winery Shoot 2022 10

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

Harvest set up 1Harvest set up 1


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

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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

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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?  

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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.

Daffodils 2022 6Daffodils 2022 6


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.

Daffodils 2022 5Daffodils 2022 5

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.


Even at the end of the day, dregs from the canale remain firmly attached to the tree like an ice sculpture.


Happy Birthday to all the January babies - Elizabeth H., Anne O'K, Larry J.  Mary P. K., Orlando T., Richard S., Karen L., and Connie T., and anniversary wishes to Jim and Louise.  And many thanks to all of you who added comments to the closing blog of 2021 including Victoria, Barbara F. R., Jean & Sam, TTT, Ingrid, Wayne, Ann A., Phyllis M., Jim and Louise, Steve, Donna C., Christina, Lisa, Catherine, and Charlie.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black ice nature new mexico photography snow still life winter Mon, 03 Jan 2022 01:21:45 GMT
taking stock For most of us, 2021 was a year we anticipated with some measure of both dread and hope, leaving us at times feeling like we were in limbo because of the continued severity of the COVID pandemic and unanticipated consequences of it.  But as the year progressed from winter into spring and then summer, and as more people got vaccinated, there was a wellspring of excitement that the world could and would emerge with new knowledge and good health, leaving the pandemic behind.  

An incredible amount of information has been gleaned by scientists, epidemiologists, and doctors from the two years of COVID, and for that, I am grateful.  There is still much to be discovered not only about the virus and its variants but about our world and human behavior.  It is a time to look back on the year and jog our memories.  For artists and photographers, it is an excellent time to take stock of the work we have done, and ponder why and how we did it, and curate our collections.  In that light, I have selected some photographs that gave me and still give me joy on some level, either through the subject matter or the process or both.  


January brought a dusting of snow and a feather to use for a still life.

In February, Fred began work on entering the Selvedge Magazine World Fair, and we did a photo shoot for that in March.  One of the sample photographs was of the appliqué he wove and attached to the back of a vest.


I liked the range of color and light in this image.  


The simple and complex beauty of a single flowering fruit tree branch against a stuccoed wall has given me joy since I downloaded it into the computer.

There is nothing like a spring wedding to bring out the creative juices in me.


Summer brought the curve billed thrashers back to their favorite cholla cactus for nesting.  First came the eggs...

...followed by the total chaos of nesting chicks.  Pure fun to watch.

The paintbrush on the prairie north of Las Vegas gave quite the show in July.


And autumn of 2021 was splendid.  Regardless of tone or intensity of color, the aspen tugged at my heartstrings.

Thanks to Christina, TTT, Wayne, Connie, Catherine, Lisa, Orlando, Barbara, Jean & Sam, Steve, Dianne, Victoria, Geula, and Lena for commenting this week, and to everyone who follows my blog!  May 2022 bring new spirit, life, and joy to all of you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen birds blacks crossing photography curved bill thrashers daryl a. black fashion flowering fruit trees flowers fred black new mexico paintbrush photography roses weaving weddings Mon, 27 Dec 2021 00:03:15 GMT
solstice 2021 Tomorrow, 21 December, is the winter solstice in earth's northern hemisphere.  Because it deeply effected their lives, daylight was tracked on some level by early humans and they knew it changed throughout the year.  According to EarthSky, "The solstice is when the sun reaches its most southerly point on the sky's dome for the year.  At the solstice, the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day and longest night of the year."   That happens tomorrow at 9:59 a.m.  EarthSky also recommends being outside at noon and taking note of one's shadow.  It will be the longest of the year, whereas on the summer solstice, it will be the shortest.  The day also marks the change of season into winter, while in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is underway.  Since we aren't in the vicinity of Stonehenge or any other great celestial stone circles, local is the key in this blog.

I can't say I ever took note of my shadow at noon on the solstice, but here is the closest thing.  Never have I felt so tall!

In attempt to do some interesting shadow work for the solstice, I used wine and champagne bottles.  They obviously are different colors of glass that make very interesting designs in the noon sun.

A group of bottles and their effects.

Straight from New Mexico, this Gruet bottle was very obviously a deeper green that the others, and the thicker glass created fascinating designs.

By adding more light to the shadow areas, the deep green shifted to a light shade.

Turned on its side, the bottle takes on a different character.

Happy Birthday to the near-solstice birthday folks - Lena (who actually celebrates today) and Dave (who actually celebrates the solstice), and may all of you celebrate the change in your own way.

My wishes to you are for safe, healthy, and happy holidays, wherever this week finds you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography bottles Daryl A. Black EarthSky light New Mexico photography reflections solstice still life photography winter Mon, 20 Dec 2021 03:04:05 GMT
design magic in ice Instructions:  Take one six gallon bucket, the likes of which can be found at a hardware store.  Fill with water.  Leave overnight when the low temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  In the morning, drain any remaining water out of the bucket and empty the resulting ice on the ground.  Result:  design magic.  

We would not necessarily have discovered this last week, except for a normal procedure we do when showering.  To conserve water, we fill a bucket with water before the water actually coming out of the shower head is warm enough so I don't scream when I get in.  After showering, we take the bucket outside and let it sit overnight to eliminate the chlorine, making it better for plants.  Conditions were perfect for still life photography.  It really could not have been much better.

Still life details abound here and I suspect there are many more waiting to be discovered.  The scallop at the center base is fascinating.  An atmsopheric scientist could probably explain why it happened, but to me, it was one of the many design points in the ice container.  Additional light was provided by the on-camera flash. 


The thinner part of the ice in the upper right hand corner and the tiny fissure leading to the fingers below it create a natural abstract.


The outside of the ice bowl in this shot had cracks that looked like lightning strikes.


The image below holds all sorts of things that occurred as the water froze during the cold night, including frozen bubbles, ice fingers, and granules.


May this week before the winter solstice provide you with many weird and wonderful things to ponder and photograph.  Thanks to Elida, Barbara, Dianne, Wayne, Jean & Sam, Terry T., Lisa, Marilyn, Charlie K. G., and Pauli for commenting on last week's blog. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image© 



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice nature New Mexico photography still life photography design abstracts winter Mon, 13 Dec 2021 17:45:57 GMT
New Mexico verdigris Considering I was unfamiliar with the descriptor for many years, I have long been an admirer of the color "verdigris".  A dusty blue green, it is found in many landscapes, including both low and high deserts in the American Southwest.  The Secret Lives of Color is a great reference by Kassia St. Clair.  About verdigris she says "Verdigris is a naturally occurring carbonate that forms on copper and its alloy bronze when they are exposed to oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, or sulfur."  Rich and muted at the same time, verdigris is one of the things that makes the Parry's agave so compelling, along with the glorious rhythm of the plant.


Another Parry's agave in lower light, muting the color.


The tops of the leaves have pencil-like points that are sharp enough to serve as needles.


It is tough for a photographer like me not to show the agave in black and white, despite my love for verdigris.


Although the delicately porcelain bowl is technically celadon, the color leans more toward verdigris.

Thanks to Marta, Terry T., Barbara, Jean & Sam, Ingrid, Wayne, Claudia, and Steve for commenting this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) agave blacks crossing photography daryl a. black Kassia St. Clair new mexico parry's agave photography plants Secret Lives of Color succulents verdigris Mon, 06 Dec 2021 16:53:11 GMT
comfort The weekly exercise of photography, for me, contains bits and pieces of what I do, see, or reproduce for publication in any given week.  Therefore, at the risk of this reading like a "How I spent my Thanksgiving holiday" paper from school, one of today's main blog subjects is the rum ball.  I have been constructing these confections every year since the early 1980s, to distribute as holiday cheer, and have made it a tradition to start the process on the day following Thanksgiving.  Over time, ingredients have been altered, depending on their availability, but basically the ingredients are a crumb base, pecans, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and rum.  Not much in the way of nutritional value, but a lovely, edible form of comfort. Because of the rum, they have the added bonus of a long shelf life.  I quadrupled the recipe and ended up with 129 balls, lined up like soldiers on paper towels, waiting to dry a bit.

Although I frequently feel like I am channeling the enthusiasm of Julia Child while making these, flinging ingredients around the kitchen, the results are worth the effort.

I let the balls "age" for a month or so before putting them in individual containers.  The fragrance is heady.  Naturally, one must taste the resulting product.


Another element of comfort happened this week.  For the first time in a month, it rained here.  A quarter of an inch fell and it was an unexpected gift.  Most of the rain fell throughout the night and in the morning until about 11 a.m., enabling moisture to soak into the ground.  Sheer comfort for everything in the natural world, including the roses, wearing the beads of water with joy.  It almost looks as if there was a wee bit of ice on this rose.

To have a bud at this time of year, as catchment device for moisture, is a wonderful thing.


I hope each of you were able to celebrate this week.  Thanks to Kay, Barbara F. R., Diane, Victoria, Geula, Marilyn, Pauli, TTT, Ann, Wayne, Steve, and Ingrid for leaving your thoughts about the blog - toast, al carbón or not!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©






(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers food nature new mexico photography roses rum balls still life photography Sun, 28 Nov 2021 22:27:40 GMT
thankful There was a reason other than automobile and mattress sales for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Celebrated in America and around the world, it was originally a day set aside to celebrate the bounty of the harvest.  I like the idea of Thanksgiving because you do not need to be of a particular religious or cultural background to partake.  It is a simple concept, one that is easy to honor with food and friends and family.  The table needn't be groaning under the weight of massive amounts and varied foods, although many tables will be and that can be spectacular, but sometimes, simple is good.  Nothing more straightforward than a good slice of homemade bread slathered with butter and a cup of tea or coffee.

My thanks this week to Barbara F. R., TTT, Lisa, Terry T., Pauli, Jean & Sam, Catherine, Christina, Steve, and Wayne.  I am thankful for all who are so steadfast in reading my blog every Monday, for simple food, conversation, a roof over my head, laughter and love, Fred, friends and family, and Planet Earth.  Each precious and essential.  I hope your Thanksgiving week is filled with everything you need!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black food new mexico photography still life Thanksgiving Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:26:11 GMT
complexity, simplicity, and rhythm Especially at this time of year, when leaves are falling from the trees, revealing everything they shielded, I am in awe, and find myself marveling at nature.  Earth is full of complex and yet seemingly simple things that have some level of rhythm.  One of the best examples of this is corn.  The humble vegetable and staple of many a school lunchroom, corn feeds us and livestock as well as house pets, birds, and rodents.  But what a beautiful study in nature it is!  The kernels are packed tightly against one another, carrying a reflective sheen, regardless of color.  All this in a package protected by silken fibers and surrounded by husks.  They are near-perfect studies for still life photography.  A friend had given us seed corn for Christmas one year, and these are the results, grown at 7,800 feet in Taos County. 


Native American corn is particularly stunning, given the wide range of colors.

The rhythm of the kernels is tough to beat.

Corn offers photographers quite stunning black and white options.  Because of the reflective power of the kernels, the above photograph translates well into black and white.

I call these ears suitable for any backdrop.


Marilyn, Terry T., Dianne, Jean & Sam, Ross, Ingrid, Steve, Catherine, and Wayne checked in this week after reading the blog.  Many thanks to you and everyone who reads it.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography corn Daryl A. Black Native American corn New Mexico photography still life vegetables Mon, 15 Nov 2021 16:43:29 GMT
the spirit of leaves Most deciduous trees, by their nature, shed leaves once a year.  It is part of their life cycle.  And the last hoorah of leaves, as every person in the Rocky Mountains knows, is spectacular.  Even as leaves lose their colors and dry, they continue to circle around us, forming eddies in corners, around rocks, and at the base of the tree from which they fall.  They are picked up by the wind and transferred almost constantly, following us around, to the delight of many children who walk through them, stomp on them, and jump in piles, disappearing beneath their glory.  That part of the child in me never left. Leaves in all their forms are glorious, leading me to feature a few beauties in today's blog.  It is as if the leaves in the image below were put on the ground to highlight the concrete bench. 


Each leaf has its own distinct character and spirit, a present to those who search its notches and veins.  From a flowering fruit tree of an "unknown to me" species, this specimen looks like it is on fire.


Catching the last light of day, another leaf from a different flowering fruit tree, has a velvet softness to show off its saturated color.


From the same tree as the first, the leaf below is hanging on to the tree before falling and joining the gathering below it.


Finally, a side spray of barberry, full of different spirits.

As we move forward in November, there are numerous opportunities for photography, and I hope they will present themselves to you this week.  Thanks to Victoria, TTT, Terry, Lisa, Jean and Sam, Barbara, Jim and Louise, and Dianne for your comments this week.

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 red still life yellow Mon, 08 Nov 2021 15:46:03 GMT
carbon neutral For some odd reason, possibly a gift from our respective families, Fred and I are conservatives in the purist sense of the word.  Not in the twisted and tortured way that some on the outer edges of the political and religious spectrum use it, but as in "conserving" - money, energy, and material goods - most of our married lives.  All four of our parents were babies of the Great Depression, and all but one were big savers.  You could almost say conservation is in our DNA.  Thus, a year ago, when we moved from our off-grid home in Taos County to our city abode, one of the goals was to save as much energy as we could, and generate excess energy to return to the grid.  Our goal was to become "carbon neutral".   

On 4 November of last year, our solar system installed by Positive Energy Solar came online.  There has been nearly a year of electrical production and collection by the system, and I wanted to present an update.  Sixteen solar or photovoltaic panels are on the roof, absorbing the sun's rays and turning it into energy, with their accompanying wires and mini-inverters on each panel.  It was quite the production, worthy of Broadway, when the panels and electrical boxes were mounted all during one August day, and three months later when the switch was literally flipped, the electrical meter began its journey backward.  The system generated 22 kilowatt hours (kWh), that first day.  Throughout the year, we discovered it varied day to day, depending on the outside temperature and sunshine, from a low of 6 kWh on a totally cloudy day to a high of 42 on a bright high summer day.  Here is a shot of one of the technicians holding a panel on its way to its place on the roof. 


A bit of geek stats here.  29% of electricity produced by the system runs the house and charges the electric car.  59% goes to offset the natural gas we use for heating, hot water heat, and cooking.  The last 12% offsets the carbon footprint of the food we eat and other miscellany.  Determining carbon footprint is a little tricky, as everything humans do and use is considered part of the total footprint - food production, clothing, internet usage, banking, etc. Even a person's diet - vegetarian, paleo, or omnivore - is part of his or her footprint.  It is complicated!  But given that the COP26 (Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow began this year on 31 October and runs through the 12 of November, it seems appropriate to feature alternative energy here.

One of the engineers at Positive Energy Solar created the layout and design of the panels to maximize energy production, keeping them out of the shadow of pipes and mechanical systems, as well as chimneys.  They originally indicated the system would probably produce about 9,600 kilowatt hours over the year and they were pretty darned close.  We figure that by the 4th, the system will have produced about 9,550 kilowatt hours. Literally, they have this down to a fine science.    


A shot of the nearly completed set of six panels on the garage roof.  The other ten panels are on the second story roof.

The completed array.

I loved this guy.  A real professional wire and conduit wrangler.

The electrician put on the final touches, linking the system to the old electrical meter on the house and installing new ones to accommodate the additional energy.

I am hoping that the infrastructure package being debated in Congress now will provide the basis for more home, government, and commercial systems, featuring solar and wind energy.

Thanks to Lisa, Jean & Sam, Barbara F. R., Marta, Marilyn, Steve, Dianne, Kay C., and Wayne for commenting this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography carbon neutral climate change COP26 daryl a. black new mexico photography positive energy solar solar energy solar panels Sun, 31 Oct 2021 23:08:51 GMT
the produce department A friend of ours from Arizona wrote that he was going to Safeway to get his COVID booster.  He said "I'm pretty sure it is being given by a guy in the produce department."  So when Fred was emailed about his own appointment on Saturday at the Santa Fe Artists' Market just north of the Farmers' Market, we thought "Perfect!"   He got his jab with an appointment and I got mine without.  Two for one weekend special.  And it gave me the opportunity to purchase some fresh veggies and do photography.  What a deal! 

As usual, the amount of food available at the Market is always astounding, and the vegetables, oh my.  How delicious and photogenic they always are.  Today's blog wraps up the harvest season before the snow flies, with a riot of color from the produce department.  To set the scene, here is a shot of the north end of the Farmers' Market at the Railyard.

butternut squash 

lovely Peruvian potatoes


beautiful blue, perhaps, Hopi corn

radishes and their wild roots

Napa cabbage

A farmers' market in New Mexico would not be complete without chile.

Thanks for your patience last week while I was trying to get my blog out via email rather than Zenfolio.  The blog is now in Zenfolio if you want to take a look at it that way.  Lisa, Jean & Sam, Wayne, Terry T., Ann A., Barbara F. R., Jim & Louise, Connie, Lucia, and Steve and Peggy commented despite the glitches and I thank you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography chiles daryl a. black napa cabbage native corn new mexico onions photography radishes santa fe farmers' market squash Sat, 23 Oct 2021 22:26:40 GMT
harvest jewels Autumn's beauty is singularly fleeting, and photographers have to grab it while they can.  Little jewels of the season can be seen almost everywhere - from the forests filled with aspens to the river and stream banks covered with cottonwoods, and naturally, farmers' markets.  A combination of these is reflected in today's blog. 

Farmers' markets are brimming with color, tastes, and smells.  One of the great fragrances is the winesap apple, with its crisp texture and tartness. They are photogenic wherever they are staged.  Here is a grouping in dry ash leaves.  

Almost burnished in character, winesaps exude warmth amidst chill.


The joy of a simple pumpkin cannot be overstated.  it definitely brings out the child in me.


It takes a real artist to put together a table like Team Upton can, as demonstrated by the Caprese salad below.



One of the ultimate reflections of harvest is wine in a glass.  The one below was full of design from the base and stem to the bowl. 

A final harvest shot, an ear of corn rendered in black and white.

corn images-3corn images-3

Thanks to Ingrid and Robert, Jean and Sam, Lisa, Wayne, Terry T., Ann A., Barbara F. R., Jim and Louise, Connie, and Steve and Peggy for your wonderful and thought-provoking comments this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Carprese salad corn Daryl A. Black food harvest New Mexico photography pumpkins winesap apples Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:02:06 GMT
an autumn day Viewing the Sangre de Cristo mountains from the city, it is sometimes hard to see the stages of aspen color.  One day it appears the trees aren't turning color at all, the next, they might show a very light color, and the next might hold a gash of gold.  Driving to the Aspen Vista trailhead below the Santa Fe Ski Basin, it was apparent we were not the only ones who thought this week might yield that "knock-out" color for which the southern Rocky Mountains are known.  The place was packed with people and cars and dogs and kids.  We have never seen that many cars, not only in the designated lot but on both sides of the highway.  Being flexible, we continued on to the ski area, where there was ample parking and we hiked the Winsor Trail.  The aspen color was not as intense as it was at Aspen Vista, but the rarified air at 10,800, along with the smell of wet leaves and earth told us we were absolutely in the right place.  Muted color also allowed my eyes to become obsessed with the beautiful texture and patina of aspen bark.  I also did what I had promised myself while shooting even tall aspen trees - shoot both vertically and horizontally.

Hiking along the trail, with slabs of grey-black granite and dappled light, there were surprises everywhere, including a branch that had broken off with its leaves intact.

In areas where the conifers opened up and aspens shot through, pieces of clouds provided a gentle backdrop in the saturated blue sky. 

I was beginning to discover how satisfying horizontal shots of aspen can be.


Aspen trunks are extraordinary.  Some are almost a blue white.

 Others, like the one in the middle of the image below, carry a very light greenish yellow to them, with a patina that works its way into your being.

When the gold and red in the trees shine in the afternoon light, it is the topping on the cake of a perfect autumn day!


Thanks to Fernando, Debbie R., Barbara, Donna K., Lisa, Steve, Donna C., Wayne, Barbara D., and M. Fred for comments of the autumnal sort this week!  I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some photography or just walk during these rare days on your breaks from work and the business of life.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen autumn blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography Sun, 10 Oct 2021 20:49:05 GMT
just the beginning... Nothing like the first Monday in October in the northern hemisphere, with low temperatures hovering between 40 and 45 to encourage those wonderful fall colors. And this is just the beginning of the parade of color.  It has been warmer than normal and tree leaves are taking their time, slowly, methodically making the subtle change from green to gold to bronze and red.  However, Fred was first with the rusts, officially named sunset, cobre, cereza negra, and Mora mill pumpkin. Here is Rug 356, fresh picked from the loom.

In the northern locales of New Mexico, scrub oak trees seem to be changing first this year. The images below were shot near Chama.


Mere hints of yellow reveal themselves in the foreground of the Brazos Cliffs.

New world harvest in old world basket from Zimbabwe

Thanks to Tami, TTT, Barbara, Marilyn, Wayne, Dianne, Lisa, Steve, Nevada, Donna K., Ingrid and those both known and unknown who gave last week's blog a look.  I hope you are able to get out with your phones and cameras this week to capture the autumn evolution!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Brazos Cliffs Daryl A. Black food Fred Black harvest landscapes nature New Mexico oaks photography scenics Mon, 04 Oct 2021 16:28:58 GMT
spontaneity It all began innocently enough.  I walked around the block on Saturday to the home of photographer Richard Khanlian and his wife Ann Alexander, where a swap meet of the photographic sort was taking place under the auspices of the ASMP, the American Society of Media Photographers. Richard was a great photographer who worked for the New York Times from Paris before settling in New Mexico.  He was a much loved and admired person and member of the ASMP, who passed away on 11 November 2019.  This was a gathering of his friends, professionals, and those who wanted to sell or buy assorted photographic equipment.  There were a few familiar faces, even masked, but more familiar names in the group, some I had heard mentioned or whose work I had seen.  My usual unobtrusive self decided not to bring a camera because I though it might be disruptive.  As it turns out, many people had cameras and were using them at will.  After familiarizing myself with numerous items for sale, including a plethora of camera and lens bags, and finding one I liked, I returned with money to pay for it.

My official introduction to Nevada Wier came earlier when I walked up to the driveway where a jumbled pile of camera bags were located.  She loved the shirt I was wearing.  After I told her where I bought it, etc., I went into the garage to look at what other tools of the photographic trade - paper, matte, back board, tri-pods, cameras, and lenses - were for sale.  But I knew the name Nevada Wier from the times I was drooling over the wonderful workshops offered by The Santa Fe Workshops.  She leads photography tours around the world, has worked extensively for National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Canon Photography Safaris.  So what do I do?  I ask if I can take her photograph.  She may have thought I would take one or two shots.  It is a good thing she didn't know how involved I get in environmental portraiture, especially since she was preparing to leave.

As we walked into a small patio area, Nevada said "Don't ask me not to smile.  I smile a lot."  Fair enough.  Me too.  Then I said something about me not being particularly comfortable having my own photo taken.  To that, she said "Since I am photographing people, I have to be willing to have my own photograph taken."  Good advice I will try to absorb.  


Here are some of the resulting images taken of Nevada on a bench from above, below, and around.  


My thanks to Nevada Wier for allowing me to photograph her on a moment's notice, and using some of the photographs here.  I encourage each of you to tour her website and view her amazing work at  Her stunning "Collections" circle the globe in color and her "Fine Art" section, including "Invisible Light" 1 and 2, feature some of the finest selective coloring and modifications I have ever seen.  You can also find information about her photography workshops, lectures, seminars, and photo tours.  

Kudos to Ann Alexander and ASMP for conducting the sale and bringing people together, and to Richard Khanlian for his inspiration.

And thanks to Barbara, Lisa, Jean & Sam, Marilyn, Debbie R., TPLue, Claudia, TTT, Steve, Wayne, and Geula for your comments on last week's blog.   

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@   

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraits nevada wier new mexico photography richard khanlian santa fe Sun, 26 Sep 2021 23:10:54 GMT
curating color Several of you commented last week that in addition to the black and white photographs I curated for a photo competition, that it would be interesting to see what I did with color.  Since these images will be for a calendar competition, I thought it would be good to organize them here by month.  

 January and February

  adobe wall with snow, Taos County      winter coyote


March and April 

El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico    claret cup cactus near Arroyo Hondoclaret cup cactus near Arroyo Hondo


May and June

    high country pond    wild iris


July and August

    near-double rainbow in Taos County    Williams Lake on the way to Wheeler Peak


September and October

    purple asters on adobe   round hay bales after high country harvest


November and December

    aspen trees in late autumn sun    paintbrush in snow


As must be the case when publishers choose and assemble images for calendars, some photographs may be "representational" of a season, rather than the reality.

The autumnal equinox is this Wednesday, 22 September, in the northern hemisphere.  I hope you relish the changing seasons wherever you are in the world.  Thanks to Christina, TTT, Barbara, Char, Wayne, Steve, and Jean and Sam for your thoughts this 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 still life trees Sun, 19 Sep 2021 18:55:44 GMT
curation week It has been some time since I considered entering photography competitions.  But lists of possibilities were presenting themselves of late, far too many to ignore.  In response, I have been in full-bore curation mode this week, pouring over thousands of photographs, stored in different locations, organizing them, and self-editing for their potential.  

I discovered several things.  First, I shoot vertically.  A lot.  Second, instructions for competition entry are not always clear, requiring phone calls amidst the self-doubt about reading instructions properly.  Third, sizing to fit specifications is sometimes dicey, necessitating further consideration of certain photographs.  The first entries had to be horizontal while many of the images I wanted to use were vertical.  The second set had to be vertical while many were actually horizontal.  You get the idea.  Curating is a good idea but, like self-promotion, not always the first thing photographers want to do.  Especially given the beautiful pre-autumn days the likes of which we have been experiencing for several weeks.

Despite the near-perfect photography weather, I hunkered down during the heat of the day and pondered photographs.  The first set had to be black and white.  Included here are some that made the cut.  Typical of me, they are all over the map as far as subject matter is concerned.


glass reflections

narrowleaf cottonwoods

man on phone, Vienna

bridge dancing

exercise rings

Ashley and Gene, Taos Gothic

Given the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the flight that could have been flown into the Capitol but ultimately crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, I highly recommend two documentary films.  The first is 9/11:  The Filmmakers Commemorative Ediition by Jules and Gedeon Naudet.  The two French brothers living in New York City were making a documentary film about a year in the life of a probationary firefighter.  On 11 September 2001, one of the brothers was with the firefighters on a call about a gas leak in the street.  As their instruments were measuring in and around a grate in the street, suddenly, a plane flew very low nearly overhead, and everyone, to a person, looked up.  It was the first plane to hit the Twin Towers.  The rest is history.  The new edition of the film has additional footage, as well as interviews twenty years on.  It is stunning.

As a counterpoint to that and a slice of life of children learning to dance in New York City public schools, Mad Hot Ballroom is almost as uplifting as a documentary can get.  We had watched it years ago, probably when we started learning tango, and I think we enjoyed it more now than we did the first time we viewed it.  The spontaneity of the kids, teachers during the process, and of the parents during the competition is hilarious, poignant, and uplifting.  It is the perfect antidote to the many weights of life.  The film was released in 2005.  Directed and produced by Marilyn Agrelo and written by Amy Sewell.  

The response to last week's blog on the Selvedge Magazine World Fair was impressive with Christina, Jean and Sam, TPLue, Claudia, Barbara F. R., M. Fred, TTT, Charlie, Marilyn, Lawrence, Lisa, Wayne, Steve, Diane, Ann A., Sara, Ingrid, Connie, and Ronnie all commenting.  Many thanks to all of you! 

May cameras and phones accompany you during this mid-September week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) 9/11: the filmmakers commemorative edition amy sewell black and white photography blacks crossing photography curating daryl a. black jules and gedeon naudet mad hot ballroom marilyn agrelo new mexico photography Mon, 13 Sep 2021 16:15:02 GMT
Selvedge World Fair Since Selvedge Magazine is London-based, I thought it would be appropriate to glean the definition of selvedge from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.  A selvedge is "an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unraveling".  Polly Leonard launched Selvedge Magazine in 2004 "to celebrate our cerebral and sensual addiction to cloth and promote the beautifully made and carefully considered."  "First and foremost. I am inspired by the variety of fibre the world has given us, each beautifully designed to serve a unique function. I love the crispness of cotton, the stiffness of linen, the rustle and lustre of silk, the downy texture of mohair, and the weight of wool, to name just a few of the rich variety on offer."

In February, Fred applied to participate in the 2021 Selvedge Magazine World Fair.  He was interested in the event not only because of the truly incredible variety, creativity and artisanship of previous participants, but because of the emphasis on sustainability of the many processes.  Since Fred's weaving is now officially "carbon neutral" (thanks to solar panels on the roof producing more energy than we use), and the "ranch and community to artisan" character of the wool itself, he thought the fair would be a good fit for his work.  He was humbled and thrilled to be accepted in late May for the 2021 World Fair online which opened this week.  Since then, the collective "we" have been shooting and putting together photographs and videos for his entry.  

Because the selvedge is so critical in fabric, I wanted to show a few examples of how Fred is able to make his selvedges or edges precise.  First, he creates a "peak" with his fingers, and measures it to maintain proper tension on the weft as shown below on Rug 355, in progress.

The peak here has been measured and the shot of wool is ready to become part of the rug. 

Rug 335 in process toned b&wRug 335 in process toned b&w

As far as photographing the work was concerned. square photographs were required, which needed a bit more thinking since most of Fred's work is at least a third longer in length than in width.  Definitely not square.  We used part of the traveling frames he uses for shows to get this shot of Rug 347 between courtyard walls, as well as the required portrait below. 

The same rack was also useful as a backdrop for the official photograph to accompany Fred's brief biographical  information.


Rug 328 on adobe wall

Rug 340 showing the selvedges on both sides.  The tops and bottoms of his rug are tied off and ends braided to keep the fabric from unraveling.

A detail of Rug 344, showing a selvedge on the right side.



And where the weaving begins, with sheep and their wool.  This magnificent specimen is Marcos, a Navajo-Churro ram.


I highly recommend taking a world tour of fiber in myriad forms by clicking on the link to all the 100 artisans featured in this year's world fair.  Fred's work is included and linked at the bottom of page 3.  It is a lot but worth it when and if you have some spare time.

Also, the Selvedge opening video is beautifully done.

On this Labor Day, 2021, I must thank all who, by raising and shearing sheep, and carding, spinning, and dying the wool Fred uses for their part in the process.  And huge thanks to all who have labored through pandemic, fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes for the greater good.  Thanks to Christina, Connie, Jean & Sam, TTT, Victoria, Louise, Steve, Susie, Wayne and Barbara for your comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@














(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) big sage artisans blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fiber fred black photography selvedge magazine selvedge: the fabric of your life wool Sun, 05 Sep 2021 22:16:00 GMT
beyond walls One of the most stunning combinations of human-rendered material and nature is adobe/concrete/plaster and a clean blue sky.  I never tire of seeing and exploring how buildings are surrounded by the sky and how the surfaces merge into that backdrop.  Although the texture of plastered adobe is lush and visually soft, and concrete is frequently precise and angular, a blue sky seems to provide both definition.  

In the image below, the stucco does the opposite, serving as a backdrop for the sky and clouds.

A crucial element in adobe style buildings is the canale for water diversion from flat roofs, which here seems to be pointing to the clouds.

A red awning add-on to a plaster wall gives it a real kick.

The possibilities are endless for how walls come together and frame other elements, such as the Russian olive in the photograph here.


Finally, plaster with shadows act as a backdrop for a copper water dish.

Great to hear from Lucia, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Barbara F. R., Steve, Lisa, Wayne, TTT, and Ingrid this week!  I hope the last week in August offers much hope, inspiration, and rain for parts of the world in need.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe style architecture Blacks Crossing Photography building Daryl A. Black details New Mexico photography Santa Fe Sun, 29 Aug 2021 22:17:40 GMT
back to school Since many children have returned and others are headed back to school in the coming weeks, I figured it was a good time to do some continuing photographic education of my own.  Thanks to B&H Photo and Video in New York City, the "go to" place for photo, video, audio, and computers, I did just that.  My lessons were enhanced by their periodic videos and written tips for photographers of all stripes.  Each one has something that answers a question or sparks the creative juices.  One of the topics this week was the basic three point lighting concept.  I have used the light shown below for lighting subjects from people to inanimate objects. It was relatively inexpensive and works well as a back light, providing fill behind the subject.  So I photographed it, complete with fingerprints.  

Then I took my "thrifty photographer" backdrop outside to an area that renders near-three point light itself, to capture the final, saturated phase of roses.  As always, the idea is to vary the angle or backdrop enough to make the subject more interesting.  Of course, I do look for a traditional "botanical" look as well.

For all photos here, shot with the sheet backdrop, I let the folds become part of the images.


The accordion fold on the right side of the photograph below seems to be parting for the rose closeup.

Finally, rose on glass.

I hope each of you is able to embrace some continuing education this week, regardless of the form it takes!

Thanks to Steve, Jean and Sam, Terry T., Barbara F. R., Susie, and Wayne for contributing to my C. E. this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) B&H Photo Video Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography roses still life Sun, 22 Aug 2021 22:02:11 GMT
a study in fuchsia, coral, lavender, and pink Given the increased chaos of the news this week, including images from the Kabul, Afghanistan airport of people hanging on the wings and body of a C-19, memories of Saigon in 1975 come blasting through, along with the tragedy.  People are fleeing for their lives.  I worry particularly about not only the translators who helped Americans in the war against the Taliban, but the women and girls who have lived in relative decency for the last 20 years or so.  With only 2-4% of the Afghan people vaccinated, the Delta variant is also racing through Afghanistan as well as almost everywhere in the world.  Climate change, infrastructure, voting rights.  They all hang heavy, like wildfire smoke.  I find the need to take camera in hand and find beauty in the world.  As is typical, flowers, in this blog, fill the bill.


In their bloom lives, roses vary in color from first blush to the end.  What I would describe as coral is first.  


Toward the end of the petal cycle, the coral fades somewhat to a rich pink. 

The petals fall and blow with wind and rain.

Finally, a shot of dark and lighter fuchsia-colored roses with hydrangeas, gifted to us by a friend. 

Thanks to everyone who commented last week - Connie, Diane D., Marilyn, Orlando, Steve, Wayne, Ingrid, Pauli, Terry T. Geula, and Earle.  It is wonderful to read your words, particularly during these times.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers New Mexico photography roses Santa Fe still life Mon, 16 Aug 2021 14:56:23 GMT
grateful and humble The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a sobering report today on climate change, calling it a "Code Red for humanity".  We are seeing so many examples of the changes and extreme results all over our beautiful planet that it is difficult not to be concerned about it or confused by the relative lack of attention to it.  Across the northern hemisphere, fires are burning from the western United States and Canada, to Turkey, Greece, and Siberia.  In California, the River Fire came much too close for comfort for relatives whose landscaping, pasture, fence, tool shed, propane tanks, generator, and native trees burned.  The fire and climate change landed at their doorstep.  Luckily, their home and barn were spared, thanks to their wisdom of building with tile and metal roofing, and stucco, and to the incredible efforts of firefighters and emergency workers, both in the air and on the ground.  We watched videos from the network affiliate in Sacramento, both horrified at the destruction and impressed by the firefighters who worked like a well-oiled machine.  Whether they will ever hear it from us or not, we are extremely grateful for their work.

We are also humbled by elements of nature that survive so well.  Probably every book on weeds will have a section on thistles.  People love them or hate them, or give these survivors little thought.  Part of the aster family, thistles come in assorted sizes and leaf configurations.  With my handy copy of Weeds of the West on the desk, I still cannot identify precisely which species I was seeing, but to me these humble, yet stout plants have their own beauty.  The Scottish thistle is Scotland's national emblem.  I don't think the ones I photographed are of that species.  But I was just after the flowers and here are a few of the resulting images.


Because the flower stalks carry a single flower, they make excellent "botanical" artwork.


That one would be framed by the wood and barbed wire fencing is not totally surprising.

Some large sunflower leaves provide a nice sidebar for this specimen.

The giant of the thistle family, bred for consumption, is the artichoke.  The image below is from the Santa Fe Farmers' Market.


My hope is that all of you are safe, well, and find the amazing to enjoy in life in ways that are gentle on the Earth.  I am grateful and humbled by each of you, including Victoria, Char, Jean and Sam, Barbara, Connie, Marilyn, TTT, Debbie R., Steve, Sara, Donna C., Wayne, and Pauli for your comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) artichokes Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography thistles Weeds of the West wildflowers Mon, 09 Aug 2021 16:19:18 GMT
grand experiment It all began when I was pulling spent hollyhock flowers from one of the plants in our yard and noticed that an inky purple color was left on my fingers.  With dyed wool never far from my mind in Fred's loom room, I wondered if it would work to dye wool with them and what color the dye might be.  Having done some dyeing with my sister at home following a trip to ruins in New Mexico and the Southwest, (and later with Fred after a Taos Wool Festival), I know that a plant or flower's color does not necessarily render a color one would expect.  So I asked Fred if he thought the spent flowers could be used for dyeing.  He immediately went into that great source of internet information and instruction, YouTube, and found that people have indeed used hollyhocks for dyeing, and different varieties rendered different colors.  A fresh flower along with spent ones soon to be used for the dye are shown here.

Spent flowers and wool

Simmer, but do not boil, according to instructions.


Wool being prepared to receive the dye by wetting it.  Then it is gently squeezed to remove excess water.

After the flowers have simmered, they are strained.  It all looks a little like pond scum at this point, with mysterious, slimy creatures in it.

A mordant, made from vinegar and nails (for iron), is then added to the dye pot to fix or set the colors.

At this point, we had an idea that the resulting wool color was going to be a variation on a yellow/oatmeal color range, just as the YouTube experts has indicated.  Looks delicious, doesn't it?

This is the skein that went into the dye pot first.  Subsequent skeins had less color available to work with and are lighter.

The final skeins and their gradations will make for interesting blending into a rug with other natural Navajo-Churro wool colors.  We'll keep you posted on that and any further "grand experiments."

Great to hear from Char, Jean and Sam, Barbara, Christina, Wayne, and Steve about 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 hollyhocks natural dyes Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography weaving wool dyeing Sun, 01 Aug 2021 22:30:50 GMT
New Mexico gold The Olympic Games began last week, more subdued than normal, with the pandemic and Delta variant looming large.  The games had already been postponed a year because of COVID-19.  Host country Japan, which had done so well on keeping cases in check, started into a slide or spike, and officials have done the yeoman's work of keeping athletes, journalists, and guests safe.  Nonetheless, excitement and drama surrounding the 2020/2021 event abound, including the 400 meter men's swimming freestyle won by 18 year old Ahmed Hafnaoui from Tunisia.  Olympic followers and fans most likely did a double take and thought "What?  Tunisia?"  Not exactly a country thought of as a swimming hot spot, but somewhere in his brain and body, Hafnaoui really wanted to win that race, and he did.  Apparently, he did not know where to stand on the podium to receive his gold medal.

Like Hafnaoui, New Mexico and the southwestern United States had its own haul of gold during the past several weeks in the form of rain. Although flash flooding occurred in places, most of the western half of the nation is suffering from severe and historic drought, and it is thirsty for rain.  Any that falls is pure gold.  It has me and many friends exchanging notes about how much rain fell at any given time and place.  A friend in Arizona keeps updating the total.  First, it was four inches, then it was 5, now it is 6+.  Another friend in the downtown area of Santa Fe had an inch on the same day we had .40/inch here.  On a walk yesterday, we and friends got caught in a downpour and took cover under a portable tent. Another .36/inch.  While other parts of the country might think of those amounts as negligible, it is significant in "The Land of Little Rain" (novel by Mary Hunter Austin).  Rain is a spectator sport.  When it rains, people watch and revel in it.  Here, photographically, are a few stages of a thunderstorm.  Dramatic clouds with great uplift and towers building above 35,000 feet are usually significant, but don't always mean that rain will fall directly on the spot where they originate.

developing towerdeveloping tower

The sky in these shots looks more ominous and promising.

Storm brewingStorm brewing

I spent quite some time trying to get lightning strikes, but, the storm yielded no rain that day.

Luckily, the storm and sun that produced the rainbow here also came with rain.  Those who live in areas with frequent rain deprivation, including farmers and ranchers, have a deep feel for how important this liquid growth hormone is.  And how the senses soak in the smell of the earth after it rains, whether it is in the Sonoran or Chihuahuan deserts, in fields pine forests and grasslands, or on pavement.  It is one of nature's great smells!  

late summer rainbowlate summer rainbow


Thanks, Steve, TPLue, Wayne, Paule, Ingrid, M. Fred, Jean and Sam, Christina, and Connie for commenting last week!


I hope that your week is filled, figuratively, with gold!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@








(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography rainbows skies thunderclouds Mon, 26 Jul 2021 17:42:40 GMT
curve billed thrasher update Nature presented yet another stellar opportunity to photograph this week in two of my favorite styles - nature and still life.  Both, actually.

One of the most perfect packages, although delicate, is an egg.  Anyone who has ever cooked knows how delicate the simple, beautiful egg is.  But the shells protect the contents.  And they are ideal photographic subjects.  First, chicken eggs, directly from the grocery store.  By placing them in a glass vase, and shooting with a shallow depth of field, elements of the vase are rendered in abstract.

Eggs as a subject are the entree for an update on the neighborhood curve billed thrashers.  They are at it again.  A second clutch is on its way. Mama is ever diligent in her work and was quite reluctant to let me see the eggs. That orange/golden eye follows everything. 

I had walked by the nest once and saw the eggs.  Naturally, when I returned with my camera, she was having nothing of it.  But after a couple of tries, she left the nest and I was able to grab this image.  These eggs are works of art.

Given my relative lack of height, I returned to the house and brought out a chair on which to stand.  Again, poor Mama had to exit the nest.  But standing on the chair, I was able to photograph all the eggs.  I realized anew why cholla cacti carry the name "jumping cholla".  Elements of the cactus, including the spines seem to jump and attach themselves to anything close enough.  My hands and arms carried quite a few spines, along with the camera lens and strap.  They are nature's original velcro, and fortunately, easy enough to remove.

All sorts of celebrations are happening this month, including the birthdays of Clyde, Sam D., E. J., Marcie M., Dave O., Victoria, Jim W., Gail G., Jennifer W., Kay C., and Steve R., along with the anniversaries of Dalice and Andy, and TTT and Ben.  I hope all of you have wonderful ways to remember the special days!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds blacks crossing photography cholla cactus curve billed thrasher daryl a. black eggs nature new mexico photography Mon, 19 Jul 2021 16:07:07 GMT
celebrations abound Now that most countries around the globe have at least partially opened following what hopefully was the worst of the pandemic, celebrations are in abundance.  Every day is something to cheer, which is the way it always should be, but with the busy-ness of life, that doesn't always happen.   It is apparent that people are embracing being together and doing things we used to take for granted.  But there was an extraordinary event yesterday that made this New Mexico girl swell with pride.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity 22 made a successful suborbital trip to the edge of outer space, taking off into the morning air from, and landing at SpaceSport America between Truth or Consequences and Alamogordo, New Mexico.  When then Governor Bill Richardson and Richard Branson originally conferred on the idea 17 years ago, I (along with many in the state, no doubt) were unable to envision such a thing and the money it would cost to build.  But regardless of whether one feels this was a huge infomercial for Virgin, or views it as another "what's the point?" venture, seeing the Unity take off above the New Mexico landscape was viscerally exciting.  Top that with the praise heaped on the state for taking the plunge into the future of commercial space flight must have produced a true sense of accomplishment for all involved.  This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with today's blog, except for the fact that I am firmly planted here on earth, grateful for every day.

Chrysanthemums are the stars today.  Using the geography of sandstone and a black crackled pottery plate, I experimented with emphasizing both backdrops.  Looking down from space?

Anything floating on water has always been fascinating to me.  These two shots were made half an hour apart.  The first was in deeper shade.

Thanks to Connie, Dianne, Steve, Jim & Louise, Ingrid, Barbara, Ronnie, Wayne, Char, Jean and Sam, and Steve for writing this week, and to TTT & Ben for providing the inspiration.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@  

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography chrysanthemums daryl a. black flowers new mexico photography richard branson spaceportamerica still life photography virgin galactic Mon, 12 Jul 2021 16:39:07 GMT
independence Much fanfare and fireworks are given to the 4th of July or Independence Day in the United States of America.  Since they came during one of the dangerously high points of the pandemic, last year's celebrations were more subdued.  This year, the country is back open for business and people made and are still making the most of it.  It sounded like all out war here with firecrackers and Roman candles and cherry bombs being detonated seemingly simultaneously.  A celebration of a sense of independence, even if fleeting.

Some years ago, I did an entire shoot of fireworks in Taos with my Nikon D80.  Caught at a relatively slow speed without the use of a tripod, the images display a wild and wonderful array of results.  Truly abstract and chaotic but also highly structured.  The two images below are good examples of that.  


I always thought the light turquoise-colored display in the image below looked like a palm tree.


The simplicity of the electric cobalt blue, with off-white accents, shows the pure design that goes into the development of fireworks.

The cobalt blue element is repeated in a mass of other displays, looking more like sea anemones than fireworks, which is what makes them all the more fascinating.

My thanks to Lisa, Paule, TP Lue, Barbara, Wayne, M. Fred, Jean and Sam, Ingrid, and Steve for your comments this week, and for participating in the world of art in your own ways.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fireworks new mexico photography taos Mon, 05 Jul 2021 15:37:49 GMT
say "ahh" Now that the baby crow which attracted so much attention in the neighborhood last week is out and about and flying quite nicely, the focus is on open mouths in the cholla cactus.  A pair of curve billed thrashers have a nest full of very hungry chicks, awaiting their next meal.  We'll start with one of the parents, keeping the chick tucked in and warm on an overcast and chilly summer morning.

Then you begin to see feathers wiggle and the chicks moving.  There is a young one under the warmth of breast feathers.

From the position of the parent in the photograph below, I suspect there is another chick somewhere in the pile being fed.


It is becoming active in the nest, and as the other parent flies over, mouths open.  A lot of motion is apparent in this shot as well as the one below it.

Shall I label these two "Mine"?

A brief moment of quasi-peace between feedings

Wonderful comments came this week from Barbara, Carolyn, Barbara D., Ronnie, Dave, TTT, Charleen, Christina, Steve, Wayne, and Karla.  Thanks so much.  Wherever you are this week, may nature provide good surprises in your lives!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography curve billed thrashers Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography Mon, 28 Jun 2021 15:33:16 GMT
it takes a village One of the more noticeable side effects of the pandemic closures, at least in our city, is home improvement.  Since people weren't traveling, energy was and is being spent on those home improvement projects everyone was putting off for years.  Not a single day passes during which some sort of construction - interior, exterior, and landscaping - occurs in the neighborhood.  Stucco, walls, roofs, new cooling systems, and garden maintenance happens from dawn until dusk.  And, perhaps due to the fact that people are at home and/or working from home, added attention is also given to the very local environment.  They are noticing birds and animals like never before.  I can honestly say that we have never lived in a place where there was at least one dog per household, and where so much attention and care was given to those dogs and animals of all types.  It is a wonderful thing to see.

A simple (and some would think rather mundane) "event" happened mid-week.  A baby crow either fell out or was pushed from a nest.  It was on the ground in the shade of a big piñon tree.  Before half an hour went by, there was a small dish of water.  Then a bigger dish of water appeared.  Then bird seed. Then dog food.  All conveniently located close enough so that the baby could survive and build its strength.  Several kind neighbors felt we should call animal control or the wildlife center in Española.  To a person, they all knew that baby birds should not be touched.  Because we had watched ravens a lot at our home in Taos County, we felt the crow was quite well and fit, and was simply a baby and had not grown its tail feathers or learned how to fly.  It had just fallen from a nest.  What could we expect from that jolting experience?

By the end of the first day, it was hopping around, and ended up on top of a decorative ladder during the night.  But during the next several days, we saw a true and clear example of the African expression or proverb "It takes a village."  As the chick developed, no less than four adult crows and sometimes one magpie that hangs around with the crows, were looking after it, and feeding it.  One of the neighbors said "Oh, I hope it is alright.  I saw its little mouth and it looked like it was bleeding."  Aha!  Sure sign of a chick of any bird species.  The mouths are red so parents and caretakers know where to stuff the food. The photograph below is of a raven chick's food receptacle.  As with all healthy babies, it is almost constantly open and ready to receive the next snack.


Another tell is the blue eyes members of the Corvid family have as youngsters.

Ample downy feathers are also apparent on their heads and neck areas.

The feathers have a lovely patina to them, but you can see here that the tail feathers have not quite gained their full length.

And just for fun and abstraction, bird and feathers on the move.

The above photographs are of raven chicks from our life on the mesa.  I use them here to explain the process of Corvid development. 

It was humbling to hear from so many of you about last week's blog.  Many thanks to Barbara, Victoria, Christina W., Diane, TTT, M. Fred, Ann, Ronie, Anne OK, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Steve, Elida, Char, and Ingrid.

until next week,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography Corvids crows Daryl A. Black Fe New Mexico photography ravens Santa Mon, 21 Jun 2021 14:53:56 GMT
it is all in the details This week has been pleasantly full of photography - nature and still life in the form of Navajo-Churro wool rug details - and website work.  You will notice the change in the blog layout immediately.  I am not quite finished and hope that today's blog will be readable.  

Fred is preparing his work for the Selvedge Magazine World Fair, which will be online in early September.  His rugs are primarily rectangular and not square, so the requirement that all photographs be square presents a challenge but also gets those creative juices flowing.  Photographer Steve Immel and his wife, Peggy, who is an extraordinary painter, know this full well, given their current show at the Wilder Nightingale Gallery in Taos titled Immel².  Two people and work in square formats.  So this blog contains only photographs formatted as squares, mostly details, but a few examples of what can be done with rectangular rugs to make a square photograph.

First the two long rugs hung on the rug rack Fred designed and constructed for the Fall Fiber Arts Fiesta in Santa Fe.  

Rug 346

Rug 347...

...along with a detail of it

Rug 344...

...with its companion detail

Rug 349 detail


In process, Rug 351, a rug the size of which would also serve as a saddle blanket

Below is another detail, complete with spirit line.  In Navajo tradition, the spirit line - ch'ihonit'i - allows the spirit of the weaver to exit the design from inside the borders.


Thanks to Barbara, Wayne, Jean and Sam, Steve, Catherine, Terry, and Ingrid for your feedback this week.  With luck, by next Monday, I will have my website reorganized and ready for viewing. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black fred black new mexico photography rugs selvedge magazine world fair weaving Mon, 14 Jun 2021 00:57:34 GMT
an eruption of color A visitor to the western United States, viewing the low and high desert regions, might see a rose bush and think of it as a botanical mirage.  Members of the Rosaeceae family are thought to have originated in Central Asia, and can be found in almost every country.  Despite the sometimes seemingly awful soil in parts of New Mexico, roses can do extremely well here, probably aided by the dry climate.  

Rose breeder Will Radler developed the cultivar called the Knockout Rose in 1989 and it came on the market for public consumption in the year 2000. Knockout was meant to give leery members of the public a fighting chance to succeed in growing roses that were resistant to powdery mildew, black spot, and other diseases, as well as pests common to roses.  They also grow in a wide variety of climates.  I am betting that there are Knockout Roses in at least 50% of the yards in our neighborhood.  

We have three bushes in a patio area, providing visual interest daily, from the first bloom in May through September or October.  Needless to say, I have been out, even during the dreaded 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. photography witching hour, shooting the roses, and watching how the light effects the color and my perception of it.

The first bush to bloom this year produces deep burgundy or maroon colored roses.  Shown below are two of the first buds.  All four photographs were shot in early morning shadow.

The next two are buds that will soon open flat.

The still-opening rose shown below, was shot in the later morning and in a pool of brighter light.

The "IN YOUR FACE" eruption of brilliant color of the coral Knockout almost screams for your immediate attention.


It is hard to believe this is from the same bush, but again, it was early morning shade rendering a more pink tone.

Last but not least, a bud in shade that seems to glow

My thanks to Barbara, and to my sister, Debbie, for helping with the identification of our roses.  

Blog commenters this week included Jean and Sam, Barbara, Jim W., Larry J., Mary G., Victoria, Ingrid, Dianne, Steve, and Diane!  My great appreciation goes out to all of you.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography burgundy coral daryl a. black flowers knockout roses nature new mexico photography red roses santa fe still life will radler Mon, 07 Jun 2021 15:12:46 GMT
Memorial Day 2021 Celebrations to commemorate lives lost in wars began in the United States after the Civil War.  But Memorial Day was not made an official holiday until 1971 and it now includes all loved ones who have passed before us.  Because it extends the weekend off from work by one day for many, it frequently seems the day has become more about travel and purchasing material goods than remembrance.  So I keep this simple today, lest I forget.  This photograph is the only way I could give a rose to everyone at the National Cemetery and around the globe.


Thanks to Jean and Sam, Barbara, TTT, Wayne, Connie, Charleen, Steve, Victoria, Elida, Ingrid, and Dianne for commenting last week!  I hope you had a weekend of commemoration and friendship.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Memorial Day New Mexico photography Sun, 30 May 2021 21:22:46 GMT
Tierra Wools What happens when you move a business from one place to another, plan a grand re-opening, and then the COVID pandemic hits?  Just precisely what many small business owners and all the people at Tierra Wools did - you move forward.  Sheep don't wait and neither does the lambing season, moving the flock, or the shearing, spinning and dying of wool.  It is hard work, especially during the winter months which can be brutal even without the added stress of a pandemic.  But the move was made, and the new location just south of the town of Chama is perfect.  We had driven by the building for years and it felt like a homecoming when we walked through the door.  Kudos to Molly, Toni, and the entire crew for pulling off the move in style. 

As we in Santa Fe whine about the relative lack of rain and snow this year, we now know exactly where the precipitation was falling - in and around Chama. The green was a surprising treat. A broad, grassy area in front of the building can be used for picnicking, breathing the air, and watching the ducks and geese in the pond, after a day of learning how to use wool in one of the many spinning, weaving, and dying classes offered.  As the sign says, you can also "get your lamb here."

the main room 

Several additional rooms hold a literal riot of color.

The dying shed is moist and full of slightly pungent smells, including both dry and wet wool along with natural and aniline dyes.  To me, it is reminiscent of a darkroom.


If you feel like heading out on a day trip as things begin to reopen in New Mexico, the road to Tierra Wools winds through the geology of Ghost Ranch and Georgia O'Keefe country and beyond, into the high country of Rio Arriba County and is one of the most interesting in New Mexico.  Tierra Wools' is now located just south of Chama at 2540, U. S. Highway 64/84, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (masks required), and online at 575.756.1650. You can also email them at  

Thanks to Victoria, Christina, Peggy, Terry T., Jean & Sam, Wayne, Steve, Lucia, Ingrid and Catherine for commenting this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography chama daryl a. black dying new mexico photography tierra wools weaving wool Sun, 23 May 2021 21:59:48 GMT
encore After getting requests for more photographs from the wedding at Leaping Deer Ranch near Sapello, New Mexico two weeks ago, I decided to do an "encore" blog.  I have also been working with the "new to me" photo editing software "Luminar 4", learning my way around it and the features it offers. That, along with putting together a Blurb book of wedding photographs and using their updated software, my brain felt like it was in another galaxy.  But because of the work, I am much more comfortable with the software and am anxious to put together another book and experiment more with my current photographs.

You have read these words before from me, but they are worth repeating.  I have always felt that the best thing a photographer can do is to take a good photograph that needs no more adjustment than what could be done in a darkroom - cropping, dodging, burning, applying a filter, etc.  It is a little like my friend, Lena, who gave me advice forty-five years ago about making flour tortillas.  Handle the dough as little as possible.  Put a bit of flour on the surface, pat it out or roll it one direction, then the other.  You are done.  That is how I feel about developing photographs, whether in the darkroom or digitally. However, I could not resist using some of the presets in Luminar, and make small adjustments within their structure.  The first portrait of the bride is in black and white.  

Below I used a wonderful preset called "film noir", with slight adjustments.

The next two photographs are of the groom in black and white and film noir.


The two of the bride were shot before noon and the covered porch area on which they were taken was filled with southeastern light. The two of the groom were taken in early afternoon on another covered porch facing northwest, producing notably different effects.


The couple, newly married.


I like this particular shot with the couple and the groom's father because it has a spontaneous feel to it.


A nice visual, post-ceremony


Thanks again, Jessica and Joseph for allowing me to share the images I shot at your wedding!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black environmental portraiture brides grooms Leaping Deer Ranch New Mexico photography Sapello weddings Sun, 16 May 2021 21:01:23 GMT
wedding sampler Wedding photography is something I love.  Organization, creativity, socializing, events, costumes and fashion, communication, weather, and the continued learning of technical processes are all involved.  With friends from tango marrying at the Leaping Deer Ranch near Sapello, I was lucky enough to be able to do some shooting.  Despite the fact that I had just received my second jab the day before and I wore a mask, it worked.  The bride and groom had attendees taking photographs and downloading them in real time on an app - The Guest.  I am anxious to see those.  It sounds like a great and spontaneous way of sharing photographs on the spot, and is yet another new chapter in wedding photography.

But at this point, I will share a few of the photographs I took here with my trusty Nikons.  Most were taken with my 70-200mm lens on the D800.  But the group photographs needed the 18-55 mm lens on the D5200.  As a general rule, I consider the time of the wedding, predicted weather, and the desire of the couple as far as photographs are concerned, and do presets on each camera.  Things happen quickly at weddings and the idea is NOT to need a reshoot.  The photographer's worst nightmare and I have seen it happen.  It was certainly a cautionary tale for me before I began shooting weddings in earnest.  

Although my mission was to shoot more of the traditional type of wedding photograph, but it doesn't mean they can't be fun.  In this case, the fun was already provided by the bride's father in full regalia.

While shooting the binding ropes between the groom and bride, I had a sneaking suspicion something compelling would happen and it certainly did. The number of hands involved in accomplishing the task made this a unique photograph.  Each hand seemed to have its own agenda.

In addition to the focus of the groom while reading his vows, the inadvertent "ink" rhythm on the arms of both the bride and her maid of honor adds interest to the scene.


More traditional in scope, the photographs below of the bride and groom separately and then together, demonstrate what a fine background a stucco wall is for environmental portraiture.


Many thanks to Jessica and Joseph for allowing me into their wedding day.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Leaping Deer Ranch New Mexico photography wedding photography weddings Sun, 09 May 2021 22:11:40 GMT
seen at a wedding Whether I am formally asked to serve as wedding photographer or volunteer, or simply be a guest at a wedding or event, my cameras are always with me. Have Camera, Will Travel sort of thing.  It is what I do, and I try to do it as professionally, efficiently, and unobtrusively as possible.  Saturday was such a day at the wedding of friends at the Leaping Deer Ranch near Sapello, north and west of Las Vegas, New Mexico.  It was a beautiful day - no rain or snow, and little wind.  

To say I did not expect to see a kilted man at this particular wedding, with accompanying regalia, was an understatement, and it was a wonderful thing to photograph.  He happened to be the father of the bride.  Here is a detail of his outfit.


The bride is very fond of butterflies.  It makes sense that they were flying on her veil.

The groom looked fetching in his fedora.


The temperature was warm enough for tattooed arms exposed to the breeze.


The delicate clay-colored chairs seemed a fitting place for the bride's bouquet.

May this first week in May be filled with hope for great things to come - here and around the world.  Happy Birthday to Robin J, Larry L., Louise W., Tomas M., Ann M., Char D., and Katy D.  Happy Anniversary to Ingrid and Robert, Lena and Sam, and Karen and Bob. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography close ups Daryl A. Black Leaping Deer Ranch New Mexico photography weddings Mon, 03 May 2021 15:15:18 GMT
signs of the times Since the New Mexico 60-day legislative session and special session to consider the legalization of recreational marijuana (the bill was signed into law on 12 April 2021) are over, I thought it might be time to see if there were any changes around the Capitol Building.  The last cruise by was literally that, since there were barriers, fences, and National Guard troops surrounding it after the 6 January riot in Washington, D. C.  It was pleasing to be able to once again walk around the building, and see the giant seal of the great state in all its glory.  The Roundhouse, as it has been affectionately dubbed, is still a wonderful building, with the main doors facing east.


But there were a few signs that the times had changed just a bit, including on the beautiful east doors of the building, plastered with paper signs.  The doors remain closed because of the pandemic.  


Security cameras, including a mobile, solar powered unit with four different cameras and a bull horn on it, are now everywhere.  I suspect I was on footage from a variety of angles.  In addition to the security cameras, this wonderful bronze spirit "Morning Prayer" by artist Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache), serves as greeter.



Across the street at the PERA building, the American and P.O.W. flags were flying high in the breeze below the Zia symbol, creating a reflective collage.



Just for fun, I walked down Old Santa Fe Trail and shot photographs of two different convex mirrors in place to help drivers view traffic coming into the downtown area.


And finally, a definite sign of the times is the Charge Point DC fast charge or standard AC charging unit across the street from the Capitol Building for charging electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.  It appears that the last vehicles to use it were a Chevrolet Bolt and a Nissan Leaf.  Enough geeking.  

Thank you Claudia, TTT, Jean and Sam, Karla, Barbara, Marilyn, Lawrence, Dianne, Steve, and Sara for writing this week!  As always, you words are always appreciated!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) New Mexico Allan Houser architecture blacks crossing photography Charge Point Daryl A. Black photography roundhouse santa fe state capitol Mon, 26 Apr 2021 14:59:08 GMT
what you know and perhaps what you do not I don't know the person who originally said that writers should write about what they know.  But many have said it and even more writers have taken it to heart.  The same advice could be given to photographers.  There are opportunities for writers and photographers to venture into what she or he does not know and expand on it.  Today's blog is an example of that.  Two different trees are featured here.  One is an apple.  I have been photographing apples for a long time.  However, the plethora of flowering fruit trees around town are unknown to me, at least by name.  There are plums and cherries, peaches, and crabapples.  I will be the first to say that I have no idea what type of tree (except that it is a flowering fruit tree of some sort) creates this explosion of color.


Apples are much easier to identify, because the blossom in their full open position are white.  Apricot blossoms are white as well, but most bloom much earlier than apples.  The specific type of apple to which these blossoms are attached will elude me until the fruit arrives later in the summer.

With so many trees in bloom, spring has officially made its 2021 debut. Despite the fact, naturally, that it may freeze tonight in several northern New Mexico locations.

Many thanks to Dianne, Barbara, TTT, Christina, Char, Steve, Jean and Sam, M. Fred, Ingrid, and Wayne for commenting on last week's blog.  Everyone is busier now with the new season and possibilities that partial emergence from COVID restrictions bring, and I appreciate you taking the time to read and provide input!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) apple trees Blacks Crossing Photography blossoms Daryl A. Black flowering fruit trees flowers nature New Mexico photography trees Mon, 19 Apr 2021 01:25:35 GMT
the work of photography Each and every photographer proceeds through the week guided by subject matter and imagination.  Some of the work is exciting, some mundane, there are experiments, failures, and successes, but all is part of the total package of being a photographer and writer.  My week involved a lot of online research, searching for a new editing and organizational software that did not require payment of a monthly fee.  I feel like Andy Rooney when it comes to that.  A curmudgeon griping about paying a fee every month.  Nonetheless, there you have it.  I am coming close to a possible answer on that one.  And in anticipation of weddings and a remainder of the year in which weddings might happen on a regular basis, and other projects present themselves, I began searching for companies that offer the capability of creating and printing my own book.  

Dithering through the ether and software, I published my first book using Blurb in 2012.  It was quite extravagant for a lark, because not only did I choose hardcover, 8.5" x 10", but it also had a dust jacket.  And it will come as a surprise to no one that the featured subject matter was flowers.  I called it Studies 1.  

I was encouraged enough by the finished product that when I was asked to shoot the wedding of one our friends' daughters in 2013, I produced another book through Blurb.  It measures 8" x 9.5".  Since my first foray into book self-design and publishing, sizes have become, for better or worse, more standardized, although templates and design capabilities have broadened considerably.    


Encouraged to participate in a group exhibit at La Tienda Exhibit Space in Eldorado by my friend, Victoria, I decided to create another book including the featured photographs.  It carried the exhibit name - Intersection: lens, light, life.  It was a soft cover book, measuring 6.75" x 6.75". The exhibit also occurred in 2013, and at that point, I was feeling quite comfortable using the software.  

the back cover


The next book I printed was done in October/November of 2016.  I switched to Shutterfly to create the wedding book, possibly due to the sizes the company offered, and the fact the Blurb had changed its production software. With our aging computer, downloading it was impossible.  I found the Shutterfly printing to be of similar quality to Blurb.  Both require a glossy cover, but you can choose from several different excellent papers for the interior.  Here are images of the front and back covers.  

The center spread


My wedding photographs were also featured in fellow photographer Steve Immel's edition of Kara and Eero's wedding book, but he did the grunt work and put together a beautiful memory book.  Here is a shot of the cover he produced.

After looking at different websites, and watching numerous YouTube videos from assorted vendors, I decided to download the new software from Blurb and give the enhanced options a spin.  To me, unless I envision selling multiple copies of a book, Blurb is a reasonably priced choice for a good look.

Thanks, Barbara, M. Fred, Wayne, Steve, Char, and Ingrid, for your comments this week.  And a special nod to Paule for sighting my Coyote Pup photograph in the most recent edition of New Mexico in Focus on PBS. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) life light Ashley and Gene Blacks Crossing Photography Blurb Cathy and Javier Daryl A. Black exhibits Intersection: lens New Mexico photo books photography Shutterfly Steve Immel studies 1 weddings Mon, 12 Apr 2021 01:15:21 GMT
sun, shade, and in-between It is spring.  As I write, the temperature is 79 degrees, and the thermometer is eeking its way to 80.  Either temperature will set a new record. Thus, it had to be flowers, once again, for today's blog. With that warmth, the 100 daffodil bulbs I planted last fall are sending green shoots through the soil with great speed, and, as you can see here, many are in bloom.  I chose two different times to shoot these "ice follies" daffodils, the first of which rendered the flowers in subdued light or shade.


In-between light or combination light can bring different elements of the flower to the fore.  In this case, the cup is in shadow while the outside petals are backlit.


 An hour later and a sun angle change pulled the drama from these daffodils, producing in your face  sunshine.



Victoria, TTT, Steve, Erin & Jim, Christina, Luella, Jean & Sam, Char, Earle, Wayne, Terry T., Ingrid, and Charlie K. C. wrote about last week's blog, and the developing talent of a six year old artist.  Many thanks!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography close up photography daffodils Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography spring still life Mon, 05 Apr 2021 01:39:13 GMT
roses and then some Once again this week, wonderful gifted roses provided the material for today's blog.  Over three days, I let my eyes, the changing light, and assorted surfaces lead the way in finding different backdrops and possibilities.  


In my mind, there is nothing like the complicated subtleness of a single rose, using mid-morning natural west and muted southern light.



Inspiration frequently comes in unexpected ways.  Shower tile under muted southern light provided quite a tactile backdrop. 


Another shot using the same backdrop and light with selective filtering


The stained glass window is emphasized in this shot, rendering soft focus on the roses.


The two photographs below are an homage to Scottish architect, designer, and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  These were shot using natural light as well as fill light courtesy of a Flashpoint bicolor LED portable light. 



It was a real gift to have so many comments on last week's blog, including those from Geula, Char, Ingrid, Dianne F., Victoria, Mary G., Sue, M. Fred, TTT, Paule, Wayne, Jean and Sam, Steve, Bill and Sue, Dave, Lisa S., Barbara F. R., and Pauli.

The Photo-Eye blog site linked below offers the beautiful and gentle black and white florals of photographer James Pitts.

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 still life Mon, 29 Mar 2021 15:17:31 GMT
product photography Whether it is a job from the greater retail world or an in-house shoot, product photography offers a myriad of possibilities for creativity and presentation.  My husband, Fred, has been pondering the creation of a woven wool panel for denim jackets and vests for some time.  He completed his first one this week, using an extraordinary natural dark grey Navajo-Churro wool, along with black, Tierra Amarilla, and Ganado churro wool dyed by Connie Taylor, to weave the stunning pattern.  He is the model.


The first image was achieved using natural light as well as a small amount of fill light to lessen the shadows.


The next two images utilized what I would call isolated or surrounding light from all sides, technically providing fill for the subject.



This photograph was made utilizing in-camera flash for the vest itself and south and west natural light.  


The bright, mid-morning light made the vest pop against the wooden gate and stuccoed walls.



Fred was not shivering during these shoots over two days because the 20th was the vernal equinox.  It is official, spring is here in the northern hemisphere.  For us in the southern Rocky Mountains, the word spring is merely a descriptor, as we know there will be more frosts and snow, probably through the end of April.  But it is also nice to know that the snow that falls at this time of year will melt quickly, enriching the soil in the process, and leaving behind the perfect place for growth.

Thanks to Char, Christina, Jean and Sam, Lisa, Donna C., Wayne, Dianne, and Steve for bringing your words to the blog party this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black fiber Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography product photography weaving wool Sun, 21 Mar 2021 21:43:40 GMT
they keep on giving Orchids are amazing flowers.  While growing up in New Mexico, it was rare to see an orchid, except upon occasion in a nursery or in a flower shop bouquet. They were expensive, and that price instilled fear about killing them when you brought the jewels home.  Now you can find beautiful specimens in almost every grocery store flower section.  They are often less expensive than bouquets.  I have been lucky to have two different orchids bloom at least twice, and you have seen several blogs featuring orchids that were given to me or that I was preparing to give to others.  I never tire of photographing them, and experimenting with light, shadows, and backdrops.


The bright afternoon light provided real drama, highlighting the blossoms and fading the background to black.


It is always a point of interest to see how colors vary under different light, emphasizing, once again, that in photography, light is everything.  The three images following were shot against a white wall with natural light.


I liked the way the white faded into shadow in this shot, rendering a grey ombre gradation.


As always, a close-up shot is always required.

Spring is upon us, in all its Rocky Mountain glory, with wind, warmth, and then coolness, snow flurries and occasional rain.  Change is afoot!

Thanks to Victoria, Terry T., Kay, Wayne, Jean & Sam, Lucia, Steve, and Catherine for your comments last week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography close ups Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico orchids photography still life Sun, 14 Mar 2021 23:42:09 GMT
thinning ice This week, we celebrate a rather inauspicious anniversary.  Although the first known case of COVID-19 was identified in America on January 21 in Washington State, it was a year ago on March 4, COVID-19 the virus became an official health issue.  Fred and I had gotten together the following Sunday for a gathering with our birthday group, and the next Wednesday, we went for our regular workout at the Chavez Center.  Watching the news after we returned home that evening, we thought "Oh, dear.  What have we done?" And all of you know the rest of the story.  Countries started closing down, one by one, including America.  Now it feels as if the collective "we" may be on the precipice of something really groundbreaking, courtesy of scientists and the vaccines during this first week of meteorological spring! 


With spring, comes thinning ice and the increasingly fascinating designs to be found therein.





Thanks to Victoria, Ross, Jean and Sam, Pauli, Lucia, Christina, Char, TTT, Terry T. and Steve for commenting this week.   I love hearing from all of you!  Next Sunday, most of the states in America spring forward to daylight saving time.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black frozen ice impressionist New Mexico photography still life sunburst in ice Mon, 08 Mar 2021 00:01:32 GMT
nothing specific My handy Webster's Vest Pocket Dictionary is a great size to grace the computer desk with all the other assorted stuff that lands on top, including dust.  As I began photographing ice for today's blog, I was after the abstract, but had never checked the dictionary for a specific definition.  The first two meanings are "expressing a quality apart from an object" and "not representing something specific".  The definition is a perfect fit for the images included here.

It is a rare day when I look at something in the world and not think of how I could make a photograph.  Water, in both liquid and solid form, offers great reflective power.  Because ice generally is static, it offers excellent opportunities to experiment with the abstract, as shown in the photographs below.  With humps and pockets and ridges, light from the sky and stucco walls reflect blue, light tan, and darker shadows.




Out of the shadows and into the sun, craze lines in the ice become apparent and dazzling.


Then, there was this challenge of the week.  Do you know what it is?

Thanks to all of you who commented on last week's blog - Barbara, Donna C., TTT, Lawrence, Christina, Steve, Marilyn, Jean and Sam, Ingrid and Robert, Deb H., Wayne, and Diane.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice nature photography reflections still life photography winter Sun, 28 Feb 2021 21:16:10 GMT
it had to be snow Much of northern and other parts of New Mexico received its deepest snowfall of the season this week, welcomed by almost everyone.  But what happened in Texas at the same time was such a catastrophe for millions, that the nation was thinking about snow and ice and broken water pipes and no drinking water and no food.  Friends were without power and heat for four days.  Others had heat but no water or had to boil water.  And there was nothing we could do.  Even as the skies cleared, things were not as they should be.  It will take some time.  CNN online and many other media outlets have listings with links to organizations which would welcome donations.

Because of the past week, I knew today's blog would have to feature snow.  It was picturesque all over Texas until the deep freeze set in.  It was silently beautiful here.  Snow was falling while I was shooting.





Then something happened.  Not unexpected but beautiful in another way. The orchid a friend had given us three years ago, decided to bloom and bring forth beauty of its own.  A little taste of spring in late winter.





Thanks to Barbara, Wayne, Char, Steve, Christina, Larry and Donna, and Victoria for getting in touch despite the wild ride this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe walls Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico orchids photography snow still life winter Sun, 21 Feb 2021 22:51:08 GMT
in house The low here this morning was 1.  With a few high clouds but mostly sunny skies, the temperature is already up to 10 degrees.  Checking the weather map and temperatures around the country, I know many of you are experiencing teeth-chattering, potentially deadly temperatures and icy conditions.  With a bitter wind pushing the edges of a nation-wide polar vortex into northern New Mexico, and temperatures in the teens, I capitulated to nature.  After trying two different outside setups, I discovered neither my constitution nor equipment was prepared for the cold.  Thus, there are no grand snow or ice images today, but still life photographs produced in house. For a photographer, this offers  challenges of doing slightly different things with common objects, and introducing color.

One of my favorite fruits to photograph is the gnarly and fascinating pomegranate.  Outside, the beautiful and rich red stippled skin, almost reflects a rock-like texture to protect its fruit.  With an oak backdrop, it carries a native look.  


Each backdrop brings different tints of the fruit to the foreground. 



Using black and white for the image alters the pomegranate dramatically.  Except for the stem area, it looks more like a rock or dung, but the sheen remains. 


We are extremely lucky to have access to fruits like pomegranates and oranges in the middle of winter.  Below are two photographs of a simple orange - lovely and reflective.  It did not take long for the oranges to freeze solid during my outside setups.  


Thanks to Lisa, Victoria, Terry T., Elida, Barbara, Christina, Connie, TTT, Wayne, Diane DR, Steve, Jean and Sam, Dianne, and Char for your input about last week's blog.  I hope simple things bring you delight this week, with or without your cameras or smart phones.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food fruit nature New Mexico oranges photography pomegranates still life Mon, 15 Feb 2021 16:26:39 GMT
rhythm section returns Even if it is interrupted or takes on subtle or huge differences, the rhythm of life goes on for humans and other animals alike.    This week holds one event that will, undoubtedly, not hold much love, and another next Sunday that traditionally does.  But nature continues its rhythms, dictated by the length of the days, which in the northern hemisphere, are becoming noticeably longer. The magpies (urracas en Español) are hanging out with the ravens and crows, together making a consistent and comforting ruckus.  The rufous sided towhees have returned, along with the goldfinches, and they are all making their presence known.  It is a lovely symphony. So as with last week's blog, I turn to rhythm as a theme.  From architecture to nature, it is in our and the earth's DNA.

Echinacea flower


Window detail of the Seattle Public Library



Rug # 54 by Fred Black.  

One of his earliest rugs made completely using tapestry, in other words, ball upon ball of wool on top of the loom being woven by hand under and over the warp.  It was definitely one of a kind. Fred made it for our hapkido grand master in South Korea.



Expanded metal from the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad yards near Chama, New Mexico


Grape vines and mesh at the Eberle Vineyards in Paso Robles, California


Wall and balcony details, Hotel Albuquerque


Thanks to M. Fred, Donna C., Steve, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Ingrid, and Robert commenting this week, regardless of altered life rhythms.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Eberle Vineyards flowers Hotel Albuquerque New Mexico patterns photography rhythm Seattle Public Library weaving Mon, 08 Feb 2021 16:42:13 GMT
playground rhythm Regardless of the city or town, where there is a park or a playground, I am automatically attracted to it.  If the playground has fitness equipment in it, even better.  As a child, I used to love hanging on rings and bars and running from one place to the next.  These days, playground equipment isn't just plopped down willy nilly with swings and slides. There is an art to setting it up in "stations" - so that participants can work on different parts of the body, neatly disguised as fun.  I don't even know the names of most of these things. There are both vertical and horizontal ladders, stretching posts in different shapes and sizes, waist twisters, and rings.  Rhythm is involved in the arrangement of the mostly metal entities, eminently photographable.  So just for fun and as an ode to it and the exercise it can create, here is a sampling of the equipment at a local school.  





The deep afternoon shadows created by the equipment were fascinating.




In the hands of a skilled architect/designer, even the swings can have rhythm.

Wherever you find yourself this first Monday of February, I hope you find that inner child (perhaps not a two year old) willing to play!

Thanks to Pauli, Steve, Wayne, TTT, Susie, Barbara, Donna C., Christina, Ann M., Jean and Sam, Char, Catherine, Dianne, Kay, and Ingrid for writing this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography playground exercise equipment playgrounds rhythm structural rhythm Mon, 01 Feb 2021 16:46:30 GMT
the balls keep rolling In addition to a presidential inauguration ceremony this week with many amazing "firsts", another dubious first occurred on 21 January 2020.  The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States, and since mid-March, all of our lives have been touched and changed by it.  As human beings of different temperaments and personalities, we have equally different tolerances for circumstances around us.  All have altered daily habits and patterns in some way.  As for Fred and I, we consider ourselves lucky that our jobs mostly are done within the confines of our casita.  So, in the loom room, the balls of wool are rolled and keep on rolling on the Rio Grande walking loom.  Thanks to the great people at New Mexico Fiber Arts in Española for keeping the ball rolling with their virtual Fall Fiber Fiesta.  You can check out some of the many items they have in the shop at: or by visiting in person on Fridays and Saturdays.  

Fred's website is

Before we returned to Santa Fe, Connie Taylor, the doyen of Navajo-Churro sheep and wool in New Mexico and the country, was kind enough to dye one more order of wool for Fred.  He has been putting the varied colors to the test ever since.  


The first three shots below are of Rug 347 - in the style of a Chief's Blanket - in progress.  The colors are Ganado (Navajo red) and teal.


Rug # 346 came off the loom last week.  Colors featured in this piece are ochre, cereza negra (black cherry) and malachite.


Rug 345 was a late December/early January creation.  The ombre-style stripes are sunset into cobre.  Dyed black and Tierra Wools turquoise comprise the remainder of the colors.


In a fury of writing this week, I needed to make sure and thank Barbara, Victoria, Steve, Donna C., Diane D., TTT, Wayne, and Dianne here for commenting on the blog.  Many thanks to all!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Big Sage Artisans Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico New Mexico Fiber Arts photography rugs Santa Fe weaving Mon, 25 Jan 2021 17:26:18 GMT
What would Ernie think? Perhaps it is because of the sight of our nation's capitol surrounded by fencing, razor wire, and troops, and New Mexico's beloved Roundhouse steps and building and Capitol Building North (where I worked for roughly nine years) also lined with barriers and fencing, that I started thinking about Ernie Mills.  Born in Pittsburgh in 1926, the stalwart journalist and broadcaster came to New Mexico in 1957 to work for the Gallup Independent newspaper and from there to serve as the Albuquerque Journal capitol bureau chief.   He eventually took his column to radio and in 1965 started a syndicated radio broadcast, Dateline: New Mexico.  I had not met Mills when I contacted him, basically to pick his brain for my project on people around the state.  That project eventually became A Place Like No Other:  people of an enchanted land (Sunstone Press, 2002).  We met at the Hilton in Santa Fe in late 1995.  I took copious notes and names of those he felt were movers and shakers in the state.  The man was a virtual encyclopedia of New Mexico's history and its people.  I eventually photographed him, outside the capitol building from which his broadcasts originated.  I can still hear his voice in my head saying such iconic things as his opening "This is Ernie Mills, Dateline:  New Mexico", "don't say we didn't tell you", and "a little birdie told me", all in the style of Paul Harvey.  Ironically, both he and Harvey were war correspondents - Harvey in World War II and Mills during the Vietnam Era.  His reporting focused on the New Mexico men and women serving in the military during two tours in Vietnam, including the Tet offensive in 1968.  He also was instrumental in aiding the negotiations during the infamous riot at the State Penitentiary in 1980.  But the bulk of his New Mexico reporting involved politics and legislation from the capitol.

Here is a sprinkling of shots I made of him.  Unfortunately, my scanner did not survive our move with all its parts, thus, these are digital photographs of gelatin-silver prints made in 1999. 


Mills had an amazing history in journalism and knowledge of the people and politics in New Mexico.  But I wonder what Ernie would be thinking about the current political climate in our country, the players in our state, and the insurrection in Washington, D. C.  No doubt, he would be fascinated, and perhaps somewhat dismayed.  He had such a firm faith in the institutions and people that he would be fighting in some way to keep us together.  



Here is the photograph that I used for the book, with Mills standing on the northeast side of the Roundhouse.  I was keeping my fingers crossed all weekend, and will continue to do so until after the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on 20 January, in hopes that no harm will come to this historic place or lawmakers during the 60 days session starting tomorrow.

Thanks to Barbara, Char, Terry T., Catherine, Steve, Jean and Same, Louse, and Wayne for your comments this week!  I hope all who are reading find beauty and joy in the world, and some of you head out with your cameras to document the world!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography capitol Daryl A. Black Dateline New Mexico Ernie Mills journalism New Mexico photography Santa Fe Tue, 19 Jan 2021 02:51:59 GMT
back to nature There are times in all of our lives that require more than a little pondering and perspective.  I suspect this week was one of those for many Americans and others across the globe.  Thousands upon thousands of photographs and videos were shot during the storming of the Capitol, arrests have been made, soul searching is happening on many levels, and there are calls for accountability.  There is little I can personally do at this point, other than support the country in any way possible, and continue to show the importance of art and education, and the planet on which we live.  It is the least I can do, and go back to nature in this week's blog.

A stray feather - perhaps from an owl or a hawk - appeared in a pile of leaves several weeks ago.  I would look at it on the way out to watering plants or hanging laundry.  It was a beauty.  Simple grey/brown and white stripes, with wonderful edges.  It kept calling and when that happens, photography happens.  Here it is on sandstone dusted with snow.

On the water's edge...

...and on ice

Here are two shots that reveal the feather's design.


Now it shows off the skill of a Zimbabwean basket maker.


Thanks to Barbara F. R., Dave O., Char, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Lisa, Earle, Wayne, Christina, Dianne, and Steve for your beautifully crafted and thoughtful comments on last week's blog.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black feathers nature New Mexico photography still life photography Mon, 11 Jan 2021 00:17:19 GMT
fifty years A new year and new decade found me pondering where I was fifty years ago and what was happening in the world.  My sister was in graduate school in Washington state, and I was about to start the second semester of my junior year in college.  Life was mostly composed of going to classes, studying, writing papers, and taking tests, as well as occasional parties and community services within a service sorority for Albuquerque/New Mexico girls.  But the beginning of January was no normal time for the Duke City, as a weather event that is still clear in the memories of those of us of a certain age, entered the picture.  Up until then, Christmas Days in Albuquerque, as I remember them, were frequently fairly warm, with temperatures in the mid 40s to the low-mid 50s.  I remember riding my bicycle and roller skating on many a childhood Christmas Day.  In 1971, the high on New Year's Day was 51 degrees. Downright balmy.  That was about to change.     

First, some background and meteorological history.  Since you already follow this blog (many thanks for that), you know that both Fred and I are weather geeks.  We have kept records of high and low temperatures, precipitation, and assorted anomalies since 1998.  One of the reasons for record keeping is that the human brain tends to do things with time and events, mixing them into a stew, the ingredients of which cannot always be discerned.  One could swear that a mammoth rain fell during a specific year, when in actuality, it happened during another year.  Thus, record books, diaries, and journals, and for a photographer, physical images, accompanied by meta data fill that purpose.   Since there are no weather photographs in my morgue from 1971, I will rely on more recent winter photographs as well as data from the National Weather Service.  The ones below are from 2012, with Fred plowing our neighbors' road on their Kubota tractor, and elk that were frequent visitors that February and March.

Flash back to January 1971, when a winter storm had passed over New Mexico, leaving in its wake a mass of frigid air, and Albuquerque with some of the coldest temperatures on record.  I was living in Albuquerque with my parents and Fred was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base, and since we had not yet met, we both experienced the cold in different ways.  My father and I set alarms and got up every two hours to start and run his car, my 1958 Volkswagen, and my sister's 1960 Ford Falcon.  This was before the time when thinner/lighter weight oil was available, and cars simply would not start if you didn't keep after them.  For the most part, the servicemen who had cars and motorcycles at Kirtland could not get them started. Fred seems to remember that Dave O. had a new car, and his was the only one that started. Fred was not only unable to get his 1956 Chevy started, but could not work on the wings of airplanes parked outside because they were coated with ice. They were just huge and dangerous slides.  When these young guys wanted to go to a restaurant for a meal off-base, they literally put on all their clothing for the walks.  On the 5th of January, the low temperature in Albuquerque was -11.9 and the high was 10.9.  On the 6th, -5 and 6 were the high and low temperatures, and on the 7th, the low was -15 and the high temperature that day was 7.  Places like Cuba and Gallup and Zuni were having temperatures hovering at -30 or lower.  These are life-threatening temperatures, and during the time, down clothing was just starting to come to the fore.  The hairs in your nose freeze anywhere below zero, condensation on mustaches freezes, as does wet hair.  Without Polartec and other weather-mitigating clothing, it was quite the deal.  It is the kind of dangerous weather that renders beautiful images such the one below, if a photographer is willing and able to venture out.  Here is a landscape photograph as seen through a lens of ice between aspen branches.

ice abstract 2020 - 3ice abstract 2020 - 3

So, fifty years of life and weather have passed since that momentous year of 1971.  But each new year carries with it events that should be remembered. This is my yearly quest to encourage you to capture those times, whether through writing, art, music, aurally, or photographically - with camera or phone - to keep them alive.  Think of what information we would have now if more individuals had documented the pandemic of 1918, and all the rest of us had access to the information. I, for one, wished I had known enough to ask my parents about it, even though they were children.  For better or worse, it is part of our history.

Speaking of events, Elizabeth H., Anne O., Lawrence J., Mary Pat K., Orlando T., Richard S., Connie T., and Karen L. have birthdays during January, and Louise and Jim were married during the month as well.  May you all have happy celebrations!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black ice nature new mexico photography snow winter Sun, 03 Jan 2021 21:34:58 GMT
the year that was On Friday, 1 January 2021, one can officially say that 2020 was the year that was, adding a multitude of descriptors at the end, regardless of one's political, religious or philosophical leanings.  It is not a period of time that will easily be forgotten, although the way in which time seemed to move with so much intensity, I am already losing details.  But life continues.  Many have perished this year.  Babies have been born.  And despite the upheaval, people continue to fall in love and marry.  On a late autumn Sunday, I had the privilege to shoot the engagement photographs for Jessica and Joseph.  It was a delightful session.  We all wore masks, I used my faithful 70-200 mm lens for a majority of the photographs.  It kept us socially distanced and allowed for a variety of depths of field.  The Santa Fe River and its environs gave us some interesting backdrops.  Since it had recently snowed, the river was gently flowing.

Since Jessica and Joseph are both avid tango dancers, we had to capture some of those looks as well on one of the many foot/bicycle bridges that cross the river.

May 2021 be a better, if not spectacular, year for all of you, including Jessica and Joseph, and those who stick with this blog, whether it arrives on time Monday morning or at a later hour, through thick and thin, literally.  Thanks to all of you.  And a very Happy Birthday to Ben on Tuesday.  I wish I had a book of all your stories from nine decades!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography couples Daryl A. Black engagement photography environmental portraiture New Mexico photography Mon, 28 Dec 2020 02:22:45 GMT
solstice color Today, 21 December 2020, is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Solstice is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world and one can understand why.  Early humans - hunters and gatherers - were keenly aware of their surroundings and the weather.  They knew when days were getting shorter or longer, and celebrated the time when there was more daylight. Solstice is comprised of the Latin words Sol or sun, and sistere, which means to stand still. It is the day with the least amount of daylight in the year, and every day thereafter, the amount of daylight increases until the summer solstice.  This, most assuredly, was a reason to celebrate.

Those of us in the American Southwest are admittedly spoiled by an abundance of sunshine.  There are many who dislike the longer nights and cannot wait for the longer days of spring and early summer.  2020 is a year in which we need a Solstice celebration, even if it is electronically presented. One thing about this time of year is that the sunsets can be magnificent.     


To take the chill off this Solstice day, I am including Fred's latest Navajo-Churro rug, #344, and calling it the Solstice Rug.  Connie Taylor hand-dyed the wool in coffee, buckskin, turquoise, Ganado, ochre, cobalt, and malachite, along with natural brown-black (not dyed).

In addition to being solstice, the planets Jupiter and Saturn will align after sunset tonight in the southwestern sky.  Auspicious?

Thanks to Terry T., Steve, Lisa, Kay, Debra, Wayne, Christina, Sara, Jean and Sam, Victoria, Geula, and Barbara for also brightening the season with your comments.

Happy Solstice everyone!  We are on our way into the holidays and 2021.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black Fred Black New Mexico photography rugs solstice sunsets weaving Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:25:02 GMT
changes in the world 2020 has been a year of changes in many ways.  Watching Meet the Press on NBC yesterday morning, I found the Data Download fascinating.  It highlighted the percentage increases in online purchases of certain categories from years past.  There was a 44% increase in home office furniture and equipment, a 70% increase in pet food and pet items, a 92% in do-it-yourself home construction tools and materials, and a 122% increase in home gym equipment, including exercise machines, bar bells, and other body-buffing and shaping items.  Online purchases have doubled overall this year.  And we know that many people are ordering food - supermarket fare and kits to prepare meals at home - as well as take out from local restaurants and other exclusively online outfits.  Winter is a season of comfort food regardless, so why not feature some possibilities in today's blog?


New world plate from the nightshade family - tomatoes, a potato, and chile



New Mexico apples from a local garden, variety unknown

Poblano chiles from the Santa Fe Farmers' Market

Native American corn

Top it off with a frisky Double Black Zinfandel, chilling in the snow

Thanks to Wayne, Jean and Sam, Steve, Debra, Christina and Barbara for writing this week, and Happy Birthday to my sister, as well as to Fred, Ingrid, Fernando, Marilyn, Lena, Dave K., Jessica, and Ben.  Have hearty and warm celebrations all!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Double Black Zinfandel food New Mexico New World food photography poblano chiles still life Mon, 14 Dec 2020 18:34:59 GMT
writers all In last week's blog, I asked you to share your "six word memoirs", and as expected, there were some six word wonders.  Everyone, at one time or another, is a writer, whether by putting pencil and pen to paper or typing, on computer or in text form or just putting words together in your mind.  We all do it and have the potential for greatness.  Given the theme, I spent some time setting up and photographing pieces of writing from past and present, with natural light, fill light of different sources, including in-camera flash, muted house lights, and candlelight.  Shooting from as much as twelve feet above to three feet above, or almost at ground level, challenged me in very good ways. The three images that follow are each slightly different, and offer a number of moods.



So here are the jewels you were kind enough to write and allow me to use.

"Family is the most important thing."



In reference to dancing 

"Yes, when things feel more safe."



"I think positive and test negative"


"Love's the key to all locks"

--Jean and Sam


"You are a writer, and fast."

"Read their list, admired everyone's talent."

"Now yours just as well, hmm."

"I'm still pondering my slow reply."

--Terry T. 

and finally

 "The sun burns through the fog"

 "When her laughter fills my heart"

 "Listening and learning a stranger's story."



Thank you so very much for writing and to Char, Suz, Carol and Larry, Wayne, Barbara and Clyde, and Debra for your comments as well!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography six word memoir still life photography writing Mon, 07 Dec 2020 17:18:48 GMT
Thanksgiving Monday??? Where did Thanksgiving Monday go?  In my case, it went to a great deal of procurement, given the fact that we had not shopped for groceries in three weeks.  Then, naturally, one has to bring said food items into the house and give them a thorough washing, as well as isolate edibles in hard packaging for a week or so, wash hands perhaps twenty times or so during the process, shower, followed by refreshing the kitchen.  Many people throughout the world have developed similar sets of protocols during the pandemic, and do the same thing on a regular basis, if water is available.  We are extremely lucky. 

But it is still Monday, as far as I know, and much, much later than I usually do my blog.  Time to get on with it, so this will be brief.  While the washed vegetables and fruit were drying on the counter, I realized it was a still life in the making.  Out came the camera, and here are a few of the results.

One the wonderful things that arrived via email this week was a list from the New York Times titled "I am thankful to be thankful" wherein readers were asked to send in six word memoirs that were, according to the Times, a style of writing "popularized by author Larry Smith".  There were 10,000 replies and a selection was listed.  It challenged me to think about the six word memoir.  "The smell of the desert rain", "an enchilada plate and red wine", "exploring little things with my camera", "sharing a warm bed with Fred", "sun shining brightly in my eyes", "hope filled heart for the future", "to bounce wildly around the house", "hearing the sound of friends' voices", "dancing speedy milongas or a lovely tango"  

Want to share?  I would love to hear from you and post some of your six word memoirs next week if you allow.

Jean and Sam, Barbara, Luella, Suzys, Terry T., Dave and Barbara, Carolyn, Catherine, Wayne, Dianne, TTT, Christina, Orlando, Steve, Pauli, DLDWK, and Debra sent comments this week and they are appreciated, one and all.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food New Mexico photography still life photography Tue, 01 Dec 2020 02:26:54 GMT
thankful On 26 November 2020, Thanksgiving will be celebrated in the United States of America.  Despite and perhaps because of the widening pandemic, some have felt the desperate need to travel and visit friends and family by airplane, automobile, train, or bus.  Many will make telephone calls, or use Skype, Zoom or other formats, as well as social media, to connect.  I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for keeping in touch and for reading and commenting on my blog this year.  I am extremely thankful for friends and family, having a roof over my head and food to eat, a beautiful planet on which to live, laughter and love, for the ability to move and to read, and for art and work.  

Fred was kind enough to allow me to use his rug-in-progress to highlight squash - a New World food - that was in existence long before the first Thanksgiving in America.

We noticed these signs recently and I must applaud personnel at Santa Fe County for planting them.

The sign above is perfect - In bad times, a good face.  Be brave and weather the storm.

Have a safe and fine Thanksgiving.  We look forward to next year when we can share the joy of in-person celebrations with many of you.  Thanks to Char, Barbara, Lisa, Paule, Steve, Wayne, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Karla, Ingrid, Debra, and Victoria for your words this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography COVID signs Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography squash still life photography weaving Mon, 23 Nov 2020 17:44:57 GMT
fashion statement Our governor placed another (and much needed, in my opinion) stay at home order for New Mexico, effective today, as she desperately tries to convince people that wearing masks, keeping social distance, and mostly staying at home are the best methods of remediating the explosion of COVID-19 in our midst.  It became more profound on Sunday when a friend and neighbor of ours tested positive.  She is asymptomatic at this point and we hope she remains in that category.

Obviously, there are many different opinions on the subject of mask wearing, but one thing I have always thought about it is that it had to be cool and fun. From the very beginning, my feeling was that if all the sports teams, restaurants, clubs, organizations, and even houses of worship created their own mask designs more people could wear them as fashion statements rather than feeling like they were being punished.  Despite the fact that vaccines will help control this virus, other diseases may well erupt in the future.  Why not get some fun and joy from wearing a mask?  Match your clothes as you do with scarves or pocket handkerchiefs or squares, gloves, ball caps, and other accessories. Frivolous? Perhaps.  Silly?  I don't know.  But these days we can all certainly use a little levity and brightness.  So I present the Black Mask Collection.  Sort of.  Like earrings, one can never have enough, and it is growing.  They look a little like bikini tops, but hey.



A fish story?

My favorite model wearing a dragon mask from Crazy Shirts.

Thanks to Terry T., Christina, TTT, Kay, Marilyn, Steve, Debra, Barbara, Jean and Sam, Wayne and Bill and Sue for commenting this week.  Happy Birthday to Barbara, Carolyn, Cristina and Wayne who will be celebrating later this month.

until next Monday


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography COVID-19 Daryl A. Black fashion statement masks New Mexico photography still life photography Mon, 16 Nov 2020 18:56:11 GMT
a week of light and shadow We have yet to know exactly how history will remember this week in the year 2020.  It was filled with darkness and light, light and shadow, and all the tension those conditions hold.  It reminded me of Shadow and Light Magazine, a publication for which photographer Steve Immel is shooting photographs and penning great rocks of wisdom.  It is worth investigating, as well as Steve's great blog -  

The weather provided a healthy serving of conditions, and I focused on those that demonstrated the week.  Stucco walls reflecting or holding heat or cold become collectors of precipitation, including hail and snow, both of which landed against walls here.



Also suitable in black and white


Veronica, Debra, Donna C., Christina, Dianne, Claudia, Carolyn, Steve, Annie, Jean and Sam, and Ingrid added input and words for last week's blog.  Many thanks to all of you and others who follow the blog.  Thanks for your inspiration.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black light and shadow new mexico photography santa fe shadow and light magazine snow steve immel stucco Mon, 09 Nov 2020 17:30:49 GMT
masked and armed with camera In the low afternoon light with watercolor clouds styling the sky, I was privileged to do a wedding engagement shoot along the Santa Fe River yesterday.  As is the case every single time I remove my cameras from their cases and start shooting, I learned a number of things.  Mask, long lens, and both the Nikon D800 and D5200 in hand, I anticipated a few challenges in shooting socially distanced.  However, the one thing that should have been anticipated but wasn't, was the fact that my glasses would fog up during the process. Occasionally, I would need to lower my mask so I could see, but all in all, this was like a standard shoot.  The weather couldn't have been better and the sky a pure joy.  Since the couple has yet to see the photographs, I am keeping the shots here relatively unidentifiable.  Tango, yes, but faces will come later.

Bicycle trails and open space development along the river, which had water in it yesterday because of the recent snow (it frequently lacks water except for an occasional puddle) has been an astonishing accomplishment for a city the size of Santa Fe.  Given the fact that the city was basically built along old wagon trails, projects like these can be fraught with challenges.  I was impressed.  The work of many provided some great places for recreation and an engagement shoot.  The cottonwoods and other native trees were, thankfully, left in place, providing unique riparian areas.

The many wooden bridges offer walkers and bicyclists (and occasional tango dancers) a way to cross the river.

And if it is tango, there must be a black and white shot.

 Thanks for J, J, & E for being adventurous and delightful during the shoot, and to Debra, Jean and Same, Terry T., Connie, Victoria, Barbara, Char, Kay, Steve, Dianne, 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 dance Daryl A. Black engagement photography feet New Mexico photography Santa Fe tango Mon, 02 Nov 2020 17:14:44 GMT
closing salvo This year's autumn in northern New Mexico has been beautiful and dramatic, and was extended by warmer than usual weather.  But a strong storm currently ripping across the landscape from west to east is firing a closing salvo at the season with high winds and graupel/groppel in our neighborhood. Left in its wake is a gentle hush on the land, lovingly encouraging winter with white gloves.  

Today's blog has what will be some of the final autumnal photographs I shoot this year - assorted still life images featuring graupel.  It really sets the scene for some interesting abstract shots, including the one below with aspen leaves in water.

Asian flare lantern with a dusting on rocks 


Nothing like a pumpkin with graupel sprinkles on top

Pumpkins on aspen trunks


This Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m., daylight saving time comes to a close in the United States. Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

Thanks to Veronica, Kay, Steve, Peggy, TTT, Barbara, Susie, Christina, Connie, Larry J., Wayne, Lisa, Catherine, Bill & Sue, and Ingrid for your comments this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black graupel nature New Mexico photography pumpkins still life