Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog en-us @ Daryl A. Black (Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Mon, 25 Oct 2021 14:24:00 GMT Mon, 25 Oct 2021 14:24:00 GMT Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing: Blog 112 120 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 wear 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 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 Mon, 26 Oct 2020 20:09:58 GMT
another bag of autumn It is truly a shame that much of the west is in an epic drought because the conditions continue to provide the most stunning luscious days and cool nights.  Walk anywhere and people will say "Isn't the weather gorgeous?" and "I would like the weather to be like this all year."  Of course it can't and won't and should not, given the fact that moisture is desperately needed, but we'll enjoy it until then.

2020 has been quite the year in too many ways to address here.  But the genus Populus - which includes aspen and cottonwoods - is taking the yellow color spectrum to a whole new level.  I photograph them nearly every day when they are near or at their prime.  Two more images are included here. Stucco walls offer a nicely textured backdrop for them.


Speaking of backdrops, I have also been working with fallen leaves in numerous colors, shapes, and sizes as backdrops for a variety of things, including more roses.  It was particularly interesting to photograph both new, fresh, roses and then use them after they were the same relative dryness as the leaves.  That touch of home-grown rosemary gifted to us along with the roses added a nice touch.


And finally, the roses as they dry against the already dried leaves of autumn

I have a recommendation for all people interested in photography and photo-journalism.  Although the book Obama was published in 2017 by Pete Souza, the NBC networks aired their documentary "The Way I See It" this week, about Souza's life as presidential photographer for both the Reagan and Obama administrations.  Souza is probably one of the best photographers and photo-journalists of our time, and he knew his mission - to present a clear history and story for the two presidents he covered.  The documentary is moving and beautiful, and if you have not seen it, I would highly recommend doing so.  The book should be required reading for all photographers.

Thanks to Terry T., Barbara, Wayne, TTT, Catherine, Debra, Jean and Sam, Steve, Ryley A., and Ingrid and Robert for your contributions to last week and this week's blog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black MSNBC nature NBC New Mexico Pete Souza photography roses The Way I See It trees Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:27:15 GMT
autumn photography grab bag Autumn presents a multitude of photographic opportunities, and the weather this week made that photography an absolute delight.  While some parts of the country and the world are receiving much more rain than necessary, it is extremely dry here but equally gorgeous.  

The season would be incomplete without at least one drive into the mountains.  Although it was a bit late and much of the intense color had already passed, several aspen stands continued to show their golds and red.  

Nature - trees - aspen Santa Fe Ski basinNature - trees - aspen Santa Fe Ski basin

Year after year as I photograph aspen, thinking that there are only so many ways the trees can be photographed, the trunks hold more and more appeal to me.  The image below demonstrates the growth lines on this multiple-trunked beauty.

There are several maples in our new neighborhood that catch your eye regardless of how many times you walk by them.  The sun not only added intensity to the color but a nice shadow below the bottom leaves.


The total shadow in this image of aspen leaves in water does just the opposite of the maple, making an interesting abstract shot.


A hanging apple renders the comfort of harvest time in New Mexico.


In addition to the brilliant orange of this pumpkin, the stem is a thing of beauty, completing the photographic autumn grab bag.


Terry T., Debra, Luella, Wayne, Kay, Larry and Carol, Christina, Donna and Dave, Sara, Jean and Sam, Steve, Catherine, and Ryley A. got in touch this week to comment on the blog, and as always, your words are much appreciated.  

I hope that each of you is able to do some photography wherever you are.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) apple aspen autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black maples nature New Mexico photography pumpkins trees Mon, 12 Oct 2020 16:45:55 GMT
dogs in the hood It has been quite some time since I have photographed dogs or canines, including coyotes, so starting again around the neighborhood is a new and interesting challenge.  Almost like human environmental portraiture, photographing the dogs, perhaps along with their owners in our new neighborhood, may become an ongoing project.

To begin, here is a coyote teenager I photographed many years ago on the mesa in Taos County.  Comparing this wild child with a domesticated dog breed, there really aren't that many differences.

Tucker is a very smart labradoodle, one of the many great dogs who are walked every day in the neighborhood.  Even when he is at rest, he is always on the alert, similar to his wild relatives.

More in the "portrait" line, the two images below are vintage Tucker.

It was wonderful to receive everyone's comments last week about National Electric Drive Week, and to know so many are thinking about the possibilities of alternative energy.  Thanks to Lucia, Steve, Claudia, Karla, Terry T., Catherine, Wayne, TTT, Jean and Sam, and Ingrid for participating in the discussion.  Hope you have a wonderful first week in October.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography coyotes Daryl A. Black dogs labradoodles New Mexico photography Mon, 05 Oct 2020 16:31:55 GMT
National Electric Drive Week With the compression of time, the pandemic, and all the other strangeness that continue to mark the year 2020, my recall of specific years and time is less than stellar.  Given that, some three to four years ago, Fred and I had finished our workout at the GCCC (Genoveva Chavez Community Center) in Santa Fe, and outside in the parking lot was a mini-display of assorted electric vehicles, including several Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts and Bolts.  The charging bays at the center were being touted along with the possibilities of electric cars and solar electrical generation in general.  We had the opportunity to view and sit in the vehicles, and talk to owners.  Up to that point, Teslas, although not entirely rare in Santa Fe, held a "wow" factor.  We always stopped to talk with Tesla owners about their vehicles.  Now there is a huge stable of Teslas in Santa Fe, but regardless of the type of electric car, people who buy and own them adore their electric mode of transportation. Many say they will never own an internal combustion engine or ICE, again. One of those reasons, for many, is that you don't need to go to the gas station. Charging stations, yes, on a road trip, and those are becoming more and more common.  Matter of fact, the Santa Fe Community College will soon have charging stations on campus, as well as electric car servicing as part of their School of Trades, Advanced Technologies, and Sustainability program. The technology - particularly battery technology to increase efficiency and driving range - is going through an incredible and rapid evolution.  We are happy to see faculty and students at the community college involved in the process of working with alternative energy on many levels.  It is a real boon to the city and state.

Because National Drive Electric Week began yesterday and runs through 4 October, I thought it would be a good time to again visit solar energy production and electric cars.  There is a massive amount of information online about electrical vehicles.  One source we have been reading for years is Green Car Reports.  It is a pretty complete summary of a the daily news about green energy, cars, and emerging technology in America and around the world.  

When people go car shopping at a dealership, you generally sit in the vehicle, look at the features, kick the tires, and check under the hood.  Looking under the hood of a Chevrolet Bolt, for instance, Fred's first comment was "I don't see much in here I recognize".  Three fluid reservoirs - windshield wipe fluid, brake fluid, and coolant - are obvious.  But what the heck is the rest?  Well, since electric cars are almost computers on wheels, there are many electronic components along with the wires that connect them.  Under the hood of the Chevy Bolt show below, there is a total of eleven moving parts.

One adaptation the automotive industry has made is to offer both 120 volt and 240 volt charging technology in an owner's home.  Known to electricians as 110 and 220 volt, one offers a slow charge from a standard electric outlet, and the other, 220, can charge an electric car more quickly from a standard drier outlet.  "Quick charge" stations are located along major highways in the country.  Here is the Bolt EV charging port and charger.

Fellow photographer and friend Terry Thompson recently purchased a Nissan Leaf, and is equally excited about it.  It is called Leafy and pictured below.  He also is producing "front" license plates, for those of us who don't sport license plates both on the front and the back of our vehicles.  You can contact Terry about getting a front plate from his "Personalized Plates for New Mexico Fronts" and see his amazing photography as well at his business website:


Thanks to Barbara, Marilyn, Luella, Debra, Sara, Wayne, Paul, Steve, and Jean and Sam for writing this week.  Happy Birthday this week to Earle W. and Kelly S.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Chevrolet Bolt Daryl A. Black electric cars New Mexico Nissan Leaf photography technology Terry Thompson Mon, 28 Sep 2020 17:03:10 GMT
fading to fall Despite day time temperatures in the high 70 to low 80 degree range in the southern Rocky Mountains, there are fewer hours of daylight.  Change is in the air.  The birds feel it.  Humans feel it.  The autumnal equinox is upon us tomorrow.  Flowers show their final beauty by fading into fall.  Buds are still appearing on rose bushes around town, although the blooms are smaller, and the hollyhocks continue to put forth blooms, just to insure their species will continue into coming years.   With gnarled leaves, and colors slightly less saturated, the flowers display a new and lovely delicacy.

A yellow hollyhock, still viable but telling its storied life 


Thank you Marilyn, Wayne, Barbara, Karla, Char, Debra, Donna C., Jean and Sam, Steve, Christina, Geula, and Catherine for your comments this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumnal equinox blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers hollyhocks new mexico photography Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:05:06 GMT
what do you do? I have asked myself so many times this week "What can I do" and "what should I do" in reference to the climate crisis evidenced by unprecedented fires in the west, and hurricanes on the east and Gulf Coasts, not to mention the ongoing pandemic.  Years ago when we held fantasies of going to the Florida Keys and Cayman Islands to snorkel, the water temperature in high summer was 85 degrees.  Winter was in the range of 78 to 82, and without a wet suit, that is a little chilly.  Wuss, yes, but now the water temperature is in the 90 degree Fahrenheit range.  It is unnaturally warm but great for breeding hurricanes.  The sequence of fire, floods, and mudslides has always been part of beautiful California's environment, but the fires this year are bigger, hotter, and more destructive than ever, and they now extend into Oregon and Washington.  As California Governor Gavin Newsom said this week (I paraphrase here) "If you want to see climate change in action, come to California."  It is crushing.  Lives are being taken and/or cruelly distorted.   We want to do more, but probably the best thing we can do is stay home and out of first responders' way.  So, we continue doing our art and living life as lightly as we can.

Within the slight chaos that is involved in moving, Fred has managed to weave three rugs.  He will start on a commission this week, which will be Rug #343, his 400th piece in total (including runners, pillows, and rifle scabbards). Who would have thought?  Here is a shot of Rug #341.  It is 100% Navajo-Churro wool, dyed by Connie Taylor, and features three different shades of malachite, along with ochre, dyed black, and Ganado red.

The wool awaits.... does the empty loom

I took the opportunity, in addition to photographing wool, to find the beauty in the aging roses I had photographed two weeks ago.

Thanks to Wayne, Bill and Sue, Barbara, Ann and Tomas, Christina, Jean and Sam, Marilyn, Steve, Charlie, Catherine, Connie and Ingrid for your comments this.  They make my day, regardless of what day you are able to check out the blog.  

My hope is that we can all be gentle with Planet Earth this week.  It needs our kindness at this point, and always.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography roses still life weaving wool Mon, 14 Sep 2020 16:22:19 GMT
once a solar geek... ...always a solar geek, I suppose.  I have always wondered what goes into a human being - genetics or outside influences (nature vs. nurture) or both - and why some people become almost obsessed with one or more subjects or things.  I do know that this week, all of the teachers, professors, family, and friends who are or were ever fascinated with energy conservation and influenced us, were front and center.  From my first view of the Whole Earth Catalog, published from 1968 to 1972, and the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, as well as my life as a Girl Scout, I was pretty much hooked on environmental science and issues.  When my husband, Fred, who spent his childhood hiking in Yosemite, entered the picture, we became a small partnership for the burgeoning alternative energy movement.  Not that we necessarily intended it to be that way, but the molding of our thinking by many people and science had happened.  We have been "solar geeks" ever since.  From our first solar home near Bluewater Lake in 1977 to our place at Big Sage, energy conservation was first on the list.  And we had a plan to make our place in Santa Fe as energy efficient as we could.


Here is a shot of our home in Taos County, complete with tracker and solar panels.

Fast forward twenty years and our return to Santa Fe.  In searching for a place, photovoltaic or solar panels had to be allowed.  Period.  It would be nice if there were shared walls to make the house more thermodynamic. When we found a home with those features, along with a lovely neighborhood at the right price, we grabbed it.  In May, we began what I will call Phase 1 of the plan, which was to contact Positive Energy Solar and begin the process of developing a grid-tie system.  We had been told that it could be six months or more, depending on the city and Public Service Company of New Mexico, because of licensing and permitting.  On Wednesday of last week, cars and trucks began arriving before 8 a.m., and men poured forth. First order of the day, in the time of COVID-19, was a temperature check, along with a safety meeting.

After that, a well-oiled machine was turned on, and the work of solarizing our home began in earnest.  Each of the workers has a particular area of expertise.  It was quite the sight to see.

Mounting brackets were removed from the trucks, along with solid cinder blocks for ballast before the panels even faced the sun.  Two men worked on the electrical boxes, both old and new.  Another worked on shaping the conduit.  All were true artists.

Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, 16-370 watt panels were installed on several roof surfaces, attached to brackets and ballast applied, wire pulled through conduit, and junction boxes attached.  

The system was complete and ready to go just after 3 p.m. that afternoon.  We were dumbfounded at the speed and efficiency of the crew.  Now we await Phase II, the final inspection and hook-up to the grid.  We are anxious to see how much energy is being harvested from the sun and sent into the grid during the four seasons.  No doubt, we will keep a log of that, along with our weather log that we have been keeping for twenty years.  

Phase III, an electric car.  Ever the solar geeks!

It was wonderful to hear from so many of you this week - Lisa, Maria, Jean and Sam, Marilyn, Kay, Karla, Barbara, Victoria, Debbie R., Ann M., Christina, Debra, Catherine, Wayne, Steve, Robert, and Ingrid.  Happy September Birthdays to Steve, Donna K., Earle, and Kelly S., and Happy Anniversary to Barbara and David.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black grid tie solar systems New Mexico photography photovoltaics Positive Energy Solar solar Mon, 07 Sep 2020 17:41:42 GMT
gift of roses For this photographer, gifts are wonderful for two different reasons.  The first is the experience of pleasure, beauty, and sometimes fun, funk, and smiles they provide.  The second is the package of photographic and written possibilities accompanying them.

I truly cannot remember seeing roses as gorgeous as the ones we were given last week, in all their stages of bloom.  Here are a few of the results from nearly two hundred shots I took, in different light, and with a variety of backgrounds.  I am still shooting after almost a week, all the while discovering things I should have known about our new surroundings.  And the learning process with the new computer and programs is ongoing, sometimes a sheer delight, while other times, the expletives bounce off the office walls!


Below are two shots of the entire bouquet and different backdrops.

back to a single rose detail


Huge virtual "thanks" go out this week to Suz, Connie, Susie, Wayne, Barbara, Jean and Sam, Debra, Steve, Claudia, Dianne, Pauli, and Ingrid and Robert.  

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, 31 Aug 2020 16:09:31 GMT
virtual rain A virtual Democratic National Convention, virtual meetings, virtual classes. They have all become part of life during the pandemic.  With near-drought conditions in many parts of the western United States, and smoky skies having replaced the cloudless blue skies and thunderstorms, I find myself thinking about rain. A lot.  Our "monsoon" season has yet to develop. Although the Gulf Coast is going to receive much more rain than is needed, and Australia had snow this week, the firefighters and the land could certainly use some.  If one can listen to the soothing sounds of light rain on a device, why not virtual rain on the screen of your choice?  I have selected some images that remind me of rain, the first of which is a water droplet under an aspen branch.



A very wet hummingbird resting and getting warm



Hollyhock flower after a shower


The sky filled with the promise of rain


After the rain, a double rainbow


Thanks to all of you who persevered so well, and continue to keep in touch virtually, including Orlando, Carolyn S., Lisa, Ingrid, Wayne, TTT, Christina, Debra, Steve, Jean and Sam, and Donna C.  I hope you are all able to record life as you know it with your cameras and other devices.  This is an extraordinary time.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black hollyhocks hummingbirds nature photography rain skycapes water Mon, 24 Aug 2020 16:43:15 GMT
grateful As the world works its way through a pandemic, elections, economic distress, hunger and wars, along with forces of nature, I find myself extremely grateful for many things.  Family, friends, food on the table, a roof over our heads, good health, the ability to continue to work.  Right now, many around the world and in the United States are food insecure, unemployed, and in life limbo.  The health care workers, logistics and delivery people, those who continue to work in offices, retail and grocery stores, restaurants, first responders, members of police forces and military, teachers, classroom and university staff members, and smart, empathetic leaders deserve more credit than I can ever give.  My thanks go out to all of you.

My camera and I did a bit more practice with the live view mode this week. There is still a learning curve, but I am understanding things and becoming more comfortable with it.  Using Fred's Navajo-Churro wool rugs and other objects, i. e., things that do not move, helped my efforts.


The image here is of Rug # 245, and features baskets from Zimbabwe.


Rug # 339 hosts an old squash blossom necklace created by Pearl Sunrise.


Detail of Rug 339 and necklace


Thanks to Maria, Steve, Barbara, Christina, Connie, Donna C., Marilyn, Debra, Wayne, Jean and Sam, Catherine, and Donna K. for commenting on last week's blog.  May the coming week be glorious.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) baskets Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo Churro wool New Mexico photography rugs squashblossom still life Mon, 17 Aug 2020 17:46:39 GMT
surprising "park" Growing up in Albuquerque during the days when a Sunday outing involved going to the foothills and driving on the dirt roller coaster that was Juan Tabo Boulevard, there were very few parks and no graveyards in that part of town.  So I was always curious why my mother went on and on about spending wonderful days while growing up in the Midwest in graveyards, feeding the ducks in the pond and touring the lush lawns under shade trees. There was a creep factor that I simply could not fathom.  It took me some time (actually adulthood) to figure out that in some urban areas, graveyards are the parks everyone can visit and feel relaxed and safe while doing so.  It was a true surprise and pleasure to explore and photograph the Santa Fe Memorial Gardens this week.  The building was the original attraction. Designed by architect Jon Dick and dedicated in 2015, The Kiva Chapel of Light is a fascinating addition to the south side of town.  With luck, I will be able to photograph it thoroughly, inside and out, and feature it in a future blog.  In the meantime, here is an exterior shot that gives you a glimpse at one part of the building.

Building detail rendered in black and white

Entering the parking lot beyond the first flow of grass, the Trail of Memories, with its metal abstract archway bisects the graveyard, leading to the various parts of the gardens.   


A detail of the arch from the side

Sculpture features significantly in the gardens.  Except for the fact that it is white marble, this piece reminds of the Maltese Falcon.


The Corn Maiden of Sipapu is shown below, complete with corn growing at her base.

Both flowing and bubbling water features attract numerous birds and butterflies.

Thanks to Barbara, Marilyn, Jean and Sam, Karla, Steve, Wayne, Ingrid, and Dianne for commenting this week.  May you all have interesting explorations during the coming week!

until next week,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black gardens graveyards jon dick nature new mexico photography rivera family funeral home santa fe santa fe memorial gardens sculpture the kiva chapel of light Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:38:14 GMT
learning curve While watching the SpaceX Dragon capsule splash down in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, I was struck by the complicated technology dance of the crews - from those on the small boats who retrieved the parachutes, to the men and women aboard the vessel who pulled the capsule onto the deck.  One lone still photographer was recording the event on the ship, and I found myself watching him.  He was wearing at least two different cameras around his neck and several others in different locations on the deck.  I suspect the cameras had presets.  No flash was used, and he was moving so quickly and freely among the other techs that I assume he was part of the Space X crew, documenting the extrication of the astronauts from the capsule.  He was everywhere he could be without getting in the way, a perfectly skilled professional among the other scientists, technicians, and doctors.  At several points, he was using what is called on my modest camera a "live view" mode so that he could see on the screen what the camera was seeing without using the viewfinder.  Being a total viewfinder photographer, I must be honest and say I don't use the live view element, but have seen photo-journalists doing it when they need to hold the camera above them in a crowd.  It beats having to carry the equivalent of a selfie stick.  With that event as well as other recent ones, such as peaceful protests, I decided my lesson for the week is going to be using the live view mode.

Photographing and editing images of my husband, Fred Black's Navajo-Churro wool rugs, is one of the types of photography I do.  But being the great "outside the box" thinker that he is, it was his idea that led me to the live view images in today's blog.  Shooting the portfolio shots of his work from above has opened a new way for me to photograph products in the future.  Rug # 340 is shown here. Fred used a number of the varied natural grey colors from Connie Taylor, the doyenne of Navajo-Churro sheep and wool.


 Below are two details from the rug.  The stripe is a cobalt blue, and the burgundy color of the squares is similar to Connie's cereza negra or black cherry color.  The striping is described as ombre´ or ombrez in French, or blending one color tint or shade to another.  A softer blending, which this may well be, is called sombre´.


Thanks to Barbara, Suz, Donna C., Orlando, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Debra, Maria, and Steve for your comments this week.  As we open the month of August, I hope you are all safe, well, and finding new adventures in photography and life!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo Churro wool New Mexico photography weaving Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:53:05 GMT
old and new Before Fred and I ventured into the high piñon, juniper and sagebrush mesa of Taos County, we lived for twenty years in Santa Fe.  Now, after twenty years in the Taos area, we have returned to New Mexico's capital city.  Many things have changed; some remain the same, and new explorations await.   It is still compelling and has much to offer.  

As I walk around our neighborhood, there is always something to see and photograph.  Several blogs ago, I featured a curve-billed thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre).  Well, there is still a chick in the nest, almost the size of an adult, and looking dazed and confused with the world around it.  The parents, ever vigilant, always give me an extraordinary "look" as I investigate the progress.

Flowers of trumpet vines (Campsis radicans) that seem to grow very well in Santa Fe, are hard to miss with their orange-red and yellow flowers.


Decades ago, just out of interest after finishing my degree at UNM, I took a series of landscaping courses at Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute (TV-I).  It was geared toward formal landscaping, but I learned a few things about which vegetation (both native and imported) does well in the central to northern parts of New Mexico.  One of the trees that is the frequently-used Austrian black pine (Pinus nigra).  I believe the photograph below is of the needles and cones of that tree.  (And please, if that is incorrect, email me.)

I have heard from a number of friends and family members that they are missing close contact with their fellow humans, as are most of us.  In the duration of the pandemic, my hope is that each of you can explore and find elements of nature and life in general that fill those voids.  Thanks Lisa, Victoria, Wayne, Barbara, Claudia, Pauli, Catherine, Steve, Kay, Jean and Sam, Lawrence, and Sara for your comments this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Austrian pine Blacks Crossing Photography curve billed thrasher daryl a. black flowers nature New Mexico photography trumpet vine Mon, 27 Jul 2020 17:50:22 GMT
visiting an old friend So many of us are trying to do our best to wear masks and social distance, that friends of the human type are clear in our minds and in photographs, but perhaps not in person.  It is part of, in my mind, what we should be doing as good citizens of the world.   When we drove up the Santa Fe Ski Basin road this week and found the parking lot for the Aspen Vista Trail system packed, we wondered how crowded it would be.  With masks, water, and camera in hand we headed up the trail.  For the three hours we were walking, we saw perhaps a total of ten people, all wearing masks (or putting them on when they approached), and several thanking us for wearing them.  

Hiking that wide (the former road used to build the ski area) and pretty tame "trail" for the first time in over twenty years, was like visiting an old friend and giving and receiving a huge hug.  It was overcast for the first two hours, and the smell.  Oh, that Rocky Mountain smell!  If someone could bottle it, they would be incredibly wealthy.  And every single New Mexican knows how precious water is.  When you see a waterfall - even a diminutive one like this - it is very exciting.



The fireweed was in its amazing fuchsia-colored glory.


A close second was the paintbrush.  I am not certain whether it is foothills paintbrush or Wyoming narrow leaf, but it was also particularly showy.

A new spruce tree is growing up in the middle of the bouquet below.  You might have to squint to see it.


The white in the midst of everything else was either yarrow or a Richardson's geranium, shown here.


And another water shot near the end of the trail as we returned.

Thanks to Sara, Wayne, Carol and Larry, Barbara, Pauli, Christina, Catherine, Debra, and Steve for your comments on last week's blog.  I hope this finds you and everyone well and happy, and able to express yourselves through art - photography and otherwise.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen vista trail blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico paintbrush photography richardson's geranium santa fe national forest Sun, 19 Jul 2020 23:19:44 GMT
the grab bag around me As occasionally happens, I venture into several different photographic subject areas during a week, and bits and pieces are included in my blog.  Such is the case today.

Curve-billed thrashers are common in southern Arizona and New Mexico, but they do live as far north as Santa Fe.  Neighbors told me about a nest in a cholla, so I thought I would take a look.  The nest appears very disorganized. How could it be soft and downy in the middle of a cactus?  But apparently, it works.  Both mother and father are quite attentive, sitting and guarding for long stretches of time.  Here is a shot of the well-hidden thrasher, given away mainly by its yellow eye.


Next in the grab bag is an aloe vera plant detail.  The way in which the "leaves" flair creates a nice rhythm.


A red umbrella against stuccoed wall layers also adds to the architectural rhythm.


A stucco wall also offers a backdrop for an aspen leaves in light and shadow.


Thanks to Barbara, Jean and Sam, TTT, Lisa, Donna, Victoria, Debra, and Steve for checking in this week, and to everyone for putting up with my transition to new equipment and environs.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aloe architecture aspen Blacks Crossing Photography curve-billed thrasher Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography trees Mon, 13 Jul 2020 16:55:34 GMT
driving along the Gorge The highway to Taos from Santa Fe through Española runs along the Rio Grande and offers several amazing views of the Rio Grande Gorge.  Highway 68 can be a bit of a raceway, with few pullouts.  The landscape simply doesn't permit that on a two-lane highway.  Short of two overlooks that offer absolutely stunning views of the Gorge, drive by shooting along the route is one of the better possibilities if you want to photograph the western horizon. There was a spectacular thunderstorm buildup today, and despite the fact that it was the "no can do" hour just past noon, I thought I would give it a try. Shooting from a moving vehicle has never been my forte but I managed to grab some shots, wind in my face.  Each image has slight variations on the theme. The Rio Grande Gorge which is approximately 800 feet deep, is only visible in these shots as a darker line running near the bottom third in the first and third photographs.


The motion of the vehicle is visible in the foreground of this photograph.

Thanks to Lawrence, Catherine, Steve, Brenda, Lisa, Dianne, Kenny, Sara, Barbara, Christina and Debra for wrapping up the month of June with your lovely comments!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black landscapes mesas nature New Mexico photography Rio Grande Gorge Taos Mon, 06 Jul 2020 22:31:29 GMT
different strokes Walking around with camera in hand, I found myself seeing the play of light and shadows on stucco walls.  Just as adobleros/adobleras use their skills to mix adobe and apply finishes, the same happens with those applying modern stucco finishes with their own individual strokes.  Each wall is a palette for light and shadow.  In today's blog, I apply different finishes or strokes to three different images.  The first is a toned black and white image of a carriage lamp and shadows on stucco.


The photograph below is of a potted Japanese maple on river rocks against a stuccoed wall.  The different variations in intensity of the stucco color provides a soft backdrop.



The last image is an in-your-face, full of color shot of a hollyhock against a stuccoed wall.   One of the different strokes that shouts "New Mexico!" 


Thanks to Debbie, Karla, Bill, Debra, Donna C., Christina, Steve, Dianne, Ingrid, Jean and Sam, Donna K., Wayne, and Barbara for commenting this week.  I hope to get emails to each of you this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) adobe architecture Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers hollyhocks Japanese maple nature new mexico photography stucco Mon, 29 Jun 2020 16:51:04 GMT
sweet, lovely, and short Father's Day and the summer solstice punctuated the weekend, amidst the pandemic and political crises.  The world turns, and we and nature along with it, complete with all the beauty and strangeness therein.

These roses were the "first clip" from a neighbor's rose bush.  Neither she nor I know the variety, but its delicate ivory color and fragrance make it a prize in my book, from stem to stern.  Light and reflection make the stems a great subject for a toned black and white still life, shown below.


The petals have just enough yellow and pink in them to produce a rich ivory color.  The rays of light on the table are a bonus.


What would one of my blogs be without a closeup?


Thanks to Donna, Susie, Pauli, Dianne, Ingrid, Wayne, Steve, Elida, and Jean and Sam for your comments this week.  Please forgive me if I forgot to include any one of you here who wrote.  There are piles of paper everywhere in the chaos, which is slowly becoming more organized by the day.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers New Mexico photography roses still life Mon, 22 Jun 2020 14:16:29 GMT
this, that, and the other Especially during a year when many people around the world have had their work schedules and home lives altered by COVID-19, keeping track of the day of the week and holidays becomes weird.  This coming Saturday is the summer solstice with the longest daylight hours of the year in the northern hemisphere, followed by Father's Day on Sunday.  In celebration of the long hours of sunshine, today's blog celebrates different aspects of nature.  "This, that, and the other" from the high mesa.  The first is the full moon at sunset, shot on 3 June at 9:04:41 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time.


An orchid that was given to us as a gift some years ago, is endless in its giving.  I have featured it several times in this blog, but I can't help photographing it in all its glory every time it blooms.


The other happening is the bloom of the Polish Spirit clematis vines on the north side of our house.  They just started late last week and have loads of buds waiting to unfurl themselves.


Thanks so much to Barbara, Wayne, Marilyn, Lisa, Donna, Jean and Sam, TTT, Debra, and Steve for checking in this week.  With luck, there will be a seamless transition from this week's blog to next Monday's, but I appreciate your patience if it arrives later in the week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography clematis Daryl A. Black flowers moonscapes nature New Mexico orchids photography skyscapes Taos Mon, 15 Jun 2020 16:11:01 GMT
counterpoint As part of nature, human beings frequently have their own ways of being heard.  We all saw peaceful protests with incredible moments and acts of kindness by civilians and law enforcement around the world this week.  We also saw far too much violence by protestors and law enforcement.  As in nature, when a volcano erupts, the earth is reforming itself.  Perhaps human kind is going through a reform of its own.  

It makes me think about how annoying it must be for elk and deer to shed their antlers every spring.  Imagine having a large and heavy hat on your head, twice the size and height of your head, and carrying it around for months.  It is off-balancing, disorienting, and probably uncomfortable.  So the best thing is to get rid of it, shaking and violently trying to rid yourself of the problem.   And elk and deer rub anything that is hard and stable enough to knock off that hat.   Many people hunt for "sheds", the antlers that these animals carry with them. Occasionally, we find one here on the mesa.  They are counterpoints to their surroundings, including the paintbrush here.  The bleached antler amplifies the orange-red of the flowers.



A human-made white in lattice work makes the honeysuckle colors pop the same way antlers do.


Thanks, Kay, Jean and Sam, LIsa, Marilyn, Steve, Ingrid, Christina, TTT, Wayne, and Debra for your words and keeping me on the straight and narrow!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black deer antlers flowers nature New Mexico paintbrush photography still life Taos Mon, 08 Jun 2020 15:04:49 GMT
spring cleaning Spring comes late to the southern Rocky Mountains, and thus I have an excuse to extend the time of seasonal cleaning until June.  Hey, it sounds good anyway.  

When photographers look through images and paperwork for projects (the archives, as it were) it is always an interesting process.  The opportunity to look at your body of work and see exactly how much you have done over the years is daunting.  You just keep using the tools of the trade, and mountains of photographs in different formats begin to form.  Thus, an occasional cleaning and weeding is a good thing.   I started taking photography semi-seriously during a hike in the Grand Canyon in 1968, but did not become a professional, officially, until selling my first images in 1977 to New Mexico Magazine.  Thus, there are a few years worth of material.

There are triggers in life that get your mind going in certain directions. Online graduation ceremonies from high schools, colleges, and military academies. A contact out of the blue from someone I had photographed. Searching the folders of photographs and information sheets of people in my book project, A Place Like No Other:  People of an Enchanted Land.  All of these things combined and evolved into today's blog. Sometimes, I wish I could have a do-over of some of the weddings I photographed and environmental portraits I shot.  But looking back, it was pleasing to find some jewels.  The ones included here were made with a Mamiya 1 3/4 x 2 1/4 format camera, using Ilford 400 film.

In pursuit of compelling faces and stories of people in New Mexico, I did a shoot in Albuquerque in 1997 of environmental educator, Hy Rosner.  His huge winning smile and approach to life made photographing him a joy.  I am not exactly sure why he was not included in the book, but page count was limited or Hy would certainly have been part of it.

Three young women at the New Mexico MIlitary Institute in Roswell, were great fun and willing subjects.  The photograph in my book is of the three of them together, but the individual photographs show just a little bit more of each personality.  I have no idea where any of them are now, or whether they followed military careers.  The first is Barbara Soto.

The next two photographs are of sisters Natalie and Felisa Lopez. 


David Cordova, who is now a realtor, comes from a long line of weavers from Truchas that I had photographed before Fred even started to weave.  He also did some acting, and was definitely not shy in front of a camera.


Your comments on last week's blog were so interesting and filled with the history of family members serving in WWII, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Members of Dianne's family were in WWII, Vietnam, and the Gulf war, including her mother who was a "Rosey the Riveter" in World War II, Wayne's father was a medic in WWII, and Pauli's birth father was an Army Air Corps navigator killed in North Africa. 

So very much to remember, and I thank you.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black and white photography Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black environmental portraiture New Mexico people photography portraits Taos Mon, 01 Jun 2020 16:26:21 GMT
Memorial Day 2020 It is Memorial Day in these United States of America, which some days don't seem quite so united.  The day was first celebrated on 5 May, 1866 in Waterloo, New York, as Decoration Day, to honor those who fought in the Civil War. It was officially named Memorial Day in 1966, as a solemn day to remember those who have perished in battle in all wars.  Now in 2020, many people are reveling in the "reopening" of the country and not behaving as well as they should, but we must never forget.

I did some photography last year at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.  When I revisited some of those photographs, I realized that in the shot below, almost all of the people in the first four rows died in 1944, toward the end of the second world war. From New Mexico, with our relatively small population, so many died that year.

One of the most interesting things about looking at the marble stones is that many of these men were quite young, but others were 30 years or older when they felt compelled to enlist.  As you can see here, Pedro Gomez was born 29 April 1911, and died in the last half of 1944, making him 33 years old.

May we always remember.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Memorial Day New Mexico photography Santa Fe National Cemetery Taos Mon, 25 May 2020 15:36:20 GMT
flax not phlox As I continue to follow the seasons on the mesa, it would be remiss of me not to photograph and highlight the wild blue flax that pop up at will.  Linum lewisii is a wildflower native to California but is found throughout the western United States.  It is considered a grass, which I did not know and had not considered.  I have photographed these beautiful but small, flat-faced flowers for years, and began again this week.  The photograph below gives a fairly typical view of the flowers, accompanied by the green "pearls" hanging from each flexible stem. They hold the next flowers.

In all the twenty or so years I have been photographing blue flax, I have never photographed them from the base or back of the flower.  One of those things that simply had not occurred to me until recently.  But when the light bulb went off in my head, it revealed the flowers in a whole new light, as it were. A windless morning or day is the best for photographing these because of the flexibility of the stems that wave in the wind.

And once again, the face of the blue flax flower.

Thanks to Elida, TTT, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Fernando, Christina, Barbara, Susie, Wayne, Steve, Bill and Sue, Debra, Catherine, Dianne, and Lisa for your comments this week.  Love them all!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flax flowers linum lewisii nature new mexico photography taos wild blue flax Mon, 18 May 2020 15:39:06 GMT
back to blooms You have noticed by now that my blogs for the last couple of months have featured subjects I find around our place.  Like many of you, we are mostly staying at home, but there is still ample material to photograph.  Following the spring cycle of life, this week I photographed both the blue flax that just began to bloom, and the daffodils on the north side of the house, which are definitely two weeks later that those on the south side.  They are such beauties that I get a little carried away with the camera.  Included here are some of the results. The cups have what I would call crinolations that could be the envy of any milliner. 



Some of the cups are more loosely organized than others, such as this one, with different parts curling inward.


And as is the case with human hair color, the colors within the groups of daffodil cups can be slightly different.

Thanks to Connie, Barbara, Christina, Fernando, Kay, TTT, David O., Wayne, Steve, Donna, Jean and Sam, Marilyn, Lisa, Sara, and Pauli for getting in touch this week and commenting.    It is always great to hear from you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography closeups daffodils Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography still life Taos Mon, 11 May 2020 15:07:34 GMT
a man, his batteries, and a turkey baster The title of today's blog might indicate I have some sort of incredibly witty and creative video offering, but my still camera holds the creativity and thus, this blog is more of the technical sort.

Solar electricity is more popular than ever, with a wider variety of capabilities and more efficient options available now than twenty years ago when we started building our home on the mesa.  There are two types of owners of solar systems - those who love the idea of getting energy from the sun and happily use the systems with minimal knowledge. Then you have geeks, like Fred and eventually me, who understand as much of the inner workings of solar electricity as possible.  These are the folks who might have (as in our case) solar panels mounted on trackers that move through the day to track the sun's angle.  The house tracker is shown here, with last year's late spring garden in bloom.


Having solar or photovoltaic panels mounted on a tracker enables the owner to change the angle of the tracker, and maximize energy production throughout the year.  We change ours quarterly, with dates in conjunction with the winter/summer solstice and spring/autumnal equinox.  It is a two-person job - one person pushing up or pulling down - on the tracker, and the other moving the bolts to different positions.

After the angles have been changed, the batteries are equalized, running them to a higher voltage and shaking the sulphur off the lead plates inside. The process prolongs battery life.  This is where the man, the batteries, and a turkey baster come into play.

Lead-acid batteries are wonderful things.  They enable us to store energy from the sun for use at night and on cloudy days.  The process of storing and discharging energy in the battery requires distilled water to replace water loss due to evaporation and the production of hydrogen gas. Thus, the 18 batteries in our house system have two cells per unit, each requiring servicing with distilled water.  For safety's sake, when working with acid, mask and gloves are always a good idea.  Here are some shots of Fred at work, servicing the batteries.  He has done it 74 times in the past 18+ years, at both the house and the well, which has its own solar-electric system.  The process requires focus and attention to detail.

He holds a crank-wound flashlight in his left hand to point light into each of the cells, enabling him to see the water level.  As for me, I used my in-camera flash to fill the photographs with extra light.

Didn't really think you were going to get a Physics 101 lesson, did you?  I do need to take a physics course!

Thanks go out this week, to Christina, TTT, Victoria, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Sara, Ingrid, Barbara, Debra, Steve, and Dianne for sending your most welcome 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 Taos Mon, 04 May 2020 15:32:53 GMT
phollowing the phlox One of the joys of spring is looking for and finding plants in bloom on the mesa.  The 7,700+ foot altitude and limited moisture result in many early spring flowers that are diminutive ground huggers.  Santa Fe phlox (Phlox nana) is one of those little jewels.  This week, I followed the phlox that seem to have gotten just enough moisture at the right time to have a banner year.  I have had several people burst into laughter in years past, when I showed them our phlox, because it is a much smaller edition than what people normally think of as phlox.  Nonetheless, the flowers - in colors ranging from fuchsia to white - still grab your attention in the sea of sagebrush and grass.


In areas where rain and snow may have collected,  for instance, between rocks, the Santa Fe phlox present themselves in bouquets like the one here.


The stems with blooms extend themselves out from the base of the plant and across the ground or sandstone.

Occasionally, some almost look tropical flowers when the stems are fully upright.


The color of this flower is stunning.

Santa Fe phlox_Santa Fe phlox_


Another thing that photographing on the ground reveals are things like buds, seen on either side of this whitish/purple phlox.  They are tightly wound in a spiral that eventually reveals the flower.


Many thanks to Barbara, Chuck, TTT, Wayne, Dianne, Jean and Sam, Steve, Lisa, and Debra H. for your words this week.  I hope this continues to find you safe and well and finding pleasures at home.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@







(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography Santa Fe phlox Taos wildflowers Sun, 26 Apr 2020 23:01:18 GMT
ground work There are flowers of spring I await with great anticipation, because they are the sure signs of the season.  And as if a timer went off, many of them appeared during the past week.  I always do turns around the place, camera in hand, to see what is around.

The aspen trees started to put out "catkins" several weeks ago and they are in full flower now.  They don't smell, and because they lack petals, I did not know catkins were flowers.  But these long, slim, drooping, prehistoric-looking things are the pollen-producing mechanisms for many trees, including the aspen, cottonwood, and willows, among others, in New Mexico.  They are pollenated by the wind or anemochory, and there is certainly an ample supply of spring wind in New Mexico. Soon they will fall to the ground to be replaced by lovely spring green leaves.

In the mean time, I was on the hunt for Easter daisies, and had my first sighting yesterday, while clipping and deadheading last year's dried plant material. Since they are in the sunflower or Asteraceae family, and therefore driven by the sun each day, you won't see the blooms early in the morning.  I probably stepped on some as I started to work.  They are pretty darned small and tend to blend into the soil and rocks.  Here is a lovely bouquet that measures about two inches across, along with a single flower shown below.

Easter daisies 2020Easter daisies 2020

Easter daisies 5 - 2020Easter daisies 5 - 2020

The filaments in the flower here are a study unto themselves.

Easter daisies 3 - 2020Easter daisies 3 - 2020


The first narcissus bloomed this week as well - bright, yellow, and awaiting the viewer's accolades.

flowers - narcissus 2 2020flowers - narcissus 2 2020

flowers - narcissus 2020flowers - narcissus 2020


Given the uncertainty in the world, courtesy of COVID-19 among other things, I hope that all of you are finding joy and new discoveries in your surroundings, and that you are staying safe and well.  Thank you Marilyn, Barbara, Christina, Terry T., Dianne, TTT, Jean and Sam, Claudia, Ingrid, Steve, and Lisa S. for your comments this week.  It was wonderful to hear from you! 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black easter daisies flowers narcissus nature new mexico photography spring Mon, 20 Apr 2020 16:11:23 GMT
simple and complex As all of us work our way through something akin to a Michael Crichton novel, my bet is that many are finding their kitchens again.  Along with the ingredients some had not purchased in years because they didn't have time, for instance, to bake bread, there are other simple and complex things in the back of the cabinet or on the counter, awaiting rediscovery.

When I muse about food, I constantly am awestruck by early humans who made incredible discoveries because they were hungry.  It is very understandable how grains started to ferment and someone liked the smell enough to taste it, complete at this point with enough airborne yeasts to make alcohol.  But why would the Mayans and Aztecs think that they could take such a bitter fruit as a cacao bean, and then roast and sweeten it to produce a beverage fit for the gods?

Which leads me to olive oil.  Another extremely bitter fruit is the olive.  How could a human being think that curing these things with salt or pressing them would produce such delights?  The oil can range from grassy and peppery to rich and buttery in flavor.  Simple and at the same time, extremely complex. As a photographer, it is a work of art - an instant photo shoot.

Snow fell last night over much of northern and central New Mexico, leaving the skies grey and with even light, a perfect combination for shooting reflections. Nothing like a beautifully blown bottle to showcase and reflect the olive oil.  Here are some of the results.  

food - olive oil 1food - olive oil 1

food - olive oil 2food - olive oil 2

food - olive oil 3food - olive oil 3


I sincerely hope that all of you are finding simple pleasures in your lives during the time of corona, and that we emerge stronger and smarter, and with a sense of what needs to be done to make our lovely Planet Earth a better place for all!  In the meantime, have fun in the kitchen!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black food New Mexico olive oil olives photography Taos Mon, 13 Apr 2020 16:37:19 GMT
life in an altered state Truckers still make their daily runs of hay in the early morning hours from the San Luis Valley in Colorado into New Mexico via U. S. Highway 285 to the dairy farms south of Roswell, returning in the late afternoon and evening.  Others rumble down the blacktop to deliver fuel, and other food and goods, providing a life line to those of us who are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The sounds of trucks lay a human music bed for all variety of birds that absolutely know it is spring.  Three phoebes are trying to sort out their nesting arrangements.  Flickers dig up anthills in search of food, and a red-naped sapsucker was drilling mightily into one of our aspen trees this morning.  It was the first sighting for us in the 20 some years we have lived here.  The rest of nature is moving at its own pace, as many of us seek to find our new normals.  Kudos to those of you who are working at businesses still open to the public and are frequently risking your health in doing so.  And to the parents who are working at home and educating their children at the same time, what can I say?  You are super heroes too!

So, we find ourselves moving through the days and weeks quite differently, as time compresses.  One 24-hour day seems to contain more than a year right now, leaving many of us wondering what the heck day it is, and when we will be able to see friends and family again in the flesh.  It is, at the very least, life in an altered state. Given that, I decided to change things up and do my own alterations to photographs I love.  Changing exposure and tone, among other things, is always a fascinating process.  Some of the results are featured here.

Few things in nature are as photogenic as the seed pod of the goatsbeard or western salsify (a member of the sunflower family), and I thought it would be a great subject for alteration.

goat's beard seed pod, alteredgoat's beard seed pod, altered    


I was a little tentative about putting this deep purple tulip into an altered state, but it seemed to translate in an interesting way.  The more I look at how the details present themselves, the more compelling it seems.

tulip - alteredtulip - altered


I haven't used this image of a lotus pod much, but it was fun to see it undergo an alteration.

lotus altered 1lotus altered 1


Another lotus pod with its own leaves in the back and foregrounds

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Finally, as I await this year's crop of daffodils, I decided to work with another image that I haven't used much in the past.  It seems much more soft and soothing than expected.

daffodil altereddaffodil altered


To Dianne, Sara, Debra, Steve, TTT, Barbara, Wayne, Veronica, Terry T., Jean and Sam, and Marilyn, my heartfelt thanks for your comments this week.  And for a truly entertaining and uplifting video, search Facebook for Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe.  Known for his Dirty Jobs and Somebody's Gotta Do it, Rowe is hilarious.  He and the crew released a recent episode of school principal Charity Haygood in Newark, New Jersey.  Guarantee, you will feel good all over!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) altered images Blacks Crossing Photography COVID-19 Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography social distancing Taos Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:45:18 GMT
March mash ups Here it is.  The final Monday in March 2020.  And what an incredible month it has been.  Numbers of cases and unfortunately deaths from the corona virus keep rising in the United States and the world, but we rarely have seen a more breakneck pace at which innovation is happening.  Incredible energy is being put into finding both therapeutics and a vaccine for the COVID-19.  BBC reported yesterday that engineers at University College London and Mercedes Formula 1 racing team have developed a device to deliver oxygen to the lungs of a patient without a ventilator.   American automakers are building ventilators in their car factories. Not to mention the hospital workers who are innovating on the run and creating faces masks from whatever materials they have on hand.   

Compared to what so many are doing, the changes I have made are miniscule. Like everyone else, I am more involved than ever in the task of cleaning - hand washing, sanitizing hard surfaces, cleaning groceries and deliveries.  I am a pretty clean and organized person, but I am also the first to admit that it seems to take an inordinate amount of time, perhaps time that I would like to devote to photography.  But it absolutely must be done to get through this.  Given that, I spent an equally inordinate amount of time this week photographing a setup that is representative of these things. Meet my new friends in the time of corona.  (As an aside, we have found a very practical alternative to latex gloves in the form of corn tortilla bags.  We have a whole stack of the Mi Rancho sacks that are recloseable and stay on your hands better.)

COVID-19 supplies 1COVID-19 supplies 1

COVID-19 supplies 3COVID-19 supplies 3

As all of us continue to develop a "new normal", nature goes on as it always does, and there are more signs of spring every day.  The beautiful cedar wax wings have arrived at the feeders of friends south of Santa Fe, mountain bluebirds are working on their nests, and assorted sparrows along with other ground birds are singing those unmistakeable territorial songs.  Red shafted flickers are drilling into anything they can with their beaks, including ant hills. As I write this, it has started to precipitate - rain, snow, graupel - a real March mashup. 

The sky presented quite the mashup this week, with clouds we had not seen before.  Something must have been going on in the troposphere, for the cloud scallops to be mixed with the cumulus clouds.

March cloud mashup 3March cloud mashup 3

March cloud mashup 1March cloud mashup 1

March cloud mashup 2March cloud mashup 2


Thanks this week to Wayne, TTT, Steve, Terry T., Catherine, Larry and Carol M., Marilyn, Jean and Sam, Christina, Barbara, and Lena and Sam for your feedback. And what can I say to the grocery store employees, postal employees, delivery people, drivers, EMTs, nurses, doctors, and all medical personnel, home health care workers, janitors and sanitation workers, scientists and researchers, firefighters, police, National Guard members, and other military personnel here and abroad, pilots, flight attendants, ticket agents, maintenance workers, and journalists, reporters, and videographers? Then there are the educators and parents who now found themselves in the role of full time educators?   Everyone out in the world, doing their absolute best to make these strange and scary times better for all of us.  Thank you hardly even seems appropriate, but it will have to do for now. In the mean time, we'll be thinking about creative ways to express our appreciation when all of this is over.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography clouds Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography sky skyscapes still life Taos troposphere Mon, 30 Mar 2020 17:03:17 GMT
life continues I will be the first to admit that my journaling practice over the years has been inconsistent at best.  Frequently non-existent, with the exception of my weekly blog.  Times that baffle, confuse, sadden or anger me, like the two Gulf Wars, presidential elections, and wretched human conditions that are not addressed are the times I turn to writing.  Nothing like the present science fiction but real film we find ourselves in to make one ponder deeply.  There are scraps of paper to myself all over the computer desk with data, and dates, and thoughts from others.  The number of people living on our lovely planet at this point who remember the 1918 Spanish Flu, or being held captive during WW 1 and 2, Korea, or Vietnam are diminishing by the day.  I do wonder if we learned the lessons we needed to learn from them.  And what are we learning from life during COVID-19?  There are spring breakers who are just now returning home from the beaches of Florida, California, and the Gulf Coast who might have just learned how much they can safely drink before hurling.  

My mind has been working overtime, and from what I gather, I am not alone.  Thoughts that have popped up in my brain this week, (other than the ever-present ones about the first responders, medical professionals, and scientists who are working massive numbers of hours for the rest of us to learn more about the monster) are varied, and sometimes wild and weird.  For instance, how could something that looks as beautiful through the lens of a microscope as the corona virus, be so deadly?  That is obviously a rhetorical question, but you get the idea.

Talking and hearing from several of you tells me that many artists and writers are actually appreciating the time to do their work unencumbered by "normal" life.  But I do wonder how the men and women in naval fleets around the world are coping with the pandemic.  Those vessels and people on them, may not go ashore until COVID-19 is under control.  I cannot even fathom being on a submarine for more than several hours.  Then there are the logistics and delivery people, the homeless as well as people on the border with Mexico, now closed to everything but "essential people and services", and those incarcerated. What a time!  Thus, in addition to doing photographic work, I have begun journaling again, doing online research, and generally trying to make sense of what is happening.    

Astronaut Scott Kelly has written some good pieces about life aboard the International Space Station.  It is all about keeping structure, having a schedule, and doing work. If you are an artist, you already use some of these tools.  Many of you are gardeners and also use those tools, in full preparation for spring planting, as March continues to present itself in all its glory.  As several different varieties of sparrows who summer in the sage create a mating concert, and other seasonal birds arrive, the wind blows during fleeting storms complete with thunder and lightning, that drop rain, graupel, and snow on the mesa.

I was lucky enough yesterday morning to shoot photographs of a previous night's moisture in many forms on our roof windows.  These things are very time specific.  One has to catch them before the sun shines on the windows and melts the image.  It appears that the graupel packed down at the bottom of the window before other moisture settled and froze on top of it.  I shot some of these while squatting beneath the window, and others while lying on the floor.  

graupel and ice drift on window 3graupel and ice drift on window 3  

graupel and ice drift on window 2graupel and ice drift on window 2

graupel and ice drift on window 1graupel and ice drift on window 1

It just seemed appropriate to turn one of the shots horizontally, which made the ice look like a weaving.

graupel and ice drift on window 4graupel and ice drift on window 4

Thanks to Veronica, Donna, Lisa, Debra, Geula, Elida, Steve, Barbara, and Victoria for your comments this week.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography corona virus COVID-19 Daryl A. Black graupel ice nature New Mexico photography snow Taos Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:01:30 GMT
life and love in the time of corona To say that uncertainty, dread, and nervousness were the order of the day around the world this week, courtesy of the corona virus or COVID-19, is an understatement. It has been part of the news cycle for several months, but during the past two weeks, it nearly obliterated the 2020 political scene in the United States, with 24/7 interviews of and briefings from experts in the medical and scientific fields.  In the back of my mind, I was thinking about Gabriel Garciá Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera, when Fred said that this was life in the time of corona.  My thanks to Marquez for his amazing title and work, and to Fred for his wit.  

The virus roared in, wreaking havoc, and changing our lives beyond imagination.  It feels like a science fiction movie.  Yes, we have gone through different outbreaks and pandemics before in the 20th and 21st centuries - the Spanish flu of 1918, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, H1N1 to name a few.  But COVID-19, with its truly world-wide spread, seems to have no boundaries and no particular preference (except that the elderly are more susceptible) - just people.  And it is new.  No vaccine, and no knowledge of its behavior except what the medical professionals world-wide are putting together in real time. There have been knee-jerk reactions in grocery shopping and other preparations, some scammers are trying to take advantage of the situation (I could easily say they should be shot at dawn for that) but eventually, we'll all need to find a new rhythm in our lives.  My only and sincere hope is that people remain civil, and can find a certain joy in the resulting relative isolation.  Only time will tell, as governors, mayors, and leaders around the world try to wrap their heads and systems around the virus.   

Below are a couple of wonderful and inspiring videos, the first of Italians singing and making music from their balconies, and the second is of a runner in Bend, Oregon, who stopped to help an elderly couple with their grocery shopping.

Terry Thompson posted this on Facebook.

As a photographer and writer, there are always reasons to write and make photographs, but sometimes I don't write or journal as much as I should.  My weekly blog is one example but I should be doing more.  So while we are restricting trips to town (our last workout at the gym and pool was on Wednesday since the community centers are now closed until mid-April), it is time to start writing a bit more about the sequence of events concerning the virus in the United States and around the world.  And I would love to hear from you about how your life has changed, if it has, and how you are achieving new routines, and keeping body and soul together. Regardless of where you live in the world, it would be good to hear from you.  For me, if I don't commit pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, documenting what is happening, I won't remember it accurately.  

My sister said this week that life continues as well as other parts of nature in its own way, despite what is happening to the human population.  One example is the return of the Say's Phoebe.  It happened yesterday morning, with my reaction "Isn't this a little early?"  Well, checking the nature and weather data notebooks we keep, the arrival was absolutely right on time and perfectly normal.  Thus, the written data keeps our memories accurate. Another example is the emergence of the bulbous spring parsley or Cymopterus bulbosus.  The very first flower of the spring, it lies prostrate on the ground, and never sends up a tall bloom stalk, but tiny flower bundles.  It being "first" happens regardless of the date, and thus we know winter is ending.  The purple bundles in the middle are the flowers.

first blooms of spring 3first blooms of spring 3

As I got closer, I saw things I had never seen before in these amazing flowers.  The wrapper around the purple is white with green vertical lines, and thinner than fine paper.

first blooms of spring 1first blooms of spring 1

first blooms of spring closeup 2first blooms of spring closeup 2

These are really small flowers.

first blooms of spring closeup  with dimefirst blooms of spring closeup with dime

When I peeled the outer wrapper, there are all sorts of strange things inside.  My sister says they are called petaloids, and the slightly tan colored goodies in the photograph are stamens.  

first blooms of spring closeup 1first blooms of spring closeup 1


There are people in this world who cannot be thanked enough for their work right now, including all of the medical professionals and health care providers, scientists, emergency responders, national guard personnel, caregivers, teachers, day care providers, journalists, those working in the service and hospitality industries who must be at work, and numerous volunteers.  My hope is that our appreciation extends beyond just thanks and prayers, translating into better wages and true appreciation for the work they are doing.  

Thanks to Christina, Jean and Sam, Barbara, Wayne, Earle, Ingrid, Steve, Debra for checking in about last week's tulip blog.  And to Charlie, an incredible writer and poet who wrote "Drowning inside a flower surrounded by color definitely the way to go right now."  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) bulbous spring parsley corona virus Cymopterus bulbosus Daryl A. Black flowers Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the Time of Cholera nature New Mexico photography Rebecca Mehra Bend Oregon Taos Mon, 16 Mar 2020 16:52:54 GMT
the color of hope "Italy starts week with north in virus lockdown", "Actor Max Von Sydow dies at 90", "U. S. trading halted as shares plunge around the world", "Lorry load of toilet paper on fire in Australia".  Today's headlines, mixed with the off-kilter feeling resulting from the change to daylight saving time, definitely necessitated a colorful, bright, and hopeful blog for this morning.  Luckily, friends of ours provided the subject matter yesterday in the form of some beautiful tulips.


Because of the interior bowl that contrasts the deep purple petal color, I took the flowers outside to let the sun act as fill light.

Flowers - tulip (closeup)Flowers - tulip (closeup)

Flowers - tulip (closeup 2)Flowers - tulip (closeup 2)


Turning the flowers in the light, I saw how stunning the exterior base of the bowl was, causing me to shift my focus.  This shot was made against one of the remaining snow piles on the north side of our house.

Flowers - tulip 1Flowers - tulip 1


In the photograph below, the eastern morning light is shining directly into the bowl.

Flowers - tulip 3Flowers - tulip 3


Eastern light added to the reflected light allowed the bowl of the tulip to be lit in addition to the petals.

Flowers - tulip 2Flowers - tulip 2


Thank you, Ingrid and Robert, for the tulips, and thanks to TTT, Steve, Catherine, Barbara, Dianne, Elida, Wayne, and Susie for your comments and support.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography Taos tulips Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:45:44 GMT
March wonders One of the most common weather proverbs heard at this time of year is "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."  Today is the first Monday of March here on the mesa, and the lion is still lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce with a grab bag of conditions including rain, hail, snow, graupel, and especially wind.  To a person, wind seems to be the least-liked element in the spring bag.  But wind melts snow and ice, and allows mud to dry, resulting in an easier walking surface. It churns the water in lakes, enabling nutrients to come alive for fish and other creatures.  And it creates holes in the ice, through which the flowers of spring will eventually emerge.  Exploring the remaining snow and mud with camera in hand, I found these two - green and waiting - for the right time to produce further growth.  They are rather bland now, not particularly pretty or flashy, but lurking, like the lion, just beneath the ice.

still life - growth beneath the ice 2still life - growth beneath the ice 2   

still life - growth beneath the ice 1still life - growth beneath the ice 1


The wind and accompanying relative warmth completely cleared the stock tank of ice, which, up until this week, was four inches thick.  Now, the water moves with the breeze, reflecting the sky.

still life - reflection on stock tank waterstill life - reflection on stock tank water

The winds aloft have been howling this week, as reflected in an entire collection of weird and amazing cloud formations.

skyscapes - March cloud danceskyscapes - March cloud dance

skyscapes - March cloud dance 2skyscapes - March cloud dance 2

Happy Birthday to Susie S., Jan, Brenda, Andrea, Debra, Jean, Sam G., Sam W., Sara, and Carol, who were born in March, and Happy Anniversary to Steve and Peggy, Debbie and Rock.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice March nature New Mexico photography skyscapes Taos Mon, 02 Mar 2020 16:13:52 GMT
dressing the part Last week, complete with its March-like weather of rain, snow, and wind, along with both ice and mud on our road, was an excellent time for research.  Our wonderful iMac is nearly ten years old, and although it does fill most of our computing needs, the system will no longer accept software and operating system updates.  So there are several things we can no longer do with it, and new photography software is not compatible with it.  The Epson R3000 Stylus Photo Printer is also a jewel, but getting it to print at nine years old, is a little like feeding a child broccoli.  The fussiness of it has been frustrating for several years. And with all the amazing research that can be done online (and the internet is an incredible tool), research still takes time.  From hardware to software, the end results have to be right.

But I was able to make some prints of the photographs from last week's blog.  I used three different kinds of Epson fine art papers including Epson Hot Press Bright and Natural, as well as the Velvet Fine Art, and to my surprise, the Velvet Fine Art Paper produced the best results.  My time, then, except for playing the role of "water person" for Team Black and minder for Fred while he was out chipping ice off the road, was spent working with past photographs of which I am fond, rendering them in black and white.  Each person, wearing either everyday clothes or costume, is "dressing the part."


Colin Henderson, a farmer who raises Navajo-Churro sheep in southern Colorado, is shown here wearing his very worthy and well-worn hat.

Colin Henderson b&wColin Henderson b&w

In the image below, Jessica dresses the part of fantasy maiden in the mountains west of Tres Piedras.

Jessica Fry playing the partJessica Fry playing the part

Here is Fred as a modern western cowboy.


Finally, Ashley and Gene loved posing for a quasi-Taos gothic version of American Gothic.

Ashley and GeneAshley and Gene


A whole group of you responded to last week's ice abstracts, and it pleases me that you enjoyed them Christina, Luella, Suz, Terry T., Robert, Lisa, David O., Paule, Barbara F.R., Steve, Susie, Dianne, Catherine, Pauli, Kelly, Claudia, Pri, Debra, TTT, and Sara.  Many thanks to one and all.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black and white photography blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental portraiture epson photo papers imac computer new mexico photography taos Mon, 24 Feb 2020 16:54:46 GMT
highlighting the abstract I would call this time of year "late winter".  There is more daylight each day in the northern hemisphere, and although there can and probably will be stormy weather, including snow, into May, it is gradually warming here on the mesa. Given that, I decided it might be a good idea to catch some of the intricate and varied reflections and refractions in the big icicles hanging on the trees before they melted.  The reflective power of ice cannot be overstated.  It makes some of the best and bizarre abstracts in nature that a photographer can capture.

In this series, reflections of terra cotta colored sandstone, the sky (ranging in shades and darkness of blue), shadows of black, and the brownish yellow of aspen bark scraped by elk antlers are in the mix.  And ice itself reflecting the snow renders a clean, and in some cases an almost transparent white.  If I were an abstract painter, I would be hard pressed to come up with what nature has done.

ice abstract 2020 - 3ice abstract 2020 - 3  

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In the shot below, you can see the outline of the tree bark, accented by the sky.

ice abstract 2020 - 4ice abstract 2020 - 4


I cannot say for certain where this shade of midnight blue came from, but it was probably the deepness of the shadows.

ice abstract 2020 - 5ice abstract 2020 - 5


Thanks to Conchita, Jean and Sam, TTT, Dianne, Catherine, Pauli, Char, Claudia, Larry and Carol, Bill and Sue, Jim and Louise, Ingrid, Wayne, Steve, Geula, Barbara, and Victoria for all the Valentine love you sent this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstract photography abstracts Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice nature New Mexico photography reflections Taos Sat, 15 Feb 2020 22:29:49 GMT
the week of love Love is the subject of more writing, musings, and discussion than almost anything except war.  With Valentine's Day being celebrated by many this Friday, I started pondering the numerous things I love.  My husband, friends and family, walking, exploring, dancing, sharing a good meal, reading and learning all come to mind.  I think that rather than defining one's life by the negative, which can happen depending on the mood of the day, love should be given its due from time to time.  My photographs evoke the love I feel for Planet Earth and its many wonders.


There is nothing like a beautiful sky at sunset following a stormy summer day, 

summer clouds at sunsetsummer clouds at sunset


or the blazing sun streaming through aspen trees in autumn.

Nature- trees - aspen forest primeval in goldNature- trees - aspen forest primeval in gold  



The sound of hummingbird wings amidst the flowers is magic, 

hummingbird and purple sage 1hummingbird and purple sage 1

as is the sound or look of water - any water.  Although still, Williams Lake is always a feast for the eyes.

Williams LakeWilliams Lake

These images and petals in a bowl are my Valentine's gift to all of you.

rose petals in bowl-2rose petals in bowl-2

Thanks to Liz, Suz, TTT, Claudia, Christina, Jean and Sam, Char, Paule, Steve, Ingrid, Robert, Lisa, Orlando, and Donna and Dave for your comments last week.  Birthdays and anniversaries in February include Sue, Luella, Gigi & JJ, Barbara O., Susie and Bogie, M. Fred, and Diane D.

Tomorrow will be two minutes and three seconds longer than today, so I hope you are able to use the extended daylight in the northern hemisphere to your photographic advantage this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn aspen blacks crossing photography clouds daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico photography rose bouquet rose petals skyscapes taos thunderstorms Williams Lake Mon, 10 Feb 2020 18:01:55 GMT
sheer luck Professional photographers do their share of planning when it comes to a particular type of photography.  The nature photographer can be aided by any number of resources used to determine the angle of the sun in a specific place, moon, planet, and star locations on a given day and time, weather forecasts for a specific location, as well as the typical migration patterns of birds and animals. But sometimes, sheer luck comes into play.  

That was true for me this week.  We know we live on the north-south flyway for sandhill cranes.  They migrate at certain times of year, so in the early autumn and late winter, I keep my ears and eyes open for them.  They seemingly drift overhead when the weather is nasty - wind, snow, and overcast skies are almost always part of the migration formula.  That could be due to high winds aloft that enable the cranes to use less energy on their way north, or simply because it is instinctually time to move.  Whatever the reason, they are a joy to hear and see.  And when they fly low over the mesa, it is a mesmerizing.  If all the elements align and I can actually access my camera, that is frequently sheer luck.  There were at least 200 birds overhead at any given time, a portion of the 20,000+ that migrate through here and the San Luis Valley of Colorado to points north.  

And although some years we don't see them at all because they drift east or west of our part of the flyway, we were graced by their presence this weekend. I am hoping you can view the photographs here on a larger screen because these birds were amazing.  I was using my Nikon D800 with a 70-200 mm lens, handheld.  The sky was blue with high clouds, or basically overcast, generating an almost abstract quality.

sandhill cranes 1sandhill cranes 1  

sandhill cranes 4sandhill cranes 4

The sky here rendered the birds in silhouette.  

sandhill cranes 2sandhill cranes 2


I was shooting up at this point as the cranes flew directly overhead.

sandhill cranes 3sandhill cranes 3

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I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open this week as the cranes migrate from Bosque del Apache and points south, to their summer breeding grounds.

Thank you TTT, Terry T., Christina, Dianne, Elida, Sam, Lawrence, Steve, Wayne, Catherine, Barbara, and Lisa for your comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) bird photography birds Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography sandhill cranes Taos wildlife photography Sun, 02 Feb 2020 22:46:38 GMT
backdrop by nature This planet of ours is extraordinary, and the nature of it literally never ceases to amaze me.  If I am paying attention on any given day or time, it always presents something to photograph, and this week was no exception.  After a series of overcast and snowy days, sun started to emerge in between the clouds.  Leftover moisture in the sky combined with random winds aloft creating stratus or stratocumulus clouds.  The late afternoon light was perfect. I looked at the sky and said "I need to get my camera."  After taking a series of sky shots, it occurred to me how interesting the clouds might be as a backdrop for, yet again, flowers.

Comments on last week's blog reiterated something that made sense.  People definitely have different preferences when it comes to backdrops.  These first two photographs appeal to me because of the lightness of the alstroemeria (Peruvian lilies), but the other photographs which are bolder and brighter, might make some of you smile.  I used a fill flash for all of the images.

sky waves and Peruvian lilies 1sky waves and Peruvian lilies 1

sky waves and Peruvian lilies 2sky waves and Peruvian lilies 2


The sunflowers absolutely popped against nature's stunning backdrop.  The second shot is closer and gives the flower more of the stage.

sky waves and sunflower 1sky waves and sunflower 1


sky waves and sunflower 2sky waves and sunflower 2


And finally, in the photo below, the base of the flower is given prominence.

sky waves and sunflower 3sky waves and sunflower 3

This is the first time I intentionally used the sky as a backdrop for a flower I brought to it.  It was such an interesting process that I suspect clouds will now make me think about more than the sky in skyscapes.

My thanks this week to Lisa, Barbara, Maria, Lizard, Victoria, Susie, Catherine, Wayne, Ingrid, Sam, Cristina, Steve, and Dianne for your great feedback.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) alstroemerias blacks crossing photography clouds daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico Peruvian lilies photography skyscape still life sunflowers taos Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:09:49 GMT
January gifts Gifts come from nature and people, and in many sizes and shapes.  In much of New Mexico and the southwestern United States, snow is a gift of nature, even if it has to be shoveled or removed.  It nurtures the landscape and animals, leaving it more prepared for the growing season.  And flowers in winter are always special gifts because they come from places where it is warm enough for blooms to happen.  In addition to their beauty, they impart the gift of visual warmth.  

Many photographers have favorite subject matters.  When it comes to flowers, I tend to think of Imogen Cunningham and her many black and white and toned botanical photographs, as well as Lenny Foster's wonderful magnolia blossom images in both black and white and color.  There are so many possibilities. Peruvian lilies are interesting because of both the inside of the flowers and the outside petals.  Both of January's gifts are used here. The image below was shot in snow and deep shadow.

Peruvian lily and snow 5Peruvian lily and snow 5

This is from another shot in shadow, but I wanted to emphasize the yellow base of the flower and the delicate pinks.

Peruvian lily and snow 4Peruvian lily and snow 4


Full light with high clouds tempering the noon sun highlights the range of colors.

Peruvian lily and snow 1Peruvian lily and snow 1

A closeup, also in full sun with high clouds.

Peruvian lily and snow 3Peruvian lily and snow 3

Thanks to TTT and Ben, Wayne, Lisa, Dianne, Barbara, Catherine, Steve, Sara, and Charlie K. C. for the great comments and contributing this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers Imogen Cunningham Lenny Foster nature new mexico peruvian lilies photography taos Sun, 19 Jan 2020 22:59:14 GMT
winter reading and experiments It is always good and comforting to have a nice stack of books in the house for that snowy or otherwise miserable winter day.  Here is the group we are reading at this point.  Obviously, not all are new editions, but a good book is a good book, whenever it is read.  The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede is the incredibly uplifting account of how people in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, swung into action to take care of some 6,000 passengers on flights from Europe and elsewhere, who were not allowed to land in the United States when the 9/11 attack happened.  In my mind, it is a love story about the people who opened their hearts and homes, and gave of themselves to so many they did not know on that fateful day.

winter readingwinter reading

The # 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith is a light and wonderful novel about a woman in Botswana who establishes the agency with the proceeds from the sale of her father's cattle when he dies.  And it goes from there.

Hampton Sides, Santa Fe resident and contributing editor to Outside Magazine, is the author of Ghost Soldiers, a true story about a rescue mission in the Philippines during World War II.  One of those bits of history about which very little is told.

Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari takes the reader through humans' DNA evolution to the agricultural revolution to the scientific revolution and modern times.  It will put intellectual meat on your brains.

I have written before about The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair. Packed with so much physics, science, and information about color that I treat it as a snack, it is the theme of today's blog.  I take a little taste of it each day, and try to remember the pithy details.  Here, I address her section on the color green and its many variations.  

Green is green is green.  Or is it?  There are roughly 1,800+ colors swatches in the Pantone color matching system.  The company was established in the 1950s in New York City.  Later, a color matching system was established within Pantone by a part-time employee and Hofstra University graduate.  (That in itself is an amazing story about which you can read more in Wikipedia).  But given the huge number of color variations in existence, St. Clair took a sampling of colors from each group to include in her book.  Today's blog covers her featured "greens".  My mission was to find something that more or less matched the greens she features in her book.  Some were a bit more problematic than others because of the basic printing process for the book, the paper used, and how the paper handled the different colors.  


Verdigris is the first "green" described by St. Clair.  I happened to find many matches for this particular color, both in the landscape and in my closet.

color experiment - verdigriscolor experiment - verdigris  

Next was absinthe.  A solicitation letter from Habitat for Humanity used almost precisely the same color.

color experiment - absinthecolor experiment - absinthe

Celadon is interesting because it ranges from a green that has a more yellowish tint to some actual celadon pottery we have from Korea that is similar to the verdigris featured earlier.  The tea cup shown below leans more to yellow.

color experiment - Celadoncolor experiment - Celadon

I actually had difficulty finding St. Clair's versions of both Kelly green and Emerald green which both seemed more than a little "off" to me compared to what I think of in terms of those colors.  This was the closest I could find to match the page swatch.

color experiment - Kelly greencolor experiment - Kelly green

Emerald wasn't much better, but this was an exercise in both visualizing color, finding matches, and photographing them.

color experiment - Emerald Greencolor experiment - Emerald Green

The surprise of the group was a color labeled Terre Verte.  I think of it as a shade of khaki, which I consider a brown.  A pair of trousers was almost a total match.

color experiment - Terra Vertecolor experiment - Terra Verte

The avocado color on the label of a bottle of olive oil, and actually the oil itself, was a pretty good match for the page edge in St. Clair's book

color experiment - Avocadocolor experiment - Avocado

A photograph I took of lotus leaves was the closest I could come to Scheele's green.  A Swedish scientist, Scheele "was studying the element arsenic when he came across the compound copper arsenite, a green that, though a slightly grubby pea shade, he immediately recognized as having commercial potential in an industry starved for green pigments and dyes."  The rest, as they say, is color history.

color experiment - Scheele's greencolor experiment - Scheele's green

We live in an incredible world, one in which artists and photographers can utilize the many colors around us in addition to the many variations in the grey scale.  Enjoy your explorations!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Alexander McCall Smith blacks crossing photography daryl a. black Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides Jim Defede Kassia St. Clair nature new mexico photography Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind taos The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency The Secret Lives of Color Yuval Noah Harari Mon, 13 Jan 2020 16:55:37 GMT
new year botanicals It is hard to think of a better way to begin a photographic year than with "in-your-face" red of amaryllis blossoms.  They are such a great subject in all stages that I had to spend some time shooting them.  Using several different black backgrounds and rendering them to show the various depths and darkness of those blacks, it was an excellent exercise to begin the year.  In the end, I cannot chose a favorite.  Each is different and interesting.

In the first example, the wax in which the bulb is encased and the flowers are almost a muted red, with the black going from deep black to medium grey because way I chose to situate it in the light.

amaryllis in wax 4amaryllis in wax 4

In the second example the background is a slightly more uniform grey.

amaryllis in wax 1amaryllis in wax 1

Example # 3 is lit from left to right but the background is closer to uniform grey.  The backdrops share all their gnarly glory with spots and variations.  I think this particular shot is closer to the concept of botanical drawing or painting.

amaryllis in wax 2amaryllis in wax 2

I made the shot below a little darker, making the amaryllis stand out more against the grey/black background.

amaryllis in wax 5amaryllis in wax 5

This final color photograph has a lot of added black, which leaves no variation in the background, and giving the flowers a much bolder and other-worldly look.

amaryllis in wax 3amaryllis in wax 3

Finally, the toned version below shows that black and white is also effective for this type of botanical.

amaryllis tonedamaryllis toned


Thanks to Ingrid and Robert for today's subject matter and creative suggestions, and to all of you who commented this week including Geula, Marilyn, Karen, Christina, Orlando, Wayne, Terry T., Dianne, Jean and Sam, Catherine, Kelly S., Barbara, Lisa, Victoria, Bill and Sue, Debra, Karla, Steve, Elida, and Donna C. Many thanks!  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) amaryllis Blacks Crossing Photography botanicals Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography Taos Mon, 06 Jan 2020 18:42:16 GMT
outgoing and incoming We collectively turn our calendars to a new month and new year on Wednesday.  While 2020 waits in the wings, and I await its coming with great anticipation, it seems appropriate to look back at photographs I shot that tickled my fancy in one way or another in 2019.  I chose ten to display here and hope that you enjoy viewing them again as well.

Because of the smaller format in which many of you view the blog and its photographic contents, several people commented that they thought these seed pods were downhill skiers.  Here it is again, just for fun.

Winter - snow drifts colorWinter - snow drifts color


The developing yucca bloom shown below definitely had an element of funk to it!

yucca bloom stalk 1yucca bloom stalk 1

Deer in the headlights clearly applies to this youngster.

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-3Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-3

The low light, shadows, and color really "make" this landscape of an area near Ghost Ranch.

Abiquiu geology 2019 3Abiquiu geology 2019 3


I like the photograph below because it was one of many surprises during a shoot of Oregon and black-eyed juncos.

junco (Oregon)junco (Oregon)


The architectural elements of one of Fred's rugs made a perfect counterpoint to a Peruvian lily bloom.

Peruvian lily and rug 318Peruvian lily and rug 318


What can one say about this image?  A lot, but one thing I can say is that I was darned lucky to catch it.

Lysandra and QuinnLysandra and Quinn


This one I describe as "patience induced".  Wait for and watch rufous hummingbirds long enough, and you will eventually get a shot you love.

hummingbird and purple sage 1hummingbird and purple sage 1

There are two photographic pilgrimages I take each year.  One is to photograph wild iris, and the other is to photograph autumn color.  Below is one of a number of shots I took of wild iris on the Highway 64 pass between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.  The bloom color is almost perfect periwinkle.

Wild iris - periwinkleWild iris - periwinkle

And finally in the year's photographic roundup, a "forest primeval" shot of aspen trees, also along the Highway 64 pass.

Nature- trees - aspen forest primeval in goldNature- trees - aspen forest primeval in gold

Thanks to Barbara, Jean and Sam, Lawrence, Geula, Mary G., Dianne, Wayne, and Donna C. for commenting this week, and to all of you for reading and following my blog during the year.  May 2020 be extraordinary, and provide much inspiration, learning, and joy for all!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography Taos Sat, 28 Dec 2019 20:44:14 GMT
greetings of the season Regardless of where you are this week, you will probably be involved in celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah.  To highlight those events, I had some fun photographing things that are symbols of the season.

Father Christmas is a secular and almost universal symbol of the religious holiday.  My sister gave us this handsome gent years ago and he continues to brighten any room.  Over the years, he has collected some new ornaments.



A twist on the traditional Christmas stocking hung on the mantle is a Native American fabric design from Pendleton with local ornamentation.

Christmas stockingChristmas stocking

And the candle is another universal symbol of warmth, light, life, and renewal.

Candle flameCandle flame

Until I shot a hundred or so photographs of this candle, I had no idea how the air moves in our house.  Another unintended physics lesson.


Thanks to Lisa, Dianne, Ronnie, Jean and Sam, Terry T., TTT, Elida, Steve, Pauli, and Barbara for getting in touch this week.  May everyone have beautiful and safe holidays!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Christmas Daryl A. Black Hanukkah holidays nature New Mexico photography Taos Sun, 22 Dec 2019 22:05:45 GMT
light lessons Given the fact that this Saturday, 21 December, is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, it seemed appropriate to give myself some lessons in lighting.  These ongoing studies in the reaction of light and color help me in all the types of photography I do.

One of the first things I learned through studies like these is that the substance of the background is going to impact the subject.  With fabric, if it is woven in such a way that produces a sheen, it seems to, in my mind, detract from the subject.  Unless you are looking specifically for a shiny background, a flat backdrop is what I am looking for.  In this case, the subject is a humble silk peony shot against a flat black jacket.

peony on blackpeony on black


As always, I shoot from above, from the sides, with the camera canted low, or lens tight on the subject.  There are numerous possibilities, and many outcomes.  Although similar to the first shot, this is a little fuller, with more breathing room.

peony on black 2peony on black 2

Contrasting the same flower on snow renders totally different results.  This is in full shade on groppel.

peony on snowpeony on snow

Putting the flower in morning sun on ice highlights the individual petals a bit more. 

peony on icepeony on ice


I  thoroughly enjoyed the creativity and words that you - Christina, Steve, TTT, Jean and Sam, Larry and Carol, Lisa, Barbara, Karen, Ingrid, Charlie, Dianne, and Catherine - posted this week.  Thank you!  Enjoy the extra seconds of daylight fall on the land starting on Saturday.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) backdrops Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black light nature New Mexico peony photography Taos Mon, 16 Dec 2019 17:52:50 GMT
seeing a little red for the holidays Nothing like snow on the land to bring out the desire for bright, primary colors.  Red brightens everything and so I ventured out with camera in hand, some props, and an extremely patient model to apply red to the scenes.  This Portuguese rooster looks extremely proud in front of the backdrop of leftover storm clouds.

Seeing red - Portuguese roosterSeeing red - Portuguese rooster

A silk dress can take many forms in a light breeze, and I did quite a few shots before deciding that seeing a slice of fabric could begin a story in the eyes of the beholder.  It is shown below.

Seeing red - slice of red silkSeeing red - slice of red silk  

Our version of the Scottish highlands' heather here on the mesa is sage brush.  So it only seemed appropriate to give the Royal Stewart tartan a temporary position in the sage.

Seeing red - Royal Stewart in the sageSeeing red - Royal Stewart in the sage

And here is the brave Scot standing in the snow, while sporting the tartan.

Seeing red - one brave ScotSeeing red - one brave Scot


And a penstemon waving its flag from beneath the snow.   Obviously, this is not a winter shot but one taken in the midst of a late spring snow.

paintbrush in snowpaintbrush in snow

Thanks to Jean and Sam, TTT, Donna, Barbara, and Geula for commenting during this busy time of year, to Ingrid and Robert for the rooster, and to Fred for his styling. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black fabric flowers nature New Mexico penstemons photography Portuguese roosters Royal Stewart plaid Taos Mon, 09 Dec 2019 21:03:24 GMT
new winter gifts The weather came almost as predicted by meteorologists this week, and, for the most part, the entire state of New Mexico had rain or snow or both, as did the western United States.  The moisture was much needed and appreciated.  Thus, new winter gifts were left to be discovered and pondered.

Ice and snow are simply fascinating to me, and I spend time each winter photographing both.  The way they fall and what is left behind on the surface of nature and human-made objects is wonderful.  We planted two wisteria vines on a clothes line, thinking they would produce some beautiful flowers in the spring.  I didn't even consider the ice designs that would be formed on them.  Here are a few examples.  The way water lands and freezes in lumps and jumbles, makes for great abstract photographs.

Winter - ice on wisteria 1Winter - ice on wisteria 1

Winter - ice on wisteria 3Winter - ice on wisteria 3

When branches and stems are coated with ice, they make their own designs.

Winter - ice on wisteria 2Winter - ice on wisteria 2

Snow that falls, particularly with this storm was deeply influenced and layered by the wind, leaving drifts and patterns.  The first photograph is black and white.  The second was shot from a slightly different angle and in color.

Winter - snow drifts b&wWinter - snow drifts b&w

Winter - snow drifts colorWinter - snow drifts color

With luck, the weather will allow for some great outdoor experiences for each of you, and for those photographers in the midst, exciting shooting opportunities.  Thanks for all of you who wrote or comment about the blog this week including Debra, Mary, Amanda, Lisa, Lysandra, Orlando, Mary G., Christina, Jean and Sam, Barbara, Ingrid, Connie, Steve, Andrea, Elida, and Lawrence.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice nature New Mexico photography snow Taos Mon, 02 Dec 2019 17:19:40 GMT
fall fiber fiesta The car is still packed with wool and rug racks this morning as we enter the post-Fall Fiber Fiesta phase.  The fiesta took place this weekend in Santa Fe, and despite Friday's snow, a great group of people were in and out of the Scottish Right Temple all weekend to admire the work of massively talented artists and craftspeople, and to do a little holiday shopping.  As you might expect, my trusty camera came along for the ride.  I was able to photograph some people I had not photographed last year, and one new edition.

Fred was lucky to have a space in the front of the ballroom where his colors and designs really popped.  This is a shot of the front of his display rack.  He brought twenty rugs and two rifle scabbards this year.

Fred's rug displayFred's rug display

Mary L. Grow, PhD in Ethnography, Anthropology of Architecture and Design, participated in the fiesta again this year.  Her expertise is reflected in the fiber work she creates, in addition to her scholarly writing. 

Mary Grow, PhDMary Grow, PhD

One thing that is thrilling about the event is not only the artists and craftspeople who have made this their life work, but the number of younger people who have ventured into the world of fiber and are making it their own. The creativity, and blend of colors and materials is a wonderful thing to see. They are the new generation of artists and experts.


Amanda Speer, half of the duo that is The Warp Zone, is shown here, wearing one of her own creations. 
Amanda -Warpzone WeavingAmanda -Warpzone Weaving   


The image below is of Dain Daller, part two of The Warp Zone duo.  He is standing in front of their work, and also made the suit he is wearing.
Dain - Warpzone WeavingDain - Warpzone Weaving

Amanda and Dain use the ikat dying technique to make apparel, scarves, and other accessories.


One lovely surprise was to see Lysandra Nelson, incredibly talented illustrator and fiber artist, with her latest creation, Quinn.  He had to be photographed, not only with his talented mother, but on one of Fred's rugs for posterity.

Lysandra and QuinnLysandra and Quinn

Quinn on Rug # 335Quinn on Rug # 335


Thanks to everyone who stopped by Fred's space and joined the crowd.  It was great to see each of you and we appreciate your comments and conversation that made the days go by quickly.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Amanda Speer Blacks Crossing Photography Dain Daller Daryl A. Black environmental portraiture Española Valley Fiber Arts Center Fall Fiber Fiesta Lysandra Nelson Mary L. Grow New Mexico photography Taos Warp Zone Weaving Mon, 25 Nov 2019 18:09:11 GMT
winter guests Every season on the mesa is different, and each season varies from year to year, depending on the weather and other environmental conditions.  As it happens, a dry month has given us a number of early winter guests, all of them very thirsty.  At night, we occasionally hear the elk rummaging around our water catchment stock tank (which is empty right now) for water.  All the usual avian suspects are around in more or less "normal" numbers, but there are hundreds of dark-eyed juncos this year.  With their own very complicated and subdued language, they come to the water dishes to drink and bathe from dawn until dusk.  They are our winter equivalent of hummingbirds, and just as tricky to photograph.  I felt fortunate to capture this dark-eyed, pink sided junco resting, but nonetheless watchful, for the sharp-shinned hawk taking advantage of the multitudes.

junco posedjunco posed  

My mission this week was to capture some in-flight junco photographs.   Using the 70-200 lens, hand held, it was almost as if I had to take a deep breath and settle before shooting to keep from shaking.  I began with a shutter speed of 1/1,600, which was nowhere near what I needed to stop their explosive take-offs.  So I incrementally upped it to 1/6,400, which seemed to work better.  I also did some bursts of three frames per second, which usually left me with one decent shot, one with no movement, and one in which the birds had flown. Switching to five frames per second gave me more decent images.  Not being a wildlife photographer, it is always a new day and new challenge.  The image below is of an Oregon junco in flight, with his landing gear up, from my second session.

junco (Oregon)junco (Oregon)


Also from the second session was this "junco chaos".  It was taken at 1/3,200 second.  Each bird is in a different stage of take off, and going in several different directions.  The shutter speed was not quite enough to stop the motion of every bird, but I see it as a study in flight.

junco chaosjunco chaos

The pink or rufous-sided, dark-eyed junco here is in full fighter pilot mode. 

junco on edgejunco on edge

I can't even imagine how much energy it takes for these birds to take off and avoid other birds and objects in their flight path.

junco on the wingjunco on the wing

It seems to me the chances of birds encountering one another while flying are pretty good.  Here, an Oregon junco takes off above a pink-sided one at the water dish.

juncos (Oregon and dark eyed)juncos (Oregon and dark eyed)

Thanks to Lisa, Ellen, Connie, Terry, Earle, Jean and Sam, Carol and Larry, Donna, Debra, Steve, and Barbara for writing this week.  Love hearing from you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography dark eyed pink sided junco Daryl A. Black juncos nature New Mexico Oregon juncos photography Taos Sat, 16 Nov 2019 23:35:39 GMT
11th hour, 11th day, 11th month Two blog Mondays are predictable with me - Memorial Day and Veterans Day - because I feel that credit and respect should be given to women and men in uniform, at the very least, on these days.  Many people say to veterans "Thank you for your service", "thanks to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice" but in this day and age it can ring hollow.  Such a small percentage of the population in America have been in the past or are now involved in the military that there is a lack of understanding of what it is to be part of that "family".  Thus, I try to honor those in my blog and support efforts to assist them. Today is Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, marking the end of World War I, on the 11th day, in the 11th hour, and during the 11th month when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

Fred's grandfather served in France during World War 1.  He is shown here in his uniform and campaign hat.


Decorations worn on uniforms tell a story of where the person wearing them had served and in what conflict and unit.  Each pin, medal, and stripe on any uniform has meaning.

military medalsmilitary medals

The most ubiquitous symbol of the day is the Remembrance Poppy.  While growing up in Albuquerque, I remember older men (probably younger than I am now) coming to the front door selling paper poppies.  My mother would always give them money for the cause.  It was much later that I began to understand the importance of what these men were doing.



My humble thanks to David O., Dave K., Earle, Fred, M Fred, Steve I., Anita, Debra, Larry L., Ben, Ann, Jim W., Harold, Joel, Dalice, Charles, Sam, Al, Robert S., Doug, Jim H., Terry, Gene R., JJ, John C., Randy S., Tom, Wayne, Orlando, Clyde, as well as to Carol who served vets throughout her career as a Veterans Administration nurse.  I give my gratitude here as well to those whose names I may have forgotten and to all who served or are serving.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) armistice day blacks crossing photography daryl a. black new mexico photography taos veterans veterans' day Mon, 11 Nov 2019 16:22:53 GMT
Rug 335 in progress When I photograph people in their work environment, sometimes it seems more appropriate to photograph hands, arms, and feet involved in the process of doing their work or art.  My husband, Fred, is a weaver, using Navajo-Churro wool dyed by Connie Taylor to make rugs of many colors and styles - contemporary, architectural, and traditional Southwestern.  They are all his original designs, and Rug # 335, which is currently on the loom, contains a host of different colors, that are remnants of assorted dye lots he has used during the year.  Each is truly unique with its own personality.

Rug 335 in process 3Rug 335 in process 3

The remnants are divided in half and placed side by side along the floor of his work space, and used sequentially to achieve a symmetrical piece.  Here is a small sampling of the colors and amounts, out of roughly 40 feet of yarn balls.

Rug 335 wool lineupRug 335 wool lineup

One desirable quality of a handmade rug is straight edges.  That is achieved by pulling the yarn into a "peak" to make an equilateral triangle (shown in the middle of the photos below) and physically measuring the height of the triangle.  

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

Rug 335 in process 7Rug 335 in process 7

Two more demonstrations of making a "peak"

Rug 335 in process 6Rug 335 in process 6

Rug 335 in process 4Rug 335 in process 4

Since the loom shown here is a Rio Grande walking loom, it makes sense that the weaver stands in order to weave, and footwork is a big part of the process.  It is the way the high tension warp is opened with his feet and thus, body weight on the treadle to allow passage of the shuttle.

Rug 335 in process 5Rug 335 in process 5

Fred will have a booth at the Fall Fiber Fiesta at the Scottish Rite Temple, 463 Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe, Friday night, 22 November (opening 5 p.m.- 8 p.m.), Saturday 23 November and Sunday 24 November (open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)  If you are in the area and have a minute, drop by for a visit.  

We would love to see you.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black Fred Black Navajo-Churro wool New Mexico photography Taos weaving wool Sun, 03 Nov 2019 23:28:04 GMT
just for creeps I really got an education reading about Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, and Dia de los Muertos, and who celebrates, who doesn't and why.  Much more complicated that I expected.  Photographically, today's blog is an assemblage of things many kids think of when they hear "Halloween", besides costumes and candy, of course. Creepy crawlies, spiders, webs, spells, mysticism.  I'll keep it simple and fun.

What would the day be without a skull, regardless of type.  Some creative color and contrast adjustments gives this just a touch of creep, even with the beautiful flowers.

skull and flowers-2skull and flowers-2


Spider webs have become quintessential decorating elements of the season.  Hard to beat nature in this regard.

Still life - web 1Still life - web 1

Still life - web 2Still life - web 2


The webs above have nothing to do with this amazing creature, the tarantula.  Fortunately, they move relatively slowly and I was able to slip a piece of white paper underneath it to help accentuate the color and body parts.

Still life - tarantulaStill life - tarantula

Below are two shots of a piece of wood with the bark removed, revealing some designs created by insects that might make your skin crawl.

Still life - creepy crawlies 2-2Still life - creepy crawlies 2-2

Still life - creepy crawlies 3Still life - creepy crawlies 3

And Halloween would not be complete without someone who is beguiling.  I don't think Jessica would mind me saying that this holiday is her favorite.

Jessica bewitchedJessica bewitched

Thank you, Karla, Jean and Sam, Lisa, Lucia, Catherine, Barbara, Christina, Claudia, and Steve for your comments this week, and to Jessica, and Ashley and Gene for your contributions to this blog.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Dia de los Muertos Halloween nature photography skulls spider webs Taos tarantulas webs Sat, 26 Oct 2019 22:32:35 GMT
remnants after the wind Two different cold fronts dipped south into northern New Mexico this week, leaving a dusting of snow on mountain peaks, and leaves, small branches, and other detritus in abundance.  Although many people find this time of year distressing, especially because of the wind, there is still much for photographers to discover.

The brilliance of aspen that I have been photographing for the last three weeks is always a huge draw for artists, but the seemingly mundane grasses and seeds pods shine at this time of year as well in their own way.

This bunch grass (and that is the closest I can get to identification) is intriguing regardless of season.  Even with the greyness and yellow edges, it makes a statement with its shape, and by the way it reflects the prevailing wind.

grass and the prevailing windgrass and the prevailing wind


The wheat grass below, lit by morning light, always seems to add design elements to the landscape and photographs.

wheat grass dancewheat grass dance

Gaillardia have brought color in spring, summer, and fall, and now the seeds pods are the delight of the juncos, numerous sparrows and other seed eaters.

gaillardia seed podgaillardia seed pod

The clematis vines are loaded with deep purple flowers all summer but after the first frost, the leaves lose their green color and become muted.  However, the branches that have wound themselves around one another, always produce interesting elements, such as the arch below.  I could not resist giving it a bit more mystery with selective toning.

toned clematis archtoned clematis arch


Many thanks go to Pauli this week for sending this information about aspen from Wikipedia.

"Most aspens grow in large clonal colonies, derived from a single seedling, and spread by means of root suckers; new stems in the colony may appear at up to 98–131 ft from the parent tree. Each individual tree can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. In some cases, this is for thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. One such colony in Utah, given the nickname of "Pando", is estimated to be 80,000 years old, making it possibly the oldest living colony of aspens. "

My thanks also to Jean and Sam, Christina, Bill, Paule, Claudia, Wayne, Elida, Barbara, Sandra, Catherine, Debra, Steve, Lucia, and Ingrid for your kind words.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black grasses nature New Mexico photography seeds Taos Mon, 21 Oct 2019 17:39:50 GMT
pure gold Call it intuition or slow knowledge combined with the weather forecast, but I suspected a trip to the mountains for an aspen photo session was necessary this week.  Given the fact that the low temperature here the last two mornings was 16 F, I am glad.  When temperatures are that cold, the leaves sometimes just turn brown, and many of them fall.  My mission was to catch them at the right time, and nature did not disappoint.  As evidenced by some of the reds and oranges below, there was a virtual riot of color at roughly 9,000 feet in the Tusas Mountains and Hopewell Lake area.

Nature- trees - aspen between aspenNature- trees - aspen between aspen


But the yellows and golds were pretty darned spectacular.  It was one of those days I could have spent the entire day shooting in the autumn sunshine and smelling the rarified air.

Nature - trres- aspen diamondNature - trres- aspen diamond


As is frequently the case, I am on my back shooting up to do justice to not only the aspen leaves but the magnificent trunks and branches that carry them.

Nature- trees - aspen from the ground upNature- trees - aspen from the ground up


The morning backlighting of so many of the aspen was magical.  I felt like it was a forest primeval in pure gold.

Nature- trees - aspen forest primeval in goldNature- trees - aspen forest primeval in gold

There always seems to be something I don't notice until the photographs are downloaded into the computer, which was true of the image below.  The leaf shadows on the trunk reflect the golden character of the day.

Nature - trres- aspen leaf shadows on trunkNature - trres- aspen leaf shadows on trunk

Because of the many different elevations in New Mexico, autumn, which is on its way out here,  has barely started in some places.  So I hope you have a chance to savor the season and photograph everything from aspen to cottonwoods to maples and willows around the state and beyond.  Thanks to Barbara F. R., Christina, Jean and Sam, Paule, Steve, Catherine, Lisa, Susie, Connie, Wayne, and Dianne for your comments last week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen autumn Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black gold leaves nature New Mexico photography Taos trees Sat, 12 Oct 2019 20:32:58 GMT
if you cannot beat them... ...join them.  That was my approach this week while photographing aspen leaves.  I was able to catch a few before the breeze or wind began, but much of the time, when I wanted to photograph close-ups, the wind would be blowing, because during the autumn months in New Mexico, that is normal.  So I took a different tack to the wind and experimented within shutter priority, varying the speeds between 1/30 and 1/10 of a second.  It was interesting to see the results.  They seem to be somewhere between marginally impressionistic and totally abstract.  My process was to shoot a group of images, download them into the computer, see what worked and what was of marginal interest, and head outside to shoot again.  I did this about five times over three days with mixed results.  Some looked downright muddy and weird.  Eventually, I honed in on the idea of color, and how movement and shutter speed work to create some wild designs.

First, a shot made in the morning, when the leaves were backlit, there was little or no wind.  The second is a general aspen shot, courtesy of nature.

Still life - aspen leaves still against blackStill life - aspen leaves still against black

Still life - aspen leaves stillStill life - aspen leaves still

Then, I let my camera do its magic at 1/30 of second.  The small branches not only bent in the wind but the leaves flew like flags against the blue sky.

Still life - aspen leaves in wind 1Still life - aspen leaves in wind 1


What attracted me to this image is the combination of light peach and yellow, subdued slightly by the grass backdrop. 

Still life - aspen leaves in wind 2Still life - aspen leaves in wind 2

This shot was taken in early afternoon, leaving the gold very bright and dramatic, taken at 1/10 of a second shutter speed.  The photograph below that was made during the same time frame, showing a little more structure in the midst of abstraction.

Still life - aspen leaves in wind 3Still life - aspen leaves in wind 3

  Still life - aspen leaves in wind 4Still life - aspen leaves in wind 4

Before the deep frosts arrive later in the week, I hope to get out and do more aspen and cottonwood photography.  

 Wayne, TTT, Maria, Marilyn, Barbara, Dianne, Steve, Donna, Pauli, and Ingrid chimed in on last week's blog and I appreciate that.

Thanks for going on this experimental photographic journey with me!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts aspen autumn blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography shutter priority taos trees Sun, 06 Oct 2019 21:02:04 GMT
shapes and colors Although it feels as if the harvest season has just begun, in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, the harvest has reached its apex and growers are starting to share the last of their fruits and veggies with the world beyond their fields and gardens.  With the news that parts of Montana had over three feet of snow this weekend, we know the seasonal change has begun.

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is quite the gathering place, with musicians and arts and crafts, in addition to a huge variety of edibles, in both prepared and fresh-from-the-farm form.  With camera in hand, I search for the bright and bold, as well as new-to-me goods.  Tried and true peppers are always winners.

Food - yellow and orange peppers in basketFood - yellow and orange peppers in basket   


This Jarrahdale squash or pumpkin was by far one of the most interesting vegetables for sale this weekend.  What a subtle and lovely shade of sage it is.

Food - Jarrahdale squash-pumpkin 1Food - Jarrahdale squash-pumpkin 1


And in the "knock your socks off" color department is the watermelon radish being sold by several growers.  Sliced, it reveals the reason for its name.

Food - watermelon radishFood - watermelon radish


Being given small, ivory colored carnations with Peruvian lilies recently, I could see the carnation as a toned photograph on the spot.

Flowers - carnation (toned)Flowers - carnation (toned)


The combination of the orange Peruvian lily and eucalyptus leaves gets one into the spirit of the autumn season.

Still life - eucalyptus and Peruvian lilyStill life - eucalyptus and Peruvian lily


All of these flowers and vegetables demonstrate the complicated beauty shapes and colors produce.


Thanks to Cristina and Ben, Wayne, Dianne, Marilyn, Barbara, Jean and Sam, Debra, and Steve for your input this week, and to all of you who gave me ideas for updating my website.  I am still fine-tuning it, so if you go to my blog or website and are unable to open it, that is probably due to the fact that I am working on it.

Happy Birthday to Earle and Heather, who are celebrating birthdays this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers Jarrahdale squash nature New Mexico peppers photography squash Taos vegetables watermelon radish Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:03:27 GMT
time of change Unless the sky is obscured on a regular basis where you live in the northern hemisphere, you have probably noticed that there are a few minutes less daylight each day.  And those minutes become hours.  Instead of darkness arriving at 9 p.m., suddenly it seems the light disappears from the sky closer to 7:00 p.m.  It is a time of change, as crops are harvested and nature prepares for the new season.  Welcome the autumnal equinox, which this year happens to be today.  It is one of the best times to give thought to what we have done during the summer season and where we are going next.

As for me, I have been pondering some changes to my website.  The busy-ness of growing things and watering and photography kept me away from it, although the concept remained implanted, waiting to emerge.  During the past week, I finally sat down, swallowed my fears, and began work.  Some of you (including Terry, Cristina, Steve, Barbara, and Debbie) gave me input, for which I am extremely grateful, but I wanted each of you who have been so good about reading this blog a chance to check it out.  The link is below.

The biggest change you will see is a home page slide show.  The light colored arrows are for directional purposes only.  They don't do much of anything else. Left to right, right to left.  That is it.  Moving your mouse or doing track fingers on other devices will slow down or speed up the movement of the photo strip.  If you find one image on which you would like to focus, just move your mouse to the center of it, and stop your mouse.  I will continue to work on other elements in the coming weeks, so if, for some reason, you are unable to get into the site, it is probably because work is being done on it.  In the mean time, here are two singular signals of a time of change - aspen leaves in our north garden here on the mesa.


Nature - trees - aspen leaves 2 2019Nature - trees - aspen leaves 2 2019

Nature - trees - aspen leaves 1 2019Nature - trees - aspen leaves 1 2019


Thanks to Jean and Sam, Marilyn, Stacey, Donna C., Dianne, Wayne, Terry T., Steve, Barbara, Donna K., Louise, Elida, and Maria for your feedback this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) autumn autumnal equinox Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black leaves nature New Mexico photography Taos Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:03:21 GMT
feathers and petals Each photographer works in her or his own way.  Unless I am photographing a wedding, doing an environmental portraiture session, working on an article about a specific place or part of nature, or a book, I never really know where the camera lens will lead me.  This week was a good example.  Heading out to photograph the beautiful purple asters that dot the landscape at this time of year, I moved from flower to flower, realizing the flowers were almost done with their bloom cycle.  The two different photo shoots I did under completely different conditions rendered less than stellar results.  

Leave it to the birds, however, to provide entertainment and subject matter. They know when rain is coming, and decide, seemingly en masse, to bathe. The western bluebirds start first, but what brought my camera and 70-200 mm lens out of its bag, were the different groups of other birds about to get seriously wet. There were chipping sparrows, field sparrows, a female western tanager, and those distinctive yellow-rumped warblers.  Here is an image of one just beginning to bathe, and then, soaked.

Yellow rumped warbler in bath_Yellow rumped warbler in bath_

Yellow rumped warbler in bird bath #2Yellow rumped warbler in bird bath #2

What was a surprise to me was the fact that many of these warblers which usually sport black, yellow, and white feathers, had brown heads and scapulars.  I thought perhaps they were female, but after consulting The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, I realized the brown ones are juveniles.  They are in their first winter mode (August through April).

Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year)Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year)


Here are an adult and first year warbler together.  Looks like the elder has a thing or two to say, like "mine!"

Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year and mature)Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year and mature)


The tables are turned in the image below.

Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year and mature # 2)Yellow rumped warblers in bird bath (1st year and mature # 2)


Finally, a couple of shots of the purple asters, which were the original concept for today's blog.

Purple asters 2Purple asters 2

Purple aster blooms 1Purple aster blooms 1


Thanks so very much to those of you who have commented the last two Mondays, including Marilyn, Jean and Sam, Steve, Susie, Terry, Barbara, Maria, Wayne, Lisa, Donna C., Lawrence, TTT, Elida, Catherine, Dianne, Christina, and Debra.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography purple asters Taos wildflowers yellow rumped warblers Sun, 15 Sep 2019 22:05:29 GMT
visitors at dawn Odd things happen and new visitors arrive on the mesa when there is a period of dry weather.  Birds bathe in the water dishes almost non-stop, the lapping of coyotes is a frequent sound, and occasionally, we are lucky enough to see mule deer, mostly at dawn or dusk, literally sucking the bird baths dry.  It is truly amazing how much a thirsty deer can consume in one session.

This week, two mule deer with antlers in velvet dropped by to quench their thirst.  One I would call "a buck in training", the other was full grown.   With closed doors, I was able to get my Nikon D800 with 70-200 mm lens and capture some images without startling them.


Here is a shot of the young buck.  I would caption this "take a look at those ears!"

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-3Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-3


The more mature buck has more points on its "rack", and his coat is a bit worse for wear.

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-2Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-2

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019 7Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019 7


Whether they sense it or not, this is a dangerous time for both deer and elk, as the hunting season has begun.  They are a little like the hummingbirds right now, continually searching their surroundings for trouble.

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-6Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-6


If I didn't know better, I would have thought this was a decoy, given how still he was standing.  Ready, but still.

Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-8Nature - animals - mule deer bucks 2019-8

With luck, many of you will be out with your cameras during the week, capturing the subtleties of the changing seasons!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography bucks Daryl A. Black deer mule deer nature New Mexico photography Taos wildlife Sat, 07 Sep 2019 19:47:48 GMT
beauty in the beast mural As a photographer, I often ponder the Russell brothers' statement in the Sierra Club book On the Loose, "After the first artist, only the copyist."  What we do as photographers is look at something from a slightly different angle, through a different lens, with altered effects, and present the new "copy" of something that already exists.  That is why I am constantly enthralled with the "first artist" and her or his work.  This was the case while strolling around the Railyard area in Santa Fe, retrieving veggies from the Farmers' Market.  While heading back to the parking lot, I literally looked up and saw the most amazing facade.  It was the south facing or back wall of G. R. R. Martin's Jean Cocteau Cinema on Montezuma.  There, waiting, was the Beauty in the Beast by 3D muralist John Pugh.  

Obviously, I have not spent nearly enough time wandering Santa Fe lately, because the mural was done in 2015.  The trompe l'oeil technique of making a flat surface look three dimensional has been used on plaster for centuries in Europe.  Pugh has given Santa Fe a real jewel.  To me, it seems as though artists who use these techniques must have a way of seeing that certainly does not come to my eyes.  It is quite extraordinary, and lending a "Game of Thrones" feel to the building.

Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh_-3Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh_-3

Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh 5Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh 5


The dragon seems to be bursting through the surface.

Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh_1Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh_1


The shadows add power to the spines.

Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh 4Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh 4

The added and final brilliance in Pugh's mural is Beauty in the Beast, feeling the wall and approaching the dragon.  This is almost everyone's immediate reaction - to feel the three dimensionality, which is there only in our minds.

Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh-2Santa Fe trompe l'oeil by John Pugh-2

I hope all of you are able to see Beauty in the Beast in the near future.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Beauty in the Beast Mural Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Jean Cocteau Cinema John Pugh New Mexico photography Santa Fe Taos Mon, 02 Sep 2019 15:53:52 GMT
anniversaries Since this blog will (in theory) arrive in your email boxes on 26 August, I thought it appropriate to photographically celebrate August anniversaries.  A majority of weddings I have photographed happened in August, followed, in number, by July, June, May, and October.  One thing I realized from going through my images is how many technological transitions have transpired since 2001, when I shot my first August wedding.  I went from shooting my first wedding in the mid-70s on film (both color and black and white and giving negatives/prints to the couples) to digital near the beginning of the 21st century. In the 70s, I gave couples prints, along with a few negatives.  It went from that to CDs, which held what was a truly lame number of images.  Now it is so easy to put images on thumb drives that have more memory than our computer.  I am the first to admit that has spoiled me forever.  Photographers can also send proofs of hundreds of photographs via a number of great websites.  Going through all the folders, negatives and prints was quite the revelation and history of my wedding photographic methods and style.  The entire process made me see how color prints on standard photographic paper, even those kept in the best of conditions, degrade over time, mostly to the yellow side of the color spectrum.  Food for thought.  And with anniversaries on the brain, I begin.

Last year at this time, Steve Immel and I, with the great help of Steve's wife, Peggy, and my husband, Fred, photographed Kara and Eero's wedding at Prairie Star near Albuquerque.  Happy First Anniversary to Kara and Eero, with best wishes for a lifetime of joy!

Kara and EeroKara and Eero


Other couples who I photographed and are celebrating this month include Christie and Joel, shown below.    

This was shot with Ilford 400 black and white film, and scanned.

Christie and JoelChristie and Joel  

Heather and Stewart

Heather and StewartHeather and StewartKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Marilyn and Matthew

Marilyn and MatthewMarilyn and Matthew

Robin and Dominic

Dominic and RobinDominic and Robin

Pia and Mike

Pia and MikePia and Mike


Who are these people, going to their reception in 1972, for pity sake?  Could we look much younger?  We had to nab one of the guests from the ceremony to take us to the reception.  I missed that part of the planning! 

Daryl and FredDaryl and Fred

Our thanks to Debra Harbaugh for shooting our wedding those many decades ago.  And I am grateful to all of you who trusted me to take your wedding photographs, regardless of month or year.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) anniversaries Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black environmental New Mexico photography portraiture Taos weddings Mon, 26 Aug 2019 13:14:44 GMT
seasonal joys One of the myriad interesting things about the Rocky Mountain west part of the United States is the seasonal changes.  Sometimes the changes are drastic and quick, other times, they are slow and subtle.  Every year, I say this, and every year - sometimes in July, sometimes in August, there will be a day that feels like autumn is knocking at the door.  That is not a bad thing, because it is my favorite season, but occasionally it sneaks up on me.  Last week, our low temperatures were all in the 40-49 degree range, fahrenheit.  Our friend, Dianne, in southern Colorado, said it was 38 degrees where she lives one day last week.  Just little friendly nudges from the coming season.

Which got me thinking about hummingbirds.  These extraordinary creatures stay with us at 7,700 feet elevation roughly from mid-April through mid-September.  They are seasonal joys, and it is melancholy, even sad when they leave.  We love their presence.  It also occurred to me that of all the things I had photographed this year, I had not done any hummingbird photo sessions. This week was a fine time for that.  As a photographer, photographing them is challenging to my patience, my ability to focus the camera, and my memory.  I can see the incredible motion but somehow forget how fast they fly, and how fast the shutter speed must be to really catch motion. During the first of my five sessions in the purple sage and at the feeders, I was using one of my presets - 1/250.  That might work for some things, but not hummingbirds.  I boosted it to 1/1,600, since that would give a balance of motion and stillness that I like.

Although watching does provide some knowledge about their behavior, I am not entirely sure why every single one of these birds is a female rufous.  (It is possible some of these are juvenile males who have not yet developed the brilliant rufuos throat.)  They do guard plants and feeders alike, but I am uncertain as to why they seemed to be the only hummingbirds I was able to photograph in the purple/blue sage (Salvia pachyphylla). 

hummingbird and purple sage 7hummingbird and purple sage 7


I love the way they hover and use their wings to balance as they feed on the flowers.

hummingbird and purple sage 2hummingbird and purple sage 2

hummingbird and purple sage 6hummingbird and purple sage 6


Luckily, the light was bright enough to show the translucent wings without added flash.

hummingbird and purple sage 3hummingbird and purple sage 3

hummingbird and purple sage 4hummingbird and purple sage 4


If a hummingbird can have an attitude, this lady does.  Pretty darned proud, I would say!

hummingbird and purple sage 1hummingbird and purple sage 1

Great to hear from Stacey, M Fred, Christina, Connie, Wayne, Lucia, Steve, and Jean and Sam last week.  I appreciate all of you for reading!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black hummingbirds nature New Mexico photography purple sage rufous hummingbirds sage Salvia pachyphylla Taos Sun, 18 Aug 2019 23:35:46 GMT
August skies After nourishing rains over the weekend, a deep and broad fog rolled in, covering the land.  I saw a patch of brown to the south that normally wasn't there, and I waited for it to move, suspecting an elk was grazing.  It was a buck mule deer with antlers taking a morning stroll through the sagebrush.  All of nature seemed pleased with the rain.  Anyone who has lived in New Mexico or visited for any length of time knows that the sky never fails to delight, especially in August. Although thunderstorms are frequently "isolated" or "widely scattered" in meteorological terms, their development is fascinating. During two different shoots this weekend, I followed the sky with my cameras (wide shots with the Nikon D5200, details with the D800 and 70-200 mm lens). The winds and relative moisture created some real drama.  A rough ride, no doubt, for those flying.


The photograph below shows two thunderstorm "anvils" that lacked the moisture to bring rain to the ground, but enough to produce a wild sky painting.

cloud action 2cloud action 2


There is a lot going on in the sky here.  The different layers of clouds almost look as if they are competing for space and substance as they mixed to make rain.

cloud actioncloud action


Things continued to build here.  As Fred says "I'd flip on the 'fasten seat belt' sign, and turn ten degrees right."  

In other words, get the heck around that puppy.

cloud action 3cloud action 3


One of the keys to cloud photography is to keep scanning the entire sky.  Things change quickly when storms are brewing.  The black and white shot below is similar to the one above, but taken a few minutes later.  The sky was getting darker, the clouds becoming moodier.  

And then it rained.

cloud action black and whitecloud action black and white


Glad so many of you enjoyed last week's sunflowers, including Dave O. (who grew up with them), Claudia, Catherine, Jean and Sam, Lucia, Ingrid, Steve, Annie, Barbara, Pauli, and Victoria.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography clouds Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography skies skyscapes Taos thunderclouds Mon, 12 Aug 2019 15:12:49 GMT
in your face gold August is a great month in the southern Rocky Mountains.  The monsoons rains have arrived to moisturize the landscape, and the color of wildflowers expands to include yellow and gold, along with the purples, blues, and browns.  The wild sunflowers that dot the highways come into their own, but the ones that are cultivated in the rich bottomland are absolutely in-your-face gold and enormous.  I photographed them on two different days, in varying light and stages of flowering.  In the first two shots, I took advantage of mid-morning eastern light, resulting in crisp but not too blinding gold color.

sunflower for blog 1sunflower for blog 1

sunflower for blog 2sunflower for blog 2


While shooting the second group of images, the sun was in and out of the clouds, providing a softer light.  It also gave me the opportunity to showcase the stems that were beefy and furry.  The back sides of the flowers are almost as intriguing as the front.

sunflower for blog 3sunflower for blog 3

sunflower for blog 4sunflower for blog 4

What would a sequence be without a black and white, toned image?

sunflower for blog 5 black and whitesunflower for blog 5 black and white


Thanks for TTT and Ben for providing today's photographic material, and to Connie, Jean and Sam, Christina, Barbara, Debra, Suz, Elida, Terry, Dianne, Lisa, Ingrid and Robert, Steve, Lue, Ellen, Lawrence, and Maria for commenting.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers gold color nature New Mexico photography sunflowers Taos Mon, 05 Aug 2019 15:46:49 GMT
it's all about the wings Given the fact that the first men landed on the moon on 20 July of 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission, I thought flight might be an appropriate topic for this week's blog.  It was a Sunday, and I was a counselor at Rancho del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp in the New Mexico mountains.  Usually, there would be a hike or arts and crafts activity scheduled.  But that afternoon, I and other counselors, scouts, and staff all gathered in the lodge around the sole television set to watch the landing.  I recall that it was raining.  My husband, Fred, was at the Naval Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee, in a World War II-era non-air conditioned barracks.  Sweat poured.  But everyone there also watched the landing.  If you are of a certain age, you probably remember where you were at the time.  If you are younger, this seems like cave man talk. Regardless, humankind has always dreamed of flight, and being able to leave the earth and move upward, like other creatures.  The birds, bees, wasps, flies, dragonflies, and numerous other insects have wings with which to propel themselves through the air.  It is a truly extraordinary capability, given how those delicate wings are structured.  Except for incursions with human-made structures, like glass windows, those wings usually work perfectly.  For humans, it is an extremely labor and fuel intensive, complicated process. Getting that rocket off the launch pad was and is still amazing.

Watching juvenile birds the past couple of weeks, doing take offs and landings, flailing, trying again, and learning quite quickly, made me think about how butterflies seem to emerge through the development stages from egg to larvae (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis or cocoon) to butterfly, ready to fly.  It is astonishing.  I was lucky enough to catch a swallowtail butterfly drifting among the blue sage flowers (Salvia pachyphylla) on Friday,  With photography almost always on the brain, I began to follow it with my trusty Nikon and 70-200 mm lens. Swallowtails settle and become comfortable on blossoms, making them easier to photograph than some of the smaller ones that give the word "flighty" new meaning.  Their big wings allow them to hover and sip every bit of nectar before moving on.  My guess is that the butterfly I was able to photograph was fairly new.  The wings are unscathed and nearly perfect.


Eating, flying, hovering.  It is all about the wings.

swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 6swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 6

swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 1swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 1
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swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 5swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 5

swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 2swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 2

swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 4swallowtail on Salvia pachyphylla 4

I hope your photography takes flight this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography butterflies daryl a. black flowers nature new mexico photography salvia pachyphylla swallowtail butterflies taos Fri, 26 Jul 2019 22:12:29 GMT
gifts of elevation This blog finds life in the northern hemisphere just a month beyond the summer solstice, and adjustments are being made throughout the natural world. Many of the migratory birds living here during the summer have already had chicks that have fledged and gone on their way.  Others are in the process of creating another brood.  The color in the garden has gone from assorted hues of purple and blue to eye-popping reds, yellows, and oranges. And the high country between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla is covered with all manner of growing things.  Huge swaths of cinquefoil, lupine, ferns, and false hellebores (corn lilies) transition into high meadows of lush grass and an amazing variety of wildflowers around 10,000 feet in elevation.  The last time we made this drive, there were still big lenses of snow.  Areas where there was snow, standing water and marsh marigolds, are now full of tiny violets, wild geraniums, orange sneezeweed, mountain parsley, harebells, some very late wild iris, and paintbrush - both yellow and red.  The meadow below overlooks the Brazos Cliffs.  Lots of yellow and green here, including paintbrush in the foreground.

yellow paintbrush, meadow, and Brazosyellow paintbrush, meadow, and Brazos

Here is a yellow paintbrush bud, in the partial shade of a spruce tree.

yellow paintbrushyellow paintbrush

Below are two scarlet paintbrush tucked under a single corn lily stalk with its graceful, whirling leaves.

false hellebore and paintbrushfalse hellebore and paintbrush

While photographing these meadows and the plants that populate them, I have to constantly remind myself to watch where I step.  Some of the flowers are so tiny that not only would I not see them, but it would be very easy to destroy them.  Another reason to tread with care is that some flowers, because of their deep colors, hairs, and reflective power, seem to appear out of nowhere.  I found myself almost stumbling into a group of Whipple's penstemon.  I had neither seen nor photographed these rich, deep wine-hued flowers for years.  They are very hairy, and the hairs reflect light in such a way that closer inspection is required before you see the juicy color.  Each flower is an ecosystem.  Many insects gather on the blossoms.

Whipple's penstemonWhipple's penstemon

Another shot of the Whipple's penstemon with the Brazos Cliffs in the background

Whipple's penstemon and BrazosWhipple's penstemon and Brazos


Those of us who live in the mountain west are lucky.  We can escape the heat by gaining elevation, and searching for the gifts it holds. 

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography corn lily Daryl A. Black false hellebore flowers meadows mountains nature New Mexico paintbrush penstemon photography Taos Whipple's penstemon wildflowers yellow paintbrush Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:42:10 GMT
intersection of art and climate change Currently standing tall in the Railyard Park in Santa Fe is the Longview Polar Bear.  Made of steel and recycled sheet metal by artist Don Kennell, it is one of those art pieces that, from afar, makes a huge statement.  You know it is a polar bear.  Close-up it gives the onlooker a very clear idea of the vision needed to put it together.  Although incongruous in a New Mexico park, the polar bear was even more so at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  It makes us realize that this animal and symbol of climate change may soon be out of time and out of territory.  Now, of repurposed metal, it is there for us to see, ponder, and witness.

Longview bear full shotLongview bear full shot


Here is a shot of layer upon layer of metal that forms the bear's back

Longview bear back detailLongview bear back detail

The polar bear was built using old car hoods, as well as other vehicle elements which can be seen up close.  There are vents and scoops and at least five car logo buttons or badges.  The most prominent are Saab, BMW, and Chevrolet. There are two others that Fred and I were unable to identify, despite spending an inordinate amount of time searching online.  If you look closely at the left edge of the bear's mouth, you will see a Chevy logo. 

Longview bear close up with Chevy logoLongview bear close up with Chevy logo

What looks like a button in the upper middle of the bear's chest is a BMW insignia.  On its left lower hip is another button.  Little clues as to the vehicles that were repurposed.

Longview Bear upright frontLongview Bear upright front  


Kennell made its paws appropriately large and serious.

Longview Bear pawsLongview Bear paws


Artist Don Kennell, Project Manager Lisa Adler, fabrication crew Zach Greer, Caleb Smith, and Miguel Lucio, the Railyard Park Conservancy's Railyard Art Project, and the Santa Fe Institute brought the polar bear to life and Santa Fe before it travels on to other locations.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) art Blacks Crossing Photography Burning Man Daryl A. Black Don Kennell Lisa Adler Longview Polar Bear metal work nature New Mexico photography sculpture Taos Mon, 15 Jul 2019 00:02:03 GMT
anniversary month During July of 2010, I began putting together a blog on, as recommended to me by several photographers and web designers who had been using it.  I chose Photo Bucket as the home for photographs I planned to use in each blog, and began work on the layout, background, and other formatting elements.  My inaugural blog was published on 30 August 2010, because it took me that long to learn the site and make it look good.  You can see the original posting by following this link: and look at as many others as you desire.  I went on to publish 450 blogs using blogspot before switching to Zenfolio.  Under Zenfolio, I published another 254 which makes today's blog # 704. Considering I had never done this before, it was quite a leap, and in many ways, the move feels like ancient history, given the literal leaps in technology since 2010.  I just went through the blogs from 2010, 2011, and 2012.  During those three years, there were massive wildfires in northern New Mexico, photographer Steve Immel and I did a number of shoots together (including of each other), I began photographing birds and wildlife, with the first shots of coyote puppies, and got serious about doing environmental portraiture and weddings.

Even in those three years, there are photographs I have since deleted from computer memory of one form another.  I am extremely tenacious about weeding my images, and there were a few regrets from that group, but for many that I weeded (in my opinion), it was the right decision.  Other things learned from the review is that my photography then, as now, is still all over the map.  Whether the images are landscapes, environmental portraiture, weddings, food, nature, flowers, still life, abstract, architecture, or travel, I continue to photograph and study all the possibilities, and try to shake it up.  I have used a number of the images from those years multiple times in later blogs.  But, just for fun, here are some from 2010-2012.  Given the number of blogs involved, this is a real hodge podge of images.  


First, an image in a series I made of coyote puppies that graced us with their presence one summer.

coyote pups entwinedcoyote pups entwined


Another series I shot during those years was of some bright red-orange poppies in Taos.  Here is a detail that, to me, shows the fascinating parts of the flower other than the full petals or the bowl.

poppy detailpoppy detail


Coming into Taos from Santa Fe yields the most amazing view of the Rio Grande Gorge.  I have used this many times and continue to feature it in many applications.

Rio Grande Gorge update 2019Rio Grande Gorge update 2019


Another place it didn't take long to love is Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado.  So many great photographic possibilities present themselves in this constantly changing landscape.

Great Sand Dunes with treeGreat Sand Dunes with tree


A pergola on Museum Hill in Santa Fe yields eye dazzling patterns of light and shadow.

shade structure shadowsshade structure shadows

As simple and fun as this photograph is, I never tire of the bride dipping her toes in water reflecting autumn brilliance.

Carter-Maschino wedding fall shotCarter-Maschino wedding fall shot


Finally, a photographer can hardly miss when photographing Stewart Herd.

Stewart HerdStewart Herd


Thanks to all of you who follow my blog every Monday, regardless of format, and over the years including Barbara, Susie, Geula, Wayne, Char, Jean and Sam, Steve, Christina, Lisa, Ellen, and Bill and Sue who commented this week.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) architecture blacks crossing photography daryl a. black environmental flowers food nature new mexico photography portraiture rio grande taos weddings Mon, 08 Jul 2019 01:12:44 GMT
the process During a most delightful brunch this week with friends, they asked how I come up with a blog every Monday.  That was, indeed, a great compliment because I consider myself neither a great writer nor photographer.  I am passionate about both because I feel obligated to observe, note, and share the world around me in any way I can, and a blog is a great way to do that.  For me, observation (despite the fact that I frequently seem to miss things right in front of my nose) is a true constant.   Seeing, reflecting, and photographing - in nature or in the city - is what I do.  Walk and look, up, down, and around.  Think.  Get my camera. Shoot and repeat.  And I am always happy when you enjoy the sometimes odd threads I follow.

Once again, the amazing season of flowers is today's blog theme.  This week, I shot photographs, printed a number of the wild iris shots from last week, and worked on several images from years past to create juicy black and white prints.  First, Gallardia, class of 2019.  The Rocky Mountain penstemon, in the background of several shots, are also having a banner year.

Gallardia 2019 AGallardia 2019 A   

Gallardia 2019 CGallardia 2019 C

Gallardia 2019 BGallardia 2019 B


As the standard darkroom did and still does for some photographers, digital darkroom work takes up a large chunk time. Here is one image I worked with this week of a white camelia that seemed perfect for the black and white application.  

White cameliaWhite camelia


My thanks to Victoria, Wayne, Lisa, Donna C., Ingrid, Dianne, Susie, Pauli, and Steve for you most welcome comments.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography blogging Daryl A. Black flowers gallardia nature New Mexico photography Taos Mon, 01 Jul 2019 15:58:57 GMT
dancing among the iris Taking a cue from many friends who have gone for hikes in the mountains lately, I knew it was time for an early summer pilgrimage on Highway 64. Those hints, combined with temperature, the angle of the sun, time of year, and time of day called out in an odd but familiar and comfortable way.  As a photographer, I must answer the call. The wild iris are in bloom!  And they did not disappoint.

Although acres of grazing land behind barbed wire fencing were loaded with them, I was able to find blooms just below the high pass along rivulets and streams.  Given the fact that there are still huge lenses of snow waiting to melt, water is everywhere and so are the iris.  Moving from rock to rock and dry spots to avoid sinking into the bogs was like doing a not-so-graceful dance. Glad there wasn't video!  Below is an example of iris right on the edge of slow-moving water, which lends a contrasting backdrop to the flower, leaves, and grass.

Wild iris 2019 DWild iris 2019 D


In addition to capturing the different colors and patterns of the petals, I wanted to continue my search for interesting natural backdrops, camera angles, and other photographic elements such as depth of field.  In the case below, a rotting log served that purpose.

Wild iris 2019 BWild iris 2019 B


The grasses and iris leaves are nature's background in the three closeups below.

Wild iris 2019 FWild iris 2019 F

Wild iris 2019 CWild iris 2019 C

Wild iris 2019 AWild iris 2019 A


The height of the iris in this shot adds interest.

Wild iris 2019 EWild iris 2019 E


What really appealed to me about the bloom and other iris shown here was the color.  Almost a pure periwinkle.  The splashes of yellow come courtesy of golden peas.

Wild iris - periwinkleWild iris - periwinkle


Thanks to Suz, Kay, Donna C., Maria, Christina, Heather H., Steve, Victoria, and Wayne for participating in the blog process this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography Taos wild iris wildflowers Sat, 22 Jun 2019 20:05:10 GMT
minor obsession When nature provides ample moisture in the western United States and the Rocky Mountain region, I admit I become obsessed with photographing flowers. The paintbrush continue to amaze me.  Thus, you are being subjected to yet another paintbrush-studded blog.  My apologies, but it can't be helped!  The good thing about indulging in this photographic obsession is that I make myself move in different ways, trying to capture varying angles, and shooting at different times of day.  I headed out for this shoot around 8:30 in the morning, utilizing the lower light, and the backlight to emphasize color and shadow. On my side and on my rear, standing and squatting, my mission was to achieve shots that are at least somewhat out of the ordinary. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But here are six more of the hundreds I have taken of paintbrush this season.


Sagebrush makes a beautiful backdrop - in both color and texture - for the flowers that grow in between the sage leaves. 

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 2paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 2  

The paintbrush flowers in the image below look fairly typical but the windswept look of the sage skeleton behind the blooms adds interest.

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 6paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 6

In this shot, my intention was to give the flower and buds some "breathing room" or depth.

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 3paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 3


Here are two slightly closer shots, using the cracked earth as the backdrop.

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 4paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 4

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 1paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 1


A single "prairie fire" flame of the Castilleja on the mesa

paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 5paintbrush shoot 15 June 2019 - 5


Thanks to Sam, TTT, Ingrid, Barbara, Dianne, Ellen, Christina, Steve, Catherine, Lawrence, Heather, Elida, Bill, and Carolyn for your kind comments!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Castilleja Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico paintbrush photography Taos Sat, 15 Jun 2019 22:16:15 GMT
off-grid geekdom Most of you know that we have been living in off-grid bliss for the past 18 years.  Our previous off-grid sequence in western New Mexico, which began in 1977, makes it almost 22 years that we have been living this way.  That first adventure did not include electricity of any sort.  We cooked on a small Atlanta Stove Works wood burning stove, and a windmill pumped our water, which was then gravity fed into the house.  So turning it up several notches to our current place in Taos County was like moving to a palace with real electricity produced by sun hitting solar panels, and being stored in big, beefy batteries. The combination provides enough juice to do almost anything we want to do.

When you live like this, there are regular things one does on a regular basis, such as checking the controller to see how much energy is coming into the system at any given time.  Whether the system is "bulking" - filling the batteries, "absorbing" - batteries are nearly full, or "floating" meaning the batteries are totally full and any sunshine landing on the solar or photovoltaic panels is extra wattage.  Because we chose to be thrifty and incorporate a wood-burning cookstove into the system, 95% of our meals are cooked using the good old Stanley from Ireland.  Not only does it enable us to cook meals, but it provides extra heat, especially on the cold, winter days that frequent the high mesa.  Our inner geeks also heat the water for washing dishes after our meals.  Here is an image of the beast, in full meal mode - fry pan, two pots of water, and a tea pot.

wood burning cookstove and potswood burning cookstove and pots  

For this blog, I decided to photograph preparation of our dinner - green chile enchiladas.  I started by photographing the corn tortillas, which we discovered long ago take much patience and practice to make.  Never got the hang of that.  All the corn tortillas we use conveniently come from the grocery store, although both Fred and I make flour tortillas.  Still not quite as round as Lena D. makes, but they are tasty nonetheless.  The concept got my creative juices going and made me really think about the process of making a meal, off-grid. First step was a little styling with the corn tortillas, photogenic as they are.

corn tortillas for green chile enchiladascorn tortillas for green chile enchiladas

corn tortillas for green chile enchiladascorn tortillas for green chile enchiladas

I also grate cheese for the enchilada filling.  This time it was a sharp Kerry Gold cheddar, combined with Jarlsberg cheese.

cheese and gratercheese and grater


While I was doing this, Fred was constructing the fire in the wood burning stove, and lighting it, to get the heating process started.

woodburning cookstoeve with firewoodburning cookstoeve with fire


After the stove top gets to a temperature that will heat the olive oil, it is time to gently fry the tortillas.  The job is in Fred's capable hands.

corn tortillas for green chile enchiladascorn tortillas for green chile enchiladas


At this point, I put the cheese on the tortillas and layer them, before adding the sauce which I prepared before hand (chopped green chile, salt, chicken broth, and flour or cornstarch as thickener), and pop them in the wood burning stove's oven.  Add a beverage of your choice and contentment is assured.  

A couple of photographic notes.  First, when using primarily natural light, sometimes black has a tendency to look a little blue.  Adjustments can be made, either to the light source or to the image to rectify that.  Second, while coordinating food photography with actually consuming a meal that comes from a wood burning cook stove, the photographer needs to think things through ahead of time, be organized and ready.  No dawdling around.


green chile enchiladas and winegreen chile enchiladas and wine

Bon appétit!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black enchiladas food New Mexico off-grid living photography Taos Mon, 10 Jun 2019 15:45:38 GMT
in every position Spring is stubbornly giving way to summer in northern New Mexico, and every day, the landscapes shares it surprises.  Despite the cooler temperatures, wind, rain, and hail, the sun shines through enough to catch a photographer's eye. During the past week, when the sun made its presence known in the morning, and if the wind was not howling in the afternoon hours, I took the opportunity to shoot some of the wildflowers in bloom.  The foothills paintbrush - Castilleja integra - is having a banner year.  My photographic lesson is to get on the ground on my rear, back, or belly, basically in every position, and not get poked by assorted grasses or cacti, to catch as many of the elements of the flowers as possible.


paintbrush 3-2paintbrush 3-2

paintbrush 2paintbrush 2


In addition to the paintbrush and the Santa Fe phlox that are everywhere right now, a penstemon with rather small blooms, will soon cover the land.  It does seem as if every seed that fell to the ground has sprouted in a year of more than normal moisture.  This little bouquet caught me eye.  I apologize for not being able to provide the botanical name.  There are a lot of penstemons and my research has yet to find a name.  It is a beard tongue of some sort.

penstemon bouquetpenstemon bouquet


Finally, the wild blue flax - Linum lewisii - are really starting to bloom.  You can catch them in the morning hours on the sides of the highways.  Morning is also the best time since even the slightest breeze moves the delicate stems and blossoms.

blue flax 2019blue flax 2019  


I hope this first week in June brings lots of photographic opportunities

your way.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography blue flax Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico paintbrush penstemons photography Taos wildflowers Mon, 03 Jun 2019 15:44:19 GMT
remembrance The Santa Fe National Cemetery was busier than normal on the Sunday before Memorial Day in the United States, with family and friends, locating graves of their loved ones under grey skies and windy conditions that brought leaves and branches sailing down upon the grass surrounding the rows of headstones.  I found myself wandering in an older part of the cemetery that houses a number of World War I soldiers, and kept seeing names familiar to those who live in New Mexico.  Here are a few of the images I took in this truly beautiful resting place.

Memorial Day 2019 SF National Cemetery #2Memorial Day 2019 SF National Cemetery #2

I did not notice until this visit that it seems the headstones of wives/husband who were not soldiers or veterans face the headstones of the soldiers/veterans.  The three engraved stones in the middle of the image below are of wives married to soldiers/veterans.

Memorial Day 2019 SF National Cemetery # 3Memorial Day 2019 SF National Cemetery # 3

Memorial Day 2019 SF National CemeteryMemorial Day 2019 SF National Cemetery

Although much more could be done to honor service members who have passed, and to assist with the needs of current veterans and their families, I am pleased that the tradition of honoring each with a flag on Memorial Day continues.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black graveyards Memorial Day New Mexico photography Santa Fe National Cemetery Taos Mon, 27 May 2019 02:18:13 GMT
spring chaos Capricious winds and bouts of winter weather and snow signal springtime in the Rocky Mountains.  In spite of the conditions, the whole of nature is emerging from relative stasis. On the piñon-juniper high mesa, more birds than at any time during the year regale us with their presence.  Year-round residents are joined by migratory birds who arrive to spend the warmer months, while birds that winter here take their time departing.  All are dining on a magical mix of nectar from wildflowers, and assorted insects and berries, supplemented by store-bought seed and sugar water for the hummingbirds.  This creates a certain wonderful chaos that is a photographer's dream, even if patience is required.

During the past week, I spent time with my Nikon D800 and 70-200 mm lens, shooting the black headed grosbeaks (Pheucticus melanocephalus) and the western tanagers (Piranga ludoviciana).  Both species seems to have had a very good chick production year in 2018.  There are least six male grosbeaks and two females here, and a minimum of four tanagers.  I photographed the male grosbeak below as he waited in a New Mexico privet.

grosbeak on treegrosbeak on tree


As you can see from this shot, grosbeaks, in addition to the orange and black body, accented by white wing bars, have a stunning splash of yellow on their lower breasts.

grosbeak at feedergrosbeak at feeder

One of the interesting things about watching them is how they deal with a bird feeder that is technically meant for smaller birds.  Despite the fact that the feeder is designed to keep such feeder hogs as jays as well as grosbeaks from getting the seed, when it comes to food, they find a way.  The grosbeak below had to run his wings each time for balance as he moved his head toward the seed hole.

grosbeak getting seedgrosbeak getting seed

The female of the species was, as frequently seems to be the case, much more docile and able to develop her own system for getting seeds.

female grosbeakfemale grosbeak


Although a bit smaller, the bright yellow and red western tanager is hard to miss, and also develops its own way of dealing with feeders.

western tanagerwestern tanager

western tanager elevationwestern tanager elevation

And then there is bath time...

western tanager bathing 2western tanager bathing 2

I hope you are able to get out with your cameras this week to explore the wonders of nature.  Thanks to Christina, Pauli, Connie, Wayne, Susie, Conchita, TTT, Steve, and Lisa for your comments this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) birds black headed grosbeaks Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico Pheucticus melanocephalus photography Piranga ludoviciana Taos western tanagers Sun, 19 May 2019 18:32:54 GMT
from outer space? Although there may have been more writers of science fiction who are not known to us, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, is credited with creating the genre of science fiction in the very early 1800s.  Novelists who choose science fiction as their platform have always had amazing imaginations, creating objects and worlds of the strange, bizarre, and fantastical.  My suspicion is that some of their characters and objects were and are still based, at least initially, on things that exist in our world.  Given the huge variety of shapes and colors that exist in the world of plants alone, it makes sense. Looking at plants and flowers, I always seem to see some alien creature.

It took a bit of online research to find what I think is the name of this brain-like fungi or puffball - Calbovista subsculpta.  It was the size of a dinner plate and may have been edible, but I do not have enough knowledge about them to take a chance.



Downright dangerous, just by looking at it, but this is a thistle bud.  I loved the way the fibers are literally woven over and around the prickly points.

thistle budthistle bud


In their many stages on the way to flowering, yuccas definitely carry bloom stalks that are worthy of the Alien movies.

yucca bloom stalk 2yucca bloom stalk 2

yucca bloom stalk 1yucca bloom stalk 1


Finally, its circular interior makes the flower of the mariposa lily look space-ship like, with all sorts of creatures inside.

Mariposa lilyMariposa lily

The images in today's blog were made using a Nikon D5200 with 18-55 mm lens.  No muss no fuss no filters.  Just nature - out there.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cactus Calbovista subsculpta Daryl A. Black flowers nature New Mexico photography puffballs Taos yucca Sun, 12 May 2019 20:34:56 GMT
hidden in plain sight By now, many of you have seen unbelievably beautiful photographs of the desert "bloom" this year in Arizona and California.  Although the landscapes, and thus the flowers are not the same in New Mexico, there is a slow motion bloom happening right now in northern New Mexico.  It presents itself to those lucky enough to hike on the right trail at the right time, and who keep their eyes open for flowers "hidden in plain sight".  

Most of the year on the high mesa, the only time we see barrel and claret cup (also called hedgehog) cacti that hug the ground and blend into their surroundings is if by chance we step on one, or mistakenly run into one cutting high grass, or pulling "weeds".  Thanks to friends who have been keeping an eye out on the cactus, we had the chance to hike on a trail that was new to us yesterday and see the bloom.  It was and remains quite impressive.

Cactus do like warmth and seem to plug themselves into nooks and crannies that gain both sunshine and occasional moisture provided by nature's drip irrigation.  A perfect example of that is shown below.  The Echinocereus viridiflorus is hedgehog cactus offering splendid yellow-green blooms, and frequently found in rocky landscapes.

yellow hedgehog cactusyellow hedgehog cactus

yellow hedgehog cactus blossomsyellow hedgehog cactus blossoms


Much brighter and easier to spot are the scarlet hedgehog cactus, often called Claret Cup, Echinocereus triglochidiatus.

scarlet hedgehog cactus under rocksscarlet hedgehog cactus under rocks

scarlet hedgehog in rocksscarlet hedgehog in rocks

The claret cups are often in the company of other wildflowers, as shown in the photograph below, with daisies.

single scarlet hedgehog and daisiessingle scarlet hedgehog and daisies


The photograph here almost looks like a bridal bouquet, courtesy of the artistry of Mother Nature.

scarlet hedgehog cactus and daisies bouquetscarlet hedgehog cactus and daisies bouquet


Although they like the heat, these cacti sometimes plant themselves in the shade of a piñon or juniper tree and are happy as long enough sun shines on them.

scarlet hedgehog horseshowscarlet hedgehog horseshow

And one more closeup to round out the set.

scarlet hedgehog cactus blossom closeupscarlet hedgehog cactus blossom closeup


I want to thank all of you who participated in my blog survey of images for the Tasty and Artful card set last week - Lucia, Ellen, Lisa, Sam D., Char, Barbara, Dianne, Louise, Myra, Terry, Marilyn, Susie, Charlie, Pauli, Steve and Ingrid.  Over the two blog period, the images with the most votes were: 

Native American corn

 New World food

cauliflower soup

coffee in Zimbabwean basket

 heirloom tomatoes

 mini squash in basket


veined lettuce

Victoria's apples


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography cactus claret cup cactus Daryl A. Black flowers hedgehog cactus nature New Mexico photography Taos Mon, 06 May 2019 16:31:17 GMT
round two with food It was great to hear from so many of you concerning possibilities for my Tasty and Artful greeting card set.  The Native American Corn with a black background, and New World Foods were the two images with the most votes, followed by Victoria's apples, the caprese plate, and the artichoke.  One reader felt that some of the images, because they held little color, were boring. However, the images, for the most part, made people hungry, which is a very good thing when it comes to food photography.  My thanks to Terry, Char, Debbie S., Dave O., Suz, TTT, Lisa, Barbara, Lysandra, Pauli, Ingrid, Marilyn, Steve, Wayne, and Ellen for helping.

Ah, but I am not done with you yet!  I need your help on a second set of photographs, which appear here.  Again, any and all comments are welcome.


Grapes in the Vienna Farmers' Market



set for tea

tea and tea pot sepiatea and tea pot sepia


butterhead lettuce veins

lettuce veinslettuce veins


rows of lettuce

lettuce in rowslettuce in rows


cherry tomatoes

cherry tomatoescherry tomatoes


heirloom tomatoes

assorted heirloom tomatoesassorted heirloom tomatoes


coffee in Zimbabwean basket

coffee beans in basketcoffee beans in basket


cauliflower soup




squash on basketsquash on basket


Once again, my thanks to you for participating in the development of my card/print collection.  I hope your week holds many good nibbles.

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 Taos Sun, 28 Apr 2019 20:05:10 GMT
ample table Holidays bring people together.  In a world that frequently tends to be manic, holidays, unfortunately, may be some of the few times families and friends eat together.  Therefore, they become big celebrations accompanied by tables covered with wonderful food.  The past week held a series of those celebrations, both secular and religious, around the world. 

Grab a snack and a beverage.  This blog is image heavy!  With food and food photography on the brain, I am asking for your assistance (and I may do this several times in future blogs) in helping me choose images for my new greeting card series.  My food series is called "Tasty and Artful" and will contain 10-15 images.  And I may do subsequent volumes, but it would be great before I venture forth, to get your input.  This means that I have already done some self-editing, which as all photographers know can be both a plus or a minus.  So I am asking your indulgence in telling me which images you think are the strongest, the ones that you like the best, and ones you would like to send to someone.  If you don't like any of them, that input is also helpful.

Bell peppers

bell peppersbell peppersKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow corn

corn images-2corn images-2

Native American corn

Corn jewels 5Corn jewels 5

Egg reflection

Egg reflection 1Egg reflection 1

Victoria's apples

Victoria's applesVictoria's apples

Handmade chocolates and iris

iris and chocolate 1iris and chocolate 1

New world food on Navajo-Churro wool rug

New World order 2New World order 2

Pears in box

pears in a boxpears in a box



Cauliflower cross-section

cauliflower sectioncauliflower section

Rum balls under construction

rum ball in progressrum ball in progressKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Caprese plate

Caprese saladCaprese salad

Thanks to Lawrence, Charlie, Cristina, Marcie, Marilyn, Mary Pat, Myra, Steve, Wayne, Christina W., Connie, Terry T., Jean and Sam, Barbara, Deb H., Sue, and Pauli for your comments during the past couple of weeks.  They are much appreciated!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black food holiday table new mexico photography still life photography taos Sat, 20 Apr 2019 22:39:36 GMT
anticipation Photographs of the emerging spring are everywhere on social media.  It is obvious that many in the northern hemisphere have been through stunning winters, and are seriously ready for the first signs of spring.  Those signals are coming or are already present in lower, more southerly and/or coastal locations. But those of us at higher elevations and more northerly locations, wait, with anticipation, searching the landscape or our yards each day for signs of emergence.  Our friend, Dianne, who lives in southern Colorado, has a riot of green now from the seeds she planted indoors. Like many of us at elevations of 7,000 feet and above, she is probably waiting to plant the more delicate veggies and flowers until the magic date of the average last frost, 15 May. Forget about the fact that last year's spinach over wintered in one of our raised beds and is extremely happy. I await the first Easter daisies, the first bright "spring green" aspen leaves, as well as scrub oak leaves.  Shoots from the daffodil bulbs are just starting to emerge after the last of the four foot high piles of snow melted last week. Those flowers will be on the scene soon. 


In anticipation of daily signs, I call this black and white photograph "Before".

before springbefore spring

Then, one day it seems, one leaf after another begins to unfold.

new aspen leavesnew aspen leaves

There is nothing like seeing aspen in spring.

Aspen spring greenAspen spring green


The Easter daisies, shown below, are the high mesa's version of the Easter lily.

easter daisies-2easter daisies-2


Last but not least, scrub oaks, with their extremely short growing season, add splashes of bright green amidst the conifers.

spring oaksspring oaks

Happy Spring to all of you!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) aspen Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Easter daisies nature New Mexico oaks photography spring Taos trees Mon, 15 Apr 2019 16:46:59 GMT
water abstractions Those of us who live in areas where water is a rare commodity know how necessary it is to body and soul and life.  We have a visceral need to see it, feel it, and be surrounded by it.  The catchment ponds dotting the mesas of northern New Mexico provide that for wild and domestic animals.  They are also mesmerizing for humans. We recently took advantage of the drying earth and walked to one such pond near us.  As we approached it, ducks blasted into the air.  We noticed that a small canyon had formed in the earthen dam, probably due to the wetter than normal winter.  But it still held ample water, which was soothing.  Just watching the ripples move and reflect a sky alternating between sun and clouds provided a true attitude adjustment.

The pond and surrounding area are fairly undramatic except for that precious commodity - water.  When clouds cover the sun, the light can be flat, rendering the water totally lack luster. Here is a shot of the water's surface under a mixed sky, somewhat ordinary but interesting in its rhythm.

water shot 1water shot 1

But when you crop different parts of the series of photographs I took, magical things happen, such as is shown in the image below.  There was just enough blue sky to mix with the overcast and produce some really interesting results.

water shot 4water shot 4

This is a broader shot when the sun was beginning to shine...

water shot 2water shot 2


...followed by slightly brighter sun on this particular section of the water.  The water almost looks like it is woven into a design.

water shot 3water shot 3


And finally, the clouds, filtered sun and a reflection of trees on the shore create a totally different abstract.

water shot 6water shot 6


I never cease to be caught off guard by what can be seen in nature, and hope that you are presented a delight or two by it this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts blacks crossing photography closeups daryl a. black nature new mexico photography ponds taos water Mon, 08 Apr 2019 15:01:55 GMT
still life on a snowy day Nature gave us an early April Fool's Day gift of snow, beginning mid-morning yesterday, and continuing throughout the day.  It was one of those rare days when we were firmly ensconced in the house, happy to watch the snow and do absolutely nothing about it.  A day for catching up on reading, paperwork, and still life photography.

One of the things that is intriguing to me is the occurrence in nature of things that are soft and hard, strong and seemingly weak, linear and random.  And I enjoy creating still life images with the same idea in mind.  My husband, Fred, with his background in architecture, aviation, and engineering, has an extremely keen eye for structure.  The Navajo-Churro wool rugs that he weaves make perfect backdrops and give contrast to flowers and food and all sorts of softer objects.  And yesterday was the perfect day to experiment with those ideas.

Fred's "end of the year" striped rug (Rug #325) - a symmetrical blending of all the smaller pieces of wool he collected from his year's weaving - provided an interesting counterpoint to sunflowers.

sunflowers and rug 325sunflowers and rug 325  

sunflower and rug 325sunflower and rug 325


Peruvian lilies highlight part of the architectural detail in Rug 318.

Peruvian lily and rug 318Peruvian lily and rug 318


Those same lilies soften the bold details and colors of what is almost an "eye dazzler" rug, #318.

Peruvian lily and rug 315Peruvian lily and rug 315

Peruvian lily and rug 315 # 3Peruvian lily and rug 315 # 3

All of the images included here were made with natural light from several different sources, punctuated by lighter or heavier cloud cover.  Regardless of the weather, there is almost always a good time, place, and subject matter with which to experiment in life's photographic laboratory.

Thanks to Connie, Cristina and Ben, Wayne, Ingrid, Lisa, Maria, Dianne, Steve, Wayne, and Jean and Sam, and Fred for adding to the photographic discussion this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Bayeta Blacks Crossing Photography Connie Taylor Daryl A. Black Fred Black hand weaving Navajo-Churro wool rugs New Mexico photography rugs Taos Mon, 01 Apr 2019 15:38:07 GMT
faces The week that just passed was certainly typical of the rowdiness that is March. Our weather records show wild swings between sun, snow, rain, graupel, hail, and wind.  Spring is definitely here with all its bluster and joy.  Part of that joy is reviewing some of the environmental portraits I have had the opportunity to make in years past, and to share them with you. 

Environmental portraiture - photography in general - as is true with many of the arts, leaves you with gifts that last forever.  I think of the person, the time, season, and conditions during which the photograph was made, and what the individual is doing at the moment each time you view the photograph.  For me, about half the time, I don't really know the person I am photographing, and can only hope to reveal a little about them - their lives and stories.  And even when I do know the person, something seems to pop before the camera revealing a little something else.  Although I have many favorites, some I cannot show here because of privacy concerns.  But the images below are a small sampling of my favorites.

There is nothing like a chef who loves his work.  Robert Hudak, of the Viking Cruise Lines, was thoroughly enjoying the smell of sweets at the Vienna Farmers' Market.

Chef Robert-2Chef Robert-2   


Fiber artist Christine Hernandez is shown here wearing some of her creations.  Her wistful confidence permeates the image.

Christina at Scottish RiteChristina at Scottish Rite


Travis Webb is a man of many talents, the greater field of martial arts being one.  His shaved head phase was not long lived, but his interest in swords and blades has expanded.  He is now creating knives that are both utilitarian and beautiful.

Travis Webb-2Travis Webb-2


Jessica Fry is posed here as a magical woman of the earth, one of her many personas.

Jessica with rock wallJessica with rock wall


The stories that this wedding officiate wears in ink would take some time to see and hear, but there are a great many tales in his eyes and smile as well.

officiate at Cloutman weddingofficiate at Cloutman wedding


Paule Marx, shown in her studio, is one of the most gentle people I know.  It shows in her eyes and approach to life.

Paule Marx-2Paule Marx-2


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black environmental portraiture nature new mexico photography portraits Taos Mon, 25 Mar 2019 17:46:08 GMT
emergence The vernal equinox is this Wednesday, 20 March, and on the same day, there will be a full moon.  It is a time of renewal in the northern hemisphere.  When it seems that the entirety of living things emerge from their winter stasis. There is noticeably more daylight.  Spring bulbs begin to push through the soil. Seasonal birds, including the Say's phoebe, arrive suddenly, as they did this morning, with a sense of urgency - the need to find a mate, build a nest, lay eggs, and raise chicks. After several months of snow and rain, living things shake off the chill and move into the next phase.  I dare say this includes photographers who might have been in the doldrums, but are now emerging with renewed energy and purpose.  

During the winter months, I have been working on several card series, and will continue to do that, while adding to the library with spring shooting.  Here are a couple of images from the "Tasty and Artful" set.  Grilled shishito peppers and radishes are two of the images.

shishito peppersshishito peppers



"Noir/Blanc/Gris" contains a wide variety of subject matter, rather than the edibles featured in the previous set.  With luck, every card included will demonstrate the potential and beauty of black, white, and grey.

Great Sand Dunes bowlGreat Sand Dunes bowl

cheeses, Vienna marketcheeses, Vienna market


"Fresh and Painterly" is a sampling of flowers, plants, and trees in all the seasons.  Shown here are apple blossoms, fern "fiddles", and a big sage (Artemisia tridentata) abstract. 

apple blossomsapple blossoms

fern fiddlesfern fiddles

big sage abstractbig sage abstract

I hope you are able to get out this week, and use your cameras with glee!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@ 


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) black and white photography blacks crossing photography daryl a. black ferns flowers nature new mexico photography spring taos trees vernal equinox Mon, 18 Mar 2019 16:31:12 GMT
radiant Red, orange, flame, yellow, and shades within the spectrum are colors I think of as being "warm".  But I recently purchased a fuchsia-colored orchid as a birthday present for a friend that made me realize the color heat in its petals leaned a lot toward the warm.  The more I looked at and photographed this moth orchid (Phalaenopsis orchid), the more I realized it was radiating or glowing.  It is the star of today's blog.

My quest for different backdrops and light to complement the blooms continue here, with a plastered wall and natural light from the north, east, and south in the example below.

purple orchid 1purple orchid 1


I like the idea of juxtaposition of flowers with more rugged backdrops, and decided to use a cactus as the background for the two shots below.  Indirect southern light with reflected light filled the orchid.

purple orchid against cactus 1purple orchid against cactus 1

purple orchid against cactus 2purple orchid against cactus 2


The warmth of oak furniture enhanced the orchid in the shot below.

purple orchid against woodpurple orchid against wood


Letting the natural light fall on a variety of objects, including a cream-colored wall, gave a slight green hint to the flower and wall backdrop.

purple orchid 2purple orchid 2


Happy Birthday to all the Pisces and Aries out there who are witting or unwitting blog participants, including M Fred, Diane, Susie, Jan, Brenda, Andrea, Debra, Jean, Sam, Elida, Carol, Sara, John, Rowena, Steve, and Rock.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) "phalaenopsis orchids" purple blacks crossing photography daryl a. black flowers moth orchids" new mexico photography taos Mon, 11 Mar 2019 15:56:55 GMT
jewels in the fog After a rather interesting week, comprised of snow, mud, wind, sunshine, and fog, I am reminded of several photo shoots from years past at Point Reyes National Seashore in California.  It is one of those places that grabs you and won't let go, a little like parts of New Mexico.  Whether you call it a cape or a peninsula, Point Reyes juts out into the Pacific Ocean, collecting fog and its moisture almost every day.  When you shoot flowers there, it is a belly dancing, soggy, and delightful experience.  California poppies, foxgloves, meadow foam, and lupine shine like jewels through the fog and mist.

California and Mexican poppies are synonymous with the Southwestern United States desert areas, but they seem to be quite flexible, liking the moisture provided by the ocean as much as the lack of it.  The poppy bud shown below is cloaked with water droplets, courtesy of morning fog.

California poppy bud,  Point ReyesCalifornia poppy bud, Point Reyes  

The California poppy here has emerged from the lupine.

California poppy and lupine,  Point ReyesCalifornia poppy and lupine, Point Reyes


Foxglove are everywhere on Point Reyes, and they appear in varying shades of pink and fuchsia.

fuchsia foxglove Point Reyesfuchsia foxglove Point Reyes


This foxglove is surrounded by a lighter shade of lupine.

pink foxglove,  Point Reyespink foxglove, Point Reyes

It won't be long before the deserts, mesas, and mountains come alive with blooms, courtesy of El Niño moisture.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography California California poppies Daryl A. Black flowers fog foxgloves lupine nature New Mexico photography Point Reyes National Seashore Taos Mon, 04 Mar 2019 17:31:25 GMT
get my drift? After reading comments on Facebook last week, (probably from non-skiers and non-snow boarders or those lacking enthusiasm for winter), expressing readiness for spring by writing "enough already", I said to myself I would not do any more blogs featuring snow and other winter subjects this season.  So much for that.  After the last substantial snow we received, I was compelled by the beauty of the drifting snow to do more winter photography.  When presented gifts from nature, I gratefully accept them.  Today, they are drifts.

The effects of wind are everywhere on Earth.  Wind and water work every day - shaping, molding, building up, tearing down, and otherwise leaving their marks.  Here are some that I found after the high mesa and points west, including Chama, received a healthy dump of snow.  After the storm exited east, and the sun was no longer obscured by an overcast sky, I got out for a couple of different shoots among the drifts.  There is a black and white feel to this image, despite the fact that it is shot in color mode.

Drift 1Drift 1  


Wind whipped around a sandstone upright to make graceful drifts in the two photographs below.

Drift 2Drift 2

Drift 3Drift 3


A humble garden pot required the wind to deposit snow in an almost perfectly straight line.

Drift 4Drift 4


 I have always loved "The Great Wave off Kanagawa", a woodblock by Katsushika Hokusai.  It inspired me to take this snow wave and give it a computer tint with selenium.  

Drift 5 Blue waveDrift 5 Blue wave

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts blacks crossing photography daryl a. black design nature new mexico photography snow snowdrifts taos winter Fri, 22 Feb 2019 21:42:11 GMT
the wonder of stairs After reading one of my recent blogs, my photographer friend, Steve Immel asked about the process used in developing them.  How I come up with blog ideas and how I proceeded to put them together. This week's blog would fall into the category of odd inspiration, developing into an architectural travelog.  It came to me after watching one of those inane cable programs about searching for real estate, purely as an antidote to the political news, snow, and cold.  It appears that even in the warmer coastal climates of the United States, homes and vacation homes seem to be built for the sole purpose of providing a roof over one's head.  For the most part, they are constructed for a retired couple, with the thought of housing children and grandchildren for a week or two.  The homes are totally lacking in style and design, making me frequently suck air as the realtor proudly showed the buyers around the property.  That alone made me ponder the things I love in buildings, including stairs.  

Multiple-story dwellings require a way to get from the ground floor to the upper floors.  In some parts of the world, stone or concrete ramps provide the needed rise in elevation, but stairs seem to be the most common solution.  Even in modern high rise buildings that incorporate elevators to achieve the rise in elevation, there are still stair wells in case of fire.  Staircases can be strictly functional or provide both function and great beauty.  Either way, I love the look and the feeling of rising to another secret or unknown space by climbing them.  If designed and built well, stairs and staircases are architectural wonders.  It does not matter whether they are straight or incorporate graceful curves, they are fascinating.

Below is a staircase at the Territorial House in Taos, that can be closed off by massive wooden doors.  It is very vertical and frontal, but still manages to provide drama.

Staircase, Territorial House, TaosStaircase, Territorial House, Taos

Humble adobe and brick combined adds the functionality of mass to the mix.

Big Sage stairsBig Sage stairs


In order to maintain the symmetry of a pyramid or temple, stairs were on all sides, such as the Temple of the Seven Dolls in Dzibilchaltun, Mexico.

Temple of the Seven DollsTemple of the Seven Dolls


A gracefully curving stairway in the Tlaquepaque area of Guadalajara,  Mexico

Tlaquepaque stairsTlaquepaque stairs

More curve and twisting is quite apparent in the beautiful staircase located in one of the dormitories at United World College, in Montezuma, New Mexico.

United World College staircase, tonedUnited World College staircase, toned


And finally, an ornate and beautiful staircase in Melk Abbey, Austria

Melk Abbey staircaseMelk Abbey staircase

Perhaps a staircase of interest will help you rise to an occasion this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Abbey architecture Austria" Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black Dzibilchaltun Mexico Melk New Mexico photography stairs stairways Taos Temple of the Seven Dolls Tlaquepaque United World College Mon, 18 Feb 2019 18:17:17 GMT
that feeling Thursday is Valentine's Day.  Need I say more?  It terrifies many because of societal expectations, and fills others with the joy of giving and receiving. Although Valentine's Day is celebrated on July 6 and 30th in Eastern Orthodox churches, February 14 has become the official date for many celebrations around the world.  The theme of the day - love - is a part of nearly every song written and thousands of books, movies, and television episodes. Writers at Wikipedia indicate that "The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished."  It would be lovely indeed if the entirety of humanity celebrated the "Power of Love" (Huey Lewis and the News) in its many forms at least one day a year.  Short of that, a few photographic images from the heart might fill some gaps.

Flat grey skies are the bane of photographers' existence when it comes to some architectural, landscape, and travel photography.  But those same skies can be perfect for shooting portraits and still life subjects.  I used the snowy landscape and a pearl-colored fill disc to shoot red silk poppies under the leaden skies. The snow first.

valentine poppyvalentine poppy   

valentine poppy 2valentine poppy 2


The toned rose bud shown below was shot through filtered light.

sepia rose budsepia rose bud


Gentle rose petals in water with soft focus light to bring out the base color

rose petals in bowlrose petals in bowl

May everyone feel love this week!

until next Monday,


a passion fro the image@



(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black flowers Huey Lewis and the News New Mexico photography poppies Power of Love roses Taos Valentine's Day Mon, 11 Feb 2019 16:40:21 GMT
photographic pilgrimage February began on Friday, and, with great joy, my husband said, "It is nice to be looking at January from the rear view mirror."  In other words, there is something about coming out of one of the coldest months in the northern hemisphere, to a month that has the potential to be slightly warmer.  The days are also becoming noticeably longer.  Mentally, at the very least, it feels as if we are heading into spring, despite the fact that there will be more below zero temperatures and snow.  For me, it is time for a pilgrimage to one of two places - Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado or the Ghost Ranch/Abiquiu area made famous by artist Georgia O'Keefe.  A year without a trip to these two magical jewels is not the same, and I haven't photographed either place in several years.  It is high time.

All one has to do is drive on U. S. Highway 84 after it splits from U. S. Highway 285 north toward Chama, and it becomes apparent quite quickly why O'Keefe fell in love with the area.  The geology is spectacular, and a photographer's dream.  My first introduction to it was in 1994, and in 2003, I took a photography course through Ghost Ranch.  For some reason, most of the trips I have made to the area have been in the morning.  This time, I was working with bold, in your face afternoon light, and a cloudless New Mexico sky.  It gave me a different perspective on formations I had photographed before.

The iconic Ghost Ranch scenic includes Chimney Rock.  A photographer has to be a little creative to keep power lines out of the image, and, quite frankly, I am not patient enough to work in Photoshop to eliminate them.  Here is my latest rendition, aided by a 70-200 mm lens.

Chimney Rock and mesas near Ghost RanchChimney Rock and mesas near Ghost Ranch

As always, my search for details never ends, as the photographs below show.

Abiquiu geology 2019 1-2Abiquiu geology 2019 1-2

Abiquiu geology 2019 5Abiquiu geology 2019 5


Here are two slightly broader shots.

Abiquiu geology 2019 3Abiquiu geology 2019 3

Abiquiu geology 2019 2Abiquiu geology 2019 2

Happy Trails to you this week, hopefully with camera in hand.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) new mexico abiquiu blacks crossing photography daryl a. black geology georgia o'keefe country landscapes nature photography red rocks taos Sun, 03 Feb 2019 23:00:24 GMT
a small study in brown In the 2016 publication The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair indicates that "Brown suffers in part because it is not a hue, but a shade.  It is not found in a rainbow or on a simple color wheel; making it requires darkening and graying down yellows, oranges, some impure reds or mixing together the three artists' primaries-red, yellow, and blue."  St. Clair goes on to say that brown is "inherently corrupt".  And what, pray tell, does that say about me, being a real fan of brown, particularly in food?  The shades within the shade we see as brown can be quite rich and bold.

Coffee beans are particularly interesting in their shape, color, and patina when roasted.  The trio below, from left to right, features Mexican, Yannan Arabica, and Sumatran.  The Chinese beans are very lightly roasted, whereas the Mexican and particularly the Sumatran, were roasted to such an extent that the oils come pouring through.

coffee bean triocoffee bean trio

The white bag in which these beans are contained provides a light tent, as it were, allowing the light to land evenly on each bean.

beans in bagbeans in bag


Chocolate is another fascinating food that, when rendered in various ways, lends a shine to anything it covers, such as the almonds shown below.  Reflective power was provided by a clear glass to the left of the set up.

chocolate covered almondschocolate covered almonds


Below is the most dear of New World foods, the vanilla bean.  The orchids from which the beans come are, to this day, hand pollinated during a relatively short bloom period.  Although I have not even seen a vanilla orchid, I thought an orchid leaf would provide an appropriate backdrop for the bean.  The brown  in the bean shown here reveals yellows and reds. 

vanilla bean on orchidvanilla bean on orchid


After reading the list and looking at the shades St. Clair calls browns - khaki, buff, fallow, russet, sepia, umber, mummy and taupe - my love of the hue is even greater.  And photographing it even more challenging.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography brown chocolate covered almonds coffee beans color Daryl A. Black Kassia St. Clair nature New Mexico photography Taos The Secret Lives of Color Mon, 28 Jan 2019 17:36:40 GMT
snow angels One of the great things about publishing a weekly blog is the commentary one receives from readers.  Several people mentioned that it was likely I was never in Fargo because winter there is much more beastly than it is in New Mexico. This is very true.  Never been there.  Only seen the Cohen Brothers movie of that title.  Many of the "snow" exteriors were shot in North Dakota and they were stunning but left me frozen to my seat.  That was plenty.  But a long-time friend of ours, Dianne, wanted to see some snow angels.  The term has been very broadly interpreted and used in the photographs below.  And I suspect they will be described broadly as well.   All are black and white images.


Angel of the snow shoveler

Angel FredAngel Fred


The snow angel left by a trusty broom used for sweeping snow

broom angelbroom angel


In a more industrial vein, the solar panels, well casing and pitless adaptor stand together in earnest and in shadow.

well casing and pitless adaptorwell casing and pitless adaptor


Steel wire that has come uncoiled projects a lovely shadow.  A nod to my photographer friend, Steve Immel.

wire and snowwire and snow

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) blacks crossing photography daryl a. black nature new mexico photography shadows snow snow angels taos winter Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:45:48 GMT
Fargo in New Mexico????? During a stretch of leaden skies and snow that makes it necessary to dress like the young boy from The Christmas Story, I begin to think we are living in Fargo, North Dakota rather than New Mexico.  The weather really is changing, making me yearn for the time when a storm from the west coast of the United States would flow over New Mexico, drop its precipitation, and vacate the state, leaving blinding sunshine in its wake.  We New Mexicans are spoiled in that respect. The current precipitation is desperately needed, given last year's severe drought, and winter moisture is what conifers like the piñon and juniper here on the high mesa require.  Recent weather events effecting us have come from the coast of Baja, California, rather than directly from the west, and they stay longer. That is the difference.  Our snow shoveling skills are being honed. It is hard to believe we were sweating mere months ago and are now fantasizing about sunshine and warmth.  Part of the human condition. Luckily, four solid seasons grace New Mexico and there almost always is a February thaw.  Until then, I will continue to pull my camera out of its case, and search for (or create) surprises in the winter landscape.  


The two images below relay well the "Fargo" feeling of the landscape this morning.  

adobe wall and pinon in snow west sideadobe wall and pinon in snow west side

adobe wall and pinon in snowadobe wall and pinon in snow

And the blue sky begins to break through.

mountains and mesa in snowmountains and mesa in snow

 If you are in the northern hemisphere, please keep safe and warm while you are photographing winter.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@





(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black nature New Mexico photography snow Taos weather winter Mon, 14 Jan 2019 18:32:46 GMT
Happy Birthday, New Mexico! On January 6, 1912, the territory of New Mexico officially became the 47th state of the United States of America.  In celebrating the 107th birthday of the state, which, quite bizarrely, many people still do not know is actually a state, I put together some new and also iconic images of the Land of Enchantment.

In the early 1980s, I worked at the Secretary of State's office, and was also doing freelance photography.  It was a perfect fit for the Official New Mexico Blue Book published in 1981-1982, which included a number of my photographs. The seal of the state on New Mexico flag gold inside the Zia symbol was paired with a photograph I shot along the Aspen Vista Trail near Santa Fe Ski Basin. Obviously, these have been through several generations of printing and scanning.



Something to catch the eye and palate - one of Fred Black's Navajo Churro wool rugs, red chile power, and Anasazi beans.

rug, beans, chilerug, beans, chile


One of the more iconic places in northwestern New Mexico is Chaco Culture National Historical Park.  The photograph below shows some of the incredible architectural elements and stone work you can see on a visit here, when the government opens again.

Chaco windowChaco window


Cacao Santa Fe has developed a "Chaco Pottery Shards" collection that reproduces designs on pottery jars recently discovered.  According to the description page, the jars contained residue of liquid chocolate.  These little jewels also gave me the opportunity to play with food again.

pot shard truffles 1pot shard truffles 1

Happy Birthday, New Mexico!  And thanks to Pauli, Catherine, Lawrence (almost the New Mexico birthday boy), Steve, Andrea, Connie, Debra, Dianne, David, Wayne, Ingrid and Robert, Jean and Sam, Barbara, and Lisa for your blog comments.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography Cacao Santa Fe Chaco Culture National Historical Park Daryl A. Black food Fred Black nature Navajo Churro wool New Mexico photography potshards statehood Taos Mon, 07 Jan 2019 17:12:29 GMT
a new year Just as we were gifted an extended and lovely autumn, winter has come with intensity, making its presence known in our high mesa country lives following the solstice.  As I sit across from the computer screen, typing, another wave of moisture is entering the state.  Here are some surprises nature left this week.

The frost Saturday morning was applied in the largest variety of shapes and construction I have ever seen.  These large feathers clinging to a wisteria vine were delicate but extremely strong.

leaf and frostleaf and frost


Icicles hanging from every available upright were complicated as well.   The first image shows the full icicle, while the second and third include details of the top and bottom of the ice.

ice close up 1ice close up 1

ice close up 2ice close up 2

ice close up 3ice close up 3

And life would simply not be the same without evidence of animals as they make their way through the snow.  The mouse tracks below were crisp and clear as if applied with a very acute paintbrush.

mouse tracksmouse tracks


My hope for 2019 is that each of you is able to practice or enjoy art and life, and that only good prevails on Planet Earth!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black ice nature New Mexico photography snow Taos tracks winter Mon, 31 Dec 2018 16:20:58 GMT
ice in the abstract It is Christmas Eve.  After wonderful celebrations with friends this week and weekend, things are moving at a very civilized pace this morning.  Nowhere to go except by foot, sun shining through the windows, wash churning in the machine in preparation for a string of snowy, less than sun-filled days.  

The stock tank continues to offer amazing ice designs as the water level builds and then retreats, and freezes and thaws.  I wanted to share a few photographs with you.  The first was taken without direct sunshine, rendering the color more of a blue, with the ice reflecting the sky.

ice designs 1ice designs 1


The second two shots were taken with direct sunlight shining on and through the ice, resulting in a greenish tint -  the truer color of the water.  The bubbles shine like jewels here.

ice designs 3ice designs 3

ice designs 2ice designs 2

Happy Christmas everyone!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) abstracts Blacks Crossing Photography Daryl A. Black designs ice nature New Mexico photography Taos winter Mon, 24 Dec 2018 17:38:04 GMT
solstice clock The Concise Oxford English Dictionary helped me with today's blog.  The definition of solstice is "each of the two times in the year, respectively at midsummer and midwinter, when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon, marked by the longest and shortest days."  We, in the northern hemisphere, will experience that shortest day this Friday, 21 December.  Since New Mexico and the southwestern United States as a whole are experiencing a stretch of sunny weather, the shorter days are not quite as noticeable as they are farther north where it might be snowy, rainy, and generally overcast.  In those areas where the sunlight is evident for only 4-6 hours a day, every point of light is cherished.  No wonder the ancients celebrated the time of year when days, once again, became longer, and the cold of night receded into the relative warmth of a winter day.

My father had a Sochard Fotoclock, made in the 1940s.  It was a trifold wonder, crafted of leather, with the clock and works in the middle section, and two side wings attached, each capable of holding a photograph.  It was a wind-up clock, no quartz works in the day, and it was extremely noisy.  So when we found the need for a new clock, Fred and I both decided to utilize the face from the Fotoclock, encased in a brass frame.  For a relatively inexpensive clock at the time, the face is a lovely example of art deco design, which would be nicely complemented by arts and crafts woodwork. Fred went to work on a design, and using hand tools and oak, along with a new quartz clockworks, he built what I am calling a "solstice clock."  In the images below, it seems to rise from the adobe into the sky, a little like the standing stones in Stonehenge and other stone circles in Europe.  As you can see by the time on the clock (a little less than two hours before sunset here), it was perfect for these still life shots. rendering good, solid light, giving me the ability to capture some of the architectural details.

Solstice clock 1Solstice clock 1


Solstice clock 3Solstice clock 3


Solstice clock 4Solstice clock 4


Solstice clock 2Solstice clock 2  

Beginning on Saturday, I hope you find the tiny addition of sunlight each day exciting.  Thanks to Terry, Steve, Jean and Sam, Pauli, Wayne, Veronica, Barbara, Catherine and Connie for your kind comments about last week's blog, and to all of you who follow my work throughout the year.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image@

(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography clocks Daryl A. Black New Mexico photography solstice Taos Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:32:55 GMT
celebrations Sunday was a gorgeous day on the mesa, and we celebrated Ingrid and Fred's birthdays with comfort food, lively conversation, and a nice walk on the nearly muddy road. The type of day that reminds us how lucky we are to have full bellies and souls, and amply satisfying work.  So this morning, I thought I would continue the theme of cool weather and warm friends heading into the eleven days before Solstice.

I love good illustration and great writing wherever they appear, and when I was actually looking at the wine corks stowed away for recycling, I noticed something. Since my nose is usually on the cork, I generally only see the logo and name of the winery.  But looking at them carefully, I noticed, to my delight, that many had quotes on them.  For instance, the cork for a Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel had a quote from George Herbert which was particularly apropos.  "Old wine and an old friend are good provisions".  Another cork simply had three things printed on it - sought-after, wanted, and in demand. Simple, lovely font, pure design.

You know where this is going.  Taking advantage of the remaining patches of snow and early morning light, I headed out with my trusty camera and did a setup with a few of the corks, a glass, and holly berries.  Here are three of the results.

wine cork in snow set up 3wine cork in snow set up 3


wine cork in snow set up 2wine cork in snow set up 2


wine cork in snow set up 1wine cork in snow set up 1


Thanks for Catherine, Maria, Wayne, Steve, Sandra, Lucia, Terry, TTT, Connie, Andrea, Lisa, Barbara, Marilyn, M Fred, and Elida for commenting on my recent blogs.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@


(Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing) Blacks Crossing Photography close-ups Daryl A. Black food nature New Mexico photography Taos Mon, 10 Dec 2018 17:35:04 GMT
nature's wallpaper