Sometimes there are some interesting things very close to where you are sleeping at night! We rented a house on the side of a mountain in the Jemez Mountains …

not far from Santa Fe. The house overlooked the Jemez River. There was a large deck on one side which on our first night we turned into our first shoot!

At the House!

As I walked up onto the deck in the pitch dark I looked up and I could see the Milky Way so plainly it was astonishing!

We were surrounded by huge trees and the core was not going down into the only view of the mountains we had so I had to shoot it straight up using my fisheye lens! The clouds started to come in so I put away the fisheye for another day!

The view of the mountains from the deck, in the mornings, was either foggy or pretty bright!

That view was not bad but we found the best images one morning when we decided to stay close by for the day. So we had some time to explore around the house for a bit in the morning. The owner had built a very long but surprisingly sturdy metal staircase down the side of the mountain from the house to the river!

This shot is from about half way down the stairs.

I made the trek down (not too bad) and took a look and immediately flew back up (not so easy) and grabbed my camera, ND filter and tripod!

The water along that section of the Jemez River was in shade but the golden light from the reflection on the trees along the far bank had turned the water golden!

I carefully made my way a bit farther down the stream so get another view.

I continued to watch the color on the water until I found the ultimate gold!

I wanted to follow the color around but it was time to haul my gear back up the stairs so we could head out to our first destination for the day!

At the Winery

We always stop at the Ponderosa Valley Vineyard as they have some awesome wine and some cool things to photograph! My first time there several years ago, in the spring, I caught a hummingbird at their feeder. Last year I caught a roadrunner on the road next to the vineyard. This time it was a bit hot so I had to be satisfied with some still-life images.

We bought a case of wine and then were on our way!

Along the Turquoise Trail

Our next stop was Madrid, NM. Part of the Turquoise Trail, this little town is very brightly colored and is a very artsy spot. There are many different types of artists producing and selling their work here. During the hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, this town is always very busy. I always visit my favorite shops for southwestern jewelry. I have some great pieces I have picked up there over the years! (hint- less expensive than the big cities)

The general store is a great place to stop for a drink and some ice cream!

We left Madrid and headed for a very small town that Jim never misses when he comes to NM. Los Cerrillos, the population around 200, is another interesting place but not quite as popular as Madrid.

We ate our picnic lunch on the side of a mountain in the Cerrillos Hills State Park and then drove back into town. Jim always stops at Mary’s Bar which has been a bar since 1917. The bar was a popular hangout for the stars and crew of Young Guns back in 1988 and the story is that Mary did not let even the stars give her any guff! There are still signed movie posters on the walls. The name was changed from Cerrillos Bar by another movie (Vampires) production company in 1998 and was never changed back!

I was fortunate to meet Mary the first time I went to NM with Jim but she passed away in 2016. Her daughter, family and cats keep it open as much as they can. It is not the most picturesque place inside but it is historic and they still serve cold drinks! A new restaurant opened in the building next door so there is food nearby.

After we had our drink, we drove over to the Casa Grande Trading Post which is a museum for the mining that went on in that area. They mined silver and turquoise.

Unfortunately for us, we were too late as they had already closed. But they have a lot of old machinery sitting around outside and there are glass windows along the front of the building. They have a huge number of old bottles sitting on shelves right inside the windows.

We did not hesitate to take advantage of what we could see inside and out.

Through the holes in the seat of an old tractor.

It was finally time to head back to our mountain house in the Jemez Mountains.

When in the Santa Fe area I highly recommend checking out these small towns in the Jemez Mountains. The tourist trade keeps then going.

Click on the images for larger versions and for additional images in my Galleries: Jemez Mountains and Madrid/Los Cerrillos

My next post will be about the Abiquiu, New Mexico area including the Ghost Ranch made famous by artist Georgia O’Keefe!

That is all for now!


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