While on our evening walk along the river, I spied this pair of Great Horned Owls sitting high in a cottonwood.
The larger owl on the left (I assume the female) turned around and looked back at me before taking flight.
By the time she flew out of the trees where I could get a clear shot of her, she was almost over Laurie. Owls are silent in flight, so she flew over Laurie without notice.
I walked around the other side of where the male was perched and got a good shot of how well his feathers blend in with the cottonwood's bark.
He turned around to see what I was up to, and gave me a sideways glance.
So I moved around and got a sideways shot of him.
I was waiting to see if he would fly, but he was content on staying perched and looking demure.
Bullfrog peeking out at me through the moss and algae.
Billy Momo Released a new video today, Following Me Following You, which is a wonderful song and video.
Bullfrog sunning himself on the moss and algae in the middle of the clearwater ditch.
This bullfrog was really blending into the moss and algae.
Very green bullfrog half buried in mostly red algae.
Bullfrog pressing himself into the moss and algae, but not very well camouflaged.
There are various things we do to celebrate people's lives — weddings, when our children are born, and funerals, for example. I find it ironic that on May 20, 2017, the day I shot a wedding for the first time in 25 years, they buried Richard Delgado, the man who taught me how to photograph weddings 35 years ago.
I started working for Delgado’s Creative Photography in June 1982, soon after Laurie and I were married. I continued working for him photographing weddings and special events on weekends and evenings, as needed, until May of 1992, when my day job started running late into the evenings, and most weekends as I had to keep up with more responsibilities and large projects.
During the first couple of years I worked for Delgado, I worked as an assistant photographer while he taught me how to shoot weddings and, most importantly, his style of shooting weddings. I also did some darkroom work at the studio until he moved his studio and did away with the lab. By that time I had finished my graduate degree and had started working at ARC, I was only available during evening hours and weekends. I had also racked up enough experience that I was shooting weddings by myself, as he would book two weddings that on the same day and time, so he would shoot one wedding, while I shot the other.
Our system worked out pretty well. He would call me and give me the wedding schedule. I would drop by the studio, pick up film and instructions for each wedding, shoot one or more weddings over a weekend, and drop the film by on Monday afternoon. During those years, I rarely saw the photos I took unless I screwed up a couple of shots, then he would show them to me so I could see how I screwed up and not do it again — fortunately, those occasions were few and far between.
Delgado was a true artist and an accomplished musician, as well. He played violin with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (now the New Mexico Philharmonic), and taught orchestra for public schools. During the years I worked for him, Delgado won an International Wedding Photographer the Year award, along with many other awards. He was also recognized as a Master of Photography by the Professional Photographers of America. He closed his studio sometime in the late 1990’s and I lost track of him during the years we lived in Spain. I learned of Delgado’s death on Friday and that his funeral was today.
Delgado had a big influence on my photography, and I have always held a special place for him in my heart for the photographic skills and knowledge he passed on to me.
While thinking about this post, I dug out the photographs of our wedding from 35 years ago. Most people don’t know that Laurie and I had a shotgun wedding. Laurie said “Most people would pay you not to show the photos of our wedding!” Since she didn’t cough up any cash, I’ve added the photos of our shotgun wedding to add a little humor to a day I celebrated the life of one couple, while I mourned the loss of an old friend and mentor.
The lighting in the church was on the difficult side, but it created a wonderful atmosphere for a beautiful wedding.
There was a time when photographers could hide behind their cameras. Not in a word where cameras are in just about everything. Laurie, the phone paparazza, got a few photos of me, and then complained because I wouldn't hold still.
Our long hair couldn't cover up our rednecks.
Part of our parking lot. These Salvia spread from three plants.
Here are various views of our garden just before the sun set the other night.
The gate at the entrance to the walk up to the front door.
What we call the circle garden with an old, cold damaged chitalpa in the center.
The narrow view on the parking lot from the path to the front door.
Another view of the circle garden.
Our giant Dr Huey to the left, stand of black bamboo between the iris and rose garden and trees along the south side of the property.
Intersting clouds and sunset.
On Gold between First and Second Streets
View of the historic marker on the building at the corner of First Street and Gold Avenue, about the photo with a view of Gold Avenue about 1890.
View of Gold Avenue, looking west from First Street, taken in 2017 when nothing much was happening.
The Noodle King is no more
View of Second Street, looking north from Gold Avenue when someone was jaywalking across Second street.
Into the void
Coyote at a discontinuity
Handicapped giant black spider
Muskrat dragging weeds
Muskrat with a grassy mustache
Purple mountain's majesty
At the Rail Yards.
Corner house on Second Street close to the Rail Yards.
On Second Street a few doors down from the corner house close to the Rail Yards.
I was out at the river at sunrise.
After I walked back from the river, I was hooking up the drip system, when I saw a balloon over the river, behind the trees.
The pilot held the fire on the burners, and the balloon rose quickly with water streaming off the basket.
A Flicker takes flight in the bosque.
Perched in the top of a dead elm tree.
Wings spread for the launch.
Goes into a high speed arrow tuck.
I missed the wing stroke between arrow tucks.
Western Coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum, mating ritual on the ditch bank.
Laurie and I went for a walk on the ditch earlier in the afternoon, because Laurie had to go to choir practice in the late afternoon. While on our walk, a pair of Western Coachwhip snakes (Masticophis flagellum) tumbled into our path in a mating ritual where they were constantly wrapping around each other and making their coachwhip like bodies look like a large piece of red and brown rope. At the end of their ritual, the red phased snake crawled off very quickly and disappeared into a hole in the bank, while the brown phased snake looked at us in dismay that we had been watching them before he crawled up the ditch bank at a more leisurely pace and disappeared into another hole in the side of the ditch bank.
"According to folklore, the coachwhip – a non-venomous snake that is surprisingly swift – will pursue and attack a person, squeezing its victim in its coils and lashing him to death with its tail. It will even stick the tip of its tail up a comatose victim's nose just to make certain that breathing has ceased and life has ended. Otherwise, the snake will resume its lashing. In real life, of course, the coachwhip will not set upon a human, but it will certainly defend itself vigorously if cornered" (see DesertUSA.com — http://www.desertusa.com/reptiles/coachwhip.html).
These two were adult snakes, both were about 5 to 6 feet long. Coachwhip snakes take on the color of their environment, and the brown phased snake was very close to the color of the sand on the ditch bank. The red phased snake, which we used to call "red racers" because of their color and speed (they can crawl up to 7 MPH), is much like the pink in the Sandias, and matches the red soils that are found throughout New Mexico. They feed on lizards and other reptiles, including venomous snakes, birds, eggs, small rodents and insects.
Stretched out, wrapped around each other, looking like a rope.
Their scales make them look like braided coachwhips and thus their name.
Turned around, they looked like they are fighting, but I didn't see them bite each other.
The brown phased Coachwhip sees us.
Who are those silly looking paparazzi?
He crawled slowly up the bank before disappearing into a hole.
From a distance it could have been a muskrat.
But as I ran up on it as quietly as possible, I could see it was a beaver.
He was leaving colorful patterns in his wake.
As I got closer, the patterns in the water intensified.
Finally caught up to the beaver and he was making waves.
He slowed down and eyed me intensely.
I caught him in mid slap before he dove under a tree hanging over the water.
He waited in the water at the edge of the tree.
He started out from under the tree, saw me and did a slap-n-dive just as I released the shutter. You can see his face and paw under the water.
Rio Grande running high this afternoon, May 10, 2017.
There has been a lot of thunderstorm activity over the past few days. Heavy rain north of Corrales raised the level of the Rio Grande about three feet (one meter) by 19:30 yesterday, May 9th. The water was very muddy and moving very fast, making it look like boiling chocolate. I walked about 2 miles north in the bosque this afternoon and heard owls hooting back and forth to each other. Following the hoots of the closest owl, I finally spotted the owl a few minutes before 8:00 PM perched high in a cottonwood tree.
Rio Grande running very high on May 9, 2017 after a day of thunderstorms. I usually stand out where the trees are when I photograph the mountains.
Rio Grande on May 8, 2017 running about 3 feet lower than May 9th and May 10th.
Rio Grande, bosque and dramatic Sandias this afternoon.
A Great Horned Owl in a cottonwood in the bosque, well after sunset.
Wide angle shot of the bosque where I found the owl. Can you find the owl in this photo?