An Afternoon Shooting at Meijer Gardens

I stopped by the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park this afteroon to get some practice with my camera.  Here are some of the shots from the session. (Click on a photo to see a larger image.)

These next three photos are of “Aria,” by Alexander Liberman.

I have tried to get a decent photo of “Eve,” by Auguste Rodin but have never quite been satisfied.  This one comes close but the focus is kind of mushy.  IMG_9345

One of the things I am trying to do is to envision things in black and white.  Some of the photos I took today converted nicely, I think.

A Quick Trip “Up North”

Out the door at Saturday morning at 3:15 a.m. for the three hour drive to the Leelanau Peninsula to catch the sunrise. I arrived just in time to see the sun rising over Narada Lake near Point Oneida in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Shortly thereafter a layer of clouds blanketed the sky, giving me an excuse to go to breakfast. After breakfast I found a Sandhill Crane who was more than willing to pose for me.

I also drove up to the tip of the Peninsula to see the Grand Traverse lighthouse.

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The Rio Grande Gorge

Just a few miles northwest of Taos, the Rio Grande Gorge splits the flat landscape. I visited early in the morning of each of the days that we were in Taos. I walked along the Rim Trail and out onto the bridge that spans the gorge, 565 feet above the Rio Grande River. It is the seventh highest bridge in the United States. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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On my second day along the Rim Trail I came upon a herd of adolescent Big Horn Sheep. They were not spooked by me and followed me along the trail for a mile or so. They even took an interest in my camera tripod.

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The next day, while shooting photos from the bridge, I saw a herd of six adult Big Horns. In my excitement, I raced off the bridge to capture a photo, but neglected to pay attention to my camera settings, which were set for the shot of the canyon. Nonetheless, with the magic of Lightroom and RAW files, I was able to salvage a couple of shots to at least back up my story that I saw adult Big Horn Sheep.

 

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is the northernmost pueblo in New Mexico. People have resided in Taos Pueblo for over 1,000 years. Today, four to six families live regularly in the pueblo, which has no running water or electricity. Other families return to live in the pueblo during special occasions. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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A tour of the pueblo begins at San Geronimo (St. Jerome) Chapel, which was completed in 1850. Spanish missionaries brought Catholicism to the Taos Pueblo in 1540, forcing them to give up their ancestral religion. Today, the people of Taos Pueblo are predominantly Catholic, but also continue to practice their ancestral religious rites.

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A Catholic church was first erected at the Pueblo in 1619. It was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt agains the Spanish in 1680. A new church was erected after the return of the Spanish. That church was bombed by U.S. troops in 1847 during the Taos Revolt, an uprising against occupation by the United States.  Over 100 people, including women and children, who had taken sanctuary in the church were killed.  The remains of the original church are in the cemetery at the Pueblo.

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There are two main structures, Hlauuma (north house) and Hlaukwima (south house). It is estimated that portions of these structures were first built between 1000 AD and 1450 AD, making them the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in the country.

Hlaukwima (south house)Taos Pueblo-7806

Hlauuma (north house)

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San Francisco de Asis

San Francisco de Asis, in Rancho de Taos, was built in the late 1700s. The church is gorgeous and has been the subject of work by Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe and hundreds of other artists. It is such a beautiful building. I spent two hours taking photos as the sun rose in the sky as the light shifted over the curves and angles of the church. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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The Taos County Courthouse Murals

The old Taos County Courthouse on Taos Plaza was completed in 1934. That year, the Works Progress Administration commissioned four artists – Emil Bisttram, Ward Lockwood, Bert Phillips and Victor Higgins – to paint ten murals on the walls of the court room. In 1994 an eleventh mural was added by New Mexican artist Frederico Virgil, who restored the other murals. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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The old Taos Courthouse
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“Moses the Law Giver,” by Victor Higgins

Taos

Ernest Blumenschein was a New York who convinced another artist, Bert Phillips, to join him in a trip to Mexico.  The two took the train to Denver where they purchased a wagon and supplies for their trip.  After their wagon broke down outside of Taos, the two decided to terminate their adventure and remain in Taos. While Blumenschein would return to New York and also to Paris, Phillips remained in Taos. Blumenschein joined him in the summers.  Together they founded the Taos Society of Artists.  Blumenschein’s home is today a museum. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

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The Harwood Museum of Art’s mission ” to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the arts, especially those created in, inspired by, or relevant to northern New Mexico.” The museum was originally the home of artists Burt and Elizabeth Harwood, who established it as the town’s only library and then began using it to mount exhibitions.

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Mabel Dodge Luhan was a wealthy patron of the arts who moved to Taos in 1917.  She created a writers colony, playing host to D.H. Lawrence, Willa Cather, Robinson Jeffers, Aldous Huxley, among others.  Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams and other artists were also guests at her 12 acre estate.  Today, the estate is a conference center and inn.

The Taos Art Museum is located in the former home of Nicolai Fechin. Nicolai Fechin was an artist who immigrated from the Soviet Union who settled in Taos in 1927. He bought a small home and added multiple additions. He did all the woodwork in the home and the studio. The house was given to the Taos Art Society by Fechin’s daughter and today houses the Taos Art Museum.

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The Fechin Studio.