Sunday, July 24, 2016

La Cieneguilla

I first visited the petroglyph site at La Cieneguilla shortly after we moved to Albuquerque in the Fall of 2008.  I was pleased sometime later when one of my shots of the Autumn foliage there was featured on the BLM web site for the area.  Recently, though, I noted that the picture has been reduced to a size which leaves much to the imagination, so I'm posting it here again.

The Cieneguilla site is a few miles south of the Santa Fe Airport at the west end of Galisteo Basin.

I drove up to La Cieneguilla again yesterday.  I was climbing up to the rimrock by 6:30, but it was already getting warm, and clambering over the rocks to get close to the petroglyphs was a challenge.  It is an effort worth making, however, because of the quantity and variety of rock art on display.  The site is particularly renowned for the large number of hunchback flute player images, but there are representatives of a great many of the designs found all along the valley of the Rio Grande and its tributaries.



Whimsically recumbent Kokopeli

The Elk Hunter

I shot the Fuji 200 color in my Leica-copy FED 1g with the Jupiter-12 35mm lens and the matching wide-angle viewfinder.  My shutter repair seems to be holding up well, but I did get a little over-lap in a few frames.  Probably time for a more thorough cleaning.

I also exposed ten shots on TMAX 100 in one of my Kodak Duo Six-20 folders.  I have four of these 6x4.5 Kodaks which I like very much.  The one with the Anastigmat 4.5 lens and the Compur shutter works well.  I was planning on giving it some more exercise, but the heat and the terrain got the best of me. Next time, I'll take less gear and more water.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Species Thought Extinct Found in London

The Guardian has a piece today about recent inductees to the photo agency, Magnum.  One is Matt Stuart, a London street photographer.  Here is a snippet of the "About" page on his web site:


How long have you been shooting on the street? 20 years.

What film camera do you use? I use a Leica MP with a 35mm f2 Leica Summicron lens

What film do you use? Fuji Superia 200/400

How many rolls of film do you use a week? At least three rolls a day. I never leave the house without my camera...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

La Bajada

I drove an hour north of Albuquerque yesterday to enjoy the morning's cool breeze and a sunrise walk at La Bajada.

La Bajada is best known today for the remnants of the old Route 66 alignment which snakes up over the escarpment above the Santa Fe River. That famous roadway, however, was preceded by older north/south routes including the colonial Spanish Camino Real which stretched all the way from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Before that, the local native people followed trails across the mesas and down the river canyon for thousands of years. Many petroglyphs can be seen on the slopes beside the eroded Bajada roadway which are thought to date mostly from the height of the Puebloan period between AD 1300-1600.

An acequia at the base of the escarpment carries Santa Fe River water to cultivated fields and pastures around the village of La Bajada.

Petroglyphs along the La Bajada route are mostly in the Rio Grande style.  Some like the small horned serpent figure are nearly identical to glyphs at La Rinconada forty miles to the south.

The Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque can be seen in the far distance in the scene below.  In the foreground a large, cryptic design covers the upper surface of a large basalt boulder.  On the other side of the boulder there are a number of zoomorphic figures.

There are said to be petroglyphs all along the five-mile stretch of the Santa Fe river canyon between La Bajada and La Cieneguilla where there is a concentration of thousands of petroglyphs along the rimrock above a marshy area.

Perhaps when the weather cools in the Fall I'll try hiking to the top of La Bajada and down through the river canyon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer by the River

We enjoy walking the trails beside the Rio Grande throughout the year.  The real highlight though comes in mid-June with the blooming of the Yerba Mansa.

There is a very dense stand of Yerba Mansa close to the river about a mile south of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.  The densely packed plants extend about a quarter mile along the river-side trail in boggy ground.  The conical upper portion of the plant head develops many small seeds; it is very light and buoyant when dry and likely helps the plant to spread downstream when the river floods.

The Wolfberry likes the same environment as the Yerba Mansa and the sweet red berries reach maturity at the same time the Yerba Mansa flowers.   Like the Russian Olive and the invasive Tamarisk, the Wolfberry was probably brought to the Southwest from Asia. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016


I received this nice catalog of upcoming exhibits and workshops  today in the mail.  Seems like it offers something for everyone with an interest in the photographic arts  Information about the scheduled events is available on line at

  This year, PhotoSummer is organized by The University of New Mexico Art Museum and 516 ARTS in Albuquerque and CENTER in Santa Fe.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Versatile Dolly

The Certo Dolly Super Sport
is one of my favorite old folding cameras.  I did not realize that until I had traded away my first one, and I ended up buying four more.  Some of my other medium format cameras are more compact and have somewhat more sophisticated lenses and shutters.  The Dolly, however, can do a variety of things the others can't.

For starters, the Dolly originally came equipped with two frame masks which allowed putting 12 6x6 frames on a roll of 120 film, or by clipping in the 6x4.5 mask, getting 16 shots on a roll.  Certo also offered a amazing array of accessories for that time for the Dolly, including interchangeable lenses, and camera backs which allowed the use of sheet film and plates.  As it turns out, it is also easily possible to use 35mm film in the Dolly.

The Dolly film compartment, unlike those in most medium format cameras, will actually allow dropping in a standard 35mm cartridge with no modifications needed.  Then, you thread the film leader into the take-up spool, give it a few turns and close the back.  Since there is no paper backing on the 35mm film, it is a good idea to tape over the three windows on the camera back to insure that no light leaks in to ruin your film.  If you have the 6x6 cm mask in place, the exposures you make in the Dolly using 35mm film will give you panoramic frames nearly twice the width of a normal 35mm shot, as well as showing an interesting line of sprocket holes along the top and bottom borders.

The final thing to bear in mind about using 35mm film with no paper backing in the Dolly is that you must come up with some way to advance the film for each frame by turning the film advance knob just the right amount to ensure proper frame spacing.  I've done this with a number of other medium format cameras by experimenting with a roll of film with the back open to determine the right amount to turn the advance knob as I work through the roll.  The amount of turns does vary slightly due to the increase in diameter of the film roll as it goes onto the take-up reel.

The clever Dolly as it turns out has a built-in solution to the film advance problem.  There is a circular index dial on the face of the take-up knob which allows advancing the film without reference to the numerals imprinted on the paper backing of the 120 film normally used in the camera.

After you load the 35mm cartridge into the Dolly, you will want to give the advance knob several full turns to bring an unexposed section of film into position.  As you are coming to that point, just be sure that you end the last turn with the numeral "1"  at the index mark on the post beside the knob.  After making the first exposure, you will then turn the advance knob a full 360 degrees plus a little more to get to the numeral "2" on the dial.  And so on up to the twelfth exposure.  Examining the dial closely, you wil see that the amount indicated to turn decreases slightly on each exposure so that by frame 10 you will actually be turning the advance knob less than a full turn.

Well, so that has gotten you to the twelfth frame with very precise spacing.  After that you're on your own, assuming you have loaded a 24 or 36-exposure roll of 35mm. If you still have some unexposed film left I guess you could engage in some higher mathematics to calculate the advance routine for any remaining length of the roll, but I think I'd just go with around three-quarters of a turn for any remaining frames and accept the fact that the spacing is going to get a bit wider as you go. 

I only tried 35mm in my Dolly on one occasion a few years ago.  I shot with the 6x4.5 mask, so I did not get the nice panoramic effect, but I thought having the image overlap the full width of the fillm and show the sprocket holes was pretty neat.  I also just took a best guess on the film advance.  It was a lot of fun and gave me a series of images I liked.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

a sweet goodbye

My Pentax K1000 is going to a new home in Arizona.  I decided to run one last roll of film through the camera, the cheap but colorful Lomography 100 which has always given me good results with the Unicolor C-41 color negative chemistry kit.

The 36-exposure roll includes two trips to the Rio Grande bosque, a walk in the Sandia Mountain foothills, and a brief visit to Santa Fe.

I haven't made a lot of pictures in the past year.  The outings with the K1000 were a good reminder of what I like about photography.  While making pictures is the goal of the effort, the bigger reward is the opportunity which photography provides to become totally immersed in the moment; I am able to focus my attention completely on the details of my surroundings with no other concerns of life crowding my consciousness.  Photography allows me to partake in a small way in the Navajo aspiration to walk in beauty.