Tuesday, November 14, 2017

El Tecolote

Tecolote Mesa is fifteen miles west of Grants, New Mexico.  The name is associated with a geological feature on the mesa's rim thought to resemble the eyes of an owl.  On the slopes below there are the thousand-year-old remains of Casamero Pueblo.   The site, administered by the BLM, is a few miles off of Highway 40.  We have been the only visitors during our two visits.

The main pueblo structure is said to have contained about twenty rooms and possibly a second story with a few more.  A nearby depression marks the site of a large unexcavated kiva.  Casamero is one of the southernmost outliers of the Chaco Canyon complex, which is about forty miles to the north.

The camera used to make these pictures was my FED 1g, fitted with the 35mm Jupiter 12 and an accessory viewfinder.  This Barnack-style bottom loader has made some nice pictures for me over the years, and also provided me with numerous opportunities to learn about camera maintenance and repair.  I have had the shutter crate out of the camera several times, the last to try to figure out how to keep it from chewing up film.  I've also had to adjust the shutter tension and seal up some pinholes in the shutter curtains.  I did manage to get through a whole roll of film on this occasion with no advance or framing problems, but I am seeing some evidence again of shutter capping in the form of dark edges on the images.  Judging by the near complete absence of paint on the camera's back it has had a long and productive life, so it is not surprising that some of the fixes are breaking down.  Luckily I have several other Soviet-era rangefinder cameras including a Zorki 2C which functions perfectly, so I am still able to easily put to use my fine FED, Jupiter and Industar lenses.


JR Smith said...

Your photos of the high desert tug at my heart strings. About the only time I miss Arizona and New Mexico are when I see some of your great color work here on the blog. I always meant to do a trip and photo essay along Route 66 from the California/Arizona border through and across New Mexico, but I never did.

You mentioned you were the only visitors that day and that was probably wonderful, quiet, lonely and majestic.

Mike said...

It is easy to see why the site was chosen for the pueblo. There is a creek that runs down the middle of the valley. The top of the mesa has a good supply of wood for building and fuel. Lots of pinon nuts to harvest, and likely good numbers of game animals in those days. The rock peels off the cliffs in convenient shapes and sizes for construction in the Chaco style. Now, it is a great place to walk and our dog really enjoyed the outing as well. I'm hoping one day to get up on top of the mesa which must offer some great views.

James Harr said...

Really nice shots Mike. I have a Zorki-4K that needs some shutter work. I'm hoping to get to that over the holidays. I also am contemplating a Route 66 drive in the spring.

Mike said...

Hey, great! Will look forward to seeing you and your Zorki.