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Go Southwest, Young Man
Capture Your Own Memories - But Do It Now Before They're Gone
It's all Ansel Adams' fault.
His friend Albert Bender introduced him to New Mexico's amazing light, shapes and people in 1927. Adams' photographic exploration of those shapes and textures, and stories of eccentric characters - Mabel Dodge Luhan and Georgia O'Keefe prominent among them - enticed me into a first visit. It was April 1991, and I was sick of California crowds. I'd go anywhere in California for a getaway - and discover at least half a million other people already there. No, that didn't cut it.
Tour the Land of EntrapmentThat first Taos weekend showed me the hospitality of innkeeper Sue Smoot and her guests, the ancient, still-living culture of Taos Pueblo, the snowy spine of mountains named for the blood of Christ, and spring skiing in Taos Ski Valley. And the best part - I had it mostly to myself by California standards. I truly discovered why locals call this the Land of Entrapment.
"You Gotta Come Back..."I kept returning to discover more - 200-year-old San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, the Moreno Valley and ice fishing at Eagle Nest Lake, mysterious ruins at Chaco Canyon, the mesa-top pueblo fortress at Acoma, beautiful sandstone spires at Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. There were also morning explosions of cackling snow geese and delicate dances of feeding sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache, the sweet smell of wild sage around the old road to Pilar, plus more mystery at Albuquerque's Petroglyph National Monument.
Beautiful Cultural CrossroadsThe Southwest was a pivotal crossroads for travelers from Mexico, the Pacific coast, and the eastern plains. Seashells, macaw feathers and turquoise jewelry speak of those trade routes. Everyone left their mark - there are six main Puebloan languages spoken here, along with Spanish, English, and more-hidden French and Hebrew.
And the Food!That's reflected in the fusion of fry bread, enchiladas, steak, and tandoori offered by local restaurants. You can regularly dine out at places like M'Tucci's Kitchena and Lambert's that could give intense competition to big-city restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago. Couple that with a vibrant micro-brew scene, especially if you were raised on tasteless American lager, and you have some of my favorite places to eat and drink.
Capture Your Own Story - But Do It SoonThe Southwest changed only slowly for the last thousand years. But this former inland seabed has its own oil riches, adding drilling and recent fracking operations to the tracks of Pueblo natives, Spaniards, Mexicans and Anglo soldiers. The views around Chaco Canyon in particular are changing. It's time to see it now, before the beautiful desert landscape disappears for good.
How To Write Your Chapter
I'd like to help you write your own chapters using your camera, and get some professional-quality pictures. You'll learn to interpret that story and make it part of yours. And from the best viewpoints - I'll show you where to get those 'oh, wow' pictures you actually want to show to friends.
Start At HomeYou don't have to go anywhere to start - claim your free guide to professional photo techniques for Puebloan ruins and petroglyphs here. Or if you prefer bison, hawks and grizzlies, claim your free guide to pro photo techniques for wildlife. You'll also receive free travel photography advice every month for the rest of the year.
Ready for your own professional-level shooting on-site? Please see photo tour descriptions here. Then call or click to join a tour. It will change your view of the American story - how everything began on a grand scale - and hugely improve your ability to tell a story with your camera.
Mark Bohrer |