Santa Fe, NM – 2009

Note:  I originally wrote this at the request of another blogger who wanted a guest post from me.  She never used it.  She has not answered my e-mails.  I’m guessing she’s too busy . . . but so am I, so I figured I would use it.

People might have noticed a serious lack of new posts, and a huge drop-off in me commenting on other blogs.  Life sometimes gets complicated.  Stuff happens.  Priorities shift.  

I miss posting, writing, photographing stuff . . . I aim to take a little time this weekend to do some of it, but meanwhile . . . here’s the post that needed to see the light of day, but has been languishing in my Draft folder for more than three months.


SOFA West is a yearly art show in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In 2009, a friend of ours associated with the show invited us to attend.  We like Santa Fe (it has a Trader Joes), and in June we headed off for a weekend in Santa Fe.

We headed there the “back way”, going through Taos.  The picture above is the border between the Colorado and New Mexico, looking back toward Colorado.  I think this look works for this particular shot.

Once in Taos we took a little detour to go see the Rio Grande Gorge.  The picture below is taken from about the middle of the bridge that spans it, about 650 ft. above the water.

It is quite the impressive view.  The gorge is in the middle of a very flat landscape.  You don’t know it’s there until you get very close . . . must have been quite the surprise for people traveling through here on their way West.  Especially since the bridge was not there yet.

There are small rapids right underneath the bridge, and rafting is as popular here as it is in Colorado.  The shot above is of a raft passing right under me (I’m on the middle of the bridge).  Mind you, they are not big rapids, but I still think this is a neat shot.

Here they are, safely through the turbulent waters, and out the other side . . . I’d say it’s a metaphor for life, except life is the equivalent of Class 5 rapids.

This shot gives you a sense of scale (people on the bridge, and cars at the end of it).  Also, as you can see, the landscape is pretty flat.  As I said, even within a quarter mile you have no idea it’s there.

We got to Santa Fe Friday evening, and the next morning we checked out the Santa Fe Railyard Farmers Market.  Pretty impressive place catering to now-affluent hippies fulfilling their desire for spiritual meaning by buying expensive, but supposedly “healthy”, produce.

Of course, there are all sorts of products, flowers, and hand-made stuff being sold here.  Very colorful.

I’m presuming this is for people who will later engage in a foul belch competition.

It was nice to watch all the hustle and bustle as people plopped down bread for bread, or in this case, jam. Plus there was a lively band pounding out a great foot-stomping piece.  Pretty good, actually.

Quite the busy place . . . more people than I usually like to be around. . . . but I kept being drawn back to the bread.  Yes, we did buy some bread made from home-grown grains fertilized with real crap (not that unhealthy synthetic crap) and fashioned by hands not required to follow specific hygienic standards . . . you pay extra for such bread. . . .

One thing I saw a lot of . . . guys with pony tails.  I presume the hat was to hide the bald spot.

There is quite the diverse slice of humanity that comes here to peruse the various offerings . . .This is one of the offerings . . . a very nice guy providing some entertainment, and adding a bit of color to an already colorful place.

Eventually we made our way near the SOFA exibit, and having some time, we strolled about looking at the architecture.  I used to be quite indifferent to the Southwest style homes and buildings, but now I find them very interesting and easy on the eyes. Clean lines and colorful exteriors . . . this museum was showing the works of Georgia O’Keefe.

The display of her art work was very interesting, as was the story of her life.

I liked both the building and the tree.

Trying one of my many newly discovered “looks”.

This is the building where the Expo was held. One of the entrances . . . where cameras are not allowed.

SOFA was not open yet, so we continued our exploration of this artsy mecca.

I have to admit to enjoying having the monotony of urban architecture broken up by the unexpected work of art.

And art often intermingled with architecture.  The statue is that of an Indian carrying a squaw and a child on his shoulders . . . which you can’t see clearly.  This was a restaurant, and people were eating in the open space, so I did not want to intrude.  But I did shoot this from the entrance.

The Museum of Art . . . don’t know of this Art character, but they have museums dedicated to the guy in nearly every city in the world.

Again, I find the architecture pleasant to look at, and even as imposing as it is in size, having a somewhat organic, even friendly look to it.  Strange, because my first thought is that a couple of guys with rifles, and enough ammunition, could repel a sizable attack.

The astute observer might surmise there are few, if any, people in Santa Fe.  Oh no-no . . . many people milling about.  I just make the extra effort to exclude them from pictures I take.  Not an easy task, I assure you.

This is sort of a town square, and the prior picture was of Native Americans selling their beads and stuff to the tourists . . . quite the ironic reversal of roles.

There were many restaurants all over, including this one crammed in what would normally be an alley.

A relatively modern church . . . I wonder if they intended to give the appearance of a jowly face.

OK, I thought I would include people in my pictures, and rather than do a few at a time I thought I’d bite the bullet and get a whole bunch at once.  Only Native Americans get these spots, and I’m told there is a lot of competition for them.  The mystery of human nature will forever elude me.  Now, if they were selling panini sandwiches . . .

I’m guessing a representation of a particular creation account . . . or their version of Dr. Evil and Mini-Me.

. . . I bet this fellow had a hard time getting dates . . . probably had a reputation of being all hands.

This is a statue near the St. Francis of Assisi church.  Don’t get the idea of the animals . . . I’m pretty sure he was not big on bestiality.  Perhaps the other two guys . . .

The church itself was quite impressive, both inside and out (yes, I stepped in and was not smitten by bolts of lightning).

And yes, I know about St. Francis and the animals, so I was kidding earlier.  This statue depicts the wolf he supposedly tamed.  These days his liability insurance would go through the roof for having a wolf for a pet.

Another shot showing that while most pictures I take show very few people around, there are in fact humans milling about . . . the bastards!

. . . I have no idea . . . it just looked funky, so I took a shot of it.  I think it involves the close relationship of predator and potential food, although it’s hard to tell which is which.

Now this, this is more more style.  Simple, made from readily available materials, and clearly showing the intention and scope of the artist’s motivation . . . he, or she, wanted to pile some rocks.    I can respect that.

Around nearly every corner there were stands selling stuff.  Many corners, alleys, and parking lots also had artists selling stuff, but they also had signs prohibiting picture taking of their so-called art.  Out of respect for their overly-inflated ego, and because the stuff was mostly crap, I complied.

We did eventually get into SOFA . . . but, as I said, no pictures allowed.

I’m not an artsy guy per se . . . I mean, I can appreciate the skill involved in producing some work of art, but in many cases much of the art is anointed with a level of value that far exceeds what I can see. Still, I suppose people with money have to do something with it, otherwise they might find themselves helping those less fortunate.

This way they can spend tens of thousand of dollars on a piece of bark carved in the shape of a fish. At least it looked like a fish. I suppose it could have been a dog. One never knows with artists; it used to be they painted and sculpted what they saw . . . now I think what they see is heavily influenced by money, and boils down to being different from others as a means of getting a piece of the patron-pie.

Anyway, some of the art, regardless of the motivation, was quite striking. Too bad I could not photograph any of it . . . it lessened my opinion of some of the artist . . . not that for many it was that high to begin with.

Seriously, it was fun at the expo, fun in Santa Fe, and fun driving to and from the place. We certainly plan to go again.

This was on the way back home . . . we were approaching a corner, and I noticed cows being herded toward the road through a narrow chute coming off from a field.  I hurried to get past the point where it looked like they would spill on the road, and sure enough, shortly after they headed along the road toward where I had come from.  No persons were leading them (they were still in the field rounding up strays.  Don’t know where they were headed, but I would have been pissed had I found myself with a herd of cattle coming toward me on a main road.

These next few are from the Vietnam National Memorial in Angel Fire, NM.  Apparently it’s the only free state park in New Mexico.  Rather smallish, but a few striking displays.  The white thing in the background is the roof over the chapel.

There is a story associated with this machine and the person who flew it.  It was interesting listening to the volunteers tell it to the tourists.

About to leave New Mexico, it occurs to me I’ve not captured much of the landscape.  So, I stop the car and take a few pictures.  The road disappearing int the distance is a metaphor for the lack of choices in our lives; we are confined to an ever-narrowing road, with few if any opportunities to depart from the path laid down by the road makers.

Once in Colorado, we found a picnic area to stop and have a few snacks, something to drink, and take a break from the driving.

The mountain were being bathed in sun rays coming through a break in the clouds.  The surrounding land was in the shade.

It may look beautiful, but there was a stiff breeze, and it was quite cold.  Still, we were determined to eat outside the vehicle, even if it required weighing everything down so it would not fly away, wearing a heavy sweater to keep warm, and scarfing food down before frostbite set in.  And this concludes out account of our 2009 Santa Fe trip . . . We do like New Mexico, and we do plan to go back.

Those interested in seeing all the pictures (107, to be exact), can click HERE to go to the SmugMug gallery for the trip.

Thanks for dropping by to share in my escape from reality.  I hope you, the gentle reader, enjoyed both my words and pictures.


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