My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.


"Orphan Mesa"

Traveling and taking pictures is a rewarding and relaxing time away from the hustle and bustle work of daily life. Finding a place that is different from where I live and grew up was an enticing challenge. I eventually stumbled upon a unique workshop given by a truly gifted photographer, Craig Varjabedian. His business is titled “Eloquent Light”, and after a week, it really lived up to its name. What was unique in this workshop was the fact that I would be living at a place called Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. If the name does not ring a bell… it was Georgia O’Keeffe’s summer residence where she painted many of her landscapes. For me it was a time to forget the east coast and see with new eyes.

I remember finding my living quarters in a cabin up on a small mesa and breathing the air far from my corner of the world. Breathing was an understatement… the ranch is located at 6500 ft. above sea level. For lowlanders, as I was called, this provided a small setback. It took me 2 days to get use to the thinner air as, just walking up and down that small hill to the dinning hall proved a challenge. The reward though was breathtaking, in more ways than one… I was surrounded by sweeping vistas of a land I had only previously seen  in books and movies. The light and color, of even the dirt, attracted my camera in all directions. I could not believe how many different shades of red and brown there was in one place. Cliffs that seemed distant at first light became increasingly closer as I extended my free reign of this enchanted place. On a side trip, all the color that I had previously described, vanished. “Plaza Blanca…the White Place” is exactly that. Where most of New Mexico is painted in shades of red, orange and brown, this place was void of color and felt like another planet. Cliffs, pillars and arches were made of the same bright white rock. I could see why many Sci-fy movies were made here. My challenge was to find drama and detail in this illuminated place. After exploring this otherworldly setting for a day, it was time to head back to the ranch.

After dinner on my last night, I headed out into our courtyard to surprisingly find a pitch black night, eloquently accented by a maze of stars. Lights of major cities did not spill over into this area as it does in the east. The blackness actually opened your eyes and mind to the unbelievable beauty of the Universe. Both quiet and tranquil, it was a soul awakening experience that reminded me of where I was…. and made me homesick for where I wanted to be.


17 responses

  1. When East meets West, magical moments and sceneries comes to life. Beautiful, amazing …breathtaking. It’s like being in a place where time stops….Thank you for giving us inspiration day after day. Best wishes to your family.


    July 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

  2. How fun! I chuckled a little at having to acclimate to the elevation. Ohhh you flat landers. 😉
    As always, I love your shots. You captured the area well!
    Isn’t it amazing how many stars you can see in the desert?


    March 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm

  3. sharon

    Finally had the time to read and view your latest creations…very authenic and almost 3 D-like …you can almost reach out and touch…wonderful photos


    March 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm

  4. These photos are aimply amazing – how nice to be able to photograph places like this!


    March 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm

  5. Quite stunning, Mike – both the place and your photos.


    March 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  6. A great set, Mike–what a place! The two that speak to me the most are the third (#7) and the tenth (#12). I wanna go there, too!


    March 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

  7. Pat

    Mike, It sounds as though you enjoy just being there. The photography is only a bonus.


    March 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

  8. Beautiful country. Beautiful captures. Nice writeup.


    March 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

  9. Bonnie Rovere

    A beautiful collection. The colors are magnificent! I am very jealous!


    March 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

  10. Barbara

    Another beautiful set of photographs. Your eye for the beauty of nature in has been revealed. My favorite photograph was the single tree that stands the test of time against a gray and perhaps stormy sky.


    March 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

  11. Gorgeous. I’ve visited Arizona and have always wanted to go to New Mexico. It’s on my bucket list. I’m fascinated by the desert and its colors. I live on the east coast of Canada, so completely different inspirations. Keep up the great work!


    March 5, 2012 at 8:08 am

  12. WOWEEE!!! You are quite the jet-setter and awesome photographer!


    March 5, 2012 at 7:32 am

  13. Joanna Patterson

    I am amazed at all that you fit into your schedule, Mike. You must never stop to catch your breath (speaking of breathing). Great clouds add a lot to your wonderful Mojave photos. Keep up the good work.


    March 5, 2012 at 3:40 am

  14. The last paragraph is wonderfully written and the photos breathtaking.


    March 5, 2012 at 2:20 am

  15. Jenna Markowick

    stunning photos!


    March 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

  16. Roopaushree

    great shots


    March 5, 2012 at 12:47 am

  17. charlieszr4

    Beautiful photos!


    March 5, 2012 at 12:36 am

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