Hatch chili peppers

New Mexico

New Mexico photos, along the Pecos by Jason Buchanan

When someone says it gets cold and rainy in New Mexico, believe them. Despite the cloudy weather the trip was enjoyable. New Mexico is a treasure of culture, nature and adventure. I believe the summer and winter months lend themselves to a more enjoyable "vacation" depending on what you're looking for. The spring and late fall are usually cloudy and rainy - and cold.

I haven't had a chance to write good descriptions for these photographs. The weather wasn't very cooperative when they were taken and the overall punch is a little less than I had hoped for. All of the square images were taken using a Rollei 6008 SRC 1000 medium format camera equipped with Zeiss optics and Kodak E100SW film. The rectangular image was taken using a Nikon F90x and Fuji Velvia film. Sometimes I think about taking these images offline because they really are not very interesting. To the critics: I know they're not much to look at; don't remind me. The weather was lousy.

rock barn
The rock barn was taken in a small field near Tecalote, NM. I had driven past the field a few times while I was in search of the Imus Ranch near Ribera, NM. On the return trip to find the ranch, I left I-25 and took the rental car on a washboard intended mainly for 4WD vehicles. I was laughing to myself as I drove that road because the barn was a scene I wanted to capture. I was thinking of the quote I read of Edward Weston who said "If it is more than 500 feet from the car, it isn't photogenic." Not to be daunted by mere gravity and physics I went after it. However, it was about a half mile off of I-25 and to get there I had to take a twisty/windy road at a 20% grade to get to the top of a hill where it sat. For better or worse, the results of the 60 minute ordeal are shown here.

A hand-woven string of hatch chili peppers in Bernalillo NM
The idea to take the shot of these peppers came from seeing some photos Phil Greenspun had taken a few years ago. The full contrast capabilities of the film weren't given a chance because of the cloudy skies. Thankfully, the sharpness and purity of color proved to me that the high price for the camera was worth it. Unfortunately, the weather was totally uncooperative, I had a flight out of Albuquerque in less than two hours and the clouds were spaced about 10 minutes apart. I passed the time by eating a few roasted green hatch chili peppers and drinking bottled water. True to form, as soon as I put the 35mm Nikon on the tripod, the sun came out in full brilliance in time to take the (rectangular 35mm) shot below. Once I put the Rollei back on the tripod the sun went away for good. All of these photos were taken in November and the weather was very unpredictable.

Valley mesa view near Bernalillo NM and Jemez Indian Reservation
The valley mesa west of Bernalillo afforded a nice shot of the landscape and let the Zeiss optics do their thing. The image was shot at f/16 at 1/125 seconds. Hyperfocal distance was roughly calculated to the distance of the fence seen near the bottom of the image.

Adobe pueblo near Ribera and San Miguel NM - Not far from the Imus Ranch
Adobe pueblo near Ribera and San Miguel NM - Not far from the Imus Ranch.

A comparative photo of of Fuji Velvia and Kodak E100SW
Last but not least, a Base x 16 scan of the peppers shown above, only with full sunlight. Fuji Velvia produces excellent images however i'm torn as to whether or not I would use it exclusively. The colors are definitely eye-popping but they are not accurate. The blue skies in the image are more exaggerated and the reds in the peppers have an unusual amount of red. The above image using Kodak E100SW is a more accurate representation of the scene. The real issue, however, is whether you want to distort the true feel of the scene for the sake of taking flashy photographs that catch the untrained eyes of the general public, or retain the true reproduction of the scene. Worse, how do you truely classify "untrained eyes"; thus the morality of photography begins to become subjective. Qualify what you consider satisfaction and rationlize it however you see fit, I suppose.

(C) 2007 photo@digistar.com