Headshots

My neighbor, a wonderfully talented therapist, needed some headshots for a professional website. I hadn’t gotten my camera out in a bit, nor have I been out on the town in months, so I happily agreed to head to a few locations and take a shot at some headshots with her.

Little did my neighbor know my excitement about getting behind a camera, so I immediately searched for Albuquerque’s sunset (6:27 MST), hopped in my truck & headed to scout out a few locations to score the perfect photo. I wanted to share a few of my favorites here with you.

Thank you for being vulnerable with me.

Marlina McCall

And since we’re being vulnerable, can we just talk for a minute? As long as I’ve been behind a camera I’ve had two dreams. One, is a photography series entitled Behind the Lens, where I am able to travel with a well known photographer & capture the moment they capture The picture. You know, the one that captures us all. Whether it’s the Tom Mangelsen’s Catch of the Day, any number of Chris Burkard’s wild surfing shots, or a part of Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark (my D4 was bought second hand from this dude. Seriously, give him & his work a follow. Actually, give any or all of these photogs a follow. You will not be disappointed.) There’s so much more that goes into getting that so called perfect shot that you don’t witness. So much more to that story I’d love to be able to tell. That dream is for another time… My second dream however, is a photo series of the amazingly strong women in my life who have played such an integral part of who I am today as a woman. Up until this shoot, I didn’t think I had the skillset to pull off the images of Barb, June, Karen, Virginia, Lydia, Mallory, Debbie, Pam, Kristen, Michele, Becky, Karina, Beth, Roni, Paula, Cally, Amber, Leslie, Kayla, Lola, Sam, Kristin, Jenette, Heather & so many other women that have meant so, so much to me during my life. After completing this project, I know I have the skillset required to pull off the series I have envisioned in my head all these years. Fair warning ladies, me & my camera are coming for you. xoxo.

34th Anniversary of The Incident of 1986

Another trip around the sun means another adventure for this slightly older gal.

Originally I had planned a blitz trip to the warm waters of Mexico for a swim with some whale sharks in their summer feeding grounds. Like just about everything else this year, those plans had to be altered thanks to the still present Covid-19 coronavirus. So, when I knew my original plans were going to be a no go, it was time to come up with a Covid-friendly alternative.

Enter Plan B: Tracking dinosaurs. Well, dinosaur tracking, er, tracks.

While well known locations such as Dinosaur Nation Monument exist within an easy drive, I was trying to respect local Covid-19 restrictions & stay within the borders of New Mexico. I’d heard you could stumble upon tracks out in the desert, or even bones if you were lucky enough, but I was hoping for something a little more predictable than an Israelite walkabout. Enter, Clayton Lake State Park.

And since I was going to have to take the entire day off to make it up there in time, why not make an adventure out of it. So I woke up early, threw my camera bag in the truck & hit the highway. I turned North on I-25, out of Albuquerque, and headed towards the Colorado border. Just over three hours later I arrived in Raton, a mere 10 miles from the state line, and turned east onto State Road 72 – a 36 mile stretch of windy country road that traverses the top of Johnson Mesa.

At the end of the road, in the tiny town of Folsom, I took a five minute tour through the two streets that compromise the whole town before heading south to Capulin Volcano National Monument.

Here I chit chatted with a park ranger about cross country motorcycling, picked up my annual park pass, then headed up the road to the summit of Capulin Volcano. At the top I ran into to young men standing in front of their vehicle. Hood up and clearly in distress, I hopped out of my truck & made a beeline towards them. I asked if they needed help and was immediatly dismissed for being a woman who most likely ‘knew nothing about vehicles or what it was like to be stranded a couple of hours away from home.’ Despite the immediate write off I offered them the only advice I could offer their poor attitudes, “Boys,” I said, “try and enjoy where you are while you’re here because bad days make for some really interesting stories.” With that being said I took my woman self and removed myself from the situation.

The smoke was thick from several local & regional fires – making for beautiful layers to my photography, but difficult to hike in. (Yes ma, I have been trying to get into a GP to get a Rx for my inhaler, but have been unsuccessful in landing one in network thus far) I took my time traversing the Crater Rim trail, stopping to enjoy the beautiful scenes both near and far along the way.

When I arrived at the entrance to Clayton Lake State Park I’d been on the road for somewhere near 8 hours, including stops and side tracks.

I was greeted with not only a closed gate but no trespassing signs posted all around. I’ll admit, I choked on a sob and held back a spring of tears that was welling up in the corners of my eyes. Outside my truck, I stood at the top of a cliff, overlooking the tiny lake and namesake to the park. From here, just a quester mile from my destination, I could see the short 1 mile loop trail I was originally destined to traverse. A gate I could, and most likely would, hop, but the no trespassing signs for this gal meant my journey ended here. My birthday had just been officially 2020’d.

Dejected, I crawled back into my truck and began the four and a half hour drive back to Albuquerque. Wanting to take an alternative route home, I headed south to I-40, then dead West to home. Along the way, when stopping for gas, along with getting myself locked into a closing gift shop, spotted the perfect lizard for the side of my humble adobe home. (Every house in our neighborhood seems to have at least one lizard hidden somewhere on its exterior. Except ours. I have been hunting for the perfect additon since I signed the closing papers) I’m calling this my win for the day.

A special thank you to all my friends and family for the calls, cards, texts, and gifts. Despite the otherwise seemingly regular birthday, I truly know how loved and lucky I am to celebrate such a day. Thank you. Xoxo.

Bike MS

One day at work, my coworker casually mentioned that she was considering starting a team for Bike MS. She’d recently begun biking more frequently and, as a person diagnosed with MS, thought this would be a great way to push herself and stay active at the same time. Having lost an aunt to MS, I immediately jumped on board. By the end of the day we had a registered team as well as a fundraising goal.

Now to the fun! I’ve started riding regularly – finding many nearby trails I didn’t know existed so close to my house.

My brother got on board and sold me his road bike he was no longer using. My prior road bike, which I let go of just before leaving Alaska, was named SpaceBat, after the creature discovered clinging to the external fuel tank of the Discovery. Everyone, say hello to Tremor, aptly named after the blue and pink stowaway on SpaceX’s flight to the ISS.

Once Tremor arrived I figured out how to work clip-ins without killing myself. Yay!

Since then I’ve spent most of my free time racking up miles on the pavement – still discovering new parade trails around Albuquerque. I’ve even begun biking to the office every Friday – a 13 mile trip one way – to squeeze in as many miles as I could in a day.

Sadly, the event itself was cancelled due to Covid-19, but I wanted to take the time to thank all my friends and family who pitched in to help me make my fundraising goal. Ya’ll kickcuss.

If you’d like to participate in a Bike MS near you, learn more about MS, or donate to a good cause, be sure to visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society‘s website. I urge you, before donating to ANY orgnanization or cause to do your research first. You work hard for your money and should know what it’s actually going towards when you donate.

Bug

HBD to me! Well, it’s not quite my birthday yet, but my birthday gift arrive early & since it’s one I’ve been eyeballing for years, Brian let me have it as soon as it arrived.

My first image on my new tripod setup.

Xoxo.

Driving the Jemez

Road trips exploring the back roads of New Mexico has been a regular staple during Quarantine.

Thus far, NM Highway 4 has been one of my favorites, and one I look forward to going back to when Quarantine is over & I can actually exit my vehicle for more than just quick puppy potty breaks.

I think I sufficiently wore them out. Mission accomplished. Xoxo.

Chicken Corners

Down the Reddit rabbit hole I fell. The longer I lay awake, the further, and harder I fell.

It started with an image of a dust covered Jeep. Although it was the beautiful red rocks that surrounded it that really captured my attention. It only took me a few days to track down all the information I needed to know I could pull this off. Anything else was up in the air, but that’s all I needed at that time. Once I knew it was doable with what I already had on hand, I knew it was only a matter of time.


Moab is exactly a 6 hour and 4 minute drive from my house. After packing the truck and kissing my critters goodbye, Brian & I took off for the New Mexico border. Now while we’re fully aware that there is a global pandemic going on, we packed in such a way that required no human contact for the duration of our trip – extra gas, all the food (and them some) for all meals in the Yeti cooler, Tepui tent sleeping quarters, and all the other ammenities to make travel comfortable and devoid of all human contact.

U.S. Highway 191
Kane Springs Road

We arrived with plenty of time to scope out our camp for the night. It was a balmy 107 at the peak of the afternoon when we arrived. Brian stayed in the air conditioned truck, while I basked in the heat after freezing my butt off in Alaska for 4 years.

The prettiest bathroom.
Baby lizard seeking out shade
Home Sweet Home

I will say when the sun finally set it was the perfect temperature for sleeping. We were up with the sun and it was a beautiful time for photos while breakfast cooked on the grill.

Sunrise in Moab
Close up
Red Rocks

After packing up, we hit the trail for the off-road adventure we had come here for: Chicken Corners OHV Trail. There’s not much I can say about my experience of climbing over 4,500 feet of rocky trail in one of the most beautiful places I have had the priveledge of exploring, so I’m just going to let my pictures doing the talking for me. Enjoy.

Potash Mines from the top of Hurrah Pass
Coming down the pass
Rock formation
Chicken Corners
Layers of the Valley
Colorado River basin
Tepui
Contrasting colors
Sheep!
Sheeps!
Baby jumps
Three’s a crowd
The whole gang
The mighty Colorado
End of the road
The Red Rocks that brought me here

I’m supposed to be back on the East coast visiting my family for the first time in over two years, but thanks to Covid, that trip will have to wait until another time. I’d take time with my family over just about any adventure any time, but as a consolation prize, this was about as good as they get.

New Mexican Kidnapping

It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Even so, it still amazes me that there are people out there who prefer to stay in their own little bubble over getting out and exploring the world around them.

My friend, Monica, is one of them. I’ve been threatening to kidnap her since just after I met her roughly 1 year ago. Today, I finally made good on my threat.

See you on the next adventure… xoxo.

Overnight at the Aquarium

As a kid at heart, when I learned that the local Aquarium does overnight stays, I knew I had to do it. Unfortinately, as they only open up about 30 slots per overnighter, they fill up fast. I missed my chance at the first few, but finally got lucky & in March I drug both my sleeping bag & Brian to the aquarium for an overnight adventure.

The behind the scenes tour into the food preparation room and above the shark tanks was certainly the highlight of the night.

Full lobster shed
Behind (and above) the scenes

Due to the small size of the aquarium here, I’m not sure that I would go again, but if given the chance for the experience somewhere like the Baltimore Aquarium, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat.

I just adore this little guys teeth

xoxo.

Gilman Tunnels

Just a few miles up FS Road 376, in the Jemez Mountains sits two tunnels, carved out of rocks. The original purpose of these tunnels was to assist the former Santa Fe Northwestern Railroad safe passage through the canyon hauling lumber out of the heart of the Jemez.

DSC_0820DSC_0830DSC_0853DSC_0970DSC_0904DSC_0891-2

This also happened to be the scene of Yago’s first off-leash adventure since he was adopted into the Bennett family. I do believe he enjoyed his first day of freedom.

DSC_0858-2DSC_0910