Category Archives: Automobiles and Driving

Photographing the Old West


Josefina's Winery and Café

Josefina’s Winery and Café

Driving into Mesilla, New Mexico, is like driving 150 years back into time.  While Territorial-Style architecture is most closely tied with Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, Mesilla is home to an incredible number of prime examples.

Territorial Building

Territorial Building

Territorial Style on Parade

Territorial Style on Parade

Basilica San Albino

Basilica San Albino

Looking at some of the examples above and on Monday, you might be getting the mistaken impression that Territorial Style is all about colorfully dull earth tones.  Not always.  Many Territorial Style buildings sport bright blue doorways and window casings.  Sometimes, however, the entire building may be a splash of color.

Galeria Azul

Galeria Azul

The Colorful Side of Territorial

The Colorful Side of Territorial

Courtyards are also a popular feature of the Territorial Style, and some of the more popular eating establishments reflect this.

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Color isn’t everything in photography, however.  Texture also counts for a lot, as you’ll recall from my blog: When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes.  If you have a picture that contains a lot of texture and is already primarily monochromatic in nature, you can often enhance the viewing experience by completing the monochromatic nature of the subject in post processing.

Outside Galeria Azul

Outside Galeria Azul

Josefina's Old Gate

Josefina’s Old Gate

If you do decide to convert to Black & White, don’t forget the color.  I know that sounds oxymoronic, but don’t forget that the color information contained in the original picture is a wealth of data that can be easily manipulated in post processing to increase contrast, darken skies, highlight clouds, enhance vegetation, or even bring out the character in an aging face.

A Little B&W Fun

A Little B&W Fun

The picture above is a good example.  It was filtered for red in post-processing, resulting in wispy clouds against dark skies.  Without that filtering, this is what you would have seen instead:

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

And what of the original photograph?  Here it is:

Original Color Shot

Original Color Shot

If you’d like a refresher of Black & White conversions and Color Filtering, go to:

When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes

More Fun with Color Filtering for Black & White Photography

Black & White Filtering After the Picture is Taken

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Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, travel

The First Road Trip of Spring . . .


The Roadster Awakens

The Roadster Awakens

. . . and astronomical spring is still officially over two weeks away (although meteorological spring occurred a couple of days ago).  But all of February we’ve been below normal temperatures, and this past Sunday we smashed through the magical 68° (20° Celsius) mark, climbed all through the 70s, and topped out somewhere around 80° (27° Celsius).  As the roadster has been in hibernation since early December, it was time to wake her up and put her to use.

Galeria Azul

Galeria Azul

Courtyard at Peppers Cafe/Double Eagle

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

So off we set for one of our favorite driving destinations — Mesilla, New Mexico, and the magnificent Old Mesilla town square, San Albino Basilica (yep, a real Basilica right there at the north end of the town square), quaint shops, and delightful restaurants.

Basilica San Albino

Basilica San Albino

Billy the Kid Gift Shop

Billy the Kid Gift Shop

We have several dining “favorites” in this area, but today in particular Ursula was hungry for La Posta de Mesilla (which I’ll share with you on Friday).  After lunch we strolled around central Mesilla for a little picture-taking expedition.

Rustic Furniture

Rustic Furniture

Mesilla Town Square

Mesilla Town Square

Let’s face it — if you can’t find worthwhile photo opportunities in this small town, you need to turn in your memory card and give up photography.  From the macro views encompassing the town square to honing in on just one architectural feature, Mesilla abounds in subjects.

Typical Territorial-style Architecture

Typical Territorial-style Architecture

The Back of La Posta de Mesilla

The Back of La Posta de Mesilla

And if the vibrant New Mexico colors are not your thing, there are many scenes just begging for a little monochromatic post-processing magic.

Josefina's Winery and Cafe

Josefina’s Winery and Café

We’ll continue looking around Mesilla for more photographic subjects on Wednesday, and on Friday we’ll sit down for a massive luncheon at La Posta.

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Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, travel, Wine & Food

Of Road Trips, Restaurants, and Recreation — Part 3


I was rather surprised to stumble across a reference to the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.  I never knew it existed, even though I’ve lived in this area for over thirty years.  Then I found out why I hadn’t heard about it before — this state park was only dedicated just four short years ago, and there wasn’t a whole lot of local publicity on it at the time.

So, what exactly is a bosque?  A bosque refers to a narrow forested area (called a Gallery Forest) in and around the flood plain of a river running through one of the desert areas of the Southwestern United States.  The largest bosque is along an almost 400-mile stretch of the Rio Grande running from Santa Fe, New Mexico, through El Paso to just beyond Fabens, Texas.  Pull up the Google satellite view of this area and the narrow, green corridor of vegetation bracketing the river is easily distinguishable from the vast surrounding brown dessert environment.  The most prominent wildlife refuge along this stretch is the famous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which acts as a refuge for migratory water fowl (including the endangered Sandhill Crane) and other wildlife.  If you’re a birder, these areas are a must during the fall and spring migration seasons.

Alas, migration season has long since passed.  We did see many a bird, but mostly of the quail variety.  We also saw a cottontail rabbit, but none of the bobcat, coyote, deer, or javalina that also inhabit this reserve.

But we did see one unwelcome visitor to this land — the invasive salt cedar (tamarix) — which displaces native plants and disrupts the habitat.  State Park employees are working diligently to eradicate this oversize weed, but it’s a struggle.

Click on any of the images below to see a larger version:

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Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, travel