Lately I have found myself revisiting images I took on a trip to Santa Fe, NM last February. It’s been nearly a year since that trip and there are so many images to share with you! I’ll never forget the first time I saw an aerial view of the Santa Fe landscape. It was 2012 and I was on a flight to Los Angeles to visit an old friend. At some point I was looking out the airplane window when I was completely taken aback by the view. I am a born and raised flatlander Floridian and this was my first trip out west. To see this type of landscape with your own eyes is a very powerful thing, and for some reason it strongly resonated with me. I made note of the location on the electronic map, somewhere near Truth or Consequences, NM, and vowed to make my way there one day.
Flash forward to fall of 2017. I was working on my 365 Project and reading a lot of books on writing. One author was discussing her time writing in New Mexico. The imagery of her words elicited a longing to visit the City Different, to be there, to write there, to photograph there. The gears started turning and I began investigating art workshops in Santa Fe. I immediately came across Lauren Mantecón’s studio and a workshop that resonated with me. It was called “Meeting Your Inner Guide/ Painting Your Inner Wisdom” and was scheduled for Feb 2018. I booked the workshop and began preparing for cold weather in anticipation of a winter journey.
February 14, 2018
Peter and I departed Gainesville, FL at 5am on Feb 14. We zig-zagged our way across the country. I was reading Shaun McNiff’s Trust the Process, which turned out to be an incredibly inspiring and timely read. I journaled and marveled at the terrain from so high in the airplane. My camera stowed safely in my Candace McCaffery custom bag. A strange mix of adrenaline, anxiety, and exhaustion coursing through my veins. Around 3pm we finally arrived in Santa Fe, NM at the cutest airport I’ve ever seen, now in mountain time. Built in the standard adobe style that is so characteristic of that area I knew I was in love the moment we landed. The airport elevation was set at 6,344 ft, and the city of Santa Fe is 7,199 ft. This is the highest I’ve ever been!
We got our rental car and made our way to our Airbnb casita. It was very cozy and the hostess had left nice little treats for us. The views along the way were awe-inspiring. I kept turning my head this way and that way. I’m always amazed at the impressiveness of mountains out west. They bring about an inner quiet and reverence within me that stops all the chatter.
At this point we were very exhausted and hungry. We were also dealing with some altitude adjustments. I always make a point to drink enough water everyday, but on this trip my thirst could not be quenched! Seeing as it was Valentine’s Day, and that we were tired, we weren’t in the mood for a busy dinner. We asked our Airbnb hostess for recommendations and one of her many suggestions was a little Mexican place literally around the corner from our Airbnb. We took a nice walk over to the Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill and split a delicious hot stew, a burrito, and amazingly fresh guacamole.
After dinner we took a walk around town checking out some of the art galleries. Our casita was very close to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Being so tired I didn’t bring my camera with me, but the longer we walked the more the light started to change. I could feel the pull to have my camera and capture it all so we made our way back to the casita to retrieve it. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around downtown shooting and sketching. I immediately became captivated by the architecture of the First Presbyterian Church which was just down the road from the casita. The architecture was so unusual. So many soft edges and sloping lines. I couldn’t stop myself! We walked through the Plaza, which was decked in holiday lights, all the way to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The architecture on this cathedral was a little different from the adobe style. There is some interesting history on the cathedral which you can read about here. At this point we were really feeling the effects of travel and elevation change, so we made our way back to the casita and turned in for the night.
My first night in Santa Fe did not disappoint. Shooting at night added another layer to the softness of the architecture. It really brought out the texture of the adobe style giving it that handmade look. The shadows from trees added another layer of texture on some of the buildings. I especially love the contrasts between light and dark, hard and soft.
For this series I used my 50mm prime lens, which has always done good things for me as an around town night lens. I’ve pulled out a selection from that night’s shoot to share with you. They are displayed below and have descriptions under each image to give you some context and sense of location. I hope you enjoyed visiting the City Different at night with me. Tune in next week for Day 2 of my journey to Santa Fe.
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