After our Wolf Moon escapade, I woke up the next morning long before sunrise, packed up my gear and drove down the mountain into the flat, desert landscape to photograph the Wolf Moon as she was setting. It was not to be. The clouds set in and my vision of capturing the moon as she reflected the rising sun vanished as the dark clouds covered the western horizon.  So I turned my attention to the desert landscape and decided that cactus, lava rocks and dead trees could make worthy subjects.

The shot below gave me an opportunity to play around with the Nikon speedlight SB-900 as fill, 1/250 and f11 with a 70 mm lens and iso 400 — Nikon D200

cactus in valley of fire new mexico

This shot of the dead tree required my scrambling over some slippery lava rocks (thank God it was too cold for snakes!) and positioning my SB-900 at full zoom in an odd ballerina pose to adequately light the tree against the sky.

Dead tree at New Mexico Valley of Fire

On my home from the Valley of Fire state park, I stopped to get gas.   The old wheels stacked against a nearby  fence caught my eye.  I liked the subtle reflection in the icy puddle.  (This might be a good project for Photoshop dramatic enhancement  later).

wagon wheels in carrizozo new mexico


My philosophy:  if you’ve got your camera with you, don’t go home without pictures.  Work to make at least one worthwhile photo. 

Because my initial plan of photographing the moon didn’t work out, I was forced to look elsewhere, from a different perspective, and stretch my comfort zone a little to make a worthy  photo. 

 A pretty good way to evolve as a photographer.