Winter Poppies

 

I live in the Southwest not just for the glorious, wide-open and colorful spaces, but for the three-hundred days of sunshine which I believe are guaranteed to us!  This seemed to have been an incredibly endless winter.  We were having blizzards and bitter cold on a weekly basis, and here it was, the first day of spring and the wind and snow were blowing.  Libby and I would be each other’s cheering section, “Oh, but what a year it’s going to be for the poppies in the Organ Mountains!”

Sunday morning I woke up feeling literally beaten up — there was ice, snow, mud, wind, and bitter cold.  As I sipped my coffee, I listened half-heartedly to CBS Sunday Morning, UNTIL . . .UNTIL I heard  “we leave you in New Mexico where the poppies are blooming!”   Within minutes, Libby had called me and Becky and by 2:00 that afternoon we were on our way to Las Cruces to photograph the poppies!

A patch of poppies braving the cold, damp spring.

Well, the hills were not yet painted yellow and orange as we had anticipated, but there were good signs.  Better to be too early than too late.   The yucca weren’t blooming yet either and they’re usually good companions to the poppies.  We found some glorious fields of yellow verbena.  The light was horrible . . .direct, overhead, bright sunlight, and a gorgeous blue sky, totally cloudless.  We all three were determined to come home with photos.  I already knew that Lightroom, and probably Photoshop, would be my “best friends” that evening.  To say that the landscape was not worthy of being photograped that day would be a disservice to this state.  New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment”  for a reason and I am always in awe of its raw, rugged beauty.  But the harsh sun tended to wash it out, so I used some filters in post-processing to give the Organ Mountains a little more drama.  I wanted the focus to be on the rugged slopes and not on the deep, blue sky.

 

The Organ Mountains in las Cruces, New Mexico.

 We finished the photo safari with a quick stop at White Sands National Monument just as the sun dipped below the horizon.  Amazing how quickly it gets dark!  Again, not good lighting (how about “zero” light) and forgot the flashlight in the camera bag and too damn lazy to walk back to the car.  But we were three determined women . . .WE’RE NOT GOING BACK WITHOUT PICTURES!

White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Award-winning photographs?  Maybe not.  But we were able to escape into the warmth of the desert, get a delicious taste of spring, and more than anything,  played and laughed, enjoyed each other’s company and made worthy photos.  Who could ask for a better afternoon.  We learned to not walk away from bad light (or no light) but somehow make it work.
 
Another successful photo shoot in so many ways.  So good for the soul!  And that’s what life is about.
 

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