Monday, March 17, 2014

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is a village on the Taos Indian Reservation located in northern New Mexico, roughly 60-70 miles north of Santa Fe. Taos valley has been occupied by Taos people for over 1000 years. The current pueblo buildings date from between 1000 and 1450 AD. Taos Pueblo was found by the Spanish in 1540 AD and at first was thought to be one of the seven cities of gold.

The two main structures are about the same age and are five stories tall. They are made of adobe with some of the walls being several feet thick. The main horizontal roof timbers are called vigas and were brought to the pueblo from the nearby mountains. Originally there were no doors with entrance being by ladders through the roof. The interior walls are plastered with white earth and the exterior walls plastered with mud. Running water and electricity are not permitted in the old pueblo.

At the current time about 150 people permanently occupy the pueblo. Many people will return to the houses that they own as part of the pueblo for ceremonials. Over 1900 Taos people live on the reservation lands. The reservation has 99,000 acres including Blue Lake.

Taos has been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO as well as a National Historic Landmark.

The two photos below are an overview of one of the main buildings,one in color and the other black and white.

Below are photos of a partial of one of the buildings showing some detail, a small dwelling, a rez dog curled up a his front door and several smaller pueblo dwellings.

Below are four views of the pueblo from different vantage points.

Another view from a slightly different angle and more closeup.

This a view of the graveyard with the pueblo in the background.

Below is St. Jerome's Church, constructed in 1850. 

This is one of my all time favorite portraits. This elderly Taos native stood outside the pueblo volunteering to have her photograph taken for a fee, which I was happy to pay.

Below is a small road on the edge of the pueblo. The beehive ovens shown here fascinate me. Beehive fireplaces are common in northern New Mexico. I had one built in our Tucson house.

This old wagon was on the outskirts of the pueblo. I didn't even have to take my National Geographic issue can of spray paint and paint it red. One of my favorite photos.

Taos Pueblo is open to visitors from 0800 to 4 or 4:30 daily. The Pueblo is closed from March 6 to April 27. There is an admission fee and a fee to photograph. For more information you can call 575-758-1028 or go to

These photographs are all from October 1974. They were taken with a Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL with 50 or 55mm lens, on Kodachrome. They were scanned on either a Minolta Dimage 5400II 35m film scanner or a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i scanner.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Yellow Cow and Other Delights

Some years ago I took a trip to northern New Mexico; to be precise it was in October of 1974. It was a great trip with many interesting and beautiful sights to see and photograph. On one of the days I drove from Santa Fe to Taos on back roads. It is a distance of roughly 60 miles but it took all day. It seemed like I stopped about every 30 seconds to photograph something.

When I got back and had the film processed I showed some of the photos to some friends who owned a shop of some kind or other. I can't remember for sure now but I think it was a beauty shop. She said that she would be glad to display some prints for sale in her shop if I would like to make the prints and mark the sale prices on them. It sounded like a fun thing to do. I didn't think I was going to make much but that was okay. It gave her shop some decoration and I might make enough money to buy another roll of film or two.

I made a selection of about six photos and had the photo lab make 8x10 prints. Like all good cowboys I had a bunch of old barn boards laying around. I mounted the prints on mounting board and then mounted the result on pieces of old barn board. The subject matter of the photos lent them to that sort of mounting and display.

I can't be very precise about the places where the photographs were taken because of two problems: no GPS in those days and I was on a lot of unpaved back roads with few or no signs.

The photo below was what appears to be a log flume built over a wash. It was somewhere in the back country north of Cordova, New Mexico. 

The big tree decorated in it's autumn finery is just north of Santa Fe.

The autumn lane shown below is south of Chimayo, New Mexico. 

The old wagon shown below was at Rancho Chimayo where there was also a great restaurant named Rancho de Chimayao Restaurant.

Below is a yellow cow on the side of a dirt road somewhere on my meanderings. Not sure where, probably somewhere around Truchas, New Mexico.

The last photo shows ovens at Taos Pueblo.

Which of the photos do you like best?

A note about the photos: These were all taken with a Mamiya Sekor 1000DTL SLR on 35mm Kodachrome film. They were scanned on either a Minolta Dimage 5400 film scanner or a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i film scanner. Unfortunately my Minolta scanner died in the middle of this project and Minolta quit making them several years ago. I could not find one available anywhere on the internet so I bought a new Plustek. It's a good scanner but it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Or how to use new scanners.