A Trip Down NM Highway 337

Coming out of Albuquerque toward Roswell a couple of weeks ago, I noticed spectacular banks of clouds drifting across a magnificent blue sky. So rather than take the mundane way home – through Moriarity, Clines Corners, and Vaughn – I turned off at Tijeras onto Highway 337 and meandered my way south down toward Estancia, Willard, and eventually, onto Highway 285 and Encino. Some of the country on that road was magnificently glorious. The people, however, were not excited about seeing a photographer running through their town. One little community had a sign that stated: "No trespassing, No photography, No stopping. Please respect our privacy." I drove on. It was a short time later that I ran across this storm.

Old Estancia House.jpg

The old house on the left is just outside Estancia. It also had No Trespassing signs posted all around it. I shot through the fence since I had been stopped by a Sheriff Deputy not too long ago after he saw me cross a fenceline. The light was spectacular and the structure was perfect. It took a few Photoshop tweaks to get the light just right, but it worked well.

Old barn at Willard.jpg

This old barn was shot in nearly total darkness. My exposure was nearly eight seconds with an ISO of 500. This is an HDR image composed of five eight-second exposures. You can see the motion in the clouds. When the images merged, the colors just popped. It's the HDR technique that allows you to capture so many ranges of tones. The color in the sky, the texture in the wood, the perfect blue sky (which was really very black when this was shot) would have been nearly impossible to capture in a single image, but then again, you can do a lot when you shoot in RAW and alter your exposures. I still believe multiple image HDR photos deliver the highest quality. They also take the most time to edit.

Finally, coming into Vaughn I shot this image of the old saloon located on the main thoroughfare that is Highway 285. Many people have asked me where this is located, unaware that they drive right past it every time they make the trip from Roswell to Albuquerque.

Vaughn Saloon.jpg