Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snow Country

    A week ago Monday, it snowed heavily all day, and in the afternoon I took the drive described in the previous post (and Sunday column). 
    Tuesday the sky was beautifully clear, but cold enough that everything retained its snow-covering.  Before the sun climbed above the Organs, I went out to shoot pictures in the early-morning light -- and, uncharacteristically, headed into town rather than along or into the mountains.  The sun would light the city first, then the desert and foothills east of the city; and I'd seen a couple of things the previous afternoon that I thought might be worth a shot in better light.

NearTortugas Mountain

Cactus in Snow



These folks looked more content . . .

. . . though I didn't stop to ask 'em.

Once I reached Las Cruces, there were few cars out -- and drivers were having their problems with the slick roads. 

This fellow looked resplendent in morning sunlight.

This still looked cold.

    I drove slowly through the Mesquite Street neighborhood, then wondered how the old cemetery would look under snow.   I found it silent, and deserted but for an employee working near the building there.   It is a simple cemetery, with graves dug in flat desert.  The dead have neither the big grey headstones nor the soft green grass of a New England cemetery.  The markings memorializing these dead are simple.  They do get more bright colors than a New England cemetery.

The cemetery also has a decent view of the mountains, and looking at it reminded me that the clouds were starting to break up and that the early-morning light deteriorating into the flat light of mid-day, so I drove East.

The drive was exhiliarating.   It seems ironic: I grew up in the Northeast and have been in plenty of great snowstorms there, and a few in other countries; but this was different.  I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop, as each new angle on the mountains, and each desert plant wearing white, seemed unique, and demanded I stop and shoot some more, even if the image -- objectively -- wasn't all that great.
One of the town's painted water towers -- and the Organs

Of course, I worked my way back to the Baylor Canyon Road windmill to see how that looked this morning -- but along the way every snow-dressed tree caught my eye. 


Finally I stopped back at home to pick up Dael and come back out.  I paused there long enough to notice that the ash trees had shed all but two or three of their yellow leaves during the succession of high winds, cold, and snow.


The windmill still had a bit of snow clinging to it.

The peaks had a bit more.
We photographed it all -- as happy as kids making snow angels.

We even returned several hours later, around sunset, to watch the moon join the party. 

Below, I've posted additional images from the day, images I've had a moment to treat in one way or another.  (That is, there's no further verbiage in this post.  For better or worse, this is more of a gallery than a blog post.)

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