John Walton Photography

On January 5-6, 2008 I took a short trip to the Alamo Hueco Mountains to check out a section I had never visited. Because this was an exploratory trip the camera flash and tripod were left at home to save weight - what a big mistake. When taking pictures of features (mountains) in the background through arches and from inside small caves there are two tricks I'm aware of for capturing the entire visual range on camera. Since the camera has a smaller range than the eye and the range of light/dark is so great, one has to play tricks of some type to see both foreground and background properly. One trick is to have a flash to light the nearby rock, making it nearly as bright as the background. The other trick is to put the camera on the tripod and take a series of images with different exposures. The multiple exposures of the same image are then magically combined in Photoshop.

Having only the built in flash and no tripod handy the options were fairly limited when offered some potentially spectacular pictures. The result is mostly a few OK pictures. The pictures between the rock gaps are better as lighting is easier for that situation. Next time we'll have the tripod, flash, other lenses, and better pictures!

 

U-Bar Ridge, New Mexico from Alamo Hueco Mountains   U-Bar Ridge from Cave Through Pinnacles, New Mexico, Alamo Hueco Mountains   Peeking into Mexico from Gap in Alamo Hueco Mountains   Gates of Wood Canyon, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico

U-Bar Ridge

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U-Bar Ridge From Cave Through Pinnacles

The lighting on this one is pretty good considering the limited capacity of the built in flash.

 

Peeking into Mexico from Gap in Alamo Hueco Mountains

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Gates of Wood Canyon, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico

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Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico Bootheel   U-Bar Ridge in Gap, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico   U-Bar Ridge in Gap, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico Bootheel;  

Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico

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U-Bar Ridge in Gap, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico Bootheel

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U-Bar Ridge in Gap, Alamo Hueco Mountains, New Mexico Bootheel

This shot is a little better?

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Looking through Arch at Pinnacles

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Big Hatchet Peak, New Mexico Through Window   Evening Mountains   Big Hatchet Peak and U-Bar Ridge, New Mexico Bootheel  

Big Hatchet Peak Looking Through Window, New Mexico

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Evening Mountains

I like the way the brown color of the mountains reflects off the bottoms of the clouds.

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U-Bar Ridge and Big Hatchet Peak Looking North

This shows a more complete desert landscape.

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Cave Picture with Dark Foreground

This figure was initially rejected but it actually looks good as a background.

     
Alcove and Window in Cave   Rocks Balanced on a Point - The Real Delicate Arch   Wasp Nests in the Process of Being Fossilized   Wasp Nests in the Process of Being Fossilized
The Alamo Hueco Mountains are a small volcanic mountain range located in the Bootheel of New Mexico. The only public access is a long four wheel drive road around the Big Hatchet Mountains. Most of the north or other shaded sides of the rock are covered with day-glow green lichen. The mountains are filled with hoodoos, arches, small caves, and windows that one continually discovers while walking around. It is an ideal place to just wander about discovering things. The rocks also have many hidden faces in them when you look carefully. The U-Bar Ridge shown in many of these pictures is a nearby limestone feature. The contrast of the lichen covered reddish volcanic rocks with the gray featureless limestone is interesting.