Abiquiu

The Abiquiu area in Northern New Mexico was made famous by the 20th century artist
Georgia O’Keeffe, who made her home at Ghost Ranch, displayed in some images on
this page. She called the Plaza Blanca area near her home “The White Place”, and
made several paintings of the surreal volcanic cliffs and badlands. This page also
contains several shots of Apache Cicada, which emerged from its overlapping
three year underground growth period to be captured in images for this page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the New Mexico Scenic Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Link to the Abiquiu images:

Abiquiu NM

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Plaza Blanca

Plaza Blanca (The White Place) is a badlands area of bone-white cliffs formed out of
volcanic tuff from the eruptions of the nearby Valles Caldera over a million years ago.
It stands in a valley below the Dar al Islam Mosque, and creates striking formations
of hoodoos and fortresses in a stark desert landscape made famous in a series
of paintings in the 1940s by the renowned 20th century artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

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Cholla Flower Abiquiu NM X5587
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A flowering Cholla (Chainlink Cholla or Cane Cholla) near the entrance to Plaza Blanca.

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Apache Plumes Abiquiu NM X5590
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A sea of Apache Plumes at the entrance to the valley housing Plaza Blanca.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5592
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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5593
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This is a series of shots of the first view of Plaza Blanca from the head of the valley.
The two images displayed above were taken with different settings of a polarizing filter
(40% at left and 10% at right) to increase color saturation and contrast in this stark scene.

The image shown below was taken without the use of the polarizing filter.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5596

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The first view of Plaza Blanca from the base of the trail entering the valley.

The Plaza Blanca formations are made of volcanic tuff, a compacted volcanic ash
which was laid down when the pyroclastic flows from the Valles Caldera eruptions
blanketed the area over a million years ago. Later, erosion created the hoodoos,
spires, pinnacles and cliffs in the silica-rich alabaster tuff of The White Place.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5600
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The “Fortress” at Plaza Blanca, framed by foliage, and shot with a 20% setting of a polarizing filter.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5602
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This image of the “Fortress” was taken with a 40% setting of a polarizing filter to increase contrast and color saturation.

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Plaza Blanca Purple-Gold Polarizer X5604
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I also took two shots of the “Fortress” at Plaza Blanca with different settings of a
Purple-Gold Polarizer to add a somewhat surreal effect to an already dreamlike scene.
The use of this type of polarizing filter creates an unbelievably difficult job during processing.
The image above adds a slight golden tinge to a nearly natural but highly saturated landscape.
The image below uses a stronger polarization setting to add a significant golden cast to
an alabaster white desert landscape and a purple-to-sepia gradient to the sky.

Plaza_Blanca_Purple-Gold_Polarizer_X5608


Plaza Blanca Purple-Gold Polarizer X5608
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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the New Mexico Scenic Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Link to the Abiquiu images:

Abiquiu NM

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Plaza_Blanca_Abiquiu_X5610


Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5610
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The “Fortress” at Plaza Blanca in all its stark splendor, taken with 10% polarization.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5614
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The “Pinnacles” at Plaza Blanca, shot with a 20% polarization setting.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5616
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An oblique of the “Fortress”, shot at 20% polarization.

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Plaza Blanca Abiquiu X5619
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The “Fortress” formation taken at 50% polarization.

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Salt Cedar Plaza Blanca X5624
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The Tamarisk, or Salt Cedar, is an invasive species which was brought to New Mexico
as an ornamental plant for erosion control in the early 1800s. It has displaced many native
plants by absorbing much of the water and releasing large amounts of salt into the soil.

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Cholla Plaza Blanca X5621
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A flowering Cholla adds color to the stark landscape of Plaza Blanca.

Cholla is a member of the Cylidropuntia genus of cactus, with papery sheaths
covering the sharp spines on their segmented cylindrical jointed stems. Related
to the Prickly Pear (Opuntia), the Cholla has cylindrical stems instead of flat pads.

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Dar al Islam Mosque Interior Abiquiu NM X5581
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An interior shot of the Dar al Islam Mosque near Plaza Blanca, built
in 1981 in a North African style by Egyptian architect Hassan Fathi.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the New Mexico Scenic Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Link to the Abiquiu images:

Abiquiu NM

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Apache Cicada

The Apache Cicada (Diceroprocta apache) is a desert cicada which emerges from underground
in an overlapping three year cycle (some cicadas emerge each year). They shed their final nymph
exoskeletons (leaving them attached to trees), and the males begin their loud buzzing to attract a
mate. After mating, the males die. The females lay eggs in the stems of plants, then they too die.
After hatching, the larvae burrow underground to feed on the sap of plants and continue the cycle.

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Apache Cicada X5564
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Apache Cicadas spend three years underground as nymphs, emerging to molt in their transformation to adults.

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Apache Cicada X5532
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The adult Cicadas (or imagos) are about 2 inches long and are one of few insects which cool themselves by sweating.

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Apache Cicada X5536
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Male Cicadas make a very loud clicking sound by contracting and expanding the tymbals,
which are ribbed sections of the exoskeleton with membranes between ribs. Contracting
the tymbals causes a click, and another click is caused by the expansion. The tymbals
are contracted and expanded rapidly, and its body serves as a resonance chamber,
amplifying the sound to as much as 120 dB (among the loudest of insect sounds).

Cicadas have separate mating and distress calls, as well as a courtship sound.

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Apache Cicada X5557
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Cicadas generally emerge in the hottest period of the summer from July to August. These had just emerged in late June.

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Apache Cicada X5560
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Their ability to sweat allows the Cicadas to stay out during the heat of the day, clicking madly to find a mate.

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Apache Cicada Head Detail X5541
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The Cicada has three small simple eyes, centrally located in a triangular pattern between the large compound eyes.

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Apache Cicada Eye Detail X5546
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Detail of one of the Cicada’s large compound eyes. Above the compound eye is one of the simple eyes.

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Apache Cicada X5547c
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A detail crop, resized down from the center of the master image, showing the
head and thorax of an Apache Cicada clinging to a tree in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the New Mexico Scenic Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Link to the Abiquiu images:

Abiquiu NM

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Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch is a 21,000 acre section of the Piedra Lumbre (Shining Rock) land grant
given by King Charles III of Spain to Pedro Martin Serrano in 1766. The ranch was bought
by Arthur Pack (co-founder of the American Nature Association) in the 1930s, and was
the subject of numerous landscape paintings by the renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

In the 1930s, when Georgia O’Keeffe first discovered Ghost Ranch, she was dismayed
to learn that it was a dude ranch. She arranged to stay in Ghost House for the entire summer
of 1934, and returned every summer thereafter until she was able to buy a house and land on the
ranch in 1940. She later bought three acres in the village of Abiquiu  and rebuilt the adobes to
be her winter home, which she moved into when her husband (photographer Alfred Stieglitz)
died in 1946 and she stopped returning to New York for the winters. In 1955, the owners of
Ghost Ranch gave the 21,000 acre ranch to the Presbyterian Church, which owns it today.

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Ghost Ranch Landscape Abiquiu NM X5671
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Yellow-brown Entrada Sandstone cliffs stand atop brick-red Chinle Formation sandstone
in the dinosaur fossil bearing landscape at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico. In the
Triassic period, the area was near the equator and had a warm, monsoon-like climate. Later,
during the Jurassic period, the area was an enormous desert, whose fossilized dunes formed
the Entrada Sandstone cliffs. The Triassic period Chinle Formation is mudstone and siltstone.

These colorful cliffs and landscape became part of the painted legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe.

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City Slickers Cabin Ghost Ranch X5647
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City Slickers Cabin Ghost Ranch X5655
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This log cabin was built for the 1991 film “City Slickers” starring Billy Crystal
and Jack Palance (who won the 1992 Oscar for his supporting role as Curly).

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City Slickers Cabin Ghost Ranch X5654
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The City Slickers Cabin stands on a plain near the ranch entrance,
surrounded by the colorful red-rock sandstone cliffs of Ghost Ranch.

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City Slickers Cabin Pedernal Mountain X5661
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The City Slickers Cabin overlooks Abiquiu Lake and Cerro Pedernal, seen in the distance at right center.

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City Slickers Cabin Ghost Ranch X5663
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I got a bit cute with this shot, selecting an angle which allowed me to use the clouds as ‘smoke’ from the chimney.

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City Slickers Cabin Pedernal Mountain X5657
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The City Slickers Cabin at Ghost Ranch, with Abiquiu Lake in the distance and
the distinctive shape of Cerro Pedernal (Pedernal Mountain) above the cabin roof.
Cerro Pedernal is Spanish for “Flint Hill”. The flat-topped shape of Pedernal was
present in many of the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, and it was the distinctive
landmark in her favored “Faraway”.  Her ashes were scattered atop Pedernal.

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Mesa Montosa Box Canyon Ghost Ranch X5643
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Ghost Ranch riparian area, Mesa Montosa and Box Canyon, from the edge of the plain in front of Kitchen Mesa.

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Kitchen Mesa Ghost Ranch X5641
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The Entrada Sandstone cliffs of Kitchen Mesa rise above the teardrop-shaped Chinle Formation rocks at its base.

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Kitchen Mesa Cholla Ghost Ranch X5628
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A Cholla cactus in the foreground overlooks Kitchen Mesa at Ghost Ranch.

The capstone atop Kitchen Mesa is glistening white Gypsum, sparkling in the sun.

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Kitchen Mesa Ghost Ranch X5631
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Kitchen Mesa Ghost Ranch X5634
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Desert plants and Ghost Ranch landscape at Kitchen Mesa.

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Kitchen Mesa Ghost Ranch X5638
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Cholla Cactus and Kitchen Mesa at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico.

The name “Ghost Ranch” and the local name Rancho de los Brujos (Ranch of the Witches)
came from many colorful tales of spirits and the legends of hangings occurring in the area.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the New Mexico Scenic Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


Direct Link to the Abiquiu images:

Abiquiu NM

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