Kiki

Forrest Gump Point Monument Valley Road

Forrest Gump Point Monument Valley Road

The Most Iconic Road View of the West

I do not know if the movie Forrest Gump put this view into my mind, or maybe it was from a time long before, but certainly for years and years I dreamed of seeing this iconic western road view. I believe it to be the signature view from the road of the American West. A road that vanishes and falls and rises into the mesas of Monument Valley that looks alien, futuristic, and ancient at the same time.

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Spectacular Belen New Mexico Rural Land Real Estate Sunset

Spectacular Belen New Mexico Rural Land Real Estate Sunset

Wide Open Belen, NM Sunset

I traveled down to Belen, New Mexico with my photography gear and Kiki for a rural land photography shoot. I have been to this exact area of Belen twice before, and know it so well I knew where to look for a cow skeleton, which was still there even though I have not been to this area for over a year! I got my daylight shots, then had time to walk around with Kiki in total silence save for the blowing wind. Then we settled in a spot and I setup my Nikon D750 on my Indoor carbon fiber tripod and waited for the sun to get into position. I decided to make the shot just as the sun peaked below the cloud cover while still above the distant mountain. Since the land itself was just desolate, I composed to show more of the spectacular clouds. I got paid to enjoy this view. Sometimes, being a photographer is not too bad, sometimes.

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Pinkerton Hot Springs in Colorado

Pinkerton Hot Springs in Colorado

On a recent multi-day rural land real estate photo shoot in Navajo Dam, New Mexico, there was free time one day for an afternoon trip up to nearby Durango, Colorado where Jessica and I pretty much stumbled upon Pinkerton Hot Springs.  Right on the side of the highway sits this natural hot spring that you can take your shoes off and dip your toes in the warm water burbling up from somewhere way down below.  Usually these natural hot springs require a hike or at least a small trek to reach.  This one though, you can drive right up to!  It's a small hidden gem worth stopping for if you are ever near or in Durango, Colorado!  

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Scenes from Farmhouse Cafe in Taos New Mexico Photography

Scenes from Farmhouse Cafe in Taos New Mexico Photography

Best pancakes of my life!

I do not often eat out at restaurants, as I think it is the least value for money in nearly all of modern society.  However, after a very long day of photography and drone video at 40+ rural land properties the day before in the middle of nowhere west of Taos, I thought Jessica and the dogs (well, they at least got free water!) deserved a treat.  In our previous trips to Taos, we never got to stop at Overland Ranch, which is really just a very mountain-town looking style shopping plaza.  This time we did and in it we found the Farmhouse Cafe with its wonderful outdoor setting.  

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Mexican Hat teetering rock formation in Utah Drone Video & Photos

Mexican Hat teetering rock formation in Utah Drone Video & Photos

Utah is amazing

I imagined being able to find places totally not on the agenda during a recent 5-day whirlwind Western Road Trip with eldest friend Terry and his wife, Beth, visiting from Florida, and of course also with Jessica, her dog Artie, and my beloved puppy Kiki.  Mexican Hat rock formation was one such place.  This day Jessica and our dogs got up at 5:15am to see the sunrise in Monument Valley, then we all reconvened and visited Forrest Gump Point and then Goosenecks State Park.  Seeing a sign for Mexican Hat and having time, and a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, we turned down an unknown dirt road and started exploring.

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Monument Valley Utah Sunrise Professional Photographs

Monument Valley Utah Sunrise Professional Photographs

6am in Monument Valley Utah

I have been to many places around the world, some considered wonders of the world, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, some hard to reach, like the jungles in Borneo, as well as famous wonders in the U.S. like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.  Monument Valley in Utah ranks up there with the most wondrous places I have seen.  I bookended my time at Monument Valley first with a sunset visit, then the next morning at 6am with a sunrise explore.  The photos you see here are all from that very early even-pre-sunset time in Monument Valley.  So early, no one was at the gate to even pay to enter!  No one else had yet driven into the valley that morning.  I had the view of the two Mittens and Merrick Butte all to myself for awhile.  

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Views from South Sandia Peak Albuquerque New Mexico True

Views from South Sandia Peak Albuquerque New Mexico True

Ever since I first drove into Albuquerque, New Mexico in January 2017 and saw the Sandia Mountains, I knew I had to summit them at one point.  Over 14 months later I finally had the opportunity to hike to the summit, my first summit since having ACL knee surgery 3 years ago.  Hiking to the almost 3000 meter summit was a physical and mental test, not just for me, but also for Jessica who came with me and our dogs Kiki and Artie.  

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