Approaching snowstorm, New Years Day / Sandia Mountains, New Mexico

To all my colleagues worldwide…have a wonderful 2022!

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Tumbleweed/ Waldo Canyon Road, New Mexico

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Fall fruit on the cactus/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

The 41st Annual Shovel Races/ Angel Fire, New Mexico

Competitors race down the course on snow shovels at speeds exceeding 60 MPH (96 KPH). Shovel racing began at New Mexico ski resorts in the 1970’s as a way for resort employees to get down the slopes after work. Due to several bad accidents, the sport has been dropped by many resorts, and this is the last race at Angel Fire.

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River of Lights/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

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The River of Lights is a holiday light display that runs at the  Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden for the month of December. The event started in 1997 to raise money for the park which has a zoo, aquarium, botanic garden, and beach.

There are nearly 600 individual light displays with millions of twinkling lights, and the park employs three full-time craftsmen year-round to build new exhibits and to maintain the existing ones. It takes about two months to set up the holiday display. One of the crowd favorites is a 63 foot (19 meters) brontosaurus, named “One-Ton” because of the weight of its metal frame. “One-Ton” took nearly 600 hours to build, and has 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) of rope light.

Festival of the Cranes/ Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

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Every November, New Mexico holds the Festival of the Cranes to celebrate the migratory return of Sandhill Cranes to the wetlands along the Rio Grande River. In addition to the cranes, there are tens of thousands of ducks and geese that migrate to the area as well.

The birds come from the northern US and Canada to roost in the shallow waters of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where they spend the winter months. Some birds come from as far away as the Arctic regions. 

The refuge was created specifically for migratory birds. Corn and wheat are grown for bird food in the fields surrounding  the waters, and several areas are flooded by ground water pumps prior to the arrival of the migratory flocks. Roosting in the shallows helps protect the birds from the numerous predatory animals that live in the Rio Grande Valley; coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions. Birders come from around the world to see and photograph the spectacular views of water fowl. Most people come to see the birds leave from their water roost at sunrise or when they return at sundown. The flocks spend the day foraging for grains in the surrounding fields. The mountain vistas seen from the valley and the sounds of thousands of birds are an unforgettable experience.    

Dia de los Muertos/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Indigenous Peoples Day/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Climate Change Strike/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

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UFO festival/ Roswell, New Mexico

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Southwest Style/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Young ladies step out in the Old Town section of Albuquerque, New Mexico wearing the latest Southwest fashions. Fringes, silver, turquoise, Native American jewelry, cowgirl hats, and cowgirl boots are the New Mexico style.

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Special thanks to Ashley Wagner aka Rhinestone Rambler. @ashleywagner505, Chantelle Wagner @chantellefawn, Cierra Wagner @makeupbycierraw for fashions, modeling, and make-up.

Memorial Day Ceremony/ Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico

Honoring warriors, past and present

On Memorial Day, members of the Pueblo of Jemez performed traditional song and dance to honor veterans and current members of the US military from their village. The ceremony was held at the Red Rocks Cliffs, a sacred site to the Jemez people.  Native Americans have served in the US military at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other American ethnic group.

Located on high mesas of the Southwest desert, the Pueblo of Jemez is an independent sovereign nation within the state of New Mexico, with its own government and justice system. The origins of the community can be traced back to the 13thcentury.  

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The Air and Space Fiesta, Kirtland Air Force Base/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Low Rider Celebration and Community Day/ Santa Fe, New Mexico

Catopia Cat Café/ Albuquerque, New Mexico

DSC07354Ernest Hemingway once said “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” Customers at Catopia Cat Café in Albuquerque, New Mexico can spend as much time as they want with about a dozen adoptable cats while having coffee and browsing the web. Internet coffee shops that have cats up for adoption is a new trend in the U.S. Right now, there are about one hundred cat cafés around the country. Café customers can get to know the cats that they might want to take home in the open space of the coffee shops.

Catopia’s manager, Sandy Dierks, said “They can kind of show their personalities in a bigger environment like this and wander around and play, and people can see a little more what they’re like.” The cats that are up for adoption have been neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated, and have had a check-up from a veterinarian.

Catopia’s patrons find the presence of playful cats to be a stress reliever. Dierks told us “People, like students, can do their work on their laptops and we have free Wi-Fi and you can just get some work done while hanging out with a cat on your lap. It’s a lot more relaxing than other environments.”

All of the drinks and snacks are pre-packaged to insure cleanliness. The coffee is made from sealed pods. There are two sets of doors that can only be opened one at a time to keep cats from running outside into a busy shopping center. There is “cat furniture” throughout the café that allows the cats to climb up the walls or scurry through tunnels.

Catopia has only been open for a few months but has had seventeen cats adopted, as well as a positive local response. Dierks told us “We’ve had a ton of support from the community, people coming out and just wanting to help get these guys homes and just support our business and make a go of it, so it’s been, it’s been really wonderful.”

-Richard Lakin


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