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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

friday finds: albuquerque part 1

Any traveling I've been doing lately has been of the 'arm-chair' variety. You know what I mean: rummaging around my old photo files and re-living past adventures. After all, why bother to capture travel memories with my camera if I never re-visit them later? So...here is a selection from my archives.

June, 2008
A weekend jaunt to Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my husband and his friend Matt. Actually I tagged along on one of their pistol match weekends, anxious to re-visit a favorite destination.

I dropped off the guys at the pistol range early in the morning and headed back towards town...just me and my Canon Rebel XT. I had already mapped out a few excursions. This group of photos must have been from Sunday morning, because I remember attending mass here:

San Felipe de Neri Church

For more than 300 years, San Felipe de Neri Parish has been the spiritual heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That heart is still beating strong, offering liturgical, pastoral, and educational services to parishioners and visitors. The present church building, constructed in 1793, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Our community worships in this "crown Jewel" of New Mexico each day and invites visitors to join us, especially in the celebration of the Mass.

I arrived just in time for their weekly Spanish mass. No worries: the Roman Catholic service is the same the world over, so I was able to follow along pretty well. It was really a lovely experience.


After mass I just wandered around Old Town, the quaint, historical - and yes, touristy - part of Albuquerque. The streets were pretty quiet, being Sunday morning, and that was fine for my photographic purposes. Besides, I'm not much of a crowd-lover anyway.

I stopped at this humble little chapel and was drawn to its cool, mysterious darkness. Not spooky-mysterious, but sacred and welcoming, with its makeshift candles and hand-written prayer intentions placed before a little shrine to Our Blessed Mother.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel 

Patio Escondido Mall in Old Town, Albuquerque was once home to the Sagrada, a sacred arts school founded by Dominican Sister Giotto Moots in 1969. Sister Giotto, a Graduate and Dean of Villa Schifanoia in Florence Italy, received permission to open the self-sustaining program with a mission of nurturing artists in the growth and development of their creative expression. Doing this in New Mexico was of particular interest to Sister Giotto due to the spirit of the Native American and Hispanic cultural influences that are present here. She believed those influences were congruent with those of the artist. Within the campus was Joseph's Table, an income producing, student-staffed dining hall, an Art Gallery which displayed the work of the students, two story residential studios, accommodating up to 12 students at a time, and the chapel, Capilla de Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Within the Chapel, a shrine is built in her honor. While Catholic in concept, the Sagrada was intended to welcome all non-Catholic and non-Christian artists as long as their interests were in keeping with that of the school.
Today, the Chapel is a sacred public place in Albuquerque's Old Town providing comfort to those seeking a sanctuary for quiet prayer and meditation. It is available for personal use for weddings, baptisms, renewal ceremonies, memorial services, and other special events. All are welcome.

A little clarification here: Catholics do not worship Mary, but we do revere her as the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And just as you might ask someone to pray for a loved one, we ask the same of Mary, who intercedes on our behalf.

Also, I'm pretty sure that they weren't hosting weddings or special events here five years ago.


The Colors of Old Town Albuquerque

There's a distinctive Southwest flavor here in New Mexico, with a strong local folk art tradition evident in vivid colors and primitive designs. It's a unique combination of Native American and Spanish Colonial design...sometimes coming off as quirky kitsch, sometimes eclectic elegance.

I spent the rest of the morning just wandering around, soaking up the wonderfully unique culture and atmosphere of the American Southwest. Souvenir shops don't really hold any appeal for me, but I did enjoy browsing through a few antique shops, where I found a rusty little old-fashioned iron for my knick knack shelf.


This was yet another chance for me to explore photo layouts in Lightroom's Print module. I referred to every one of Kim's tutorials to help me, as well as Scott Kelby's book...and then - this is key - I just played around with it for awhile. Every time I do this I learn a little bit more.

I wanted to see what some subtle texture treatment would do to this collection, without obliterating the wonderful colors and lighting characteristic of the American Southwest. All it took was one layer of kk_petra (Multiply blend mode 100% - surprisingly!).

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  1. Love seeing your images Mark and I visited New Mexico in 2010 and I loved it, the light lack of humidity and the amazing colours..

  2. Wonderful photos. NM is definitely the Land of Enchantment. I especially like the area around Abiquiu.

  3. What a great trip. We were in Albuquerque once a number of years ago, but I didn't get the chance to explore as we were headed to Zuni to stay with a friend that taught on the reservation. Love all the great colors you captured.

  4. I've been browsing my archives too this week - something I don't do as often as I feel I should. I love the rich colours and interesting detail - looks like a place I'd very much like to visit one day.