Balloon Festival – put it on your bucket list!

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In 2003 my friend KJ and I took a trip with the Sierra Club to the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you have never been, you must put it on your bucket list.balloon festival

These photos were taken with my little Olympus film point & shoot then digitally transfered to CDs. So while the quality isn’t that great, the memories certainly are!

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We had to get up at 3:00am to be at the festival field before 5:00am. It was COLD and DARK!

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So I have to tell you my story. I had to go to the bathroom in one of the Andy Gump type latrines. It was pitch black. Absolutely not one speck of light at all. I couldn’t see anything.

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I have a problem with blood circulation to my hands on a Southern California summer day at noon.

So you can imagine, my hands had gone completely numb with the cold. If somebody had cut off my hands with a hatchet I would not have known the difference.

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So I’m fumbling around in the complete dark. I can’t see anything and I can’t feel anything. I had to get my zipper undone to take a pee!

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Let me tell you, this was one of the weirder experiences of my life!!! Somehow or other I managed to take care of business. But let me assure you I never want to go through that again… EVER!!!

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Nevertheless, witnessing the balloons lying on the ground all around, then watching them ascend into the heavens is something I will never forget.

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The word “awesome” is so over-used. But that is what it was.

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I’ve been fortunate to have some glorious experiences in my life but this one still stands out. Do I wish I had a better camera in 2003? Of course, but these photos bring back the moment nevertheless.

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We took the Amtrak train overnight from Los Angeles to Albuquerque. In the morning, this Indian guide entertained us with stories, music and song.

Click on an image below for slide show:

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Near our hotel was this famous hot dog stand. We didn’t indulge.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico – my last afternoon visit to Cross of the Martyrs

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During my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico in April I had been seeing this Cross of the Martyrs from various points around town. It seemed unreachably high on the hill. As I was already suffering from the 7,260 ft (2,213 m) altitude with a constant nose bleed, it was not on my list of to-dos… but on the last afternoon I realized I couldn’t leave without making the attempt.

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So I decided to make my way up to the base of Fort Marcy Park and then decide if I wanted to climb up to the top.

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Of course, once there I wasn’t about to turn back.

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It looked like an easy walk up on switchbacks.

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It was such a gorgeous day and I was looking forward to the view from the top.

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There are plaques at several locations on the way up telling the stories of the area. Too bad about the inexscusable graffiti.

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The cross itself is not that impressive.

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A lovely view from the top looking out over the city and mountains. I believe the cross commemorates the event in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt where 21 Franciscan Friars died in the fight between the natives and the Spanish.

Below are some views of the surrounding area.

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I decided to walk further along the trail to see where it led. A condo complex.

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Hey, wish I had brought a picnic with me!

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Still snow on the mountains.

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The trail ended in a parking lot and I saw people getting out of their cars having driven up to the top… oh well, I would rather walk any day. So I walked back down to the city from this point and happy I had made the effort to climb to the cross and walk the trail to the end.

See Santa Fe New Mexico part one some favorite random shots

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico – part one – some favorite random shots

santa fe, new mexico
New Mexico flag flying above apple blossoms at the state capitol.

I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a photography workshop. As a “born again” photographer I am taking every opportunity to take part in workshops, attend classes, enroll in seminars and search out information online in order to play catch up for my lost years of using a point and shoot camera.

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I am paying for my sins both monetarily and with a high frustration level as I am nowhere near as good a photographer as I was back in the day.

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I gave up “serious” photography decades ago in order to work at boring jobs to support myself when I could have spent my days under the radar as a  dilettante photography student! But there is no point in second guessing.

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Back then I carried around a suitcase full of camera equipment and had my own darkroom. But due to circumstances at the time it all became too complicated.

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Oh well. Today is today and I start from here… All those years slogging away at mostly unrewarding jobs has paid off in some measure with a passable Social Security check and a pension that covers the cost of cat food. So, now is my time!

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I may not ever be the greatest photographer whoever lived but as any of my friends will tell you, I love to learn and I live to discover new things… so I am enjoying the journey. And photography satisfies the cravings of both my left and right brain. Technology meets art… what more could I possibly ask for? And it dovetails with my new life as a tour guide.

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Santa Fe was a big commitment but I am glad I did it as it gave me the motivation to move ahead. If I made such a big effort to spend the money and take the time then I must make it worthwhile. So I feel good about it.

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I attended the same workshop in Miami last year. At that time I had recently bought my first DSLR camera and just about knew where the on switch was. I was not about to tempt fate by turning the dial out of auto mode.

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Fortunately, as an artist and graphic designer I have a reasonably good sense of composition. So my photos were pretty good, considering.

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A year later I was shooting in aperture and shutter speed preferred and able to change the ISO when necessary. Some progress. I was also shooting in RAW and processing the images in Lightroom.

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As a Photoshop junkie I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around its little cousin. But the lightbulb eventually went on and now I see Lightroom is really an indispensable program for a photographer. I still use Photoshop for some tweaking, but not as much.

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Well, this post certainly did not take the route I was planning for it. I was going to write about some of the tourist sites I visited. So instead of a travelog, I have uploaded some random shots of the Santa Fe area.

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As the title promises, I’ll be back with more stuff at some point.

See Santa Fe New Mexico my last afternoon visit to cross of the martyrs.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!