The photo shown below was taken on Interstate 25, somewhere between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico during my second visit to this city more than a decade ago. I had driven from Denver, down through Santa Fe that day. Stopping the car, I pulled off an exit somewhere between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and grabbed this photo.
I had never seen these colors in a landscape before. At least, not in a living, breathing landscape with my own eyes. The first time I visited Albuquerque, about six months earlier than this, most of the drive had taken place after sundown. I saw the city Albuquerque proper, but missed the landscape that hosts it. Now, I was seeing that landscape in all its glory, suffused with crisp New Mexico sunlight. What a revelation!
I have since come to realize that there are two things that I am hopelessly drawn to in New Mexico. The first is red clay. Any landscape that has red clay or red rock formations instantly wins my affection. That is one of the reasons I am so drawn to the Jemez Mountains, with its dramatic red rock vistas best viewed from the Jemez Pueblo. The other thing I like about New Mexico are old pick-up trucks. I never gave them much thought prior to visiting New Mexico. However, old Chevy and Ford pick-up trucks seem to compliment New Mexico landscapes so well, whether rusting quietly in an old barn or lovingly preserved as a daily driver.
These photos capture some of my favorite things about New Mexico. All are captured in and around Albuquerque. All photos by Don Peterson (the man in the Panama hat).