Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Images of Cabezon Peak, Rio Puerco Valley, Featured at Open Spaces Visitors Center

Photos by John Wylie capture western landscape


Photographer John Wylie is originally from the Chicago area, a starkly different landscape than New Mexico’s Rio Puerco Valley. So it’s no surprise he was captivated by the rugged western terrain of the valley that runs through the middle of Sandoval County.

“A friend I met told me about the Rio Puerco and Cabezon Peak area after my wife and I moved out here 3 ½ years ago,” said Wylie, who now makes his home in Eldorado outside Santa Fe. “I just found it an astoundingly beautiful, strange area, with huge arroyos and giant volcanic plugs and huge mesas. I thought it was factactic.”

Wylie is exhibiting some of his photos at Albuquerque’s Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Blvd. through Sept. 23. On Saturday, Aug. 19, he’ll give a talk about the area and the photos he took from late 2020 until early this year, beginning at 3 p.m.

The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

All the photos on display are black and white, which Wylie explained is the typical form for landscape photography. He actually takes the photos in color, using a digital Sony camera, then converts them to black and white on his home computer.

Wylie likes some of the color shots, too, but “I like the way (black and white) emphasizes form. Down there, the masses create great shadows and forms in that valley.”

Wylie took several trips to the area in the early morning and at least one at sunset when the shadows have the most effect.

Of course Cabezon Peak, the most prominent of the volcanic plugs, is featured in many of the photos. Cerro de Guadalupe and Cerro Santa Clara are also included.

Cabezon Peak is located about 30 miles north of Bernalillo on US 550 and is surrounded by the Ojito Wilderness Area.


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