Category Archives: Nature Photography

laughing eyes


Some things change
Funny, isn’t it? How life has a way of giving you what you need. Figuring out that it’s also what you want is part of the challenge. Commitments, obligations. Family, friends, work. Good stuff. But gets in the way of good camera time.
It’s been far too long since my last post here. It’s been far too long since I’ve had some time with just me and my camera, shooting what I want.
Some things remain the same
My 4th time shooting Muertos y Marigolds Dia de los Muertos, in the South Valley of Albuquerque.  It’s a visually stunning event that continues to grow. Indio-hispanic-anglo traditions mingle together in one big social-statement-experience.  It’s held in one of the poorest neighborhoods, but one of the richest in tradition, heritage and pride. Skeletons, and beautiful costumes. Floats and humor. Plus, there’s candy. And low riders. And bands and dancers.  Did I mention the candy? There are kids there too. It’s not scary or spooky. We honor our dead, and the dead speak through us and to us, telling us the truths that we are too blind in our “aliveness” to see.
Each year, my favorite photog friends and I turn out to shoot this beautiful event.  We really do treat it as our own personal photo shoot.  In years past, the crowds were so small that entire sections of the parade route were bare.  Not this year.  But the crowds tolerated us, cheered us, as they cheered the calaveras, the kids, the social commentary. And the candy.
See you next year.

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Flashbus, light and layers

I signed up for Flashbus.  And it.was.awesome.  Freakin’ off the charts amazing.  Let me set the stage for you –
Albuquerque Convention Center.  200 people.  One day.  $100.  And more information, technique and philosophy about lighting than I could digest in months.
The morning started with David Hobby (you know, the blogger from www.strobist.com, the expert on lighting scenes with small flashes. him.) First, the guy is smart as hell.  Second, he knows how to light a scene.  And third (and this is MY thing), he can really train and hold an audience’s attention.  Key light, fill light, accent light.  Layer, layer, layer.  And shoot manual.  Ok, David.  I’m picking up what you’re putting down.  (I did also win a 15″ Lumiquest lightbox, thanks to my friend Marc and the film camera easily accessible in my *emera bag.  Thanks David, for the extra swag!)

Lunch at the Gold Street Cafe with some of my favorite photog guys! (that’s the thing about going to a strobist event, not very many women…)

And then back to watch Joe McNally build some amazing portraits.  Joe is a National Geographic photographer, and has the most brilliant of eyes.  It was fascinating to watch him work, on the fly, and put together lights, mood, and portraits.  Shooting TTL holds some appeal for me, and his effects are stunning.  It’s harder to replicate than Hobby’s approach, and more room for camera error, but some great lessons to be learned.  Including, purchase gaffer tape and have several extra strobes laying around, and assistants to do my bidding.  Not a bad life!  Joe’s blog post from the Albuquerque stop –

Still, so much to learn.  All in all, an amazing day.  I can’t wait for my Orbis flashring to arrive.

If you have the chance to jump on the Flashbus tour, you absolutely should.  It’s.freaking.amazing.

and it’s 2011. Really.

A finalist in Pioneer Woman's Food assignment

A belated happy new year to you!  Is it just me, or do the holidays completely wipe you out?  From two weeks before Thanksgiving until December 26th, I feel I run on full throttle.  (I’m sure having 2 birthdays mixed in with all of the other festivities does little to slow us down…)  I love the shopping (online) and cooking (waaaay to much butter).  The weather is just sublime.  And my girls are the perfect age for Santa – seriously, the anticipation was palpable.  We spend time with perfectly sane, normal family. No bickering, back-stabbing, passive-aggressiveness.  Lots of love.

And yet, I feel the need to hibernate that whole week between Christmas and New Years.  Not-leave-the-house hibernate.  It.is.bliss.

I had the privilege of taking some Christmas card shots for some pretty amazing families – thank you letting me help you create some wonderful memories!

I know! Just the cutest.

I love this one!

aren't they just adorable?

They did this with very little prompting. Crazy people. =

So, I hope that you had a great holiday season!  And that you have sufficiently recovered.

Oh, and I have spring fever.  =]

The Candidate

David Doyle, Candidate District 23

Meet David Doyle.

Dave is running in District 23 for the House seat here in New Mexico (Corrales, mostly).  He wants to fix the schools and grow jobs and restore some fiscal and economic responsibility to our state.

We did a shoot last Sunday at his house.  Went to the Corrales Grower’s Market so he could talk issues and shake some hands (and I could get some “candids”).  And I had the most fun on this shoot.  He’s funny, he’s smart, and he’s a really, really nice guy.  He’s not a politician – he’s a business owner, a husband and a father who can’t stand the way our government is working.  So he’s doing what few of us are brave enough to do – he’s trying to fix it.

I’m thinking about moving, just so I can vote for him.

sneak peek at Miss E

(c) Nancy L. Newell Photography

Had the best time shooting Miss Emily today at the Botanic Gardens.  She’s as sweet as she is cute, and her parents are just as gorgeous.   The light was beautiful, the flowers and butterflies were on their best behavior, and it wasn’t too hot out.  And, we found this great antique tractor in a field of cosmos.  Doesn’t get much better!  I can’t wait to get the whole set processed and uploaded!

Just call me an exhibitionist.

(c) Nancy Newell, 2010 Available for purchase.

I’m thrilled to be part of the artist family at The Wooden Cow!  Located in Albuquerque, amidst a host of fine galleries on Montgomery (between Pennsylvania and Louisiana), they host over 40 incredibly talented artists – jewelers, potters, painters, and even the occasional photographer.  And it’s not a snooty gallery – you don’t need an art degree to appreciate the talent that’s hanging on the walls. They have a sense of humor (really, art toilet seats?  Now, you’ve seen everything. =]), and they are leaders in the Albuquerque art market. Come by and experience all of the talent.

Artscrawl?  Every Friday!  I hope to see you there.  (snacks and wine provided by the artists, so you know they’re going to be good!)

the history of May 10th, as told by the trees

May 10, 2000

(c) Nancy Newell, 2010

Ponderosa pines, 10 years after the Cerro Grande fire devastated the forest around and the town of Los Alamos. The fire started as a prescribed burn by the National Park Service, but quickly burned out of control in the gusty and unpredictable May winds – gusts of over 50 mph are not uncommon during the spring. Over 400 families in Los Alamos lost their homes. There were no lost lives.

The entire town was evacuated on 5/10/2000. The ENTIRE town. And no one was allowed to return until a full week later.

My husband was born and raised there. We watched, on CNN and the local news, as the homes of his friends and neighbors burned to the ground. They ran the addresses of the homes that had been lost along the bottom of the screen. The homes of his parents, brothers and sister were spared. Every single house on his sister’s street, save hers and the house across the street were lost. Most families returned, rebuilt and moved on. Some never did.

The landscape around town has been forever changed. It was once a lush coniferous forest, teeming with wildlife. Now, this is what most of it looks like.

But, the aspen are returning. And there are baby ponderosas springing up all over the hillsides. The wildflowers are stunning in the spring. Hope springs eternal.

May 10, 2003

Not my shot.

On that Saturday, beneath this giant and ancient tree on the property of La Posada in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I married  my best friend.  My soul mate.

And because life moves fast, in those 7 years we have brought two beautiful little girls into this world, moved once, bought and sold more BMW’s than I care to think about.  We have lost two precious dogs, and my grandfather.  I quit my full-time (paying) job to stay home full-time with the girls, and Dave got a (much deserved) promotion which continues to make this arrangement work financially.

I went back to La Posada this weekend to wander around and remember our wedding day.  The grounds look unchanged, and this tree continues to watch over.

Thank you, Dave, for making me so happy that day, and every day since.