30 Year-Old Slides From New Mexico

The Nebraska weather has been so hot and muggy that I’ve kept myself indoors in order to stay happy and healthy. This means that some of my archiving tasks are receiving renewed attention and effort. That means the main job of digitizing all of my Carousels of slides.

As luck had it, the next Carousel was loaded with Fujichrome images that I shot in July of 1987 on a car trip to New Mexico with my friend Sean. I popped the tray onto the projector and allowed nostalgia to guide the show. Nearly all of them were gems, even the two that jammed the change mechanism.

It was difficult to select just a few to share with you today on the basic WordPress format. So, I carefully gleaned through the converted images and settled on these few standouts from the northern parts of the state.

The first slide was shot in the tiny village of Des Moines, New Mexico, where we spent our first overnight. We experienced one of the most beautiful thunderstorms either one of us has ever been through. The most amazing aspect was the timbre of the thunder. Ever since that evening, I’ve wondered why that thunder sounded so very different from any other.

When Sean and I stayed in Des Moines, the only resident we saw was the motel owner. There was no other sign of human habitation even though the marker sign claimed 178 people lived in the village. Most of the “downtown” buildings were boarded up or looked abandoned. They were perfect photographic subjects.

New Mexico is called “The Land of Enchantment” for very good reasons. Our visit to Mount Capulan felt mesmerizing in so many ways. The views are very “painterly” and majestic. The haze caused by the previous night’s thunderstorms added to the etheric appearances.

The state has a long history, that is evident in its many historical sites. One of them is the decrepit Fort Union. Only portions of walls remain standing. The old army fort sort of reminded me of Stonehenge.

We were tired from our day’s explorations, so we decided to stay in Las Vegas. New Mexico’s Las Vegas is much different than the glitzy Nevada city. No, we didn’t stay in these abandoned rooms. There was a nice mom and pop motel with all the modern conveniences of 1987 for us to enjoy.

We were intrigued by Taos Pueblo aka Pueblo de Taos, a small settlement that is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the US. Yes, there are people living in these ancient buildings. At the entrance to the town, we paid a camera fee and given a paper tag to attach to the camera strap. We were then permitted to wander around the Native American town and snap photos to our hearts’ content. Taos Pueblo is near the touristy town of Taos, that is north of Santa Fe.

I couldn’t get enough of all the archaeological sites in New Mexico. There are numerous ruins of places where Pueblos and other native peoples once lived. One location is Salmon Ruins near Bloomfield, New Mexico. There were remnants of ceremonial structures called kivas that were interesting to see.

A major highlight of the trip was our stop at “Aztec Ruins National Monument”. It’s managed by the US Park Service and at the time, was an active archaeological investigation site as well. Every area of the dig was awe inspiring. I wished I could have stayed for months to explore every nook and cranny.

After a long drive, we arrived at the northwestern section of the state. The most noteworthy landmark is “Shiprock” a large geological feature that rules the high-desert of the Navajo Nation. The gigantic rock is historically important in the Navajo people’s traditions and religion. The native name for the landmark is “winged rock” (Tsé Bitʼaʼí).

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes film actor/producer, Bill Hader. “Las Vegas, New Mexico has had a lot of great movies shot there.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, History, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 30 Year-Old Slides From New Mexico

  1. Doug says:

    One word describes those photos. Beautiful. Simply Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bill Chance says:

    What a great trip and wonderful memories. I love New Mexico and have made several trips there.

    We also digitized a whole bunch of carousels of slides – we had Costco do the work – The only problem is the photos stretch over sixty years and all over the world. There were scanned in no particular order and it’s weird to see photos from 1964 Laos next to 2010 Dallas.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • swabby429 says:

      Thanks for visiting. I thought about having a service duplicate the images, but I wanted to control the process and enjoy each image as it projected in the darkened room. The only drawback is that it takes much longer to copy the pictures my way.

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