Abiquiu Collection: Beauty in the High Desert

“I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at, not copy it.” As a photographer I understand what Georgia O’Keeffe was saying. She is describing the very essence of what art is. It is translating how one feels about reality to the observer – an interpretation of a given moment in time. Like her and other artists, photographers are moved by the scenes they depict. And this area that stole her heart and became her home has an infinity of beautiful scenes that moves anyone who takes the time to stop and take just a casual look. But I found it impossible to take just a casual look.

When my wife Brenda, and I, along with our friends Ronnie and his photographer wife Sherisa, arrived at the Vista de Lago house overlooking Lake Abiquiu, we immediately understood why this area became Georgia O’Keeffe’s home. The landscape is a pallette of colors, with unique rock formations, beautiful skies, dust devils, junipers, mountains, bluffs, prairie dogs, flowers, more dust devils and more junipers. The commanding view from atop the bluff where the Vista de Lago house stands is breathtaking, and I remember thinking that one could spend a lifetime photographing this magnificent landscape and never grow tired of it.

We spent five wonderful days exploring, exercising our cameras, enjoying each other’s company, eating gourmet meals prepared by our most capable culinarian wives, and watching no television. Plus there was always the added bonus of listening to Ronnie’s masterful guitar work. And last but not least the company of our faithful traveling companions, Ronnie and Sherisa’s dogs Cujo and Maria.

The images on these pages represent just a few of the many points of interest in the Abiquiu area. Many were taken just outside the door and down the sides of the bluff we were on. Abiquiu is indeed an artist’s paradise, and living there would no doubt be a dream come true for some of us photographers. But if we can’t move there, then the next best thing was that we were “moved” while we were there.

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