Photographing Albuquerque at Night

Here are some places where we have found good night shots of the city.

This is a pedestrian bridge near Jefferson that passes over I-25.
I-25 from the same pedestrian bridge
Many stores are interesting in the dark.
Route 66 neon signs in Nob Hill
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Nob Hill has many people out at night.
From the overlook near Lomas and I-25, behind the Embassy Suites just south of the TriCore parking lot.
City Lights
Sandia Foothills at the start of the La Luz Trail–looking west.
From the volcanoes on the west side of town–looking east
Full moon over the Sandias in black and white


The Birds of Spring, Albuquerque and the Southwest

The more we photograph, the more we take notice of birds. The two hobbies go together so nicely! The featured image is the iconic bird of spring, the red robin.

Ash-throated flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher, Las Cruces
Western Cardinal
Western Cardinal, Benson, Arizona
Starling, Las Cruces
Vermillion Flycatcher
Vermillion Flycatcher, Benson, Arizona, though these come to Albuquerque for a short time in the spring as well near Tingley Beach
Osprey, Truth or Consequences
Bendire's Thrasher
Bendire’s Thrasher, Las Cruces
Cactus Wren (2)
Cactus Wren, Las Cruces
House Sparrow (2)
House sparrow, Albuquerque’s West side
Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch, Benson, Arizona
Mississippi Kite (2)
Mississippi Kite, Bosque near Alameda
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird, Las Cruces
Phainopepla, Alameda Open Space

A Park Above, in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque

A Park Above is a wonderful new park built to accommodate people of all abilities. It is pretty with mosaic and other art with a butterfly theme. A large park, its attractions are original, safe, and fun. You could go to any Albuquerque park to capture the delight of children in motion, just be sure to have the parents’ approval before you do.

The entrance
Close-up of the mosaic, done by the children of Rio Rancho

Wheelchair-accessible equipment

We cropped this to include only the children we had permission to photograph
Inside and out
Musical shadows–there is an entire area devoted to making music

Very Large Array (VLA), Two Hours Southwest of Albuquerque

The VLA is a radio astronomy observatory 50 miles west of Socorro. It consists of 27 giant radiotelescopic dishes. Altogether they are 2.5 miles in diameter. A single one weighs 230 tons. There are guided and self-guided tours.


We recreated this viewpoint from a photo in New Mexico Magazine. The people around the radio dish provide a scale of the size.
We’ve seen wonderful photos of the array at night, but we’ve never been there at night. This is just a little fun with post-processing.
Ancient and new–probably our favorite photo of the VLA. What are the chances of finding a herd of antelope grazing right in front of the dishes?

El Rancho de las Golondrinas, north of Albuquerque

Drive north on I25 halfway to Santa Fe to the living museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows), also called La Cienega (the Spring). This weekend will be its Fiesta de la Familia. You can read more about it here:

This is a photographer’s dream, and it is fun for people of all ages. Now is a good time to go, before it gets into the heat of the summer. It is beautiful and on special days like this weekend, there are all sorts of wonderful activities. Go to see folkloric dancers and people dressed in costume from the Spanish Colonial days of the 1700’s, demonstrating and explaining the old life skills. There are also farm animals that children can approach.

Walking is involved to see the entire museum, but even little children can make it through. The gift shop is quality as well! We can’t recommend Los Golondrinas enough.

The working old mill sits by a pond
Watch the process of making wool from the shearing to weaving
Stage Fright–“If I can’t see you, you can’t see me!”
The old church and cemetery
Checking out a goat

Rail Yards Market, Albuquerque

Located in the abandoned industrial rail yard, the Rail Yards Market hosts over 100 vendors and various public performances each Sunday from May through October, from 10 AM to 2 PM. It costs $1 to park a car, but otherwise is free.

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The Main Building
Sky and Glass
There is a wide variety of vendors

At times the Rail Yards Market is open in the winter.

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Puddles make great reflective shots

The Rail Yards are comprised of several empty buildings, but just one houses the market. The rest may be photographed from their windows and doors, but otherwise there is no entry allowed. These buildings have been used in Albuquerque’s film industry, including “Breaking Bad.”

Looking into one of the abandoned buildings
Getting up enough nerve to dance
A popular venue for musicians
“Unicorns are awesome. I am awesome. Therefore I am a unicorn.” ~Anonymous~

Carlito Springs Open Space, east of Albuquerque

Located near the village of Tijeras is a relatively new Bernalillo County Open Space, Carlito Springs. There are beautiful forest and desert hiking trails, a stream, an impressive old house and outbuildings, and several manmade pools of water. More information is located at the link below.

On your way there, you can travel the singing highway. We made a video of it here:

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One of several cascading man-made pools
Forest Hike
Busy Bee
The View from one of the Outbuildings
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Cacti Blooms in June along the Desert Hiking Trail
The Main Buildings

Elena Gallegos Open Space, Albuquerque

Lest any reader of our first blog post suspect that this blog will focus on the west side, let’s hasten to the eastern foothills to the Elena Gallegos Open Space. Now is a perfect time to plan a photography trip there as it should be in full bloom by the end of May. Part of it is wheelchair accessible, and biking and walking trails crisscross for miles. There is even a wetlands with a bird blind.

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Desert in Bloom
Mallard at the Wetlands
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Woodpecker on a Cactus
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Mountain Bikers from a Distance

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Mountain Biker Speeding by our Cameras

The Wetlands