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: https://golondrinas.org/

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

Right in our own Backyard in Albuquerque

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Sunrise from our Backyard during Balloon Fiesta

Over the years, we have taken thousands of photos in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are always looking for new photo opportunities, and we want to share some of our discoveries through this blog.

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Sunrise causing a spotlight on the city

We have many topics and categories to explore including places, people, public art, architecture, birds, plants, wildlife, humor, cars, trains, road trips, and more!

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We will focus on one topic per entry, and we will try to be timely. For example, we’ll talk about the Balloon Fiesta opportunities in September instead of October when it’s over.

We want to start close to our home. Before we moved to the west side, we lived in the foothills for many years. We had little need to ever travel to the west side, and when we did, we were not impressed. We have heard many who live on the east side express that view. So, it may come as a surprise to many in Albuquerque how beautiful the west side can be. We have a view of the city from our back yard, and we want to begin with it. Still, without access to our back yard, how do you get a similar view?

Storm Cloud

There are several official overlooks on the west side and some unofficial. Try West Bluff Overlook, Oxbow Open Space, or the Open Space Visitor Center, all mapped out by doing an Internet search. For a view very similar to the ones in these photos, try the parking lot of First Baptist Church on 4101 Paseo del Norte NW or the parking lots of nearby buildings.

Full Moon in Black and White

What photos can you get that are uniquely Albuquerque from your neighborhood?