New Mexico Badlands: San Jose (the color post)

As a follow-up to my previous b&w post from the San Jose badlands, here are the color images I’ve selected for display.

While clear the blue sky conditions were not ideal for getting the best out of the landscape, I did the best I could with what I had — and what else can a short-term on-site hobbyist photographer do, I ask you?

IMG_5956_7_8_tonemappedOne of the challenges was keeping the seemingly omnipresent contrails out of the pictures. For some reason (and I discovered this same thing when photographing the Chaco area a few years back), high altitude planes just love to fly over this part of New Mexico, adding their white streak blight to the sky above whatever landscape scenes I seem to be about ready to snap the shutter on. Oh woe is me, right?

In any case, all these images were taken with the L-series 16-35 mm lens, which produces some mighty nice exposures with good color and sharpness even before processing. The image you see at right (click to enlarge!) was my sole HDR construction of the trip, and I went ahead and gave it the full artistic processing treatment via Photomatix. See what you think.

As for the rest: everything started out as RAW files that were then handled in Lightroom (4.4) and migrated to PS for final development. I always save two versions: the low-res web-sized ones you see here, and another print-res version (when I feel the shot is “worthy” of such) with different sizing and sharpening applied. This workflow has become pretty much second nature for me by now, and until the next super duper app comes along I will continue to follow this routine.

San Jose Badlands

San Jose Badlands

Hope you enjoy the output – and there’s one more location coming soon: Ceja Pelon, home to some of the most abundant and gigantic petrified wood I’ve ever encountered in a non-national park location. Still processing those images, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll get the split b&w vs. color posting treatment as I took a lot fewer photographs there.

Pining

Pining

Stealthy approach

Stealthy approach

Mountain in miniature

Mountain in miniature

Red over gray

Red over gray

Painted

Painted

Wrinkled and weathered

Wrinkled and weathered

Backlit #1

Backlit #1

Backlit #2

Backlit #2

The shadow

Shadow

The one tree

The one tree

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5 thoughts on “New Mexico Badlands: San Jose (the color post)

  1. There is something about these formations that intrigue and draw me to them. Your photographs are spectacular. The more I see the more I want to see. Thank you for sharing your art with me.

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