San Francisco de Asis, Ranchos de Taos

Yes, it’s “that church in Taos”, or Ranchos de Taos, to be precise. After our day of driving the Enchanted Circle and exploring a bit (more) of the Rio Grande gorge, we stopped by this somewhat famous landmark in the evening.

It’s a really nice building: small, but due to its massive adobe walls (5 feet thick!) and bulging buttresses, it also appears well-fortified. The plump and somewhat irregular shapes also conjure up associations with a sand castle. It’s worth seeing it in person – but photographically, I didn’t actually expect anything. I mean, what would I be able to add to the works of painters like Georgia O’Keeffe and photographers like Ansel Adams and Paul Strand, who have “worked” this subject to its (visual) fame?

But then there was this warm evening sunlight on the adobe walls, and the shadows of nearby trees on them… so I got the camera out to make a picture of that – and then kept wandering around. The sun went down, the warm glow disappeared from the adobe walls, and the other photos that I made were rather uninspired. Quite apparently, I had too many images of the buttresses and transept apse cast in my mind already. Such is the nature of photographic icons – it’s hard to come away with something original from them…

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6 thoughts on “San Francisco de Asis, Ranchos de Taos”

  1. You captured the light beautifully. Your NM series takes me back to my roots in a time when I choose not to travel. Thank you!

  2. When going to school down in Socorro I had friends who lived in Taos. I really enjoyed the times we went up there and drove around with locals, visiting places I never would have known about. And yet, I don’t believe I visited this location. I wasn’t as well versed in photographic history at the time (not that I’m all that well versed now) so I didn’t know about the iconic paintings and photographs from there. I like what you’ve created. The light and shadows and the strong colors work really well in capturing the warmth of the adobe.

    • Thank you, Todd. You must have mentioned before that you lived in New Mexico – and I had forgotten. I guess that’s how it is very often – when you’re a local you don’t go to the “touristy” places, but know so much more that the tourists will never know about! :)

    • It was a black & white at first actually – when I still thought about including other photos (that I found too similar to existing ones). As soon as I freed myself and got rid of those, I realized that it would be a pity to let that warm light on the adobe disappear in a black & white.


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