Photojournalism: Red River, New Mexico

Upper Valley’s Daisy. Daisy is known by everyone in the Upper Valley of Red River; her home for the last 15 years. She’s staring out at the large snowfall from the night before, eager to stroll the neighborhood.

Daisy has lived in the Upper Valley of Red River for all 15 years of her life, seven miles from the Red River Ski Area where her owner has worked for over 25 years. I took this picture while staying at their house this weekend for a ski trip. Daisy might be the liveliest 15 year old dog I’ve ever met, starting every day roaming around the Upper Valley in hopes of getting treats from the neighbors. Photographing Daisy was a very calming, almost zen, experience. I thought the light from the morning sun looked great on her light fur and she was a very patient model so it was very easy to get this photo. Besides lighting, the creative device I used in this shot was depth by shooting in portrait mode and focusing on Daisy to blur the background.

Scoping Lines. A skier at Taos Ski Valley takes in the view while reading one of the hundreds of warnings posted around the mountain. Taos Ski Valley has over 50% expert terrain, one of the highest in North America, and loses around 5 to 6 skiers a year. Many of the signs warn of unmarked obstacles and extreme terrain, reminding skiers to ski at their own risk.

I came across a group of skiers looking out over the many faces of the Taos Ski Valley while skiing there myself. Photographing the ski day at Taos was such a fun time, mainly because the skiing was great but I also got to photograph some very talented skiers on incredible terrain. This one of the easier shots I got that day since I was shooting on an Iphone and it’s hard to capture moving subjects. In all honesty, I didn’t really have any creative devices in mind while taking this photo; I just particularly liked the perspective of how major this mountain is.

End of the Day. Dave Stevenson, known by locals as Super Dave, helping a satisfied customer return his rental skis after a magnificent day of skiing at Red River. The ski area received 22 inches of snow the night before.

Super Dave is Daisy’s owner and who I stayed with while skiing this last weekend in New Mexico. He is currently the rental shop manager at the base of the ski area, but has worked various jobs at Red River including hill manager and ski patrol. Everyone in Red River knows and loves Super Dave, including many of the visitors to Red River from Texas who regularly take vacations to the mountains of New Mexico. I was just hanging around in the rental shop after a great day of skiing to capture the infectious smile Super Dave passes on to the people he helps in the shop. The environment of the rental shop was laid back and made the experience of shooting in it very comfortable and gave me a sense of camaraderie among the employees and patrons alike. The shot was fairly tough to get because there were so many people returning skis and maneuvering around the shop that it was hard to isolate Dave and a single customer. The lighting was also hard to shoot with in the shop but I think I made it work.

Stoked on the New Goggles. This little shredder had just gotten these new goggles that morning and wasn’t planning on taking them off anytime soon.

Red River is a major skiing destination for people from western Texas, so the town and ski area rely on their business and, typically, they’re welcome with open arms. This is Bryson, one of many Texans returning their skis to the rental shop at the end of the day. He was running around the rental shop just so pumped about the day of skiing and his new goggles that I had to get a picture. Taking the shot made me feel very nostalgic; reminding me of the days when I was that enthusiastic little kid after a great day of skiing. The shot was easy to get because Bryson was putting on a show for the whole rental shop, so I simply asked to snap a quick photo.

Torchlight Parade. Every Saturday night during ski season locals ski down “The Face” with torches in their hands while a fireworks display goes on above them.

As per weekly tradition, on the Saturday night I was in Red River we watched the torchlight parade from the bar at the base called The Lifthouse. We were having a beer at the bar when everyone stepped outside to watch the Torchlight Parade and I saw a good opportunity to get an action shot. It was freezing cold but I laid down in the snow to get a better perspective of the skiers. Otherwise the shot was easy to get. the creative device I used for this photo was color, the red flare draws your attention to the skiers who are the main focus of the photo. Every picture I took on this trip gave me a real sense of community, but this one gave me that feeling the most. They do this every Saturday, yet there were still 50 – 75 people out there watching and cheering.

Nothing really surprised me about this assignment, except how tough it was to get action shots on an Iphone camera. If I could have done anything differently for this assignment, it would have been to use an actual camera, such as a DSLR, rather than just my phone.

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