Greetings from…Capulin Volcano!

View from atop Capulin Volcano. These snow-capped peaks are part of the southern extent of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Capulin is an extinct volcano set in the alien landscape of northern New Mexico. I have driven through this area dozens of times in my life, and each time I get the inescapable feeling that I have been shuttled somehow away from planet Earth and have alit on a long-forgotten, Martian-like landscape. It is filled with extinct volcanic cones and ancient hills so eroded and smoothed out by time that you feel geology must have died and these muted formations are its tombstones.

When you climb high enough, however, the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains (“Blood of Christ,” so named for the reddish glow they assume when the sun is setting or rising) will remind you that you are, in fact, still on terra firma. The “Sangres” (as they’re commonly known) are part of the southern Rocky Mountains, standing as perfect examples of how their parent range earned its name.

Like much of the rest of New Mexico, this is a desolate place. The atmosphere seems to neglect it for long stretches, remembering its duty and spilling snow and rain in torrents to make up for lost time before quickly forgetting it again. All forms of flora and fauna must be prepared to exist in the extremes of feast and famine if they want to survive here.

Sierra Grande, another extinct volcanic formation, as seen from Capulin.

Instead of merely driving past as we normally do when making this trek, my husband and I actually stopped and explored the volcano. These are only two of many pictures I took during our hikes on the volcano. (When my camera actually felt like cooperating, at any rate.)

I treated the first to give it a kind of “postcard” look, and both have a sense of being old, worn photos picked up at an antique shop. I had fun experimenting with textures (can you tell?) while testing out my newer, updated version of Photoshop Elements. (I upgraded from 6 to 10, though that’s still not the latest version.) These were fun as experiments, but I’m not sure I’d want to “age” too many of my photos this way. I’m afraid that, in the process, I’ve flattened the images too much. What do you think?

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