Well, Santa Fe's tag line is "The City Different."
I went to a week long Outdoor Photography workshop at Santa Fe Photo Workshops, years ago. I took 2 cameras, an EOS 1 I rented and an EOS10S, both automatic film SLR's. The Workshops didn't add any special instructions on camera care beyond the normal, and none of my fellow attendees in my group nor did the instructors (including 2 Nat'l Geo pros) mention experiencing anything out of the ordinary. As one of the posters said, this is not the Sahara Desert. Sure there's dust, wind and the dry climate amplifies the dustiness. But, I had no dust intrusion in my equipment and the rented EOS 1 and 100mm (non "L") lens I rented did not show dust intrusion upon rental return inspection.
You will find Santa Fe a photo career, just in itself. Many photo books were published on Santa Fe. Of note are two, Surprising to me, Radio Commentator Don Imus has a great book on New Mexico, and a great volume by former Outdoor Photographe Columnist Travel Photographer, Lisl Dennis and her husband Zant Dennis "Santa Fe." Check them out for great locations and subjects.
Santa Fe, Taos and Chama have an enduring spiritual atmosphere that I have only experienced personally in places like Bali, and more poignantly (I think from the ghosts) at the USS Arizona Memorial and the NY World Trade Center ruins site.
I always carry plastic Trash Bags in my camera bag. I use them to cover the bag in high winds, or when I set them down on the ground when I must. Also, Op Tech sells plastic camera covers which are easily deployed and are inexpensive to allow you to shoot in tough conditions.
I use protective filters on my lenses and lens hoods when shooting in these kinds of environments. While they may possibly degrade image quality, and I don't use them normally, when in the rain and snow and in dusty and windy conditions, I do protect my Objective elements.
Don't forget a quality CPL because the skies are astounding, and made more so with some polarization.
Enjoy your trip. I would love to return to Santa Fe soon.
I went to a week long Outdoor Photography workshop... (
Thanks very much. Good reminder about the CPL.
Northern New Mexico doesn't have the sand blowing around that you're thinking it does especially this time of year. Standard rules for the care of your camera and lens should always be observed, such as change lenses in a protected area and not out in the open wind. Be sure to drive Hwy 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.
Thanks. And thanks for the reference to Hwy 64.
My wife and I are planning a ten-day trip to Santa... (
Dust is really no problem at all. Only if there is quite a wind blowing and you are in an area like White Sands. Otherwise normal precautions as you would anywhere else is sufficient (Native AZ person here) The Southwest is not like the B Cowboy movies you see with tumble weeds and dust blowing all the time. Light breezes and wind is no worry, put back to light breeze and properly change the lens, absolutely no problem. My house gets more dusty here in the East than it did in the Southwest.
Northern NM is one of my favorite places and one of the most beautiful in the world if you like mountains sticking up out of open treeless plains and arid weather. I've hiked through there several times including going up Wheeler Peak twice (you will be near it when in Taos). On my 11 day backpacking trips, I carried a Canon T2i and two lenses which I changed frequently. Understand that during our trip, we never got to go sleep or clean up inside a building. We slept in the tents we carried as well as all the other gear. We were exposed to all the dust, dirt, rain, and anything else that was the current conditions. The only problem I ever had was when we had to hike through a heavy downpour and hail for 2 hours. When we finally got through it, we poured water out of our boots. About everything was soaked including my camera. I shot pictures that day, no problem, but the next morning, there was condensation inside my lenses and I thought I was done. A few hours later and allowing the lenses to sit in the sun and the problem solved itself. I ended up taking about 2500 pics on each trek (2 times with digital cameras, once with film cam, but 1/10 the pics).
I now have a 5D III and associated "L" lenses. With the exception of the fact that it all weighs a ton, I wouldn't hesitate going on another trek with all of it.
If you decide not to go to NM, let me know so I can go FOR you. Also, while in Taos, eat at Michael's Kitchen, if it's still there.
Northern NM is one of my favorite places and one o... (
Thanks for both the climate advice and the restaurant recommendation
be sure to visit Madrid on the eastern side of the mtns from ABQQ.
The movie Wild Hogs was partially filmed there.
Quircky, quaint and a fun Photo opp.
So, just a slight change to the many answers provided earlier in the discussion regarding wind and weather in NM. I am a current resident just to the northwest of ABQ, and have lived here for 18 years. Previous to that I lived in southern Arizona for 16 years. We DO have strong winds in the spring, lasting from March into late May. The winds set up the weather pattern that will eventually bring rains in July through September. I think that I might disagree with comments on "May should be fine in terms of wind and dust." Some of the worst dust storms I have ever seen here in NM have been in May. Just providing local comments from someone living here, and if you practice camera safety and caution, changing lenses in protected areas (like in the car) should not present problems. You will LOVE your visit, and welcome to the Land of Enchantment!!
New Mexico Dave wrote:
So, just a slight change to the many answers provi... (
Dave, I will defer to your more extensive "residency experience"
My wife and I are planning a ten-day trip to Santa... (
Besides dealing with your camera you might wish to take the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad which is a bit further north of Taos. Assuming you are driving just take back small roads and there is so very much to see in the whole area you will wear your camera out.
I am a native New Mexican and have photographed all over the state. Dust is really not a problem. However, I do advise you to take a small brush of some type to simply dust off the outside of your camera and lens after any trip out. This is a good precaution anywhere you are, but NM does tend to be drier than what you are used to, and a quick dust off is a good idea.
One of the more spectacular areas of the state is the monument called KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS. I can assure you it will be time well spent to visit this site. As it is on the Cochiti Pueblo land, you should check the website below to make sure it is open. The pueblo closes it on feast days and other pueblo celebration days. But it is open and easily accessible most days of the year.
It is about a half hour drive south of Santa Fe and well worth it.
Please visit the site using the link below. I do believe you will find it to be one of the most special places anywhere, not just in NM.https://www.blm.gov/visit/kktr
Have a wonderful time. I know you will.