All images © Tim Keller unless otherwise noted.


February 23, 2021       The Long Road

New Mexico Magazine, March 2021Capulin Volcano National Monument

The March issue of New Mexico Magazine just arrived to remind me how much I miss travel and restaurants during this long Covid-19 quarantine period, now almost a year old. I've been enjoying the peace and quiet with lots of time for reading, movies, cooking, hiking, and a full night's sleep every night. As I await my place in the vaccination queue (my only risk factor is being 70 years old; otherwise, I'm healthier and fitter than most: I'd just as soon teachers and grocery workers go ahead of me), I anticipate that our first travel, hopefully in the fall, will be close, so Taos, one of our favorites.

Tim Keller, New Mexico photographer Meantime, New Mexico Magazine's travel bait this month includes its cover feature, "Quintessentially NM," with my photo of Capulin Volcano National Monument included to lure people up here to my corner of the state. It's the third license (sale) for this image, having been originally commissioned by the monument itself, then appearing in the 2019 New Mexico True Adventure Guide. Capulin Volcano is 35 miles from home and one of the places we've visited even during the quarantine: Outside and distance are both easily accomplished around here. Haircuts not so much, so I'm including a quarantine selfie to reach out and say hello. I'm not posting much as I revel in my retirement, so this might be the last hello for a spell. All is well, good road ahead.




August 3, 2020     Alight in Taos

"Alight" - San Francisco de Asis Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico - Photograph by Tim Keller, AIPP permanent public display at Taos Senior Center

Christina and I enjoyed getting away a couple weeks ago for a road trip to Taos to install "Alight" at the new Taos Senior Center under the auspices of the Art in Public Places (AIPP) program of our state's wonderfully progressive New Mexico Arts (NMA).

"Alight" - San Francisco de Asis Church, Ranchos de Taos - photograph by Tim Keller, NMA AIPP permanent display at Taos Senior Center

This is my sixth placement in New Mexico's innovative public arts program, with my previous work on permanent public display in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Belen, Deming, and Portales. This new one took all year to accomplish, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. By the time the contracts had wended their way through the state and county government offices, the pandemic had arrived and New Mexico had largely shut down. Once we started re-opening, I was able to get the 20"x30" print made by Thomas Park at Orion Studios, then the matting and framing done by Frontier Frames, and the plaque made by Arroyo Studio, all in Santa Fe. Then we waited to do the installation during our long-planned summer mini-vacation in Taos--we spend a few days there for Valentine's every February, and sometimes throw in an extra summer trip. By mid-July it was clear that an August vacation wouldn't be safe so we cancelled that and made a quick day trip, 200 miles round trip, to install "Alight." (Taos County is now up to 90 Covid cases, with Santa Fe and Albuquerque much higher. Raton just got its fourth case, so we're doing pretty well here so far.)

Photographer Tim Keller with his new installation "Alight" at Taos Senior Center, July 2020.

I captured the "Alight" image during our 2018 Valentine's stay in Taos. After brunch one overcast afternoon, Christina set off walking to visit shops and I split off in the car with my camera. I've photographed the San Francisco de Asis church at Ranchos de Taos many times (here's one)--it's the most photographed location in New Mexico--but this is the first time in black and white, and the first to feature the many pigeons that nest there. (Click any image to enlarge it.) It's been pretty successful! This was the highest price paid for my work so far, and an example of why I say I'm "semi-retired". I'm no longer hustling work from editors, but NMA makes entering AIPP so easy as to be irresistable. I'm proud to have my photographs on permanent public display throughout New Mexico. Thanks New Mexico Arts, and thanks Taos Senior Center!




March 29, 2020     Further

Tim Keller Photography, selfie, Raton NM

Since the dawn of the digital revolution 25 years ago, photography has evolved with head-spinning speed. I learned with film (Kodak Plus-X and Tri-X) and darkrooms and cameras that were largely unchanged in the mid-1990s from the Pentax and Rolleiflex cameras I learned on in the mid-1960s. For more than 20 years now, camera makers, led by Nikon and Canon, have created a new generation of equipment every two to four years. Professional and serious "prosumer" photographers have been upgrading their gear that often. I didn't get serious about my photography until 2007, buying the Nikon D300 on the day of its Thanksgiving release. A year later I'd created a body of work that launched my career and this website. That camera, and four lenses, got me into a variety of magazines, newspapers, and art shows. With my earnings, I eventually upgraded to the Nikon D4, then the D5, also with four lenses, now full-frame, versus the smaller digital frame-- "FX" vs. "DX" -- a huge leap in size, weight, price, and abilities. More recently I added a Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera with a couple lenses. For years I've carried $30,000 insurance on my camera gear--and easily paid the premiums with the earnings.

I had a good ten-year run in the thick of it, building a successful full-time career as a freelance photographer and feature writer even while teaching high school honors English classes full time. When I retired from teaching five years ago, I thought I'd do more writing and photography, not less. But the digital revolution also led to a crisis in journalism with magazines and newspapers failing at an alarming rate, and whole photography departments closed. I was still succeeding but it took more and more hustle. At the same time, I was growing increasingly frustrated with the constant changes in technology, especially website and photo software. The changes seemed always two steps forward, one step backward, and the one step back often eliminated key tools I'd learned to rely on. It made the work more difficult, and keeping up with the changes was time consuming. I finally reached a point where it all seemed less than worthwhile.

The Mississippi River enters New Orleans at sundown, aerial photo by Tim Keller

So I've stepped back. The website still brings some sales, mostly licensing existing images, and I have a few irons still in the fire, but I've stopped hustling for gigs, stopped reaching out to create and place my work in the world. If you're a regular reader of my blogs, or you look closely at my Blog Archive, you'll know that the volume of blog posts has slowed from the first decade when I'd fill two or three screens each week with notes and photos from that week's professional projects. Nowadays they come more from my travels, and so they're more intermittent. Christina and I were supposed to now be in New Orleans (my October aerial photo at right) but we cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We'd planned to start in Memphis, explore blues sites throughout the Mississippi Delta, then continue to the Louisiana bayou country and finally nine days in New Orleans. We've also been enjoying repeated trips to Guatemala, Hawaii, the California redwoods and wine country, Taos, Santa Fe, Denver, and more. I'll keep posting new photography and blogs, but they'll be interspersed with weeks-long spells in which all I'm doing is reading books, swimming, hiking, gardening, cooking, and enjoying rich days with my wife and dogs and cats from our glorious home on the outskirts of Raton, New Mexico. If you're sticking with me, I appreciate it. Thank you. Onward we go...




March 20, 2020     Let There Be Light

"The Trail Ahead" - Tim Keller photo of art installation at Jal, NM"Clovis Train Yard" - photograph by Tim Keller
"Outside the Envelope" - balloon silhouette photo by Tim Keller"Ranchos Church, Christmas" - Ranchos de Taos NM photo by Tim Keller

Johnson's of Madrid has a spring gallery show called "Light" that includes four of my large framed photographs. "The Trail Ahead" (top left) is my sunrise silhouette from a sprawling hilltop art installation by Brian Norwood north of Jal, New Mexico. For scale, the hat on that mounted cowboy is 22 feet above the ground; the oversized pieces are all cut from quarter-inch sheet steel. (As always, click any image to enlarge.)

"Clovis Train Yard" (top right) was shot even earlier, during the dawn, from an overpass above the busy train yard, a shot I'd envisioned for years and finally got when I was staying near Clovis for a New Mexico Magazine feature. Identical framed prints of this image hang permanently at UNM Hospital in Albuquerque and Lea County Museum in Lovington.

"Outside the Envelope" (bottom left) is another sunrise shot, this time silhouetting a balloon pilot as he prepares his balloon for liftoff at a July balloon rally here in Raton, New Mexico.

"Ranchos Church, Christmas" was shot one winter night at Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, with ice crystals in the sky forming concentric rings around the rising moon.

It's no accident that none of these images were created in midday: the best photographs are taken in the best light, which is early in the morning and late in the day. Each of the three morning shots here required setting a alarm and getting out in the predawn darkness to be ready for the shot when the light arrived.

These images are each 30" wide, with 5" white mattes and 2" black wood frames for a frame size 43" wide, all made in Santa Fe to museum standards. The show at Johnson's will be up throughout the spring, until early summer.




March 12, 2020      Promoting the Arts

New Mexico Arts Education, Department of Cultural AffairsNew Mexico Arts Education, Department of Cultural Affairs

I found this new card Sunday promoting the impressive arts education programs of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and its fabulous arts agency New Mexico Arts (NMA). Six of the eight photos are mine, from last year's Poetry Out Loud state final at St. Francis Auditorium on the Santa Fe Plaza. Not surprisingly, NMA has again made great use of my photography to promote its youth arts programs.

Christina and I spent the weekend in Santa Fe for Poetry Out Loud and down the Turquoise Trail past her family home for the opening of a Madrid art show with four of my big framed photos. During the trip we began considering whether we should cancel our upcoming two-week trip to Memphis, the Mississippi Delta (blues!), Louisiana bayou country and New Orleans (NOLA). On Monday, NOLA announced its first case of the coronavirus Covid-19, but a million Mardi Gras revelers left town a couple weeks ago and there's a good chance they left the virus behind. We've decided this week to cancel our trip, which we'd planned for March 17-31. Alas.




March 1, 2020      Poetry Out Loud

New Mexico Poetry Out Loud 2019 bookNew Mexico Poetry Out Loud 2019 book

Phyllis Kennedy has again done a great job turning my photography into a great book showcasing the talented young people gathered at Santa Fe's St. Francis Auditorium for last year's annual Poetry Out Loud state finals. This time she took the wide panoramic group photo on stage and spread it around the front and back covers--that's the front and back above.

Neil Katzman, 2019 New Mexico Poetry Out Loud championNeil Katzman, 2019 New Mexico Poetry Out Loud champion

Inside, along with pages devoted to groups and candids and credits, each student got a two-page spread. New state champion Neil Katzman, of Albuquerque's Bosque School, went on to represent New Mexico in the national competition in Washington, D.C. I applaud New Mexico Arts for the creative and impressive job they do in running, promoting, and celebrating this great youth program.



January 7, 2020      "Serafina, 1988"

Tim Keller and Christina Boyce, Serafina, San Miguel County, New Mexico, 1988
Tim Keller and Christina Boyce, Serafina, San Miguel County, New Mexico, 1988

For the last three years of the 1980s, I shared a remote rental house down a dirt road on a 10,000-acre ranch 18 miles southwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, with Santa Fe native Christina Boyce, now my wife. One winter morning after brunch in our front yard, we'd shed our jackets in sheltered sunshine and, as I played guitar, Christina walked toward the road and took my picture, with her and the road reflected back from the front picture window of our adobe house. The camera was a hand-me-down Canon SLR from my dad. We've long loved the photo, which existed only as a 4"x6" black and white print, and at some point I scanned it into my computer.

After we collaborated with Colorado Springs artist Lindsay Hand last year to use an old Keller family snapshot to create the gorgeous big oil painting "The Valley, 1945" we all decided to do another. In August, Lindsay began work on "Serafina, 1988" and she delivered it to us here at home last week. It's less abstracted than her usual work, more photo realism, as you can see above. (As always here, click any image to enlarge it.) Both paintings are 28"x46" plus identical antiqued black frames custom made from scratch by Lindsay. I'm posting photos and commentary on the new painting at my arts blog today...check it out. We're thrilled to have two Lindsay Hand paintings in our home, each coming from an old black and white historical photo that explores elements of my own family experience in California and New Mexico.