100 points for those who can tell me what those little nuggets are on the bottom of my running shoes.
That's right. Tribulus terrestris nuggets, affectionately known as "goatheads." The struggle is real.
You know, other than these little guys, I really love the fact that Albuquerque has so much to offer as far as outdoor photography. Before, people used to know Albuquerque as the place that Bugs Bunny should have turned left at. Now, thanks to Vince Gilligan, people know Albuquerque as a meth-infested slum (certain parts are, just like anywhere else), but I've really grown to appreciate the fact that Albuquerque is really a beautiful city, and New Mexico a beautiful state. I've taken some of my best photos in Northern New Mexico, and it's really grown on me.
One of the things I'm so appreciative for is that Amy (the better half) gives me some perspective. She's from New York state and grew up as a bi-coastal kid who, after high school, lived all over the country, from California to Illinois to Montana, and even Sin City before settling here. Whenever I start to grow pessimistic about my hometown, she's there to provide perspective and offer the contrasts that remind me of the difference in day-to-day living of here compared to other areas.
We have amazing sunsets. We have the Sandia mountains. We have Santa Fe and all the mountainous forest areas in northern New Mexico. We have hills and valleys, rivers and streams, and four actual tangible seasons that aren't too extreme. For photo sessions, it ain't just dirt roads and train tracks, folks (which you should NEVER shoot on, in my personal opinion). We have wineries like Casa Rondeña in Albuquerque, several botanical gardens (the ABQ BioPark being my favorite), we have parks with huge beautiful cottonwood trees, and we have enough of a cityscape to photograph downtown and uptown without the sheer space and volume that demands a long commute. We might not have beaches like California, but we don't have the smog either. I'll take the trade-off and be able to see a real sunrise every morning.
Albuquerque's not perfect by a long shot, especially after making national headlines recently due to problems with local law enforcement, and from a local photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex unity ceremony, eventually resulting in a US Supreme Court ruling that photographers can't discriminate against clients on the basis of religion. Those recent events, as well as the public reaction to them, has caused me to evaluate my home with a fresh perspective. Every place is different, and I'm going to stick with a positive attitude that New Mexico CAN be the land of tranquil light, which we definitely have plenty of. There's beauty here, and the bad can always be made better through tenacious effort.
With all the beauty we have, I'll pluck goatheads out of my running shoes any day.