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Back from Africa !

Back from Africa !

Leopard walking around our Land Rover in South Africa

We have recently returned to Santa Fe after 2 week trip to South Africa. 7 of those days were spent on a photo safari near Kruger National park. These were some of the most incredible days of my life. You can go to the best zoos in the world and see elephants and rhinos. You can also see lions and leopards in ‘realistic’ ‘Lion Country’  display areas. Those are all impressive and I  don’t mean to degrade those experience.  When you see them in the bush, walking just a few yards or in the case of the leopard pictured above, just feet away from our Land Rover, you can not appreciate the magnificence of these animals.

Of course not everyone can go to Africa. But you can come to Santa Fe. The snow is on the mountains. The Plaza is glowing with Christmas light. You will not see leopard or elephants but there is a chance you may see a coyote or a bob-cat on one of the many hiking trials in and around town. Don’t worry, they will not walk up to you as the leopard did to our Land Rover, they will be gone in a flash. So come and experience all that Santa Fe has to offer.

Photo Tour/Class

Photo Tour/Class

Last month I had a group of guest in town and they express and interest in taking a photography tour. As only one of the group had a real camera and the rest of us had smart phones of various type, I looked for a photographer who would give a tour/class for both a Nikon camera and those of us with smartphones. Steve Bundy of Taos agreed to do the tour and help/teach the people with ‘real’ cameras and brought along his friend John Farnsworth to show the rest of us how to take full advantage of our smartphone cameras.

Our group drove to Ghost Ranch. We meet Steve and John at the Georgia O’Keefe center and then headed out to some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA. I had brought along my old Canon G10 and Steve kindly spent time showing me how to use the features. Don’t just put it on Auto ! Warning! It becomes addictive. I experimented with camera settings and scenes.

John showed the others how to use a smart phone camera. In short, just take lots of pictures. Then review and edit and edit and correct. He had us all download Snapseed, a photo editor and graciously offered to help with any questions.

The picture above is me experimenting. To see more pictures, Canon and I-phone click Photos. If you are interested in a tour of Santa Fe, photo or historic your can contact us via our website WWW.Santafefootprints.com

 

Corn Necklace

Corn Necklace

The corn necklace is made of large dried then dyed corn kernels. These are then strung together to become a rainbow of bright colors. The necklaces are a testament to the importance of corn as a staple for the Southwest Indians. Corn is one of the ‘three sisters’ of sustenance, corn, beans and squash. Of the three, corn reigns supreme and is celebrated in myth, ritual and dance.

The best and most fascinating time to visit one of the pueblos around Santa Fe is during a pueblo feast day. A corn dance is a signature event in many of these feast days celebration.

Attending a pueblo feast day and witnessing a corn dance is a great experience for visitors of all ages. The Nambe’ corn dance held my 6-year-old twin grandsons utterly spellbound.

Your Santa Fe Footprints guide will be able to provide you with information on all the pueblo feast days and dances.

Pendleton Blankets

Pendleton Blankets

Blankets have long been important for both Indian and early Spanish settlers of New Mexico. They provided warmth, shelter and possible most important, status. Many tribes had long established weaving traditions. Indians began to acquire machine-made blankets in the late 19th century. This was done mostly as a matter of convenience. These became known as Indian trading blankets. These trade blankets became a standard medium of exchange in the old west trading post.

Pendleton Woolen Mills was founded in 1889. They became a well-known manufacture of these trading blankets. Pendleton designers gathered information from tribes across the country to determine the preferred designs, colors and geometric shapes for this market.

The Navajo are celebrated for their excellent hand weaving skills. The Pendleton blankets are still considered an enduring symbol of their culture.

Your Santa Fe Footprints guide will provide you with the history of art in Santa Fe and also advise on the locations for excellent Indian blankets.

Squash Blossom

Squash Blossom

You’re in Santa Fe and you have heard about the ‘Squash Blossom’. Is it some kind of weird local flower? No. It’s a very distinctive Santa Fe necklace. It is distinguished by a large crescent shaped pendant hanging from a chain of silver beads. The crescent shape has its origins in the Middle East. It is believed to protect the wearer from the ‘evil eye’. Spanish conquistadors brought this style to New Mexico. Navajo silversmiths, under the influence of New Mexican jewelries, evolved to create their own unique style. The fluted beads of the chain are made to resemble the native squash blooms.

Originally made purely of silver, now turquoise has become an integral part of the squash blossom.

The squash blossom is just one of many spectacular pieces of jewelry made by local artist to be found in Santa Fe. Your Santa Fe Footprints guide will inform you of the history of Santa Fe art and as a bonus point you in the right direction for the best deals and most authentic pieces.