year 2017, week 02.


I really need to get back into thinking about myself in terms of an environmentally aware photographer and writer. The past month or so I slowly drifting off course and now with the new year it is time to steady the course.

New Mexico has been hot and dry this winter. Last week was our first measurable snow storm. I remember back was a kid (wow, I said that and now feel old) that Halloween meant snow. Now January is mid 50s, then snow, then back to mid 50s. It is really hard for the clouds to drop snow when it is that warm. And what that all means to our water source, wow. The Rio Grande valley depends a lot on snow pack in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and that has been hit hard.

The Rio Grande did run like a melted chocolate shake during the monsoon. That was great to see. But very little of that (that I know of) sticks around. Those monsoon rains pass by and even when they don’t hit the Albuquerque metro the river runs high and fast. Then it all ends up somewhere. Probably Elephant Butte.

But I have been hearing a lot about how the river runs dry just south of the city. I don’t get down there much but I think I need to make a point of it. The water table goes below ground for a ways before coming back above ground and continuing south.


Of course I could devote my life to just the Albuquerque stretch of the Rio Grande. But my mind tends to wander and it is better for me (and my work) if I let it.

How do photographers/writers/artists that work only on projects that matter to them make money? I don’t want to be the photographer that does weddings and senior portraits. There are enough of those type of photographers. I want to just work on my stuff but to also tie it into bigger platforms that enact change and discussion. That has to pay something. Right?

Hollywood Casino with Albuquerque’s lights in the distance creating a silhouette of the Sandia Mountains.


I need to start writing about the unpublished project I worked on last summer. Not here, the project needs a proper unveiling, but this is the place I need to set the tone for my writing. Nature, water, land, New Mexico, Albuquerque. I need to get back into that mindset.

I also need to dive back in and weed out the photos that haven’t stayed strong over time. They are all still on my wall in my home office and I look at them daily. The strong ones are starting to stand out but my writing will help me find the most straightforward message.

Also, I don’t know why I am resisting placing the human subject into the frame. That is something I need to work out. I think it will be best to shoot the photos and then walk through the project with the photos in there and with out. A friend recommended I add that and I should honor his opinion and try especially because I don’t have a good (or real) reason why I shouldn’t.


Today I had no time to focus on my thoughts. Tonight I am too tired to. I’m not even sure I will pick up my book before bed.

I need to get back on track. Focus. But reality (work and family life) do take priority.


Mark Allen Simenson

Today is January 13th and would’ve been my father’s 60th birthday. He passed away in 2001 and every year his birthday takes me by surprise. Surprise at how much pain is still there. Surprise at how much inspiration he gave me. Surprise at how much I learned from him. Surprise at how little I knew about him.

Today is also Friday. My father loved when his birthday was a Friday the 13th. I need to make today good. He would’ve and so should I.

I think for lunch I’ll have a Lotaburger and enjoy the incoming storm. Tomorrow I am gonna spend the morning with my kid. I think we’ll go on an adventure and pay more of a tribute to my father.