Hi everyone and welcome back for Week 18 of the 2018 Photography Challenge! This week’s photo prompt includes pictures of New Mexico and Colorado that I shot during my dealership visits.

Photographer’s Choice

Capture an image on your own terms; who, what, when, where, why, how… It’s all up to you. Caveat: you must tell us your intent.

The challenges for each week are also divided into categories.

The category for this week is…

Wild Card

Consider this a Show-and-Tell for grown-ups. You have freedom do shoot what and how you wish. Let us know if you’re trying a new technique, composition, style, subject, working on a specific project, or just exercising your freedom. Have fun!


New Mexico and Colorado Photos

Last week was hectic with my dealership visits. I started out in Denver, Colorado and after two days meeting with the field team I flew out to Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin my trek visiting the dealerships I work with on their digital strategies. I drove nearly 600 miles, hitting Espanola, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Gallup, Farmington and ending in Durango, Colorado for my final visit before heading home.

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of New Mexico Navajo Reservation Dunes

These are the dunes that I drove through as I passed into the Navajo Reservation in the evening

A lot of people don’t consider New Mexico to be on their hotspot for places to visit, but there’s some beautiful scenery as you drive through the mountains and dunes throughout the state. Compared to previous challenges, using landscape with natural lines to lead the eye for photos is such a great technique when shooting photos like these. For all of my photos I broke out my trust Pentax 50mm 1.8 F-Stop Prime Lens to accompany my Pentax K-50 DSLR Camera, which performed beautifully.

Driving Through the Navajo Reservation in Gallup and Farmington, NM

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of New Mexico Navajo Reservation Trail

This is another photo that I shot as I passed through the Navajo Reservation. I snapped a photo of the road behind me, which used the leading lines technique I talked about in a previous photo challenge!

A majority of the photos that I shot for this week’s challenge come from driving through the Navajo Reservation. To reach Gallup from Albuquerque I drove through I-40 and then veered up I-491. You can take that stretch all the way up through Tohatchi and Newcomb to Shiprock before cutting on I-64 to Farmington, but there’s a hidden passage way after passing Newcomb that lets you cross over to I-371 and avoid most of the highway congestion.

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of New Mexico Navajo Reservation

Even though it isn’t General Motors, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of my rental car for the week.

This passage way cuts you straight across the Navajo Reservation, which offers a relaxing drive through the middle of nowhere. Most of the scenery involves a lot of dunes before hitting some of the valleys on I-371, but it’s worth trekking through and offered quite a few photo opportunities that I took advantage of! It was great to hit that golden hour and shoot as the sun was setting in the sky, offering the best kind of lighting for landscape photos.

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of New Mexico Farmington

Beyond the reservation heading into Farmington, NM is an awesome valley that I shot as the sun was setting. Beautiful!

I didn’t have any difficulties shooting for this week’s challenge, but it’s incredibly windy through that passageway and it can be hard to find a place to park your car off the side of the road. If you aren’t careful and end up getting a flat tire or run out of gas, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble because of how little traffic travels through the reservation.

During my time I also shot various photos at the dealerships I visited, resulting in some pretty cool truck photos! I used different low angle techniques to give the trucks a sense of power and authority based on the way they were posed at the dealerships.

2018 Photography Challenge: Angles Photography Photo 2


Driving Through the Mountains to Durango, Colorado

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of Durango, Colorado

You can immediately spot a major difference in flora as you head from New Mexico into Colorado.

The other photo op that I had during my dealer visits was the trek through the mountains on my way up to Durango, CO. I took I-170 to I-140, which passes straight through the mountains that overlook a huge expanse of valley.

It was in the middle of the afternoon, but I feel like this lent itself well to the greens and vibrant blue sky. While New Mexico offers some beautiful blue skies, the change in flora seems to have a very specific line for where it starts and ends when crossing the border. The sands and dunes in New Mexico quickly give way to blossoming trees and river channels cutting through the mountains in the valleys.

2018 Photography Challenge: Pictures of Durango, Colorado

Another angle I shot of the valley in the Colorado mountains.

While shooting into the valley I had a quick chat with a BP engineer who had parked there for lunch (he commented on how I was the most dressed up person he saw shooting photos of the valley, considering I was dressed up for my last dealer visit).

There have been several fires that ravished the area over the last few weeks; he said that those spots would’ve made for great photo ops had they not been blocked off for safety purposes. Despite the valley offering more color than New Mexico, it surprised me to hear that part of Colorado is considered an arid environment.


New Mexico and Colorado Photo Edits

While I’m sharing six photos for this week’s challenge, I’m only going to walk through two of the edits that I performed.

Navajo Reservation, New Mexico Photo

  • Exposure: +0.20
  • Contrast: +30
  • Highlights: +30
  • Whites: +30
  • Clarity: +100
  • Vibrance: +30
  • Saturation: +30
  • Point Curve: Medium Contrast
  • Orange Hue: -100
  • Yellow Hue: -20
  • Orange Luminance: -22
  • Yellow Luminance: -58


Durango, Colorado Photo

  • Contrast: +30
  • Highlights: +30
  • Shadows: -30
  • Whites: +30
  • Blacks: -30
  • Clarity: +100
  • Vibrance: +30
  • Saturation: +30
  • Point Curve: Medium Contrast
  • Green Hue: +100
  • Aqua Hue: -100
  • Green Saturation: +30
  • Aqua Saturation: +30
  • Green Luminance: +100
  • Aqua Luminance: +100


2018 Photography Challenge: Wrap-Up

What did you think of this week’s photos of New Mexico and Colorado? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter to get more of the latest and greatest social media and digital marketing posts! If you haven’t already, check out last week’s photo challenge on humor photography or next week’s photo challenge of the sunburst effect in landscape photography!

Photography Equipment that I Use

Here are some links for the vlogging equipment I used in the photo challenge for this week:

White Backdrop Curtain: https://amzn.to/2k1L2ds

Neewer Photography Light Stand: https://amzn.to/2GpKXZS

Neewer Video Photography Lighting Kit: https://amzn.to/2rMYshB

Pentax 50mm Prime Lens: https://amzn.to/2GkrAkB

Pentax  K-50 Camera Body: https://amzn.to/2IjPUJj