Tuscany 2019~Photo credit: Victor Riehl

Sharmagne Leland-St.John

"Taos Sunrise"

On the January title page is a photo taken from my back garden toward the Taos Mountain Range in New Mexico. It was the first snow after I bought the adobe in Ranchos de Taos. To my artist/photographer's eye, the clouds themselves looked like mountains. I couldn't resist snapping this gorgeous sunrise.

"Western Washington"

Every year, when we spend time at my fly fishing lodge on the Stillaguamish River in Washington, we visit La Conner. It is one of my favourite little villages on the Swinomish Channel. The 20-mile drive to La Connor is very scenic, meandering past tulip fields, old derelict barns and –if we are lucky– flocks of migrating snowgeese.


"Cattle~Red Hook, Upstate New York"

In March of 2017, I was invited to The Tivoli Artists Gallery in Upstate New York to exhibit "I Will Dance For You" from Unsung Songs, my first published collection of poetry.   The curator and my host, Danny Goldman, squired me around Tivoli, Red Hook, Olana, Clermont and other historic locales. Returning to his warm and cozy home, we encountered these cattle lowing in a snowy pasture.

"Aspens in a Winter Garden~Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico"

I have breathtaking views from every window of my little adobe in Ranchos. I shot this scene through the kitchen window on another morning after a first snow. With its panoramic views and the myriad colours of the four seasons, Taos is one of my favourite places when it is snowing. It is a perfect photo for our Ekphrastic Poetry exercise.

"Morning has Broken~Taos, New Mexico"

Victor came into the house early one morning to share some photos he had just taken of the sun peeking through the clouds in a stormy sky above the Sangre de Cristos Mountains.   I, of course, grabbed my iPhone and rushed out into the snow to capture my own impressions.

"Guanacos~Patagonia, Chile"

On the long drive from Punta Arenas, Region De Magallanes, Chile to the Hotel Remota in Patagonia, the driver stopped along the highway so I could photograph these guanacos. Guanacos are closely related to the llama. I had travelled to Chile in 2016 on a fly fishing expedition. In one spot on the river, if I had stepped onto one bank, I'd be in Argentina and on the other, Chile. We fished the Petrohué River in the Los Lagos Region of Chile; I caught this beautiful brownie and released him safely after our photo-op.

"Saint John's Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery~Upper Red Hook~Dutchess County, NY"

On one of our excursions from the Tivoli Gallery Danny and I came across this church. The first church building on the site of the present Reformed (Dutch) Church in Upper Red Hook was in existence in 1787 and stood until 1871, when a new church was built. The ground around the first building began to be used for burial purposes soon after the church was erected. My late husband always said, "You can tell a lot about a place by its cemeteries and its hardware stores. So we always visited both whenever we arrived at a new movie location.

"Aspens in Late Autumn~Taos, New Mexico"

Here we have the same trees as above but in a different season. The crows seem to enjoy them most in the late fall.   I never tire of photographing them.  They are deciduous and often propagate through their roots to form large clonal groves originating from a shared root system. These roots are not rhizomes, as new growth develops from adventitious buds on the parent root system (the ortet). Another stand of these trees has grown on the other side of the garden.

"Winter Farmlands~Red Hook, NY"

Something about these red barns against a backdrop of black, white and sepia caught my eye. We photographed this landscape from different angles.  This one was my favourite.   I generally "over-shoot" a subject just to be sure I get the exact photo I can see in my mind's eye. I try to edit in the camera.

"Dawn on a Snowy Morning~Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico"

Same driveway, different day. I could spend years photographing this scene and never tire of it. In summer it is covered in sunflowers, hollyhocks, Mexican sage and the little flowers known as "Mexican Hats" for their uncanny resemblance to sombreros.

San Francisco de Asís Catholic Mission Church~Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico

This historic “Ranchos Church” was built in the early 1800’s; it is the only original church which remains intact in the Taos area from that era. It is the most photographed church in the United States and is often painted by resident artists and tourists.


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