Monday, November 21, 2011

Coyote 2011

In September I signed up for a bike class with a group call Women Riding Well  The first few weeks covered basics, such as applying the brakes suddenly without going over the handle bars, riding in a straight line, learning to feel comfortable with someone riding right next to you, etc.  As the weeks progressed, we learned about pace lines(among many other things), which meant that we would ride in a line, switching out the leader on a regular basis so that the first person, who would be "pulling" the rest by allowing the others to draft close behind, would get a chance to rest. A few weeks ago, we were riding in our pace lines, refining all the things we had spent the last three months learning.  I was leading one of the pace lines just north of Algodones when I noticed the most beautiful dead coyote by the side of the road.  I could only glance at it and try and mark where it was so that I could come back later and photograph it.  If I stopped suddenly, my line would crash into me, creating a very dangerous situation.

About an hour later, we finished our ride just as the rain and wind hit.  I drove home with a friend, and as soon as she dropped me off, I changed clothes, grabbed my camera, got in my truck and headed back to where I thought the coyote was, about 40 minutes from my home in Corrales.  It was hard to find.  It's one thing to be whizzing along on a bicycle, fairly close to the ground going 17 mph, but quite another to be high up in a truck with someone right behind me wondering why I'm going so slowly. I made one pass in my truck without any luck, and then finally, on the second try, located the coyote.  I parked my truck on the shoulder, got out--it had started to rain again--and took numerous photos of the carcass. 

I don't know how or when I will use this coyote in an image, but this is how this whole process starts.  I'm out living my life, doing something that has nothing to do with making art, and then suddenly, there it is; some startling image that I know I have to have.  For me, it's about making the decision to stop and take the photo, or, as in this case, to try and come back when I can.  So often I won't or don't or can't take those photos, and I always regret it.  I've found that the one constant in being a photographer is that you can almost never come back and find the image that you missed.  After I photograph I always try to thank whatever it is that I've taken a photo of, whether it be living or dead, animate or inanimate.  It's a gift to me, plain and simple, that I hope to honor by making that initial photo mean something that's more than what it was.


  1. Holly

    This is very moving. I'm glad you stopped and grateful you sent this. The spirits of the animals in this world go unnoticed by most of us, but not by you.


  2. I look forward to seeing what you do with this photograph.

  3. i agree with gil....


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