The following is an except from “Cheyenne’s Top 10 Photo Locations eGuidebook – New Mexico” by Cheyenne L Rouse –
Today, Taos Pueblo stands as the largest surviving multistory Pueblo structure in the United States. These multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years, as of 2006 there were still 150 full time residents living at the Pueblo. Taos Pueblo is said to have been built sometime between 1000 and 1450 A.D. Wow that is a long time ago! It has even endured after 400 years of Spanish and Anglo presence. It was where the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was plotted then in 1847 during the Mexican – American war US forces descended on the Pueblo looking for insurgence. This Pueblo has seen its share of war and attacks and is still standing today much like it was 1000 years ago. Now that’s impressive!
I have been to Taos Pueblo on many occasions over the last 23 years and always love visiting it. Each time I go I seem to see something different to photograph that I didn’t see before and I am sure next time I go back I will see something new again. I have been at the Pueblo on bright sunny summer days as well as blustery cold fall days and each time I am enchanted. This historic place is stunning and if you take the time to slowly walk around it and observe the details and the setting you too will be enchanted. There is a $10 entrance fee to get into the Pueblo as well as a $10-$15 camera/video fee and that INCLUDES the camera on your cell phone – if they catch you without a small white tag hanging from any of your devices or cameras they may ask you to leave. So honesty is the best policy – these people are opening up their homes to us so good manners and respect is not too much to ask – you would want the same if you invited someone into your home.
There is so much to photograph at Taos Pueblo, from a beautiful moody cemetery containing rows of leaning rustic crosses as well as the ruins of the old San Geronimo Mission Church destroyed in 1847 to the iconic shot of the Pueblo with Wheeler Peak in the distance. There is endless beautiful architectural detail at every turn and the “new” San Geronimo Mission Church that was rebuilt in 1850 that will certainly draw your attention. If it is a busy day at the Pueblo with lots of visitors it is a true test of patience trying to get a shot of the church without people going in and out of the front door but it can be done. As photographers we are nothing if not patient, right? Early morning light on the front of the church is beautiful and afternoon light or a great blustery day is perfect for the iconic shot of the north side of the pueblo with Wheeler Peak as the backdrop. Be sure to bring along lenses from wide to a longer focal length to isolate some of the amazing detail found in this adobe wonderland.
If you follow the work of Ansel Adams you might have seen his iconic black and white photo of the San Geronimo Mission Church – the paint on the church was a bit different then but you can stand right where he did and get your own iconic photo. Both he and Georgia O’Keeffe spent time at Taos Pueblo and created some beautiful works of art that live on.
As a visitor to Taos Pueblo you are free to wander in and out of some of the residences that act as small art galleries, gift shops and snack shops all in a very rustic style. There are some places in the pueblo that are off limits – you will see the signs, be sure to obey the rules and keep out of restricted locations. So fill your camera bag with all of your lenses from long to wide, cause you are going to need them, enjoy your day at Taos Pueblo.
Directions: From ABQ: Take I-25 north to Santa Fe, 84/285 north of Santa Fe 24.3 miles, junction with NM 68 in Española, 48 miles north on NM 68 to junction with US 64 in Taos, 1 mile north on US 64. Taos Pueblo is 2 miles north of the center of town.
To learn about even more amazing photo locations in the Southwest you can purchase your copy of “Cheyenne’s Top 10 Photo Locations – New Mexico eGuidebook” or “Cheyenne’s Top 10 Photo Locations – Southern Utah eGuidebook” in “The Book Store” on her blog – www.CheyenneRouse.com . Check out the latest Photo Workshop and HDR Class offerings as well as “Cheyenne’s App Store” while you are there for newest Android Apps.
Have you photographed Taos Pueblo? Please leave a comment.