The light, lonely landscapes and diverse people fuel contributing photographer Steven St. John to explore his home state from a base in Albuquerque. Getting to photograph the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell defied many of his expectations and preconceptions. “I imagined a place where troubled kids were sent away from their families and forced to fall in line. What I found are some of the most respectful students I’ve ever come across, capable of critical and independent thinking. They seemed to be genuinely enjoying their time at the school.” Since honing his craft at the Albuquerque Tribune, St. John has worked as a freelance photographer and is on the board of New Mexico’s chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. See his work at

Preparing for Liftoff
The Río Grande has been a continuing presence in the life of contributing writer Philip Connors, who first glimpsed it 20 years ago from the basket of his brother’s hot-air balloon above Albuquerque. In 2002 he took a job as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest, a perch that offered a view of the river as it flowed south from Elephant Butte Lake. His more recent visits to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge opened his eyes to the diversity of plants, birds, and mammals that depend on the river and its floodplain for habitat. “It’s such a hardworking river, so harnessed to serve the needs of humans, that it seems a small miracle a piece of it was preserved specifically for birds.”

Advertising and Special Projects Art Director
A career as a concert pianist took a detour when Terry Smith discovered his passion for the visual arts. He studied painting, graphic design, and marketing, then moved into corporate work with national companies, before opening his own design and marketing business, providing strategy and creative services for publishers, music organizations, art galleries, local businesses, and advertising agencies. In 2014, he joined the staff of New Mexico Magazine, where he helps advertisers tell the stories of their businesses and locales in our pages. In his free time he still enjoys playing the piano, painting, and being a weekend “nano-farmer” with his two chickens, Pot Pie and McNugget.