Downtown Daze, Abel Espalin (above)

"I took this photo in the thick of the pandemic lockdown when downtown Albuquerque was boarded up and a virtual ghost town. I felt like the emptiness and silence of this part of town was something I might never experience again. I had to take full advantage of the situation, and what a more iconic Albuquerque structure to shoot than the KIMO Theatre." —Abel Espalin

Soda Dam,  Erin Brubaker2ND PLACE

Soda Dam, Erin Brubaker

"This photo was taken at Soda Dam in Jemez Springs in late August of this year. I had only been living in Albuquerque about a month at that point and this was my first time visiting Jemez Springs. After a soak at the Bath House and a good meal at Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon, my friend and I ventured on to see other areas. When we found the popular Soda Dam feature, I just had to jump out of the car with my cameras (I always have both my DSLR and my cell camera ready). Now I have seen some bizarre rock formations many times in New Mexico and other places I've traveled, but this had a different mood to it. It almost looked like a monster to me. As we walked down closer to the water, I started noticing the smoothness of the top rock layer, then the waterfall. As I kept moving closer and closer, I saw what appeared to be a small tidal wave frozen in time. It was this part of the rock formation that I found so fascinating, especially with the way the light was hitting just the center part. The moment seemed fleeting, so I captured it with my iPhone instead of my DSLR. I originally shot all of the series in color, but when I was doing some post-processing, I decided to change this image to black and white and it took on a whole other mood. I found the varying tones of black, white, and grey to be more dramatic somehow." —Erin Brubaker

Santa Fe Shadows,  Jeff Puterbaugh3RD PLACE

Santa Fe Shadows, Jeff Puterbaugh

“This shot was taken on a cold February afternoon as the sun was settling in for the night over Santa Fe. The shadows danced on the adobe and the angle cast a perfect facsimile of the metal to the clay. It's Santa Fe in all its magic" —Jeff Puterbaugh

Rainbow Over Harvey,  Kyrie MoralesHONORABLE MENTION

Rainbow Over Harvey, Kyrie Morales

“My partner and I were traveling around and exploring New Mexico in Harvey, our self-converted school bus ("Skoolie"), before permanently moving to the state. We had spent the day enjoying Carlsbad Caverns and found a nice secluded spot on some BLM land for the evening. My partner was making dinner while I zoned out reading in bed. The sun was starting to set and the sky was really going off, so I decided to move closer to the window to watch the sunset when I noticed behind me a small portion of a rainbow. I stepped outside to see that our bus was nearly perfectly centered in a double rainbow. What followed next was probably funnier in person, but I grabbed my DSLR Canon camera and proceeded to run in the mud, attempting to get far enough away from the bus to get the shot. My camera didn't have a wide enough lens to get the full shot, so I continued to shout (while running back and forth to the bus) that I needed a phone so I could take a photo before it disappeared. By the end of it, I was covered in mud but ecstatic that I managed to capture such a perfect moment on our travels. This photo is a great reminder to myself to get outside, even for just a moment, and enjoy nature."—Kyrie Morales

Symmetry,  Heidi KellyHONORABLE MENTION

Symmetry, Heidi Kelly

Photographer Heidi Kelly's photograph Symmetry elegantly captures the beauty of an agave at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. 


For the sixth consecutive year, Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography, in Carrizozo, will host an exhibit featuring the winners. Although opening weekend festivities have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the exhibit will be on display and images available for purchase beginning January 28 on Fridays 10 to 5, Saturdays 10 to 5, and Sundays noon to 5.

See all the winners of the 21st Annual New Mexico Magazine Photos of the Year.