Ghost Ranch has been part of my spiritual life for decades. Ghost Ranch is a beautiful retreat center in northern New Mexico. I remember attending a few church retreats there as a child, and once staying (as a Girl Scout?) in their “teepee” lodging, a forest of tall canvas tents with concrete floors and metal bedframes upon which to lay our sleeping bags. I returned as a young adult to take part in one of their summer arts weeks, learning the craft of Spanish colonial tinsmithing and watching with the entire community as teachers of the micaceous pottery class unloaded glowing pots from the kiln by starlight. I believe it was then that my interest in pottery was (literally!) kindled…and eventually led to a ten-year stint as a member of the Feet of Clay cooperative in Massachusetts.

I’ve been fortunate to return to Ghost Ranch three times in the past half-dozen years, once for a retreat with other spiritual directors, once for a wedding, and then, two years ago, for a writers’ retreat. On both retreat occasions, part of my time there was spent with camera in hand. Ghost Ranch is incredibly photogenic, with stunning rock formations and powerful storms blowing through. I pay a different kind of attention to the world around me when I walk with camera in hand. Walking through the Ghost Ranch landscape has resulted in some stunning and dramatic photography, some of which I have shared in the past on Instagram.

A week or so ago, I received notice of Ghost Ranch’s annual photo contest. After some prayer and reflection, I decided that I would like to enter some of my photography in the contest. The big question, naturally, is which photo(s) I wish to enter. The idea came to me to post a series of my favorites on Instagram, one a day, over the week ahead, and let you weigh in on what you like. I’m starting today with this one, of morning light coming through Kitchen Mesa.

Please respond, here or on Instagram, about which images you really like. If you’ve been to Ghost Ranch, consider submitting your best photo(s) to the contest (you can find the information here).

Also, next time you head outdoors, consider taking a camera (or your smart phone) and walking with a photographer’s perspective. What catches your attention? How might God be speaking through what you see?

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