All images © Tim Keller unless otherwise noted.


February 17, 2019    The Colorado Story

Settling the San Luis Valley: The Colorado Story by Noel and Faulkner, Tim Keller Photography, The People's Ditch

I'm always excited to see my photography in magazines, travel guides, newspapers, websites, posters, and more, but today I'm celebrating a first: my photo of "The People's Ditch" in San Luis, Colorado, anchors a two-page spread in The Colorado Story, a newly revised 2nd edition Colorado history book for use in the state's schools.

The Colorado Story, 2nd edition, by Noel & Faulkner, Gibbs SmithBook plate: Public schools book property log inside cover of textbooks

I'm excited because I taught for 34 years in public schools, in New Mexico, Texas, West Virginia, and California, teaching approximately 4000 students over those years and issuing approximately 20,000 textbooks to them. As a Raton High School English teacher, I would typically issue five or six books to students on the second day of school. (Yes, I had high expectations of my students, as any good teacher does.) Because school books are often left behind in a classroom or gym or friend's locker or bus or hallway, I supervised my new students to assure that each filled out the book plate inside the front cover of every textbook. Kids (and I) had fun seeing who had the book before them--sometimes an older sibling or cousin.

"The People's Ditch," San Luis, Colorado, photo by Tim Keller

"The People's Ditch" is the oldest acequia (irrigation canal) still in use in Colorado, dug by hand in 1852 by the original settlers of San Luis, in the San Luis Valley of southeastern Colorado, north of Taos, New Mexico. The photo came from Part 2 of my four-part travel series"Exploring the San Luis Valley," published in 2016 by The Chronicle-News. The textbook's publisher, Gibbs Smith, may have found Part 2 on my website but more likely simply Googled "The People's Ditch" and found this page with my photo right on top. From there they followed the link to me and licensed the photo for use in the textbook. That's my primary business model these days, simply fielding email inquiries for use of my photos, found in magazines or newspapers or most often on the Web, then negotiating a price and licensing (giving permission) the use of a photo. See News for recent licenses resulting in my photographs being published.

It's been fun to see my photography and writing careers overlap with earlier endeavors such as skateboarding and music, but today I'm enjoying this first overlap with my long teaching career, pondering the thousands of students who will encounter my photo as they hunch over their textbooks in second period Colorado History.




February 12, 2019    New Mexico True Adventure Guide

Capulin Volcano National Monuent New Mexico True Adventure Guide 2019   

New Mexico True Adventure Guide 2019 arrived in the mail over the weekend, a couple weeks ahead of the check for the three photographs of mine included this year. It's my ninth consecutive year to have work in the state's annual vacation and travel guide. This year I'm excited that my photos illustrate three regions of the state: Often my photography focuses on the northeast corner, the Hi Lo Country, where I've lived for 20 years, and where two years ago Capulin Volcano National Monument hired me to create a portfolio of photography for their use. I always retain the rights to my photos, so I can license them repeatedly. One of my monument photos (above left) has ended up on page 130 of this year's Adventure Guide.

Fort Stanton, Lincoln County, New Mexico

My page 18 photo of Fort Stanton in Lincoln County came from my three-part series, Chasing Billy the Kid: A New Mexico Travelogue, for The Chronicle-News. At the height of the Lincoln County War, in July 1878, Fort Stanton troops rode over the hill to restore the peace in Lincoln. (Taking sides, they did not take Billy's side.) I recommend Lincoln and Fort Stanton in southeastern New Mexico--they're fabulous, well worth a couple days. Stay at Ellis Store Country Inn and use my series as a guide to Lincoln and to Billy the Kid's adventures throughout the area, including White Oaks and Fort Stanton.

El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico, Route 66

Gallup's El Rancho Hotel made its name during the golden age of Hollywood, the 1930s and 40s, when movie stars and other celebrities stayed here, either while making movies in the region or traveling through on Route 66 or the adjacent railroad now served by Amtrak. Their photos are mounted on the walls throughout the cavernous lobby. My photo of El Rancho's lobby appears on page 118 of this year's Adventure Guide.

Published annually by New Mexico Magazine, the New Mexico True Adventure Guide is available free at all of the state's visitor centers, in hotels and restaurants throughout the state, and online from New Mexico Tourism Department. (Yep, they'll mail one to you at no cost. Can't beat that!) As they say just outside of town, "Get 'er done!"




January 29, 2019    Poetry Out Loud

NM Poetry Out Loud book, photography by Tim Keller

January begins my season of work with New Mexico Arts. They put out for bids the selection of the official photographer for the annual Poetry Out Loud state finals--I've just been selected for my fourth consecutive year--and they publish their book of the previous year's competition, featuring my photography. (I posted four blogs here with extensive photography and commentary after last year's event.)

It's a challenging gig. The shot list has grown each year, to the extent that I've needed to add Christina as my photo assistant and wrangler, gathering the designated people and checking off the list as we work both before and immediately after the actual competition. Then, during the competition, I'm the only one in the darkened auditorium allowed to shoot pictures--even the press is prohibited, and I'm required to give them a photo immediately after the event for the next morning's newspapers--because it's too easy to distract the audience and the students during their performances. Having coached my own students years ago, culminating in one winning the state title and going to nationals, I'm sensitive to choosing just the right moments to click the shutter, while working hard to minimize my presence.

This year's event arrives Sunday, March 10, at St. Francis Auditorium on the Santa Fe Plaza. I'll be using three or four cameras: the Nikon D5 with 70-200mm lens to get close during performances, the Nikon D4 with 24-70mm lens for wider shots, and for immediate access to images for the press, the Fujifilm X-T2 with 16-55mm lens (for the smaller digital sensor) and/or my trusty and amazing iPhone 7. The full-frame Nikons have the advantage of being ultra-fast, allowing me to get close while capturing motion in very low light. Last year the D4 lens mount glitched on me just as I set up and I spent the event often changing lenses on the D5, sending the D4 off to Photo Tech in NYC for repair. I've never had that happen, but it's always there among the reasons pros carry multiple cameras. My fingers are crossed for a smoother experience this year. It's always an exciting gig.