The Optical Illusion Mountains
The Manzano Mountains are in my proverbial backyard but their height is a topic of optical confusion. Their size does not seem to change appropriately with viewing distance. For example, (see the photo above) when viewed from the west side of Los Lunas - on Main Street west of Los Lunas High School, the Manzano Mountains look pretty big, like big BIG. This would represent a viewing distance of >20 miles. From this vantage point, I would think that if I were standing right in front of them they would would tower up to the sky.
The next two photos below are shot from the Manzano Expressway near Ann Parish Elementary, representing a viewing distance of 10-ish miles. At less than half the distance of the first photo, they don't look all that much bigger.
Incidentally, all the photos in this post are shot with an iPhone SE, so the focal length of the lens is not changing and I never use the digital zoom.
Mountain Shadow Road
The photo below was shot on Mountain Shadow Road in Meadow Lake, representing a viewing distance of less than 5 miles.
As Close As You Can Get
Last Sunday, Johnpaul and I decided to see how close to the Manzano Mountains we could get so we drove out to Valencia High School and then continued east as far as the road would take us and we got pretty close. All of the photos below are from that excursion.
Here's the thing though, even from right in front of them, the Manzanos do not look like towering 10,098 foot mountains. With the naked eye, they actually look much taller and more imposing from the west side of Los Lunas.
To put things in perspective, the Sandia Mountains that are east of Albuquerque are 10,679 feet are their highest point. The Manzano Mountains are only slightly shorter with a maximum height of 10,098 feet. The Sandia Mountains look imposing from any angle or viewing distance but from the foothills, you have to actually look up to see the top. On the other hand, the Manzano Mountains look like manageable hills when viewed from a short distance.
Despite their optically confusing nature, the Manzano Mountains are beautiful, desolate and difficult to approach, exactly the way mountains should be.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.