2017 Anders in Álamos

This is the first of what will be many 2017 Álamos stories.
It had been twenty-some years since Anders Tomlinson, cameras in hand, walked the
streets of Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo of Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Álamos, Sonora, México 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Time does not stand still but it remains in spirit. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There have been changes in Álamos since Anders last visited. Influences and
multiple causations included a copper mine to the northwest and a silver mine to
the southeast opening up, 2008’s Hurricane Norbert, La Fuerza del Destino Mexican
telenova-soap opera filmed in Álamos and airing in 2011 and being designated a
Pueblo Magico by the Mexican Government and tourism industry in 2005.
Over the centuries Bishop Reyes Cathedral, the subject of the above Anders’ photo,
has stood tall. Álamos, like the world, has grown in population and cars.

Anders Tomlinson, 2017, putting gopro camera in place overlooking Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Attaching a GoPro Camera overlooking Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

It is also true that Anders Tomlinson has changed in the two decades since his last
visit in the summer of 1996 to Álamos, Sonora, México. The biggest change is that
he is 21 years older and these are years when the changes in body and mind are
accelerating. In these years technology has changed influencing how and what he
uses to document. Anders, above, is attaching a GoPro camera around a tree
trunk with a wrap-able mini-tripod. Colonial Álamos lays before him in all its granduer.
This trip would help Anders understand how much his “eye as the beholder” has
changed. He still approaches projects with the same focus to document and
preserve data for the future to look back on. He stills marshals inclusiveness over
value judgements. Álamos continues on as it always had.

Anders Tomlinson and Tony Estrada at Reynas restaurant in Álamos, Sonora, México, march 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders with Museo director Tony Estrada. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Somethings have changed little over the years. Tony Estrada is still the director of the
Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. He has been in this position for 33 years.
He is well-respected in this capacity and is also known as an artist-sculptor.
He and his wife Lupita, herself an artist, also manage Galeria Rincon de Arte
in centro Álamos one block south of the Plaza.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa

A big change in Centro Álamos is the expansion of Hacienda de los Santos from one
Spanish Colonial mansion to three Colonial mansions and one sugar mill including footbridges that
cross the Arroyo Escondido and connect the expansive beautiful garden grounds, restaurants,
theater, and lodging. Anders spent his first two nights here and presented clips to
the Álamos History Association from Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, México
to a standing room crowd in the wonderful theater. Hacienda de los Santos provides its
guests with a map of the grounds. Anders found this helpful. The second night at the
Hacienda was one of the best sleeps Anders has had in decades.

Anders Tomlinson oon a hill in Álamos, Sonora, México, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

To the east are Sierra Madre rising foothills. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Much had happened in Anders’ life since visiting Álamos in the summer of 1996.
He found himself in the Upper Klamath Basin during the 2001 Klamath Irrigation Project
water shutoff that impacted both Klamath Falls, Oregon and Tulelake, California
and made headlines around the world. This became a period of intensive film
production including a film featuring Jimi Yamaichi and the Tulelake Internment –
Segregation Center. This would bring an end to Anders’ traveling days and he
returned to San Diego in 2008 where he remained until the much anticipated
2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson takes Rigoberto Grajeda portrait at Casa Serena Vista, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders and Rigoberto Grajeda do the portrait dance. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There were many questions in Anders’ mind when the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition
crossed the border into Tijuana on February 21st and hopped on an overnight bus to Navojoa,
Sonora, México. The major issue would be how well would Anders travel. Since 2008 the
longest trip he had taken was 24 miles and had slept every night in his own bed.
His health required three hours of daily exercise and maintenance and a restrictive diet.
Folks in Álamos helped Anders including Rigo, seen above, who cooked several meals
at Casa Serena Vista that Anders shared and Rigo also drove him a couple of times
to film the streets and roads of Álamos. With help from Joan Gould Winderman,
Diane Carpenter, Antonio Figueroa, Luis Angel, Humberto Enríquez and others Anders
was able to accomplish many of 2017 Álamos Sonic Expeditions’ project goals.

Anders Tomlinson taking photos in Álamos, Sonora, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador’s view is 360 degrees of living Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador had changed greatly from Anders’ 1996 summer visit. It is now a
destination unto itself including a restaurant. A walking path, 360 steps, from
downtown brings one to a large modern observation platform. There is a sidewalk
along the road all the way to the platform. It is an example of the fine rock work
that has been accomplished across Álamos from the arroyos to El Mirador.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders looks at the world in terms of shot scale – macro to micro. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Shooting stills or video for a narrative requires awareness of shot scale to move
the story forward in an entertaining manner. Most of the gear Anders used on
the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition shoot was new, small and produced 5,354 photos,
783 videos and 202 audio recordings.

Anders climbing La Capilla in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017.  Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders knew this would be a many days hike. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

What was intended to be a seven day expedition turned into two weeks. Anders learned
that he still had the endurance that he had twenty years ago. The best purchase he
made for the trip was a pair of Vasquez Talus Pro GTX hiking boots designed for rock.
His feet were always comfortable no matter the conditions. Happy feet make a happy hiker.

Antonio Figueroa on his ranch in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico - 2017. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Antonio Figueroa spent three days with working with Anders.

It was a pleasure for Anders to be reunited with Antonio Figueroa and his family.
Antonio took photos, video, recorded audio and provided a car for many street-road
videos. Locations included his family ranch east of Álamos, the new barrios to
the north and west, Uvalama, La Capilla, La Aurora, Hacienda de los Santos and
the Plaza. As noted, all of the wonderful photos in this article were taken by Antonio.

To see more about Antonio in the Spring and Summer of 1996 visit
Easter Sunday with the Figueroas on their ranch.

Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition visited Álamos, Sonora, México between
February 23 and March 6, 2017. This scene includes time-lapse of receding shadows
across the Álamos valley as seen from the Mirador. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music by SonicAtomics/Dig Brothers under the direction of Denver Clay.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa, all rights reserved.

Robyn Tinus Álamos Art

Robyn Tinus art show at Cafe de Sol, Álamos, Sonora, México.

Robyn Tinus art show at Cafe Luz del Sol, Álamos, Sonora, México.

Early March, 2017: I went to see Robyn Tinus’ paintings at the Cafe Luz del Sol and have
lunch. It was hot outside but cool in the restaurant. Robyn’s paintings added color
to a comfortable cafe. It is always interesting to see a place through the eyes
of a local artist, no matter what the media is. Below are her paintings of Álamos.
The show also included many Indian subjects and a big lizard. Each painting had a title,
price and a “no checks” notice. Robyn Tinus provided photographs of her paintings.

Painting by Robyn Tinus: View of Alamos, owner, Joan Winderman, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

View of Álamos, Sonora, México. Owner: Joan Winderman, Álamos.

I stayed at Joan’s Winderman’s house during the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition.
Joan owned four of Robyn’s paintings at the time of my visit and they were my
introduction to Robyn’s art. Joan and Robyn emailed each other about the possibility
of my visiting Robyn’s studio. One of the expedition’s goals was to document three Álamos
artists but life in Álamos can take one down cobblestone streets that lead to unexpected
adventures that waylay the best of plans and immerse one in all that surrounds them,
especially, if the goal is documenting the essence of Álamos,
so an arranged meeting never came to be.

Painting by Robyn Tinus, The Quinceanera, owner John Sheedy, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

The Quinceanera. Owner: John Sheedy, Alamos.

On the Sunday before I left Álamos I had scheduled spending the late afternoon-early
evening documenting the Plaza. Night had fallen and I was videoing people walking around
the well-lit Plaza when a large dog came into my viewfinder along with an unseen owner who
sat down on the bench next to me. I slowly panned from the dog’s head up to a woman’s
profile. She asked if I was Anders and introduced herself, Robyn Tinus. We had a brief
conversation that led to the making of this page.
(At some point in the future I will post the video on this page.)

Tarahumara Trade Route. Painting by Robyn Tinus. Álamos, Sonora, Mexico artist

Tarahumara Trade Route, 24 x 30. For sale $490.

To see more of Robyn Tinus paintings that are available to be purchased.
The following writings are Robyn’s thoughts on her art and process:

I am living my dream of expressing how I feel about Mexico through my paintings.
I live in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico and I have been actively studying art and
painting for 50 years. I have traveled throughout Mexico and I find it to be
an amazing place, full of culture, life, history, and natural beauty.

Painting by Robyn Tinus. Puente de Paulita, owner Catherine Christiansen, La Aduana, Sonora, México.

Puente de Paulita Owner: Catherine Christiansen, La Aduana, Sonora.

I started painting at 20 years when I enrolled in an oil painting class at
Santa Rosa Junior College in California. A year before that I saw a poster in
a frame shop of Van Goghs “Sunflowers” I bought it and had it framed and started
studying the French Impressionists, favoring Gauguin, Latrec, Matisse, and van Gogh.

Painting by Robyn Tinus. Alameda Evening owner Pamela Price, Álamos, ßonora, México

Alameda Evening. Owner: Pamela Price, Alamos.

I continued taking art classes and workshops and was fortunate to find some
very good teachers. After traveling extensively in Mexico for many years,
I knew that someday I would live in Mexico because that was
where I was most inspired to paint.

Robyn Tinus painting in Alamos, Sonora, México. Photo: ?

Robyn Tinus painting in Alamos, Sonora, México. Photo: Meg Keller.

I like to paint in the early morning before I get distracted. That is when
I feel the most creative, just pick up the brush and see what happens.
I give my paintings a lot of thought and planning and that gives me the freedom
to let the magic of the colors and paint happen.

Painting by Robyn Tinus. Tacubaya Etchos owner lives in Carefree Arizona

Tacubaya Etchos. Owner lives in Carefree, Arizona.

I give my paintings a lot of thought and planning and that gives me the
freedom to let the magic of the colors and paint happen. I finish my paintings
within a week, then leave them alone a for a week or two figuring out what
bothers me and making adjustments.

Painting by Robyn Tinus of view from Robyn's Álamos portal. Owner: Debra Patterson, Álamos, ßonora México.

View from Robyn Tinus’ Álamos portal. Owner: Debra Patterson, Álamos.

I enjoy painting the views from my house of Alamos, the palms, the mountains,
shadows and sky at different times of the day. I also use my photos and get
ideas from internet searches.

Painting by Robyn Tinus: Alameda Bolero. Owner lives in New York City.

Alameda Bolero. Owner lives in New York City.

I have been studying and creating art for 46 years. I am retired in Mexico and am now able
to devote much of my time to the love of my life… Painting.

Being surrounded by incredible beauty and culture in the 400 year old
pueblo magico, Alamos, keeps me inspired.

Painting by Robyn Tinus: Burros on the road to San Bernardo, owner Lorreta Childs, Alameda, Ca. 

Burros on the road to San Bernardo. Owner: Lorreta Childs, Alameda, Ca.

Alamos and the surrounding countryside with its ranchero culture provides
much inspiration for paintings.

First Day of School. Painting by Robyn Tinus. Tarahumara Indian girls going to school. Álamos, Sonora, Mexico artist

First Day of School. Owner: Joan Winderman, Alamos.

I love to paint the Tarahumara Indian girls from the nearby copper canyon
region, in their colorful full skirts and blouses. Bringing them to life on my
canvas probably gives me the most personal satisfaction… Robyn Tinus

Robyn Tinus art show at Cafe de Sol, Álamos, Sonora, México. march 2017. photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Robyn Tinus Álamos art show at the Cafe Luz del Sol, March 7, 2017.

Many Álamos homes have walls covered with wondrous art including Robyn Tinus’ paintings. To see more Robyn Tinus paintings. All of her paintings are original and painted in her Álamos, Sonora, México studio. The painting are on stretched canvas with wooden frames. The canvas wraps around the sides. They are painted “gallery style” so they have a finished look and a frame is not needed.

©2017 Robyn Tinus and alamos-sonora-mexico.com, all rights reserved.

Galeria Rincon del Arte

Galarie Rincon del Arte, Álamos, Sonora, México.  Entrance.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson, 2017.

Street entrance on Calle Obregon No. 5A.

From the street there is only a simple sign that gives any indication of what is in store for the
viewer if they proceed down the long carriageway with bougainvillea covered arches.
Galeria Rincon del Arte, located at Obregon street no. 5a, is part of a building
that belongs to Mrs. Edith Garcia Almada. The entire block, in the nineteenth century,
belonged to the Almada family. Everything in Álamos has a history.
Galeria Rincon del Arte translates into English as the Corner Art Gallery.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

The sounds of the street become muffled as peaceful garden grounds invite one in.

As one walks down the mysterious carriageway several sculptures and masks indicate
that this is a gallery that embraces surrealism, modern and contemporary art. The
human form is present. On this hot March 5, 2017 afternoon the grounds were
welcomed cool shade, natural air conditioning at its best.

Galeria Rincon del Arte courtyard in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017.  Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

The shaded courtyard is a gallery-sculpture garden unto itself.

The age, centuries, of these man-made walls became apparent, now supports for
creative hand-made expressions. In the corner a darkened interior is seen
through a wide open doorway. A single light, surrounded by objects of
different shapes and dimensions, beckons.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

Lupita making art the old way, by hand.

Once I was inside the single room gallery, Lupita, co-manager with her husband
Tony Estrada Cantúa, came over from working on a clay dove at a small work table, while
talking with an American women who now lives in Álamos, and turned the lights on for me.

 Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

The gallery is a modest room but the artwork is anything but.

I must issue a disclaimer: I have been influenced by the likes of Miro, Ernst, Dali, Klee,
Chagall, Klimt, Magritte, Tanguy, Tamayo, Tobey… and the spirits here in the Galeria Rincon
del Arte
resonated with my creative soul. This is not a local art gallery, it is a worldly
gallery. One is greeted by many art forms. The room is small but it becomes larger as one
looks. There is art of all creative expression on the floor, tables, cabinets and walls.

Paintings by Roberto Bloor and Margo Findlay. Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

Paintings by longtime Álamos residents Roberto Bloor and Margo Findlay.


Anders visited both Roberto Bloor and Margo Findlay during his last visit in the
summer of 1996. Both Roberto and Margo were gracious with their time and their surroundings,
large rooms with high ceilings, were covered with their artworks. It was clear that art was
a calling for these two individuals whose lives impacted many in Álamos.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

Many medias are on display by capable artists.

The artists exhibiting at Galleria Rincon del Arte included:
Enrique Aviles Martinez, Luis Martin Lopez Sahagun, Fernado Quiroz, Anadelia Salido,
Bernardete McCalister, Meztli Estrada Montoya, Jerry Rosenfeld, Roberto Bloor,
Margo Findlay, Javier Lopez Ortiz, Lily Sapien, Frank Clement , Rafael Saenz,
Arturo Hernandez, Daan Hoekstra, Ana Bertha Waldez and Angel Luzanilla.
If one was to google any of the artists names there is a good chance you would begin
a colorful stroll down a new art discovery path.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

Creative spirits are alive and well presented at Galeria Rincon del Arte.

This is an unusual place. It could be anywhere on the planet where art is challenging,
exciting and important for the gallery owners. Galarie Rincon del Arte is an
international gallery residing in a Spanish Colonial town, off the beaten path, a mere
450 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border. Here the human spirit is on display.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

They are there, silent, but with a voice.

Art is in the eye of the beholder, and mystically, in the art’s eyes reflecting on
the viewer. The art here was unexpected but not surprising knowing the
involvement of Tony and Lupita in local and statewide art scenes.

Galeria Rincon del Arte in Álamos, Sonora, México. March 6, 2017. Photo By Anders Tomlinson.

Outside, art is everywhere if one looks closely

In a salute to the surrealistic spirit I give the Galeria Rincon del Arte one hand with
five thumbs up. My visit was cut short because the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition
was drawing to a close and there was still much to do around town. I could have easily
spent an afternoon contemplating all that Galeria Rincon del Arte has to offer.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Galeria Rincon del Arte, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1984

Confluences and circumstances influence who we are and where we go.

All the elderly women dressed in white with their stories have left the beach.

I first visited Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984. We all have stories about how we came to discover a place that is special to ourselves. My personal Álamos story began when a UCSD art major girl friend, Lisa, asked me to accompany her to a performance art 
project dress rehearsal on a La Jolla, California beach. This was the conclusion to a year long (1983-1984) effort by 
Suzanne Lacy and Sharon Allen: Whisper, the Waves, the Wind

On site there was one local TV crew and Suzanne Lacy, white tables and a large group of women all dressed in white. Suzanne was orchestrating and protecting the unfolding events. There was also a freelancer in a collared blue t-shirt and a big video camera who quickly introduced himself as Kit Nuzum. He was filming for Channel 38, a Del Mar, CA public access station. We struck-up a quick friendship. Several months later he invited me to join him and his girlfriend in his Chevy Nova on a car ride to a town in México that he told he knew I would like. And Kit was correct. I did, and do, like Álamos, Sonora, México. Gracias amigo.

Álamos, Sonora, México the way it was on Anders’ first visit.

Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984, Spring time, as seen by Anders Tomlinson via black and white film. Music is “A New Dawn” by the “Dig Brothers” under the musical direction of Denver Clay. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. It is warm and breezy. The sky is blue. If you stare at a cloud long enough it will disappear.

Below are several photos from the 1984 Álamos expedition. With the photos are a look at what the world was like back then in the United States and around the world.

alamos sonora mexico. 1984. photo by anders tomlinson.

Álamos is at the end of paved road.

•  The Cosby show premiers.
•  Three hundred slain as Indian Army occupies Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
•  Indira Gandhi is assassinated.
• Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000.

The Mercado in the Alameda is under construction.

• Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman Vice President running mate.
• President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote.
•  Reagan ends U.S. role in Beirut by relieving Sixth Fleet from peacekeeping force.
• Congress cuts off aid to Nicaragua, illegal guns sales start to fund the contras.

Turning a corner: embracing the present by making music.

Here are examples of 1984 music that was in fashion: Phil Collins, Alison Moyet,
Billy Joel, Tina Turner with ” What’s Love got to do with it,” David Bowie
Wham! with ” Wake Me up Before You Go, ” Billy Ocean, UB40, Cars,
Stevie Wonder with ” I Just Called to say I love You, ” Kenny Rogers,
Bruce Springsteen, Bananarama, Duran Duran with ” The Reflex, ” Ultravox.

Centro Álamos has several one way streets for horses, bikes, trucks, and cars.

• Stonewashed jeans are introduced.
• The first megabit chip is made at Bell Labs.
• Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, US. The Soviets boycott.
• Mary Lou Retton wins two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Two powers, side by side, working together

• Old nude photos of Vanessa Williams, first African American Miss America, forced her
to give up her crown.
• The AIDS virus is discovered.
• On January 28, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the shooting of Pepsi commercial.
• The first infomercials appear on TV due to de-regulation by the FCC.

A quiet afternoon in the Alameda.

• The first all rap radio format is introduced at LA’s KDAY.
• Run-D.M.C. are the first ever rap group to have an album certified gold.
• The term cyberspace is coined by William Gibson in his novel “Neuromancer”.
• Bob Geldof and Band Aid release “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral seen from the old miners’ hotel.

• In 1984 Reagan makes famous joke: “My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” He supposedly didn’t know the mic was on.
• Apple Computer releases the Macintosh personal computer. It has 128K of RAM, a 7,83MHz processor, no hard disk, and the cost is US.$2495.00.
• Calling themselves the PMRC (Parents’ Music Resource Coalition), concerned parents, including Tipper Gore, wife of then-Tennessee Senator Albert Gore, Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker, Georgie Packwood, wife of Oregon Senator Robert Packwood, and Nancy Thurmond, wife of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, construct a campaign designed to ‘educate’ parents about certain alarming new trends in rock music.

Mt. Cacharamba is seen two through windows of an adobe ruin.

• 1 gallon of gas $1.10.
• Dodge RAM 50 Truck $8,995.00.
• Chrysler New Yorker $13,045.
• Chevrolet Corvette $23,392.

Calle Comercio is a quiet street in Centro Álamos.

• Yearly Inflation Rate USA4.3 %.
• Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average is 1211.
• Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.75%.
• Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.

Here one can visit with loved ones and take in the big sky overhead.

• Leader of the Soviet Union, Andropov dies at 69; Konstantin U. Chernenko,
is named as his replacement.
• First robot related death in the US.  A worker in Jackson Michigan is accidentally
crushed by an industrial robot.
• United Kingdom agrees handover of Hong Kong to China.
• Explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility in Mexico City kill about 500 people.

There is the only gas station in town.

• Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Bell Telephone System broken up.
• France gets first deliveries of Soviet natural gas.
• Syria frees captured U.S. Navy pilot, Lieut. Robert C. Goodman, Jr.

Alone in thoughts surrounded by family and history.

• Average Cost of U.S. new house $86,730.
• Median Price Of and U.S. Existing Home $72,400.
• Average U.S. Income per year $21,600.
• Average U.S. Monthly Rent $350.

Young entrepreneurs sell cool ice cream on a warm Spring afternoon.

• The big films of 1984 were Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,
Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Terms of Endearment, The Karate Kid,
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Police Academy, Romancing the Stone,
Splash, The Terminator, Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage To India.
A movie ticket on average costs $2.50.

The village of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico lives on another day.

• A Man shoots 20 dead and wounds 16 in McDonalds Restaurant in San Ysidro California
• Colonel Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight
in a helium balloon
• The first ever flight in space by humans un-tethered using jet back packs takes place
Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk.

There is much we can learn from the Álamos logo on a work truck’s door.

• John DeLorean is acquitted of all eight charges of possessing and distributing cocaine.
• Jeopardy! begins its syndicated version.
• U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
• The world-renowned, critically acclaimed Canadian entertainment company,
Cirque du Soleil is founded.

Salvation and shade can be found at Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

• Sony and Philips introduce the first commercial CD Players.
• Sony makes the first 3 1/2″ computer disk.
• Genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling was developed and is now in wide by Forensic scientists when obtaining evidence in a crime.

Two good friends are walking from here to there arm in arm.

• Miguel de la Madrid is President of México.
• U.S. and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus.
• Widespread Famine in Ethiopia after political conflict with charities believing as many
as 10 million people are facing starvation.
• Planet Earth’s human population in 1984 was 4.769 billion.

Anders’ shadow was here and enjoying every moment.

Alamos, Sonora, Mexcio has made a deep impact on Anders Tomlinson. As a youth
in Southern California he would stand on the El Camino Real, the King’s Highway,
and look north and south. His imagination took over. Where would this road,
in either direction, take him?

Anders enjoys a warm summer night in the Plaza after a long day shooting.
photo-Antonio Figueroa

He would eventually travel north on El Camino Real to San Francisco, California.
Later, Kit Nuzum, who had family in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, invited Anders to come along
for a spring time visit. The journey was magical, traveling across the
Sonoran Desert under a warm star filled sky while listening to an all-night radio
broadcast of Jethro Tull. Arriving in Alamos during predawn hours was
arriving in another land… another era… another spirit.

The lights of Alamos from the Mirador overlook. Every night is a holiday.


For more information visit About Good Morning Álamos, Sonora Mexico

Super-eight Springtime 1984 in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

It is the spring of 1984. Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum arrive in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico to begin shooting super-eight film footage with single-frame and additional short bursts and several time-lapse sequences. They used Kodachrome asa 40 film stock with a Minolta news camera.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Atop Sierra de Álamos

Late spring as seen by high up both sides of the Álamos Valley…

Looking at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico from the north.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

It was an effort to get this shot. But it was the right season to do it.

I always looked north from Plaza de las Armas at two peaks that reminded me of camel humps. I knew they would provide a wonderful vantage point of Álamos and surroundings. Chon, my guide, and I started up a trail early on an overcast morning. Two others, possibly miners, with a supplies burdened burro, were ahead of us. High up, they took a fork in the trail to the east and we continued climbing to the west.

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from the north, mirador and plaza de las armas are clearly seen, photo by anders tomlinson . 1995.

In late spring, the summer jungle is bendable bare branches.

I was hoping the sun would break through. It didn’t. We reached the top under cool cloud cover. I would later learn this was a blessing. I began to film. We now go back in time to this moment contemplating the big picture. Timeless.

sierra de alamos, towering above alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.  1995

Sierra de Álamos towers over the village wiping sleep from its eyes.


To the immediate south of Álamos is the Sierra de Álamos mountain island. It runs east-west, perpendicular to the coast and the Sierra Madres. It has always taken me and my guides several hours to reach the top from the Plaza de las Armas.
The most comfortable time to start is the cool pre-dawn hours.

View from Gringo Point, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Good morning Alamos from Gringo Point in the Sierra de Alamos.

A week later, Chon and I spent two days and a night atop Sierra Álamos. Gringo Point is a rock outcropping that looks down directly on Álamos. Truly a bird’s eye view. Again, overcast persisted. But what can one do but do what one does?

alamos, sonora, mexico seen fro sierra de alamos in the spring of 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson.

One can almost hear a 1,000 silver mule train leaving Álamos south.

Chon created a fire in the high altitude morning chill, a bed of embers no wider than his palm with a flame no longer than his thumb, and brewed me a cup of tea. I unpacked three bags of camera equipment and began to film. We did not talk. Below, a church bell persistently called for morning mass. And we could hear the past that becomes today and will be tomorrow. I have never forgotten that civilized cup of tea.

pines forest at the top of sierra de alamos overlookiung alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.  1995.

Pine trees rustle in the wind and parrot calls echo off stone canyon walls.


Pine aromas in a dry tropical rain forest, with tea in hand, is truly a top-of-the-world experience. I felt safe with Chon guiding the way. it is always best to travel with a guide so you don’t go where someone doesn’t want you to go. Recently, life had been hard on Chon and these moments above and beyond the village were good for his spirit. And I was thankful for the opportunity to capture scenes from the highest vantage point.

Chon in the red hat behind Kit Nuzum

Chon in the red hat behind Kit Nuzum


Chon was Kit’s right-hand man during much of Pedregral’s early construction in the shade
of the giant fig tree. Chon took pride in doing a job well and enjoyed a good joke and a cold beer.

Sharing A Moment With Chon

We come and go, in the short term, like the birds and in the long term as do mountains.
This video scene celebrates Chon who worked on many projects for the Nuzums including
the strawbale casa on El Pedregal in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Chon   portrait by Kit Nuzum, 2015.

Chon portrait by Kit Nuzum, 2015.


Another day, another smile amongst old friends in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Time passes,
every moment history, every scene a moment. We are all part of the river of life.

Antonio Figueroa and Mountain , Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A summer return to the northern rock outcroppings.

One of 1996’s summer-photo-expedition goals was to return to the camel humped rocks. Local photographer Antonio Figueroa joined me on an effort to repeat the spring shoot. We knew summer heat and humidity would challenge us. We set off early in the morning. When we left the trail at the base of twin peaks we ran into a dense jungle of tangled vines, limbs, overgrown brush, stickers… We couldn’t get to the top. The air became hotter, oppressive, as the sun climbed into a watery sky. We had to return without our photos. Talk about disappointment, but it was what it was. And it would become worse. On the way down, Antonio ran head first into a hornet hive. If you could see Antonio’s swollen face in the photo on the trail you would realized his pain. As soon as we reached Alamos he went to the hospital for treatment. A tough day was had by all, but none tougher than Antonio’s attempt to capture the big picture. Jungle one – photographers zip.

View from Above

Mt. Alamos is some 6,500 feet above sea level. It towers 5,000 feet above the town of Álamos. It is another world, wild parrots, dry tropical forest, granite and… Up and down is a day’s effort, it is well worth it. To reach the top it is recommended to start hiking early while it is still dark and cool.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos Yesterday – Today

now and then photos of alamos sonora mexico

This is a new section that compares scenes from 2014 to those from 1983 to 1996.
We can see that the trees have grown, the church has painted domes, and new homes can be seen in the background. New and old – past and present, together, is the story
of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The Alameda Gas Station Now

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

The Alameda Gas Station Then

1995 - Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson. alamos sonora mexico

1995 – Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

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The Plaza Now

2014, looking west from El Mirador at Plaza, alamos sonora mexico. photo by Humberto Enríquez

2014 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

The Plaza Then

1993 Looking west from El Mirador at the church and plaza in alamos, sonora, mexico

1993 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

The shooting angles are close. But at this distance a few feet here and there will back a big difference along with the type of lens used. One goal of Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico film project is to replicate scenes that have changed from the same vantage point using the same lens, if possible. Big shout-out to Humberto Enríquez our man of the moment in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Looking at these photos one can also see the difference between 35 mm slide and digital images. But that is another story.

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and the respective photographers, all rights reserved.

Álamos Update: 6-7-15

an old mill site just a block from Casa de los Santos, alamos, sonora, mexico.  Horses take care of the mowing.  The photo was taken from the city street with the graceful 'Marrs (Candy family) mansion' in back of the photographer.  It was restored by them in the 50's, built by an 18th century silver baron and ironically, now owned again by the owner of the huge new silver mine which produces more than 100 million annually.   They are from B.C., Canada. photo by jim swickard.  

Just another old world day in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The sounds of countryside and village blend into a leisurely symphony
The photo is of an old mill site just a block from the Hacienda. Horses take care of the mowing. The photo was taken from the city street with the graceful ‘Marrs (Candy family) mansion’ in back of the photographer. It was restored by them in the 50’s, built by an 18th century silver baron and ironically, now owned again by the owner of the huge new silver mine which produces more than 100 million dollars in silver annually. They are from B.C., Canada. Photo, possibly, by unknown Casa de los Santos guest.

casa de los santos, alamos, sonora mexico. The largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill's 'Mill'.  It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane.  The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner's of record.

Listen closely and one may hear the past come alive in their imaginations.

If you are in the moment this could be the center of the universe
This is the largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill’s ‘Mill’. It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane. The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner’s of record. Photo by local photographer Tomas Escalante.

Mt. Cacharamba (Mayo for 'hole in the ear' due to a hole in one part of the flat topped mountain).  All of the original Spanish mines are below it and slightly to the left.  Coronado was within 10 miles of it in about 1540, however it was not found until about 150 years later. photo by Jim Swickard, Casa de los Santos, Alamos, sonora, mexico

A landmark of another era and today and tomorrow.

Miners and merchants came from around the world in search of silver
I took this photo from my T206H airplane a few years ago and it’s a view of Mt. Cacharamba (Mayo for ‘hole in the ear’ due to a hole in one part of the flat topped mountain). All of the original Spanish mines are below it and slightly to the left. Coronado was within 10 miles of it in about 1540, however it was not found until about 150 years later. It’s visible from a hill top a block from the Hacienda. Photo by Jim Swickard.

Macohayui mission,  circa 1610, outside of alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by jim swickard.

Macoyahui mission, early 1600’s, built by Mayo Indians with master mason’s guidance.

Off the beaten path
I ventured up to the Macohayui mission two weeks ago for the first time.  I have flown over it more than a dozen times.  Visiting the mission was a real treat and visiting with a man gathering firewood added to the experience.  There’s a home very near the mission which impressed me greatly and I should have taken pictures.  According to the man it dates to the missions beginning which makes the home over 400 years. It’s in good condition, considering, however won’t be for long since the owner died last year and no subsequent generation to live there.  I plan to return.

As the crow flies the mission is only about 15 miles from Álamos.  Due to its location on the west bank of the Mayo River one has to drive about 40 miles to get to it. If the river is at its lowest of the year one can get there nearly direct but there are are dozens of turns on a goat trail and it’s really necessary to make one trip from the north to know where its located. Photo by Jim Swickard

Summer 2015 Casa de los Santos Update

The hurricane is missing us by more than two hundred miles, however we are hoping for some rain. It’s the pre-monsoon season here and a little overcast today which I prefer for walking Cholula our ‘Puggle’. Election day in Mexico, with the required ‘dry’ weekend, so the village is uncannily quiet, however they will make up for it next weekend. ( The PRI party won both the gubanatorial seat and locally the same. It’s beautiful here today since we had our first monsoonal rain last night, 6-7-15.  With any luck more rain this evening. )

The Hacienda goes back into a construction mode in July with some remodeling work on the sugar mill property to create a true, and long awaited, gift shop adjacent to the Cafe Agave. A new Spa will be ready to open in the Fall and the present spa. We hope to have three totally new Master Suites for next season, plus two inner connecting Hacienda Guest Rooms for families. Our total room and suite count will be 32 for next season. We will have some exciting news this summer about some international recognition for Hacienda de los Santos… Jim Swickard

To see it as it is today visit Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa.

To see the Hacienda in 1993

Álamos residents share Álamos Today in words and photos.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral

Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral takes up the entire southern side of the Plaza de las Armas in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Its three tiered belfry towers above town and touches low passing clouds. Along with multiple daily services the church is also a religious classroom. Religion speaks of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. It speaks of better days and better places. Religious followers are asked to endure and conceptually, eventually, benefit from their days of survival and struggle on this small planet.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2015 Jim Swickard, Casa de los Santos and Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos History Directory

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from atop sierra de alamos.  spring 1996.  photo by anders tomlinson

Álamos and surroundings seen from the Sierra de Álamos, spring 1996.

Take a Walk Back in Time
Álamos, Sonora, Mexico was a stepping stone along the El Camino Real. Álamos played a significant role in the settling of the southwest, including San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles, southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

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Here are pages related to Álamos events and occurrences through history:

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1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

Geologic timeline

History videos

Álamos population history

Sonora Population history

La Aduana mining 1910

Conquistadors, silver and gold

Álamos and Horses

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This is a work in progress.

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Alamos in the spring of 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos Palacio

06… Friends, and morning sun, converge outside the Palacio Municipal…

The Federal, State and Municipal government offices are all here.

This busy building has a large open courtyard and stage that are used for public political
and cultural events. Theater presentations, dances and concerts are common.
The Palacio was built of brick and stone around 1899 in the style of medieval Spanish
fortresses. A semicircular arch is a central axis gateway opening into a large
courtyard surrounded by offices on three sides.

The opposition party leader walks to his seat on stage during the State of the City address.

Dr. M. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido addresses a half full Palacio with what his administration
has done, is doing and plans to do. Meanwhile, around town people go about their business
making Álamos what Álamos is. Here is a list of Presidentes from 1937 to the present:

2012-2015… Ing. José Benjamín Anaya Rosas
2009-2012… Dr. Joaquín Navarro Quijada
2006-2009… Lic. Ruth Acuña Rascón
2003-2006… Ing. David Corral Valenzuela
2000-2003… Prof. José de Jesús Carballo Mendívil
1997-2000…
Dr. Humberto Arana Murillo
1994-1997… Dr. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido
1991-1994… Dr. Baldomero Corral Valenzuela
1988-1991… Prof. Enrique Ibarra Álvarez 
1985-1988… Sr. Manuel Ruiz Arzaga
1982-1985… Sr. Humberto Franco Terán
1979-1982… Prof. Darío Villarreal Valenzuela
1976-1979… Prof. José Jesús Gil Vega
1973-1976… Sr. José Reyes Amarillas
1970-1973… Sr. Rosendo Venegas Reyes
1967-1970… Sr. Baldomero Corral Álvarez
1964-1967… Sr. Diódoro Valenzuela Piña
1961-1964… Sr. Lauro Franco Franco
1958-1961… Sr. Marcelino Valenzuela Bustillos
1955-1958… Sr. Maximiliano Couvillier Atondo
1952-1955… Sr. Raymundo M. Robles
1949-1952… Sr. Martín B. Salido
1946-1949… Sr. Marcelino Valenzuela
1943-1946… Sr. Juan de Dios Urrea
1941-1943… Sr. Leopoldo Acosta
1939-1941… Sr. Carlos G. García
1937-1939… Sr. José María Palomares

president addresses public in the palacio, alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

El Presidente presents his state of Álamos speech.

Dr. Joaquin Navarro Quijada is the man walking across the stage. He lost a bitterly contested election in 1994 with Dr. M. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido. The Palacio was shut down for weeks by protesters. Eventually, Joaquin was given his own office in the Palacio and municipal life went on as normal. In 2009 he was elected Presidente Muncipal. Perseverance is a virtue.
To see more of what the local government is doing visit Municipio de Alamos, Sonora

palacio municipal of alamos, sonora, mexico is decked out in bunting celebrating independance day.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Patriotic bunting adorns the Palacio for Independence day celebrations.

September 16 is Mexico’s Day of Independence. Government officials will speak from the Palacio’s balcony at night as fireworks go off around town in celebration. The long day begins with a parade through Centro Álamos that ends with a large public gathering in the Plaza. The bunting’s green symbolizes Independence, the white symbolizes religion and the red symbolizes union.
To see more visit Day of Independence Parade

A Magical moment in a Magical Pueblo.  Photo:Joel Gasteum

A magical moment in a Pueblo Magical. photo-Joel Gastélum

The photo above is from the closing ceremony at the Palacio.  The theme of the festival was “100 years of Maria Felix” and Miguel Castillo is singing “Maria Bonita” with Maria Felix’s eyes projected onto the screen behind him.  After he finished singing we played the movie “Yerba Mala” which was filmed in Alamos two years ago.  There were 700 seats filled in the Palacio for the closing ceremony.

palacio, alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Keeping the Palacio clean is a job for many.

People come and go throughout the day conducting business and dealing with all issues a local government faces. And the Palacio is a community center for events throughout the year. This is the official Álamos heartbeat that is kept alive by all people that are Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The prime venue for the Álamos Film Festival is the Palacio.

In the hearts of many, Alamos is the center of the universe.
Independence day starts early in the morning with a municipal parade through the town’s colonial center. Alamos school kids, the first high school in the Californias started here, and the entire city government take part. In 2010 the students added their own uniformed marching band to the parade. From children to government, Alamos continues.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza departed Alamos in September 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Aduana Mining 1910

This is taken from the Mining and Scientific Press – April 16, 1910 – page 553.
Photos of Aduana, Sonora, Mexico in 1995 by Anders Tomlinson.

Álamos – Promonitos District by T. P. Brinegar.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

In the windy hills of Aduana mining ghosts are there to be seen and felt.

The mines which constitute this group are on the mineral zone which crosses the Alamos Mountains about seven miles west of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The heart of the zone lies within a rectangular surface 1.5 miles by 4 miles long, which commences at the Zambona mine, near Minas Nuevas, on the northeast, and extends southwest to include the Old Promontorio and San José mines. Precious metals were discovered in this region early in the eighteenth century, and the quantities yielded by this group alone have exceeded $100,000,000 in value. According to Camboa’s ‘Treatise on Mining” one remittance, in 1799 under charge to Alvarez, amounted to more than 1600 bars of silver. Humboldt noted in his records, 1808, that he “passed a train of over one thousand mules loaded with bars of solver from these mines on their way to the City of Mexico.” The production became so great that the Government was induced to establish a mint in Alamos for the special purpose of coining the metals produced at this point.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

Thousands of people have lived and mined here.

The geological formation is clearly revealed. The basel rock of the region is granite which has been disturbed by powerful deep-seated forces. From these earth-disturbances originated two well defined fissure-zones. The uplift of the earth-crust on the southwest formed the Alamos mountains, and its subsidence on the northwest resulted in many irregular folds, which were covered by extensive volcanic eruptives, chiefly of an andesite type. In turn this was covered by sediments, the larger part being limestone. The conditions were favorable for erosion, which reduced the elevation several thousand feet. The fissure-zones, under present surface conditions, are about 5,000 feet apart, striking in a northeast direction. Both have granite ‘floors’ or foot-walls, and dip toward each other. Between them is a ‘core’ of andesite porphyry which forms the hanging wall of each vien-zone. This core was the was the centre of subsequent dynamaic activity, shown by the evidence of upheavals and the rearranged condition of the strata. In it are found many igneous dikes. Constant movement between the walls of the fissure-zones served to keep them open to the free circulation of mineral-bearing solutions. Cerra Cacharamba, a volcanic ‘neck’ 3700 feet above sea-level, is the landmark of the district, and Humboldt during his visit to the camp in 1908, wrote figuratively that, “Cacharamba rests on a bed of silver”. It seems that the past hundred years of mining near its base has demonstrated that the great scientist was not far amiss in his rhetoric.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

To think here was once the world’s great silver mines .

The fissure-zones have been designated as east and west contacts. The east contact is the ‘mother-lode’ of the zone, and is generally known as the Promontoric – Quintera vein. The names of the productive mines situated on the several big ore-shoots of the vein are, Old Promontories, Quintera, Santo Domingo, and Zambona. The Púlipito on the north and the Nueva Promontorio on the south are new properties in course of development and which have mineralized veins that promise future productiveness. generally, mixed ores are extracted from mines on the east contact, which are found in the form of oxides near the surface and turn into rich sulphides in depth. Some of the ore-shoots are over 700 feet long, and in many places over 40 feet wide. Gray copper is the principal ore from this lode, and its fabulous quantities and high silver content are almost unparalleled in the annals of mining. These mines are owned by different companies, each of which has more ‘likely’ ground that it will explore in a score of years.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

How far away could the mining smoke be seen?

The west contact is best known as the san Jose – Claraboya vein. Through the past two centuries it has remained comparatively unexplored. The mineral de Santa Rosa ( Claraboya ) is said to be the oldest in the camp, and from the large drill-holes found in the old Tajos ( open cuts ). one can give credence to the tradition that ” it was the rich mine of the early fathers.” The San Jose – Claraboya is a well defined vein of creamy to reddish – brown quartz, as shown in the workings on the lower levels of the two mines of the same names. In the upper workings or shear zone, the vein branches into seven parts, all of which unite in depth forming a large body about 40 feet wide. The groups of mines which have been under process of development during the past year are: Claraboya, San-Jose, San Clemente, and Plata-Fina. El Ultimo, Parra, and Olividos are held as important prospects. The ores from the mines on the west contact yield native silver, oxides, and gold. They are very docile, and readily yield to simple economic treatment. The assay values range from 15 to 5000 oz. silver and up to $70.00 in gold. the old dumps of the Claraboya have been very profitable to the owner who has been reworking them during the past two years. His developing the mine which an “adit which is giving good results.“(?) The San Jose is regarded as the ‘mascot’ of the camp. it was bought by G.W. DuPes about a year ago, since which time he has been developing and shipping ore, and erecting machinery. The Plata-Fina is between the San Jose and Claraboya, and adjoining them. It is being developed by a shaft on the junction of several veins. The San Clemente is owned by Rafael Ibara, president of the town of Promontories. The ore extracted more than pays expenses, and the owner regards it as the best prospect he has ever owned. These new workings, along with the Pulpito and Nueva Pomomtorio on the east contact, go to show what great possibilities await the judicious investment of capital along these two great fissure-veins. Side by side with these great mines are many undeveloped prospects that, judge by surface indications, warrant exploration.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

life goes on as past, present and future coincide.

The district possesses favorable economic conditions for mine operations. The altitude averages about 2,000 feet above sea-level, and gives a climate, modified by the gulf-breezes, that is as healthy as any place on the Pacific Ocean. Water is abundant and of the best quality. The west part of the zone as access to the wooded hills to the southwest where such fuel is cheap. The transportation facilities are now good, as the recent completion of the Southern pacific Railroad of Mexico affords an outlet from Mínas Nuevas, and good wagon – roads lead to Masiacs, also on the railroad, and to the nearby seaport of Agiabampo. The cost of living and freighting is low.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

The land is resting. an La Aduana goes on and on.

 This was given to me by a man who had learned of my interest in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico history. He asked me to visit his home that evening on Calle Madero. He told me that he had once been the city manager of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico and took pleasure in sharing his history library. He gave me the above article. I will look in my Alamos notes for his name: He may have been Jose Fabian Villegas Puentes.

When T. P. Brinegar wrote this the Alamos mint had been closed for 15 years. Most of mines had closed by 1909 because of politics, revolution and expensive quicksilver making mining unprofitable. The railroad from Alamos to Navajoa started operations in 1907 and would stop in 1933. Mr. Brinegar seems to have been a mining industry promoter, ever the optimist, and saw things more with his heart than his mind. None-the-less, this article does give one a sense of the geology and scope of Aduana – Promotories mining… Anders Tomlinson.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Spring and Summer

11… A tale of two seasons, a tale of two spirits…

Late spring 1997, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The end of Spring seems like the end of the year.

In the dog days of Spring smoke from burning farm fields on the coast and Navajoa is blown up into the foothills of Alamos. Warm heavy air holds down a layer of dust that covers anything that doesn’t move. It is what it is, life goes on as another yearly cycle completes its course.

Spring time in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And then the land comes alive with color and sounds of rejuvenation.

Everything glistens with a sheen of cleanliness. Spirit returns to the laugh and smile of the Alamos. Color explodes in what not long ago was the plainest of places. Behold a lush cornucopia of jungle greens accented with vibrant wildflower rainbows. Overhead, ever-changing skies take on moments of absolute magnificence. One is embraced by healthy glowing faces proud of their crops coming up around them. Lluvia! In the jubilant glory of rain’s fulfilled expectation, yes!, there’s more life to come. Lluvia!

Two seasons from Tecolote Hill

view of alamos, sonora, mexico to the east from tecolote hill, spring, 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson

It is mid-Spring, there is still a freshness to the air


The hills are turning a sullen brown. The gradual metamorphosis from vivacious green to parched brown sneaks up on the casual observer. It is seen best when looking at the hills. Many of the irrigated gardens in town stay green and colorful. But the hills…

view from Tecolete hill, Alamos, Sopnora, mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

And here we are. It is always good to climb in the cool of the morning.


The air is aromatic – a taste of menthol. Birds are singing. The hills are alive with color.
There is water in mountain gullies. Growth is everywhere. It is summer. Lluvia!

End of Spring

Spring time, looking west from a dry distant hill at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Its late Spring looking west at Alamos from the ranch’s high ground.


Where there is water there is green. This photo was taken on an Easter Sunday. Alamos, with Cacharamba behind it, is to the west.

late spring, looking west towards alamos, sonora, mexico.  easter sunday, 1996. photo by anders tomlinson

Where the desert meets the dry tropical forest.


When the summer rains come the dry arroyo could be at flood stage. On this easter Sunday one can only imagine rain. The dryness is everywhere.

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from red cross hill, piedra hola.  summer 1996.  photo by anders tomlinson

Summer 1996. The rains have come.


The hills are alive with the sound of music and color. Everything is overgrown. Where there were paths through the hills in the spring is now dense entanglement. One needs to be watching where they are go if they can go at all.

Two Spring Views from atop Sierra de Álamos

view of alamos, sonora, mexico from atop sireea de alamos in the spring. photo by anders tomlinson.

Gringo Point is to the upper right with Alamos below.

It is becoming warm despite the altitude. Álamos from here appears to nestled in the hills like an egg in a nest. It is a small colonial town surrounded by land that through history man has rarely touched. Here, the wilderness dominates and man exists.

view of the western edge of alamos, sonora, mexico seen fro atop sierra de alamos in the spring, 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson

El Camino Real takes the easy way northward.

Any season, hundreds of years ago, would be difficult to travel on the El Camino Real. But a road, like water, follows the path of least resistance. This view is towards the north-northwest. Over the horizon, hundreds of miles away, is the border and beyond, hundreds of miles, are Los Angeles and San Francisco. From here, at this moment, with morning tea over a small wilderness cooking fire, no bigger than a single flame, everywhere is far, far away.

Every year Summer Returns

View of alamos, sonora, mexico from the foot of mirador looking northwest in the summer.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Yes, it is summer time and the living is easy.

Summer returns every year as does a sunrise does every day. The question on many minds is will the rains return, and when? This scene is after an evening shower that had washed the streets clean and watered every garden.

And the mountains’ night skies explode

Summer is the Alamos season of vibrant color, rains and nights of natural magic and wonder.
Lightening on a warm Alamos summer evening is a show to remember. The romantic Plaza is a wonderful vantage point. Rolling thunder punctuates child’s play and lovers’ embraces.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Galeria de Arte

Upon the wall art becomes windows to somewhere else …

View of Galeria de Arte from the Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Galeria de Arte was in the building to the left as seen from the plaza.

Beverly Krucek sent me several emails about the gallery she had on the Plaza Las Armas for many years. The following information is complied from her notes. The photo above was taken during the summer of 1996. Beverly was also a leading member of the Alamos Heritage-History Association, AHA, that meets at the Agave Cafe in the Hacienda de los Santos once a month in the summer and every Thursday morning during the rest of the year.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

At times Alamos itself seems a living work of art and history and futures.

Beverly Krucek opened the Galeria de Arte on the Plaza in 1994. On average 25 artists were shown in three rooms, portal and patio. Artists came from all over Mexico, some from Columbia, as well as Tucson, Phoenix, New Mexico and a couple from France. Some 10 year later, Bev decided to trade up to a gallery in an art mall being developed and promoted by the Franks in the Urrea house on Calle Obregon. Unexpected problems arose that stopped the art mall project from going forward. By that time, Bev had turned her rental lease over to B.K. Hamma for her use as book shop, gift shop, and a new art galley leased to Vickie Lockwood. Upon taking a further look at the situation, it appeared to Bev that the tourist trade, which was her main target for sales, had fallen off so she left the gallery scene.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Upon these walls, that have seen so much, art speaks of inside and outside.

Beverly wrote about the block that the Galeria was located in,

“The Galleria was on the plaza in the row between the Hotel Alamos and what at one time was the Bank. That strip is now occupied by a games emporium, the Tourist Bureau, (then the Galleria) and a home restoration by the Bours. The strip prior to that, was The Hotel Alamos, The Casino, and I think either a bank or more probably a small residence occupied by the Bours.  The Casino was a club like operation where the men gambled excessively and the women were welcomed on Wednesdays. Some reading offers the information that Alamos was a huge hub of gambling.  Makes sense since most of mining management was an absentee sort of operation there was lots of both time and money.  Cards were big as was cock fighting etc.”

View of plaza from El Mirador.  Location of Galeria de Arte is noted.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

View from Mirador of building where Galeria de Arte was located.

Years ago, when I was in Alamos, Hotel Alamos, also known by many of my friends as the old Miner’s Hotel, was in serious disrepair.

In her emails Beverly addressed the old hotel’s current condition,

“The building part that houses the former Hotel Alamos and to some extent the part that houses the Tourist Bureau is in very bad disrepair and held together in an attractive way by a nice paint job.  Adobe keeps crumbling.  Everyone grumbles about it but no one does anything.  It is owned by Anamaria Alcorn.  INAH in Hermosillo and the local government probably could step in and force the work to be done but who has the money and where does government restoration come in with private ownership?  The end part (corner of Guadalupe Victoria and Comercio) has been well, and I think properly, maintained and restored by the Bours family.”

Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2, from church roof looking east, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Looking down from the church at Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2.

Calle Comerico 2, Casa de Nuzum, recently became an art galley, La Casa del Arte, managed by Tony Estrada and his wife, Lupita. Tony is director of Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, on the Plaza, which features regularly scheduled art exhibitions. Tony is also a gifted sculptor who takes discards and turns them into assembled artistic statements. Beverly commented on La Casa del Arte’s opening night, May 20, 2011,

“Tony and Cammy Nuzum will oversee other areas in the house to be used by artisans for producing their work and selling it from there. It was fun to see Tony’s opening at the Nuzum house where he showed 4 or 5 of the artists I had represented some years ago. It was great to see that they had continued to develop new depths in  their work while still being identifiable in their own style.”

Calle Comercio 2 is across the street from the bank that was next to Galeria de Arte. When I was a guest of Casa Nuzum there were paintings on the walls and art books in the library. I always felt it would be a wonderful gallery space being next to the church and around the corner from the Plaza. Location, location, location… The concept of artists working and showing their work in this historic Casa is profound and hopefully productive. There is a recent history of artisans here, Elizabeth Nuzum hired local women to create her designer clothing line in a wonderful sewing studio in the back pool patio of the house.

Historic footnotes from Beverly that were included in one of the emails,

“There was a Hotel Minero across the Plaza from the Hotel Alamos.  It is the first building on Madero off the Plaza, sort of tucked in at the lower level of the Portales Hotel. It was owned by Palomares (a war hero from the French invasion) and is now called the Hotel Enrique owned by Blanca Quijada Navarro.”

“We still have to add a tiny bit to the Chinese use of the Mexican silver peso…. Alamos did not specifically produce for China… they used the coin that was minted here and identified by A or an underlined A. Kin Rynd who lived there at the time (the 20’s) said it was always referred to as the Mex… much as we would say a buck. It also added balast to the ships returning to China after the deliveries to Northern Mexico.”

Visit one of Bev’s many loves Alamos History Association

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Winter Videos

44 … A multi-faceted crew for a sparkling season, Christmas 1993 …

Film crew  as ghosts, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by gary Ruble.

Our crew as ghosts on a quiet night in Centro Alamos.

Calle Aurora connects the two busiest areas in Alamos: Alameda and Plaza de las Armas. It is an one-way street for cars and two-way passage for pedestrians, bicycles, and animals. It is my favorite street in Alamos, long and narrow with a gentle climb to the Plaza. Most of the night it can be still, homes sleeping as peaceful ghosts come out to loiter and reminisce. This is our crew doubling for ghosts and providing scale and detail to a night portrait frozen in time.

This is the crew that captured Alamos-Christmas-1993 and our hosts the Nuzums.

From left to right: Chaco Valdez, painting of Christina Vega by Jim Wison, Anders Tomlinson,
Gary Ruble, Donna Beckett, R. L. Harrington, Robert Ganey, and the Nuzums: Jolene, Kit,
Elizabeth and Pember. At this moment we were all together and thankful.

Gary Ruble photgraphing passerby from a ruin in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Gary Ruble photographs a passerby on Calle Hildalgo.

Gary Ruble took slides, shot 16 mm film, primarily single-frame time lapse, and helped with audio recording. He also disappeared into the arms of Alamos. Often the question would be asked, ” where is Gary?” and the answers were ” we last saw him headed off with some folks”. This is a good example of a ruin’s interior. Since our 1993 shoot the population of Alamos has nearly doubled. Looking at Alamos from space with Google maps I can see new construction and new neighborhoods. Alamos has been part of the southwest’s now dormant building boom. Another factor for Alamos’s growth is the same as its beginnings – silver. A large silver mine to the north reopened in 1999. I wonder how many ruins are still available for purchase and renovation?

Crew walks to town from Puerta Roja, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by unknown.

Part of the crew starts the day walking to town down Cerro Guadaloupe.

The crew was staying in two places a ten minute walk apart separated by Cerro Guadaloupe. In Alamos, the greatest joys maybe the unanticipated twinklings en-route to a preconceived destination. For R.L. Harringto, Robert Ganey, Donna Beckett and Anders Tomlinson this was one of those moments as they came out of cool winter shade at Puerta Roja and walked into warm sun as they approached Alamos Centro.

Kit Nuzum videos crew creating shadow dance, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Kit Nuzum videos the crew creating an impromptu shadow dance.

Within in every artist there is a child that will not be silenced. At times, the child will take control and a sense of humanity is produced. This is one of those moments: human shadows dancing across a wall of time. There was the wall, the sun was setting, why not dance holding hands? This recreated a moment from a 1983 Alamos film shot by Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum of kids dancing by the camera, holding hands, with their shadows racing across the ground.

Kit Nuzum standing, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kit Nuzum, as the sun bids adieu, contemplates the meaning of meanings.

Christopher, his friends know him as Kit, Nuzum first introduced me to Alamos. We met on a beach while filming and helping with a preproduction setup of a Suzanne Lacy public art performance, Whispers, The Waves, The Wind, featuring white covered tables with white chairs and women, all over the age of 65, dressed in white discussing their lives. The women’s reflections would be broadcasted over speakers up on the bluffs surrounding the cove. An interesting moment in time of age contemplating time.

A couple of months later, spring of 1985, he invited me to go on a Mexico road trip. All he said about Alamos was that he knew I would like it. We arrived in Alamos hours before sunrise. Driving up Calle Aurora into, and around the Plaza, to Calle Comercio #2 and entering the front courtyard of the Casa Nuzum was a step into a place I had never been before. Kit walked me through three garden areas, fountains gurgling under the stars, to a guest room waiting for me in the back. I went to sleep in a dream, I awake to Alamos.

Today, 2013, Kit Nuzum is off the grid and brewing beer outside Puerto Varas, Chile.

Here are 1993 Winter Alamos videos filmed by this crew.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Peeling Paint

12… History is in the detail, humanness is in the design…

Wall texture, peeling paint in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Micro views have as much information as watching a stunning sunset.

This peeling paint is on a west facing wall, built in 1828 at the end of Calle Comercio. Álamos had become the capital of a combined Sinoloa and Sonora – the state of Occidente. The new Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola lived inside this wall. It is a scene repeated throughout Álamos, Sonora, México. In recent times, recent being relative, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page once found sanctuary behind this edifice. Think of the romantic full moons and the sweet smells of the night air. In the distance a young man serenades his girl.

paints peeling on alamos, sonora,, mexico wall. photo by anders tomlinson

Stains of age bleed through layers of paint peeling back time.

Struggles personified: scribed, scratched, torn, eroded, defaced, washed, painted by natural elements and human events. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

an interesting wall with words and dark triangle. alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Many times art comes from taking advantage of opportunity.

Graffiti, like tattoos, has taken on different significants in society. There is mean graffiti, cruel graffiti, criminal graffiti, obnoxious graffiti. And then there are a quiet moments when man etches himself into the wall. these moments come and go as does the days, months, years and centuries.

wall color and texture, peeling paint, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A calm moment in the relentless march of change for change’s sake.

Soothing pastels worn smooth, shine in the morning sun on an eastern facing wall. There are no images or words but there is feeling – much like minimalism modern art. Look long enough and there is movement.

paint throw onto an alamos, sonora, mexico wall. photo by anders tomlinson

It is all about gesture and action. What do we see? What do we feel?

Speaking of modern art. What was behind these two large action marks? Was it a planned act or an accident? This is a concrete wall – modern in Alamos time. Was a painter cleaning is bucket? Was it a statement from one person about another? These are the questions, and tales, that the walls of Álamos, Sonora, México present to willing imaginations.

wall painting of young couple near airport. alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A young couple on a wall near the airport. Old and new together.

This painting was off the Old Camino Real as it turns to north west past the airport. Today the rod leads to nearby copper mines. It is probably much more traveled. there is little chance that is image remains – it is almost twenty years since the photo was taken.
Maybe the wall no longer exists, or…

wall detail of peeling paint, alamos sonora mexico.

Up close and within the details of passing time.

As one comes closer to the wall, or some would say ruins, one can see the marks take on greater significance as the design by natural elements and human events grow in intensity. There is form in the happenstance. Not all art is beautiful. Not all art is ugly. But all art is art.

This is an interior wall that is facing renovation. alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

This is an interior wall that is facing renovation.

There are moments of discovery, questions, appreciation and realization. This house probably has been in place a couple hundred years. Think of the get-togethers it has witnessed. The joys and sorrows. This wall knows life – good and bad.

old for sale sign, disappearing on an alamos, sonora mexico ruin wall.  photo by anders tomlinson.

The sign of time fades a sign of hope.


In a matter of years this sign has faded. Does this mean the property was sold and there was no more need for a sign so let time to its thing? Or does it indicate there were no buyers and the seller gave up the effort? Either way this wall is texture in a town of textures, Álamos, Sonora, México.

for sale sign on ruin, alamos. sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Advertising helps economies roll and money exchanges hands.

The message is bold, hard to miss and to the point. “This is for sale!” Is it art? Ask Andy Warhol what he thinks. Is it a statement? Certainly. And a marketing campaign begins again just like a sunrise.

Fast paced music video that is more than its parts, much like Álamos itself..
This is an experimental clip that weds close-ups textures shot out a moving car’s window and 120 blended stills images of Alamos life. High speed video at its best. Álamos, Sonora, México has never looked like this. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Church Bells

64… Two churches, two bells, two men and two towns…

tino, caretaker of the church, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Tino and his beloved Bishop Reyes Cathedral face another sunset.

I knew this would be an interesting photograph. A man, who, in his face, had seen much of what life has to offer, a church bell framed by its belfry and a natural backdrop stretching from Mirador to Sierra Madres. All were lit by a low brillant sun whose golden rays were diffused by humid shimmering heat waves. We only had a moment to take this photo, as we were speaking he was summoned to fix a pressing property emergency, this is what maestro Tino did. I asked him to look towards the sun and pressed the shutter button. One click and done, another moment saved for the future, this is what Anders does.

Caretaker and bell at Aduana church, near Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Caretaker of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere Church in nearby Aduana.

La Aduana on a midweek day in late Spring is peaceful. Take away the sounds of birds, insects, burros, dogs and a handful of kids and it is really quiet. Few cars will be heard for hours.
This is a place where the past lingers on, mining sites and ruins litter hillsides, a lonely plaza’s dry fountain surrounded by buildings once busy including a store where customers’ shoes for hundreds of year have cut a groove into the floor. I visit the small church and met the caretaker who takes me on the roof so I can see the town from where the bells of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere are. The church has an interesting story involving a beautiful maiden, Indians and some rocks, but that is for a coming journal entry. It is hard to imagine what it is like when
thousands of pilgrims arrive in La Aduana, many walking along arroyos from Alamos, to honor the Virgin of Balvanere every November 21st. A breeze kicks up dust on an empty road, a crow calls, three boys in a dry creek bed laugh and the day moves on. Life in Aduana 1996 is much different than life in Aduana 1700, one can only wonder what it will be like in Aduana 2020.

two church bells at bishop reyes cathedral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photos Gary Ruble and Anders Tomlinson.

A tale of two bells, one old, one new, and how they toll.

The bells of Bishop Reyes Cathedral are part of Alamos’ daily fabric, they are a prominent voice in a complex orchestral sonic landscape. Here are old and new: a cracked bell was replaced by a shinny bell. I was raised to believe if you don’t have something good to say about something don’t say anything. This is a good rule of thumb, especially in small rural communities. There are always exceptions: this new bell didn’t make me feel good. It wasn’t inviting me, its clang was more of a warning. It is possible that the bell vibrates discordantly only to me, but I find this hard to believe, I have a good ear. Maybe it was the bell ringer’s technique. 14 years have passed, maybe it has mellowed with age. I hope so. A town so culturally rich should have a bell that touches the heart and inspires the imagination. Maybe it does now.

This marker celebrates the birthplace of Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado is another Alamos native that touched the world.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado was born in Alamos and spent his early tears in Culican, Sinola before moving with his newly widowed mother and family to Mexico City. He became a successful doctor specializing in plastic surgery and was Frida Kahlo’s bedside doctor. He made vast contibutions to the medical world. And he could sing. His beautiful tenor entertained audiences across continents. Alamos hosts a grand music festival in his honor, The Festival International Dr. Arturo Ortiz Tirado, that includes dance, art and music with workshops, lectures and concerts. The festival entertainment, centered in Alamos, also performs across Sonora visiting venues in Nogales, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon, Hutabampo and Navojoa.
The ten day event is held each year in late January.

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©2012 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Rooftop Gardens

78… A rooftop that lives and breath all things Alamos…

Nuzum roof top garden across the street ffom Bishop Reyes Catheral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Elizabeth Nuzum's garden across the street from Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

Here, in the shadow of cathedral bells and angelic choirs was a multi-purpose rooftop garden. A narrow wrought iron caracol, snail, spiral staircase led one up from a back patio with a small pool to an expansive array of raised planter boxes. Elizabeth Nuzum enjoyed people, her home, her gardens and life in Alamos. For many, her husband Pember and Elizabeth were Alamos greeters, welcoming visitors inside the old wood doors on Calle Comercio. Elizabeth designed and managed her gardens while Pember kept an eye on the household finances.

Flowers and Sierra de Alamos from Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

20 feet above the street one can hold a conversation with passing clouds.

The roof top garden and its 360 degree views was a special place. The sky at night, with stars there to be touched while one laid back on a substantial Sonoran cot, was a connection to all things in all places. Rooftop eavesdropping on the comings and goings along Calle Comercio and Calle Guadaloupe Victoria tuned one in with the heartbeats of Alamos: Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Palacio, Plaza de Las Armas, Mercado, all points of the compass and all events past and present.

Nuzum roof top garden looking east at Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mirador voices, at times, arrived here with a favorable wind.

Let me count the sounds I heard up on the roof: uniformed school kids walking in groups, talking, laughing, singing, stepping off rhythms, kicking balls, kids being all things kids. Occasional horse hoofs echoing on cobblestone streets. Music from rattling car and truck radios ricocheting off narrow streets. Surround sound bird songs and calls punctuated by barking dogs, working hammer and saws and distant braying burros. All combinations of people passing by: one, two, or three generations together talking, workers, errand runners, neighbors en-route to visit neighbors or hang out in the Plaza, shop at the Alameda and Mercado or attend to business at the Palacio or… This garden overlooked the center of Centro Alamos’ rainbow of expression: joy, surprise, acceptance, expectations, anger, yearning, anticipation. greetings, farewells…

Christina Vega on Nuzum's roof garden, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A young girl picks flowers on the roof, a simple moment, a simple smile.

Christina Vega, daughter of Chacho and Cammie, sister of Gaspar, walked in all worlds Alamos. Her Mexican blood was Chaco’s large family and her American blood was Cammie’s parents Elizabeth and Pember and brother Kit who came to visit from his world travels. Cammie and Chacho lived modestly on Calle Ninos Heroes, a short walk from the grand roof top garden on the the other side of Guadaloupe Hill.

Christina Vega and church from Nuzum roof, alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

What does Christina see, and hear, on this spring day in 1984?

The roof’s northwest corner, with a view into the Plaza and Gazebo, was across the street from the bank. At opening time a line of people would be waiting sharing conversation. Daily masses brought people to the church’s eastern door. Funerals processions would leave the church and passed by as they headed east to the Panteon – Cemetery. Police headquarters, at times busy, were three houses to the east on Calle Comercio. Tourists speaking English, French, German and other languages would stop and chat as they headed to and from surrounding lodging. At night, one could listen to quitar playing coming from Polos restaurant’s kitchen as well as the Estudiantina practicing at the Museum. At this moment Christina is listening to the public serenade that is Alamos.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.
Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Nigthtime Power

30 … Imaginations soar with night when all one can see is lit by man or moon…

Governor's Mansion ruin at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Light and shadow, substance and form, history and echos, spirits and ghosts.

In the night, things from the past bump into modern moments. As example, aged columns, scarred by events that rushed through time, are illuminated by electricity. As example, Sonora and Sinoloa were merged into a new state of Occidente and in November 1827 Alamos was declared its capital. On January 10, 1828, Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola moved into his official residence behind the walls seen above. Here, decisions were made that shaped those days, life was lived to match royalty in Spain and the mines to the west were in full production and… You are here…

Calle Comercio at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Calle Comercio on a summer midnight, 1996. Even spirits must sleep.

If that police pickup truck, parked across the street from the Police station, wasn’t there then where could we be, and when? The answer is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico circa both 1800 and 2011. This is a portrait of power. At the western end, the cobblestones leads one up the steps and into the Cathedral’s side doors. Down the block to the east, the Governor and Bishop mansions were, and are, across the street from one another. Thousands of miles to the east is Spain, thousands of miles to the west is China and at one time they were both here, and today their DNA marches on.

The hospital in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There is no mistaking this for the past. Modern lines, modern times.

On the way into Alamos Centro a regional – basic care hospital is setback on the right. At night, this scene could be an emergency room anywhere in the world. I had need to visit after one long difficult day into night. The doctors were here in Alamos for one year’s mandatory service, a bridge between medical school and where they would go to make their livings. That night, my doctor came from outside Guadalajara and hoped he would be going to Tijuana, to be on the frontier of modern Mexico. I was impressed by how he looked me in the eyes, how he touched and probed, and by the questions he asked and how he listened and responded to my answers. He was in the moment, and the moment was all about bringing me comfort. It was not about profit or loss. It was about me.

X-rays were needed to evaluate what was happening in my chest. Alas, their x-ray machine was down for repairs. He gave me a shot to reduce my discomfort and asked me to bring him back chest x-rays. He had done all he could do. The morning began meeting the Police chief in his office, at his request, and ended up on a midnight taxi cab ride to Navajoa in search of x-rays. And this day will be another of the twelve Alamos short stories I am preparing to write.

Tis the Season of Love and Jackets.
Christmas in the Plaza de Las Armas is a time of of sharing and joy. Food, fireworks and the town coming out to be seen and see is what community is all about.

It is In The Night That the Past Dances Down Narrow Streets
Oh little town of Alamos. Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music, live and recorded, rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars pass by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic moments. Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets.

Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going. Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing. And behind the walls there are other worlds: private legacies, conversations., comforts, learnings, entertainments, deliberations, dreams.
 Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Place to Be and Be Seen
It is a wonderful feeling to sit with a friend in the plaza on a pleasant evening. Here, one can watch people come, be and go. This is the a place to be seen and see. When all have come and gone it becomes a romantic refuge for a young couple.


Imagine horse drawn carriages, burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Rancho Las Crucecitas

You say Estancia Crysalis – I say Rancho Las Crucecitas…

walking home from town to Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

This may not be a well-traveled road but it is a long-traveled path through time.

If one were to close their eyes and listen to the footsteps of this old woman, with a young woman’s body, one would hear someone going back in time, retracing footprints of the ancient ones as this old woman returns to Estancia Crysalis. Here is another world where the land speaks in a dominate voice. Listen carefully, and one will hear sounds that Indians heard before the arrival of the Spanish. Here, there is a purity of all things nature.

Looking east from the main house at Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And there is Chihuahua, and there are Sierra Madre foothills and there is...

It is a short, invigorating walk from Plaza de las Armas to Estancia Crysalis on paved road, the old El Camino Real. The slight incline, as you rise into rolling Sierra de Alamos foothills, stirs the minds and exercises the heart. The entrance to Estancia Crysalis is across the road from the El Mirador. The dirt road into Estancia Crysalis follows Arroyo Barranquita. Once on the ranch there is the Sierra Alamos, right there, in all her beauty, framed by 200 year old Mesquite trees.

Horse stalls at Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

For the Arabians these were stalls for students these were shelter.

And so it was and so it is. Estancia Crysalis was formerly known as Rancho Las Crucecitas. The last owners of Rancho Las Crucecitas, Dr. Martin Dale Edwards and his wife Zora Tyler, raised a select herd of 22 purebred Arabians. These rustic stalls were the horses homes. Sharon Bernard is the current owner and changed the ranch name to Estancia Crysalis. A group of college students on a field trip from the USA stayed at Estancia Crysalis and used these stalls for lodging. And so it was and so it is.

A Ranch on the outskirts of town, looks forward to the future.
Estancia Crysalis, along the El Camino Real, is a mile southeast of the Plaza in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The 175 acre ranch, on Sierra de Alamos sloping foothills, is focusing on a new day, and listening for opportunities floating on tropical breezes. Video…

The above video is from summer. The following video is spring. Estancia Crysalis experiences the seasons in all their dramatic changes. Life in Centro Alamos is dominated by man’s structures and gardens. Life on Estancia Crysalis is dominated by nature.

In another era, Estancia Crysalis was a working horse ranch.
Today, the spirits of these departed steeds, proud Arabians, are present, be it a sound of a branch breaking under weight or a small flurry of dust. Shut your eyes and listen, they are still here. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

La Aduana

The landscape of La Aduana has rebounded from the best and worst of man..

Street in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Downtown Aduana on a typical weekday morning. Remants of mining dot the hills.

Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado camped here during the winter of 1540-41. He was searching for gold in what turned out to be mountains with veins of silver. The mines closed in 1906 after nearly 400 years of continuous mining. La Aduana was the “custom office”, it was all about taxes and royalties. Life was hard and short with the hazards of the mines and the chemicals used in the extraction process. The curse of quicksilver had a wide footprint.

Looking east at La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Today, seven miles west of Alamos, Aduana is what it is.

Here seven miles west of Alamos, at 2,500 feet elevation with surrounding mountains as high as 4,700 feet, Aduana has less than 300 people where once there was 5,000. A church, country store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn, a plaza with a dry fountain in its center surrounded by the past is Aduana today. And for some this is their home. And these are their hills with their months of desert and long summer of jungle.

Cooperativa Artesanos La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The woman come out to show their wares when visitors arrive.

Located near the church is La Aduana Art & Crafts. This is a cooperative of local ladies, seen here, with their products. This photo was taken in 1997. I wonder what Aduana is like today. I know the dust is the same and radios and televisions sing and speak from isolated homes. But has the realities of 2011 arrived? While researching Aduana on the internet I was surprised to see alamos-sonora-mexico.com being quoted, some would say plagiarized, by others sites. Indeed, this is 2011. In the next wave of Alamos video editing – mid May, scenes from Aduana will be posted.

cactus in wall of la adauna church, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

A cactus grows out of a church wall and people come to pray.

This is not the London Bridge or the Grand Canyon but it is a quiet moment, in a now quiet town, that inspires those who believe.

burros drinking watr in la aduana, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Two generations gather for a drink at the local water hole - more puddle.

These burros could be descendants of working Aduana burros from the 1600’s. It was a hard life: grinding down ore in quicksilver or moving silver from the mines, to the Alamos treasury to Mexico City and back for another trip loaded with needed supplies.
Beasts of burden relax and calm La Aduana morning. Birds and insects fill the sky with sound. It is becoming warmer.
entrance to a mine in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Just think of all that took place deep within this silver mine. Think of the men. Think of how and why they are there. Think of their typical day. Think of where they laid down to sleep. Think of what they eat.

Here was Silver

Once this was a major silver mining town in all the world. Today, it is tucked away up in the hills with a quiet plaza and dry fountain. It is calm. Mining remnants dot the hillside. They are reminders of what was and what is.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Maria Felix

23 … The view out this window has changed over the past century…

Old adobe ruin at Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There was a day that this was the edge of town looking west towards wilderness.

1914 was in the middle of turbulent times for the region. Yaquis and Mayos were joining forces with Obregon and Villa’s armies. Venustiano Carranza became the third Mexican President in two years. One of them, Francisco Madero, was assassinated. Hard times were here. Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean was born April 8, 1914. This window looked out from her birth place. She had eleven sisters and brothers. They lived here until 1929 when they left for Guadalajara. Soon her beauty would be nationally recognized.

Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

An Alamos beauty walks down Calle Galeana in 1993. Photo by Gary Ruble.

This is where Maria Felix was born and raised, riding horseback in a land that was losing its mines. Her father was of Yaqui Indian blood and her Spanish blood mother was raised in a Pico Heights, California convent. Much of the beauty that is seen in the faces of Alamos is a product of interlocking bloodlines that span the globe. There are European, Asian, eastern Indian, Philippine and indigenous Indian features across town. Maria described herself as ” a woman with a man’s heart.” She was a commanding presence, a beautiful liberator, a woman beyond her times. She made 47 films in Mexico and France. She became internationally recognized. She published a bestselling autobiography in 1993, All My Wars. And this is where her life’s journey began..

Galeana 41, 1996, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Step forward in time, it is now September 1996, late afternoon.

Hurricane Fausto was the storm that leveled the walls. The window is gone. Galeana #41 is now a mother of all ruins. A passing carriage takes tourists around town. Tomorrow would be another day. In 1999, Lynda Barondes bought Galeana #41. She was to learn later that this was the birthplace of Maria Felix. In 2002, part of Lynda’s restoration efforts, a Museum opened here with three rooms dedicated to the spirit Maria Felix embodied. The Museum closed in 2012 as Lynda sold the property and moved to the nearby southern foothills overlooking Alamos.

Buckle-up as we take a super fast-rock n’ roll car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Another Day, Another Age

Somewhere in the mountain Indian’s timeless spell, framed by stately 18th century Spanish architecture, and peppered with modern electronic gadgetry is a small quiet town whose women are beautiful and men handsome. This Shangri-La, at the very end of paved road leading from the west, is Alamos Sonora, Mexico.

The sun has risen from behind these forbiding ridges, the silence is deafening.

From here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding, virtually impenetrable
Sierra Madre Occidentals. This is the legendary “Mother Range” protecting Mexico’s great central plateau. Behold ridge after volcanic ridge, separated by deep narrow canyons, marching on for a hundred miles, and climbing to ten thousand feet where giant hawks and eagles soar. The monumental silence is all powerful. Time is reduced to mere sand, worn off of towering rock faces and airborne on the wind. These endless ridges conjure up stark silhouettes of reclining warriors, upon whose barren stomachs humble life persists. Over the horizon, to the southwest, is the famous Copper Canyon region.

Summer time is vibrant as surrounding foothills come alive with green growth.

The eye continues to sweep the horizon and returns, as it always does, to the cathedral’s classically proportioned three-tiered belfry announcing civilization on the half hour.
Past, present and future comes together, in a special way, as one walks down hand swept cobblestone streets listening to laughing children behind bougainvillea-crowned walls.
Here, is the eternal blue sky that is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

History: Time Marches On

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by AtomicSonics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza departed Alamos in September 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Summer: Explosion of Color

The rainy season arrives on a cannonade of lightning as surrounding hills turn to jungle and children of all ages, cooled and cleansed by spirited showers, dance on glistening streets…

An occasional summer storm floods three arroyos in Alamos with mountain runoff.
Summer is the rainy season. Occasional tropical storms, remnant of hurricanes, come in from the Sea of Cortez to the west. This is the morning after a storm hit the region hard the previous evening.

A summer rodeo – music concert with trained horses dancing the two step.
Throughout the summer there are activities to enjoy in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. On this day the rodeo came to town along with a Mexican pop singer who was backed up by the local “Halcon de Sierra Alamos” band. The stars of the show, which started late, were the dancing horses.

To the east, the Cuchujaqui River is a nearby Alamos summer getaway.
The Cuchujaqui River is to the east of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Three arroyos join together in Alamos and flow to the Cuchujaqui River, on to the El Fuerte River and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. It is a cooling retreat for Alamos folks especially in the hot summer. On this day, Antonio, an Alamos dentist, spear-fished one bass, a couple of catfish and many carp.
A good time was had by all.

Summer is the Alamos season of vibrant color, rains and nights of natural magic and wonder.
Lightening on a warm Alamos summer evening is a show to remember. The romantic Plaza is a wonderful vantage point. Rolling thunder punctuates child’s play and lovers embraces.

Daybreak in the Plaza is a quiet song that slowly builds into a symphony.
As the day turns from dark to light watch Alamos come alive. Everyday is a new start, another challenge, another opportunity. The late Levant Alcorn is seen collecting bird feathers on his morning walk around the Plaza de las Armas.

Estudiantina de Alamos performs before a packed Plaza as a film crew captures the event.
It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming a music concert. Estudiantina de Alamos, a crowd favorite, is performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

In the hearts of many, Alamos is the center of the universe.
Independence day starts early in the morning with a municipal parade through the town’s colonial center. Alamos school kids, the first high school in the Californias started here, and the entire city government take part. In 2010 the students added their own uniformed marching band to the parade. From children to government, Alamos continues.

This is a Blessed Season for a Multitude of Reasons.
In mid-afternoon the air pressure begins to drop and a stiff wind sweeps the valley from the west, a storm is coming. Night falls and showers start. We go from the Plaza to the Alameda and back. The following day the sun comes out and then is covered by clouds. Kids play and men work gathering sand in the arroyos. A summer day can be complex in its textures and atmospheres.

If ones wants to have fun, one can have fun. And today Alamos is smiling.
The season’s strongest storm passed through in early September. A couple of weeks later there was still a little water flowing in the arroyos. Celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day, thousands of folks, young and old, gathered in the Arroyo de la Aduana north of the Plaza.
Dancing horses, music and beer is everywhere.

Folks from all over the Alamos region gather in the arroyo to celebrate Independence Day.
And the celebration in the arroyo continues. Everyone wants to have a good time and enjoy the warm sun, brillant blue sky and the murmurs of running water. There is much to do and see. The party will continue late into the night under beautiful Sonoran stars. How romantic.

Alamos is home to the jumping bean along with elements that touch all the senses.
This video features the jumping bean, a drive into town from the west, and several cameos: church bell ringing, closeup of flood waters, timelapse of clouds passing in front of Mt. Alamos, and a street puddle at night reflecting shimmering light.

A Ranch on the outskirts of town, looks forward to the future.
Estancia Crysalis, along the El Camino Real, is a mile southeast of the Plaza in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The 140 acre ranch, on Sierra de Alamos sloping foothills, is focusing on a new day. And new opportunities gliding on tropical breezes.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Spring: Transitions Abound

Neighboring towns come to Alamos in the spring and celebrate their Indian Heritage.
Indian Day comes to Alamos in the Spring. Villagers from around the Alamos region come by bus to the Alameda and celebrate their native culture. Dancers, musicians and exhibits fill the business center with color, motion and music. Nacion Mayo and Nacion Popagayo are some of the regional dancers, musicians and exhibits competing in front of a panel of judges.

A mourning mother’s deep wails, crows cawing – perched on white crosses…
It is a warm spring day as we explore the “Pantheon” – (Cemetery) on the road to the Sierra Madres, minutes east of the Colonial Center. The ages speak here. Be it ancient mountain sounds or human voices, mourning and celebrating since 1794. All is timeless, and all thoughts are a point on our circle of life.

It all begins and ends in the Working Center of Town.
The Alameda, center of activity, transportation hub, bars, offices, shops, gas station and markets … This is Mexico working, traveling and playing. Boom boxes serenade food carts and shoe shines.

Not that long ago the best way to travel to Alamos was by mule train.
Alamos has a 5,000 foot runway, at 1,300 feet elevation, awaiting your landings and takeoffs.
The Alamos City Airport, to the west, is minutes away from downtown. Talk about arriving first class.

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.
Alamos has six seasons a year and a diversity of native and imported flora. Gardening is both a passion and industry. It can become all consuming. It can be an mental oasis, freedom from the outside world’s cares and concerns. And it is something to share with those who visit, be it bug, bird, mammal or human.

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Spring Day in the Plaza – Part One: The Race.
Spring days in the Plaza de Las Armas are a portrait of the community at large. Here, we start with small children with big back packs enroute to their classrooms. This sunny morning, there are school races, boys and girls, around the Plaza.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Two: Getting Ready for another Day.
In the cool of the morning folks go about hand sweeping and cleaning the streets and sidewalks of Alamos, Sonora, Mexiso. Residents take pride in the town’s appearance. Enjoy a 360 degree pan of the plaza from the gazebo-bandstand in its center. We end with the garbage men making their rounds.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Three: People come and go and the day goes on.
This is easter weekend in the Plaza De Las Armas. People come and go across the Plaza or are headed for the bus station to leave town for the holiday. A crowd leaves the church and will travel along the streets of Alamos following a reenactment of the Crucifixion.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Four: From Light to Night.
Afternoon shadows begin to creep across a Plaza shared by all: young and old, workers and those relaxing on a bench, going from here to there, meeting others, watching Alamos pass by, hearing the news, being one with all that surrounds… Horseback, on foot, bicycle or driving – it is wonderful to be part of the eternal promenade.

The Streets of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico become Another Time in Another Place.
Easter week in Alamos is a special Spirit. Viernas de los Delores is celebrated on Good Friday. Decorated altars are displayed in windows and doorways throughout town. In the evening people stroll the streets viewing these commemorations of Christ”s suffering. In this segment we join a reenactment of the Crucifixion through the streets of Alamos to Guadalupe Hill.

Fast paced music video that is more than its parts, much like Alamos itself..
This is an experimental clip that weds close-ups textures shot out a moving car’s window and 120 blended stills images of Alamos life. High speed video at its best. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico has never looked like this.

In another era, Estancia Crysalis was a working horse ranch.
Today, the spirits of these departed steeds, proud Arabians, are present, be it a sound of a branch breaking under weight or a small flurry of dust. Shut your eyes and listen, they are still here.


Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Winter: A Time of Grace

Buckle-up as we take a super fast car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking.

A parade of lights brings song and joy to colonial Alamos streets during Christmas.
We see a traditional Posada visiting from house to house and arriving at Casa de los Tesoros where children in their holiday attire play and adult family take in another Christmas in Alamos. It is a tradition. Another scene is a trip to the Alameda.

A special time in a special place for people who feel special.
This is the introduction to a film that was shot over the 1993 winter holidays in Alamos. This is a glorious season for the town. We start out at the airport and head east into town and visit the Alameda lined with stores and professional offices.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.

Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does.

Music is part of the Alamos fabric, the Alamos way of living.
The location is the Old Miners Hotel on the east side of Plaza de Las Armas. The event is a holiday wedding reception with imported polka band and a free flowing bar. High spirits, friends, family and a driving beat makes for a good time. Tomorrow would be another day.

Time stands still: a river moves on and letter-press printing continues.

Two days before Christmas 1993 the film crew travels out to the Rio Cuchujaqui. It is a world unto itself but not that far away from Alamos. And then we visit a print shop that has been in operation for over 100 years. Alamos had the first printing press in the Californias. One wonders if these presses are still at work. Letter presses have an imprint-edge that can be felt with the fingers and the soul.

They come from all over the region with things to buy and sell.
Sunday, north of Arroyo La Aduana, there is an open-air market filled with people and music. Meals, snacks, produce, clothing, toys, tires, bikes, tools and what ever folks bring to sale fill out both sides of a colorful promenade. It is a wonderful place to shop and meet neighbors, family and friends, new and old.

Warmth Radiates off of Adobe Walls as Another Winter Day Begins.
Kite flying is popular in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Drinking beer outside the pickup with friends is popular. Fun and work go on side by side as we visit a wood shop.

Tis the Season of Love and Jackets.
Christmas in the Plaza de Las Armas is a time of of sharing and joy. Food, fireworks and the town coming out to be seen and see is what community is all about.

Night is Filled with Sounds and an Occasional Lull of Only Stars Whispering to Each Other.
The Bells of Alamos ring through the day and night. They have for over two hundred years. We visit the bells as they are being rung, watch folks mill about the Plaza and enter the church from the belfry. And then it is out for an evening walk from the Plaza to the Alameda. And the steps we take have been taken for hundreds of years.

Towns Live On Through the Skills and Attention of Its Maestros, Craftsmen and Laborers.
Walking is a common choice of transportation in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. To school, work, play, church, shopping to the buses. There are taxis and cars but walking is the Alamos way for most. And in the day wherever you walk there are workers at work. Big jobs, little jobs, it is all work.

Exuberance is Everywhere: Listen for the Laughter of Youthful Rhythm.
Kids playing games on the streets of Alamos is a common fabric of everyday life. We also tour a couple of homes and their gardens. Smiles are honest and come easy.

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It takes a Village to Make these Films.

This is the crew that captured Alamos-Christmas-1993 and our hosts the Nuzums.

Here are, left to right, Chaco Valdez, Anders Tomlinson, Gary Ruble, Donna Beckett, Robert Harrington, Robert Ganey, Jo and Kit Nuzum, and Elizabeth and Pember Nuzum. Rudy Hale and Teri Arnold also provided assistance. A fine time was had by all. Photo-Gary Ruble.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Photo Portfolios

Chasing the moment and capturing that which allows itself to be captured.

Photographing Alamos, Sonora, Mexico was a great pleasure, and challenge, for Anders Tomlinson. His portfolio of 1,200 selected scans from 35mm film – Fuji Velvia 50, Provia 100, Provia 400 and Fujichrome Tungsten 64 – is divided into 17 subjects.

Anders shooting with a 35mm Canon body before the digital dawn.
photo- Jim Morgan

Presented below are one image representing each of the subjects with the number of images in that collection. There is a DVD of all the slide-scans that is available upon request.

Aduana Time… 25 images

This donkey could have been related to animals used to grind mercury in the 17th century, The satellite dish brings a rural Aduana school in touch with all of modern Planet Earth. photo- Anders Tomlinson

Alameda Action… 87 images

Only in the afternoon heat of a summer day is the Alameda this quiet.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Barrio Life… 222 images

Near the northern edge of town it is a simple life, not easy, but simple.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Church Days… 52 images

Our three-tiered belfry glows gold in spring morning light.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Flood Stage… 23 images

End of August, this is not the day to take a bicycle trip to the east side.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Garden Graces… 74 images

Serenity and the touch of tropical sun upon bare shoulders,
it is Alamos time... photo-Anders Tomlinson

Cemetery… 45 images

Alamos families, and friends, are here in the Cemetery-Pantheon.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Inside Walls…15 images

Art, artists and music are part of the Alamos lifestyle.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Mirador… 24 images

A summer kite festival at the Mirador ovelooking Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Views from High Ground…30 images

Alamos in the summertime from Red Cross Hill.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Nature Notes… 47 images

Looking south towards Sinola from atop Sierra de Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Night Music…90 images

Cat and dog rest near a house filled with bird cages.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Palacio… 26 images

The Palacio is the cultural and governmental center of Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Portraits… 96 images

Not all roads lead to Navojoa, but this one does.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Plaza Promenade… 109 images

Later that evening a tropical storm would tear through the Plaza.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Colonial Center… 156 images

These kids continue a long history of public education in Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Ruins…66 images

Time to restore and build a new roof, and drink beer.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Anders is looking for partners to publish a book that Anders would design using these photos.
These images will also be used in high-definition multi-media Alamos presentations.
Later this year more slides will be scanned with an emphasis on details of daily life in Alamos.

To see more Anders Alamos photos visit the Daily Journal or enjoy Alamos Slideshows
as well as Night Magic photos.

Return to the home page.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Night Magic Photos

Nightfall brings out spirits, ghosts and legends.

Oh little town of Alamos dreams, as seen from Gringo Point in the Sierra de Alamos.

Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars passe by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic.

Friends gather outside a Friday night dance.

Anders arrived his on first visit to Alamos at 4 am, after an 18 hour drive from Tijuana. Coming into town at night accented the fact he had arrived in a place where time stood still and discovery awaits. Seeing the town in morning light did not diminish his first impression.

Thick walls embrace outside and inside a house on Calle Comercio.

Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets. Dogs and cats lay together by front doors. Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going.

Romantic songs, live and recorded, come from many houses aglow with music.

Music concerts happen on a public and private level. Guitars and singing takes place all over Alamos. Singing and dancing are part of the passion for life that begins as little children and continues throughout life. It is felt with every step and heartbeat.

The plaza at night is refuge for a young couple.

It is a wonderful feeling to sit in the plaza on a pleasant evening with a friend. Here, one can watch the people come and go. The church draws people throughout the day and into the evening.
It is a joy to listen to the church choirs practice.

The Estudiantina entertains at a local hotel.

The Estudiantina de Alamos are a group of young men learning music and performance styles from the days of old. The Museo de Costumbrista de Sonora coordinates their training and busy schedules. They are bring a pride and joy wherever they go.

For over 300 years people have been in their homes on this corner.

The thick walls help keep out the cold and heat and hold in the spirits of anyone who has walked inside. If there is a place where past, present and future come together it is inside the walls of Alamos. These photos are slices, literally. from a portfolio of 100 Alamos night scenes by Anders Tomlinson. Some day Alamos may be able to look at them on exhibit or projected at night.

On a road heading out of the colonial center lights become fewer..

Imagine the horse drawn carriages, the burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night.

Two friends share thoughts at the entrance to town center.

Summer nights find townsfolk outdoors in the cooling air. The sky can light up with a roll of distant thunder. If it begins to rain people stay under the sky and embrace the blessed moisture. Listen to the crickets. Listen to your heart.

Rain is always welcomed in Alamos. It is Life.

Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing.
And behind the walls there is another world. Private legacies. Conversations. Comforts.
Learnings. Entertainments. Deliberations. Dreams…

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©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.