As the days get longer...

..there is a lot more daylight now, so after work Friday, I drove up to Sunspot, NM.  Sunspot sits on the plateau above Alamogordo and is the home of the National Solar Observatory.

(clicking on the photo will enlarge them)

My intent was to get there, find a spot overlooking the White Sands National Monument and photograph a sunset but due to recent fires in the Gila National Forest and lots of clouds from a light cool front, visibility was limited.  I had also hoped to do some timed photos that would create circular star trails, but that's for another time.

Even though I was a bit disappointed that the clouds and weather were not cooperating, wildlife was everywhere.  This is a protected area so the animals aren't all that spooky if you don't come to a complete stop and/or get out of the car.  Forgive me if I have this wrong but I'm thinking these are Mule Deer.  I know I've never seen one in Louisiana and never claimed to be an expert.                    

(Update!  A knowledgeable friend tells me, he's pretty sure they are Elk.)

A young doe.

On the way back home (the hotel) I pulled off onto a less than wonderful road to check out cactus flowers under the approaching full moon.

And from the opposite direction, a sunset.

Probably, it wasn't a great idea getting too far off the pavement in a VW Passat rental car (National Car frowns on those activities) but it's not because I didn't want too.