Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Finally La Ventana

with 20 comments


After spending hours stopping a bunch of times on October 14th at scenic spots along Interstate 40 and then New Mexico 117, we finally arrived at our ostensible destination 90 miles west of Albuquerque: a natural stone arch called La Ventana, which means ‘the window’ in Spanish.* From the size of the trees at the bottom of the first photograph, you can get a feel for how tall the arch is. The massive stone looming to the left of the arch is imposing in its own right:



A more-colorful cliff flanking La Ventana on the opposite side also impressed me:



* The Spanish word for ‘window,’ ventana, developed from the Latin word for ‘wind,’ ventus.
English window comes from Old Norse vindauga, a poetic metaphor meaning literally wind eye.
You can read more about that in the American Heritage Dictionary’s Word History section for window.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2022 at 4:32 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Very impressive span, I didn’t know New Mexico had any natural bridges like this.

    Robert Parker

    November 14, 2022 at 5:21 AM

    • I hadn’t known, either, till I did pre-travel research. The guiding spirit of our trip was to visit places in New Mexico that we hadn’t been to before. We succeeded. While we did return to a few familiar spots, for example the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Camel Rock, the great majority of our stops were at unfamiliar places. Of the 21 trip-related posts that I’ve put out so far, not a single one shows a place we’d previously visited—and more new ones are forthcoming.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2022 at 7:02 AM

  2. A very impressive rock formation, thanks for sharing Steve.


    November 14, 2022 at 7:07 AM

    • You’re welcome, Rudi. Just as I hope someday to see the Alps, which you’ve visited, I hope you’ll eventually make it to the scenic places I’ve been showing in New Mexico.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2022 at 7:16 AM

  3. That’s quite an impressive arch indeed! Well worth the trip just to see that.


    November 14, 2022 at 9:40 AM

  4. If the trees in your picture were grass, the rock formations would still be impressive. I ponder the geological explanation of the arch.

    Peter Klopp

    November 14, 2022 at 9:59 AM

  5. Impressive rock formations. In Portuguese the word for window is “ janela” different from “ vento”.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 14, 2022 at 10:10 AM

    • The classical Latin word for window, fenestra, became French fenêtre, Catalan and Italian finestra, and Romanian fereastră. Portuguese went a different way to get to janela. Here’s its etymology according to Wiktionary:

      From Old Portuguese janella (“window”), from Vulgar Latin *iānuella, diminutive of Latin iānua (“door, double-doored entrance”), from Iānus (“Janus, Roman god of gates and doorways”), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ey– (“to go”).

      So janela and January are relatives.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2022 at 11:11 AM

  6. Wonderful


    November 14, 2022 at 4:35 PM

  7. La Ventana sounds like a restaurant at The Domain, or maybe a neighborhood in Lakeway. On the other hand, this La Ventana is more to my taste; it’s beautiful, and certainly impressive. Photographically, the last photo is my favorite. The combination of the golds and grays is interesting, and the sense of flow is pronounced. I’m sure it was quite high, but the vertical streaking makes it seem even taller. If it faces east or west, I’ll bet sunrise or sunset light would really set it off.


    November 14, 2022 at 7:39 PM

    • A ranger we talked to told us that a great time to see La Ventana is around sunrise, when light floods in from behind the arch. We visited in the afternoon, so that wasn’t to be. I’m at a loss for why the cliff in the last photograph was noticeably more colorful than others close by; of course the lack of that knowledge doesn’t prevent me from being grateful that those colors were there.

      Your musing about the name La Ventana in the Austin area led me to this:


      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2022 at 7:57 PM

  8. Very beautiful.


    November 14, 2022 at 10:07 PM

  9. […] the post two days ago showed, after stopping at a bunch of scenic places on October 14th we finally arrived at the […]

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