Ann McMahon Photography

Coyote Tales

"Coyote Tales" opened at the Branigan Cultural Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico in the fall of 2015. It was a huge success there and on exhibit in 2016 at the Farmington Museum, Farmington, New Mexico. If you are interested in exhibiting "Coyote Tales", contact Ann "".

This is a sample of the exhibit. Click on panel and it will open to show it's contents. Each panel shows a part of the exhibit.


I have known Ann McMahon for 45 years and her one abiding interest has always been photography. During the “film” days, she had her 35 mm Nikon equipment system, but I most vividly remember her 5X7 view camera. Wooden with wooden tripod, it weighed more then she did. She would go for a day’s shoot and return with 5 or 6 plates. Each image would be perfectly exposed and composed. She has taken this urge for perfection and moved into the realm of digital images and especially digital printing. Ann has traveled the country studying under the best professional print makers. She also has the experience producing LSU game day programs for several years, working closely with the printers on color and quality. She has taken her knowledge and urge for perfection and joined this with the love of her new home state, New Mexico, to produce an exhibit of extraordinary depth and beauty. You will leave with new knowledge and a sense of awe. She fell in love with the wilderness and the animals living there. She started wilderness photography rides by mule back and now shares sights that most of us will never see on our own. Thank you Ann for the hard work and dedication necessary to create this exhibit.

~ John R. “Reg” Keogh Photographer and Friend

Maii Chee

Maii Chee - Grandfather Coyote or also known as First Scolder, has been around since before time began and will be here after the end of time. This is what we as Dine are told by our elders. He helped create the night sky which guides our life on Earth, and nearly caused Tseholdtsodi - the Horned Water Monster to nearly flood our present world.

He has also been known as Trickster Coyote, guiding and teaching us through his escapades and our own greed and arrogance and laziness. At times, stealing and taking from others through trickery and deception, then other times bringing the People useful survival tools like fire. Sometimes a trickster but always a teacher.

Modern science has confirmed our mythology and folklore about Maii's power to survive against the odds. He is one of the few creatures on Earth that the more Man has trapped, shot, poisoned and tried to exterminate them - the more there are, now expanding into regions that were once occupied by itís larger cousin Maii tsoh - Big Coyote or Wolf.

Maybe Maii Chee is still trying to teach us something?

~ By Alex Mares - Dine / Mexican, Southern New Mexico

Artist Statment

As a photographer creating a portfolio, I strive for great images with inspiring, enriching information.

This was my goal over the last four years in building a portfolio of the beautiful wildlife of New Mexico. Additionally, my goal is to make the best possible prints for your viewing. Toward that end, you are looking at an image I developed in software as I did in my dark room years ago. I then printed the image onto canvas. From there, I sprayed each canvas and, finally, stretched it on a frame I have constructed.

Ann McMahon

The animals of New Mexico inspire and awed New Mexico’s Native Americans as they do me. One of my greatest experiences was having a coyote walk right by me one morning on a road near my home. He was not ill. He just wanted me to know I should be paying more attention. He then slowly crossed the road in front of me and went up into the eld. As I continued, I caught brief glimpses of him for the next quarter mile. When I reached the bottom of a wash, I found him waiting for me, standing halfway up the hill. He made sure I saw him, and then he sunk into the grass and simply disappeared with his incredible camouflage of fur.

In watching coyotes and photographing them, my admiration for these animals soared as I saw a mammal that is a keen observer of human behavior. Not only do coyotes observe, they learn and put their knowledge into practice. It is my sincere hope, as you view these prints, you will be inspired by the animals that make up our beautiful world. Maybe, just maybe, you will hear the distant voice of a Zuni, Navajo or Apache speaker, entertaining and inspiring others around a camp fire with their extraordinary animal tales.

The Sandhill Cranes

sandhill cranes

Once there lived a flock of Sandhill Cranes up in the clouds in the sky. And they drank the water from the clouds, and also built their nests upon the clouds...

Their leader said to them: “I believe we will go down to the earth. The earth has many rivers in every direction. And in the water fishes, frogs, and other water animals are living. And there are also many trees where we could build our nests.”

They drank the water of the Rio Grande and ate the fishes, frogs and other water animals that lived there, and lived well... “This river must be very strong, so here we will make our headquarters, where we will build our nests and increased in number.”

Indian Tales from Picuris Pueblo
Collected by, John P. Harrington

The Man Who Visited the Sky with Eagles


Long ago, there was a man who ...went with Coyote on a hunting trip... and he came where there was an eagle’s nest on a point of rock jutting out in the middle of a high cliff. There were young eagles in the nest.

...Coyote lowered him, asking if he had come to the young eagles. The reply was, ...“Yes.” Coyote then let the rope fall...

The man then sat with the young eagles. He asked what sort of weather prevailed when their father returned. ...Soon ... the father of the young eagles flew back in the rain. When he came where the man was sitting, he asked who was there. The man replied that Coyote had lowered him and that he was covering his children for him. The male bird told him he might remain there and flew off... The female bird returned and put down a horn vessel of boiled corn and invited the man to eat it.

She flew away again and returned with the eagle people. They gave him an eagle shirt and instructed him to do as they did. He put on the shirt and flew a little way with it...

He was a man but he became an eagle...

White Mountain Apache tale associated with
the sacred Hawk Ceremony

transcribed by Pliny Goddard

The Boy Who Tamed a Hawk and Trained It to Hunt


A young boy climbed up a cliff and reached a hawk’s nest. He brought down one of the babies. He took it home with him.

The people said to him, “Throw it away! It will make you sick!” But he did not.

He kept it, fed it and raised it. It became his friend. Wherever he went, the hawk went with him. It flew along by his side. When he saw a deer, he told the hawk to get it and the hawk would catch it for him. The hawk would bring him a rabbit or anything he wanted.

Myths and Tales of the Chiricahua Apache Indians
Morris Edward Opler

Coyote and the Fawn’s Stars


Once Coyote was out walking. ...He met a deer. She had her baby with her.

Coyote said, “Hello, my cousin. What pretty stars your baby has on his back. I wish my children had pretty stars.”

Deer said, “your babies can have stars. I will tell you. This is what I do.

When my babies are very little, I build a big fire. The sparks from the fire make the stars. You can do that for your babies.

...Coyote was happy. ...He made a big fire. He put all of his children in the fire. The sparks flew. “Now they will have pretty stars,” said Coyote.

He danced around the fire. Soon he said to Deer, “Have they been in the fire long enough? Will they have pretty stars now?”

“Yes,” said Deer. She ran away laughing.

Coyote took his children from the fire. They were burned. Coyote was angry. He chased Deer. Coyote still chases Deer, but he never catches her.

Navajo Coyote Tales
William Morgan and Hildegard Thompson

The Hunter’s Song


Kwinsi began singing a song. He was a Coyote Society member and this was a hunter’s song, a religious song.

Dawn Boy goes along singing
with rainbow arc and lightning arrows.

“Yellow flowers sprout from my ears
blue flowers from my nose
red flowers between my eyes
white flowers from my mouth.

…Come deer
come to my flowers
come to my all-colored flowers.”

The Beautiful and the Dangerous Encounters with the Zuni
Barbara Tedlock

They Sang for Horses


The Horse of Navajo and Apache mythology is a glorious horse - a supernatural steed...

My horse has a hoof like striped agate;
His fetlock is like a fine eagle-plume;
His legs are like quick lighting.
My horse’s body is like an eagle-plumed arrow;
My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud.
His mane is made of short rainbows.
My horse’s ears are made of round corn
My horse’s eyes are made of big stars.
My horse’s head is made of mixed waters
(From the holy springs - he never knows thirst).
My horse’s teeth are made of white shell.
The long rainbow is in his mouth for a bridle,
And with it I guide him.

They Sang for Horses
LaVerne Harrell Clark

Coyote Visits Elk


Coyote went to the elk. The elk was lying down. Coyote was sitting close by watching him. When the elk moved his head, Coyote jumped and started to run away... Elk told him, “You must not be afraid of me; those are my horns.”

Elk put his hand down to his hind leg. He brought some meat out from there. He started to pound it just as Buffalo had done. He, also put a sharp stick in his nose and let fat drop on the meat. This he gave to Coyote and Coyote ate it.

When Coyote had finished and started to go, he said, “Codi, you come to see me too. I’m a man too and I like to have visitors...”

Coyote had brought some rotten oak tree wood. He had it under his leg. He pulled it out and started to pound it. Then he put a sharpened stick up his nose and the blood came out. He stirred this up with the meat and offered it to Elk.

Elk said, “I don’t eat such food, and you had better not do that; you might kill yourself. I have power and live on power, that’s why I can do it...”

Myths and Tales of the Jicarilla Apache
Morris Edward Opler

Coyote and Quail


Coyote, trotting along a road saw Quail and her children walking along the road. Then Coyote spoke thus to her: “How do you keep your children going along after you in such straight line?”

“They follow me around so well because of this rope which is stretched between them”, said Quail to him. “You do so too, Coyote.”

“All right, I too will do so.”, Coyote said to her. Then, pushing a yucca [rope] through the throats of his children, he strung that yucca between their throats. and he strung them one after another. Then having done so in this way, he started trotting off in the lead.

But his children lay on the ground, dead.

Chiricahua Apache Texts
as told by Horace Torres
from the Original by Morris Opler

The Man Who Pursued Mountain Sheep


A man started out to hunt from a place near Rice. In a little way he came on a mountain sheep and ran after it to catch it...He could see from the tracks that the animal was almost played out. ...He went down and trailed it into the canyon there. ...An old woman and old man were living there. ...The hunter spoke to them of what he had been doing, how he had trailed a mount sheep for two days. ...The old woman said, ... “We have sent word out about you, up there...about how you ran this old man. So you better run from here home right now. I don’t know whether you can save your life or not.”

The hunter started running...They went at him, but he escaped. ...This man was a ba-tci (Apache Manso) and he was not far from home. ...From that time on it became a rule that a mountain sheep must never be pursued and for the same reason buckskin can never be made of its hide. You can only kill and eat mountain sheep. That is all.

Tales of White Mountain Apache
Greenville Goodwin