Monthly Archives: March 2014

A little hot

Little hot

… as so frequently happens with downwind landings in high winds, things tend to go a wee bit wrong. I took this shot of a Blue Heron at the ponds this afternoon and the winds were blowing, he took off downwind and landed downwind. He was coming in pretty hot and you can see him in this photo just after he completed his first landing and was airborne again and looking to touch down again soon; full airbrakes were deployed! The next landing was successful and he stuck.


Winds are predicted to be high again tomorrow morning so not sure if the air to air with the B-17 will be possible. Going to be up at the airport by 7:30 AM just in case we do not have high winds early in the day. Really looking forward to getting that shoot in – the motorglider and the WWII Bomber – will be fun and hope it happens.


A fun weekend with lots of activities and time with friends … so how much better can it get? Dunno … kinda like life the way it develops each day. Streamed a movie Saturday night which was especially good, “Molly, an American Girl on the Home Front” Very sweet story if you like such things and I do.


Another new week is underway and methinks it shall be good … does that ever get boring? Smiles






I bring but this one common thought, my life has wrought;

That from the dregs of drear despair, still everywhere

There is a joy I yet may sip – Tis comradeship

With all mankind, the high and low

I know.


Max Ehrmann


Things that fly



I have learned that the hawk I labeled as a Black Hawk is actually a Zone Hawk which is much rarer than the Common  Black Hawk I thought it was. Common has nothing to do with rarity or the lack thereof, but refers to the size of the bird and thus the “Common” simply means the normal size. The Zone Hawk is actually a rarer bird and he was dining on one of his favorites … lizards. I wonder if the lizard had going flying on his bucket list? I also wonder when people tell me flying in a glider is on their bucket list what they are thinking … is it dangerous? Geez, I hope not especially since I am the one flying them.


So I have done some study today and the Zone Hawk likes to hang with Turkey Vultures and his soaring capabilities appear close to identical to them and appearance to them in flight is very close. Their choice of flying companions is anything but accidental. Since most prey do not like to be the next meal they develop a sense of danger when certain things make an appearance and are looking for an attack. By flying with turkey vultures “prey critters” have their guard down as they know that vultures eat carrion and not live creatures. So whilst their guard is down sensing no harm, the Zone Hawk is able to catch prey off guard and get an easier meal.


A few days ago I was on a walk and while heading up Red Rock Cove near the third tee box of Oak Creek Country Club I saw a few Ravens peeling bark in some trees near the road way. I got this shot just after takeoff and it seemed as though he was entering from another dimension, so here it is … an appropriate venue … a place where the name of the deity is frequently invoked and requests for his assistance requested. Anyhow it was a fun shot and is now in the  astro/composite collection.


Into the weekend and with any kind of luck Monday nights photo will be an air to air shot of a B-17 WWII bomber in Sedona Airspace. I’m taking a ride in it Monday morning in the nose gunner position and following that ride we’re planning an air to air shoot of this famous and historic aircraft using the Red Rocks as a background.  I’ve done a number of air to air shoots up here and have the best courses, altitudes et al pretty well down. Should be fun. The plane will be on display most of the day and available  for viewing. One day when I was down at Falcon and the runway was closed Barry and I went through the B-17 down there … it was awesome!  You can learn more about it on the airport website: and also see some of my aerial photos of the airport there too. So among your plans for Monday try to make time to come up to the airport and see this marvelous piece of history. It is one of only 13 still flying, they made 12,500 of them.


Have fun … smile … enjoy your friends and while you’re at it … enjoy your life.







But from the brooding beauty of the night, and daily dancing shafts of golden sun …

The mystery and wonder of the world … that play the soundless music of the soul

And fill the heart with memory’s olden dreams … From these will come at last your faith in God.


Max Ehrmann


Negotiations did not go well

Black Hawk lunch b1

… there was an emergency meeting of the local Eastern Collared Lizards in Sedona this afternoon. Due to aggressive misbehavior by the Black Hawks in the region they are imposing sanctions on the Black Hawks … they have threatened to have fewer offspring which could decimate the population of Black Hawks with a decrease in the available food supply … surely this would deter the Black Hawks from their bad behavior. At 3:09 this afternoon the Black Hawks issued their response … they decided to take out the leaders of the Lizard movement that made the threats and attached is photographic evidence of the response. It is the response that fits with the nature of all life forms on this planet …survival of the fittest.


The true story is that I took a break from the computer in my office and was sitting in the living room working on my laptop when I looked up and saw a Black Hawk land in a tree less than a hundred feet from the house. The laptop made a quick trip to the floor, grabbed a camera, pair of shoes and headed for the door. I was able to get within a hundred feet of him and with the 400mm lens brought him right in. The wind was blowing hard in the 30kt range and he did not want to fly … but he did. So it was that I got one of the finest shots of a raptor that I have ever taken and he filled about 70% of the frame so it will blow up really good.


I’m going to order some 20 x 30, 16 x 24 and 11 x 17 metal prints of this shot tomorrow so if you would like to buy one let me know. Price for the 20 x 30 metal print is $249.00, 16 x 24 metal print will be $169.00 and the 11 x 17 will be $ 89.00. Prices include Arizona sales tax and shipping – the one low price covers it all.  If you have an interest in wildlife photography this is a must buy.


I thought about taking another shot at a crappy day, but it is just way to exhausting and difficult to even contemplate doing it. So easy living in the now and enjoying the gift that is the moment. Several walks, lots of law and visits with friends filled the day. Sent the photo to a few friends this afternoon … probably bragging … whoops, that borders on SP and Cork always said SPS (self-praise stinks) … just this once Cork :+) For those who care, camera body Canon 1D X, lens Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 USM. Shot taken at 1/3200 second, f/5.6, exposure bias, -.33, aperture priority, ISO 320, raw format.


Have a terrific day … say hi to someone new and smile




May words unkind and  false ne’er pass your lips,

Nor harsh and low ambitions drive you on.


Max Ehrmann

Crappy day

One thing I hear a lot is how can you be so consistently positive, or words to that effect. The answer is really simple and that is that I choose to view the world and events in a positive/cheerful manner. That opens the way for a lot of good stuff … friends, fun, smiles and just that really good feeling you get when the warm sun splashes its love all over you and a cool breeze wraps you in a pleasant embrace and brings a smile to your face … you gaze skyward and the soft white clouds morph against a brilliant blue sky. We are a part of all that is and embraced by it.

So, last night I decided that I would try to have a crappy day today and perhaps experience it. I woke to the sunrise this morning and watched the reds turn to orange while sipping on my first cup of espresso … it was glorious! Calisthenics, weights, treadmill, touch up walls with paint and more espresso … what a day! Went for a walk, visited with friends, took this shot of one of Eric and Jo’s rose blooms … when is it going to get crappy? Had breakfast and even used a little green stuff …now we are really heading towards crappy :+) … private joke. With momentum now beginning I wrote another chapter in the book I am working on and it went well and I felt good … need to get this reversed … did some legal work, now we’re cooking … remembered why I am doing it and a smile formed on my face and I ripped into it with a passion and a warm glow. Went for another walk, talked with some more friends and it was time for dinner … I should have cooked … that might have helped … went out to Wildflower and got a couple of salads and dropped one off with a friend who is not feeling so well … darn, here comes that good feeling again. More attempts during the evening and I just can’t find any reason to call it a crappy day … WAIT, I DIDN’T ACHIEVE MY GOAL OF HAVING A CRAPPY DAY …maybe that qualifies as a crappy day. Large smiles!

More than anything else you can do, embrace friends with love, smile at those you meet during the day and enjoy everything you do … even drinking green stuff … there is a reason for it … or not. When we are gone from this life it will have been nice to have enjoyed this human experience and carry forward lessons and love. And enjoy the humor in this brief moment we call life … what a gift … and if there be nothing beyond here at least we will have lived and enjoyed that which was given.



For life holds cheers as well as tears,

Take this old toast from me:

This world a riddle hard you call …

A mess from which you fain would shrink?

Perhaps ’tis wisdom, all in all.

To learn to laugh as well as think.


Max Ehrmann


The story


… behind the story … a number of years ago the National Park Service closed off access to the summit of Sunset Crater NE of Flagstaff, AZ. Ostensibly the reason given was the preservation of the beautiful crater which formed from a volcanic eruption nearly a thousand years ago. I was able to dispel this assertion on a flight a few years ago. It seems that they keep the secrets by barring anyone from climbing the crater and hide it from aerial view by covering it with a fake cover making it appear to be a normal crater. Evidently they have to clean it periodically and I was lucky enough to be up there when they were doing the cleaning and the true nature of Sunset Crater was revealed … oh well, what can you expect from someone who has been up for 22 consecutive hours :+) Still, it could be true. Plausible? Probably not, but it is possible. Portals to where?


A little late taking off this morning, but was wheels up by 7:30 and on the ground at Falcon field at 8:20. Most of the “clean up” items were addressed, a new weight and balance performed and it was out of there with a return to Sedona. The air was really rocking on the return flight and I took the time to work some 1,000’ per minute thermals over the Verde River canyon south east of Camp Verde about ten miles. It was a day for glider guiders! In the afternoon some friends drove me to Flagstaff to pick up the ’95 van; home and out to dinner. A very fun day  and now it is time to shut it down. One is sleeping partially on the keyboard and fascinating things are happening.


Hope your day was wonderful … if not today, treat yourself to one tomorrow … your choice.




And lastly give sweet sleep

Closed sight, no fright

That fears will o’er me creep;

And now a last goodnight.


Max Erhmann

The moon and I

moon and I


… the Heron is on  his perch while the moon rises and the sun sets; the scattering of light on particles in our atmosphere present a blue background, but soon the light will fade and the veil over the mysteries of space will once again be set aside and the stars and the galaxies will be visible to our eyes once again.  A little more time and I would have done it myself, but it is late and I need to be in the air by 6:30AM to go down to Falcon to get a few minor issues resolved with Mariah … then home and up to Flagstaff to get the 95 Van which is having some work done on it. Had a great weekend, visits with friends, church, flying and a little rest.


While I was getting Mariah out of the shade, I saw a large corporate jet on downwind for R21 so I grabbed the camera and went out to get some shots of it as it came in. A very cool ship and I put some of the stats in the image. One of the larger ships we get in up here and I got this one just as the wheels smoked the landing; they carry a lot of weight and the going from no revolutions to landing speed creates a little friction :+)


A new week with an old promise … it will happen and we get to choose our perception of it.


Have fun … smile a lot




Also the moon and I have this in common:

We are both wanderers across the night


Max Ehrmann



Mariah shows her stuff

Mariah poses


This has been an incredible week spent with friends, getting stuff done, enjoying the photographic work of another friend (got too late last night to get my own out), and having a reunion with Mariah. After a busy day around here I headed up to the airport for a late afternoon flight; called Eric just before takeoff and let him know I would be over his home in a few minutes. He got out his trusty 500mm lens and got a number of shots as I circled over his house. The attached is one of shots he took as I circled overhead and it presents a pretty good view of the new paint job … that is me in the cockpit.


Wing span on the ship is 15 meters or 49.2 feet. Glide ratio is 30/1 which means in calm air (no convection or sink) and engine off the glider will travel 5.7 miles forward for every 1000’ it descends. Sometimes it is better, sometimes not. In the real world air we fly in there is sink as well as lift … kinda like the everyday lives we live. Too much sink and sans engine you are back on the ground … too many bad things happen and a person can be worn out and ground down to despair. In the air with engine off I am working every second to keep a thousand plus pounds in the air, and fly cross country using only my mind, knowledge of the atmosphere and experience … it is not a serene blissful experience, but it is a joy and as satisfying as anything I have ever done. On the ground it is the same, concentration, work and determination that life will be good and filled with joy … not exactly a serene experience either, but what a joy when at the end of the day you can have a smile on your face, filled with joy knowing that you have done everything you can to make the day good for yourself and by default everyone else you come in contact with.


Into the weekend and hope yours is filled with joy, peace and grace … and acknowledging the humor in it all.






…I yield myself to the thousand enchantments of sky and field and wood,

and play again like a child on the soft green of the earth.

And as the God of the universe has made thee to bloom in tenderness,

so also may my heart be made to bloom again.


Max Ehrmann

What can I say?



Thanks … to Heath and his crew at Performance One Aviation at Falcon Field; to Gus and his crew at Master Aircraft Services at Wickenburg … what a magnificent job on the Lambada. This is a photo taken after we landed back at Sedona late afternoon. The trim is an incredibly beautiful deep metallic blue.   J J A slight delay after we arrived down there to pick up the ship, but then the fuel was back in the tanks, appreciation for a beautiful job was expressed, photos were taken and everyone had large smiles on their face.

We took off on R5 at Wickenburg with a good cross wind component without incident and with an established climb rate in excess of 1000’ per minute, we waggled our wings and headed back North for Sedona. At Sedona we did a 5 mile direct in final and a low run down the runway to show friends what the ship looked like and then climbed out heading for the San Francisco Peaks. On the way back we crossed paths with a Bald Eagle and admired another beautiful bird as we crossed paths, killed the engine a few miles NW of the airport and established our pattern on downwind and came in quietly. She performed as expected and friends picked us up at the airport and then dinner out. A very fun day to say the least. Can’t stop smiling when I look at photos of Mariah :+)


Pretty well into a new day … Boyce Avenue is singing “Perfect” which is appropriate … One is lying on her back, partially draped over the keyboard … I’m starting to yawn … choice is bed or espresso right now. I’ll wait a few hours for the espresso.


Have a good day and enjoy the moment … and smile






…I yield myself to the thousand enchantments of sky and field and wood,

and play again like a child on the soft green of the earth.

And as the God of the universe has made thee to bloom in tenderness,

so also may my heart be made to bloom again.


Max Ehrmann


Natural black and white


I took this shot last December whilst flying the NW face of the San Francisco Peaks N of Flagstaff. There was some snow on the peaks and I like to get shots of the patterns and textures on the mountain side … you get neat stuff like this one.  The natural world is kinda cool and it doesn’t take much technology to enjoy it … I’ll be looking at this shot on my smart phone, laptop, flat screen television (now a monitor for another computer) and two tablets during the day tomorrow. Best view is still the real deal though, but the photos are a way of sharing the beauty.  Cropped, that is it.


No Mariah today … winds are going to be up again and it needs a couple of parts that are a wee bit on the critical side … to connect the rudder and steerable tail wheel to the control rods. It will be easier to find my way back to Sedona with some directional control … and I do not want to have two paint jobs back to back :+)


So a loosely planned day with a friend coming up for a visit this morning is underway and these are good days … the joy of friendship.


Today was good … another 20GB of photos hit the ether and are spreading out across the universe … probably hooking up with a few photos I have spent two hours looking for … I know I have them … I know a friend will call me encouraging me to get organized with a certain program :+)


Have an absolutely wonderful day and look for beauty during the day and share your joy and a few smiles as well. One is on her back with feet in the air between the keyboard and the monitors … she always seems to have good days … she snuggles and purrs.







Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the crimson night are closed,

and leave tomorrow’s struggle for tomorrow;

The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon are abroad, and they wage no war.


Max Ehrmann


On Tuesday

On Tuesday


… I will be flying Mariah home from Wickenburg and this is pretty much the view I will have before landing back at Sedona. The winds are predicted to be up in the morning and calming down in the afternoon and switching to a NE direction so R3 will likely be the preferred runway and this is the view looking down R3. It is also a preferred runway with tailwinds up to about 10 kts as the N end of the runway is about 100’ higher in elevation than the S end, so you are landing uphill and the runway comes up and greets you as you travel down it. My patterns are not nearly as expansive as most power pilots fly and my downwind is just over the west side of the mesa and I turn final on the north end of the ridge that comes out and turns east at the end of the runway.  Still working at consistently landing as a glider and rolling off the runway and up to my shade area at the N end without turning the engine on … I get it about 25% of the time, but it is tough to judge right. West Sedona and Uptown are on the left side of the airport looking at the photo and the chapel area on the right. Looking straight up the runway you will see Munds Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon turns to the left just behind Wilson Mountain just above and left of the airport. Oak Creek runs along the airport on the right and is within the green belt of trees.. On the horizon on the left, a portion of the San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden and to the right of the airport  also on the horizon Mormon Mountain.


So some photos of the new look of Mariah will go out Tuesday … have to thank my friend Gordon in Idaho for coming up with the name … as Copilot and also as a name for the aircraft … just seems to fit. Heath from Performance One Aviation will be doing the assembly on Monday and would love to bring it home same day, but the winds are predicted to hit over 30 kts up here in the afternoon. Many thanks to Gus Haussler at Master Aircraft Services for the fabulous job on her and keeping me in the loop for the past seven weeks. Anyone thinking of having their ship repainted should strongly consider having Gus do the work. Reasonable by glider and aircraft standards and first rate work.


I have had a number of people accidently unsubscribe from this list; I have no way of putting you back on so if you do the deed, let me know and I’ll get you on a temporary list of my own. There is a way to add a subscribe link on my website and as I rework the sites I will build it into it. Making a lot of changes and think they will improve your experience on the websites. Still getting close to 15,000 hits per month and hope to boost it again. Http:// and


Think a celebratory dinner will be in order Tuesday evening …


Have an incredible day today … there will never be one like it again … it is the only one you are certain of … mostly certain :+) Share your joy and smile






Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;

and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,  and I come not within

sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life;

and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and may

the evenings twilight find me gentle still.


Max Ehrmann