Monthly Archives: April 2014



Beyond Flagstaff going north there is a beautiful volcanic field with all total something in the vicinity of 600 volcanic cones. To the NE there is Roden Crater the art project of James Turrell and you can learn more about him and his art at: . I took this shot from about five miles east of Roden Crater looking NW towards Marble and the Grand Canyons from about 8500’ msl. The channel on the right beginning just below image center is the Little Colorado and Grand Falls on my right and a little behind me. The Grand Canyon/Marble Canyon with the Little Colorado merging with the Colorado is about fifty miles straight ahead. Have not done anything in black and white for a long time and it is fun and the terrain seemed a little bland in the color shot, so converted this one to black and white and brought in a Hubble Shot … Roden Canyon has come alive and the majesty of the area brings us back to times when this part of the plateau was highly active, Anyhow it was a fun exercise.


Smile, fill your heart with joy and take in all that is and live in the moment.






At nightfall…though I know I shall sometime no more

Open my eyes to the light or day, I am one who looks at stars when

Unchained from the work-bench at Nightfall.

They are a sign that I am not ephemeral,

Not you, nor you, whoever you are.

The dawn comes and the dark and the sign sparkling in the brooding night,

Forever and forever.


Max Ehrmann


To savor life


… we are blessed with this incredible gift … the moment … it is all we have … no more are promised or guaranteed … just this very precious moment of the present, and it is that too.


I took this shot of the bloom on an Argentine Giant Cactus a few days ago, and thanks to Eric who joined me on part of the walk as he provided the shade I needed to get this bloom out of the direct sunlight. The bloom has passed its prime, its purpose fulfilled and as it slides from the prime vital bloom it once had, there is a very special beauty and grace to it reminding us of that which was, that which is and that which will be. I walked by it again today and it is pretty much gone, but the beauty and elegance of this moment will continue.


A very good day today. I finished the two pieces of blue chalcedony… almost, had a couple of nice walks and visited with friends I met … enjoyed an outing to the good Dr. Bill at Sedona Dental Arts and a walk down at the ponds before picking dinner up at the Wildflower Bakery on the way home. Not much left in the refrigerator to go bad and plan to keep it that way. I am available to be a dinner guest … will smile when properly fed and always compliment the chef :+) Also had a nice long conversation with Jon Burman today … we talked about life, Oshkosh and coffee, the later providing fuel for the first two. Jon and his family are an American success story … about ten years ago his father was laid off from his IT job and decided to start his own business forming Burman Coffee. The company has grown through selling a quality product and providing good service and pricing on a wide range of premium coffee beans. We have been roasting our own coffee for about five years now and continue to enjoy the wonderful elixir. Check them out at . One of the things I am enjoying in this new life I am living is having a latte when I wake around 5AM and then rolling over and getting another hour or so sleep … only three hours to go before I get the morning treat. :+)


My friend and neighbor Liz Learmont is having an exhibit in the Special Exhibition Gallery of the Sedona Arts Center beginning this Friday May 2nd through May 12th . The theme is “Be Inspired” and features forty life mask sculptures representing her thirty year creative journey as an artist doing life mask sculptures. One of the sculptures Liz did for us will be among those which she has on display and hope you will take the time to visit her exhibit. The address is 15 Art Barn Road in uptown Sedona and you can learn more about this exhibit and her work on her website at: .


Have a terrific day and enjoy the daily gift, moment by 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


Gems from the past


As I continue my quest to delete thousands of images I find neat shots I had forgotten about. Normally I just go through the shots I took during the day and select one and sometimes two to send out with the nightly missive and the rest languish in obscurity until rediscovered or deleted. In case it is not obvious my passion is action wildlife, followed by aerial and floral … composites are way up there too but because of the time it takes to do a good one I have not been getting them done at the rate I want. I’m seriously thinking about just planning to do twice what I know I can get done in a day and perhaps I’ll be able to find more time. Anyhow, I took this shot of a Ring Neck duck last April and love the way he is accelerating down his watery runway … a few more steps and he went airborne. I need to do that soon too.


It was a very good weekend and time spent with friends, working on the plane, photos and two pieces of Blue Chalcedony … finish them tomorrow and photo to follow … and more gem projects; having fun!


Monday is here, have a terrific day and share your joy and a few smiles … best investment you can make today.


Cheers and smiles




The growing grain and the placid sky have a kind of voice; and though you are

alone, the boundlessness of the universe is with you.


Max Ehrmann



I can’t resist


… I am a sucker for shots of my motorglider in action and on Sunday my friend Al Comello took this shot of me taking off on R21 at Sedona. This is the best shot yet of the new paint job … sent it out to a few friends earlier today and need an image I really like tonight so here it is. Al has got his offices near the end of the field on the N end and gets some great shots of planes arriving and departing the area. He also has a 24 hour live webcam set up and you can see it at:   Thank you Al, truly appreciate it.


Mary Helsaple begins her three day open studio event tomorrow … her home studio is at 41 Mormon Circle, Sedona, AZ 86339 which is off Brewer Road back of Tlaquepaque … stop in and say hi over the weekend and check her beautiful work out. Her website is:


A fun if somewhat crazy day today … life is great.


Have a terrific weekend and share your joy … never know who’s day you will brighten …back Monday morning





Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Max Ehrmann

A leap of faith


… so it seems as this Western Scrub Jay launches from his perch towards a cage filled with homemade suet and left his wings tucked tightly in … for the moment at least. He did eventually un-fold them and take a few beats before settling in on a new perch with a beak filled with suet. Anyhow, it was a very fun shot. I only had about a two and a half inch depth of field on the shot shooting with a 560mm lens (400mm plus 1.4 extender) and think that was likely the cause of the feet being slightly out of focus … should have deleted the shot, but it was so unique I decided to keep it and send it out … oh well.


More time with lessons, gem cutting, visits with friends a few walks and some time on the deck late afternoon; first time in quite a while I sat out on the deck and it was nice being out there again. Working on a couple of neat Blue Chalcedony pieces and should have them done by the weekend. They have a very special translucent blue color and am cutting them more as carvings than cabochons. I’ll take some photos when I finish them and send one out. I’ve been doing gem cutting and custom jewelry design for nearly forty years and am enjoying spending a few hours every day on it again too. Life continues to morph and it is all good.


Have a nice day today … I’m closing this one out before midnight with “Fallen” performed by Imagine Dragons … love their music.


So share a smile or three … watch out for 20 foot winds








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


The General


and the bird. The Scott’s Oriole was named in honor of General Winfield Scott who was born in1786 and passed in 1866 … Darius N. Couch who named this bird was born in 1822 and was also a General Officer in the Union Army during the American Civil war. He was also a naturalist and I imagine today he would be called a “Birder” Not sure about Scott, but perhaps he was one too. Later it was discovered that the Oriole had been previously described by Bonaparte, but the name “Scott’s” Oriole stuck. Also interesting to me is that the bird is an Icterid which puts the Oriole in the same family as many Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, cowbirds, Grackles and others. Thanks to Eric for giving it a name for me and the shot in his backyard.


I like an occasional nap … new studies say those who nap are more likely to die than those who do not …my ADT email alert yesterday warned me of 20 foot winds? Had me wondering too … I think I’ll just enjoy the day until the sky falls.


Had some issues installing the software for color calibration of the monitors today. I had bought the i1 Xrite pro, and although it was supposed to like Win8.0 it did not like 8.1; it is on the way back to Amazon. I then decided to try the freeware that was recommended to me by a tech guy at EVGA who said it was better than any commercial software and would also recognize my old i1Display 2 … it did and now all three monitors are happy with their new ICC profiles and me too because I am back to what you see on the monitors is what I will see in print. The Color Management System is by Argyll and you can download it at: and the graphic user interface is dispcal GUI and available at : . If you do calibrate your monitors you will be impressed with this combination and save yourself several hundred dollars to boot. Installation is straightforward.


Our friend Mary Helsaple is participating in the 11th annual Sedona Open Studios Art Tour beginning this Friday. Mary is a phenomenal artist and you can visit her studio at 41 Mormon Hill Road off Brewer behind Tlaquepaque. You can contact Mary at 928.282 4620 and go to: for information on all artists and directions to their studios.


Another good day and four hours of instruction on Muse as I prepare to completely revamp the websites; deleted a bunch of photos and of course took more on my walks today. A nice day with projects completed that needed to be completed .., good feeling.


Have a terrific day, smile and careful about those naps and twenty foot winds :+)








I’ll not bother to reform myself today.

Perhaps tomorrow — if it is raining,

and I must stay indoors, and meditate

on the shortcomings of life.


Max Ehrmann


A good day


… but then they all are and glad I am here to enjoy them … and you to share them with. This image is one of my favorites of the Sedona area because the various rock formations are pretty well lined up and looking right up the canyons (Oak Creek and Munds)and the San Francisco Peaks appearing just above them. It was a good day up there and a nice little rain cell on the right portion of the image. It moved in and came across the field shortly after I landed. Altitude was around 7,000’ (about 3,000’ agl – above ground level) and the shot was looking almost due north. I was just above the village and the formation on the left is Courthouse Rock and on the right Lees Mountain. The airport is about center line of the image on the left. Anyhow, hope you enjoy the photo.


A more relaxed day today as I wound up some projects and then dinner with a friend at the Mesa Grill at the airport. Home, a couple of episodes of “The Americans” and back to the office to get this missive out.


Have a terrific day and share your joy …





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


It was Saturday

Sat bath

… and this White Crowned Sparrow was taking a bath – with exuberance and water was flying everywhere! I stopped on my walk and visited with a friend who’s backyard is like Nirvana for wildlife in the area … and of course I had my camera along.


Starting Thursday night I went a wee bit nuts watching “The Americans”, two episodes Thursday night and on Friday eleven more ending 3:30A Saturday. Having finished Season One in such a short time led to five more episodes of Season 2 last night and tonight. Fun! Looks like “Justified” has another new season underway so will likely stream them too. Four months without cable television and loving it more and more.


I finally decided to establish a Bucket List; the first item on it will be to learn how to read a calendar … twice in as many months I have sent out the wrong date for our ISO 100 group meetings … fortunately others are not so challenged so the proper date is set soon thereafter.


Had a nice flight today, half power and half pure glider. The air was rocking and lift was good.


Into the new week … have a great day, share your joy and smile, the best possible way to share it.


Cheers and smiles





And lastly give sweet sleep

Closed sight, no fright

That fears will o’er me creep;

And now a last goodnight.


Max Ehrmann



With a few smiles

great blue

… it is into the weekend again … with a few wing beats this Great Blue Heron flew the length of one of the ponds before settling in to do a little fishing. I stopped by the ponds on the way back from Cottonwood late this afternoon; a quick stop at Wildflower to pick up a salad and eat some of the bread samples while I waited for them to make my large vanilla latte … that is about the only bread I eat anymore and I figure since it is out there as a sample it likely has no calories … even the butter :+)


For those with an interest the following is a synopsis of getting a shot like this and the thinking that goes into it – if you have no interest just skip over the next paragraph.


The heron was about 150’ from me when I took this shot and moving out pretty good. I used a 400mm lens, f 8.0, 1/800th second shutter speed, ISO 200, full frame metering and spot focus.  Generally if you catch the focus and you are tracking the bird you will get the body and using a slightly higher f stop you increase the depth of field so that you will have the wings, body and eye in focus. Using the settings I used I had about a 20’ depth of field so if I got the focus I would have the whole bird; had I used an f 5.6 it would have cut the depth of field by nearly 7’. Also if your sensor is not prone to noise use a higher ISO setting to increase your shutter speed and allow you to use a higher f stop (slows the shot speed) for greater depth of field. In this shot using an f11 setting would have increased the DOF to nearly 30’. Where it becomes critical is closer in like at 50’ using my settings for this shot the depth of field would only be 2.23’ which with a six foot wingspan would not give you very good looking results. This can be okay if you like the effect of blurred wing tips or if you have a rapid frame rate and you get the wings down like in this shot the whole bird would fit in the 2.23’ window for a sharp image … provided you get the focus, which on a bird moving around 40’ per second is not a guarantee … you have to use a spot focus because if you use a wide area to pick up a focus it is as likely to grab a focus on the far shore as on the bird.


It was an amazing day, one of those days that moves quickly and everything is good. Have fun this weekend, share a smile with someone and speak softly the truth of your joy. A very Happy Easter to my friends who celebrate the holiday.


The plan is to be back Monday morning and until then


Cheers and smiles




…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


The chosen few

Filoli Rose

… are a small and growing group who receive my emails via the old method as they have inadvertently unsubscribed from the list that I pay Constant Contacts to send to; I am prohibited from adding them back onto the list and I guess there is no good way to for them to re-subscribe. It appears that I can add a subscription button to my websites and perhaps that will work. In the interim please be careful where you click on the emails and if you do accidently unsubscribe ( you will know it within a few days receiving no email from me) send me an email and I will add you to “The Chosen Few” list until I can find a better way to do it.


It was a day filled with work on computers, visiting with friends, walks and a zip day for photos … a very good day! I took this shot Sunday at Filoli Gardens and although there are a lot of photos of other flowers I took, this rose is kinda special … at least I like it and that makes it special … to me. Hope you enjoy it too. The bloom is likely gone and faded by now … human life on a shorter timeline … hopefully we as humans will also display beauty during our tenure and leave memories that are as beautiful as this rose.


It is a good day that is now underway … still breathing … still smiling.






Whatever else you do or forbear;

Impose upon yourself the task of happiness;

And now and then abandon yourself

To the joy of laughter.


Max Ehrmann