Monthly Archives: June 2014

Got you covered


… or so it seems as this pair of House Finches perch on a branch near the feeder in the backyard … to be truthful they are on a very dead branch attached to the pole of the feeder … like who wants to see photos of a bird on a bird feeder. Thanks to an unnamed friend who taught me this trick and also affixed the tubes for the branches … a little like cheating, but what the heck, if you don’t tell anyone … whoops :+) You still have to know what you are doing and get the shot.


It was a great weekend and the indoor projects are pretty well wrapped; back to painting the exterior of the house and some yard work … and put more feed in the birdfeeder … no guilt!


After church this morning my dear friend John Soderberg came up to me and whispered a secret phrase in my ear … careful Derek, you could be replaced … huge smiles :+) This is very much an inside joke known only to a few and their support is appreciated … sorry, it just struck me as very funny. You can view John’s work at: and Derek’s at:


Into the air in the morning and then more mundane adventures as I clean up some work that has been promised for a while.


Spread a little joy today and smile, nothing smooth’s out a day like being on the receiving end of a warm smile.








And in this journey over a thousand hills and valleys called life, he is wisest who

is patient where the way is hard, has faith when he does not understand, and carries

into the dark places the light of a cheerful heart.


Max Ehrmann



… it is that time of year with summer in firm control of the northern hemisphere that lazy thoughts begin to wend their way through the mind, pleasant walks in the creek with toes in the soft sand as cooling water gently flows by caressing the legs and reminding us of the importance of simple things … around a bend a Great Blue Heron lifts off and quietly flies downstream … landing around a bend in the creek bed to resume his vigil near the shore waiting for fish to swim near him … their travels interrupted as they provide nourishment for the Heron … and life continues on planet earth … and it is good … always!


An exceptional meeting of the ISO 100 group with great photographs … passionate explanations of the two photos each of us brought and why we shot them. The more you master the basic skills and settings of the camera the easier it is for you to concentrate on the story of the shot. Look for what is there, but also look for that which is not there for it is that which is absent that can be the important aspect of the photographic story.


We’re into the weekend … live with joy … with a smile … it is the now … the only moment we have or may have and it is good.






(Ted and One)



And love in the still of the star-flecked night,

When earth was all strewn with gold,

Has lifted my heart like the chords of song

Oft sung in the worlds of old.


Max Ehrmann


An overview


… really I am not obsessed with the Slide Fire, but I think it is good to document the condition of the area for a while.


The purpose of my flight this morning was simply to have some fun and check out the impact on soaring, either positive or negative. Took off at exactly 9A, executed a climbing 230 degree turn, crossed over the field above 6,000’ in less than a minute and headed up to Oak Creek Canyon. I was amazed at the strength of the early thermals being generated … over the burned east facing cliff faces (center left) I got more than 500’ per minute and over the western reaches of West Fork I got about 300’ per minute to 11,000’, and this was before 9:30 AM. Other than that there was not a lot of lift and I continued with a fun flight around the neighborhood before landing around 10:30.


Got the Lambada put away, home and before 12N on the way down to Tempe and the Ikea store to pick out some furniture for the new guest bedroom. This was my first ever visit to an Ikea location and oh my gosh … (I think that is what OMG stands for?) … I saw people who had been lost in there for days still trying to find a way out. Seriously, it is huge, and I did get the hang of it and enjoyed the visit and made some good purchases. Stopped at “In N Out” for dinner on the way home (thank you Gail :+) … double, double animal style, French fries and a vanilla shake … yum!


What are you looking at? I am about 10,000’ on the east side of Oak Creek Canyon looking towards the SW … on the right center portion West Fork branches out from Oak Creek Canyon and wends its way to the WSW … Oak Creek Canyon runs left to right along the lower third of the image … Sycamore Canyon is just beyond the green expanse of forest on the plateau roughly upper center and to the left the two green flat top mountains are from Right to left, Casner and Black Mountains … top right on horizon is Bill Williams mountain and going left across the image the Chino Valley and the Bradshaw Mountains beyond that and then on the left is Mingus Mountain and Jerome up on the side of the mountain … Cottonwood on the left side at the base of Mingus. Just over the near green/black plateau is Long Canyon and but for the rocks we could see Enchantment Resort in Boynton Canyon far right off Long Canyon.


So, it is time to wrap the day … long, fun and a wee bit on the tiring side. Time with friends and life is good. Have a terrific day today … we are so lucky to be here … more so to appreciate it.






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


A glimpse

In West Fork

… into the canyon floor in West Fork … it is looking pretty lush and green and most of the forest on the plateau is looking pretty healthy too. There are the concerns with runoff and such, but hopefully the monsoons will arrive with a gentle healing touch. Normally the monsoons bring very strong storm cells a few miles in diameter that wander around the plateau and valleys dropping intense deluges of rain along with lightning and all the good stuff. It is really beautiful watching them roam around the area. Also nice to have the motorglider and not be blocked out from home field by cells directly in your path to get home.


Another terrific day with a lot accomplished … this shot is the last one I worked on for the Rotary Club project re the Slide Fire. Easier to just reduce the size and use it instead of finding something else … I need to do another composite … tomorrow night!


Have a terrific day (better than that is okay too) and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you … have a love affair with life … and always smile, for life is good.







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


Surf is Up

Smokey shores

If for a moment you can imagine that the image you are viewing is a storm tossed shore you can quickly see monster waves crashing over the red rocks of Sedona during the recent Slide Fire. The winds were actually fairly calm when I took this shot, but even air heavy with the burden of smoke is light enough that the appearance of crashing waves is observed.


Sedona is known as a fairly challenging airport to land at because of the aberrant winds, rotors and what not when the winds are up. Just as with water flowing over rocks in a stream where a slow flowing stream presents calm water, but with fast flowing water you will observe very turbulent water behind the rocks (rapids) with the air flowing fast over the rocks you set up all manner of things, rotors, general turbulence, sink and just all the fun stuff. The Sedona Airport is above mid photo on the right and you can see how it is up on the mesa … with the usual SE winds the wind comes up the side of the mesa and rolls over forming a rotor that runs the length of the runway … higher the wind speed, the stronger the rotor. I began flying pure glider out of Sedona in 1997 and my friend Elemer Katinsky gave me tows with his Rallye and valuable lessons in soaring. One thing he never told me is that Sedona can be a challenging airport to fly out of … pure sailplane (no engine) you always get it right the first time and simply fly the plane … no go arounds … I like that approach and it is the same in the life we live each day … no go arounds, you get it right on take one or you don’t. I miss Elemer, he was a great guy, incredible soaring and power pilot and friend.


Roughly mid image is Thunder Mountain and behind it Wilson Mountain. Oak Creek Canyon flows from upper left to right and Mormon Mountain is on the horizon … kind of a loaf shaped thing and behind it Mormon Lake. As toxic as the smoke is, it is still a thing of beauty. So we hold our breath …   :+)


Have a terrific day … thinking of some early morning air time .


Cheers and smile!




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



a drink

… as in a totally unrestrained consumption of beverages … I think the ducks perfected the technique long before college students did … and they chose a beverage that does not leave you obliterated and senseless. Smiles … not fair to pick on college students I guess, some people never stop.


One has changed her drinking habits too … if you are a guest in our home please be sure to flush the toilets and be forgiving of the paw prints on the seats :+)


We finished painting the guest suite this evening and it really came out nice … bed and furniture in it next week. Very satisfying to see the results of your work … and this shot of a young hen mallard in Oak Creek this afternoon is no exception … it was also good to get this unusual pose.


The day was good … and we’re arriving at the weekend again … have fun, be safe and share a smile with someone today … and every day








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


Only in Sedona


… do our feline friends feel the freedom to truly express whom they are. One has been venting lately with high speed circuits around the house leaping over furniture, display cases and more. I think it was the excitement of her becoming her.


It was another fun day and much accomplished around the house. Tomorrow we’ll be cleaning the walls in the old office, repainting them and my favorite activity of all … cleaning the carpets. Few activities have ever been devised which allow the brain so much freedom from activity.


Late and tired … have a terrific day and share your joy … simply smile


Welcome to Tuesday … espresso very soon.






So each one to his wish, and as for me,

I sit tonight and wait

To find the answers to my soul in me,

And in the beauty of the sky and sea.


Max Ehrmann


New universes

New Universe

I had planned on doing a composite tonight, but a couple of factors mitigated against doing that; first I watched Band of Brothers until 12:30A and second I browsed a few of my wildlife folders and came up with this shot of a Ring Neck duck making tracks as he goes airborne behind yet another one which is not in the frame. The resulting explosion of water looks like tiny stars and galaxies … wow, do you think this could be the big bang? I would kinda like a universe created by ducks taking off like this … imagine the vibes that would echo through all of time :+) Anyhow, as you can probably guess I love shooting wildlife and especially anything in the air.


It was a very good weekend … time with friends … more time with friends … much laughter … and today a full day completing projects around the house. Hope yours was good too. Wednesday I am hoping to get cleared to drive and fly again … YAY!!!!


Monday is well underway and on the East Coast, good morning to Dick and Stacy, Jim, Fred and Nan, Joleen, Seal, Carrie, Wayne, Cindy, Dave, Van and everyone else. Just feeling good I guess … few things bring joy like thinking of friends … here and not.


Share your joy, a few smiles will do the trick






…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

On a 3nm 45

On 45

Sometimes I ignore one of the prettiest views coming into Sedona from the NNW and that is on the left side while flying a 45 degree angle for entry into a left downwind for R3, Sedona. So here is the shot taken on Monday late afternoon after Larry and I had spent an hour and forty five minutes shooting West Fork and other areas in the Sedona area. This is a view from about 3nm out looking ENE. The mountain on the left is Wilson Mountain and then Ship Rock and other named rocks (if they were birds I would call them tweety birds) as well as a view up towards Schnebly Hill Road. I suppose I should learn all the named rocks, but … there are still tweety birds out there :+)


One is making herself comfortable on the desk in its new location and her favorite resting position is on the Wacom Tablet … time visiting with friends from out of town today … and with those who live here. A day permeated with love and laughter and I can think of no better way to live each day … tomorrow will soon be here; actually it is and the plan is to live this day in the same state of grace.


There is a fly in at Cottonwood this weekend with about forty Touring Motor Gliders from around the country participating in it. If you get a chance stop in and see them. They are magnificent machines and the people who fly them a group of really neat people.


Into the weekend … share your joy … smile and experience that soft inner glow … for life is good … and so are most people






Love men and truth, and poverty most like will dine with you,

But peace will feed your soul.


Max Ehrmann




The Black Hawk is entering a cruise mode and his wings are positioned for quiet lift and wings tucking prior to a dive for prey. Next to aerial shots where I am doing the flying, next favorite shots are those of creatures that fly and of those, raptors are my absolute favorite creatures.


Mostly the last couple of days have been healing after the surgery which as sometimes happens did not exactly go right; vision is returning in my right eye so that is a very good thing; with any kind of luck I’ll be back in the air sometime over the weekend … or Tuesday.


Going to keep it short and get some sleep … me? Wow!


Enjoy the day and share your joy … and smile




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