Monthly Archives: October 2014



… entering my mind and viewing the process by which I create the composites … what do I look for and how do I meld everything into a seamless work of art … spooky thought to be sure, but it is Halloween tomorrow or really it is right now … agreed it is a somewhat scary place I live in … it is called the moment, the only time I have and the only time I am guaranteed. It is where I set the stage for all that is to follow in what will soon enough be the moment.


Sorry I did not get a missive and photo out last night; have been working nonstop on the presentation which will be on Saturday at the Mary D. Fisher Theater in West Sedona … time is 1:30P to 3PM and you can check out the topic and buy your tickets online at: . About a third of the time will be allocated to the Abstract and Still photography and the rest on the Imagined … me unleashed and cut loose. It will be a fun afternoon and hope you will join Andrea and I as we participate in the final presentation of the Photography and Philosophy series. Hope to see you there.


We had a fun gathering of the ISO 100 group tonight, fourteen showed up for terrific hamburgers and fixings and some incredible photography. I don’t care who takes it, I love to see good work and our group is comprised of some of the finest photographers anywhere and some of the most creative … fun!


The image tonight is a composite I put together this evening and will be used to transition from the Abstract to the Imagined on Saturday. A petrified log I saw on a walk and it shared some of the beauty that the eons have presented it with … some of them became visible to entice me back into it … I remained here.


Into the weekend … enjoy your days and I’ll be back Monday morning.


Smile and share your joy




Give me to glady go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day


Max Ehrmann


Persona non grata

Persona non grata

I really have to send a photo of my brothers bird feeder out one of these nights … I won’t even have to trick it up, it is that unusual … it defies reason … it is so well protected that only a few species are able to obtain food there and our model tonight is one of the prime offenders that the barbed wire, spikes, cleared trees, metal flanges and more are designed to keep out and away. I suggested mini machine guns, but Bruce declined and methinks he is considering cutting the forest down to solidify the impenetrable nature of the feeder. One look at this guy does impart the impression that he is not looking hungry, wasted or anything like that. Still, he is facing a Minnesota winter … I think he has his dukes up and is looking at Bruce with a little of that don’t mess with me Bruce look. :+)


Didn’t get home until after 10P last night and did not get out a missive. Bruce and I had a great time doing some of the memory stuff and visited friends and relatives in the area. My cousin Arlyn, aka Santa is getting his business up and running for the season and if you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area you should make a point of visiting him this year. All the information is on his website at: He makes a terrific Santa and what he has put together is very special.

My friend Joanne Julian is featured in a special showing on November 11th as part of the Focus On The Masters Tuesday series. 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Comedy Club at the Harbor, 1559 Spinnaker Dr., Ste., 205, Ventura. To learn more about Joanne Julian visit: She is a friend and an incredibly gifted artist/educator and if you are anywhere in the neighborhood please take the time to go visit and see her work on display … and stay for dinner too.


It’s Wednesday … dinner at the Hilton at 6PM tonight and anyone who wishes to show up is welcome to join us with fine food, company and the music of Anthony Mazzella. Please let me know if you are planning on coming so I can give them a head count. Most of us order off the bar menu and a steak burger with side and beverage is only about $12.50 … not much more than Wendy’s and a whole lot better. So come on out and join us. Check Anthony’s website out at: Thursday evening we have the ISO 100 group at our home … great photographers and great friends. Haven’t learned to say my/I yet.


I’m now on Facebook and still muddling through things; eventually I will figure it out. Through Simple share on the Constant Contact site I am adding these missives and photos to my whatever you call it page. Also check out my websites if you haven’t done so. I will be updating and making changes after Saturday. , and . I have received many orders for calendars and will be dealing with them in the next week … still have to get the power point presentation together for the regional smoke symposium in Albuquerque next week. Won’t cash your checks until I mail them.


The final part of the Photography/Philosophy series will be at 1:30P to 3PM on Saturday November 1st at the Mary D. Fisher Theater in West Sedona. If you have attended the first two discussions I hope you will be back for this one … it is featuring my most creative work, the Abstract and Imagined … unleashed from convention. You can learn more about it and purchase tickets at:


I finished several new images today and reformatted a total of 28 composite images today and tomorrow the abstract. This is fun stuff, but then life is fun and you can share it with a smile … best way I have found to do it yet.

Cheers … Smiles


A bird flies through the sky, and I fly with it. I am each pearl of moisture sparkling in the sun.

I lie lazy on the clouds. And I acknowledge my kinship with each winged thing.

I see all as one, and nothing repels me, as this new day climbs noiselessly out of the valley of the night.

Peace lies over the world and over the world of my soul.

Max Ehrmann


Abstract and Imagined


Saturday November 1st will be the final and funnest of the three part salons on Photography and Philosophy … Captioned the “Abstract and Imagined … the artist unleashed”. The salon will be at the Mary D. Fisher Theater and between the hours of 1:30P and 3PM.


This is the photography and imagery work I enjoy the most. If I see something in nature or life that jumps out and says shoot me, these will be those kind of images and sometimes like when I am doing something ordinary, something very much out of the ordinary will appear in my mind and I take the shot(s) and get to work in Photoshop to make a reality out of what I saw. This is how the image on the brochure for this salon came about … picture if you will spending a day in the Napa Valley and crossing the Bay Bridge on the way home at night … strange things go through the mind, I remember that the base for Star Trek is located in the Bay area … wow! Neurons fire, crossfire and when back at home the image becomes a reality. So too when walking along a pond incredible reflections give a totally ordinary object a wild and abstract appearance for a few moments … this is the Abstract and Imagined … Ted unleashed and free of constraints … doing it! Attached is a straight photo that fits the abstract … for a few minutes, at the right angle a metal dock is transformed and normal sensory perception is suspended.


So come join us this Saturday … I’m even planning on being there :+)


The last couple of days have been incredible and even though a wind took most of the leaves off the trees last week, Minnesota is still a very beautiful place and my brother Bruce and I have been having a good time doing some of the memory stuff, doing fun things and keeping a few promises. Thanks to Eric for taking care of One and tomorrow evening I’ll be back home and with some neat photos I have been taking here. The weather has been exceptional with temperatures in the 60’s during the day. Also a little catch up time with some friends and cousins. Neat!


Have a terrific day and share your joy … smiles employ a universal language and everyone understands you without having to utter a single syllable. Can’t understand another’s language? Smile and you will get immediate reaction … another smile, and everyone likes that. So much better than certain hand gestures which are also universally understood … they too earn immediate and uncertain replies of like or greater reaction … not so good :+)


Cheers … smiles




A bird flies through the sky, and I fly with it. I am each pearl of moisture sparkling in the sun.

I lie lazy on the clouds. And I acknowledge my kinship with each winged thing.


I see all as one, and nothing repels me, as this new day climbs noiselessly out of the valley of the night.


Peace lies over the world and over the world of my soul.


Max Ehrmann


Not so pretty


… the USFS is back to burning in an effort to save the forest … dire warnings about catastrophic fires if they don’t do the prescribed burns and many studies justifying the need for them to restore the forest that the selfsame USFS has mismanaged for the past hundred years … now we are to believe them that they have it right this time around.


There are numerous studies that demonstrate the harm that smoke does to humans … think those with respiratory issues, new born babies who are having their lungs polluted by this very harmful smoke … athletes  … just ordinary people who have to go about their everyday business and breathe in this airborne cesspool. The same agency which is approving these burns is the one which prohibits you from smoking a cigarette on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in Flagstaff when they have polluted the air so that it is like this … make sense to you? It doesn’t to me. The fires they set last week near Bill Williams Mountain continue to smolder and put smoke into the air (off to the left and not in this photograph) and the new fire on the left of this photograph is SW of Sitgreaves Mountain which they had burning as a managed fire for much of the summer; Sitgreaves is the first mountain on the horizon on the left … then Kendrick and pretty well buried by a smoke screen the San Francisco Peaks where I got so many beautiful shots last week and before. Mt. Elden is visible on the right through a hole in the smoke. The Verde Valley is pretty well filled with smoke too; you can see the outlines of Mingus, but no detail as it is whited out by the smoke haze which settles everywhere.


The smoke is marginally venting and traveling to the East to precipitate out on other folks as well as here. Because the conditions indicated venting I suppose they approved the fire … sad reality is that as the initial smoke vents upward and begins to travel downwind it blocks the sun from the ground and this in turn cools the earth and prevents surface heating which gives rise to the venting conditions and the smoke begins to precipitate out instead of going up traveling and coming down on our neighbors to the east or wherever it was hoped it would go. On the right side of the image you can see what was the early part of the smoke from the fire as it mostly is up and out of there, but then as you work your way back to the left towards the source of the smoke you can see how it is settling on the earth and not venting … the surface heating is gone and there are no more rising columns of air. Same with the fire on the left side of the image and after about ten miles it is beginning to precipitate out.


This is common knowledge among soaring pilots who go cross country or race. One time I flew my high performance sailplane from Turf Soaring in Phoenix up to the South Rim and while up there, clouds moved in further south, the earth cooled, the thermals stopped and I ended up landing in an alfalfa field in Peeples Valley a few miles north of Yarnell. Just the way things work … so if you are relying on surface heating to produce thermal conditions to vent smoke it will only work for a little while and then the smoke blocks the sun, the earth cools and the smoke drops to the ground … that is what you see in this photo and I see every time I fly and they are burning.


In the foreground Oak Creek Canyon wends its way from right to left and upwards. West Fork branches out to the left near the top of Oak Creek Canyon and I am over Wilson Mountain which is the green flat top up to about the middle of the photograph.


It was not like this when we moved here and it is unlikely we would have moved here had it been. If you are considering a trip to visit Sedona, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon or other areas up here I would suggest you check with the USFS to see if they will be conducting Prescribed burns during your visit … I would respectfully suggest somewhere else to visit during burns unless you miss the good old days in the LA Basin which is now normally better than this. I do not understand why the Tourism Bureau of Arizona is not all over this, nor do I understand the Arizona Department of Air Quality permitting this. More new fires on tap to be started tomorrow.


It was a wonderful day and it is good that we can voice our opinions … to my mind there is not a single tree or forest that is more important than the health of a single human being. Find another way!!!


Share your joy, smile and contact the EPA … into the weekend and back Monday morning … have fun and breathe shallowly :+)





Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.


Max Ehrmann




Quietly through the canyon


… the Verde Canyon Railroad wends its way from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and return daily at 1PM outbound and 5PM inbound returning … two hours each way to travel twenty miles in each direction. It is the journey that matters and this time of year the temperature is delightful and the air fresh. The plan was to begin shooting at Perkinsville and continue on shooting when the train was in a sunny patch. A wee bit of scheduling problem as it was thought that the train departed at 1:30PM not the 1PM it actually does. The result was that it was inbound about fifteen minutes before we got there, but there were a lot of sunny areas along the canyon that allowed for some terrific shooting. Mostly I was setting up the shots for Eric and making sure we were in position to get the train when it came out from heavy shadows … there were shadows and in the narrow parts of the canyon near Clarkdale the canyon was narrow and the rails on the shadow side.


I like this shot which I did get before cranking over in a fifty plus degree bank for Eric to do the shooting of the train. The Verde River runs along the rails on the left and you can see open water between some of the rows of trees that line the banks. I think the leaves will likely be turning color sometime in the next week or so, so it would be a fun trip with all the color. Corky and I did the trip last year and the leaves were probably at 50% color … it was nice. And Eric and I will likely do the trip again, but leave half hour earlier :+) The website for the Verde Canyon Railroad is: Enjoy it, it is a terrific way to spend an afternoon and do not forget your cameras as there are some beautiful stretches to shoot.


For some reason I do not know, I have set up a presence on Facebook … it is a woeful feeling to put a little information up, a few pictures and lo and behold they tell you that you have no friends … oh my gosh, that is a depressing thought … no friends … mercifully some souls out there now like me and I have friends … I am happy and coming out of the downer of being told that I have no friends … too funny!!! For a reason I do not understand I am not able to send a friend request to my daughter Joleen, but was permitted to send her an email which I was assured would basically go into her spam email account because she is not my friend … Hi Jogi … will you be my friend? We’ll see how long I last on Facebook.


Have a beautiful day today and share your joy






Also the moon and I have this in common:

We are both wanderers across the night


Max Ehrmann


I’m flying

Wings of gold

… ever have those dreams where you are flying and through the changing of hand positions or arching over you change direction … soar upwards … downwards and all around. I enjoy those dreams and usually I employ sculling techniques such as is used in synchronized swimming to propel myself … Corky and I started the Costa Mesa Synchro Sylphs in the 70’s along with a few other parents and we had about 70 girls including our own on the team … I was the head coach and I had two very talented assistant coaches … Chris and Leslie … fun days. I ran the business during the day, over to the pool for a couple of hours and then to Pepperdine night law school. I remember some of us dads did a Synchro routine one time and we were not entirely bad … at least on a par with the seven and eight year olds on the team who had just joined and attended their first practice.


As you have probably guessed Airscape Photography is right up there with my favorite things to do. It is a very specialized form of landscape work with unlimited possibilities for vantage points to take the shots. I do not have to worry about permissions to enter land owned by others or impossible terrain to traverse … I simply fly there. Part and parcel of the whole scene is the necessity for wings … really they do matter and the wings on my motorglider are as elegant as any out there. I have two seats side by side and most often the seat next to me is loaded with camera gear and at least two camera bodies. Compared to the truly comfortable but limited room in my high performance glider I feel like I am flying a 747 … the reality is different, but the perception is what matters and the extra room. The wings on the Lambada are similar in design and appearance to those on the very elegant Duo Discus, but mine are only 15m span or just under 50’. The whole ship is made of carbon fiber, fiber glass and Kevlar … empty weight including engine and oil is only 750 lbs.


I headed up to the peaks again late afternoon and there was not much in the way of dynamic lighting, plus the whole area was pretty well hazed out from more prescribed burns. I took a few shots of the smoke which was flat on the ground again only rising where the wind went up the slope of Kendrick Peak and then it settled again. The Verde Valley was totally hazed out too, so I enjoyed the cleaner air above 12,000’ … still I had to drop back down into it and land back at Sedona Airport. Lots of junk in the air does produce a beautiful sunset though and I took this shot just after I crossed the rim and began dropping down into the canyons while on a 45 degree entry for left pattern for R3 … about 5 nautical miles out and going through 7,000’. The sunset and horizon reflected on the wing was as beautiful in real time as it was in this photograph … maybe more so. Mingus Mountain is horizon left of center and the sun is going down in line with the Chino Valley … love those long golden wings … five minutes later I was out of the cockpit and putting the ship away.


Another fun day with some quiet time tonight … and a super sandwich from the deli at Basha’s for dinner … thank you Marisa :+)


A new venture and adventure is to be had up at the airport. Grand opening is November 1 and 2 and it is trail riding around the airport area on horseback. They are located just a bit past the Masonic Lodge on the road behind the hangars. From what I am told they have a very neat trail ride which goes along the upper slopes of the mesa. Check it out if you are looking for something fun and different to do.


Time to put a wrap on the day … back in the air tomorrow to shoot the Verde Canyon Train as it travels along the Verde River in the Canyon … another fun way to spend a beautiful fall day … whether in the air or on the rails.


Smiles … life is good and so are most people




And over every lake, and over the crest of every hill,

And over the green level of every open field,

And if we could but see, over the sky-obscuring houses of every city …is God painting His revelation.


Max Ehrmann



just the usual

day end

… incredible beauty that we have to live with in Sedona … geez, I need a break already … down to about 7,000’ and about six miles west of the airport inbound for landing. After leaving the scene of last night’s photograph I headed southwest and came off the plateau just east of Sycamore Canyon. I wanted to do that as it would put the sun off the passenger side of the Lambada and I could shoot out the pilots side (that would be me) and get the low red light hitting the rock faces and giving me that beautiful color that we get each day just before sunset. As a bonus the air was very clean as the USFS delayed prescribed burns due to weather conditions and you can still see the glow of the aspen on the west facing side of the San Francisco Peaks and rain coming down to the north and west of them. A bit of sun illuminating the south facing slopes and Mt. Elden which is right behind (about twenty miles) the rainbow which is getting blasted with beautiful light. If you look to the right side of the image, the darkish canyon is Long Canyon and you can see the Seven Canyons Golf course on the floor and as the canyon continues upward you can see a gap in the rocks and this is where there is a cut and entry to Oak Creek Canyon which then heads NW to the left in this photograph. The rain and rainbow appear to be up near the switchback area at the top of the canyon. In the gap between the SF Peaks and Mt Elden you can see the painted desert lightly illuminated. In the foreground the plateau breaks off and behind me it continues out to Sycamore Canyon, Casner Mountain and all the other good stuff. As you can also see, most of Sedona is in deep shadow and only the top portions of the rocks are illuminated.


This afternoon I got a special treat with a crown replacement at Sedona Dental Arts by the good Dr. Bill. I mean this was really cool … David is very much into state of the art technology … after removing the offending crown, he used this camera wand to take hundreds of photos of my mouth (17 per second) which were fed into this cool machine with a display showing an accurate rendition of my mouth and teeth … it then determined the exact measurements and what would be needed for the new crown and sent the data to a special milling machine in another room which proceeded to mill the crown. About a half hour later David placed the new crown in my mouth and it needed absolutely no fit, grinding, bite adjustment or anything else … that was it. It was such a neat experience I am considering returning to my errant ways of going to bed with milk chocolate melting in my mouth … that’s what earned me the crown work I have … David reformed me.


Anyhow, the day was absolutely wonderful, time with friends, work and I made ice cream tonight … when you make it yourself you learn what disgusting stuff it really is, but I tempered it by using Stevia instead of sugar … just no substitute for heavy cream though :+) Geez it is good!


Have a terrific day and smile … return smiles sent your way too, or what should have been smiles … don’t let the grumpy ones get off that easy.







…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.


From other realms

What I see

… the light brilliant … the source a star we call the sun … earth’s atmosphere the filter … earth’s surface the canvas on which the art is painted … and I got to see a masterpiece, capture it and share it with you.


Late afternoon on Saturday I headed to the airport as the sky was beautiful, filled with clouds and I was hoping to get some of the late afternoon rays poking through holes in the clouds to give me something cool. I cranked a climbing left turn on takeoff and headed north for the peaks … virga and rain cells were all over the place and cloud base was around 12 to 13,000’ with few breaks in the clouds on the plateau. The entire west facing slope of the San Francisco Peaks was illuminated by a beautiful large ray of light, but it had closed in by the time I was half way up there. It only takes me about fifteen minutes to get to the peaks once I start my takeoff roll, but things were cycling in a minute or two, seldom more than three minutes. So I hung around up there for a while taking what I could get and shot over towards Bill Williams Mountain and the residual of the prescribed burn that was still sending smoke into the sky … it looked pretty cool though, as though the mountain was in a cauldron and tongues of smoke were lapping up and over the sides. Sunset was at 5:48P and I had to be on the ground by civil twilight which was 26 minutes after sunset. I also wanted to get some shots of the rays on the red rocks and hoping for a rainbow or two from the rain and there was a very active cell near the north end of long canyon from which I did get some spectacular rainbow shots. So I headed back about 5:30P and about that time all kinds of stuff started happening as you can see in the photo.


Not sure what crater this is, but a spotlight was put on it and at the same time several areas on the West slopes of the peaks were illuminated by intense rays of light causing the aspen stands to glow … almost like lava flowing out the side of the mountain; on the left horizon you can see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and on the right more rays pouring down on the Painted Desert and rain falling behind Mt. Elden and the clouds gave the appearance of and were indeed laden with moisture. Probably from a technical standpoint I should have just cropped the volcano and its shadow which would be an awesome photo, but I wanted to show you all of that which I saw simultaneously … the setting and presentation were absolutely amazing. I hung out retracing my steps several times getting as many shots as I could before the gap in the cloud closed and the volcano lost its special place in the landscape and night began to reclaim the surface of earth.


I landed right at the end of civil twilight and put the Lambada away in the dark. I knew I had captured some really remarkable photos, but had to wait until I uploaded to see how good they were. “My tripod” was mostly over 11,000’ msl and traveling across the ground at an average of about 130 feet per second … not quite like a land based tripod … but oh the difference :+)


Lots of fun this weekend and a very busy week coming up … air time is always planned too.


Share your joy, everyone needs to receive a smile so share that too … come to think of it, that is the joy of life … and breathing






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




… or so it seems as the cloud appears to be healing itself after a commercial jet rather rudely ripped it apart whilst traversing its airspace. Not sure if it healed, but I am thinking it did not, but what an effort. This is one of the more unusual cloud shots I have taken and but for man having erected himself millennia ago and found ways to improve his lot I would not have been able to capture this shot … rather a continuum from early humans who looked at the sky and saw magnificent formations and as successive generations found more and more ways to utilize resources available on earth the ability to record what they saw improved and today sensors in mobile phones take great photos and everyone can record everything … wonder how many others saw this formation and of those how many were moved to take the shot … probably not many … just another jet flying through a cloud … perhaps a space ship gathering samples from visible layers of the earth … beats watching television :+)


A beautiful day today and another one on tap … Share your joy … a few smiles and don’t worry about bending a rule or two to make someone’s life a little better … as long as there is joy and laughter … and no harm … the bent rule will recover soon enough … not so sure about bent clouds :+)


Into the weekend and back Monday morning … have fun






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


the importance

The hunt

… of living each moment … it is the only moment that matters and when it has passed, will there be another? Some things we can control and some not … the photo tonight is an indication that a dove is approaching its last moments and is not yet aware of it … the Coopers Hawk was initiating his launch into flight and pursuit of and kill of that dove. Nourishment for the hawk an ending of sorts for the dove who provided the sustenance for the hawk. Life continues and life is good. There is a beauty in life as it is lived and each plays its part … I prefer that of the predator … check those talons out :+)


It was a good day today with work on the house, the plane, and a few moments enjoyed between tasks doing nothing and carried through space and time listening to the music of Anugama … a break from of Monsters and Men … some shopping and an evening with friends at the Hilton visiting and listening to the music of Anthony Mazzella. I have a standing reservation Wednesday evenings at 6:30 so if you feel like joining us please let me know and come on out and join us … the us may include people you know and people you will soon know and like.


The day is a wrap … I began it breathing and apparently am ending it in the same manner … look up … look around … be glad that you are larger than my winged friend who has no Safeway to obtain his food.


Smiles … a very good thing to do … right up there with breathing






I go out into the night and stretch forth my arms, as

if to embrace one I love

…the solace of the stars is sweet, and the stillness has a voice I understand


Max Ehrmann