Monthly Archives: December 2014


Cans on the go

… there are the containers, the enclosures we enter, and the nickname for one of the most beautiful of the waterfowl … the Canvasback! After a bunch of stuff around here this morning I headed down to the ponds to see what was happening. The winds were blowing so anything flying would be staying pretty low and the winds would flay the water when ducks took off and landed making for better displays of the water. One of the first series I shot was close to 40 shots of a pair of Canvasbacks taking off on one of the ponds … love the sound of the mechanisms in the camera body clacking away as 12 images per second were taken and contrary to the results of a recent camera I tried, all but three of the images were perfect focus. I shot quite a few and then as I was getting back in the Van, I met a neighbor who is also a photographer and joined him for another round plus some time along the creek. Got nice shots of a Bald Eagle and a really cool bird an adult male Crimson Fly Catcher … Steve has made friends with this little guy and he allowed us to get very close to him. One of these nights I’ll send one of those out.

Then it was to Basha’s and pick up some supplies so that I do not have to go into town during the beauty of the incoming storms. Guess my flying is done for the year and closed it out with 142 hours … with two months taken out for the paint job earlier this year I feel pretty good about it. Goal for next year will be to get back to the 200+ hours I used to fly … we’ll see. Also want to take it on a few trips next year and Half Moon Bay sounds like a good destination … Florida? A friend has offered to check me out in his Sea Ray Amphibian and that is going to be a must do.

One has taken firm control of the computer now and my large Wacom tablet has become her resting place whilst I try to work on photos and bat at the curser, brush or whatever is crossing the screen. Unfortunately there are a number of key buttons and sliders on the tablet and she has learned to do some very bad things to my images. She is worth it though and things just take a little longer … with less than 20% of the pad available to me it takes a while.

Also in 2015, I am going to resume actually mailing out Christmas greetings … I enjoy receiving and reading them and with time I did not have before it seems like a good idea again. I have two friends that I have talked with and exchanged many emails and letters with and they mailed me Christmas greetings this year. They are neat people I met on eBay and each of them bought a product from me that did not work right when they received it. Through the process of resolving the issues we became friends … Butch in Tennessee who bought a Nikon F2 and Garry in Mt. Beauty, Australia who bought an MP3 player … forget how we resolved the issues, but friendships were formed and thanks for the cards guys, I’ll be sending them next year too … provided I am still breathing … such a little thing, but how important it is.

40% chance of rain overnight … 100% rain before 11A and then mixed rain and snow with a high of 37F (3C) during the day and snow accumulation expected … more on January 1, 2015 and then sun on Friday … know where I will be :+) Tomorrow we close out 2014 and what a great year it has been. Many moments of joy, a few of emptiness and always the love and beauty of each day that I choose to experience when I awake in the morning … we do choose how we perceive life and the daily events that fill the day. Why choose anything but the beauty of the moment? I can’t think of a reason either. Share the beauty in your life … smile at those whom you meet each day … imagine the surprise of a person expecting to be flipped off and he gets a smile instead :+)

Again thank you for the year almost gone … ‘twill be another awesome year in 2015 … but then they all are :+)




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


Swallows feeding

… as in the bird … got this shot last March when Eric and I went down to the ponds to get some waterfowl shooting in and what made the day was a bunch of Violet-Green Swallows hitting the water picking up small fish or an insect hatch. Both wings would carve through the water and water would fly. Not sure how many shots we took that afternoon, but it was in the hundreds … small fast moving little creatures are not easy to get a focus on so we did the best we could and it kinda sounded like machine guns firing when going for these guys. Think I saved about thirty of them.

Another short holiday week and enjoying it; nice flight this afternoon with a friend from California and then home and finished season three of Lilyhammer and hoping they do a season four. The new igniter board/module for the furnace came today and after finishing the television series decided I might as well get it installed so got that finished and it is gives me a warm fuzzy to have a furnace that works again … and good to have a bunch of space heaters in case I need them again.

Looking forward to closing this year out … not sure why because it has been a very good one, but looking forward to the magical cut and a fresh slate to fill, but as Tore relates to me, it is a Norwegian tradition until the end of the year to thank each other for the year just past … thank all of you … it was terrific!!! Have this feeling though that 2015 is going to be a magical one … so please keep breathing so we can share all the joy that lies ahead … and love in abundance.

Have a beautiful day today and share smiles with those you meet today ….



O Passer-by, O passer-by!

Have you good words of me

Upon your lips as I draw nigh

To you each day?

If so, I ask

That you’d them say,

For soon I’m gone and cannot hear,

So speak the kindly word

I beg, and smile while I’m yet near …


Max Ehrmann


Looking back …

Smoldering a


… at shoots I have done this past year, deleting and categorizing and finding many I like that bring back memories of the year … also some total binge watching of Lilyhammer on Netflix … yesterday I did little else watching the entire Season 2 plus the first episode of Season 3 … four episodes tonight … help! Anyhow, for the next several days the photos will be odds and ends I find in folders I am going through as I continue my quest to get the total portfolio down to the best of the best somewhere around 15,000 images.

The photo tonight was taken on June 5th as the Slide Fire in West Fork was winding down and small areas continued to smolder for days. They had also lifted the Temporary Flight Restrictions so I was able to overfly the area below 10,000’ and think I was a little over 8,000’ when I took this shot. It has a kind of melancholy feel to it … the quiet after a storm … assessing the loss and surprised that it was not worse … and the beauty continues … in an altered state and earth continues her journey and we believe we can save or destroy her. Forests come and go … cities, nations, cultures and belief systems all have their day and in the end earth circumnavigates the sun every 365 +/- days and our star the sun travels its very few remaining orbits of our galaxy. Then it transforms into a red giant star and consumes earth as the heat/energy which at a distance provides the necessary heat and light for our life forms to prosper envelopes all and earth and all life on it ceases to exist.

Also attaching a shot of Athena by Heather Soderberg. Some friends from California are in town and we went to Szechwan Restaurant for dinner tonight; it happened that John still had the gallery open so we stopped in to say hi … and with my trusty Galaxy S-5 I took this shot of Athena … she stands 30” high and the one I am getting will have a different patina than this one … and the beauty of this sculpture far exceeds that of any other sculpture of Athena I have seen.

So we begin another week … let’s get the basics down this week … smile, share your joy, love someone, give thanks for the day, be grateful for all that is and continue to breathe so that all this is possible.



To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Christmas gift … a heart

A heart

… one of the fabulous treats of the San Francisco volcanic field (think Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks) is Sunset Crater National Monument which contains Sunset Crater. This is a dormant volcano and the most recent of the volcanic cinder cones within the field which covers about 1800 square miles of the southern reaches of the Colorado Plateau. It erupted late in the eleventh century and in geologic time that is pretty recent. The cone only rises about 1100’ above the surrounding terrain but is beautiful from the ground and the air.

It is only from the air and looking down on it towards the ESE that you can see that it really has a heart :+) Was going to save this for Valentine’s day, but what the heck this is a season we celebrate giving.

The top of the cone is 8,042’, and the top of the clouds in this image were about 9500’ . quite a few of the nearly 600 volcanic cones in the field are visible in this photo as well as lava flows. On the ground there are incredible trees to photograph and the hike that skirts the Bonito lava flow is fun and relatively easy. Bottom right of center is the parking lot for visitors and you can see the paved part of the trail that goes upward from the parking lot. If you have not been there you should. You enter the road to get into the monument from SR 89 and it continues around 20 some miles to Wupatki National Monument which is also very much worth seeing and after a day in these monuments head up to the parking lot at Snow Bowl and watch a beautiful sunset … continue the fun with a visit to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff and lose yourself in the night sky and that which is out there … and of which we are a small part.

Didn’t get the composite done tonight as I spent a good portion of the evening making a Walmart run to buy a bunch of electric space heaters … the furnace parted ways with this dimension and is probably providing heat in an alternate universe … but not this one.

The outside temperature is currently 25 degrees F and feels like 16 degrees F … the coldest temperatures are typically very early morning before the sun rises and likely it will descend to the low twenties or high teens … Now wishing I would have bought six of them instead of four, but they are doing pretty good. Have to keep One’s domain pleasant for her … didn’t like her suggestion to start burning the furniture :+) Nice to have the evening and weekend electric rates in play.

Have a wonderful weekend and share your joy.

My wishes for each of you is that your lives will ever be spent in beauty and love will be your constant companion … smiles to fill your memories and a good feeling that sweeps through you when you wake in the morning.

May God, however you conceive him, bless you always



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


Merry Christmas

Ted Christmas 2014 a

… can’t really add anything to the greetings other than to echo my own wishes for a joyous Christmas to all of you. Today will be a very quiet one for me and little planned other than breathing, enjoying the day, some phone calls to friends and family and a short visit with others. I like quiet days as I really get so few of them, but they do re-energize me and that is a good thing.


Tuesday evening I was at a friend’s party in Phoenix and got to be the test Santa as Ramona was adjusting her settings to take the photos of the kids with Santa and here it is. For those who are curious I was sipping on vintage 2014 Coke Zero … it was a very fine year for Coke Zero and what a beautiful glass to serve it in … the servers did not like my idea of the cold can. Truly a fun time and the kids all loved it.


A day with visits from and to friends … a stop to visit with “Not Just Any John” Soderberg and I finally ordered a bronze I have been admiring for months and months … “Athena” by John’s daughter Heather … ‘twill be a couple of months before it is cast and the patina put on and I’m looking forward to displaying it. My Christmas present to myself as it has been quite some time since I have invested (that word makes it okay) in art. Truth is I just love the sculpture and a very special patina is going on it. After that it was up to the airport for a short flight … climb to 12,000’, cut the engine and a long slide ride back … it was cold with no sun and no engine … fun though! Our traditional spaghetti dinner and a quiet evening installing the Amazon Fire unit I got for Christmas … and a few computer changes too.

I’ll be getting a Christmas letter out with a composite tomorrow … life has interfered with plans once again.

Thank you all for being part of my life and enjoying my writing and photography … next year will be even better

With deep appreciation and gratitude … let’s keep sharing our joy.



With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful. Strive to be happy.


Max Ehrmann


Around the corner

Around the corner a

… Christmas the day after today … 2015 the New Year a week later … mountains peeking through the clouds … a ski area … Mars Hill with Lowell Observatory a portal to the heavens… eternity something we are in the midst of where there are no “just around the corners”. What an adventure and what a life with so much to see just around the corner … the bend.

I took this shot last Friday on a flight to one of my favorite places to shoot; a fresh snow had fallen and the peaks were wreathed in clouds, part of the volcanic field opened through the clouds to the east. I used a 24mm focal length on this shot which gives me a much wider view of the landscape and as a result makes things look much farther away than they are … nice big trees on the mountain side :+) The near peak which takes up about forty percent of the image is Agassiz Peak which at 12,360’ is the second highest peak in Arizona and only 273’ lower than Humphreys Peak. Around the corner on the left is Snow Bowl which had a lot of skiers on the slopes when I was cruising the contours of the peaks taking photos. Beyond Agassiz Peak, the near peak is Freemont Peak and the far peak is Doyle both in the 11,400-900’+ range. Tops of the clouds were a little below 11,000’ … it was just one of those truly fun days to play in the sky and among the peaks. Doyle was named Shultz through the 1930’s and the west ridge of Fremont was Doyle … and there is a lot of confusion on naming … a discussion can be found at

Tomorrow some house painting … didn’t get around to it today and just got home from Phoenix a while ago. Fun time with friends and some beautiful jewelry projects completed which will make for smiles on the 25th :+)

As humans we need timelines as we are finite and like to mark certain special days which repeat each time the earth completes a revolution around our star the sun … I like the thought of eternity, the continuum where we simply are … no rush to buy Christmas presents or need to because the gift is given for all of time … it simply is.

Whatever your faith or your belief always celebrate it in love and with a peaceful heart. Embrace the faith journey and love those who journey life’s path … those who have gone before … those on the journey and those yet to embark on it. While circumstances for each of us differ, we all make our own choices on how to make the journey and how we perceive it. Choose the path that should be traveled.

Smile and share your joy


I thought that time went sweet and soft and slow,

And left no marks save those of gentleness

That bound you to my life with strong caress;

And you saw naught but all my soul’s deep truth,

No fading bloom, nor form the years bent low,

But ever still the beauty of my youth.


Max Ehrmann



nice a

… the winds aloft today were predicted to be much higher than yesterday so I thought I would go up and get a photograph of my EFIS showing a zero groundspeed … seemed simple enough to do as winds at 10,000’ were supposed to be 51 kts and at 15,000’ 65 kts. Stall speed in level flight of the Lambada with flaps extended is 38 kts so the idea was to fly at about 50 kts and I would easily have my zero ground speed and if I was lucky move backwards although that would not show on the EFIS. That is where the forecasts failed the test … winds at 10,000’ were an anemic 20+ kts and at 12,000’ not much more so I scrapped the idea and just took a nice cruise around the Verde Valley, shut the engine down, nice sled ride back to the airport and landed. I got some nice shots of the area and this is one you may want to forward to friends as it pretty well captures the beauty of Sedona and Northern Arizona.

I took the shot E of SR 179 in the Village at about 7500’ and looking towards the NNW. In the foreground on the right is Lee’s mountain and on the left you have a portion of the airport mid image and a small part of Courthouse Rock lower left and portions of populated Sedona scattered over the landscape with uptown being center image just left of center. On the horizon left to right Sitgreaves Mountain, Kendrick Peak, San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden. This side of the rim under Sitgreaves is Long Canyon … have never learned all the names that have been given to the rocks around here so I’m sure there are many more in here I have not named. The clouds were low with tops around 10,000’ and they look a little shredded by the winds but not enough for me. Anyhow this is one of my favorite shots of the area … it is available for print too so if you would like one let me know. Share it with your friends in other areas and show them what a beautiful place you live in.

Once home an easy if somewhat pathetic dinner of deli meats, cheese and a salad … I like it though :+) Quiet day tomorrow house painting in the morning and a trip late afternoon to Phoenix to pick up some jobs and for a party at a friend’s home after that. Home late and then a quiet couple of days enjoying the Christmas holiday and visits with a few friends. I really appreciate the opportunity to share the beauty that I find around me with you and thank you for all the nice emails you have sent me … sorry I have not been able to reply to all of them, but I do try.

THANK YOU … and share your joy … 2014 has been very good … 2015 while yet to be lived will probably be better … keep breathing :+)



…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


A fine day

SRim a

… the morning started with a latte, followed by another and then it was up, exercises, walk and to church; thence to the airport with no clue as to where I would go. Kinda figured I would head up to the peaks and get some more snow shots, but once above the rim and heading north the Peaks looked pretty unappealing … bright and dark with little color. It looked like ground fog north of the peaks and was curious as to whether there was any in the Grand Canyon. It has been a while since I have been up to the Grand Canyon Village area so I pointed the nose at Grand Canyon Airport and began climbing; airspace restrictions at the canyon require a minimum altitude in this area of 14,500’ and 15,000’ seemed like a nice round number so I leveled off at that altitude about 25 miles before I got there. Progress across the ground was a wee bit on the slow side with indicated airspeed of 85 kts and a ground speed in the 40 kt range … I did get there and although the lighting was not the best as cloud build up continued the entire trip up there, I did get some pretty good shots … wish I could have been a mile lower, but such are the rules.

This is a view which shows a portion of the South Rim. The populated area is Grand Canyon Village and you can see El Tovar right on the rim. From left to right the points are Pima Point, Mojave Point, Hopi Point and on the far right Yavapai Point. The Colorado River which can be seen in the mid left of the photo is flowing from right to left in this image. It was fun, and after spending some time overflying the canyon I turned back to Sedona and with that great head wind turned tail wind, I made it back to Sedona in 28 minutes … cut the engine about 18 miles out and had a nice sled ride back to Sedona … calm winds on the ground.

A stop at Basha’s for some deli meat and cheese, Wildflower Bakery for my Sugar free vanilla latte, home, another walk and a great sandwich and salad while watching episodes of the British version of House of Cards … and here we are. No real plans for tomorrow so likely a return to the air and see where I end up this time, or maybe I’ll resume painting the house … both are fun and rewarding ways to spend time.

Hope you had a terrific weekend too and that you will be spending the holidays with friends and family. I spent a couple of hours tonight opening and reading Christmas cards and enjoyed it … too late this year, but next year I think I will send out hard copy Christmas greetings again … fun to open and hold a card whilst reading it … so this year it will be electronic and next year both electronic and written cards.

Monday is well underway … have a joyful day and smile at those you meet and greet … ‘tis the season so share and spread your joy.


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

Escalade … Memories of Corky Part 2

Escalade a

I have received numerous requests to show a photo of the Confluence that also shows where the infamous Escalade project is projected to be, So here is the photo. As far as rivers go we have the Little Colorado coming in with its turquoise color water flowing from the top down and the Colorado river flowing left to right. Where the two converge we have the beginning of the Grand Canyon going downstream and the end of Marble Canyon coming downstream from the left. The overlook on the left on the up side of the rivers is where they are trying to put a resort and all the good stuff. Also a tram is to be built which will take people down to the river just at the point on the left where the rivers converge and will include a restaurant and river walk. Please note how densely populated the entire area is … The point on the right of the Little Colorado river is Solitude Point … like there will be a lot of solitude there if they ram that project through. If it does go through I would highly recommend a hanging neon sign stretching across the rivers proclaiming that you are entering the Grand Canyon and welcome from Pepsi and Coca Cola in 100’ high red neon signs. Join the Grand Canyon Trust and help stop this abomination. Good people.

A very busy one today and it is time to wrap it … fly to Prescott in not that many hours for instrument calibration and then to the San Francisco Peaks as I understand it is snow all the way to the base.

In our family my dad would always be the one with a movie camera shooting film of all family events or whatever was important to him; my brother continued the tradition first with film and then with digital camcorders … I stuck with still photography and never transitioned. Bruce sent me a most welcome surprise this afternoon … a video clip of Corky and I and also our oldest daughter, he shot it on a visit to our home in Huntington Beach, California in February of 1990 … it is a bit silly, but to be able to see her and hear her again is an unbelievable treat.

A lot of you never knew Corky before the MS put her in a wheel chair and viewing the world at waist level so if you would like a brief glimpse of our life before wheelchair days as captured by my brother check it out at: . I also upload these emails to my blog at: and you will find the email with the audio of my uncle Norm in there.


Need to get four hours so I can function today … Have a terrific day and a terrific weekend … back Monday morning



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

Survival skills


I like this shot of a Coopers Hawk I took a few years ago; he was sitting on a branch not far from our deck and was very intent on looking for prey … in his case, doves, quail, pigeons, snakes and anything else that is available and will provide food to sustain him. Our species has relegated the task of growing grains and raising cattle to others; they prepare them for the slaughter houses, which in turn kill them and strip the carcass, ship them to processing facilities and butcher shops which all handle the flesh and eventually it shows up in Safeway or Basha’s, IGA, or any other of thousands of outlets and we take the nicely packaged meat home and prepare it with spices and sit in a warm house and relish the fine fare.

I learned to hunt when I was about eleven and had my own shotgun when I was 12 … we were taught to hunt … clean what we killed … and then eat it. I think everyone should learn to do this under these rules and later in life I learned how much nicer it was to let others do all that work and simply by the meat and prepare it … works for me. I have many friends who have continued to hunt most of their lives and they still follow the basics for the most part. I have switched to camera only. It is good to learn self-sufficiency though. Most hunters and fishermen are great sportsmen too and through organizations like Ducks Unlimited work hard to grow and maintain habitat for these creatures.

The predators in nature have no system like we do and each day is a hunt for food day for them, whether it is a Hawk, Eagle, Puma or Bobcat … so I put food out for the birds and they are well fed here … they attract the hawks who enjoy the birds I attract … I feed the whole food chain directly and indirectly and life is good at 40 Vaquero Circle. For all creatures a source of food and water is required for them to live … us too, but these guys do it all alone. Have to respect and admire the way they live and we get to witness it. I’m sure that they would be surprised at how many of us are squeamish at the site of them getting their food … it may not be a pretty sight to many, but it is real life … we just hide all that and pretend we don’t do the same thing … we are the same, just a little more efficient about it. Check the cutlery out on this hawk … wow!

Today was one of those beautiful rainy days and tomorrow is supposed to be the same. Friends stopped in for visits today and over to another friends for dinner tonight … good … no it was wonderful food and I didn’t have to cook it. Love that and yes I am available for dinner, lunch, breakfast … you name it :+) Just kidding … I think. Yes it got late last night and turned in at 4:30A and looks like it will be earlier tonight … maybe 2A. Lots done and some changes in the format of the Constant Contact list email thanks to some great customer service from them.

Cheers … smiles … life is beautiful


I thought that time went sweet and soft and slow,

And left no marks save those of gentleness

That bound you to my life with strong caress;

And you saw naught but all my soul’s deep truth,

No fading bloom, nor from the years bent low,

But ever still the beauty of my youth.


Max Ehrmann