Monthly Archives: January 2015

Every evening

every evening a

… the sun slips below the horizon and for a few minutes before it does, the light passing through the atmosphere is filtered and only the red part of the spectrum arrives on the rocks and for those few minutes they become increasingly shifted into the warmer colors which make them appear to glow. I took this shot on my way back to the Sedona Airport on January 3 at 5:18PM just a few minutes before sunset … I had already captured a series of photographs of the lenticular cap cloud and the moon over the San Francisco Peaks and was completing my sled ride back to Sedona (engine off … no lift) … about 7,000’ and on a 45 degree for entry into a downwind for landing rwy 3 at Sedona. I was approaching Brins Mesa and on the left is Wilson Mountain … Oak Creek Canyon can be seen either side of it. At the top of the image on the horizon line is part of Mormon Mountain and the light coming down from the left to right illuminates part of Munds Canyon which joins with Oak Creek canyon behind Wilson.

Anyhow, I love the lighting and the snow and was exhilarated by the incredible flight I was just completing. I take this shot frequently when I am returning to Sedona, but this is one of the nicest ones … the snow helped … soon after I pass this point the focus is on planning and executing the landing which in a glider requires a lot of concentration … nothing in the world sweeter than this!

Another neat day … finished the trim on the portions of the house I have painted (about 2/3rds ) … relaxed a bit and a trip into town for some shopping … the ISO 100 group got together tonight … great company, food and photographs … leftovers stay here :+)

Into the weekend and hope you enjoy it … smile when you wake … good chance you will be able to count on another beautiful day on planet Earth …



Thou. Great God, uphold me also in the lonely hour; and though I fall in the din and the dust of the world, resurrect Thou me.

Even to the last, turn my hands to kindly service, and part my lips in gleeful songs of love.

And in the softly falling dark, when all grows strangely still,

May I be glad to have trod the sweet green earth, and know the tender touch of love.

Yet may I depart with joy, as one who journeys home at evening.

Max Ehrmann


Strawberry a

I don’t think I have ever sent out a photo of Strawberry Crater before, so it seems like a good idea to do so tonight … Strawberry is a relatively recent volcano located about 20 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is estimated that the cinder cone was formed somewhere in between the ninth and eleventh century AD. Forest Service road 545 which provides access to the crater runs along the bottom of the photo. I understand that it is a great place to photograph the surrounding area from … pretty good from my vantage point too :+) Also along the bottom if you look very close you can see power lines going across the image on a slight diagonal. For reference I am on the south side shooting to the north.

The terrain in the vicinity is around 5,500’ and the peak is about 6500’ … a very cool place to be sure … likely I’ll never see it from the ground, but I do like the inaccessible and beautiful areas I can go without four wheel capabilities … and share the views with you too :+)

A kinda funny day today … woke around 6AM, had six shots of espresso in lattes, decided to get a little more sleep and conked out, waking at 10AM feeling like it was Sunday morning … no such luck, so three more shots of espresso, exercise, weights, treadmill and out to paint the trim on the golf course side of the house … forecast being rather damp for the next several days I decided to go fly and took a friend along with me. It was overcast, cool and looked very much like the winter day that it was. We landed about 5:40 and I was about forty minutes late getting to the Hilton. Several others had gone there, but when I appeared to be a no show they left … except for one, and we had a very nice dinner and conversation. Anthony was great. Promise, no more flying late afternoon on Wednesday and likely I will be more or less on time in the future. Sorry.

A rather unplanned day underway … maybe some stucco patching … delete photos … try and get caught up on emails … we’ll see how it shakes out.

Have a beautiful day … the only one we have a choice on how to live it … gotta love the present … it is all we have.



Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind … “Pooh”, he whispered

“Yes Piglet”?

“Nothing,” said Piglet taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

A.A. Milne

Surf’s up

Ridge riding

… well perhaps not that much for those who surf the ocean waves, but for sure it was for a pair of Hang Glider pilots who were working “ridge lift” in front of the bluffs along the California Coast as we were driving down to Monterey for brunch after church. When the wind is more or less perpendicular to a bluff or hill you get what is known as orographic lift where the wind is bent upwards when it flows into the bluff. This is a very neat form of lift and you can soar up and down the bluffs for hours … all you need is for the wind to continue to blow and not change direction much; if I remember correctly as long as the wind is at least a thirty degree angle to the slope it will generate enough lift to stay up. This is also the predominant form of lift on the North Shore of Oahu where the trade winds hitting the bluffs allow gliders to stay up for hours and hours … and thanks to the generosity of a friend I’ll be doing that later this year … I love the ocean … I love soaring … the two combined? Can’t get much better than that … and I’m thinking a GoPro camera on the instrument panel might yield a very cool video of it all.

We watched these guys for about twenty minutes before continuing down to Monterey and enjoying a wonderful brunch and I’m sure they were up for hours … this is for my soaring buddies who used to fly Hang Gliders and a few who still do.

A day of painting again and it is fun to see the results … instant gratification! More painting tomorrow morning and then it will be time to take to the skies again … the ladder just doesn’t get me high enough … I’m ground sick.

A 6PM dinner at the Hilton tomorrow night in the Shadow Rock Grille and reservation in my name. Always good company and if you are so inclined just show up. Always good company and entertaining conversation … plus the music of Anthony Mazzella.

Have a wonderful day, share a smile with someone or everyone today … you’re breathing … doesn’t get much better than that, so share your joy.



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

I know, I know …

I know


… but I’m including a link to Reagan Word’s website tonight and it deals with his winning sculpture “Open Gate” which features a Great Blue Heron which will be located at the Schnebly Hill Road roundabout. The link to his website is: and he has a video of the conceptual design as well as small sculptures of it available for sale. Reagan is a very talented artist, and nice guy and he thanks many of you for your support and vote in the competition last year which secured his win of the design competition. They are just waiting for the funds to be committed before the final work begins. … so, with this push and the fact that I got some really cool shots of another great Blue Heron I flight today means that is the shot for tonight.

Several people have asked what settings I use for shooting birds on the fly … short answer it depends on all kind of factors … this shot was taken with one of my Canon 1D-X bodies with the new Canon 100/400 mm lens. Settings were 400mm, f5.6, 1/800th shutter speed, and shot in raw format (CR2) and converted on upload to 16 bit .dng files in Adobe 1998 RGB. I do not wipe the metadata from my images so you can see the settings in Adobe Photoshop or whatever image processing program you are using. Lighting conditions were pretty flat with overcast skies. Camera was handheld and I pan them in flight in much the same fashion that I used to lead birds with a shotgun when I was a hunter.

I had already walked the ponds and was on the way back to the van when I saw this guy standing near the road that drops down into the parking lot. The GB are fairly skittish and will always fly as you approach them so I decided to walk down the path between the first two ponds instead of the one along the tree line … reason? … simple … this gave him the option of flying between me and the tree line on my left facing him and the tree line in front of me and which ran to the right. He took the first option and I was able to get this shot with the trees as a backdrop.

Painting the house this morning, a drive down to the ponds and a Walmart run following that … a very good day and tomorrow morning unless it is running I’ll be back out there brush and roller in hand … I’m getting into this whole paint the house thing!

Have a wonderful day … beauty is everywhere you look … smile and share your joy.



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


The big ones

Great Blue

… been deleting and moving photos for the past hour or so and came on a folder from July 2014 that was filled with shots of Great Blue Herons … it was a fabulous day for shooting them. They have a presence and elegance that is hard to match in the world of feathered flight. It is fun shooting the smaller and faster targets like Teal and Ringnecks, but when a great blue takes to the air all others kind of fall off the radar of those viewing flight … I never flew large aircraft, but have friends who have flown the largest military and civilian aircraft … including Rick who has over 6,000 hours flying the C-5 which has a wingspan of 222’ … that is big! All of the big ships whether a civilian behemoth like the Boing 747 or a B-52 have the same ponderous appearance as they take off and begin to reclaim space in their element … anyhow, it was a treat to find these photos.

A good weekend … work on the house, prepping and painting … flew this morning and then painted all afternoon … fun! Another episode of Crossing Lines awaits me before I call it a night …Have a terrific day and week … give thanks for all that is … it is all good and mercifully the planet takes care of itself, does periodic maintenance and we are privileged to spend time on it. Pretty cool stuff … oh, and keep breathing as it really does contribute to having a nice day.



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

the line up

line up a

A good portion of the day was spent going through my 2014 uploads and deleting and putting the remaining images in their appropriate folders … finished through June of 2014 and hope to get at least two months per day done until I finish the year and then onwards into 2015. The idea of course is to keep the images that are best and delete anything with even a slight problem. After the upload folders are gone through the battle is brought to the individual category files and try to do mass deletions. When you shoot a lot it is important to get rid of all but the best; on average I shoot more than 30,000 images per year, 4,000+ so far this month and while there are a lot of very fine shots, there are those that stand out from the rest … I think. A friend stopped over and we had a nice visit and in general it turned out to be a very nice day.

I took this shot last July on a flight to the NE out of Sedona … Grand Falls is just behind me and in the foreground is Roden Crater, above that on the next step up is Raspberry Crater, above and left of that is Miriam Crater, to the right a bit and above it is Sunset Crater and of course above that is the San Francisco Peaks. On the horizon on the far left is Mt Elden and to the right of the Peaks first is O’Leary Peak and then Kendrick Peak. I think that given a little more time the cloud on the left would have finished spelling my name out, but at least it got a pretty good looking T completed … fun stuff. This gives you an idea of the incredible beauty that is Northern Arizona … Another day underway and hope that it will be a joyful day for you … share some smiles and give a hand to those who need one.

Into the weekend … back on Monday


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

A new one to me


… I’m not sure how birders will rate this bird and not even sure if they have a separate category for it … I’m calling it a Malpin, as it is a definite crossbreed between a Mallard and an American Pintail. The head shape, beak, neck collar and tail feathers are those of a Pintail and the head color is for sure that of a drake mallard and perhaps some of the body colors, although the wings look a little like a Pintail too. Anyhow, I shot it down at the ponds a few days ago … water is streaming off the beak as he had just ducked his head down for some food. The Canvasback is looking at him seemingly trying to figure it out too. Anyhow it is a beautiful creature and hope you enjoy it. He did not fly and continued to remain in the area feeding.

It was a very nice day and it was paced quite nicely, exercises, treadmill, a long walk, cutting opal, answering emails (only 438 behind now), work on photos, patching stucco (before the painting can continue) … probably the funnest part was this morning having a latte relaxing on the bed and looking at and listening to the rain coming down … then I had a second one before getting the day going … an evening with friends at the Hilton and it was fun with four friends who had never come to the Wednesday night gathering before … feel free to just show up, that is part of the fun of it all. Always good company, fun conversation and humor and the beautiful music of Anthony Mazzella.

Today will be a funky one with only vague plans … for sure it will start with a sugar free vanilla latte … nope two of them :+) Putting together a trip to SoCal beginning the middle of March … be fun to see a lot of friends there again … starting in Encinitas and up through Ventura before heading home whenever. There will be some travel this year and hoping to do some long term visits so that One can travel with me. Need to do another composite with her soon.

Have a wonderful day … smile and share the beauty you find each day with family, friends, present and future … what a great gift to be alive and able to choose to be happy regardless of what the day throws at you.



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

Canon ball


… remember when you were a kid (or maybe always) and enjoyed jumping in the pool or a lake and tucking yourself into a kind of ball so that when you hit the splash was maximized … and everyone close by got a heavy duty splash and wave … Sometimes it looks like other creatures enjoy the same behavior like this Ringneck Duck that splashed in and then took a hard right turn to make sure that the splash went high and far … you can kind of see the little dude in the middle of the splash facing towards you with his brilliant yellow eye looking at you.

This is just one of those fun shots showing other species enjoying life too. Fun times.

More work on the house today, a walk at the ponds, a new set of tires for the new van from Discount Tire … what a great place … a friend, Steve, was chief pilot for Discount Tire until he retired last year and he told me of how the corporate jets are used to fly employees to places for luxury weekends if they meet certain quotas … Mike the Manager at Discount Tire in Cottonwood, AZ reaffirmed that statement and he recounted a trip that those at his location got to fly on them after breaking sales records. DT is a privately owned business and man do they know how to do it right!

I have a Braun UVL (under the van) lift on the newest van and if anyone can make use of it, I will give it to you at no charge other than paying to have it removed from my van. The Braun UVL is a pretty expensive piece of equipment so if you have a need for one, this is definitely for you. Send me an email or give me a call if you can use it. A link to see what it looks like and the specs are at: 

Tonight Anthony Mazzella is back at the Hilton and I have a table reserved at 6PM … if you would like to join in for a pleasant dinner and entertainment just show up. I have one table reserved and if we need another, there is normally plenty of room for more. No need to let me know if you are coming or anything like that … we’ll see you or not … reservation in my name.

Have a terrific day and enjoy each moment … smile and share your joy.




I saw or thought I saw the figure of a woman standing in the dim light …

“What are you writing?”

“A story of perfect love”, I answered

“Lay down your pen and live with me the story you are writing”, she said

“I am ready!” I cried, and arising, I started toward her; but there was nothing there.

Max Ehrmann

All is well

All is well a

… the sun was setting … the air was quiet … the rocks, clouds and the peaks were all being lit up … life is good and all is well. I took this shot as I was shedding altitude before entering a left downwind for R3 at Sedona late this afternoon. The air was relatively clean and thus the detail you can see on the peaks … snowcapped tops touching the clouds. On the horizon moving left to right you have Sitgreaves Mountain, Kendrick Peak, the San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden. The dark canyon running left to right is Oak Creek Canyon and under the peaks it turns left and going right is Munds Canyon … Uptown Sedona is lower left in the image and directly above that is Mt. Wilson. To the left of the photo is the airport.

The days are probably as busy as ever, but there is a unique peace draped over them … no hurries, just a quiet sense of all being well.

More work on the exterior walls sealing cracks today and likely will do more painting tomorrow … wx is looking pretty good so maybe some flying again late afternoon … or shooting … or both :+)

Have a beautiful day and share your joy


To be somewhere alone with you and watch the myriad stars,

Far golden worlds beyond the noisy earth’s unkindly jars.

As quietly they sail night’s sea, above the world and you and me.

Max Ehrmann

Beauty …

beauty a

… in abundance and always there to be savored and appreciated by all … we live on an incredibly beautiful planet and sometimes get so caught up in the day to day stuff that it is easy to not look out the window or look up at the sky and see that there really is something beyond our homes, gardens and offices … this is planet earth that we get to spend time on and while it cares not whether we are here or not it’s a very cool place to be and we should take advantage of every opportunity during our short lifetimes to enjoy it.

I took this shot Saturday while flying around my favorite mountain peaks … the San Francisco Peaks. The ridgeline in view runs roughly from the gap between Agassiz Peak up to Humphreys Peak and then drops off to the NW. The northwestern section of the Painted Desert is lit up above and to the left of Humphreys Peak. The peak on the horizon on the left side of the image is Navajo Mountain with its peak at 10,348′ MSL is about 125 miles from where I am in this photo … it straddles both Utah and Arizona. To the immediate right of Humphreys Peak is O’Leary and near the right edge Sunset Crater. Snow Bowl had lots of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies qualified its claim that 2014 was the hottest year on record … it turns out that the temperature increase they came up with is +.02 degree Celsius and the margin of error is +/- .10 degree Celsius which is five times the measured temperature increase. They now claim that they are only 38% certain that the increase is accurate … in other words it is more likely than not that 2014 was not the hottest year on record. The qualifier was not included in the original press release and only came when others questioned the findings. When a scientist releases a claim like this that creates a firestorm in the media and renews all the doom and gloom scenarios and does not also issue the qualifier that it is more likely than not, that he is wrong, he has committed an act of intellectual dishonesty that calls into question everything else that has gone before. There is a 2011 article in Forbes that is worthy of a read and it discusses the GISS and the two other more noteworthy organizations and the modeling and source data that is used. NASA receives all its funding from the federal government.

My favorite studies are the ones that show chocolate, including milk chocolate is good for teeth … more than a few of these have been funded by M&M Mars Candy … I give very high credibility to these reports … who would not believe a study like this?

We’re into the new week … a return to the air a little later this morning and flight in only mildly smoky skies … the USFS is not burning anything so this is smoke we put into the air ourselves. Still, when you get above it you can see forever and when on the ground if you look up and not horizontal for any long distance it appears to be clear … works for me.

Share a few smiles today and share your joy




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