Monthly Archives: May 2015

A skip

Bentley rocks

I forgot to bring my laptop in last night so no email; probably would not have happened anyway as Jens and I watched a movie till well after 12M last night; another on the go day today and lunch with a friend and then a drive to Vintana in San Marcus where we ate the night before to retrieve my lens hood which I had inadvertently left on the seat. Then a stop to see Gary in Beaumont (not you Ace :+)) before hitting the road home. Without coming close to hitting my standards for speed limits, made it home in 5 hours 32 minutes.

I took this shot of Jens and Inge’s dog named “Bentley” this morning and got quite a few shots I am happy with … here he is.

Going to shut it down … what an incredible life we have. Have a terrific weekend and I’ll be back Monday morning,

Cheers and share your smiles



May words unkind and  false ne’er pass your lips,

Nor harsh and low ambitions drive you on.

Max Ehrmann

For Terri


… a super fun day beginning with Alice and I getting the VIP tour of the GIA gem grading laboratory and research labs this morning  and then some meetings followed by lunch, visit to the NAMM museum in Carlsbad, back to the GIA for a lecture on Columbian Emeralds and then dinner at the Twenty 20 Restaurant in the Carlsbad Sheraton, sunset at Moonlight State Beach … at dinner my friend Terri put her request in for a duck photo and so this pair of Ringnecks is for you Terri … Alice transformed GIA’s publication Gems and Gemology into a vibrant large format full color publication which is the premier publication on topic in the world (even publishing an article on carving gem opal by me) and Terri oversees GIA’s vast collection of gems and minerals and curates the museums and public displays. GIA is infused with people who love what they do and it is always fun to come back here for visits. Check the organization out at:

Off to Fallbrook in the morning and spend some time with longtime friends and then the trip home on Friday and visits with two more friends.

Saturday evening Anthony is performing at Relics in West Sedona and once again I will be the gatekeeper. Admission $20.00 if you are there for the show only and $15.00 if you will be enjoying a meal with the show. Cash preferred.

Have a terrific day and share a smile with those you meet today … a way to make the world a happier place … kinda easy too :+)



Hold high your head and be an honest man.

May kindness guide your daily steps, and in each deed and thought

Let Christ’s sweet soul always reflect itself

And love your fellow men as I love you.

Max Ehrmann

“Breaking Home Ties”

No clue

no clue

Usually when I am traveling I’ll do a few photos in advance, but this time not … doing color corrections or just In general seeing what an image is like whilst working on an older laptop screen is a bit of a guestimate … anyhoo here is a photo of the Hoo Doo section of the upper east portion of Sycamore Canyon. The monuments appear to be of an ancient civilization frozen in time.


A truly fun day starting with the flight to Falcon Field early morning to leave Mariah at Performance One Aviation for her annual inspection … over to Hertz to pick up a car for the next week and then the drive over to Southern California for a quick visit. A short stop in Fallbrook to say hi to friends and then on to Encinitas where I am staying for a couple of nights with  another friend … wonderful dinner and now a bit of sleep before another fabulous day begins.


Interesting exercise in fitting my clothes, computer et al into that spacious cockpit of mine :+)


Share a smile … the light within




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






… and a good term to use to describe this eagle on the hunt for food … no Safeway for him, he gathers fresh every day … of course they do not have a Safeway’s and each is left to their own devices in the daily quest for food.

Another very nice day and lots of work and also time for some binge watching of Longmire … a fun program on Netflix.

This is abbreviated … it is late and have to be in the air by 7AM. Have a wonderful day and share your joy.



I ask no odds of any man, I am not one that follies sway.

I am the source of my rewards, I do my work each day.


Max Ehrmann




… to the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona as you come up from I-17 on SR 179 … of course, this is a wee bit different view than you get from ground level, and that is extraordinary too. The Village is where I live (mailing address is Sedona) and I live on the second golf course from the bottom on the left side of the image … Sedona Golf Resort is the near golf course on the left and across SR 179 on the right in the lower quadrant is Canyon Mesa Country Club … the latter is a nice executive course and though not long used to demand straight or well-placed shots. Corky usually cleaned my clock on that course because accuracy is far more important than distance. Fun! 

Just to the left of the highway mid picture is Castle Rock, Bell Rock just to the right of it and then Courthouse Rock and also Lee Mountain on the far right of the photograph further up on the left is Cathedral Rock and on the right the Chapel area and the airport … Oak Creek Canyon heads up to the right below and behind Wilson Mountain as well as flowing down stream on this side of the airport which you can see in the photo.  

I took this shot around 10:15 this morning as too many deletions we starting to get to me and I needed airtime to clean my mind …. and as always it worked. Got through another 2,000 images this weekend and deleted about half of them. I’m down to 401GB now and it looks very possible I will get down to the 250GB and I they will all be good … except for some the family shots which I am finding I can’t delete even though I should. Maybe when I finish the other folders I’ll be able to reduce the number of them too. 

A fabulous week underway … enjoy the Memorial Day Holiday today and take time to remember what it is all about … remembering all of those who gave up their lives while serving in combat helping to preserve the freedoms we have in this country … and let us honor them in our lives making sure that we do not permit our freedoms to be taken away by the political class. 

Cheers and share your joy and smile 


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



Spring Storms

Spring storms

… I took this shot before landing Sunday afternoon; the storms of late last week left a lot of snow on the peaks and I liked this last look before I entered the pattern to land back at Sedona. In the foreground going up to the rim is Long Canyon and you can see Seven Canyons Golf Course near center left; off image left is Enchantment Resort and on the right is Thunder Mountain. Moving across the horizon from left to right you have Kendrick Peak (also covered in snow), the San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden. Nothing remarkable going on in the photo and it is just one of those images that it is fun to gaze at Cloud Base was around 12,000’+ and those clouds were working but the winds were shredding the thermals too … so just a neat day and a nice remembrance.

A weekend of fun coming up and a weekend of remembering those who served and who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the incredible freedoms of this United States of America … when the din of politicians and charlatans is quieted we can reflect on what a really great people and nation we are … no people and no nation has done so much for so many as the people of this great country … check out the cemeteries all over the world where our brave soldiers have died in combat to preserve the freedoms we enjoy including the freedom to disagree … and the expenditures of our resources to help rebuild the countries of our then enemies.

Have wonderful Memorial Day weekend … take a few seconds to reflect on those who died so that you can enjoy those hotdogs and burgers … and your friends and families … Wow, are we ever blessed!!!



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

Day two … 7:51 AM

Day two

Friday will mark the first anniversary of the Slide Fire which was human caused … as you take to the forests and other recreational areas please, please make sure that you practice safe fire techniques. And you know what? Even though the ambiance of an open fire is truly neat and it is great to sit around a camp fire in the evening, try something new this year … use a Coleman alcohol or propane stove for your cooking and just sit around together without a fire and enjoy nature and each other’s company. You do not want to be responsible for something like this!

The morning of May 22, 2014 I flew down to Falcon Field in Mesa to have some work done on the Lambada and it was a magnificently clear day; when I flew home to Sedona late afternoon I could see smoke billowing into the air from as far away as Mesa as I climbed out and the Sky Harbor Class B Veil floor went up to 6,000’ … and it got bigger and higher the closer I got to home. I have a lot of photos that I took on that flight which was day 1 and on 9 of the days during the fire that I flew.

On May 23rd I decided to do an early morning flight and get a good overview of the fire. I took this shot shortly after I took off; got a bunch of different angles before climbing to an altitude in excess of 10,000’ and flying up to the fire to get closer shots. What is called a TFR was put in place for a five mile radius of the fire with a floor of 10,000’. Firefighting crews use that space for their work with spotting planes and fire retardant and water drops and you sure do not want to be in their way … dangerous enough work for them without having to worry about traffic in their airspace.

For days there was a river of smoke filling and pouring down the canyons and in this photo I am at about 6,500’ and about a mile off the south end of the airport looking to the north. Left of the airport is west Sedona and on the left edge center is Thunder Mountain, behind it Long Canyon and just above and left of the north end of the runway is Wilson Mountain. Oak Creek Canyon takes a left turn behind Wilson and the smoke is pouring down it. The chapel area is on the right side of the photo and you can see SR 179 wending its way below the airport to the north. Above the plateau rim on the left you can see heavy smoke from the fire and it is coming out of West Fork which goes from its juncture with Oak Creek WNW almost up to Sycamore Canyon (not visible). On the right horizon above the smoke is Mormon Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks are pretty much obscured by the billowing smoke from an out of control fire.

There is a certain beauty to this image … but then you remember the cause … not good! In the past year a lot of restoration has taken place, burnt our areas have been reseeded and the land is healing. Saturday it will be one year to the date that I took this photograph … I hope I never have to take another one like it … so be very careful, no matter where you live and no matter how moist or dry conditions may be. The USFS and those responsible for fighting and managing the fire did an incredible job … make their job even easier … forget open fires in the forest.

The size of the portfolio fell significantly today and it is kind of the inverse of my house painting project. I dreaded the prospect of going through the portfolio knowing the discipline and time it would take … my enthusiasm for the house painting project was high when I began … the more I painted the lower the enthusiasm and only sheer will power kept me going … the organization and slimming of the portfolio is becoming quite fun … and I am beginning to know where stuff is and only the best of the best are remaining which makes future selections of photos much easier.

Time to put a wrap on the day … soon I will recharge with a lot of espresso :+)

Cheers … be safe … enjoy life each moment, because each moment is all there is until there are none.


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

The concert

Sneak peak

… was fabulous … the sandwich at Ike’s Place, good and college towns are unique and fun. Just got home from the tenth anniversary tour of Celtic Woman and although the performers change the music is at a consistently high standard. Lisa Kelly who left the group in 2011, moved to the Atlanta, GA area and opened a voice academy. Cloe Agnew who was with the group from the beginning left the group last year and has joined Lisa Kelly. The website is: and it looks like they do an annual performance … might be worth a trip to Georgia. 

As an alternative to deleting photos before heading down to Tempe this afternoon I replied to several hundred emails and unfortunately there are still a couple hundred to go. I really appreciate all the emails I receive and read all of them. I try to reply to all of them, but it just doesn’t work out all of the time because of the volume … sorry, I do try. So if you get an email responding to yours of a few months ago do not be surprised … and if you do not get one, know at least that I read it. 

Thank you to a friend who requested a photo of a Black Crowned Night Heron this morning; that section of the portfolio is totally organized, found it and processed it in five minutes and it is so neat here it is already done and ready to send out. He was in a tree on the now 11th hole checking the lake out for fish and let me get several good shots of him before I headed out so as not to disturb his search for a meal as it was late afternoon. 

Another fun day coming up … enjoy each breath … each smile … you’re alive :+) 


The fruit of trees, the grain of fields,

Wherever use and beauty lurk …

The good of all the world belongs

To him who does his work.


Max Ehrmann





… I was listening to Sarah Brightman’s album Dive whilst working on images today and today is the day I spent going through waterfowl images and I remembered some photos I took of Canvasbacks diving for food and it just seemed like a cool image to send out tonight. There is an incredible beauty in watching other species going about their normal lives and collecting the food they need to survive. This shot was taken just as he was arching up and over to dive for the bottom and the food that is down there. Next his tail came up as the head descended deeper in the water and the webbed feet propelled him down. Anyhow, I think it is a pretty cool shot and obviously it survived the cut. So far today more than a thousand shots of ducks have found their way back into digital oblivion and the portfolio has shrunk to 470GB … and dropping … 14,000+ images have been tanked and about 14,000 more will be joining them.

More changes seem to be coming … I listen to a lot of music and Pandora has been my favorite source of music, but lately I have been tiring of it … they do a terrific job at predicting what I like after years and years of having the same stations and giving thumbs up and thumbs down, but when I want to listen to a particular artist that is what I want to do and not get similar artists so I have switched back to my rather substantial digital library and am skipping Pandora for now and maybe for a long time. Ditto the way Amazon, Netflix and all the other services try to predict what you like based on past purchases and viewing … there is no privacy anymore, but I am avoiding choices they make for me and maybe, just maybe screwing their paradigm up a little bit. Nice thought even if it doesn’t work.

Fun day coming up including meeting a friend down in Phoenix for dinner and attending the Celtic Woman concert at the Gammage in Tempe. Love listening to music at home, but nothing beats a live concert … fun! Be a nice break after a full day of deleting photos … it is starting to feel a little less overwhelming and the toughest choices are nearly done … the wildlife shots. Think it will pick up speed once I am out of that category. One is lending her support and takes an occasional walk across the keyboard and tablet before returning to her blanket beside the keyboard.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the beauty around you … smile at the humor we call life … and be in awe of all that is out there in the universe (s)




Give me to glady go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day

Max Ehrmann

Wind song

Anthony and Peter

… while doing a shoot at the airport this afternoon with two of my favorite musicians, Anthony Mazzella and Peter Sterling the wind began to play songs on Peters Harp and it was like the sounds of the universe, ebbing and flowing and reminding you of the beauty of nature and the ways she can speak to us. It was a fun shoot and I am sure the more traditional shots will be used in promoting the event which is scheduled for the Mary D. Fisher Theater on Saturday June 13th at 7PM. The music will be wonderful and imaginative as only these two guys can do.

Before the shoot I had a wonderful flight and the air was rocking … a very good day. Cutting way back on the photos I am taking … only kept six photos from the last two flights … down to 485 GB and never going to let it go back up. If there is ever a job I have disliked as intensely as deleting photos and organizing the portfolio I have no idea what it could be … like my friend Guy, the deletions are going to occur mainly before the upload. Looking like 250GB is going to be a realistic goal and anxious to get there!

Two interesting movies over the weekend too … “Earthbound” starring I have no idea who but it went from being ready to dump it after ten minutes to a spell binding tale between mental disorder and sci-fi reality and tonight “Big Men” which is a true documentary with real people in real life and deals with the issues of oil and Nigeria and Ghana – I had no idea how it was going to play out but they did a remarkable job in telling the story and I think Brad Pitts was the Director? Producer? Anyhow it was great.

Basha’s had some heirloom tomatoes for sale a couple of days ago and I bought some. I have totally quit buying the regular tomatoes as they have engineered them to have low moisture (no flavor) and thick skin so they transport better and of course they are really pure crud on the taste test. Not so with these heirloom tomatoes … absolutely delicious, brimming with flavor and look and taste like tomatoes used to be. Hope they remain available.

A fun and very busy week coming up … hope your week is filled with joy … share it with others and smile



If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember.

You are braver than you believe,

Stronger than you seem, and

Smarter than you think.

But the important thing is, even if we’re apart … I’ll always be with you.