Monthly Archives: July 2015

Pure gold


… sunset at the beach is wonderful and it can be golden as seen in the image tonight. In Sedona we get the warm light on the rocks and on west facing beaches the warm light is on the surf and we can dream on the colors knowing that soon they will slip into the night and darkness. Even as we find beauty in what we call the golden years and even as the surf continues to wash up on the beach after the light has gone, we continue our journey, done with the human experience, but the journey continues.

A very fun day with work on the images for Saturday night, some collaborative work with Linda on pleadings in a litigation matter, shopping and then home for the ISO 100 meeting … some of the most stunning photographs I have ever seen … we truly have gifted photographers in the group!!!

Come and immerse yourself in a blend of visual and audio magic as Anthony and I perform at the Mary Fisher Theater Saturday at 7PM. Treat yourself to a magical evening and there is going to be a surprise in store for you during this performance … you’ll have to attend to see and hear it :+) Tickets available online at: . Hope to see you there.

We’re into the weekend … no more trips coming up … until next week. Have fun, tell your friends and family that you love them while you can and smile, for life is truly a blessing … a fleeting gift of the now.

Back on Monday … another week and Mariah returns.




…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

Got my fix


… after 25 years living near the beach I have a need to get back to the ocean a few times a year and get my fix. After dinner at the Twenty/20 in Carlsbad it was down to Moonlight State Beach where I took this shot last night shortly before sunset (it was nice) and we enjoyed some time overlooking Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas … there was a group behind us doing Hulu dancing and another group doing Yoga … a couple enjoying the view, waiting for sunset and she is only days away from giving birth to her first child … down on the beach families were sitting around fire rings and doing some cooking and others like the guy in this photo were out catching the last waves of the night. Then it was home and a good movie. Today, lunch with a friend, a stop to see an old friend (don’t mean to call you old Gary … really!!! ) and then the drive home to Sedona. It was a fun trip … short but I got a lot packed in and soon The Molly Stone” will be on display at the GIA Museum in Carlsbad.

Long day and a very busy one underway … work on the PowerPoint presentation for the Mary Fisher theater on Saturday, some law with Linda and the ISO group at my house in the evening. Yikes!

Have a wonderful day … live it … every moment of it and smile … you’re breathing :+)




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



… there is a place where earth meets sky and sky meets space and all that is … the solar wind provides energy across the frequency spectrum to give us what we need for life on this planet and the atmosphere protects us from receiving too much of a good thing. Next to scenes like this I love the forever nature of gazing out over the ocean from the shoreline and thinking about all those other humans who with us inhabit this planet and are on the other shores of our oceans … and what better place to do it than in SoCal with friends.  

‘twas a long day of driving yesterday, a fun packed evening and day today and then back home tomorrow. Off to a lagoon to see what wildlife I might find and then to see friends. Fun! 

I fell asleep with my head on the laptop for a pillow and good intentions last night … at 3AM I traded the laptop for a real pillow. 

Have a beautiful day … smile … you are alive :+) 




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


The familiar


… my range of wildlife does not match that of many who trek the forests and wild lands all over the country and world … most of my shooting is done within miles of home and much of it is on my walks through the neighborhood and from my deck, so though I do not capture the wide variety of creatures, there is enough variety for me and besides, I like the familiar. I took this shot this morning on my walk and a teenager was taking the sentinel duties whilst the adults and the other siblings were on the ground feeding. It was in the vacant lot on the S side of Moons View, just up from Vaquero Circle. The quail have as strong a family bond as any creature I have seen … humans could benefit from their example!

It was a good weekend and a good deal of it was devoted to putting more IKEA furniture together in the guest room; a desk and two chairs. Fun task doing it and a sense of accomplishment when it is done.

Very busy week coming up and Saturday evening at 7PM you will get a visual and audio treat at the Mary Fisher Theater in West Sedona as Anthony and I combine our art forms. He will be playing his compositions and look for a surprise sometime during the show … you have not seen him doing this before! Just when you think you know him and have heard it all, there is something new! The theater was sold out last month and think it is getting close for this performance too. Buy your tickets online at: and the best part, the tickets are only $15.00 each. On the visual end of things there will be a lot of new material heavy into composites and abstracts.

Very long day under way so it is a wrap … have a beautiful day and share a smile and words of kindness with someone today … perhaps that person you pass on the street each day :+)

Live now and in beauty



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

Here today


Here today… gone tomorrow … beauty and purpose while here and a void when gone. I took this shot of a flower on a Prickly Pear cactus this morning and beside it the void where once a bloom of equal beauty had been not that long ago … rather like our own lives and hopefully there will be memories of a life well lived to carry forward.

A busy day … some more work on stones this morning and then a run down to Scottsdale for some business and a Trader Joes run. Stopped by Turf Soaring on the way home and it was like a ghost town … end of day … gliders tied down and a good wind blowing across the field. Then the drive home and a quiet evening watching Chuck. In Season 5 now and can understand why the series went kaput after the 5th season … but it was worth watching and will likely see it through; getting tedious though as ever more variants are added to the story line.

We’re into the weekend … have a wonderful next few days and share your joy and smile.

Back Monday morning


Give me to glady go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day


Max Ehrmann

Beyond forever


…  there is the timeless now and there is no more … so live and delight in the moment and if you are fortunate enough to wake in the morning, take a deep breath, open your eyes and drink in the beauty of the moment … share your joy and live each moment that you are blessed to receive for that is all you will ever have. Memories of past moments and dreams for future moments … but only now is yours to experience. Choose love, choose joy and choose to live now.

It was a busy day … my 45 minutes to put a final polish on the opal has stretched to over 7 hours now and at present it has a near perfect polish … a few more hours tomorrow and it will have as close to a perfect polish as I can put on a stone. Then it is to FedEx and it will be on its way to the museum, but not before I take a few more photographs. A very fun project and now the writing begins telling the tale that began millions of years ago with geological conditions favoring the formation of opal from the silica rich water beneath the surface and culminating with the cutting and polishing of what is one of the largest gem opals in the world … and I got to do the cutting and polishing and got the most color out of it that could be obtained … I think :+) Final weight 1035 carats; weight of the rough I started with 3100 cts … after initial saw cut 1500 carats +/-.

Midafternoon I had to get out of here for a while so it was into town and picked up some litter for One at PetSmart and thence over to “not just any Johns” studio for a visit. On the way home a stop at the Columbarium at church for some quiet and reflective time. I took this shot of a bronze sculpture of an angel in timeless supplication against a backdrop of Sedona’s beauty

Have a beautiful day and share your joy with those whom you meet today … and smile … you are alive!!!



I bring but this one common thought, my life has wrought;

That from the dregs of drear despair, still everywhere

There is a joy I yet may sip – Tis comradeship

With all mankind, the high and low

I know.

Max Ehrmann

Keeping watch

Out post

… love the Gambols quail and the way that the males serve as lookouts for the covey as they feed or whatever; they help keep the place safe from predators and at the same time provide great photo opportunities for photographers. I took this shot yesterday on my walk and it pretty well completes my exploring the planned uses of new Canon 5Ds R … mostly it will be for aerial shooting and also flowers/gems, small objects and the limited landscape work I do. I was back out with a 1D X for a while this afternoon looking for wildlife … not much of that to be found today, but there is always tomorrow. 

Fun day mixed with working on the opal and taking breaks watching Chuck. Kinda like an hour and a half on the stone and an hour and a half watching Chuck … then the cycle repeated. Not a bad way to spend the day. 

Time to wrap the day … enjoy the day and share your joy. 


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




A handful


… of opal … just one stone … a very nice day in the neighborhood and I spent most of the day working on the large Olympic Field opal. I had just finished putting a 600 grit polish on the stone when I took this photo and have since put a 1200 grit finish on the stone. The 600 grit finish is like a very light frost coat on the stone and of course the 1200 is a super fine light frost finish … from here it is to the polish flat lap using a combination of cerium and tin oxides to put the final high gloss polish on the stone and that job will be done before noon tomorrow … perhaps 45 minutes at the outside to polish it.

Opal is one of those wonderful stones that are relatively easy to know when you have a good one … opal is about color … the particular colors, the patterns, which colors, percent coverage of the stone with color and the gel color. White opal is called white because the gel color of the stone is white, black opal has a dark to black gel or body color and in each case the play of color in the stone is what makes it great. Black opal which can sell for thousands of dollars per carat is more valuable than white because the colors are more brilliant when they are on a dark color than the same colors displaying on a white background. It takes 5 carats to equal a gram … it is a unit of weight, so if you have a one carat diamond, sapphire or opal you have a stone that weighs 1/5th of a gram.

I weighed the opal after two long sessions on it today and the weight is still about 210 grams, or1050 carats and it will remain above 1000 carats … probably will only lose another 20 to 30 carats as I polish it.

It is an incredibly beautiful gemstone and likely one of the finest large opals in the world. I have been cutting opal for about 40 years now and have cut some very very expensive ones, but never a fine gemstone of this size. The rough was in the ground for millions of years and it came out of the ground in the early 1950’s and all its owners have only dreamed on the stone … I cut it and in the cutting have left more to dream on; on the bottom there is also very fine color, but I left perhaps half a millimeter of potch (opal without play of color) covering a color bar on the bottom … you can see strong color coming through and yet not all that could be achieved … I’ll leave that for another person in another time :+)

Hope your weekend was joyful … share a smile with someone today and be prepared to receive one too … maybe a bunch of them


Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

Max Ehrmann

Filled canyons



For whatever reason, a dam was built near Page, Arizona and they named it the Glen Canyon Dam … it took years, but finally in 1966 it opened and formerly beautiful canyons were buried in water … there are benefits as well and either version is/was a work of beauty. Others can move the debate and I’ll just enjoy the beauty, capture it and share it. The mountain in the background upper right is Navajo Mountain and it is a little over ten thousand feet above sea level. Some haze from burns in the background, but otherwise a beautiful day.

Much work on the opal today and what is the current top will remain the top; the bottom of the stone while very nice will remain facing downwards.

Down to Phoenix for some business late morning and may then head over to Lake Pleasant and Turf Soaring for a visit.

The weekend is here … be safe … enjoy life


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

Drinking Buddies



… there are some photographs that you take that just keep coming back to you and this is one of those. I did shoots of the Golden Retriever liters of Fran’s breeding stock for many years, the last being in 2008. I took this shot whilst siting in the pen with them and for nourishment they had been chewing on my toes. Little puppies can go like crazy for seemingly a very long time and then they crash and that is as total as their exuberant play. Those were fun times shooting the pups and Corky was usually swarmed by them and the adults. Fran raised the Golden’s to be service dogs through her Hairy Angel Foundation and today I am sure these pups are engaged in making life better for their owners. Fran passed about fifteen months ago and her friendship and warm smiles are missed … she had a true zest for life.

Another great day and much accomplished … finished with a hamburger at the Hilton and listening to the magic music of Anthony Mazzella … home and a couple episodes of Chuck … that is a fun series.

Hope you had a terrific day too … share a smile with someone today


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