Monthly Archives: November 2015

Moving on …

Moving on

A very fun weekend spent with longtime and new friends … much laughter and the special feeling you get when with friends. Later this morning we are all going flying and then another evening of great fun, food and merriment. Tuesday they return to California and I will be heading over there too for a couple of days; some business and some relaxing … life is good.

I’ve made the decision to sell Mariah as I continue to explore new things I want to do. I have been flying for the past twenty years, twelve years in high performance sailplanes and the last eight years in Mariah and a combined 2800 plus hours in the sky … there are other things I want to do and now is the time. A couple of boats are in my near future and a lot of wildlife photography from the water… travel with One for a month or more at a time and who knows what else? Maybe another sailplane. We are only here for a short time and we need to live each day as its own special day, but plan for the future and do those things necessary to shape it as we wish it to be should we be so fortunate as to be here when that day arrives.

I took this shot late afternoon whilst hanging out over Clarkdale waiting for my friends to get back after their trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad. I got some shots of the train making its way back to the station and they got some shots of me cranking and banking. It was cool … very, very cool! Met up at the Inn over Oak Creek for a gourmet dinner and Michael the Chef was so good I hired him to come over and cook dinner at my home tonight. The shot is looking to the N over the Verde Valley; on the left side you have Black Mountain and Casner Mountain the red rocks west of Sedona where the Colorado Plateau breaks off into the valley and on the far right the entrance to Long Canyon. On the horizon from left to right you have Kendrick Peak (pretty low) the San Francisco Peaks, Mt Elden (also low) and Mormon Mountain. Love it!

Some sleep and then back up to the airport … eight shots of espresso first!

Have a terrific day and keep breathing and smiling … like how could things get better!




So each one to his wish, and as for me,

I sit tonight and wait

To find the answers to my soul in me,

And in the beauty of the sky and sea.

Max Ehrmann


I wonder

… perhaps one of the funnest days I can remember … more than 300 text messages going back and forth with Sus & Jogi this morning dealing with the fun and absurd and the marvel at sharing messages and photos with Sus preparing a thanksgiving feast in Half Moon Bay, Jogi having a relaxing day in New Canaan, and me in Sedona. Each of us using instruments with more computing power than was used to guide our missions to the moon … you wonder. Then a day with friends and consuming far more excellent food than can possibly be good for you, but zero ability to resist. Lots of fun conversation and then home. Truly a funner day cannot be imagined. One is checking out the universe or at least the one that she resides in with me …

A good share of sun today kept the house at reasonable temperature ranges and the electric heaters now doing their thing … currently 33 degrees F heading to 31F. Furnace parts arrive this afternoon and with any kind of luck they will be in and functioning by evening. Warm is such a nice thing!!!

Listening to music by Zack & Sam du Pont … they are playing at The Light Club Lamp Shop in Burlington, Vermont next Friday at 8P. Check them and their music out at: Also on the east coast the wonderful talent of Carrie Ferguson will be performing on New Year’s Eve at Lyman Hall, First Church in North Hampton, MA from 10:15 to 11:15 and check her and her music out at: . And locally Anthony Mazzella is in concert at the Sedona Creative Life Center, Saturday evening at 7P and then on Sunday at L’auberge de Sedona during brunch. Check his website out at

Time to wrap it and hope your day was everything you hoped for … share your joy and smile … you’re still breathing (I hope!)




Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the crimson night are closed,

and leave tomorrow’s struggle for tomorrow;

The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon are abroad, and they wage no war.

Max Ehrmann



… on a Painted Sky … listening to Neil Diamond singing the music of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and looking at the shots I took at sunset tonight and it all sort of fits together and makes me glad to be alive and have the capacity to enjoy the beauty that is earth … sweeping along the sunlit paths across the sky carried by the strands of music and visage of Jonathon wheeling in and out of the sun touched clouds.

Thankful for each moment, each breath and for all of the wonderful people in my life … family, friends and all of you who enjoy the work I do. Thank you … thank you … I am truly blessed!!!

Enjoy today as you join with friends and family celebrating Thanksgiving … carry the joy forward beyond today and share it with those whom you meet each day and perhaps they will do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving … my cup is overflowing




Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;

and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,  and I come not within

sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life;

and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and may

the evenings twilight find me gentle still.

Max Ehrmann



Let it rip!!!

Coming in hot

… this guy was in a mood … the heck with convention and normal pattern and landing protocols … fly like heck, let it rip and just dump it in. Does the term “belly flop” come to mind?

I got this shot down at the pond today after a pleasant appointment with the good Dr. Ansorg; still breathing and all appears to be well, so it was down to the ponds for a quick walk and see what I could see. This is one of a series of about 6 shots in two short bursts and yes I locked on him in flight and panned the shots. Canon 1D x with the new Canon 100/400 lens.

Thankfully the way Ron designed our home it is great for passive solar in the winter and blocks sun in the summer. Maintained 78 degrees all day and it has only cooled off to about 72 now. Doubt if the furnace is going to be fixed before Thanksgiving and that works too, like no one stocks parts for furnaces of this vintage anymore except online sellers … that is another way of saying old (but well maintained) furnace … 23 years. It worked really well until it didn’t.

Looking ahead to the weekend after the one coming up, the Phoenix Ballet and Sedona Chamber Ballet will be performing the Nutcracker at the Sedona Performing Arts Center on December 5th and 6th. This will be an incredible performance with many top dancers performing including world renowned dancer Alison Stroming of the Dance Theater of Harlem who is featured as the Waltz of the Flowers Queen. You can get your tickets online at: Great way to kick off the holiday season!

Also the Red RockAppella, directed by my friend Sandy Wingate will be performing at the Methodist Church in the Chapel area on December 6th at 2:30P, they put on a fabulous show and you can get your tickets Basha’s and Weber’s or at the door. Also you can give her a call at: 928.451.2566. It is neat having this type of entertainment available in Sedona.

Time for a wrap of the day even if a little early. I’m getting close to five hours of sleep now and shooting for six … not sure if that is possible, but it seems like a worthwhile goal. I think I just enjoy life so much that I hate to waste any of it by sleeping … still it is nice and there is no rush in the world like waking in the morning and realizing that yes, you really are alive … at least for now, and that is wonderful!

Share your joy, and smile


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









… it was a day where to avoid a pervasive smoke layer which reached as far as the eye could see in any direction it was best to get shots that had very little distance between the camera and the subject. So it was that I took this shot on the side of the SF peaks today at an altitude above the smokey haze. A few piles from last week were still smoldering and new ones are to be lit in the Kaibab forest tomorrow. That smoke will stay close to the ground as it spreads across the earth’s surface and reach people long distances from here and that from places a long ways from here will arrive in our neighborhoods. Doesn’t look to bad from the ground, but from the air it is just plain ugly. 

Furnace is out, electric heaters functioning … time to call it a wrap and wrap myself into a nice warm comforter (s). 

Have a beautiful day 


Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the crimson night are closed,

and leave tomorrow’s struggle for tomorrow;

The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon are abroad, and they wage no war.


Max Ehrmann



A flying start

flying start

… to the new week … geez what a corny lead in to a photo I got of a Vermillion Fly Catcher over the weekend … not exactly a perfect shot, but I like it and as I improve on a new technique that my friend Steve showed me, I will share a better one. A small bird and shot from about 70 feet, so not entirely unhappy with the result. Very happy the way the weekend went, saw a lot of friends and got a lot of image work finished and several outings with One. The novelty of the outdoors is wearing off and she is coming in by herself before I am ready to come in. She has a large indoor territory that is entirely safe and she kinda prefers it I think … we’ll see how it goes. I’m enjoying spending more time on the deck again.

A helpful hint if you are shooting ducks or any other bird … if you know the approximate direction it will fly, like going vertical for a duck or this fly catcher, adjust your focus point below center of the image. Reason is simple, you then have a larger space above the focus point to get it in the image. Let’s say that the bird is moving into full flight at 20 mph; that works out to about 30’ per second and if you have a camera that shoots at say 6 frames per second, the bird will travel 5’ between shots, so this technique gives you a little advantage in keeping up. Also if you see the bird taking off and then depress the shutter you are going to have a reaction time of at least .25 seconds which translates into about 8’ or less as it takes time for the bird to accelerate to speed. Something to think about and a throwback to my hunting days. Doing pass shooting of ducks traveling at about 60 mph and at a distance average of about 100 ft you need to lead them … average shotgun load is around 1350’ per second, or about .08 seconds to travel the distance during which time the duck has traveled about 7’, so in this case to center the duck in the pattern of shot you need to lead the duck by about 7’ and continue to maintain the motion as you discharge the shotgun. Luckily the speed of light is virtually instantaneous, but you still need to pan with the duck or bird to maintain a focus and the ability to shift the primary focal point in the camera can give you an edge in getting that killer shot … also nice you do not have to clean and eat the critter and can shoot it over and over again J I’m glad my dad taught me to hunt and he also taught me how to use a camera when I was a kid … and to respect all creatures we share the planet with.

Time for a wrap … welcome to another new day in which to live and share your joy with others … share a smile or three with those you meet today and be prepared to receive them too.



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

Continuing the fun

01USFS 02 evening bath

… long, busy, fun day today and after a bunch of appointments and stops to see friends in the morning, it was up to the airport and into a typically smoky sky compliments of the USFS which is busy burning slash piles … if ever there was something that they didn’t need to burn, it is slash piles, but they do and we pay the price. I took the first shot on the way back from the peaks and the primary burns in this photo are a few miles east of Rogers Lake, the smoke goes up and then comes down as it drifts to the ESE. There were also burns east of this and west out towards Williams. Please notice that beautiful sea of white that sits below Mingus mountain which is on the horizon. The entire Verde Valley is blanketed in this smoke and that includes Sedona, Cornville, Camp Verde, Rimrock, Cottonwood, Clarkdale and everything in-between. On the ground you can see a white haze against the rocks, mountains and hills … wonder how many cigarettes it would take to create this much second hand smoke?

Want to complain? Brady Smith with the USFS is trying to be an advocate for all of us and he serves with the Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff – he said to air your complaints and concerns and he will be taking the issues up with those in charge of the burns. If it bothers you and you do not voice your concerns nothing will ever happen and the commonplace scenes like this will continue! Take advantage of their offers to collect free fire wood from these slash piles … it will burn cleaner in your fireplace.

After I landed, it was home to pick up a different camera, give One a few minutes outside with me and then down to the ponds to meet a friend and do some wildlife shooting. My favorite is this photo of a of Grackle taking a bath … water flying in every direction and just a fun outing. A bowl of Seafood soup at Szechuan Restaurant on the way home and a quiet rest of the evening. Flying again tomorrow and it is a good feeling spending a bunch of time up there. Just wish the air was cleaner, but while they are burning slash piles all over the forest there will be no clean air.

Into the weekend, enjoy each day and share your joy with others … back Monday morning


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


Mayhem … for Murray


… after a few errands in town this afternoon I headed down to the ponds; it was late and the sun was off the water. A high ISO was needed to get some kind of shutter speed that would work so I settled on ISO 3200 and with the lens wide open was able to squeak a 1/500th of a second out of the camera. Enough to stop and get a sharp image of some of the duck, but leaving the fast moving parts (wings) a little blurry displaying action and add to that all the water being churned as close to a dozen ducks took off at once and you have this shot of coordinated mayhem. I like it! A tip if you find yourself at an airshow shooting propeller driven aircraft … keep your shutter speed under 1/250th of a second and pan the shot. It is fast enough to keep a sharp image of the aircraft and slow enough to blur the spinning propeller because if you stop the propeller and it just is stop motion it doesn’t look real. I mean propellers spin fast and a blurry prop is proof that it is turning and keeping the aircraft in the sky.

After the ponds it was over to the Hilton for dinner with a friend and listen to the magic of Anthony’s music. Anthony’s last performance at the Hilton for Dinner performances will be December 9th ; thereafter he will be doing performances at Sound Bites, and L ‘Auberge in Sedona and the Hard Rock Café in Phoenix beginning in January and an early January concert at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

A quiet evening with One; she seems more relaxed and confident now that she is getting daily trips out into the real world. She does like having her body guard right with her though.

Have a beautiful day and hope you approve of the shot Murray.



Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the crimson night are closed,

and leave tomorrow’s struggle for tomorrow;

The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon are abroad, and they wage no war.

Max Ehrmann


Peaks and Chutes

I probably spend more time flying around the San Francisco Peaks than any other area I like to go … I love mountain flying and these are the best in the neighborhood. I took this shot on a flight September 28, 2012 and the leaves on the aspen were turning color.

In the foreground from the left you have Humphreys Peak and the ridgeline flows down to the right and according to my friend Rich, on the other side of the notch there is the parking lot for the old Weatherford Road, which eighty years ago and earlier would have been filled with Model T Fords. That would have been one spooky drive! The ridgeline continues to the right and Agassiz Peak is on the far right of the photo and you can see portions of a ski run at Snow Bowl. Above and slightly left of Agassiz, in sunlight is Mt Elden. The inner Basin is to the left of the ridgeline and you can see groves of aspen turning color on the inner ridge sloping down towards Lockett Meadow. To the left of Agassiz I think it is Freemont and Doyle Peaks which are 11, 969’ and 11,460’ respectively. Looks like I was about 13,000’+ and looking to the ESE … Sunset Crater is top left. You can see the chutes that avalanches take down the face of the mountains. I like the color and detail in this shot.

In the clearing just above the photo credit line you will see white debris in the upper left portion of it; this is the wreckage of a B-24 WWII bomber that crashed into the mountain during a night training mission in the very early hours on September 15, 1944 at about the 11,000’ level. All eight crew members perished in the crash.

A very good day today and One had two outings with me this morning … enjoying being out with her … late afternoon I headed up to the airport and had a nice flight around the Verde Valley, a large sugar free vanilla latte from Wildflower Bakery (probably the best lattes in Sedona … thank you Brittany) and then picked a pizza up at Pago’s on the way home and a friend came over for a visit later. Time for a wrap of the day, have a wonderful day and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you … and keep breathing.




May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world know me not, may my thoughts and actions

be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Max Ehrmann

The world seems okay

One 2

… mine at least and since that is all I have control over it works okay for me … especially since One has begun to join me on the deck. Not today for sure with rain, sleet and snow and gusty winds. She is staying very close when we go out and that is a good thing … and after a two year lapse in spending time on the deck it is good to be out there again … fun to see friends go by and greet them and One’s world is expanding as everything she has been looking at suddenly is there in real time around her. I took this shot of One a couple of days ago when it was sunny and she was just emerging from the bush behind her.

A friend called me early this afternoon and let me know a bobcat had just left his yard and appeared to heading down 17 fairway so out I went (it was nasty) but no luck yet very much worth the effort. Thank you Brad. Mostly time doing a complete rewrite on an article I am doing and am almost liking it. Tomorrow shall be devoted to the project also.

After a very long wait, Reagan’s sculpture is now installed at the Schnebly Hill round about, here is a link to his website with photos of it going up. Congratulations Reagan and thanks to everyone on the list who voted for his concept and helped insure we would get this beautiful work of art.

Into another new day and hope your day finds you happy to be alive and doing what you are doing … and smile and share your joy.


Now this one thing is clear to me:

That laws, howe’er proclaimed to be

From God, if they ‘gainst nature go,

Are human made, and do confess

Man’s ignorance. For this I know,

Our God has meant us happiness.

Max Ehrmann