Monthly Archives: June 2016

On this planet

Other worlds

… we have a lot of cool places including volcanic cinder fields. This one is located a few miles NE of Sunset Crater near Flagstaff and has some beautiful textures and contours in it. Looks like the center path could be eroding, but likely will be another ten thousand or so years before we will see a real difference. In the interim we have some neat places to look at; foot or other traffic is not permitted in this area. Keeping it nice and letting nature take its course.

A good day … didn’t come close to getting my work done, but a lot closer than I was … maybe tomorrow, except I plan on flying and having lunch with a friend … likely a little nap will follow that and another day will be closing and hopes for another day will be present.

Keep breathing and smiling … if you have the first, how could you not have the latter?




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


Long final

… a long final for R21 at KSEZ … no monitoring or squawking on the CTAF 123.00 or checking weather on the AWOS 118.525, this guy just lines it up and goes for it! The supposition is that he really is going for the runway and not Oak Creek which is meandering below hidden from view in the lush green ribbon running from lower right through the center and along the east side of Airport Mesa until in the distance it merges with the Verde River. The fish in the river are fresh and at the restaurant they have already been prepared … he likes fresh.

I took the base shot this morning when I took to the skies to get some different views of the area and when going through the folder with the photos in it this afternoon I found some heron shots that I had taken earlier but not uploaded until today and it just fell together beautifully. Several years ago Corky and I had been up to the GC and were coming back via Williams and across the plateau to Sedona; we were kinda just flying slow and enjoying the day at 10,000’ when a Greenhead Mallard passed us heading the same direction … maybe a couple hundred feet off the right side of the aircraft. I wasn’t able to get a camera out in time, but what a blast to be passed by a duck! I suppose we were doing 55 kts and he was doing at least 65kts and same altitude +/- a few feet.

Most of Sedona and some of the Village is in this shot … the airport is above and to the right of the Heron’s beak. West Sedona is to the right of that and below the airport is Uptown and to the left the Chapel area. On the near right part of Wilson Mountain and above that Coffee Pot and Thunder Mountain; to the left the Mittens and above the heron Cathedral Rock and left of that Castle Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse. Across the Verde Valley Mingus rise up from about 3500’ to about 7800’

Beautiful thunderstorms closed out the afternoon and One and I had a nice outing in clean cool air this evening.

Thought something was going on with my knees, but then realized that it was just muscles complaining about my new exercise regime using the rower … I do not do moderation very well and probably started out way too aggressively … so I’ll just keep it going until the muscles quiet down and acclimate to the new workout schedule. Love that rower!

Hope you had a beautiful day too. Going to be responsible and finish some photo projects in the morning, lunch with a friend and then the ISO 100 group over in the evening. No flying again until Thursday.

Cheers … smile … breathe



At nightfall,

Though I know I shall sometime no more open my eyes to the night or the day.

I am one who looks at the stars when unchained from the workbench at nightfall.

They are a sign I am not ephemeral, nor 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




Morning light

Over GF

.… a somewhat unusual event to be in the air early morning and have the sun more or less on my back as I shoot looking towards the southwest which really helps reduce the effect of haze in the air. I took this Saturday morning and I was approximately over Grand Falls on the Little Colorado River when I took the shot and maybe around 7,000’. The near volcano center right is Roden Crater in the Painted Desert and it is the ongoing art project of James Turrell. You can learn more about this amazing project at: . Further up in the image are more volcanic cinder cones (they’re about 600 of them).  Sunset Crater can be seen just below the San Francisco Peaks O’Leary is to the right of that and Mt. Elden on the left in the back. Kendrick, Sitgreaves and other to the right and beyond the SF Peaks. Further on the right horizon is S-P crater and others not all named. Flagstaff is about 35 miles to the SE of where I took this photo and it is about 70 miles downriver on the Little Colorado River to the Confluence from here.

A fun day if you can call 4 hours of chat time with Adobe Tech trying to figure what was wrong with my Adobe products I use for hours every day … think “Not Responding” and no ability to work in Bridge or Photoshop … that really goes over well with me especially when you watch the tech person delete your personal preferences so he/she can do a clean install, and again and again. It was what they called a bad install which is a polite term for their auto installer of updates in my Creative Cloud subscription, pooching it. For whatever reason, this occupied most of the day and it was a pleasure to finally get outside late afternoon with One. A little cooler today so we covered her territory rather well.

Finished Childhood’s End tonight and finding books to be nice again, and a more pleasant way to spend time than with Netflix. I can hold them, put them down, use George’s new business card for a bookmark and there is something special about using your own imagination to create the visuals of characters and places. I almost unsubscribed from Netflix tonight, but then I saw they had a new season of Hell on Wheels ready to view … someday!

Have a terrific day, smile and do keep breathing … days are so much nicer when you are …




Love men and truth, and poverty most like will dine with you,

But peace will feed your soul.

Max Ehrmann

Into the abyss


Saturday a friend and I scrapped plans to do Sunset Crater and headed to Desert View at the Grand Canyon and hit the various overlooks and points as we worked our way up to The Village. Seemed like a great idea and the car was washed several times as we drove up SR89. Quite a bit of smoke in the GC and likely that was the cause of not that many visitors compared to other times I have been up there … still it was beautiful and if you looked up the canyon with the sun on your back it wasn’t too bad. I love the ravens and other winged creatures that soar the canyon rim. At Lipan Point there were numerous Ravens and this guy was sitting on the stone barrier at the edge of the rim; being the brilliant creature he was, he rebuffed Sue’s offer of a stick as food, spread his wings, lifted his feet and was soaring out over the abyss in that beautiful wave of orographic lift coming up the canyon walls. Closest I can get to this is about 8,000’ above it … shoot! Anyhow, it is a treat to watch other creatures soar effortlessly in and over the canyon and I can dream of it.

Earlier Saturday morning I had a beautiful flight up over volcano land, around the peaks, poked into the inner basin at about 11,000’ and had a great flight. Jason recommended the Tinder Box Kitchen in Flagstaff as a place to eat that night … it was everything he said and more. Food excellent, ambiance excellent (not formal) and service excellent. Thank you Jason!

Today was a different kind of day, and a lot of rest, reading and the usual chores around the house. One got two hunts in, and I think she prefers the hunt to the kill and is letting her prey get away at the last moment rather than completing the attack. Good on her, then she can engage the same critters over and over again just like I do with the camera.

The week has begun, wow! Have a beautiful day, smile and share the beauty you find in life with your friends and families and those you pass on the street … a simple smile works wonders … and keep breathing … makes everything else possible.




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



… I’m ready for cool and clean air neither of which is currently resident here … but it is here, high surf near Monterrey, California … never tire of the ocean or water in general. More triple digit weather through the weekend too … thinking fly high in temps in the 40’s and then drive up to the Flagstaff area and spend a day. Given the current air quality I’m thinking that being in the Snow Bowl parking lot at sunset should be spectacular with the sun setting behind Kendrick Peak. Think it shall be a nice weekend!

I know I did a lot today, but it doesn’t seem like it … One has absolutely no enthusiasm for going out and on the evening outing, she walked out with me, sampled the heat and turned around and walked back in the house … me too! Really got into a good book a friend loaned me, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, love it when a book just sweeps you in and you’re off on a new adventure, and in a cool home.

Exciting new treatment protocols for MS are being pursued utilizing adult stem cells:

Feeling a little dumb? Try exercising on a regular basis:

Really enjoying the full body work out I get with the new rowing machine. Still using the treadmill, but more as a supplemental machine.

Into the weekend … have fun, stay cool and spend some time with friends and family and smile … and keep breathing :+)

Cheers, back Monday morning



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

You cannot hide

Cannot hide

… it is out there in the open for all to see, and hopefully not too many people will be watching as you land once, twice and thrice … I saw this guy doing it and not sure how many saw me do it a few days ago … I had an excuse (I think) as I had a 40 degree cross wind 11kt gusting 19kt. All my landings were good just like this guys were and the best was the last one when it stuck … his did too.

A fun day today, some photo work, down to Phoenix to see a friend I haven’t seen for a while, to Prescott for a Trader Joe’s run on the way home and then some quiet time. Have to use new exercise equipment so back on the Concept 2 Mod E rowing machine for a bit and then more bios on WWII leaders. Knees still doing well but wish I hadn’t moved the furniture including file cabinets around to make room for the rower … someday I may learn, but probably not. Next time I’ll take the drawers out … sure I will … not.

Finish processing a photo shoot in the morning and get that delivered, maybe some flying and for sure more rowing, otherwise a day for the unknown and welcome the unexpected whatever it proves to be … with a smile, I think.

Have a beautiful day and share the sheer joy of being here, and breathing, with those you meet and greet today and if you are here the next day, try it again. Eventually we learn that just being here is a privilege and that is a warm fuzzy … we’re actually here!!!




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


On the run

… or not … or a blend of different realities and something new and does it matter? I’m taking advantage of One going off on little chases and then she bounds back to me where I am sitting in the grass which gives me pretty much an eye to eye perspective of her. Now she is this huge cat bounding up from the shores near Pt Reyes. Kinda silly, but after watching carnage and cruelty in a series called History’s Verdict which has hour long segments on the key players in WWII … it is a relief to concentrate on kittens and seascapes.

Fortunately, I drained my cameras battery before we took off this morning and I wasn’t able to take any shots during the flight … the air was so soupy that looking at Sunset Crater while over SR89 at 11,000’ we could barely make out Sunset Crater and it was mostly an outline with no detail. Hopefully the afternoon rain will have cleared up some of the cesspool quality air we are breathing.

Also hoping we do not have another summer like 2014 where managed/prescribed burns filled the air with smoke most of the summer … and into the fall. It is getting to the point where we no longer have clean air which is what we were noted for and attracts people from all over the world to our area. Not a chance I would have bought property here in 1990 and then moved here, had the air quality been like this back then. Twenty or more years of this to come? Really? File daily smoke complaints if it bothers you and give factual reports of how it is affecting you. Locally the form is at: – if you do not voice your concerns and impact on your health and quality of life you cannot expect there to be any changes, so every day it impacts you send them another complaint.

Have a beautiful day and enjoy the company of family and friends … nothing better … except perhaps taking that next breath.

Share a smile and share your joy




…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



… life come to an end and transitions from showy beauty to a last burst of beauty highlighted by a single ray of light through the tree crown … a peach tree leaf, a couple of fox tail and assorted twigs. Saw this whilst sitting with One in the grass out back of the house; it was warm and lying in the cool damp grass is a nice way for her to cool off between bursts of speed as my little predator launches attacks on lizards, bunnies, birds and squirrels. Then it is back into our home, a wipe down, and on with life … or was that the real life out there, daydreaming and looking at clouds I have danced with … and this life recycles itself … slowly.

Flew early this morning … 99F when I landed around 8A … flying earlier tomorrow … and Wednesday. Very smokey and hazy so no photos from the air today … smoke and ozone as we swelter under a very high pressure dome. Then it was home and hide out in the cool and listen to American Authors music … work on photos and whatever …

One decided she wanted out while temp still 109F … didn’t last very long.

Have a beautiful day … live it!!! and keep breathing and smiling




Though work bring naught of power nor wealth

Spare me from want of common needs, and give a share of manly health,

A few good friends of honest deeds;

And till death’s peaceful slumber nears

A life of undishonored years.

Max Ehrmann

… and it is hot

Poor us

… and our air quality sucks! I took this shot at 7:59A, this morning from a vantage point of 14,000’ SW of Camp Verde and looking to the ENE and I think that this is the Jack Fire which seems to have fresh ignitions in isolated spots that I saw whilst over flying the fire area … 33,850 acres. The incident report is at: and if you have a smoke complaint you can direst it to Brady Smith at: . This photo depicts what they describe as light to moderate smoke. So that you can see more detail in the photo I de-hazed it which makes it look better than it was.

At the bottom of the photo I-17 goes from left to right (and the reverse I guess) and the intersection is with SR 260 which traveling to the bottom left of the image takes you to Cottonwood and going up and to the right towards Payson which is not a lovely place at present. The Verde River is the green snake running from lower left to upper right. Cliff Castle Casino is tucked in the bend of I-17 lower left of photo and the private airstrip for a fly in community is just below the casino and Beaver Creek is the green snake above I-17 and the casino and you can see where it enters the Verde River. Further up the left side is Rimrock

The entire sky in every direction was smokey today, but on the bright side it was only 45F at 14,000’ … when I landed at Sedona around 9A it was 99F. Quick stop for gas, over to the Church of the Red Rocks for the dedication of the George and Claudia Ault Life Long Learning Center. Then in town to pick up cool stuff and home where I holed up the rest of the day. One had a less than enthusiastic outing whilst temperature had decreased to 102F.

I plan on being back up in the air in the morning and going to try and takeoff by 6A or earlier so that I can land before the temp goes through 100F; projecting 111F tomorrow. Going to 16,000’ or higher in the morning and see if I can chill out!

Have a beautiful day, stay cool and filter your air … otherwise like they tell people in the gas chamber, breathe deeply and get it over with quickly … sorry … not.



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

From above

Home field

… a mile above to be exact … KSEZ, USS Sedona, Sedona Airport … home to myself and a lot of other neat pilots and now under the skilled management of Amanda Shankland who has done an exceptional job in transforming the feel and culture of the airport. A very friendly place, c’mon up and have a cup of coffee in the terminal and relax a bit. You can also sip coffee whilst enjoying a slide show of my photography on the large screen television on the wall in the terminal building. check it out!

The runway as you can see runs from edge to edge of the mesa and is nearly a mile long and 100” wide. On the right side of the image Oak Creek wends its way down toward the Verde River at the base of the mesa. The little snippet of road on the far lower right is SR179 and just above that the lawn of Poco Diablo Resort. To the left of the airport you have West Sedona and SR 89A runs through the business district … Safeway, Basha’s and Whole Food centers and lest we forget Ace Hardware :+)

A good way to close out the week; took the shot Tuesday morning as I was shedding altitude and still above 10,000’. About 2,000’ lower I caught a pretty good thermal and worked it for a while before ditching it and continuing shedding altitude so I could come in and land …

Have a beautiful day and enjoy the weekend … might as well … nothing like enjoying the moment as it is all of life that you have … for now.




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