Monthly Archives: September 2016

Make some plans


Kendrick Peak is in full color; good morning viewing from Snow Bowl Parking lot and I suppose someplace else? The Inner Basin is probably at about 60 to 70% color and the view from Lockett Meadow should be really nice looking up into the inner basin. The N side of the SF Peaks is probably 90% of full color.

I flew up there this morning and had the best shooting conditions I have had in the last nine years. Cloud layers covered the entire Painted Desert and going N and W to the Grand Canyon with cloud height a few thousand feet above ground in most areas. When I came around the N side of the peaks the cloud base was about 9,000’ (about 2,000’ AGL) and tops around 11,000’ So looking through cloud layers I saw Kendrick Peak in full color just blazing … I took this shot and a lot more plus spent about twenty minutes over by it getting some amazing photos. Kendrick peak is 10,425 feet (3,178 m) and the peak is about 2500’ above the surface. I took more than 600 shots and very few will be deleted. Photos of Sunset Crater poking up through the clouds and clouds pouring down into the caldera. Hard to describe the beauty I experienced this morning.

So the location for GPS fans is: 35,23.2983N 111,38.0865W and altitude 3475.70 meters.

So, make plans to head N this weekend; it is supposed to be sunny this weekend and you may see me flying in the inner basin tomorrow morning and around the mountains and any place I see beauty. I think the inner basin will hit peak color by mid-week coming up so get a look while you can … the air quality is the pristine clarity we always used to have before there were prescribed burns … so get up there and enjoy it while you can.

Back Monday morning … smile, you are alive (those who aren’t do not read my blogs although they may vote)




I am the dawn, the whisper of winds, the perfume of morning.

The passing night fondled me, hovering close to me, softly, silently.

The breaking day builds the spirit temple of my joy, I abandon myself!

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

Fall splendor


It cleared up this afternoon, so I headed up to the airport about 4:30P with a plan to be in the air by 5:30P and make a beeline for the peaks … wheels up at 5:20P and a fast climb and flight NW to the west side of the peaks … climbed through 9,000’ crossing W of Wilson and leveled off at 10,500’and was absolutely astounded at the sight I was approaching. N and NE of the peaks the clouds were laying down on the ground or just above them; volcanic cones poked through the clouds and a pair of rainbows appeared to the NE of the peaks. The angles for the light on the peaks was nearly perfect and this is one of the first shots I took as I approached them … probably ten miles out. What a treat to be back up there and because of all the rain the USFS will not be doing any burns for a while so the air is crystalline. Some close ups of the peaks, looking down the slopes with the aspen in full color above the clouds will be following.

Also neat is that I use the GPS function on the 5D MK IV to obtain accurate information on where I took the shot and it embeds the location in the metadata … not too worried about someone going to the same location to get this shot so here it is: 35,16.2566N 111,47.8913W Altitude 11,819.9’- fun! Got 187 very good shots and will have to go through and reduce the number somewhat. Some great close ups and shots through the clouds close to the peaks looking down into the inner basin and captured some great color. I plan to be back in the air by 7A and with the sun in the east fly into the inner basin, the other side of these peaks – it is a volcanic caldera – the mountain was 6,000’ higher before the top blew off a very long time ago. The color looked like it is near if not peak color. The basin was filled with clouds so hopefully they will clear out by morning.

A wrap to a terrific day … hope yours was too … smile … we are breathing and capable of living, loving and appreciating the gift of life. Sometimes I think we are here so that there is a sentient life form to appreciate the billions of years of creating and sculpting this magnificent work of art we call earth … what a shame it would be if there was no one here to witness this … what a shame that so few actually do or care.




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

The land of wonder


… another shot from a recent flight up and over the Painted Desert. I frequently fly up there to shoot the beautiful formations and landscape and mostly have been shooting them for my personal pleasure. The Painted Desert encompasses an area of about 7,500 square miles and on the eastern end of it the Petrified National Forest is contained within it. You can learn more about it at: . I took this shot a couple of weeks ago, but the meta data will say it was shot 12/31/1999. This occurred because Adobe Bridge/ACR was not compatible with the raw format generated by the Canon 5D MK IV when I bought it. Look for more of these abstract shots of earth’s surface as I truly love the patterns and colors. In 1999 I was flying pure glider and trips north from Turf Soaring in Peoria were mostly to the South Rim. It rained again today … that was okay because I didn’t wrap the day until 4:30A and One woke me at 7A … oh well. A very good day though.

A very cool website to spend some time on is and in the current iteration they have an excellent article on Sycamore Canyon at: . This is another place I enjoy spending time in and over and the article includes a number of my photographs … check it out.

Also visit ; they have been publishing my missives and photos daily for years’ now and they have a great website of everything Sedona too. Also have to mention the Verde Independent blogsite which also features my blog and they are at: and on the main site great news coverage of the Verde Valley.

Rain scheduled again for today (now Thursday) so flying is iffy … maybe I’ll get a few hour window and if not there is plenty of other things to do. Have a terrific day, keep breathing and share the joy in your life with others … most people are really good and it helps to remember that.




Give me to gladly go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day

Max Ehrmann

Unfinished business


… I began a shoot of the Petrified National Forest in June of 2015; then there was that dust devil on July 1, that altered my direction of travel after landing and, well, Mariah spent an inordinate amount of time out of the air and the project kinda floundered … time to complete this project too and spend a few days this fall finishing it up. I do have some very nice shots from the first day of shooting though including this one which is in the basin below one of the main overlooks. I never cease to marvel at the abstract beauty that the forces of wind, water and time create … and it is an ongoing process … thousands of years from now the view will likely be much different than the present. Nothing is constant, but change and it amazes me how so many want to preserve the status quo … restore forests … prevent erosion … prevent flooding and movement of the earth … and as proof of our ability to control the forces of nature we build cities such as New Orleans below sea level, then express amazement when bad things happen. Such is the folly of humanity! But hey! We will stop change … sure … I don’t think we have ever been able to stop a single drop of rain from falling, but we do know how to build a roof.

Hotdogs and beans for dinner turns a person to philosophical thought … the intention was to celebrate the day with dinner out, but I met a friend I haven’t seen in a long time in Basha’s and we spent a couple of hours catching up with each other and then it was a wee bit late, so a quick trip home, three hotdogs on a paper plate, a small can of grilling beans on top of them, 2 minutes 34 seconds in the microwave and a very tasty dinner. A much more pleasant evening than I had planned. Life is good!

Another morning of rain and a day spent working on photos … maybe the WX will be good this morning. So, this is a wrap of another day, a little sleep, much espresso and perhaps a return to the sky.

Hope you had a terrific day and if you are still breathing I would call it a great day … may it continue!



And lastly give sweet sleep

Closed sight, no fright

That fears will o’er me creep;

And now a last goodnight.


Max Ehrmann



… I love all cats and kittens, well is there any creature quite as sweet? Okay, they sharpen their claws on furniture and if you cure them of that they likely will use you as a sharpening tool. So, I came on this photo of a Bobcat kitten I took last year and because he was leaning on a rather forlorn looking wall, I never did anything with the images. So, tonight it was either paint the wall or put him in a setting more appropriate to his (maybe her, do not want to be sexist) place in the community … a regal deity! So he is now sitting on a ridge line with an impressive rotor cloud behind him … the kind of rotor that when experiencing its power will make you wish you were on the ground. Anyhow a fun image.

Worked all day on the website and it is nearing completion, only two more photographers to go and by the end of the week the initial phase of the project will be completed. In our ISO group we have a really neat person who is a superb digital artist as well as photographer. When she gets done with her work on a photo you would never know from what it came … a canvas with color, clean style and impact. I have one of her images on display and will likely opt for more. Click on this link and check her work out … also I have an example of what she starts with and what she ends up with. and while you’re at it check out the beautiful images on the other pages …

If you are a photographer or artist with images online, please go to this link and sign the petition. Sign the letter to the US FTC ; this is in support of an action that Getty Images has brought against Google. In 2013, Google switched from thumbnails of images to hi res images it scrapes from the net, including my websites, and all other websites that have hi res images on them. These images are then shared for free and the artist gets zip for it. This can substantially dilute the value of an image and the only alternative for the photographer is to opt out of the search, which essentially causes the artist to disappear. So please take a few minutes to sign the petition. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Neal!

Looks like it might be a good morning to go shoot the inner basin and check the color. Four straight days of website work is enough for a bit.

Have a fabulous day and how could you not … you’re alive!




Learn the music of a summer night by the restless wave of the sea, or surrender to the sunlight of an open country where the illimitable sky at last meets to kiss the sweet, green earth, and stay till the crimson shafts burn the western world.

And something will rise in you that is not connected with the tiring routine of your trade – something strange and calm.

Max Ehrmann



… transported through wonderful realms of beauty by music … I’ve been listening to more of Carly Simon’s music tonight and about the time I was going through folders looking for something to send out tonight she was singing her version of “Love of My Life” and I was drawn to my roses folder and I found this one that I shot a couple of years ago on a walk in Ocean Colony in the rain. It was just one of many in the yard of a neighbor of Ted & Sus’, but it drew me in and I spent a few minutes preserving the beauty of the moment. Like everything in our lives we can only experience the moment once, but we have memories to recall those moments … and the means to record them. So here are a few beautiful moments once lived … and remembered. Somehow flowers just go with love and that is a very special song about love … so the special photograph.

The equipment? Canon 6D, Canon EF24-70mm f/2,8L II USM lens, shot at 1/100th , f/11, ISO 100.

I spent most of the weekend working on the new website and it is coming along nicely; I have the portfolios up for four photographers, two more go up tomorrow and the other two by the end of the week. Please take a look at it and if you like something go ahead and buy it. Truly some amazing work up there: Mostly the work after I get the next photographer/artists up will be final tinkering with the design. Let me know how you like it. Check out is secure and through PayPal, and you can use credit cards and/or your PayPal account. I have a lot of friends who are amazing photographers and I thought this would be a great way to share their work too … they thought so too, so please take a look … worth the time and Christmas is coming up. Once you place the order, it takes about a week for the print, whether on Kodak Luster Paper, Metal or Canvas to be delivered to your home. No extra costs, shipping or anything; everything is included in the price of the print.

Time to wrap the day, get a few hours of sleep, jump start the day with espresso and then back to work on the website. Have a beautiful day and share your joy … check this rose out again and carry the inner glow with you throughout the day.

Still breathing … and smiling



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

The overview


… look better than the close up shots of the formations … you get the beautiful detail of the portions of the canyons that are close and the vast expanse of the canyons as they go back into the distance and the sweep of the canyons flow through the image. Haven’t measured it, but it looks like there are several hundred square miles of canyon to explore and shoot. The weather has not been cooperative since I was up there on Monday, but the weekend is looking pretty good so we’ll see what happens. I shot this from an altitude roughly 750’ above ground and again, I have removed signs of civilization (roads) from the image and likely will be doing more of that on the vast airscapes I shoot.

I’m expecting quite a bit of color on the San Francisco Peaks this weekend as there were large patches of aspens that had turned yellow on the N side of the peaks on Monday and some in the inner basin. If the winds are down, I’ll be flying inside the basin over the weekend. The good thing is that with all the rain the USFS will not be burning for a while and hopefully they will wait until after peak color … and the air will be clean. There is no place in the world more beautiful as this when the air is clean.

Fun day and weekend coming up and hope it is so for you too. Back Monday morning …

Smile … it is contagious and nothing better to spread.



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



… there is a lot of beautiful abstract art on the surface of the planet and I shoot a lot of it even though I don’t send much of it out, still it is natural and I get to pick and choose the crops and of course establish best angle for optimum light to show the features off. I took this shot last week on my way north to the Grand Canyon. This is part of the very thick lava flow from S-P Crater and the lighting was probably as good as I have ever had when trying to shoot the crater … almost like lava blooms … kind of a mediaeval feel to it … your choice. A link to a discussion of the crater is: . They have probably got the funnest description of the name I have seen. C J Babbitt a rancher in the 1880’s owned the property and expressed his opinion that it resembles a S_ _t Pot and this was commented on in the Wikipedia article that it does indeed look like a toilet catastrophe … love it! The crater is about 25 miles north of Flagstaff and the lava flow is about 4.3 miles long flowing to the north. The crater is estimated to have erupted about 71,000 years ago. It’s not really right on a direct path to where I go up at the GC, but it is worth the approximate ten-mile diversion to shoot it. Shot from 10,500’ and top of the crater (not in the photo) is about 7100’so the lava is probably around 6300’.

Hoping to get air time tomorrow, have some paperwork I absolutely have to finish before the weekend. Thanks to Jennifer at Sedona Dental Arts for her usual great job of oral care this afternoon ( ) … amazingly everything is looking better including one that they had given up on earlier this year … the only thing I can attribute it to is that I gave up ice cream several months ago and resumed my true confectionary delight … MILK CHOCOLATE … huge smiles! I do have firm authority to back me up on the claim and that is a study done back in the 80’s that came to the conclusion that chocolate is good for the teeth. I believe it was one of the major ivy league universities that did the study and only later did I discover that the study was funded by M & M Mars Candy … It gives me comfort knowing that a major candy company engaged in such a selfless act, because as we all know they took a huge chance … what if the study had showed that chocolate was harmful to teeth? Boy I am glad to know that corporations, universities and research labs have the guts to take on issues like this!!!  Like it ever really had a chance to turn out with negative results? Smiles!

Into the new day and time for a wrap on this one. It has been an amazing month for the websites with 38,000 hits so far this month … thank you. I have a new shipment of calendars in and ready to ship them; buy one or several at: .

Smile, life is … and you get to choose how you live and perceive it.



“What are you writing?”

I looked up, yet I saw no one. It was near the middle of the night,

the room was nearly dark, save the table over which I leaned holding my pen.

Was I dreaming? Looking up again, I saw, or thought I saw,

the figure of a woman standing in the dim light. Her hair lay over her shoulders,

and her face I had seen somewhere.

“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



… on display … hundreds of millions of years, on the surface, for all to see. I took this shot on the way home from Coal Mine Canyon (s) yesterday. The beautifully eroded foreground is the end of Coal Mine Mesa … a several hundred foot drop where it breaks off and the Moenkopi formation (about 240 million years old) is exposed in its fabulous orange red color and then older layers exposed as the terrain continues to descend to the Little Colorado River which is the dark green line that crosses the image from left to right. Towards the right side a formation rises from the floor and that is the East Kaibab Monocline which is one of the main features of the Colorado Plateau. The Little Colorado River runs along the near base of the Monocline and about 25 miles beyond that it joins the Colorado River. On the horizon from the left you can see the San Francisco Peaks, Kendrick Peak and I think to the right of that is Sitgreaves … hard to determine from the small profile.

You are also looking out over a portion of the Painted Desert; it is rugged and colorful. Behind me about 12 miles is Coal Mine Canyon. Next photos will be burrowing in on the fantastic color, detail and formations. Not a whole lot of civilization out here and you feel very small and alone as you traverse this area … hundreds of millions of years has sculpted and created this landscape … going back soon. Looked at the satellite imaging of the area and also some of my higher altitude shots of the canyons and it looks like the best canyons may be deep inside far from the roads. A whole new canyon country to focus on and I don’t have to stay a couple of miles above it.

A rainy day today and not sure I really accomplished anything much, but I lived it … I made a soup from odds and ends tonight and it even tasted kinda good … still breathing too. Adobe released an update for Bridge and ACR today which includes the new raw format for the Canon 5D MK IV so I can work on raw images again. I did learn that other programs including Canon’s image processing program, can make a mess out of great photos … just deleted it.

Have a nice day and actively live it and live it in such a way that friends and family hope you’ll be here the next day too … and smile!




I am the dawn, the whisper of winds, the perfume of morning.

The passing night fondled me, hovering close to me, softly, silently.

The breaking day builds the spirit temple of my joy, I abandon myself!

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

Something new


… take off from KSEZ and establish a heading of 031 for 78.3 nautical miles (90.05 statute miles) brought me to Coal Mine Canyon on Coal Mine Mesa at the North end of the Painted Desert. It is about fifteen miles SE of Tuba City and SR 264 runs very close to the canyons. Before reaching Coal Mine Canyon I got some truly spectacular shots in the Painted Desert as it climbed up to Coal Mine Mesa crossing the Moenkopi Wash. I took this shot looking pretty much NNE and captured the part of the canyon closest to SR 264, an area my friend Tom Narwid began photographing in the 1980’s long before it became a popular site for photographers. There are canyons like this for miles as you travel to the east from this location and I found a few that are even more beautiful than this, but likely not reachable by vehicle on the ground and some of those shots will be coming out later. The canyon is not deep or overwhelming in size, but the formations are spectacular as are the colors. I took this shot just before I headed back to Sedona from an altitude of about 1500’ AGL, but did most of my shooting from a much lower altitude … so this is the overview … close in detail to follow.

On the horizon right of center is Navajo Mountain and near the left side of the photo not sure if that is Vermillion Cliffs or what. I have a lot to learn about this part of Northern Arizona and thanks to Tom for encouraging me to go shoot it. The views from about 700’AGL are very cool! Some good information on the area is at:

About half way back across the painted desert I saw what looked like some puffy clouds forming behind Mt. Elden near Flagstaff, but as I got closer it was obviously a huge smoke plume coming up from the S side of it and I was really concerned that a wildfire had broken out on the side of the mountain. I climbed higher to get a look and as I got closer it was one of those What The Heck (or substitute expletive of your choice) moments … turns out that the city of Flagstaff showing extreme judgement had lit up 40 acres right next to the airport and the smoke was heavy, not venting and burying residential neighborhoods in heavy smoke. I listened to the guys in the tower at Flagstaff Airport rerouting traffic to fly right patterns instead of left and dealing with the possibility of perhaps having to close the airport down. Photo is attached … who in their right mind would set a fire like this? I understand it is for water shed purposes.


Last night I wondered why there have been no studies factoring human health into the equations on prescribed and managed burns; a friend sent me a link to a BBC story which outlines studies that have been done by Harvard University and Columbia University. Now their studies were not on the effects of smoke on human health in the USA, but in Indonesia where a smoke haze lasts over the area for sometimes several months (We have weeks at a time and sometimes a month or more daily). They found that the practice of burning the forests and peat fields was responsible for more than 100,000 deaths per year of adults plus many more children, but they did not do a study on children. So if the smoke over there kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, is there a possibility that the heavy smoke we have here from prescribed and managed fires is also responsible for at least thousands of deaths plus many more cases of severe illness? It doesn’t fit the party line which is to restore the forests through fire … and as I pointed out, noticeably absent from all discussions in the forest restoration programs is the effect on human health of their planned burns … do you think we could get Harvard and Columbia to do studies here? The photo that accompanies the article shows smoke that isn’t really any worse than what we get here and talk about smoke haze? Most of the time, because when they put it up in the air, it is there and smoke generated here travels as does the smoke from other areas which comes here.

So wow! Actual studies, but not for the USA … there is that 2012 Washington study which shows pretty awful health issues from wood smoke in their state. The article on the Indonesian smoke is: and the PDF file of the Washington State study is here:  the fall burning season is just getting underway!

So cheers, we are still here and still breathing … perhaps someone might find it reasonable to do studies on how smoke from prescribed and managed burns effect human health here in the USA? You think? If it doesn’t harm humans, why not do the studies?

Have a wonderful day … smile … we are here!



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