Monthly Archives: October 2016

Be careful out there

… you never know what you will run into or who is watching you … Happy Halloween from One and me!!!


A busy weekend; a lot of flying, hiking, visiting with friends and new adventures. After church this morning I headed down to the ponds for a walk around the ponds and got  few fun shots and then it was down to Cottonwood and the drive out to Sycamore Canyon. Didn’t know what to expect in the way of road conditions and was pleasantly surprised as it isn’t much different than the gravel roads we used to drive on in western Minnesota when we went hunting out there and actually a little better than some of the roads down in the Minnesota River bottoms. It is really a different perspective of the canyon than what I normally see. I took the wrong camera with me as I had not planned on going out there until I started the drive down there after the ponds … so 100mm was the best I could do, but got some neat stuff including this shot looking across the creek from the top of Parsons Trail. There was a perfect pocket in the mountain to place One and rather than the stormy sky this relatively new Hubble shot found its way in there.

Hard to believe that November is already here and perhaps in a week or so, we can get back to the business of life and all the good that is in the world.

Have a great day … Boo or whatever is appropriate for the day … followed by a smile of course.



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

Cleaning up

… we all do it, even the critters and after shooting the ponds and the wetlands this morning we back tracked and hit the Hatchery and shot trout and ducks in the main pond. There were a number of mallards that were busy thrashing the water and sending sprays of water everywhere as they cleaned themselves up. It was a fun day. I truly like this guy …


Tried the 5D MK IV with the 100-400 lens on it for shooting wildlife this morning and had very mixed results; for shots like this where there is very little motion it does very well, but for the inflight shots it just didn’t do very well and I ended up deleting all of the shots. I’ll try it again because the possibility of getting shots with 30.2 MP is tempting when compared to the 18.1 MP in the 1D-X. What the 1D-x has a very significant advantage is a separate digic processor dedicated solely to auto focus. Also the pixels are the largest in any full frame sensor which makes for very low noise even at high ISO settings. Still I love the 5D MK IV and it will be with me for a long time because there are so many other situations it performs well in. The 1D-X remains body of choice for wildlife shooting.

I’m spending time nearly every day cutting gems and designing new pieces and finding it a great way to spend a few hours. Monday I’ll attach a photo of something I finish over the weekend … maybe an opal log that I have been working on for years. I’ve decided it is time to finish this project as it has been ongoing for over thirty years … time for dreaming about what it will look like is over and it is time to see how it looks finished … have a few other gem projects like that.

We’re into the weekend … have fun … share a smile with someone … check it out in a mirror too, something about seeing a smile on your own face that makes everything seem okay or like listening to Phil Collins for a couple of hours, or spending an evening with a friend you haven’t seen for a few months … so that was my day and hope yours was equally beautiful :+)

Back Monday morning … cheers





I tell you that you and I and the commonest person are all journeying the same way,

hemmed in by the same narrow path, leading to the eternal years.

            We pride ourselves over our particular superiority; but really there is little difference between us.

            And in this journey over the 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



… in plain sight … the day after I took this shot Eric and I headed up the switchbacks at the top of oak Creek Canyon to explore a couple of other canyons and on the way up I was looking for those beautiful maple trees in this photo, but they were too far down in the canyon to see from the road. Is there a sound when a tree falls in the forest if there is no one there to hear it? Color on a tree if no one can see it? Sure, there is, and more beauty in this world than you can fathom … you just have to look for it and most people are good, expect it, because we find what we seek.

No flying today … slow going and enjoying espresso this morning. By the time I got up there it was almost time for lunch with Russ who had flown in to KSEZ in his motorglider. A fabulous lunch at Mesa Grill; they have a new open face prime rib sandwich that is excellent. Some more tinkering with things in the plane and then home. Some fabulous photography at the ISO 100 meeting tonight and tomorrow down to the ponds to shoot some wildlife … I hope.

A couple of months ago, Purely Sedona, which has great water from springs in Oak Creek Canyon, spent a couple of days shooting stills and video at the airport for future commercials. I was flying in the afternoon and did some low passes down the runway for them and it is included in a video now on Vimeo which is “Purely Sedona, Behind the scenes … I enter near the end and Jim your neat set of wheels is in there too. check it out, and check the company out at: and it is great water, the packaging is terrific and the owners and the crew that put this together are terrific.

Time to wrap the day … One is curled up on the router with music from Anthony Mazzella streaming through her body … she looks happy. Have a beautiful day, smile, and have a bottle (more is okay) of Purely Sedona water 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

Where I live


… got a late start today, no particular reason, just spent time enjoying my espresso and texting the girls. I got up to the airport around 11A and into the air shortly after that. The clouds had really developed and cloud base was about 7800’. Because I had a midafternoon appointment in Cottonwood I elected to stay in the neighborhood and shoot the city, rocks and home. I live in the Village of Oak Creek an unincorporated are in Yavapai, County, but we use Sedona as our mailing address. So, the urban area closest to you is the Village and on the right side going up Jacks Canyon is Pine Valley … we live on the golf course closest to the rocks on the left side … the whole area is also known as the Big Park area. The road coming up from bottom right is SR 179 and the first little cluster of buildings near bottom right is the USFS Visitor center … beyond the Village SR 179 skirts Bell Rock on the right, goes through a wilderness area and then into the Chapel area and beyond that you can see Uptown on the right and part of West Sedona on the left just under the cloud line.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to get an earlier start and shoot some neat areas of the Painted Desert I have scouted before and hoping the clouds are good again. Photographers group in the evening and sounds like we’re going to have some neat new work to look at. Life is fun and family and friends make it more so.

Time to wrap it … need a few hours of sleep and a lot of espresso in the morning … roast your own … ; think I have been doing it for about seven years now and could never go back to commercial coffee beans. You will get premium coffee for about half what you currently pay and quality that you cannot imagine!

Have a beautiful day … smile … remember a day when you were laying on your back in the grass looking up at clouds … imagine being up there and exploring all the cloud canyons :+)



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

Revisiting II


… images from September and clean air days … this is from a morning shoot and as I climbed up over the rim of the Colorado Plateau and headed for the east side of the San Francisco Peaks I got a super treat. Almost the entire plateau was covered with a layer of low level clouds. I was SE of Sunset Crater when I took this shot and Sunset is wreathed in clouds … to the right and up a little is O’Leary Peak … moving up and back to the left Kendrick Peak is to the right of the San Francisco Peaks and then you have the east side of the peaks and Lockett Meadow and the Inner Basin. The cloud layer extended all the way to the Grand Canyon so there were hundreds of square miles blanketed with these clouds and what a beautiful sight it was. I had planned on doing a composite tonight but it would have ruined this shot, so maybe I’ll do one tomorrow night. I have downloaded several new images from the Hubble archives and am anxious to use a few of them.

A beautiful rain storm tonight and the radar shows it as widespread moving to the NE so expecting some pretty good air in the morning. We shall see!

Coming up, Anthony is at Sound Bites Friday night … Saturday night my friend Ray and his Jethro Tull band is playing at Sound Bites. Also, check out the piano music of Louis Landon at and if you have an Amazon Prime membership you can add several his albums to your music library; I’ve been listening to his music tonight. Louis is originally from New York, found Sedona and moved here. Check him out, nice music.

Time to close it out for the night … go to my website and buy a few photos … for this week only buy two images and get a 50% discount on the second one. You will be charged full price for the two, but I will refund the discount as soon as I get notification you have paid. is the place to go. The discount will be applied to the lowest price image and is for Kodak Luster Photographs only. Price of the images is all inclusive and includes shipping and other costs.

Have a beautiful day, the gift of life is really incredible and we are blessed. Share your joy … I mean you are actually here and get to determine what kind of a day you are going to have!




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

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

be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.


Max Ehrmann



… I skipped flying north today as with all the Rx burns the smokey haze precludes getting shots worth taking, so I flew down to Turf and did some shooting of lake Pleasant … lots of smokey haze down there too, so I focused on the straight down shots and this is one that I really liked with a squall line coming through the north end of the lake and setting up some neat abstracts with the sun reflecting on the water. Looks like some strange creatures … let your imagination run wild with this one. I like the guy on the right delivering a knockout punch.

Think I’ll go up to lake Powell on Tuesday to check it out; if it is smoke free there are some really beautiful shots to be had there and Page is a nice place to land and go into town and grab a bite to eat before heading home. Coal Mine Canyon is a minor diversion so will catch that too if I do go up there. If it is smokey there is no point in making the trip … hoping they will get their burns done quickly as the air is not fit to breath – look at the mountains and hills in the distance – hazed out and no detail? That is smoke and you are breathing it. Also attaching an article, a friend sent me regarding a fatal accident on I-40 and it implicates smoke from Rx fires which reduced visibility to 20 feet or less on the interstate as a likely cause … and there were quite a few accidents because of the lack of visibility.

A fun weekend and we’re into a terrific new week … we’re breathing, remembering that can make any day a good one … especially when you come to days’ end and you still are here … share a smile with those you meet and greet today … it is nice to be here with family and friends and those who will be friends.




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


the article:

Fatal I-40 crash near Parks linked to prescribed burn smoke
Pea soup-like smoke from a prescribed burn that limited driver visibility to the length of a front hood is being linked to a series of accidents Wednesday morning on I-40 west of Parks. One person was killed and several more injured after collisions that closed the highway in both directions for five hours.
A Highway Patrol captain at the scene said smoke in the area reduced visibility down to about 20 feet, Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said. Sherwood Forest Estates Fire Chief Wayne Marx said even his crews had to stick their heads out the window to watch the yellow stripe on the road as they escorted commuters away from the interstate.
“You couldn’t see past the end of the hood,” Marx said.
According to DPS, two semi trucks and a Chevrolet van were involved in a collision in the eastbound lanes of I-40 at approximately 3:30 a.m. at milepost 173, located between Parks and Williams near Pittman Valley. The driver of the van died at the scene.
DPS has not released the driver’s identity or many details about the crash, but Ponderosa Fire District Chief Erin Hudman said it occurred in low-visibility conditions.
“Basically, it was a chain reaction from what we could tell, with the semi, another van and another semi/tractor trailer,” she said.
The van was sandwiched between the two semi trucks.
The U.S. Forest Service halted plans for additional prescribed burns due to weather conditions Wednesday and Thursday, but residual smoke from burning that took place Tuesday likely settled along the interstate overnight as temperatures cooled.
One retired meteorologist who lives in the area believes more precautions should have been taken. Parks resident Byron Peterson, who retired from National Weather Service station in Bellemont, said the smoke was already bad on Old Route 66 Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters waved him on, he said, even though there were times when he could not see 10 feet in front of him.
“It was very frightening to say the least,” Peterson said.
He said strong southwest winds coming up over Bill Williams Mountain near Williams formed an eddy of swirling air that then dove down over the prescribed burn, keeping the smoke from dissipating.
“I tried to explain that to people at the Forest Service and it was just like talking to a wall,” he said.
Cary Asel, who owns Parks in the Pines General Store on Old Route 66 in Parks, was late for work Wednesday morning because the school buses were all running behind schedule due to the highway closure. He finally arrived at about 8:30 a.m. His customers lamented the smoke and the traffic problems it created.
“People that got stuck in the smoke with asthma had a really difficult time,” Asel said. “It was so thick, you couldn’t see.”
Asel said the prescribed burns near Parks were actually worse in 2015 because there were more of them. The smoke gets so bad, he said, that some people have to leave their homes every year until the prescribed burns end.
“When it’s that thick, you can keep your windows closed but it still seeps into your house,” Asel said.
It was not immediately determined whether the smoke caused or contributed to the fatal wreck, Graves said.
“We’re still investigating it. We have not ruled it out,” he said.
Highway Troopers responded to five additional collisions on eastbound and westbound I-40 in roughly the same area as the fatal crash Wednesday morning. Two of the crashes resulted in injuries.
The highway was closed for 35 miles between Williams and Flagstaff for about five hours. Traffic was diverted north to Highway 64 and 180, an 80-mile-long alternative route that added about an hour of travel time.
“There was still heavy smoke in the area so as a safety aspect they were waiting for that smoke to clear,” said Trooper Jim Carne. “For the people that were stuck in the backup, (the troopers) were slowly escorting them through the smoke-filled zone to get them out of the area.”
Fire crews with the Williams Ranger District completed ignitions in the 5,141-acre Parks West area on Tuesday as part of the Green Base Prescribed Fire Project on the Kaibab National Forest. It is one of many prescribed burns designed by forest officials to reduce the risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfires.
The U.S. Forest Service had warned that smoke would be “very visible” from I-40, Highway 64, Red Lake, Spring Valley and the Kendrick Mountain area.
Smoke from a prescribed burn conducted by the Kaibab National Forest was present along I-40 in the area where the freeway was closed,
“The Forest Service is aware of the motor vehicle accidents today on Interstate 40 near Parks, Arizona that involved one fatality,” said Brady Smith, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman. “We extend our condolences to the family of that individual. The Arizona Department of Public Safety is investigating the accidents along with Forest Service law enforcement personnel.”
Department of Transportation spokesperson Ryan Harding said there were four overhead electronic signs on I-40 and Interstate 17 cautioning drivers about the possibility of smoke in the area since Oct. 10 and added a fifth on I-17 near McGuireville Tuesday.
“When an ADOT employee noted that one of the Forest Service’s message boards was obscured by smoke, he called for an additional ADOT message board and it was set up at 5 a.m. at (westbound I-40 at milepost 178) saying ‘Heavy Smoke Ahead,’” Harding said.
The Forest Service also placed portable message boards along I-40. The smoke warning signs will remain up through Friday.
Smith said he was unaware of any missteps by forest officials.


the upper 2.5


… thousand feet of Humphreys Peak is captured in this image. It was snowing at the peaks and the beauty was, well just take a look. Humphreys Peak is 12, 633’ and this shot captures the mountain from about 10,000’ and up. On the right side of the image you can see a clearing with some white spots in it … this clearing is at the 11,000’ level and the white spots are the remains of a B-24 bomber that crashed into the mountain while on a night training exercise September 15, 1944. It is difficult to locate from the ground and directions can be found at: . 

Much done today and hoping to get a late afternoon flight in tomorrow and get the late afternoon sun on the peaks as it has been a while since I have shot it at the time of day … depends too on the air quality … we shall see. Back to Neil Diamond music tonight … he has always been one of favorite entertainers and we went to his concerts whenever we could (thank you Gail). Not much of anything at the ponds this afternoon the Osprey had already moved on and other than some mallards that are locals there was not much happening; the Great Blue Herons are very spooky right now, so never had a chance to get close to them … oh well … other days yet to come. 

We’re into the weekend again … be sure to enjoy it and share your joy with family and friends … smile too. 

Going to try and catch up a little on emails over the weekend too; currently 256 backlog … sorry … I have read them all though. 

Cheers and keep breathing … somehow it makes the day a lot brighter :+)




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



There is an area on the NW side of the Painted Desert where Coal Mine Mesa breaks off through the Chinle and Moenkopi formations and the eroded patterns almost appear to have been done with a large V blade type knife and the environment looks incredibly hostile … no roads or apparent means of access. It also looks like the formations are rich in copper minerals … need to get some low level shots of the formations on my next flight up in the area.

Around home all day except for a walk and outing with One this afternoon … got several batches of coffee roasted and starting working on the garage. Need to get rid of a couple sets of custom made golf clubs, hip boots, fishing rods and reels to mention a few … have any interest? Let me know. I would rather be on the lake looking for wildlife to shoot than trying to catch fish … catch them and not release means cleaning them and cooking them and I have done all of that I want and if you do catch and release you are kinda really giving the fish a crappy day, and then after torturing him, releasing him back into the stream or lake so someone else can do the same thing to him … what a way to live! Sorry all you fisherman out there, I’m just looking at it from the fish’s viewpoint 🙁  I know, it is a great sport and fun to be out there … the camera has resolved a lot of issues for me and in the end the subjects I have shot do not know it and we all go on with life. Not sure I can get out of the hole I just dug … oh well …

Fun day coming up … not a clue what I’ll be doing except for the initial 6 shots of espresso followed by exercises and rowing machine … winds gusting to 30+ in the afternoon so likely no flying until Friday. Well, tomorrow night we’ll all know what I did … smiles.

Time to close the day out; hope you had a good one and that tomorrow will find a smile or too creeping across your face.




   I’ll not bother to reform myself today.

   Perhaps tomorrow — if it is raining,

   and I must stay indoors, and meditate

   on the shortcomings of life.


   Max Ehrmann

Blue again


… late morning I headed down to the ponds again and sure enough my friend the Osprey was down there hunting and I had some more time shooting him … the ducks have not arrived from up north yet and it was a warm beautiful day for a walk and enjoying nature and the beauty of flight as the Osprey hunted. Thence back to the airport and tackled the issues with the instrument and now it is fully functional again … yay … a stop at Wildflower Bakery for a large sugar free vanilla latte and home to One.

The winds are going to be up for the next few days, so more time to work on images and other stuff that has been nagging to get my attention. Probably a few more trips down to the ponds and other places to get shots of wildlife. Also looked through some images I shot at the Grand Canyon three years ago today … Cork, Ted, Sus, Annika and I spent that day at the Grand Canyon and it was during the government shutdown so no burning anywhere and the air in the Canyon was as pristine as we had ever seen it … nice that we all got to see it that way, especially since it was Cork’s last visit there. Good memories to carry forward and hard to believe that it is almost three years since she has been here with me.

Time to shut the day down … I’ll restart the day with lots of espresso … this morning was a fasting morning for a blood test so only water to get the day going; espresso is so much better.

Smile and share the joy you find in life with those you meet and greet … and keep breathing …




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

Blue …


… skies and birds made for a beautiful stop in a meadow up on the plateau last Friday. Got a treat jeeping over the USFS roads with a friend and was amazed at the beauty from ground level in what is usually fly over country for me. Think it would be very easy to transition into a jeep and explore the area from the ground someday. Also was pleased to see that this meadow which is only a few miles up from the rim is landable if I ever had to make a landing up there and likely it wouldn’t be too hard on the plane. It is a habit from pure glider days that you always keep some place you can land within safe gliding distance when flying cross country. For gliders you can run out of lift before you have achieved final glide home and in a motorglider engines may not restart or if running they can quit. A fun afternoon and one that will be repeated.

A relatively quiet day today … mostly studying tech manuals and then to the airport and worked on an instrument … still need more … oh well. The ideal size for a person to work on aircraft instruments is about 4’ tall and maybe 50 pounds … I cannot contort my limbs and body enough to avoid strings of expletives when working behind the panel. Another go at it tomorrow … we’ll see how it goes.

For those living in VOCA, I would strongly urge a NO vote on the proposed amendment to the bylaws. The intent is to prohibit short term rentals that could disrupt neighborhoods, but the way it is drafted it also prohibits many circumstances that should be permitted such as: having a housemate, having a live in caregiver, and more. I have been told that they will seek amendments should it pass and that it would not be enforced against those who do not do the Airbnb type thing, but selective enforcement is not permissible without rendering the amendment unenforceable against all – the proscribed activity needs to be clearly defined. The amendment is poorly drafted, does not have definitions on terms that should have them and bans activities that should be permissible – VOTE NO until they can get it worded properly.

Time to wrap the day, have a beautiful day and share a smile with someone you pass on the street today.




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