Monthly Archives: December 2016

Last flight

… of the year. Went to shoot bluebirds with a friend in the morning, found none so we had treats at Wildflower Bakery before coming home. Merry Maids did the last cleaning of the year, One and I went out for her hunt and then to the airport to get my last flight of the year in and landed about an hour before the storms moved in. It’s cool, raining and time to wrap the day and enjoy several days of rain before the sun comes back.

I took this shot from roughly over uptown looking to the north. The edge of Wilson Mountain is in the lower left corner of the image and this is the part of the mountain that an earthquake (s) cut off from the main part, dropped it about 400’ and shifted about a quarter mile. It cut the cone in two pieces … would have been a heck of a ride! In the lower right corner Munds canyon cuts up to the right towards Munds Park and to the left Oak Creek Canyon wends first to the left and then cuts back right on the way up to Flagstaff. Roughly the top 2000’ of the San Francisco peaks are in clouds and the sun was starting its descent  so a slight soft glow; Mt. Elden is far right.

Back Monday … just wanted to share the last aerial of the year. Smile and share it with those whom you meet and greet … do keep breathing.




But from the brooding beauty of the night, and daily dancing shafts of golden sun …

The mystery and wonder of the world … that play the soundless music of the soul

And fill the heart with memory’s olden dreams … From these will come at last your faith in God.


Max Ehrmann

Happy New Year

It has been a good year … time with friends and family … fun activities and lots of days to remember that bring a slow and warm smile to the face … days like today where I walked the ponds and got some shots of a very young Coopers Hawk departing a branch in a swampy patch as he dove into thick reeds to capture dinner. The last shot in the series I took of his dive shows only a small portion of him … mostly reeds … and he had at least another four feet to go down. Check those talons out … so, he got his dinner and another creature fulfilled his purpose in providing nutrition to the hawk … wonder what purpose we are meant to fulfill. 

A quiet rest of the year and hoping to get a flight or two in before the New Year … weather moving in so who knows. 

Spend time with friends and family, friends are the family you choose and they you … very special …  

Keep breathing and smiling … that’s it for this year, thank you! 



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



… no missive last night as the shuttle was hours late picking me up at Sky Harbor and I didn’t get home until 2:30AM and couldn’t make  myself turn on the computer or upload images to it.

It was a wonderful trip, as always, and this was the first time in more than 20 years we have all spent Christmas together … what fun it was … and yesterday hot chocolate at the Ritz overlooking the 18th hole of the original course and then inside, warmed by the chocolate to have a nice dessert.  I got the Red Tail when Ted and I were golfing; only had the 24/70 lens, but luckily was close.

Today was a quiet day, catching up on a few things, doing the wash and other exciting chores around here … other than that, not much; One has spent a lot of time on my lap (still there) and taking a nap on top of me when I decided to take one … think she missed me a bit. She only went out for a few minutes (me too) and then back inside where it is warm. A dinner, not the caliber which I became accustomed to up there, but it was quick and easy. A pizza of sorts on a large garlic flat bread … olive oil, spices, blue cheese, olives, mushrooms and artichoke hearts covered with mozzarella cheese, baked and then browned. Actually pretty good!

Starting my fourteenth, maybe fifteenth year of sending these missives and photos out next week … started with perhaps fifty to a hundred and it has spread and thousands enjoy them now … a good way to spend time methinks and the rewards are enormous … I hear from others that they enjoy what I do … WOW!

So smile, share your joy and perhaps we can help another person have a beautiful day … it is a choice.




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

An off shore breeze

… was whipping through the area today and whilst the air was fresh, it was also very cool. Ted and I played a round on the ocean course in HMB today and considering that it was my first round of golf in three years, it was not too bad; I actually hit a number of very good shots, and also hit significantly more really not good shots. It was fun!

The shot is from the golf course, the Ritz Carlton is on the point and to the left of it and way back there is the harbor and off to the left of that about a mile off shore is Mavericks , home of large surfing contests; waves over 45 feet.

A quieter day today and fun being together with both Sus and Jogi and their girls.

Home tomorrow and see my lonely little One; thanks to Jim & Eric for taking care of her for me. Plan is to take her with me when I travel in 2017 and stay for a while in different places for longer periods of time.

Have a wonderful day and smile … make yours and someone elses day.



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

a gift

Ted and I stopped at the pier in HMB yesterday and it was cold and it was breezy so not much was flying. I looked over the edge of the pier and saw this Great Blue Heron feeding … took the shot, got a few of some gulls and back to a warm car. Church, the traditional spaghetti dinner and called it a day.

A wonderful Christmas with family and friends, a few movies and way to much good food.

Hope you had a terrific day too … smile and share your joy.



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

Merry Christmas

This is a departure from prior years, but sometimes you take a shot and it stays with you and every time you look at it, it gives you new insights into life and is symbolic of so much that is part of your belief system. This is such a photograph for me. I was at the Grand Canyon with a friend last summer and she was trying to feed this raven, he was having none of it, spread his wings and the ridge lift coming up from the canyon floor lifted him off of the rock wall and he was soaring out over the canyon … the lighting was such that his shadow is on the rock wall he lifted off from and ahead of him the vastness of the canyon and life that lies ahead … meeting it head on!

Believe … in yourself, in your faith and for Christians the gift that is from God. I celebrate Christmas, but regardless of your faith the message is the same, believe, have faith and insofar as possible live it and share your joy with others.

So, Merry Christmas to you … and while I continue breathing, I will be sharing my photography and thoughts with you. Like my father, I believe that all people are inherently good … life can change that, but it doesn’t have to. Choices … make the ones that when remembered will bring a smile to your face … and that of others.

Into the Christmas weekend and a Grussing/Mihara/Grogan/Hagebak celebration … back on Monday.

Blessings, smiles and joy


But from the brooding beauty of the night, and daily dancing shafts of golden sun …

The mystery and wonder of the world … that play the soundless music of the soul

And fill the heart with memory’s olden dreams … From these will come at last your faith in God.


Max Ehrmann

Off road tentacles

This is a cinder hill several miles south of Sunset Crater and as you look closely at it you can see that it is covered with tire grooves from off road vehicles; in a way it adds to the beauty from the air and gives texture and highlights to this small cinder hill in the SF volcanic field. If they banned traffic in the area it would likely take decades to hundreds of years to recover and become a naturally featured landscape again … it is good that they restricted the access to Sunset Crater in 1973 to prevent erosion like this from progressing and it is pretty well healed now. So this a combination of natural and man made art … hope you enjoy it.

Fun day and tomorrow a busy one getting ready for the trip to Half Moon Bay and Christmas with my daughters and their families. Had lunch with friends from California today and then a totally relaxing afternoon at home … like a nap whilst listening to the rain … love it.

A wrap for the day and hope you enjoyed the day too. So many blessings come our way each day … friends, family and we get to enjoy the beauty of this tiny planet we call home. Keep breathing and share your joy.



For a few hours here in the still morning I wash myself clean of civilization, and purge myself of things and the accumulated rubbish of time.

I push back history, dismiss interpreters, and stand erect before the dawn, looking the universe in the face, and asking my own questions.

Tomorrow I shall return to the human wheels; but now I defy the world of customs and laws, of sophistry and serfdom; and I yield myself childlike

to the light and the air and the sweet scented dew.


Max Ehrmann

Coming around

… the mountain … it was fun to be back up at the peaks, winds were down to 20 kts at altitude and perpendicular to the west facing slopes, so I made a number of passes along the mountain starting at 12,500’ and swinging back at successively lower altitudes. This shot was taken at roughly at 11,670’ and catches the upper portion of Arizona Snow Bowl; the peak is of course Agassiz Peak which tops out at about 12,300’. There were hundreds of skiers and snow boarders on the slopes and it looked like a great day for skiing. I made a few more passes back and forth until I was down to 10,000’ and then headed around the north side of the peaks and spent some time shooting Sunset Crater, getting some close ups of the heart shaped crater and also patterns in the volcanic fields in the area before heading home. 

Heading back up there in the morning as I want to get more shots of the patterns in the volcanic fields. Some of the shots I got today were of smaller cones where off road vehicles have been ripping them up going up and down the cinder cones, that kind of damage will likely not repair itself for decades if ever, but there are some beautiful patters they have carved into the cones … perhaps one of those tomorrow night. 

Hope your day was terrific and the new day as good or better. Cheers, life is good! 



Though changed as are my songs from youth,

A voice within my heart still sings,

Live thou in tenderness and truth,

And love mankind instead of things.


Max Ehrmann


… it is that time when I am going to have to sit down and dream up a composite for my Christmas greeting … so here is a beginning effort with One and a shot of the SF Peaks after an early snow storm. I got the photo of One this afternoon on her daily outing as she was looking around to make sure that her protection (me) was keeping up with her and now she is using the mountains as camouflage for a mythical hunt. So a little prep whilst I think of something to put together for Christmas … perhaps she could take over for Rudolf? Naw, she is free, not harnessed.

A delightful day, projects were worked on, some were finished, some not and some not even looked at. Tomorrow looks like the same kind of day, but with some airtime added and hopefully the USFS won’t be doing any burning for the rest of the year so that over the Christmas holidays we will have the gift of clean air. A nice thought!

No brilliant life messages, just keep on keeping on, and smile … we’re alive for now and though we know the day will come when we are not, at least we have this day and that is all there is … ever.

Cheers and thank you for all the nice Christmas greetings I am getting.



I thought that time went sweet and soft and slow,

And left no marks save those of gentleness

That bound you to my life with strong caress;

And you saw naught but all my soul’s deep truth,

No fading bloom, nor form the years bent low,

But ever still the beauty of my youth.


Max Ehrmann


… does not just apply to gem cutting, designs in art or beautiful landscape photography, but also in real life action such as this pair of Ring Neck ducks taking off at the ponds. The timing of their wing beats, and webbed feet propelling them along the water and throwing water into the air is nearly perfect as are the reflections of both ducks and the water being flung into the air… I just love this shot!

‘twas a wonderful weekend and I think a lot was accomplished. First time I have touched up the interior paint in a couple of years so was glad to get that done and this week will see the carpets cleaned again too. It is one of those neat activities that you can do that does not require heavy thought and yet you end up with tremendous satisfaction when you look at the result. My chili was a great hit too, but then I use USDA Choice filet of beef in it and I love that stuff! Starting to get in the Christmas spirit and flying up to Half Moon Bay later this week and spend Christmas with my daughters and their families; friends will be here to take care of One for me.

Got a good start on my new stone tonight; after the issues I had with the laser ruby I decided to up the risk and cut a nice natural stone, so am cutting a beautiful piece of amethyst and will have it done by Wednesday and will send a photo out of it. The skills appear to have come back as has familiarity with the faceting machine and the nuances of cutting intricate patterns in the stone and holding tolerances of a ten thousandth of an inch on facet junctions and optically flat surfaces under 10x magnification (super polish). When you do not have a commercial cutting operation you can strive for tolerances like this because it takes much more time … so, we’ll see how it comes out.

Time to wrap the day and get a few hours’ sleep before I load up with espresso again.

Have a beautiful day … ‘tis the season, so share your joy and a few smiles with all you meet and greet … and put a smile in your voice too; amazing how good it makes others feel and it likely will come around to you too … if not, you have at least made someone elses day a little better.




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