Monthly Archives: January 2017


… I did my best not to disturb the wildlife at the ponds as they prepared  for another night, feeding, sunning themselves and soaking up the last rays of the sun. The reflections of golden pond banks and blue sky elicited a feeling that all is well on planet earth … and it is! In the back we have a drake Ring Neck duck and in the foreground a drake Blue Bill as they swam up the far side of the pond I was shooting.

Another quiet day around here too and One enjoys the warmer weather and spent over an hour outside today. She sticks pretty much to our yard … it is safe and I provide courtesy  backup for her.

Time to wrap the day … have a beautiful day … on a beautiful planet




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


… many times when you are shooting winged creatures you get all sky which produces a nice shot of the critter, but doesn’t tell much of a story … believe me, I have many of those! Then there are the shots where you have more than feathered friend and sky and this is one of those. I had a lot of fun down at the ponds over the weekend and got some really neat shots, but this was today so of course it is better and rather than clean out all the branches I thought it best to show you what the incredible concentration and pose is all about. This is a Black Hawk and he was cruising the area today and I got this shot as he was flaring and intent on a particular branch that he planned to and did land on. The branch he landed on was about four feet above where he is in this photo … thanks to a setting that keeps focus on the subject and ignores intervening stuff I got eight more shots as he flared and landed in the midst of a tangle of branches. Those are more of interest to me than anyone else … cool stuff!

Nice to have the sun, blue skies and warmer temperatures again … and the days  are getting longer :+)

Into a new week … enjoy the moments that are granted to you and make them memorable by helping others enjoy the day too.




Everything is still, and the soft night air is cool.

The sky seems very near, and the stars lie over the heavens

like fields of daisies stretching on and on.

The moon is passing in and out of the clouds, making a shadow-checkered day

of  the night , and breaking the sky with shafts of gold.

All silent, the universe is doing its work – beautiful, mysterious, religious!


Max Ehrmann

Five minutes

… and then I was headed back to the valley and lower altitudes which translate into higher temperatures … if you can call 24F warm. I did get into the air mid-afternoon and temperature on the ground was a balmy 44F (you’re kidding, right?) so I got Mariah out and took off with the intention of spending an hour or so photographing the peaks and volcanic field.  Yeah, sure thing … at 7,000’ the OAT (outside air temperature) was down to 24F and by the time I got up to the peaks at 11,000’ I was down to single digit OAT and my fingers were going numb (no gloves). Do I have cabin heat? Absolutely I do, but the heat is derived from air coming in, passing around the muffler and then into the cabin. So you have air traveling around 80mph passing over a muffler that is about 7 inches in diameter and then straight into the cabin. The exhaust gases are about 1400F so the muffler is pretty warm, but the single digit air spends about 1/200th of a second getting warm as it passes over the muffler … and the sun was on my back so not much help from that. So the planned hour or so up there lasted five minutes.

And what does freezing temperatures and fingers look like? Like this … it was absolutely beautiful! Heated gloves and socks next time, or perhaps I’ll just wait for warmer days … naw, can’t do that. The peak on the left is Humphreys, the Agassiz and far right Fremont. Snow Bowl is in the basin left of the ridge line coming down from Agassiz and you can see some of the lower runs. It was beautiful and worth the numb fingers.

I am looking for a service that allows me to post larger and higher res images for those on the Constant Contact list and if any of you have an idea I would like to hear it. They reduce the size substantially so that it reduces the bandwidth used I guess.

You can also see my missives and photos at: ,  and Gateway to Sedona has just added a permanent display of my photographs at:  and of course I maintain an archive at  Please visit the websites of these very nice people who host my work.

Into the weekend and hope you have a wonderful time … stay warm and smile.



Give me to gladly go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day


Max Ehrmann


… the sun was warm and otherwise gray rocks glowed a warm and rich color … the mountain cast its shadow as far as the eye could see and clouds that were not blocked by the mountain picked up rich colors as well … volcanic cones were in the shadow of the peaks as well. So it was on September 29th of 2016. The peak on the left is Humphreys Peak at 12,633’and on the right Agassiz Peak at 12,360’. Within the bowl on the right are the upper runs of Snow Bowl Ski Resort … on the left side in the clearing below the tree line you can see the white debris which are the remnants of a B-24 Bomber that slammed into the mountain on a night mission on September 15, 1944 killing all eight crew members.

A nice day and I actually got out for a while and was considering getting an afternoon flight in, but the snow on top of the shade was so heavy I could get the steel poles out in the front – that meant the motorglider was a prisoner … hired a friend to clean it off and tomorrow will find me in the air and methinks it will be a beautiful (and cool) flight. The ISO group was over tonight and some absolutely stunning photographs were shared. I love beautiful images whether I shoot them or not!

Quite a few replies like what the heck is this adiabatic lapse rate all about. It is the temperature differentials between different air masses. For soaring pilots it is used to determine the soaring potential for a given day. As the sun warms the earth, the air above the ground is heated, which causes it to expand making it less dense than the cooler air around it so it rises and as it rises it cools and it is the lapse rate which is used to predict how high the air will rise before it cools and the convection stops. This rising air is one of the three principal types of lift we use to gain altitude … altitude is stored energy or fuel for a glider which is spent when traveling laterally across the surface of the earth. My motorglider “Mariah” has a sink rate of 165’ per minute and a glide ratio of 30/1 which means in the normal conditions it will travel across the surface a mile while losing about 175’ of altitude. It never works out that way in real world soaring … sometimes much less and sometimes much more, but it is a starting point for estimating what you can do. Traveling cross country in a sailplane is a series of working lift and gaining altitude and then spending it while flying across the surface. Fun, challenging and really busy. Anyhow a discussion of the lapse rate is at:

A wrap and hoping for at least 40F tomorrow. Smile and share your joy … someone needs the smile that only you can give.




Thou. Great God, uphold me also in the lonely hour; and though I fall in the din and the dust of the world, resurrect Thou me.

Even to the last, turn my hands to kindly service, and part my lips in gleeful songs of love.

And in the softly falling dark, when all grows strangely still,

May I be glad to have trod the sweet green earth, and know the tender touch of love.

Yet may I depart with joy, as one who journeys home at evening.


Max Ehrmann


… One found a place where she could be well hidden and wait for prey to unwittingly come near her so that she could launch an attack … don’t think it happened, but she was ready for whatever and you can see it in her eyes. She is a bit demanding when inside, particularly when it comes to the first brushing … she finds a spot where the sun is streaming in and makes sure I follow her with brush in hand. If I fail to comply immediately she will bite my leg (not hard) until I follow her to the selected site. The brushing comes before I am allowed to have my espresso and cheddar on sourdough toast. I get a break on days like we have been having … overcast!

A very cool day, snow, rain, snow and nice to be inside again today. I had planned to fly tomorrow because the sun is supposed to make an appearance and the lower level winds are down, but the surface high is only predicted to be 37F and I’m not so sure I feel like that … using the dry adiabatic lapse rate, the temperature decreases by about 5.5F per thousand feet so it would be below freezing at 6000’ (airport is 4828’) … we’ll see, maybe if it is a nice bright warm sun … hoping … the canopy kind of acts like a greenhouse warming up in the sun.

Getting very much into the online course work and audible books again … over half the day devoted to course work … a truly unusual dinner, defies description, but tasty.

Have a beautiful day and  time for me to wrap the one just past




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


… on a cold, windy, overcast and rainy day. My only outing today was to take the garbage can out to the street, otherwise One and I enjoyed the great indoors and the wintry day roaring outside the windows. Lots of espresso, sharp cheddar and thanks to a very thoughtful friend a dinner already prepared and ready to eat just as I was beginning to think of cooking something.

Online course work studying the constitution and enjoying that immensely. If you have never studied it, I highly recommend it … if you do not know where you came from you will never know where you are or why. A very good article to start with is the one on “Tyranny of the Majority” which was at the root of the founders devising our representative/republican form of government.  this is a concept that is as relevant today as it was then and will be in the future. A few chapters in the book I am reading and work on photos too … that kind of filled the day out.

I looked through my clothes this morning and as I always do when my favorite shirt is not in the wash, I wore it … the collar is threadbare, frayed and kind of falling apart … so are the cuffs and other edges, a few stains too … but I like it. It feels good … I should throw it, but I won’t, even though I may eventually only be able to wear it at home. I suppose I will know the time is here when people offer to buy me a cup of coffee or food when I am out …

Same with music, it sets the mood for me when I write these missives after selecting a photo to send out. Kenny G’s album “Duotones” tonight. We first saw him in the 1980’s when he was lead in to George Benson at Universal Amphitheater.  He and his group got standing ovations and far outshined the main show and in the green room afterwards you have never seen a happier group of guys!

It would have been a good day to travel west to east today. I checked the winds aloft for the fun of it today and the winds at 30,000’ were from the west at 143 kts or about 165 mph. Nice to have on the tail, but not so good if traveling E to W … at Vne (velocity to never exceed) I would have been going backwards at about 55 kts.

Time to wrap the day … this is a shot I took Saturday afternoon up at the end of the runway … it was beautiful. Have a terrific day, keep breathing and enjoy life … help others do so 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

IT’S MINE … naturally

… whether human or critter, pecking orders are established and the strongest/smartest prevails … survival is at the very essence and nature of every living thing and food is necessary for survival … so even though the food at this lake is sold to feed the Koi in the lake, other creatures learn that where the Koi are fed is also an excellent place to dine for themselves. Here we have a duck of unknown or ascertainable heritage, taking the food right out of the mouth of a Koi fish. The duck is up the food chain and has become adept at surviving … the Koi does not exactly look underfed and perhaps our waterfowl friend  is helping the Koi keep a new year’s resolution to go on a diet :+)

Spent the afternoon at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix with friends and got quite a few neat shots. Snowing when I left Sedona and a day of rain coming up again tomorrow and Tuesday too. First sunny day this week the plan will be to go north and shoot the peaks and SF Volcanic Field … the Little Colorado River should be raging and thus Grand Falls should be spectacular too.

More online course work and audible books. I’ve pretty much given up watching movies and such on Amazon Fire and dropped Netflix too. The thing about reading books or listening to them, is that you get to create your own world where the story plays out and create your own imagery for what people look like … it forces the mind to work, and I like that. Dropped cable more than three years ago … the television set still works as a good monitor for web browsing, displaying photos and such though. Change … the one constant in life!

Have a beautiful week, smile and share your joy … good things happen and besides, no one wants to be around a grump.




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

Passing by

… on the way from what I call the lake area S and SE of Flagstaff to the Rogers Lake area yesterday I took a few shots out the side of Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks area, cruising just above the clouds at 10,500’ enjoying the view. Pulliam Field (Flagstaff Airport) is between the lower clouds and Flagstaff itself just about center and spreading in all directions. Kendrick Peak (partial) is far left horizon, a couple numbered but not named volcanic cones and then the SF Peaks and Mt. Elden far right and also partial. In the far distance on the left side you can see … kinda … the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

A very quiet and self-indulgent day free from any type of work and much time just enjoying the stormy weather … a couple of lectures for an online course on the Constitution I am taking and a few hours with an Audible book. I had planned on going into town for a deluxe cheeseburger at Senor Bob, but the rain started coming down hard … made kind of a goulash which was actually very good and then more of the same this evening. One of those truly neat days where you don’t really accomplish much, but you thoroughly enjoy doing not much :+)

Into a stormy weekend and really plan on enjoying it … hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you can make someone else’s day a little better too. Celebrate the freedom we enjoy and the peaceful transition of power that we have been blessed with in this country for more than two hundred years. Life is good! Back Monday morning.




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

Arizona’s largest natural lake

… is Mormon Lake … it is an intermittent lake and when full has a surface area of about twelve square miles … overall average is about a square mile and average depth of ten feet. I took this shot early afternoon and was able to get a short flight in before I had appointments in Cottonwood and it does appear to be full or nearly so. The village is on the right side of the image and behind the lake is Lake Mary Road? Anyhow it is fun to see it with so much water in it. If I recall a conversation with a geologist friend it is also a fracture zone where the water helps feed the aquifers. Need to check on that. Rogers Lake is also quite full and meadows look like shallow lakes.

A nice day … storm systems moving in tonight and winter weather warnings for the next several days.

Need to wrap this because Suddenlink is going down shortly for maintenance and will not be up until tomorrow morning. Have a terrific day and who knows I may catch up on emails as unlikely as that may seem.

Smile and keep on breathing … best way to spend a day.




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


… a quiet morning around here … espresso, sharp cheddar on sourdough toast, checking email and news headlines and an eye on the sky hoping for some sun. Mid-afternoon it was up to the airport with hopes for sun on the plateau, but that didn’t work out so well as the cloud layer over the plateau where I wanted to shoot was overcast and only an envelope of about 2,000’ to fly in so I headed SW where there was some blue sky and did some shooting of Sycamore Canyon.

I took this shot from a couple of miles S of the Verde River looking pretty much to the NNE. The Verde River is at the bottom of the image and the flow is from left to right, curving upwards a bit and Sycamore Creek joins the Verde River near the apex of the curve. And just to the right of the confluence is the parking area where you can access trails into Sycamore Canyon … you can see the dirt road coming in from the right side of the image. Looking further up the canyon you have Black Mountain to the right  of the canyon, being a flat top mountain it may not look like one, but it is. The canyon is about 21 miles long and 7 miles wide … and very beautiful. On the horizon from the left is Sitgreaves Mountain, then Kendrick Peak which has the top portion in the clouds and then the San Francisco Peaks, although you can’t really see them because the cloud ceiling is so low.

Although the size of this in megapixels is about the same, I used a higher compression ratio and the dimensions are about half again as big as usual … should give you close to a full screen image.

Time to wrap the day … looks like some sun tomorrow before another storm system rolls in tomorrow night, so maybe more air time … we’ll see how it looks over espresso in about six hours. Have a beautiful day … share your joy and keep breathing.




To be somewhere alone with you and watch the myriad stars,

Far golden worlds beyond the noisy earth’s unkindly jars.

As quietly they sail night’s sea, above the world and you and me.


Max Ehrmann