Moonlight Beach

… one of my favorite beaches and I took this shot a couple of years ago when a friend and I went down there after dinner and spent some time taking in the beauty that is end of day where ocean and land meet. There were a lot of people at the beach and pit fires were numerous and the sea was quiet and illuminated by last light … time for dreaming, telling stories and reflecting on life … another beautiful day wrapping up and hopes for yet another one to follow. I think I will always return to the sea for renewal and the plans are to head back over there in August for a while.



The  heat continues, the monsoons have not yet arrived and smoke is in the sky as far as a person can see which means virtually no decent aerial shots to be had … but the rain will come and clean the air … for a while. The plan is to fly early again on Friday and a friend has told me that the Elk are gathering in the Mormon lake area again so perhaps some low level flights to see if I can get some shots of them. Probably use the 70-200mm lens to pull them in. Normally I am shooting with the 24-70mm lens. Just for kicks I think I’ll bring my 400mm prime lens along too and see if I can get something in it. Your field of view using the 400mm is only about 5 degrees so it is a definite challenge when you’re doing the flying and shooting too. The neat thing is that if you do nail it, it can be awesome!

A fun day coming up, so time to wrap this one, get a few hours sleep and then up early, infuse at least 6 shots of espresso and then it is out for the morning. Also a wrap for the week and I’ll be back Monday morning. Have a beautiful day and weekend and smile … someone is in need of one!




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

Alien life

… at least that is what One appears to be thinking as she explores an impact in a slough in the Minnesota River bottoms near Shakopee. This is part of the farm that my Dad used to lease the hunting rights on when we were kids and we spent more than a few days and hours down there. During hunting season I frequently found more lessons in life down there than I did in school and yes we put our shotguns in the trunk when the weather looked good for hunting and frequently ditched school when to go down there and hunt. Bruce and I went down there a few years ago and it was everything I remembered and more. Somethings do not change and are timeless and this place is one of them. The Marshall family owned it then, no idea who owns it now.  I still hunted after Corky and I were married and she used to go down there with me … and then a time came when I grew tired of killing the ducks and pheasants and switched to cameras and now I can shoot the same creature over and over and I capture the beauty of his flight and he retains his life … a reasonable accommodation methinks.

I had a nice flight this morning and spent a few hours this afternoon shooting water drops as they broke the surface in a dish of water… I also tried dropping blueberries and other stuff into the dish, shot clear water, ice tea and coffee. The impact in this image is ice tea and there is a column of ice tea pouring into the dish and the impact crater can be seen forming as the incoming is still making its entry. I made several attempts at doing a dreamier image like the one with Q last night, but nothing was working for me until I tried this concept. There is a difference between water coming out of a spout and water impacting the surface of a body of water. I took over a thousand shots and have it whittled down to 110 and plan to cut that to no more than 50. The blueberry shots didn’t work out so well, the ice tea had the neatest light and shadow as well as some color. I forgot to stop at the store for food color on the way home from the airport so couldn’t try that. Bought some more LED lighting to use on the next shoot and will likely do some more next week.

A week from today my Alumacraft boat is loaded on a truck at the factory and a few days later it arrives here. Absolutely phenomenal adventures to follow as I explore the small and large lakes in Arizona, shooting wildlife … the boat is camo inside and out so will get some camo clothing too.

Time to wrap the day … have a fantastic day … smile and share your joy and do keep breathing.




…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


… I have completed the set up for the water shots, but because I spent so much time doing other things, like relaxing, I didn’t get the shots today … a substitution with a composite I did of Q in February of 2013. This is a three image composite with Q, water coming off the roof spouts and some clouds. Q was still healthy then, but two months later he contracted a very aggressive cancer and passed on 5/23/2013 … so this is kind of a trip back for me and remembrances of a wonderful friend. I have an idea for one similar to this with One and we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow.

Flying early in the morning and then the water shoot. Need to buy some food coloring too and see what color looks best … I’m betting on the blue. A few years ago I bought a table size diffusor tent which helps get rid of shadows and this will be the first time I have used it … it is a tool and I have been collecting tools for a very long time … never know when you will need it and this is its moment. I have other tools I have not used too, but when the need arises, I will be able to do the job :+) Then there is the matter of my favorite clothing … the tattered ones. My favorite golf shirt is a grey polo by Land’s End. I washed it yesterday and when putting it back in the closet, noticed that the fraying had worsened and beyond that the collar is only partially attached to the shirt … figured I’d wear it one more time (today) and then put it to rest in a landfill; after another full day of wearing it, the collar is still pretty much attached and I’m wondering if I can get another day out of it? I may try … ‘tis hard to get rid of old, comfortable articles of clothing … and it delays my new shirts from showing signs of wear. Oh well, another quirky habit … just something special and comfortable about the old clothing …

Time to do a wrap … have a genuinely wonderful fourth of July celebration … what incredible courage our founders had … read the declaration that they signed and the ramifications that signing that document had for them; essentially they made those declarations knowing that it was also a death warrant if they failed, but they didn’t, still for most of the signers they lost everything they had, but they passed down a legacy of freedom … cherish it … hundreds of thousands of our best have given their lives and wealth so that we may retain our freedom. Our founding documents are based on the premise that our rights and freedom come from God, not man, not government.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

Have a beautiful day and celebrate our common God given rights which is the cornerstone of our great nation … they come from our creator, not other men!!!




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

Turning the corner

… at the SW end of Long Canyon there are some very neat formations as you turn to the NW and the pillar on the end has an apparent doorway opening into the interior and what looks like a sentinel sitting on the left side of the opening … the entire formation also looks like it could be  large cat … maybe a passage into the nether world or a UFO hangar or …?  The red rocks are kinda like clouds, you can gaze at them and see faces, animals or anything you can imagine.

Over breakfast at Enchantment this morning I decided to spend the afternoon shooting water … blue water … set up a dish of it, mount the camera on a tripod and with a straw collect and inch or so of water in it, hold it above the dish start shooting and release the water to splash down into the dish. The 1D-X shoots 12 frames per second, so there is a pretty good probability of getting some neat shots as the water breaks the surface; instead I spent the afternoon listening to an audio book, a couple loads of wash, out with One and over to a friends for a 4th of July party … more listening tonight.  Seems strange to celebrate the 4th on the 2nd and to have the 4th falling on a Tuesday.

Another beautiful week underway and methinks I’ll do the setup and shoot the water later this morning … being a controlled shoot I should be able to get at least a few shots to turn out. Have a terrific day and share a smile with those you meet and greet today each day and each moment you have the opportunity to make a difference in some one’s life … do it!




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

Quiet times

… mid-January, late afternoon looking up Sycamore Canyon from near the end of the canyon. Sycamore creek wends its way from the lower right corner upstream through the canyon;  low clouds obscure the San Francisco Peaks and Kendrick Peak while from the left horizon, Bill Williams Mountain and Sitgreaves touch cloud base. No sign of humans, and life continues as our little planet hurtles through space circumnavigating our star the sun and collectively our solar system is circumnavigating the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way … the journey will continue until it doesn’t and at some moment in what seems to us the distant future, earth will cease to exist. It is helpful that our life spans are so short as we do not sense or appreciate the constant change that our home is constantly experiencing … I like us, but there will be a time yet to come when we may not be and that is okay too … we will have played our part in the evolution and life of our planet and perhaps we will find a new home, somewhere out in the stars … sweet, but if not, that is okay too. For now, we can appreciate life on planet earth and the special quiet times and places where we can ponder life and our role in it and in a few hours I will be back at it and beginning my day with multiple shots of espresso … life continues.

I think I got a lot done today … pretty sure I did … some important things, like  ordering two bottles of Tabasco Chipotle sauce from Amazon, determining  that there are usually 16 rows of corn on an ear of corn and that the number of rows is usually an even number. I finally came to understand that the number of belt loops on men’s pants is directly related to the price of the pants. Better quality ones have seven loops, less expensive have five loops and Dockers have six … I have all of them.

Time to wrap the day and the week. If you are planning on coming north this weekend, rethink it as we are currently buried in smoke from wildfires up here and fire conditions are in a high state of risk.  Check with the USFS for conditions in the forest you are planning on visiting; conditions are not good and in the Goodwin Fire between I-17 and Prescott, there are mandatory evacuations being ordered in some communities. If you do come up, be careful.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend … I’ll be back on Monday the 3rd .




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


… as in a mixture of dissimilar things, a jumble or whatever … one of the opals I finished today in approximately the actual size and a photo that Jens just sent me a few minutes ago from a trip our families took together back in 1986 and I think it was on the ferry from Germany to Denmark? Anyhow from left to right, Corky, me, Jogi, Michael and Sus. Terrific memories and thank you Jens; keep scanning.

Another day mostly in the great indoors working on gemstones, out for some PT and then down time listening to another Grisham novel … Sycamore Row, and it is one of my favorites that I have read/listened to of his work. Got some nice yields on a few stones with the Burma ruby coming in at 1.31 ct; had been worried it was going to go south of 1 ct. all the opals turned out nice, the emerald split, oh well, I knew it was a possibility with that stone … to the landfill with that one. The gem silica (chrysacolla) came out a very translucent robin egg blue … love that material and I got a start on the Turquoise.

Time to wrap the day … work on photos in the morning, turquoise in the afternoon and the ISO group over in the evening.

Have a beautiful day, remember those beautiful days already lived, but focus on and live today so that you remain in the present and add to the beautiful days already lived. Smile and share your joy.




If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember.

You are braver than you believe,

Stronger than you seem, and

Smarter than you think.

But the important thing is, even if we’re apart … I’ll always be with you.

A. Milne


… also known as time between overhaul and it appears that this crow is just about at the limit with missing barbules in his feather structure … still everything seems to be working good as he launched from the top branch of this pine tree on the tee box behind our home. Kind of reminds me of how I feel some days :+)  It was hot and One seems to just go through the motions in this heat … me too. The crows are having some difficulty with the heat too and when on a perch their beaks are wide open trying to keep their systems cool; fortunate for me I had a bottle of Purely Sedona, ice cold water.

Supposed to be below 100F here tomorrow with a high of 99F and it will find me remaining in the house working on projects; finished the twelve stones today … eight opals, two gem silica chrysacolla, a ruby and an emerald. There are few things more satisfying than pulling the final polish on a gem quality stone and seeing the beauty that has been extracted from the earth after hundreds of thousands of years waiting to be discovered.

Starting a neat project for a friend tomorrow with a very old and beautiful piece of natural turquoise from the Kingman mines. I bought it about thirty years ago and Keith said he had the piece for close to the same length of time before selling it to me.

I think the photo tomorrow will have to be of some gems … maybe I’ll document the two new projects, (turquoise and also a carved quartz tube) in similar fashion as the large opal project I did a couple of years ago. That is the Molly Stone a 1040 carat top gem quality opal now residing in the GIA Museum in Carlsbad, California. I wrote a peer reviewed article on that project for Gems and Gemology, the quarterly journal of the GIA, and it can be viewed at: .

Got the day started with breakfast at Enchantment Resort … love that place. Have a beautiful day and share the beauty that is life with those you meet and greet; nothing does it better than a smile.



For life holds cheers as well as tears,

Take this old toast from me:

This world a riddle hard you call …

A mess from which you fain would shrink?

Perhaps ’tis wisdom, all in all.

To learn to laugh as well as think.


Max Ehrmann

What we live for

… early evening a trip to the airport, get the aircraft out of the hangar, preflight it, hop in and belt in, close the canopy, start the engine, taxi to the end of the runway and then apply take off power and accelerate down the runway … faster and then that momentary awkward feeling as you transition from racing down the runway and rotate and transition into flight leaving the earth behind and below … looking into the vast expanses of space and but for the limitations of our equipment we would continue the journey into space.

I took this shot of a Cessna Citation 525 taking off at sunset one evening and he was climbing out at a few thousand feet per minute heading for ….  Oh well, some day it will happen and in the meantime we can dream and imagine it every time we start down the runway … will this be the time when we suspend the natural laws and break free? Go Bezos, Musk and all the others trying to make it happen!

A cooling trend coming up this week … YES …

Into the new week and it does look like it will be a beautiful week … friends and fun things … putting the final polish on twelve stones tomorrow and then a few complex carving ideas I have been thinking about will be attempted … one thing I know is that it is not unusual for some of these things to work in my mind, but not in reality. They really look neat to me so I hope they work; first is about an 8mm hollow piece of quartz, high polish in and out with holes drilled facing forward to take a round blue sapphire and side diamonds. The trick will be to convert the concept to reality. I’ve done some more complex pieces in black jade before, so hope this will work. A turquoise project begins this week too … maybe some in progress shots along the way.

Time to wrap the day and it has been a good one … hope yours was too.

Smile and share the joy you find in the moment … that is where you are and so am I :+)



At nightfall…though I know I shall sometime no more

Open my eyes to the light or day, I am one who looks at stars when

Unchained from the work-bench at Nightfall.

They are a sign that I am not ephemeral,

Not 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

looking forward

… to the coolness of fall … this is a shoot from last September down at the ponds in Page Springs. It was near days end and the Great Blue had a pretty relaxed attitude as he flew along the water occasionally dipping his wing in the water and casting his reflection onto the surface of the water and the water reflecting up onto the inner wing. Too warm for a trip down there now with a high of 108F this afternoon, One and I are hiding out in the cool depths of our home. Except for some morning errands I have to run, I think that will be the plan for tomorrow too.

Some cutting projects in progress, a little writing and a lot of ice tea in the fridge … it is nice to not have the pressure of deadlines in the practice anymore and nice to refer work out and focus on a new book I’m reading or a gemstone I am cutting; currently 14 stones dopped up and about 70% completed … opal, chrysacolla – gem silica, amethyst and Oregon sunstone.

Into the weekend for me and I’ll be back Monday morning. Be careful out there in the heat and be aware that the USFS has implemented Stage II fire restrictions in the Coconino National Forest. If you are planning any activities in the forest please check that forests website out for restrictions.  You do not want to be the cause of or caught in a fire out there.

Have a beautiful day and share a smile with those you meet and greet.



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

Kendrick … hoping

… I took this shot of Kendrick Mountain on October 1st of 2016 and it was a beautiful day to get the fall colors on the eastern slopes; all across the eastern facing slopes you can see the downed and dead timber left from the Pumpkin Fire, years ago. The USFS is burning this downed and concentrated fuel, from the top down in order to remove it from the landscape; many of the dead trees are still standing and they pose a threat to anyone in the area because they could come down anytime. I’m sincerely hoping that the fires they are igniting do not also take out the  trees or the leaves on the trees that produce these beautiful fall colors too … we’ll see come fall.

In the background top the right side of Kendrick are two other mountains in the lineup; first is Sitgreaves Mountain and behind that Bill Williams Mountain. Behind me to the east are the San Francisco Peaks which were also dressed in beautiful fall colors. Fall … cool weather to look forward to. Think we hit 108F in the Village today and hotter tomorrow. Other than an outing with One after 7PM tonight I explored the great indoors all day; finished another audio book “The Litigators” by Grisham and thoroughly enjoyed it. Started another book tonight and am pondering a flight first thing in the morning before it heats up. I do love cool :+) Kinda fun to wake up late (6:30) and then just relax, listen to a book and infuse espresso. I’m convincing myself I think … espresso and relaxation.

Stay cool … smile and enjoy the day … help someone else enjoy it too.



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