Friday, November 21, 2014

Free as a bird

Late Wednesday afternoon, I decided it was time for a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden so off I went.  I wasn't there 2 minutes when I saw this cute little hummingbird taking advantage of the blooms on a penstemon plant.  There is nothing like a good walk and a little Mother Nature to get the blood flowing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A tree-lined walk

After our encounter with the llamas (and a few other animals I didn't mention yesterday), we took a walk around this neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful setting with all the mature trees and beautiful yards.

It was so green and lush in this area that I felt like I was taking a walk in my old home town of Quincy Illinois.  What a pleasant neighborhood, so peaceful and quiet as well as green with an abundance of large, full trees.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Llamas and Alpacas

While we were in the north Phoenix area for the Chrysanthemum show, we were introduced to some unusual characters who happen to live on a very busy north Phoenix street in the middle of the city.  These llamas and alpacas were not what one would expect to find grazing in the large yard of an equally large home.

This one seems to be saying "I hear ya but, I can't see you".

 This group of beauties is not exactly what I would expect to see on the streets of Phoenix Arizona.  But, they were certainly fun to stop and look at and of course, snap a few photos.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Exotic Arrangements

Yesterday I told you about the National Chrysanthemum Society show I went to on Saturday and I had photos of some of the many blooms.  Today I have a few photos of some of the arrangements that were on display.  The one above was one of my favorites.  I like the gracefulness of it's lines.

This one incorporated some Arizona citrus in it's design.

This one also had some citrus involved along with some palm leaves and cactus.  It also won some awards as you can see from the ribbons in front of it.

This one has really got that Southwestern theme going on.  It also has included the 5 C's that make up the Arizona economy, Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton and Climate.  Very clever!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A room full of flowers

On Saturday afternoon, I joined some friends to go to an event I knew nothing about before this invitation.  It was the National Chrysanthemum Society's Show.  I had never heard of such a thing before a friend asked if I wanted to go.  She had heard about it from another friend who heard about it from a neighbor who was a member of the society.  So off we all went not knowing what to expect.

There are 30 chapters of this organization and there is one national show every year.  This year it was hosted by the Phoenix Chrysanthemum Society.

The shapes and sizes and varieties of these flowers was mind boggling.

I learned that there are 13 different bloom forms that were being judged, simple things like "Pompom" and "Spider" were easy to understand but, "Irregular Incurve" and "Reflex" were less easy to spot.

The one above was one of my favorites however, choosing a favorite with all that beauty around was not an easy task.  I'm so glad I had an opportunity to see these beauties and enjoy the enthusiasm of all the people in the room who were there to view and discuss each of the varieties.

In addition to the judging of the single blooms that I've shown today, there was also judging for design where the flowers were woven into arrangements in different categories.  Tomorrow I'll show you some of the arrangements I photographed.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Feeding the Koi

I'm not as close to the Japanese Friendship Garden as I used to be but, I drove over there yesterday to take a walk on the paths.  I found the place brimming with people.   So much so, that I actually thought there must have been a special event I didn't know about.  But, no the garden has just turned into a very popular place.  Nothing was blooming yet but, I did see lots of people enjoying the garden and this group standing on the bridge and feeding the koi. It was a perfect morning to be outside.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What I miss the most....

What I miss the most from the old house is seeing these always sunny faces at my bird feeder.  So far, I haven't seen (or heard) any of them in my new neighborhood.  I might have to get my fill of these guys from the flock that hangs out at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Empty Castle

This building located in a north Phoenix residential area has been sitting empty for at least 2 or 3 years with no sign of activity.  I tried to do a little research on the place on the web but, I couldn't find anything to help me identify it.

 The area is mostly custom single family homes so this building really stands out as quite unusual.

An empty house in any neighborhood is troublesome but, one that looks like this is particularly vexing.  I wonder what the story is behind this building.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Remember when....

....cameras looked like this?  I found these old-timers sitting on a shelf in an antique store.  I had never heard of the Filmo on the right so I looked it up.  Apparently, it was a line 16mm of cameras and projectors made by Bell & Howell.  I've heard of Bell & Howell!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


There was a lot going on in Phoenix this last weekend and unfortunately I only made it to one event, the Chilies and Chocolate event at the Desert Botanical Garden.  An unfortunate head cold kept me away from all the rest of the events this last weekend.  I'm sad that I missed the Spanish Market at the Heard museum and there was a travel expo going on at the Phoenix Convention Center that I hated to miss but, it was probably better to nurse the cold so it would to away sooner.  However, here it is 3 days later and it's still hanging on.

This lady was performing at the Chilies and Chocolate event and I'm pretty sure she's the same one I photographed two years ago at the same event.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Continuing with the art show, here are a few of the pieces from the "Simulacrum" theme.  The one on the left is called "Chinese Food (1,000 year old Granola Bar)" by Tim Keneipp from our group.  Next is "Arizona" by Laura Cohen-Hogan.  The triptych is my piece (close-up below) and the one on the right is "Lost Luggage" by Marilene Farmer.

My piece is composed of these three photos.  The original photo was of a cut out shaped like and elephant in a rusty sheet of iron.  There were many cut outs in the iron piece but I was drawn to the elephant.  I photographed it with blue sky showing through the opening and rusty metal forming the shape.  I then manipulated the photos using several different techniques to get these three versions.

If you would like to see all of the pieces from this show, you can click on this link and it will take you to the web site where all of our challenges are represented.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Between the folds..

Several of you asked to see some of the art close up so I am obliging.  These are all from the "Between the Folds" challenge.  The one on the right is called "Corazon in the Folds" by Barry Farmer.  I especially liked the piece above by Ted Wolter from our Art Challenge Group.  It's call "The Brain and the Hot Dog Folds".  From this side you see the hot dog and....

...from this side you see the brain.  Very clever!

Here are a few more.  On the let is "Sofie Between the Folds" by Ann Osgood, "Ventilator" by Robert Rosselli, my piece called "Lurking between the Folds" (a closer view is below) and "Anticipation between the Folds" by Laura Cohen-Hogan.

And here is a closer version of my photo.  I was deep in the process of moving when this challenge came our way and I think it was all the things I found lurking in closets and drawers and other corners of the house flavored this choice.  I saw a stack of dinner napkins sitting on the table and ready to be boxed up and I decided to place some eyes lurking between the folds of the napkins watching me.

I'll show you some of the art from the second challenge "Simulacrum" tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

First Friday Art Show

My art group had another First Friday Art Show Friday night at The Artery Gallery in Phoenix.  Our group gave a challenge to The Artery group and they gave a challenge to us and the resulting art work was on display for the evening at their gallery.

We had a good size crowd stop by to check out the art.  Our challenge to them was "Simulacrum" (something that looks like something else) and their challenge to us was "Between the Folds".  It was fun to see how the varied artists presented each challenge.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The power of suggestion...

When I recently moved to a new home, I gave up a lot of storage space so I needed to rent a storage locker for all the extra picture frames and mattes I had accumulated.  It must be all those movies and TV shows that have bad things happening in places like this that makes me cringe every time I have to stop here.  I'm planning on using up those frames and mattes and donating some of my photos to different charities for their silent auctions and drawings.  So, hopefully I won't have to get that creepy feeling every time I step off the elevator to head to my locker for much longer.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Tovrea Dreams"

On the first of the month I featured another photo from Tovrea Castle, a Phoenix landmark.  I found this photo of a painting I saw in the lobby of a downtown office building.  I had forgotten that I took this shot last spring.  The painting is titled "Tovrea Dreams" by artist Rafael Navarro.  Navarro was born in Mexico City and moved to Phoenix in 1989.  He is a primarily self-taught artist who draws inspiration from Rene Magritte, Picasso, and Frida Kahlo.  I can certainly see hints of Magritte in this painting.  I am a fan of Magritte and am drawn to surreal paintings in general and since this one featured Tovrea Castle, it especially appealed to me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sunrise glow

A colorful sunrise was lighting up this office building early one morning last week and I was lucky to get an opportunity to capture it on film.  I was also glad I was able to capture the pink ribbon they had across the front of the building for breast cancer week in Phoenix.  It was a subtle but meaningful display.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Smaller home....grander view

I might have down-sized my living space but I've picked up a much grander view from my new home on the east side of Phoenix.  I can now view Camelback Mountain every day.  I took this photo at sunset a couple of evenings ago when I saw how the setting sun was bathing that Phoenix landmark in a warm glow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Art Exhibit

While I was at the Shemer Art Center on Sunday, I stopped in the gallery to see the current exhibit.  The name of the exhibit is "Materialize" and it's all about 3-D printing.  Artists were challenged to create works of art using the unique capabilities of a 3-D printer.  My favorite pieces in this exhibit were these by artist Xinggang Wang.  The description said they were made of wood and acrylic and they were priced $5000.00 each so I'm guessing it took quite a lot of work to create them.
The one above is called "Soldier" and the one in the back is called "Scholar".

 There was a third one seen on the left but, I don't recall it's name.

I was really taken by these pieces.  They are very subtle yet speak volumes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Art Festival

Sunday was a perfect day for an outdoor art festival so I took full advantage.  The Shemer Art Center sponsored the event and it took place on the beautiful grounds surrounding the gallery.  There were so many beautiful things to see (and buy) but I restricted myself to one hand-painted silk scarf and a unique ceramic bowl that will reside on my kitchen counter and hold fresh fruit.

Here is a peek at the bowl.  I love the urban feel to it.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day of the Dead Celebration

Yesterday I stopped in at the Day of the Dead celebration at the Desert Botanical Garden.  These talented dancers were performing a regional dance from Mexico.

There is no denying that there was a lot of color represented in their costumes and on the stage area.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns.  I'm visiting a Hollywood landmark that very few get to see.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Theme Day: Landmarks

The November 1st theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Landmark" and what better Phoenix landmark is there than Tovrea Castle.  Do you remember back in 2010 and 2011 when I spent quite a lot of time here helping the city get it ready to open to the public?  I probably mentioned sometime back then how this place sits atop a hill on the south side of Phoenix right in the flight path for Sky Harbor International Airport.  When I spent all those years doing consulting work in other cities, I always knew I was home when I peeked out the airplane window and spotted the castle as we approached for a landing.  So not only is a city landmark but it's a personal landmark for me too.  If you don't remember this place, click here and you will see some of the many posts I did about the place back then.  The post from June 10, 2010 tells the story of the castle.

If you want to see how other city daily photo bloggers depict "landmark" for their cities click here.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Before I left my old house, I had to wander across the street to my neighbors and get one last photo of their huge Halloween display.  Do you remember these guys from last year and the year before?
I still can't believe they go to all this work every Halloween and I never did figure out what they do with all these guys the rest of the year.  It's not a very big house and it has no garage.  I'll have to remember to drive past next year.  Happy Halloween everyone.  Don't eat too much of that trick-or-treat candy.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dripping with flavor

These chills are just full of flavor and possibly a little bit of heat too.  But, the drip is coming from the sprinkler system that has just watered them.  Once of these was sliced up and scattered on top of the pizza I told you about yesterday.  I bet these would also be good chopped up in a curry!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pizza night

Since I've just moved in to my new place, I don't have a lot to eat on hand right now so last night I went to The Parlor, the pizza place I featured just last month.  It's now in my neighborhood so it wasn't that far away.  I was by myself so I ate at the the pizza counter (with the great parlor chairs).  Eddie, one of the pizza chefs behind the counter stopped several times to talk to me and make sure I was enjoying my pizza and telling me about other pizzas he recommends.  Eddie is certainly an asset to this restaurant.  I really enjoyed talking to him.

When Eddie was busy making pizzas, I was mesmerized by the fire in the pizza oven.  It was kind of like watching a fireplace.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carved Pumpkins

There were some expert pumpkin carvers on hand at the Pumpkin Festival but, I didn't see any really scary ones this year.  There was one with Mickey Mouse but it was sitting behind the others so I couldn't get a shot of it.

They did do one with the Desert Botanical Garden trade mark on it.  I'm guessing that one stayed on site after the festival was over.