Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The end of July

Well here we are, wrapping up the month of July.  Can you believe it?  This year appears to be flying by.  I thought I'd end up July with more monsoon clouds.  This time hovering over Camelback Mountain.  This week has been dry and sunny but, the weather people are promising more monsoon activity this coming weekend.  I hope they are right.

I have another royal encounter featured on Sharon's Sojourns today.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some buildings...

Some buildings make reflections while other buildings spin their tops.  The revolving restaurant atop the Hyatt hotel in downtown Phoenix.  The reflecting building is the Chase Bank tower.

On Sharon's Sojourns today:  An encounter with royalty.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Published Photo

Back in March, I had a request from a Polish publication to use one of my photos in a magazine.  I agreed and asked if they would send the publication when it was complete.  I received it over the weekend.  You might recognize the photo, I posted it on my blog back in January.  You can see it again here.

I did translate the article.  It's about the Four Seasons sculptures that were at the Desert Botanical Garden last winter moving to a garden in New York for the summer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Last weekend, we had some thunderstorms and rain pass through town and it brought the temperatures down a bit making it more comfortable to be outside.  I took the opportunity on Sunday morning to visit the botanical garden.  During the hot summer months, they open at 6:00 AM for members only so that's when I went.  Clearly, not many members head out there at 6:00 AM because I pretty much had the place to myself.  I really only saw 4 other people until a little after 7:00 when more started to show up.  The goldfinch were out in full force picking the seeds out of the dried out chocolate flowers.  They were all molting so their feathers aren't quite as bright as they should be but I still got quite a few nice shots.

It was fun watching them hang upside down to get at the seeds.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Benefits of a little rain

That little bit of rain we had last week and this week has encouraged my cactus to give me two beautiful blooms.  The funny thing is that I looked at this cactus two nights ago and I didn't see any sign that it was going to bloom but, Friday morning there were two beautiful blooms and one bud.

This shot gives you and idea of how tall they shoot up from the cactus.  They pop up so fast I swear you could almost watch them grow!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Golf on the edge

Just before leaving the Carefree area and entering the Tonto National Forest, I saw this golf course.  That bright green is unmistakable against the desert foothills.  We had a monsoon rain storm the night before so it was a reasonably pleasant morning for a game of golf.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rusty Horses

The Cave Creek and Carefree towns both have numerous art galleries to visit.  When I saw this beauty, I had to pull over to get a picture.

In fact, there were quite a few rusty horses running along side the road but, these weren't quite as striking as the one pictured at top.  He looks like he has fire in his eyes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Carefree Arizona

Continuing on my Saturday drive, I stopped in the town of Carefree at the city center where I took the above photo.

The fountain in the park makes a big arching waterfall and you can stand underneath it without getting wet.  How could I resist that straight up shot?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A touch of Africa

On my way to my hiking destination on Saturday, I passed the Desert Foothills Gardens Nursery located in Cave Creek Arizona.  I was struck by the landscape around the place and made a u-turn to check it out.  I located one of the owners and asked if it was okay to take a few pictures of the unique landscape and he not only agreed but pointed out the more unusual species in the garden.  For instance, the trees are Aloe Dichotoma, native to Africa.  He said that full size trees like those in the display sell for $30,000.00 each.  Yikes!  I guess I won't get one even if they are fun to look at.

Below is a close up view.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hiking to Sears-Kay Ruins

I found the trail head and parked my car and started on the trek up to the ruins.  It took about 35-40 minutes to reach the site and when I got there this was what I saw.  It certainly wasn't as impressive as the Montezuma's Castle that I posted a couple of months ago.  But, you can make out the rocky outline of the structures that once stood here.  They go all the way up to the top of the hill, 40 rooms altogether.  This site is over 900 years old and was inhabited by the Hohokam people, ancestors of the Pima Indians.  It was discovered in 1897 on the ranch of J. M. Sears (thus the name) but, it wasn't officially recorded until 1929.

It was a much longer hike than I had expected.  I took this photo about three quarters of the way up.  That's the parking area down below and my car looks like a tiny dot just to the right of those two shelters.  I think I'll go back in the winter months when it's not quite so hot to be climbing trails.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Out for a drive

I took a little drive yesterday way north of Phoenix past the towns of Cave Creek and Carefree.  I was out to find some native American ruins that I saw on my Arizona atlas.  When I first moved to Arizona, this area was way, way out of town and I would have traveled quite a distance in the desert foothills once I passed Carefree.  Today it's all grown up.  There were subdivisions and golf courses all the way to the border with Tonto National Forrest.  This is one of the subdivisions I passed along the way.  It's called Tonto Hills.

There were lots of houses in the area, some of them climbing up the hillside to command a nice view.  This was one of the houses I passed.

More on my hike to the ruins tomorrow.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sunshine in the form of a flower

Since there is very little blooming in Phoenix right now, I bought a bouquet at the grocery store to add a little color to the house.  For some reason, I simply can't just let it sit there without snapping a few photos first.

Ahhhh.....I feel so much better now.

Finally....rain last night.  I got home around 10:30 and right after I arrived it started to rain.  Nothing torrential but, every little bit helps.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moon over high-rises

I went out again last night looking for clouds that might form a sunset but I got stopped by the moon hanging over one of the mid-town high-rises.   I walked a little further to see if I could catch the moon between two buildings but, by that time the moon was too high to make the "in-between" shot.

Dinosaurs are the subject on Sharon's Sojourns today!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Sunset Activity

Last night was another spectacular sunset.  This is looking east.

This is looking west.

Those dark clouds in the east rumbled and swirled but, no rain in my part of town yet.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spectacular Sunset

Remember those clouds I posted yesterday?  Well I took those photos around 3:00 PM and promptly went home and downloaded them and created my Tuesday post.  Around 7:00 in the evening I noticed that a nice sunset was taking shape so I jumped in the car and drove to the golf course to see what I could get.  I wasn't disappointed.

Those monsoon clouds made wonderful sunsets!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


It's monsoon season in Arizona, the time of year when clouds build up all around the valley and the possibility of rain and/or dust storms is in the air.  So far, Phoenix has been slighted when it comes to rain.  There has been some rain in the outlying suburbs but very, very little in Phoenix.

The flags in Arizona are still at half staff for the 19 firefighters who lost their lives late last month.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trompe l' oeil

I found this interesting tromp l' oeil on the side of a furniture auction house.  There's a funny story to go with this photo.  The building is quite close to a busy street so I pulled into a shopping area across the street and parked the car.  I climbed up on to a grassy berm to take the shot and just as I was about to snap the shutter I felt a sting on my ankle.  I looked down and found that my feet and sandals were covered with tiny black ants.  I went running for the paved parking areas and proceeded to stomp my feet and kick off my sandals.  I bet I looked kind of silly dancing around in the parking lot.  I got them all off but, not before getting about a dozen bites.  Grrrrr

Sharon's Sojourns is featuring one of my favorite cities today, Paris.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tall things

The minaret of an abandoned mosque I saw in south Phoenix.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013


David and I went to dinner Thursday night and when we were leaving we saw this old fashioned bicycle parked out front.  It wasn't there when we arrived so someone must have ridden it there.  I would have liked to have seen that.

Costa Rica is featured on Sharon's Sojourns today.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Patterns and textures

Different patterns and textures have enhanced the look of this assisted living facility near downtown Phoenix.  The look was so appealing that I pulled in to find out what it was.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blue fish

I went back to the Butterfly Wonderland two weeks ago to see if I could get some additional photos.  I'm happy to say that the fish were much more cooperative this time.  I got a great photo of this gorgeous blue fish.

I also captured a butterfly that I didn't see on the last visit.  This brightly colored one isn't in the guide either so I can't tell you it's name.  Such pretty colors on both the fish and the butterfly.

Thanks everyone for stopping by the new site yesterday.  I think I'm going to enjoy rolling out my favorite travel photos.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I've always had a passion for travel.  No sooner than I return home from one trip then I'm starting to plan the next one.  Because of this passion and my passion for photography, I've decided to start a blog to feature travel photos.  The new site is called Sharon's Sojourns and you can view it by clicking on the link.  I think most of my readers are avid travelers and photographers as well so I hope you will enjoy seeing some photos I've taken on my many trips around the states, Europe, and Central and South America.  I've yet to get to Africa or Australia but they are both on my bucket list.  I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Old Fence

An old fence still on duty surrounding the patio dining area of a north Phoenix Mexican Restaurant.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lone Tree

I love photographing this little tree at Steele Indian School Park.  It sits at the base of a large mound so you can shoot low and it looks like it's there all alone.  I took a photo of it back in February and I thought I'd posted that shot on this site but, I can't seem to find it on the blog.

So, here's how it looked earlier this year just as it started to bud.  The clouds in this shot are especially nice.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


A blue door to room 106 at the Hermosa Inn in Phoenix.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dark sky - No rain

The sky was dark and stormy looking most of the day on Friday but alas, no rain in my area.  I heard on the news that parts of north Scottsdale got a little bit of rain but nothing my side of town.  I stopped in this condo community to catch a photo of the dark sky in the east.

Friday, July 5, 2013


I wasn't sure I'd see any fireworks tonight but driving home from a very enjoyable dinner with friends, I passed the Phoenix Country Club just as the display was going.  I pulled over and snapped a few shots.  I couldn't avoid the palm trees so it became part of the shot.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all my American viewers!  Celebrate wisely.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that my friends (and neighbors) who have the cabin in Yarnell found out that their cabin has survived but sadly, it and one other house are the only ones left on their street.
The bad news is that the beautiful cabin once owned by my close friend David and that I pictured yesterday did not survive.

Another friend who is an elected official got a tour of the area yesterday and sent the photo to the left.
I was going to post just this photo today but, I decided to look at the bright side.  When David owned the cabin he planted a wonderful garden with lots of tulips and iris.  The tulips above are from that garden.  The cabin might be gone but as long as those bulbs are in the ground, the garden will bloom again next spring.

There is one more bright side.  I have hundreds of photos taken at the cabin and in the town of Yarnell and wonderful memories of fabulous weekends with great friends.  You really wouldn't believe some of the delicious, gourmet meals that came out of that tiny cabin kitchen.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My thoughts are in Yarnell Arizona

I've had a few pictures from Yarnell Arizona on my site in the past because I used to spend a lot of time there when my friend David had his cabin (pictured above) in that community .  He sold it about two years ago and I've missed his beautiful stone cabin that sits among the granite boulders.  After the tragedy on Sunday, my thoughts are with the families of those brave fire fighters who lost their lives and with the home owners who have lost their homes.  We don't know if David's old place survived unharmed.

My neighbors also have a cabin in Yarnell and they were there on Sunday when the evacuation orders came down.  They packed up their cars and headed back to the valley.  When I talked to them early this morning they were pretty certain their house was in the line of fire but, they called me later in the day and told me that officials had told them their place had survived even while homes across the road from them did not.  The fire is still out of control so the possibility of losing it still exists.

I want to thank all of you who left messages on my site yesterday.  Worse than the loss of property is the devastating loss of life of those who fearlessly dedicated themselves to saving others.

I posted this second photo showing the walk up to David's old cabin so you could see the size of those wonderful boulders that dominate this little community.  Those boulders make this place a unique and picturesque spot in Arizona.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Theme Day: Facade

The first of the month is always theme day for "City Daily Photo" bloggers and this months theme is "Facade" a word the dictionary describes as "the front of a building that looks onto a street".  It seems like all the buildings with interesting 'facades' in Phoenix I've shown before.  But then when driving in downtown I happened to pass the Masonic Temple building.  The facade of that building is fairly simple but I do like the lamps on either side of the door.

And I really like the urns that are recessed in the side of the building.

But, what struck me the most about this building was its simplicity.  As I looked at it I recalled the Masonic Temple in St. Louis Missouri that I used to pass frequently when I was working there years ago.  Now, that was a building that truly lived up to its "temple" description.  I put a small photo of it that I found on the internet below.

It doesn't get much more temple-like that this fine structure.

To see how other City Daily Photo Bloggers express the theme click here.