Thursday, April 30, 2009

Birds Eye View

I drove up into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve to get this view of Phoenix looking to the south. The horizon is a bit hidden because of haze and smog but you can just see the high rise buildings along the central corridor and downtown. They look like little bumps between the hilltops to the right in the picture. In the foreground you can see the roof tops of homes that are perched on the mountain side giving the owners stunning views both day and night. The homes in this area are all very large and very, very expensive.

The mountain you see in the distance is South Mountain Park. Visitors drive up to the top to see this huge city laid out below them.

We don't have a Sears Tower or an Empire State Building observation deck but, we do have mountains on the north and south of the city where you can view the city from above.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Last Tuesday I showed you a blooming ocotillo plant and I mentioned that the dried branches are sometimes used as a natural fence material. Well here is an example of what I meant. This fence is made from the dried, long thin branches of an ocotillo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Lookout

While I’m on the subject of desert creatures, I’ll show you this little fellow who appears to be on the lookout for something. Since I spotted him close to an outdoor café, my guess is he’s looking for a handout.

Monday, April 27, 2009


It wasn’t only frogs that posed for me on Saturday. This colorful lizard was very obliging also. Not being an expert on lizards, I won’t attempt to name him. I’ll just admire his beauty.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I made one more visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens on Saturday morning. I wanted to see the “Chihuly: The Nature of Glass” in morning light and enjoy the show once more before the searing desert heat arrives. This installation is called Blue Polyvitro Crystals and I hadn’t photographed it before. I was called in this direction by the sound of frogs and sure enough there were several frogs in this little oasis. In fact, if you look very closely in the left foreground of the large photo, you will see a frog sitting at the water’s edge.
In case you can’t find it, I added this small photo so you could get a good look at this small amphibian with the big voice.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


This is just a sample of the gorgeous blooms on the rose bushes at Steele Indian School Park that I featured yesterday. I don’t think I’ve seen so many stunning blooms all in one spot.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rosy Walk

Last October, I featured photos from Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix. I was there this weekend and noticed that the rose bushes were in full bloom. The rose bushes line the central walkway that leads north and south from a central water fountain feature.

The roses were amazing and I’m so glad I saw them before it turns hot and the blooms melt away.

Tomorrow I’ll show you some of the gorgeous blooms.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Ride with a Heart

On a recent visit to the Arizona Heart Institute, I spotted this rather unusual motorcycle on display in the waiting room. According to the small sign posted next to the motorcycle, it was custom-made for Dr. Dietrich to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his annual medical conference on Endovascular Intervention.

It was built by Paul Yaffe of Yaffe Design and it took almost 2 years from concept to completion to build. The motor is a Twin Cam 88 Harley Davidson, diamond cut, mounted on a specially built frame. The gas tank is steel, and is an anatomically correct view of the heart. The motorcycle was built as an eye-catching tool to show at schools. A nurse accompanies the motorcycle, and it is used to educate and inform children and young adults about how the heart works and the importance of exercise and good diet.

What an interesting teaching tool!

The Arizona Heart Institute was founded in 1971 by Dr. Edward Dietrich and it is well known around the world for giving the very best care to heart and blood vessel patients.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I’m afraid I didn’t have time to plan ahead for a really great Earth Day picture so I went to the archives to find something special for this day. Here is another beautiful Arizona sunrise over the lagoon at Encanto Park.

Happy Earth Day to all of you! Be nice to Mother Earth!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Another cactus that is plentiful in the southwest is the Ocotillo. This cactus grows long, pole-like branches that reach for the sky and are full of thorns hidden between the small green leaves that cover the branch. In the spring, they bloom at the tips with red flowers like those in this photo. The ocotillo is pollinated by hummingbirds and bees and I was lucky enough the capture a hummingbird at work on this one.

The small photo shows the whole plant with the long whip-like branches. The dried branches are sometimes used as natural fencing material.
This plant is located just down the street from my house in a neighbors beautiful yard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ballet Folklorico

This beautiful young lady is getting ready for a Ballet Folklorico performance. Ballet Folklorico is a dance performance in costumes that represent the culture of Mexico. The dances and music reflect the various regions and folk music of Mexico. This performance group was made up of 5 young ladies who danced with skill and grace.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This is Phoenix Pride weekend so I’ve put together this little collage of photos from the parade on Saturday. It was a colorful event and a virtual paradise for the photographer.

Next year I have to remember to wear sun block! Ouch!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things we tend not to see

Once I started watching closely for things to photograph for this blog, I began to see things that I had never noticed before. They would pop up when trying to frame a photo and I’d find myself positioning so that I could exclude them. Once I started seeing them, I saw them everywhere in all colors and shapes.

So, finally I thought why fight it. I’ll take some pictures of these numerous pipes and valves and see what I can do with them. This collage is the result.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Man Made – Nature Made

It’s time for another Chihuly photo from the Desert Botanical Gardens and the Chihuly: The Nature of Glass exhibit. In this photo I positioned one of the glass sculptures directly above one of the real agave plants. The exhibit runs through May 31st so if you haven’t seen it yet, make plans soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Bank has a large banking presence in Arizona but I bet many people didn’t know there was a museum dedicated to the company’s history located in the lobby of the Wells Fargo tower in downtown Phoenix. It’s well worth a peek inside.

Besides the 19th century stagecoach pictured above, there are also all sorts of artifacts from the gold mining days of the west. There is also a large collection of art by illustrator N.C. Wyeth.

Phoenix isn’t the only city with a Wells Fargo museum. Others are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Minneapolis, Anchorage, and Portland.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arizona Theme Day: Doors

For today’s subject I chose the doors to the old Phoenix City Hall. This isn’t the shiny new building that I featured here. This is the where city hall was located before the new building was built.

This building is called the Maricopa County Courthouse and the space was shared with the city of Phoenix with the city hall side having its own entrance on the west side of the building.

The small photo shows the front of the building which was built in 1929 of terra cotta and ceramic tile in art deco fashion. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic places.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Yellow

Here is a photo I could have used for this month’s theme day. I spotted this strange object behind a building that was being renovated and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I was looking at it head on as in the above picture. So, I walked a little closer to get a better look.

When I walked to the side it suddenly became clear. It’s a metal spiral staircase laying on its side.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marco Polo… more

This restaurant opened to great reviews a few years back, but somewhere along the line something went very wrong. I’m just not sure what happened. I did some research to see if I could find out why and when it closed, however I can't seem to find any information about its demise.

It is an attractive building and it is located across the street from the Biltmore Fashion Square shopping center along the Camelback corridor. It’s a great location but for some reason restaurants on that side of the road have not done too well. Next door to this place was a beautifully designed Hard Rock Café that closed a few years back. Both buildings are now sitting empty.

It makes me wonder why this little area on the south side of Camelback Road has had such bad luck.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scientific Research

Here is a statue that I bet many people in Phoenix have never noticed. It sits in Encanto Park near 15th Avenue and it’s a bit of a mystery.

The inscription on it reads “World Progress through scientific research in the laboratory”. And below that it says “Designed in fulfillment of the wishes of the donor and given to the city of Phoenix by Helen B. Rogers, 1957”. I couldn’t find any information on either Ms. Rogers or the artist, Charles Badger Martin.

So the mystery remains.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Phoenix Biomedical Campus

Since I introduced you to the new ASU campus in downtown Phoenix yesterday, I thought I’d show you another of the new buildings that make up part of the campus. This time we have a facility that is shared by both Arizona State University’s School of Biomedical Informatics and by the University of Arizona’s School of Medicine. The University of Arizona School of Medicine has other facilities located in downtown Phoenix.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

The new downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University has enlivened downtown and introduced some new architecture to area. Today I feature the new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, a 6 story building designed by the team of Steven Ehrlich Architects of Culver City, California. The building contains one of the most sophisticated journalism education facilities in the nation. Inside are five digital newsrooms, two media laboratories, seven computer labs, two TV studios and control rooms in addition to classrooms, meeting spaces, and a student services center. This new facility is also home to KAET, our local public television station.
The small photo shows the building from the other side. It is such a unique building I decided to give two views of it. Having this school in downtown Phoenix puts it in close proximity to major news operations including newspaper, TV, radio, and online news sources. Click on this link to learn more about the school. The site also contains a quick time-lapse video of the construction start to finish.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hydroelectric Plant at Arizona Falls

Here is the hydroelectric plant a the Arizona Falls park I told you about yesterday. You can see the twin waterfalls on either side and in the center is the “water room” with water flowing over the back wall made up of gears and machinery. There are boulders positioned around the water room so you can sit and enjoy the cool breezes and the calming rush of the water on all sides.

Arizona Falls generates 750 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy and can power up to 150 homes. The roof of the building contains solar panels that power the ceiling fans in the facility. All power generated here from both the solar panels and the hydroelectric plant goes into the Salt River Project’s electricity grid.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Arizona Falls

When you drive east on Indian School Road between 48th Street and 64th Street you will be driving next to the Arizona Canal on the north side of the street. At about 56th Street, there is a natural 20 foot drop along the canal which formed a sort of waterfall. In 2003, the city along with the Commission on the Arts, and Salt River Project (a local water provider) formed a partnership to restore an old hydroelectric plant and open the area to the public as place to gather for both learning and reflection.

Today’s photo is of the entrance to the walkway leading to the hydroelectric plant and the falls.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the plant and the water falling out of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Let me introduce you…

Let me introduce you to my very dear friend and Phoenix Vice-Mayor, Tom Simplot standing on the left and the Mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon on the right. On Friday night, Tom kicked off his re-election campaign and opened his campaign headquarters right in the heart of the north 7th Avenue Arts district. He has added that great neon artwork you see in the center to his office to sit right in the window so its message can be seen from the street. Tom is running for re-election to the Phoenix City Council from District 4 where he has done a fantastic job of representing the interest of our community. Go Tom!! You have my vote!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Shortcut

A week or so ago when I went out in search of a pretty sunset I took several pictures across a local golf course toward the setting sun. In this one I captured a man who was out for a walk and suddenly stepped off the perimeter walkway and cut across the golf course. You might have to enlarge the picture to see him.

I almost deleted the picture but, there was something about it I liked.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Unique in purple

I photographed this very unique little flower while out shopping one day. I have no idea what it is so, I’m depending on my readers to fill me in. Anyone have an idea?
All I know is that it is the most unusual flower I’ve seen!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


The last time I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens they had opened the butterfly pavilion for the spring collection of butterflies of all kinds. I put this collage together of some of the beauties I saw inside. The day I went I was wearing a yellow shirt and I attracted a few butterflies who thought my shirt might be a tasty flower.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Segway for Safety

This pair of police officer’s from the city of Glendale seem to be enjoying their Saturday duty at the street fair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these Segway’s used by the Phoenix police.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Inside the branches of the Palo Verde tree I photographed for yesterday’s post, I spotted this very active bee hive. These aren’t the same bees as the big black ones that were busy flying around the flowers. These look more like honey bees. I was afraid they might be the kind that will attack in swarms so I let my telephoto lens grab the shot and stayed a safe distance away.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Theme Day: Yellow

What a perfect time of year for the color yellow. The Palo Verde trees are in full bloom at this moment so yellow is a predominate color along our streets and highways. The top picture is a close up view of the yellow flowers being enjoyed by a local bumble bee.

The small photo gives you an idea of how the Palo Verde tree is used for landscape design along our highways. The tree’s quick growth and low water needs make it ideal.

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I found when scouting around for good Palo Verde tree shots.

Check other versions of yellow here: Click here to view thumbnails for all participants