Saturday, January 31, 2015

Best laid plans....

I had great plans for Friday.  I was going to take the light rail downtown to get some shots of all the Super Bowl goings on.  I hear there is quite a lot of attractions down there to go along with the NFL experience that is filling up convention hall.  But, Mother Nature had different plans.  I never complain about rain because we can really use it but, this weekend was not the best time to pour it on.

I took a short drive around the Camelback Mountain hills to get these pictures instead.  If you look closely, you can just barely make out the shape of the Praying Monk through the mist.  The Praying Monk is a rock formation on the side of the mountain that I've shown you before here.

When I was headed back home, I spotted these guys strolling across the street in their cowboy gear.  Some of you might think this would be a common sight here in the southwest but, I assure you it is a rare one.  That's why I rolled down the window and took a shot right from the car.

One last photo of what has to be the lamest Super Bowl decoration I've seen.  Yes, those are fake tortillas rolled up in the shape of Roman Numerals.  It is Super Bowl XLIX after all.  Now where's the giant bowl of salsa?

Friday, January 30, 2015

May I join you?

I was sitting enjoying an iced tea when this little cactus wren joined me at the table and stayed for quite a while.  He was pecking away at those white dots which I think is just pollen from the tree I was under.  Cactus wrens are a friendly bunch!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

City Garden

In the very heart of downtown Phoenix, right next door to City Council Chambers and surrounded by high-rise buildings sits a little garden with very tall sunflowers and a few herbs.

In additions there are colorful flowers surrounding the garden....

.....and a little patch dedicated to roses.  That is truly an urban garden.  I do wonder if the city attends to it for if it's some kind cooperative.  There are no signs to give it away only beautiful flowers and plants to admire.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Bowl Madness

Super Bowl madness has hit the Phoenix area and our downtown is decked out with all the money making schemes it can pack into one small location.  I haven't been down there this week but last week when I took these photos, it was already a mess trying to get around.

Street closures have led to virtual gridlock in many locations.  If you are headed downtown this week, think about taking the light rail.  If it doesn't save you time, I'm sure it will save you frustration not to mention money for parking.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Last Whistle

There is a lot of feeling in the face of this bronze statue.  This is another sculpture from the Celebration of Fine Arts event I went to last Friday.  This is by sculptor Ken Newman of Cambridge Idaho.  This one stopped me in my tracks.

I've been trying to figure out why this particular sculpture moved me the way it did and all I can come up with is that I grew up in factory town.  My grandfather worked for Gardner Denver (compressor manufacturing) for many years and my father worked there too for a short time before starting his own business. But, the city also had many other factories like Motorola, Moorman's Manufacturing, Quincy Compressor, Quincy Soybean (now ADM), Knapheide and Electric Wheel (now Titan Wheel).  I'm certain there are more that I'm not remembering.  While growing up I saw many scenes like this sculpture, men leaving the factories with lunch pails in hand and coat collars turned up against the cold.  This sculpture seems to bring all that back to me.  I stared at it and a flood of memories washed over me.

Mr. Newman packed a lot of emotion in this bronze.  It's a powerful image.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dinner guests

I had friends over for dinner Saturday night and I thought the table looked really nice so I took a photo of it.  Even though I had my camera sitting at ready on the kitchen counter, I totally forgot to take any pictures of the food.  I guess that's what happens when you get caught up conversation and laughter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Celebration of Fine Art

On Friday I made a trip out to north east Scottsdale to visit the 25th Annual Celebration of Fine Art.  It is certainly one of my favorite things to do every winter.  With around 100 artists on site and creating art as well as selling art, the event is as much educational as it is beautiful.  I talked with many of the artists this year and caught up with a few that I visit every year.

The above piece is by sculptor Michael Jones and it measures 16 feet long by 5 feet high.  I could see this piece residing in the someone's back yard or in the lobby of a grand building.  In fact, it would look perfect on the raised outdoor area that surrounds the Phoenix Convention Center.

The artist had some smaller pieces for sale also, like this table, mirror and fireplace screen.

I saw some pretty spectacular things and I'll show you a couple more later.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I've stopped to smell the roses in a California garden.

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.  On 
February 1, they will address this intriguing question:  If you had to leave forever the city 
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A week of gorgeous sunsets

We've had some pretty spectacular sunsets almost every night this week.  I took this one right off of my balcony.  These are the kind of sunsets that make you say WOW!

Friday, January 23, 2015


I realized around 11:00 Pm last night that I didn't have anything posted for today so I had to do a quick search of the archives to find something and I chose this photo of a home in one of our many historic neighborhoods.  I like the southwestern bungalow look of this place and the turquoise trim seems to be a perfect match.

This has been a very busy week with something going on every single night.  Hopefully I can catch my breath today!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I took this picture of a fence post cactus at the Desert Botanical Garden last week.  The I played around with some editing software and made it look like this:

I love fooling around with Mother Nature.  

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.  On 
February 1, they will address this intriguing question:  If you had to leave forever the city 
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mr. Roadrunner

What is that roadrunner doing on the patio table?  Looking for handouts of course.  And a few of the guests at the Desert Botanical Garden were obliging.

I sure hope those potato chips and bread crusts won't upset his tummy.  However, I think a bird whose main diet consists of lizards probably has a strong stomach.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More of the Teddy Bear gate

Yesterday I posted a close up of this gate not realizing that I actually had another picture that would show the whole gate with all the teddy bears in a row.  When I saw this photo, I thought darn that's the one I should have posted yesterday.  So, here it is today.  It's quite unique don't you think?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Teddy Bear gate

I was driving around in Paradise Valley in an area full of gated estates when I came across this gate.  I couldn't see the house back there but the gate alone was a show stopper.  It just seemed so out of place in an area full of grand homes.  What fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Morning rock climbing

I took a walk yesterday morning and thought I could see someone high up on one of the Papago Buttes so I zoomed in to snap a couple of shots.  With the zoom on I was pretty sure it was person up there.  The buttes are a popular climbing place.

When I got home I cropped the photo in close and then I could tell the climber was either going to attempt to come down that slope or he was just sitting down.

So, I took a look at the second photo and did the same cropping job with this one.

Then I could tell he was just sitting down and had taken off his back pack.  So what do you think, was he reaching inside the pack for a bite to eat or was he going for his cell phone?  I'll never know because these were the only two photos I took of him.  From where I was standing, he was just a white dot on the mountain so I had no idea what I was taking.  It was kind of fun to be a voyeur from so far away.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting one of London's iconic buildings.

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.  On 
February 1, they will address this intriguing question:  If you had to leave forever the city 
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Housewarming Gift

A friend of mine gave me a gorgeous orchid plant as a housewarming gift and I was just a bit afraid what might happen to it in my care.  I think I've mentioned before that I am sadly lacking in plant growing talent.

However, I am happy to report that it seems to be thriving and is simply blooming up a storm.  I love seeing it every day and seeing new blooms pop out.  I took several photos of the blooms yesterday.  Now I think I need to get the macro lens out and see what kind of very close shots I can get.  It is certainly a beautiful subject.

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.  On 
February 1, they will address this intriguing question:  If you had to leave forever the city 
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Custom Fabric

Last Friday when I was downtown, I had lunch at the Blue Hound inside The Palomar Hotel.  These photos were taken in restaurant/hotel lobby.  I just love the fabric used to cover these two chairs.  It is covered with the names of all the cities in Arizona.  It must have been custom made but, I have to say I wouldn't mind owning a chair with that same fabric.  Below is a view of the chairs from the front.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

At the watering hole

While I was at the garden, I spotted this roadrunner skittering up the path ahead of me and when I passed this little fountain, there he was sitting on the edge.  He didn't seem to mind me standing there with camera pointed at him.

But, as he drank he continued to keep his eye on me.  He stayed there until a very loud group came running up the path all shouting "look a roadrunner".  It doesn't seem to occur to some people that noise and quick movements tend to scare off the wildlife.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Observations from a basketball game

I went to the Phoenix Suns' game last night with my friend Janet.  It was a sold out crowd most likely because of this guy, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He does have a huge following even here in the west.

 The usual suspects were in attendance and I noticed that Mr. Orange was sporting a new hair-do.

I might have been slightly underdressed because I didn't wear my sequined slacks. Oh, wait a second, I don't own any sequined slacks.  Phew...I guess I was okay after all.

And even though we had a 20 point lead at one time, it was a nail biter at the end.  The Phoenix Suns pulled it out with a win over the Cavaliers 107 to 100.

It made for a very exciting game.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fidgety little birds

On Sunday I took my usual walk at the Desert Botanical Garden.  It was an almost perfect day to be outside.  (Sorry, all you snow country people.)   While I was there, I got myself an iced tea and took a seat away from the crowds under a huge cascalote tree.  That's where I noticed a bit of activity up in the foliage and around the yellow blooms on the tree.  There was a group of Verdin flitting around in the tree looking for insects to feed on.  Verdin are tiny little birds, only about 4.5 inches long (11cm) and they are members of the Penduline tit family.  They are the only members that can be found in the Western Hemisphere.

I've seen these birds at the garden before and I've tried many times to get some photos of them but, they are on the move constantly.  I sat under that tree for an hour with telephoto lens in hand and shot off around 40 photos before I gave up.  These are the only two worth showing.  It seems these birds never sit still, not for one second.

Oh well, it was a beautiful day to sit under a tree and drink iced tea.  I'm not complaining.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gallery Show

Saturday evening I attended a gallery reception at the Lisa Sette Gallery featuring the work of Mayme Kratz, a well known artist in the Phoenix area.  Mayme's art is created with products of nature like seed pods, feathers, bones and other found objects.  She fashions these things into works of art using acrylic resin.  (Click on the link to visit her site and see more of her work and click on the gallery link to see more about the show and the gallery.)  The piece above was my favorite in the show.  It's called "Falling Leaf" and it's composed of literally thousands of fairy duster seed pods.  The pods are little curly pieces no more than an inch long.

Another favorite was this piece called "Think, Grow, Tensions".  This one is composed of hundreds of poppy pods on a panel and then sealed in a block of resin.  When you stand close to it you can see the depth of those pods trapped in that formation.  Fantastic work!

(P.S. these are iPhone photos so they aren't as sharp as they could be.)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter Butterfly

When I was downtown on Friday, I took the opportunity to take a few photos to fill up the archives and while I was walking around I spotted butterflies enjoying a small garden near Phoenix City Hall.  I managed to capture of photo of this one but, I saw three all-together.  I must say, I wasn't expecting to find butterflies in the downtown area.  It was a very pleasant surprise.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I reprise the Chicago skyline as night falls over the city.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The end of Christmas

I was downtown yesterday and was surprised to see this Christmas tree and the ice skating rink still up in the middle of Central Ave.

An hour later when I walked by, they were taking it down.  There will be a lot of downtown workers who will be so glad to have Central Avenue open again.

Friday, January 9, 2015


The Arizona Biltmore Hotel is now in my neighborhood so last night David and I stopped for an after dinner cocktail.  I liked the way those Frank Lloyd Wright sprites were lit up at night so I snapped a shot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Enter here...

This looks like an entrance to a grand and elegant home but, it's actually the entrance to the Ralph Lauren store at the Biltmore Fashion Park shopping center.  I don't shop there very often especially not for household items.  Everything in there seems to be outrageously priced compared to Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel.  (I'll bet RL would cringe to hear me compare his business to those two stores.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Inside the vault

Tucked away behind a bank building and out of view of the main road, I found this restaurant called The Vault Cafe.  The place was closed the day I was there or I would have gone inside to figure out that simulated vault scene.  It certainly is eye catching from the outside.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Giant Mushroom

I saw this giant mushroom in the yard of a home in Scottsdale and I had to turn around and go back for a second look.

That is certainly an Alice in Wonderland type of mushroom, don't you think?

Monday, January 5, 2015


Yesterday it was a snazzy car, today it's a camouflaged motorcycle.  I saw this one parked outside a store.  This looks like it would zip right along a pretty good clip!