Friday, November 30, 2018

Rescue on the Mountain

I was at Julie and Dave's house Sunday evening while a mountain rescue operation was going on.  It was late in the day (around 5:30) so it was starting to get dark.  Obviously, I think it's crazy to go climbing a treacherous path in the late afternoon but, apparently that's just me.  As Julie and Dave can attest, it happens all the time.  They have witnessed many such rescues.

I apologize for the quality of these photos.  I blame it on hand held telephoto shots at slower shutter speeds because it was so late in the day.  At least you can make out the guy in the lift being pulled up toward the helicopter.  That's not a ride I care to take!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

First Sign of Fall

I saw the first sign of leaves changing color here in the valley of the sun.  This tree was very yellow and was starting to shed some of its leaves.  It prompted me to take a drive to some areas of town where I've spotted colorful trees in the past but, those trees are not quite ready to put on a colorful show yet.  I'll have to check back in a two or three weeks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Are You Ready.... put up your Christmas Tree?

I saw this beautiful assortment of fresh Christmas trees in front of my local Whole Foods Market over the weekend.  What a gorgeous assortment of perfectly shaped trees!  I got a good whiff of that wonderful pine scent as I walked along that walkway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Decorations are Up

I stopped at Town & Country Shopping Center over the weekend and noticed that they had their Christmas decorations up.  They trim all those big trees with lights and trim the pretty light fixtures with greenery and ornaments.

I just love the look of this shopping center.  It has such a small town feel to it. Hmmm, I guess you'd call it a "town and country" feel.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Painter

I saw this truck parked in the lot of a business that was closed for the holiday and I had to stop to get a closer look.  The truck was completely covered with graffiti-like murals.  The name "Denzone" appears several times on the truck.

So I Googled the name and I think I'm probably too old to understand.  I just see an assortment of object for sale on and an Instagram account with more graffiti.

But, that's okay, I don't need to understand it.  I can just admire the work on the truck and let it go at that.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

And so it begins....

The Holiday Season has officially begun, even though to all retailers it began a month or more ago.    When I was growing up, the official start was always right after Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple of holiday scenes to start off the season.

What about you?  Are you ready to plan for some holiday magic?

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  It's all about one of my favorite places to visit in southern California.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Shelves Were Bare

I went to the grocery store early Friday morning and found the selves pretty bare.  Apparently no one was working Thanksgiving night to restock the shelves.  This is the place where all the flower bouquets are located and it is usually overflowing with gorgeous bouquets.

Then I walked over to the salad area and found those shelves empty too.  However this isn't because of Thanksgiving, this is because of the E. coli scare that is going on right now.  They've taken all romaine lettuce off the shelves everywhere.  There won't be any Cesar salad on the menus for a while.  Those few bags that are left are either spinach or cabbage.  Luckily, I wasn't shopping for lettuce anyway.  However it did take a trip to two more stores to complete my shopping list.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Around the Fire

On Wednesday evening, the night before Thanksgiving, I went to my friends Julie and Dave's house for dinner.  It was a mild night so we ended up sitting around the fire pit and enjoying wine and dessert.

Julie's mom, Glenda was dog-sitting for little Tucker (remember him?) so he joined us around the fire.

The blue glow to these photos is from the blue Christmas lights that Julie and Dave have up around their home.

Here's a shot that Julie and Dave took with the lights on the house reflected in a wine glass and the lights of Paradise Valley glowing in the background.  That one round white light reflected in the glass is the full moon overhead.  Pretty creative, huh?  These were all taken with iPhones.  As you can tell, we were having a great time!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving here in the good ole’ USA.  People will be getting together with family and friends to enjoy a day of cooking and eating.  It’s also a day to give thanks for our blessings no matter how grand or humble they may be.  I feel like I have many blessings to be thankful for but, let me give a special thanks to all of you, my readers.  Starting this blog a little over 10 years ago has been so enriching to my life.  I find that I take advantage of more public events and belong to more museums and organizations than I ever have before.  I enjoy scouring my city for interesting scenes to photograph and share with all of you.  But, most of all, I’m really thankful for the blogging friends I’ve made around the world.  Some of you I’ve met in person and some I’ve never met but still feel close to.  So, on this day of thanks, I say THANK YOU to all of you!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Art Challenge Meeting

My Art Challenge Club met last Sunday and our challenge for this meeting was "Tree".  Our good friend Ted Wolter, decided his piece would be a community effort.  Ted is a college art instructor so these things come natural to him.  He drew out the form of a tree and then asked each of the club members to draw lines following his drawing using different colored pencils.  We had three opportunities to add lines.  Above is my friend Kim adding a line.

Here is a closer view before the tree got too thick.

This is Jim adding his line as we almost finished our third round.

And here is the finished tree.  We all thought it look more like a center cut of a brain when we got done but, we liked it and enjoyed the process.  You can see that we started out with nice straight lines and then got a little more creative as we went along.

I decided to get even more creative and apply some digital editing to the above photo.  I did several of them but, these two were my favorites.

What a fun evening, creating art together!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Centerpiece

We Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, that all-American excuse to eat, eat and eat some more.  The traditional Thanksgiving table usually features a roasted turkey but, I found a new twist on that staple at my local grocery store.  They were taking orders for this very unusual Thanksgiving Turkey cake.  You read that right, it's a cake.  I don't know about you, but to me, that is just about the most unappealing cake I've ever seen.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Looking Up

I met some friends for drinks late Saturday afternoon at the Phoenician Resort and we were sitting on the balcony patio.

I looked up and spotted all these birds, grackles I think, sitting on the edge of the patio cover and looking down on us.  After I snapped the first shot, I noticed the great clouds so I snapped another one.  An hour later when we were leaving, the birds had all vanished.  They must have called it "a night" and headed home.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Observing Refections

I was sitting at a table at the gelato store at Biltmore Fashion Park when I noticed the reflections on the building across the street.  I used the zoom to zero-in on on specific level.  That glass was so clean it made a crisp, clear reflection.

The whole building is big glass box with little levels to make it more interesting.  I'm glad I had the camera handy while I was enjoying a scoop of Nutella gelato!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Take a look at "City Dreams".

Saturday, November 17, 2018


When I was at that store called Modernique that I featured last week, one of the women working there offered me a French Macaron while I was browsing the store.  It was so delicious, I asked where they got it.  They told me it came from a tiny bakery called simply "A Bakeshop".  It wasn't far away so I headed over there to get some of those macarons for myself.  You can see some of them on the top shelf of that display case.

The bakery was indeed small but the things I brought home with me were all outstanding.  I'll be back to try some more.  Not only were the baked goods fantastic, but just look how pretty the place is.

Friday, November 16, 2018

More Light, Water and Art

I have a few more of the art pieces from the Canal Convergence event.  Above is a piece called "Floret" by Koros Designs.  It changes colors and the petals open when people step on pressure plates.

To the left is "Re-Cyclone" a sculpture made of 5000 plastic water bottles.  This one had handles on it that people could use to spin it.  It also turns colors.  It was created by Martin Taylor and Chromaforms Art Collective.

There were several of the above "Loops" scattered around the area.  It creates the illusion of early films as the person inside work the lever.

The one to the left was called "Infinity Crystal".  It was created by Clip Collective.  The glass structure is full of LED lights and mirrors.  It was fascinating to look at....almost hypnotic.

I did manage to go back again last night.  What a great art event!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Light, Water and Art

On Tuesday evening I joined friends to experience the fall "Canal Convergence" art installations at the Scottsdale waterfront.  I think this was the best one I've ever attended.  Above is an installation called "Iceberg".  It was a tunnel of light and sound to represent an iceberg from calving to melting.  It was fun to walk through and pretty to look at.  It was created by Atomic3 and Appareil Architecture in collaboration with Jean-Sebastian Cote and Philippe Jean.

Another feature was something called "Arizona" which was a hand-crocheted lace ribbon, 8 feet wide and over 600 feet long.  It took 100 volunteer crocheters to put it together following a design created by Choi+Shine.

I think my favorite piece was something called "Floatus" which consisted of 12 aluminum lotus sculptures floating in the canal.  Each was equipped with LED lights that changed colors and flame FX systems that could shoot fire 30 feet in the air.  The fire shows were choreographed to music and happened at certain intervals.  This one was created by Walter Productions.

There were many more pieces that I will show in the next day or two.  The event only lasts until Sunday so I think I'll go one more time to see it again and photograph more.  What a super event!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Modern, Novel, Unique, Eclectic....

....all those words apply!

Last weekend, I discovered a very unique store called Modernique.  It is owned by Julia Buckingham, a Chicago based designer who has a reputation for mixing old with new to create a "window into the past and a bridge to the future."

I didn't know any of that when I entered the store, I learned most of it by consulting the website.  All I knew at the time was that I was enjoying looking at so many unique and some might say crazy things that looked so good together.

After all, shouldn't everyone have a bust of Napoleon with a lighted hat?

I fell in love with this 3-drawer chest.  The drawers are faced with glass over multi-colored panels.  It doesn't go with anything I have but I love the look of it.

I had so much fun exploring the things in this store.  It was a visual treat!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Secret Garden

There is a little patch at the Desert Botanical Garden located between a bench and one of the office buildings where I find some of the most beautiful flowers blooming.  And the funny thing is, that not many people ever see these beauties because of the odd location.  The little patch of ground has a very utilitarian look to it with electrical boxes and hoses close by.

The flowers I find there are all in the lily family and I've seen red ones and white ones and this time this striped one.

There is no sign to identify the plants, they just grow there quietly.  I honestly think that one of the gardeners plants them there for his/her own amusement.  But, since I know where to look, I'm in on the secret now too.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Real Thing

Yesterday I posted some photos of paintings on display at the Desert Botanical Garden that featured some of the birds native to the desert southwest.  Apparently the real birds did not want to be out done by a group of paintings so they posed for some real-life shots.  It's rare that I spot the horned owls but there he was looking down at me.

This tiny little hummingbird was sitting in a nearby tree observing all the people gathering to get photos of the owl.

This sweet little cactus wren wasn't far away.  The cactus wrens are very plentiful in the garden so I can always count on seeing one of these fellows on my visits.  I guess art and nature go hand in hand at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Untamed: Wild Compositions

The Desert Botanical Garden has a small gallery and they have exhibits of artworks throughout the year.  Each exhibit has something to do with nature and the mission of the garden.  The current exhibit is called Untamed: Wild Compositions by Frank Gonzales.

The exhibit contains a series of paintings that depict desert plants and desert wildlife.

I think my favorites are the owl in the top photo and this little cactus wren.

They are beautiful works of art!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I've compiled a group of random shots from my recent trip to New York.