Wednesday, September 30, 2020

More Early Morning Views


Here a few more early morning views from the Desert Botanical Garden.  This one is looking north-west toward the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and Piestewa Peak.

The photo above is from the trail that offers views into the lives of native peoples who lived in the desert in the past.  I loved the way the light was shining on that shade cover.

To the left is a view of the cattails that surround the little pond.  I looked and listened for some of the frogs who live there but they were all quiet that morning. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sunrise Views


I took an early morning (6:00 AM) walk at the Desert Botanical Garden on Sunday and got to enjoy the sunrise.  At the highest point in the garden there is a good view to the East, West and North.  Looking directly east, I could watch as the sun was creeping up over the mountains.

I zoomed in just as it was about to make an appearance over the peak.  There is a major power line that runs just outside the garden boundaries so those power lines couldn't be avoided.

Turning around and looking to the west, I can see how the sun makes the Papago buttes glow even redder than they look normally.  

I really enjoyed watching the light change as the sun got higher in the sky.  It made everything look slightly different than it does when the sun is fully up.  It was so nice that on this trip I took more photos of scenes and views than I did of plants, animals and birds.  

Monday, September 28, 2020

Riding High


I found this mural in downtown Phoenix on the side of a bicycle shop guessed it...The Velo.  That guy in the blue looks like he's riding an imaginary bicycle and the girl in green is just along for the ride.  I like the style of this one but I'm not sure who painted it.  I couldn't see a signature. 

Taking part in Monday Murals

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Bath Time


When I was sitting in the contemplation garden that I spoke about yesterday, I saw this little house finch sitting in a nearby tree and eyeing the water below.

He finally decided it was safe and flew down so he could enjoy the water.

And then he just plunged himself into the water and splashed around vigorously.  

After a good scrubbing, his friend showed up.  He almost looks like he's asking "how do I look?"  I never get tired of watching the birds splash around in the water in this spot.  It brings me so much joy to watch their habits and antics.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm enjoying the wonderful architecture of Frank Gehry.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Early Morning at the Garden


I had another early morning walk at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday and it was another thoroughly enjoyable adventure.  I've discovered that there  is one good thing about this #*!@ pandemic, those past crowds at the garden are no more.  In fact, yesterday morning it was like having the place all to myself.  Once again I sat for a while in the contemplation garden and watched the birds come and go.  That's where I spotted this fantastic reflection.

The whole sign runs next to the pathway that leads to this little space.  I don't know the Fine Family but I am ever so grateful to them for helping to create this magical space I love so much.

While I was sitting there, a large group of quail stopped by for a refreshing drink.  Tomorrow I'll show you another little fellow that I enjoyed watching while I sat there.  

Friday, September 25, 2020

Observations Around Town


Here is a selection of observations I've made around town lately.  One day while driving on central avenue I saw this fire truck stopped at one of the light rail stations.  I couldn't tell what was wrong but I'm guessing a passenger had some type of emergency.

Above we have one of the many road construction delays I encountered a week ago.  At least I got to see that they were doing a good job of laying down the asphalt. 

To the left is a cell phone tower posing as a pine tree.  I've seen several around town that are disguised as palm trees or saguaro cacti but I think this is the first pine tree I've seen.

And here we have a very happy mailbox that I recently saw in front of a home  on the slopes of Camelback Mountain.  It looks happy to get both bills and junk mail.  I hope it gets a few greeting cards from time to time.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Repairs at Landmark Towers


Landmark Tower is a condominium building that started its life as an apartment building sometime around the 1950's.  When I first moved to Arizona, I worked a few blocks from here and I learned that there were several apartments leased by famous actors and writers who wanted to spend some time in the Arizona sunshine during the winter months.  Sometime in the 1990's, the building converted to condominiums.

I recently noticed that some type of major construction is going on at the building right now.  So, I did a Google search and found that the building had some structural issues and the balconies needed to be stabilized.  When I read that it gave me a bit of a chill.  Imagine standing on a balcony like that and feeling it shake or move.  Yikes!  

It looks like the construction workers have installed their very own elevator to the back of the building.  If I was living there, I'd be pretty happy about these repairs.  Balconies are a nice feature but only if they feel solid under your feet.    

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Four Seasons


Another art exhibit that appeared at the Desert Botanical Garden consisted of these four sculptures by filmmaker and artist Phillip Haas.  The group is called The Four Seasons and it's the artist's rendition of the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th century Italian painter.  Arcimboldo was known for his portraits where the features of the face were composed from fruits, vegetables and a variety of plants. You can see some of his paintings here.  

Winter, pictured to the left is a rather gnarly looking character.  

Spring (above) is a flowery fellow and Summer to the left is abundant with fruits and vegetables.  

I enjoyed taking photos of these sculptures and I posted a few shots several times back in 2012 and 2013 when they were on display.  This is  a link to my favorite of those shots.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Look Deep Into My Corolla


The last time I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed a lot of Jimsonweed blooms in different areas of the garden.  I couldn't help photographing a few of them.  I got up close and personal with the bloom above and pointed my lens right down into the bell-like flower.

They really are very impressive blooms but beware, it is a very toxic plant.  It's one of those plants that are pretty to look at but don't touch and certainly don't ingest.  

Monday, September 21, 2020

2020 Vision


My art challenge group met last Friday night via Zoom again.  The challenge for this time was "About 67%" and the pieces our group came up with were as varied as the many interpretations of that subject.  My first thought on this subject was the "rule of thirds" in photography.  I asked my friend David to pose for me gazing out at Camelback Mountain.  I also thought about how our faces are currently broken up by the masks we are all wearing these days so I asked him to pose with his mask on.  Then I used a poster-like effect on the finished photo.  I call this "2020 Vision" because this how most of us are viewing the world in 2020.  Once again our little group produced an outstanding variety of art on this subject.

Our October challenge is "Hummingbird".  Now that's a subject I have some experience with.  I'm going to start looking through my hummingbird photos today!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman

The news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit me rather hard yesterday.  She was someone I had great admiration, respect and even love for.  Her work over the years centered around gender equality but she was always a champion of justice no matter the cause. 

She was already in her 80's when she became the subject of a documentary film and a feature movie about her life.  And about 3 years ago, I saw a play called "Sisters In Law" that was about her and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when they were both on the court bench.  I was lucky to see her at work when I sat in on oral arguments at the Supreme Court and I attended a lecture at Arizona State University featuring her and O'Connor.

She was a remarkable woman with a compassionate heart, brilliant legal mind and a searing wit.   She will be greatly missed.

Rest in Peace RBG! 

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns.  It seems appropriate to revisit the United States Supreme Court.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Next Up: Whispers of a New World


After the big bugs that I featured yesterday, the next art exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden was one called "Whispers of a New World" by Carolina Escobar.  

Ms. Escobar creates sculptures that have an organic feel that fits perfectly into a garden setting.  They remind me of the odd shapes that nature forms for plants and seed pods but they also have an alien quality to them.  She makes them from wire frames and resin coated cloth forming the skins.  

Carolina Escobar was living in Phoenix but I can't find any information to confirm that she still does.  She is a very creative artist so I can't help wondering what she is up to these days.  I featured some of these sculptures throughout the month of October in 2012 but my favorite one is here.  I love it.

The garden purchased the sculpture to the right.  It now sits in one of my many favorite spots in the garden.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The World of Big Bugs


Here is another of the art exhibits that have taken place at the Desert Botanical Garden over the years.  This one dates back to September of 2011 and ran through January of 2012.  It was David Roger's Big Bugs!

These creatures are all made from fallen trees and selectively harvested willow branches and other forest materials.  

The big guy to the left was positioned right inside the entrance to the garden so he was the first one visitors would see.  The giant ant and his pals (above) was climbing around on the hillside by one of the trails.  Those ants would certainly ruin a picnic rather quickly.  

I remember that these creatures were a big hit with the kids.  While they were at the garden I always saw lots of kids with their parents and quite a few school groups too.  I wondered what these giant creatures were up to these days so I looked up David Roger's Big Bugs and I see that they are now crawling around the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Real Estate Siblings


There is a neighborhood in central Phoenix that looks like all the homes were built by the same builder  back in the late 1940's.  All of the houses appear to have the same layout but they have subtle differences that set them apart from each other.

See what I mean?  They all have that same front shape with different pillars and gable designs.  It makes for a very neat and tidy looking neighborhood.  It's not a big area, just two streets each about 2 blocks long.  Checking the real estate listings, I see that these houses currently sell for between $350,000 and $450,000.  It's such a pleasing street in a great central location.  I would think that houses here might sell quickly.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Garden Sightings


There were lots of things to see at the garden last Sunday morning.  I saw several humming birds.  This one was taking a bath.

This one was busy looking for tasty treats inside the blooms.

Out on the long trail, the corn crop was way past its prime.  It still looked pretty spilling out from behind that rustic fence.

On the other side of the dried corn stalks were several California sunflower plants showing off some very bright and cheerful blooms.

I see blogger isn't done yet.  Just when I was getting used to things, they moved them around again.  And text alignment seems to be hit or miss. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Smoke Filtering the Light

I went back to the Desert Botanical Garden on Sunday for and early morning walk that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Well, I enjoyed everything except the yellowish light that was cast by the sun trying to shine through that thick upper layer of smoke.  This is how the sun looked when looking up.

Every photo I took has a slight yellowish tint to it like this photo of a prickly pear cactus full of those red fruit pods.  

This photo was taken from one of the longer trails looking toward one of the mountains that are part of the Papago Buttes.  It also has a bit of a yellowish tint to it.  The smoke is supposed to clear out by today.  I'll be looking forward to blue skies again.