Friday, September 30, 2022

For the Birds!


I decided to end the month of September with one of my favorite photographic subjects....the birds.  I do enjoy watching them and learning their different characteristics.  Above is a cactus wren who visited me while I sat a table at the Desert Botanical Garden.

This is a gila woodpecker who appears to be balanced atop the fruit of a prickly pear cactus.  I don't know who that is peeking into the frame down in the lower right corner.  How did he sneak into the shot?  

This cute little goldfinch had a firm grip on the fencing around some plants.  Goldfinches are pretty little birds.

This last one is a white-winged dove sitting on top of a very thorny cactus.  Don't you love their pretty blue eye-shadow?

Thursday, September 29, 2022

All Gone!


Back in 2017, I did a post about the possible loss of the Chinese Cultural Center, a wonderful Phoenix landmark.  At the time, there was still some negotiations going on to try to come to a compromise with the new owners.  If you click the link, you can see my post and compare this photo to the second photo on the older post.  It's a pretty striking difference.  

All of the architectural characteristics have been completely removed leaving a plain looking building awaiting new tenants.  It's a shame to have lost such a beautiful facility that meant so much to the people of Phoenix.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Return to the Castle


Anyone remember this place?  I've posted photos from here twice before.  I just took another photo in the last few days and I see that things are starting to happen again.  So I did a Google search to see if I could find some updated information and I discovered that the castle has its own website now.  And, on that website is a short video giving the viewer a quick look inside this place.  And, I see that the owner is accepting donations to help with the massive restorations price tag.  

The last time I posted about this place it looked like things were stalled.  Now it looks like work is starting again.  Maybe one day, it will be open for tours.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

What's Blooming


When I was at the garden a week ago, I took note of everything that was blooming.  That included my favorite plant, the Desert Rose.  This one has bright pink blooms.

Another desert rose plant produced paler pink blooms.

The Passion flowers were a big surprise.  These exotic blooms are rare to see at the garden.

Another favorite of mine is the guayacan shrub with its tiny purple flowers.  This one was very popular with the bees. There were hundreds of bees enjoying this plant when I was there.  You can see one of them at the top center of this photo.

It's always nice to see the datura bloom.  They are such beautiful and big blooms. It might still be hot here but it seems many plants don't seem to mind. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Colorful Abstract


I've been wanting to get a photo of this mural for a long time and it seems like every time I'm close by, the parking situation is awful.  Finally on Sunday morning, I was able to get a spot to park so I could take a photo. It's located on the back side of Majerle's Sports Grill in downtown Phoenix and you have to stand in the alley behind the place to get the shot.  It's a colorful addition to this part of downtown.  It was painted by Jake Early and Quinn Murphy.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Observations In Scottsdale


I had an errand to run in Scottsdale the other night and I decided to get some dinner while I was there.  To get to the restaurant, I had to cross the canal at the area called the Scottsdale Waterfront.  I thought the evening sky reflected in the water looked kind of pretty so I snapped a photo.  After I ate and walked back this way I saw lots and lots of bats skimming over the water looking for insects to eat.  I hadn't seen that here before.  

A little further along, I saw that a new steakhouse had moved into this building that had been vacant for a few months.  They planted a garden of metal cactus out front.  It made me wonder why they hadn't used real cactus.  We have plenty around here.

Just past the new steakhouse, I saw this group of musicians performing a little open-air concert.  I'm not sure why.  There was nothing around to indicate who they were or why they were there.

My errand was to pick something up at one of the stores inside the mall.  As I walked through the Nordstrom store, I spotted this display of Polaroid cameras and film.  Is Polaroid making a comeback?  Seems odd when everyone has a camera in their pocket these days.

There were lots of things for me to ponder on this evening in Scottsdale.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm featuring some sights around the town of McMinnville Oregon.  

Saturday, September 24, 2022

A Glass Perch


Yesterday I had photos of the Chihuly sculptures that are located at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden.  Today I thought I'd show you who else likes these beautiful sculptures.  The birds settle on those glass branches just as easily as they do all the cactus and trees in the garden.  They might be made of glass but to the birds, they are just another plant to rest on.  

Friday, September 23, 2022

Desert Wildflower Towers


On my way out of the Desert Botanical Garden last Sunday, I stopped to take another photo of the beautiful Chihuly sculptures that have adorned the entrance to the garden since 2008.  Last year's Chihuly exhibit might be gone but these beauties get to stay year after year.  

I've taken lots and lots of photos of these sculptures over the years.  The one above was taken several years ago when I visited the garden in the evening.  The one to the right is a favorite of mine. I used the telephoto to sort of merge all the green glass together.  

One thing is for certain.  I never get tired of seeing these welcoming works of art.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Return of a Favorite Spot


For the past two and half years, those gates you see above have been closed making this little section of the Desert Botanical Garden inaccessible.  I'm sure they closed this spot to the public because there are garden office buildings on both sides.  I think it was closed during the pandemic to limit access to garden employees. 

This is the spot where this wall is located that I have admired so much.  I did a post about this wall and how much I missed it here.  It's looking a little plain now.  Hopefully they will fill it with colorful plants once again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

What Big Ears!


I saw this jackrabbit at the Desert Botanical Garden last Sunday morning.  I can't recall ever seeing jackrabbits at the garden before but it makes sense that there would be a few.

Jackrabbits are identified by their very large ears.  They are also bigger than rabbits with longer legs.  

When I first spotted this one, he was at a distance but there was no missing those very big ears.  I zoomed in to get this shot which isn't very good but it does emphasize those ears.  I'm glad I saw him again when he seemed to pose for me for the top two photos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Holy "Mole"


Last Saturday night, six of us gathered at a friend's house for a mole cook-off.  Two people and our host had prepared their recipes for mole while the other three of us brought some extra fixings like guacamole and chips and salsa.  For those of you who don't know, mole is a Mexican sauce that uses a combination of chilis, fruit, chocolate and herbs that meld together to create a complex sauce that is great over enchiladas and chicken.   Just look at how crowded the stove is keeping all the sauces, beans and rice warm.

The oven held a pan of cheese enchiladas just waiting to be sauced.

I sauced mine with two of the different sauces and then also had a piece of chicken that was cooked in the mole sauce.  

All three sauces were delicious and I have to give credit to the cooks.  It takes hours to make a mole from scratch.  Our three cooks took on the task and mastered it.  

Our hostess, Vivian provided the dessert, chocolate martinis made with three types of vodka and a splash of Irish cream.  Yum!  It was a fun evening!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Finally, a Long Walk at the Garden


Greetings from the Sonoran Desert!

I've never photographed this spot at the Desert Botanical Garden before but I've seen plenty of people posing here over the years.  I just thought it would be a great way to announce that it is finally cool enough to walk in the garden again.  Well, cool enough first thing in the morning.  Our afternoon temperatures are still right around 100.  But, at 6:30 AM when I arrived, it was a wonderful 74 degrees.  

One thing great about this time of morning is that early sunlight.  It lights up the hills and mountains all around the garden and makes them glow.  

I sat for a few minutes near the contemplation garden and its water feature hoping some birds would come down for a drink.  But this curve-billed thrasher was the only one who got close.  He proceeded to sing with his characteristic loud voice.  

Needless to say, I'm very happy to be able to visit the garden again.  I haven't been since June 17th.  

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Church Across the Street


I had stopped to pick up some bread at a local bakery and when I was leaving I saw the church across the street and decided to snap a couple of photos.  The last time I photographed this church was twelve years ago.  I posted a photo of it back in 2009 when my blog was still very young.

If you click on the link to that old post, you will see exactly how much those two trees in front of the church have grown in twelve years.  They are a lot fuller than they were in that first photo.  

St. Thomas the Apostle Church is built with a modified Spanish colonial style that fits in with our city very well.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm looking at a shopping center with an ocean view.  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

That Private Golf Club


A little over a year ago, I posted about how this north Scottsdale golf club that I discovered 10 years ago. I mentioned that it had become private and I could no longer visit it to take photos.  So, it's a very good thing that I took lots of photos when I was there all those years ago.  

Today I thought I'd post a few more of the photos I took all those years ago.  

The place has such a strong southwestern look to it that I find very appealing. 

I sure wish I could make a return visit to see how it's holding up.  I would enjoy walking around the buildings and taking more photographs.  

You can see my original posts from 2013 here and here.

Friday, September 16, 2022

He's Still There


I did a post about his fellow who sits at a picnic table at Steel Indian School Park around 10 years ago.  You can see it here.  I recently saw that he was still there and still looking over his shoulder.

He's actually checking to make sure no one sees him peeking at the other guy's cards.  This is a sculpture called "Setting Up the Competition" by J. Seward Johnson Jr.  

His dishonesty is there for everyone to see but he's yet to be held to account.

Reminds me of a few political figures that won't be mentioned.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Scaly Characters

 I've been paying a lot of attention to my feathered friends lately so I thought I should also pay tribute to some of my scaly friends.  The fellow was hanging on the side of a tree.  Is he sticking his tongue out at me?

This fellow was kind enough to pose for me.  He looks like he has a big smile on his face.

This one is climbing the fence protecting some plants.  Lizards might not be as pretty as some of the birds but they are still an entertaining bunch of critters.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Hummingbirds at Rest


I'm sure all my readers know that I love to photograph hummingbirds whenever I can.  These three made it simple for me.  They sat perfectly still and posed for the camera.  This one even ruffled its feathers a bit.

I think this one heard me approach and wanted to make sure I didn't get too close.

And this one has extra long and narrow wings.  They all patiently waited while I pointed my camera at them.