Phainopepla and the Dragon – Returns

I forgot to submit this one last year.  I made it the header on my webpage to remind myself to do so this year.

I photographed these Phainopeplas busy catching insects from their perch atop an oak tree. When I tiled together the photo of another oak tree with the sun coming through it, it seemed like a perfect match. I added the dragonfly because I liked the title, “Phainopepla and the Dragon.”

2016 Audubon entry #8

Phainopepla and the Dragon

Phainopepla and the Dragon


This is a “puddle shot” composition from 2011—it is still one of my favorites. For me, it brings to mind an old English tapestry.Tapestry _ blog-

Phainopepla and the Dragon

Ok, so this is one photo I did not submit to the contest. Why?

Was it because I didn’t think it had as good a chance as the others? No.

In fact, I thought it might have a better chance because the Phainopepla is a bird less often photographed.

This image was not among those I submitted because……….I forgot. :-(

Yes, I am a birdbrain.

I have yet to employ a filing system—either on my computer or in my head—that adequately compensates for that. Oh, well.

It just dawned on me yesterday, as I was driving around town, that I had left it out of the mix.

Phainopepla and the Dragon-4554

Trees / To Climb is Devine

My back-up brain, Katie, suggested “trees” as the theme for my calender this year. Not too long into the project, I realized it should have been obvious. What better calender can there be, but a tree? The slideshow below contains the images I chose for this particular calender, and the poem immediately below is on the cover:



             from The Tree

     fruit in hand

to rest our soles

            upon the land

Now, looking back

      with longing eye

              we were so much closer

   to the Sky

I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree…. Joyce Kilmer -1913

TIMELY TREES … poetphoto 2015:

Logging time and season from their birth

Ringing in each year with added girth

Can there ever be a real challenger

For the noblest subject of a calender?

AprilClick the above image to view or purchase the Calendar on Zazzle

P.S. I realize 2015 is underway and you likely have your calendar by now–I could have been more “timely” publishing this, but all my  calendars will be reincarnated for 2016. Subscribe and I will keep you informed when that happens. Thanks!

Sandhill Crane Mating Strategies

On a recent visit to the Consumnes River Preserve, I was able to capture some candid Crane moments……..Poetry in motion:

Scroll through slideshow with side arrows or hover over and press play at top.

’42 Fords – Out To Pasture

“In the evening by the moonlight
You can hear those banjos strummin'”
In the evening by the moonlight
You can hear those old Fords hummin’

On a recent California trip, my sister Virginia and I came accross these old Fords “relaxing” on the hillside.

Retirement in the California hills
No more lube jobs, no more bills
No congestion, but fewer thrills
Yes, when the rubber leaves the roads
There’s no more hauling heavy loads
Or accidental skunks and toads
Still you dream in cherry red
Rising pistons—four barrel fed
And a happy pooch pacing your bed
The driving truth keeps sinking in
Sooner or later, tired wins

Evolution Of An Image

I recently attended a Hit Ninjas weekend song writing workshop (boot camp, really) in Idyllwild California presented by my niece, Kasaan Steigen. It was awesome. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject had all the attendees noticeably pumped and eager to get writing—including myself, but more on that later. I did not have much time for photography while I was there, but Sunday afternoon I got out for a hike. Idyllwild is an artsy community and hiker’s paradise at an elevation of 6000 ft  in the San Jacinto Mountains. Up on a hillside I came across a reclining Manzanita bush/tree that I thought might make an interesting photo. By no means did I recognize its potential at the time. When I saw the “final” (not) image, the big question was whether I liked it better in color or black and white.

I wasn’t sure I liked it all THAT much either way. I decided to see what it would look like mirrored and tiled x 4. WOW! Suddenly it was inhabited by hundreds of little creatures–faces everywhere!

Then I decided I wanted to add a real face to the mix, and since mine was the one readily available :-)…….

At this point, the number of modifications leading to interesting outcomes seems infinite.

Hit Ninja song writing workshops coming up April 5-7 and May 17-19.                                    –More info here Hit Ninjas

If you would like to see these Man Zanita images in some additional renderings, click Here.

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