Not So Close

A male bighorn sheep stands on a boulder and grazes from a bush beside a river in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in July 2004

This is a wider shot of the bighorn sheep I posted a while ago, the telephoto shot made it look like I was rather close but not only was I a ways away beside the road, there was a river between us. He came down the cliff behind him to graze at the river’s edge then went back up the cliff. From my trip to Yellowstone in 2004.

The Desert Burns

Fire in the Superstition Mountains blankets Weaver's Needle and the surrounding mountains in dense smoke as seen from the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in June 2019

I woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday and couldn’t get back to sleep so I went out for a hike before work, a first for me. Fires in the Superstitions blanketed the distant mountains in smoke, resulting in the soft red light of sunrise lingering for a while even after the sun had fully risen. The human-caused fire has currently burned over 100,000 acres.

Ellie on the Hardwood

Our dog Ellie rests on her stomach on the hardwood floor on a summer evening in July 2013

Since she always wanted to be near us, we kept a dog bed in most rooms of the house so Ellie would have a comfortable spot to sleep no matter where we were. Sometimes though she preferred either the tile or the hardwood floor, perhaps because it was cooler. This was taken on a July evening 6 years ago at our house in Portland, long before we added air conditioning, so the cooler floor probably was an attraction.

What’s Up Boo?

Looking up at our cat Boo as he rests at the top of the cat tree with his legs sticking out in front in May 2019

Boo had a difficult time in the transition to the new house and more so I think with Ellie’s failing health and her death. At times he went to the bathroom elsewhere in the house, at first in my wife’s closet but things got more serious when he switched to my closet. After Ellie died my wife bought a couple of new cat beds and he peed on both of those, and occasionally pooped around the house, but that cleared up in time. He’s still a bit unsure of himself but he’s been on the straight and narrow as far as bathroom duties are concerned for a while now. I was nervous when we got my new couch and kept the doors to my office closed when I wasn’t in it but it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution, he’s enjoyed being able to curl up beside me or on my legs. Here he’s on the cat tree where he can watch the birds in the backyard.


A white-winged dove perches on angled arms of a saguaro as it prepares to get at the last bit of fruit on ripened and opened saguaro fruits on the Latigo Trail in the Brown's Ranch area of McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in July 2018

As a young photographer I had trouble keeping the horizon straight in my pictures and I only got better when cameras added built-in levels in the viewfinder. Despite appearances the camera was level in this picture, the white-winged dove is leaning over to get at the last bit of saguaro fruit while sitting on angled arms. Sometimes I’ll deliberately angle the camera if I think it works better for the picture but in this case I like the lean. Taken last year, they’ve been hiding from me this year.

The Forest Was Dead, the Land Was Not

A moose cow walks through a dead forest at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in July 2004

A moose cow walks through a dead forest at Yellowstone National Park. I find that pictures don’t properly convey just how large these creatures are. In this case I was standing at my car beside the road but in the Tetons I sometimes met them on the trails, I never had any close calls but the big bulls during the fall rut certainly demand your attention. I’m thankful for each time we met, it was always a special treat.