#LAPC #138: Natural Light in California and Arizona

This week Amy challenges the Lens Artist Community to focus their efforts on the natural light coming from the sun. That gives us all the variety we need to create what photography is all about, capturing the light. If you want to join in, cut and paste the “natural light” link to Amy’s blog and walk into the light.

All of my pictures this week come from either Arizona or California where I have called home and enjoy sharing.


“I don’t paint people and things; I paint the way light reacts to people and things. This brings me to the basics about light and dark.”

Harley Brown

This photo came from one of the resorts where we stayed in Sedona. I love the way the sun casts shadows on the maze making it even more amazing. I love all the contrasts. The sky is such a pastel blue and the trees trunks are so white in spite of the overall darkness of the body of the photo. The frame blocks out 100 percent of the light adding another dimension of texture.

“We cannot express the light in nature because we have not the sun. We can only express the light we have in ourselves.”

Arthur Dove

I chose this picture because the sun is not the obvious protagonist. Our focus turns to the rocks, the broad valley, and to the ethereal layers of foothills and the group of dormant volcanic peaks known as the San Francisco Peaks beyond the Granite Dells. Humphrey’s Peak, the highest of the peaks located eleven miles north of Flagstaff is 120 miles away from my home in Prescott, and I could see it that day.

“The light in winter is most varied; there are days when it’s clear and bright, carving the earth into light and shadow like a razor. Yet, at times, the light can be soft and quiet as a whisper, with color of the most intense chromatic variations anyone could ever need.”

Peter Fiore

When I went out to take pictures after our first day of snow in Prescott, my mouth dropped open at the color of the sky dripping and reflected in the snow turning everything salmon. I did not photoshop this picture to change the color at all. Amy, I finally experienced the “golden hour.”


To illustrate stark differences in winter photos that caught Peter Fiore’s attention, this picture taken January 16, 2008 “which carved the earth into light and dark like a razor,” can never be replicated. Even if there happened to be another crystal day with that much snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains, the old Visalia Electric railroad bridge burned several years ago leaving a only black scar.

“Why is it called ‘after dark’ when it really is ‘after light’?”

George Carlin

Maybe most of you know George Carlin, “American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author.” Wikipedia. Unlike so many, my television hours were limited as a child, and I grew up liking that lifestyle – so, basically uncultured. But since I started hosting Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays, I’ve run into his sharp humor about several topics.

I took this point and shoot of a gorgeous sunset from our California home, Bellavista.

Most people would guess that the sun is fifty or a hundred times brighter than the moon, but it’s a half million times brighter – evidence of the amazing capacity of our eyes to adjust to light and dark.

James Elkins

Of the ten or twelve pictures I have of the moon, this is the only interesting one. I’m not sure why. It might have been a blue moon, or I might have been shaking as I held the heavy telephoto lens, at its most extended position. Or possibly the clouds make it dramatic. But as bright as it is, the rest of the sky is black. It obviously does not have the power of light that even the little dab of sunshine in the picture above has.

“Light is a thing that cannot be reproduced, but must be represented by something else – by color.”

Paul Cezanne

This dazzling burst of color came from the Woodlake Botanical Garden, which I have talked about so often. I fell in love with these zinnias, but when I planted zinnia seeds in my yard they were much more spindly and not so vibrant. This is a perfect picture for a digital puzzle because of the many colors.

“The sky is the source of light in Nature and it governs everything.”

John Constable

Artists have an “in” when it comes to light. So do these sun worshipers. I chose this picture to go with the quote because sunflowers turn constantly following the sun. It makes them look like spectators at a race.

My Reading Material This Weekend

Amy has over 200 comments on this challenge. Amazingly all four Lens Artists visit everyone who participates. According my my rough estimate that’s about 800 visits a week! The amount of time this takes boggles my mind, so I try to visit 25-50 of them. I’ve been listing them to make it easier for myself, then I cut and past the links to my blogging journal. You are welcome to use my journal or my list if that makes it easier to visit people. If I miss you, feel free to leave me a link in my comments.

  1. Lindy
  2. Showers of Blessing
  3. Rambling Ranger
  4. Pearls
  5. One Letter UP
  6. Geriatrix
  7. Mazeepuran
  8. Jardin
  9. Restless Jo
  10. Erlyn
  11. John
  12. Cee
  13. Susan
  14. Nature
  15. Dutch Pink
  16. Wanderlust
  17. Philosophy
  18. Laura
  19. Brashley
  20. Chris
  21. Jez
  22. David M
  23. Bushboy
  24. Cornwall
  25. Window Box
  26. Janet
  27. Trekkies
  28. Rusha
  29. Woolley
  30. Hammad

Have a great weekend! 🙂

#Sunday Stills: April Showers Fill the Dry Creeks

Terri Webster Schrandt is sending us arid people on a wild goose chase into our archives for this week’s Sunday Stills rainy day pictures. (Sorry no droplets on beautiful flowers! None, I mean NONE in all my files – that I could find!!!) Here is a picture of the creek that ran behind our house in Elderwood, CA (Central California) most of the time.

Note: I use that word “ran” loosely – notice the tire tracks. ATVs, not water, ran most of the time.
Cottonwood Creek, Elderwood CA August, 2017.
Cottonwood Creek August, 2017 (after a major rainy year)

I had to go clear back to 2012 to find these wonderful pictures of a memorable hail storm. While Central California is only semi-desert receiving about 10 inches of rain on average, this kind of rain is rare. When it comes, you stop everything you were doing, run get your camera, and and stand at the sliding glass door or windows, or under cover outside and marvel as you take pictures.

  • CA April 2012 Hailstorm
  • CA April 2012 Hailstorm

When you live on a dry creek as we did, we kept entertained by how much water flows, how far it flows and for how many months. Our friend Chuck House charts it every year and sends graphs and charts out to all his science and Kiwanis friends. I have pictures of Cottonwood Creek flowing in 2008, 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2019 I think 2012 was the year that Cottonwood Creek flowed until August.

  • Millwood Creek 2/4/2019
  • Cottonwood Creek 4/30/2012
  • 2017 Cottonwood Creek
  • 2017 Cottonwood Creek
  • Cottonwood Creek 3/8/2008
  • Cottonwood Creek

It rained hard again in 2017, and I took many pictures that year, but none of the rain. I was more interested in Cottonwood Creek, Kings River and flowers that bloomed prolifically. Two of my friends invited me to go to nearby National Parks to observe the effect of the heavy rains that spring. We visited Yosemite National Park outside of Fresno in May, 2017. In July I visited Kings Canyon National Park to see if the Kings River was still bolting down the gorge.

The rain had a temporarily lasting effect.

  • Kings River in Yosemite National Park 05/17/2017
  • Kings River May 17, 2017
  • Kings River Flowing at Kings Canyon National Park
  • Kings River flowing over rocks 724/017
  • Kings River Waterfall at Yosemite 5-17-2017
  • Kings River flowing through Yosemite 5/17/2017

My reading material for the week.

Thanks for joining in Sunday Stills. Be sure to check out these other friends who played along. 🙂

How to #Square Up and Clear Up Sunday’s Still’s Preoccupation with Fog and Clouds

Heads Up

These bloggers are incorruptible, so I’m going to face their preoocupations head on and give them something to chat up. I’m happy #Hobbyblogging!

First the Fog

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now!

 Elisabeth Elliot

Searching through my archives sent me back to December 11, 2012 a few minutes after 8:00 am to find these extreme foggy day photos. Sometimes you have to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery. In this case there wasn’t any, so I enjoyed that, too.

All of these photos fit into Terri’s Sunday Stills theme and they are all squared up, so Becky B will have to bat her eyes to try to clear them up. Warning: There is nothing wrong with your eye sight.

I think this shot also applies to Cee’s CBWC – Vanishing Point, too except that you have to imagine that the point vanishes somewhere out there in the wild gray yonder. I can sort of see it. Can you?

All the rest of the foggy day pictures are from the same day. I liked these pictures because in the fog the cultivated field looked like a very choppy sea or river to me. I walked on the “water” to get a better picture. It crunched beneath my feet. If only someone had been with me to capture the moment. What a loss!

As the sun started to break through the fog, you could begin to see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. There’s Sawtooth!

Of course you see it, don’t you?

It wasn’t long, as I waited, and the sun came out a little more leaving streaks of fog like layers of sandstone. The ground lost it’s choppy water look. Nobody would have believed me anyway.

You never realized how thick your fog was until it lifted.

 J.R. Ward

Now the Clouds

“Ever changing clouds paint portraits on the sky, and each person sees a different image.”

 Rhonda Savage Thompson

In the mile-high city of Prescott, AZ, we live in the clouds rather than under them. They are not painting a picture today as they do in other seasons. They are full of snow. Especially today. The Weather Bureau calls it a “Winter Weather Alert!” I call it a blizzard. Listen to the euphonious video Vince just took of the wind. Imagine flying in these clouds!

Just two of us
In the blizzard
Blanketed with cold
Giant clumps of snow 
blown off hairy pine limbs
Drop in the path of no return.
Stay inside!

Marsha Ingrao

I chose this picture for CBWC. Again the vanishing point is imaginary. The horizontal one cut off by the building, and the vertical one cut off by the square up. The sidewalk that was cleared three hours ago now is covered with about four to six inches deep.

I put on Vince’s boots and stomped out about five steps to look down the vanishing point. Wow. These clouds have been super busy.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

This is all exciting the second time out this year. Vince and I feel like kids again. This morning we were living in the clouds. This afternoon, the clouds tried to blast a hole into our home. It clogged up the satellite dish and iced up my window so I can no longer see the snow as it falls.

As soon as the snow clears, I’m getting my own boots. I ordered electric socks to wear under them yesterday after talking to a young neighbor. Then I can take you on a walk the next time it snows.

Attention Photographers

A hobby blogging friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com).  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!


  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you and so would I.
  • Welcome Restless Jo as the newest Featured Blogger on the Challenge Host Interview Series coming up tomorrow.
  • Wednesday the #WQWWC is back at Always Write. Looking for quotes and responses about trustworthiness.

See you on some of your favorite challenges. What are your favorite challenges?

#CBWC: Fences from “Sea to Shining Sea”

This week Cee challenges photographers to take or make black and white pictures of fences. It just so happens, that thanks to Cee’s former challenges, I love photographing fences.

Out of 2,100+ photos that answered to the category of fences on my phone, I picked three that I thought would make good black and white photos.

The first one was obviously taken in Arizona, not so obviously in the Coconino National Forest on April 18, 2017. Cameras are slightly misleading, but oh so helpful in trying to find information. This picture was not taken in the heart of the Coconino National Forest, but you’re headed that way when you arrive at the Son Silver West Art Gallery.

The date tells me I was in Sedona with my husband. Sedona is one of those unique cities that lies in two counties, Coconino and Yavapai.

We love to shop when we travel – not necessarily to buy, but to see what’s there. Along Highway 179 on the way to the National Forest is an amazing tourist shop where you can buy any number of decorative items, mostly yard art.

The next photo from Son Silver West would also work well for Cee’s Fun Foto – Catching People Unaware or last week’s B & W Challenge Candid Shots. Maybe she was imitating the iconic Kokopelli dancer above. She needs a flute.

A symbol of fertility, joy, feast, and long life, he (Kokopelli) is also a minstrel, a spirit of music, a storyteller, a rainmaker, a healer, a teacher, a joker-magician, a seducer. Kokopelli possesses the wisdom of age.


You might want to visit or just browse their website. Here is their contact information.

Son Silver West
1476 Hwy 179 Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-3580
Fax: (928) 282-5497
Email: Sales@sonsilverwest.com

Son Silver West

If you have been to Universal City in Orlando, FL, then this fence should look familiar to you. Being the shallow person I am, I liked the curly cues.

The last fence is in Woodlake. Don’t ask me why I only took part of the fence. I think I was trying to keep my shadow out of the picture. Doesn’t this fence have lovely shadows?

So that I don’t bore you with the 2,100 more pictures I took over the years, I’ll stop processing fences and half-fences and wish you all the very best New Year.

What are your favorite challenges, hobby bloggers? As always, I’m thankful to Cee for her consistency in hosting challenges. I love them all.

If you know someone who hosts a photo or writing challenge and wants an interview about their challenge on my blog, Always Write, please contact me.

Our next Always Write Challenge, Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, #WQWWC, will be hosted by one of my first blogging friends when I started in 2012, Autumn Jade on her blog, A Day in the Brine, with a topic of New Beginnings.

Lens Artist Challenge #122 Sunshine

We take sunshine for granted, but nothing is more beautiful and more beneficial to life. Thank you Ana, Lens-Artist Guest Host for this lovely theme, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”

The photos below come mostly from the tiny ranching community of Elderwood outside of the the small town of Woodlake, California. One picture comes from Sedona, Slick Rock, and one from the coast.

No matter where we are, there are times that the beauty of sunshine takes our breath away and gives us the sense of well-being at the same time. The quotes are mostly from Goodreads. Where do you find your best quotes?

“The sun is a daily reminder that we too can rise again from the darkness, that we too can shine our own light.”

S. Ajna

“If your life is constantly full of sunshine where each day is transformed into beauty and each worldly gift is yours to use, then you are one of a few.”

Byron Pulsifer
Bravo Lake in Woodlake, CA

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

Roman Payne

“Sunlight makes the world come alive, so have a day filled with sunshine.”

Anthony T Hincks

“If you have extra to spare, share some of your sunshine with others. Those who are in a dark place may just need that small break in the their clouds to see some sunlight again.”

Christine E. Szymanski

“Look at the bright side of life and the bright side will look at you. The reflections we send out always return.”

 Ron Baratono

“It is within the sunshine of positive outlooks that we can feel the warmth needed to surpass the shadow of life’s challenges.”

Natasha Potter

“Sun will also retry to shine tomorrow then why not you.”

Rajesh Walecha

To see more entries this week, visit Ana’s website.