Thursday, July 26, 2018


When Gracie joined my household at the end of 2013, she had a built-in playmate in Oakley, my ten-year-old Golden Retriever.

Despite the age and size differential, the two became inseparable companions.  They romped in the backyard, sniffed out voles under the snow, and joined me for walks through the neighborhood. 

But Oakley was already an old dog and was going blind when Gracie entered the scene.  Oakley died when Gracie was just turning two.  While she was just fine as an "only," at times I wished she had a playmate. 

 Enter Rosie, a five-month-old mini-Goldendoodle owned by my friend Mary.  Rosie's a beautiful, copper-colored pup and I looked forward to the time when Rosie and Gracie could meet for a playdate.  

 That happened a couple weeks ago.  The two dogs spent their first few minutes circling, checking each other out, and making lots of dog sounds.   

 Next, they jumped into the chair and continued to check each other out from the comfort of Mary's lap.

 Then the play began in earnest.  Lots of dog play is about gaining dominance over the other, and that was the case with Gracie and Rosie too.

It looks like Rosie won the first round with her squishing Gracie in the first take-down. 

 They expended lots of energy in their play and took a few breaks to drink water, pant, and continue sizing each other up.

Then they went at it again, playing mouth with each other.  Notice who has the dominant position again.  Sometimes older dogs defer to puppies in play.  I'm not sure if that was happening here, or whether Rosie had the upper hand with Gracie.

When the afternoon playtime was over, each dog was thoroughly spent.  Rosie sure is a cutie, and it's nice for the two "onlies" to have a playmate of the same gentle breed and size.  I can see them becoming fast friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

More Lilies...Water Lilies This Time

I've had lilies on my mind lately, but this week I got the opportunity to shoot a different kind, the water lily.

A friend invited me to her lake property and said she had a patch of water lilies just off her deck.  I looked forward to photographing them.

Water lilies can be somewhat challenging to photograph.  They typically don't open up until mid-morning, and then they close mid to late afternoon.  Each flower lasts just a few days before settling under the water to rot.

As we watched the lily pads begin to open, I was excited to see their lovely flowers.

I was a little frustrated though because I was eager to see the inner workings of the lily.  I considered wading into the water to photograph it from the top, but my friend discouraged me from doing that because the water was mucky.  

Then I got a little help from the wind and a jet ski.  As the wind picked up and the jet ski created some wake, the lilies began to bounce around in the water in several directions.

I was lucky to catch the full view as the flower tilted in my direction.

Such a beautiful flower!  No wonder Monet made them one of his favorite subjects to paint.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


One of the highlights of the National Cherry Festival is the air show.  The military flight demonstration teams are often the focal point of that show.  Typically, teams from the Air Force and Navy alternate years in being part of the popular event. 

This year the Blue Angels were in town.  Aviators from the Navy and the Marines make up the team, which include six demonstration pilots who fly the McDonnell Douglas F/A 18 Hornets.

The planes used by the team are actually fighter aircraft that have formerly served in the fleet.  They've been modified by removing weapons and outfitting each with a control stick spring system that allows the pilots more precise control for their maneuvers.

If you've ever watched an air show, you know the close proximity in which the planes fly.  I try to demonstrate that in this image and others.  It's actually quite scary.

The team typically start out with two planes and then other planes are added in until they reach full strength of six planes.

Here the team flies at full strength in what they call its Delta Formation.  Of course, the more aircraft involved, the more dangerous the maneuvers are, especially flying at speeds of 400 mph. 

The aircraft are also outfitted with tanks of special smoke-oil, resulting in the beautiful plumes that trail the Blue Angels.  Here they fly low over Old Mission Peninsula.

When I shoot airshow pictures, I do so from a high spot on the edge of the flight pattern.  Here, I was lucky to catch the Blue Angels as they flew directly overhead with their vapor plumes trailing behind them.