Category: My Blog

Squirrel Appreciation Day

It is Squirrel Appreciation Day!!!!!!! How did you celebrate the day?

Here is my squirrel story. I was in Sacramento for work and arrived on Super Bowl Sunday. Being only half interested in the game, and no one to tailgate with, I took my camera and wandered down to the park that surrounds the California State Capitol. What a wonderful park surrounding the capital. Sacramento was all mine that day. Everyone else must have been tailgating, watching the pre-game shows, or whatever. But I was the only person wandering around the capitol that day. Just me and my camera.

I got lost in the joy of having uninterrupted time to take photos. My only commitment for the day was to be back at my hotel before dark. That gave me hours to explore. If I remember correctly, a sample of every species of tree found in California is planted on the capitol grounds.  And, coming from a place that was in a deep winter freeze, what an amazing site to see flowers blooming and orange trees shedding their crop! My senses went into overload and it was hard to decide what to visit and photograph next.

Then I saw this guy. We became fast friends. I watched him and he watched me. We flirted – I would turn away and he would run and stop and try to get my attention. ( I am sure that is what he was doing.) He would go up a tree – watch me as I turned my partial attention to a flowering bush, and when I turned back to him, he would scamper from branch to branch and stop and watch me along the way.

He must have spied this peanut from his vantage point. It was not from me. So, he scampered down the tree, grabbed the peanut and stopped. He stood frozen as if to challenge me on what I was going to do next.  I crouched down and lowered my camera so it was not in front of my face. We looked at one another for the longest time. I didn’t want to stare so as not to look threatening.

As silly as it may seem to everyone else, I think I connected with this squirrel. I was able to get this shoe in before he ran up the tree nearby. He got up onto a branch that looked over me and looked down. I took a quick pic. I then nodded appreciation to him and said, “Thank you.” Not sure I had ever done that before, st least to something classified as a rodent. This is why labels are so unfortunate.

I spent well over an hour hanging with this little guy. I think of him often because our short time brought me happiness and joy.

When was the last time you gave yourself time to experience happiness and joy?

Welcome to

Welcome to

I won’t say how long it was in the past when I was 6 years old, but trust me, digital cameras did not exist. My first camera I worked with was my mother’s old Brownie Box Camera that she let me use on a vacation. It was much like the one pictured here. So you know, I was 6 years old a long time ago. I still have a couple of the pictures I took on that trip. A rabbit in a hutch – more hutch than rabbit.   I have a great picture of my mother’s legs and one that is mistakenly  my palm. But, while success was slim, the lifelong addiction to photography was born.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Welcome to my website. This is a work in progress, so please give me grace. I have so much I want to share with you. As you read other blog entries, you will discover that I like to focus on what others do not necessarily see. I look at things differently. That’s my thing.

When you go to pull a thistle out of your garden in the spring – wait just a moment, think about the pollinators, decide if pulling it is the right thing to do. Remember to wear gloves.

Lot of Catching Up to Do


We have a lot of catching up to do! As the days got shorter and crazier with the holidays, my time seemed to slip through my fingers so fast! I am finally catching up on my site, and I feel as if I am awakening from hibernation.

We have survived the holidays, we are now reconsidering our resolutions, and we may now take this winter opportunity to evaluate and do some actual planning for the year to come. I pray that all of you have survived the past two years and that we all have grown – not just grown tired – but that we have learned something from this crazy time. If we have not grown, then I feel it has been a lost opportunity. While I never want to repeat this opportunity, I look at this time as such.

What have I learned? I enjoy my craft and have learned that I had not allowed the time to pursue my craft as I have over the past two years. I have learned to take a chance. Look! I’m writing this! Big step for me. My technical skills have improved. I am looking at things differently, and more often.

Have you hibernated over the past two years or have you learned something over the past two years? Think about it.

Happy New Year and here’s to moving forward!


Juxtaposition – not a word you find used every day. I thought it was appropriate as I took this pic of barbed wire against the incredible background of Monument Valley.

Clash of cultures? Maybe/maybe not. One perspective could say it was. But, when you look at something from a very narrow view with limited frame of reference, all sorts of conclusions could be made.

Isn’t this what we are facing today in society? Before we jump to conclusions, we should be conscientious enough to look beyond our initial take and use a wider lens to look at things. Context is critical.

What is frightening is that people are creating their own version of context while ignoring the realities that are apparent and factual. Where does this take us? Are we ready to let perspective like “the earth is flat,” or “the sky is not blue” really get grounded in society? This may be a bit extreme, but it is happening all around us.

So what do we do? Be faithful. Open your view and look with a wider lens. That doesn’t mean you cannot focus in on details, but you never know what else you may discover.

My Sunday afternoon thoughts.

Stay focused on the here and now

Stay focused on the here and now. Don’t worry about what has been or what is to come. Stay focused and look for opportunities!

Easier said than done, right! It is so easy to focus on the would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. And, it is so easy to worry about what is to come that it can be paralyzing.

I have to remind myself every day to focus on the here and now. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. If you are focused on the other things that you cannot change or control, you can easily miss what is presented to you!


Sometimes, It Pays to Look Down

Sometimes, It pays to look down. Have you ever walked through a dense forest where the ground beneath your feet is soft, maybe spongy, and soft?

I used to live in an environment like that. It is how I imagine what earth used to be like – in dinosaur times. The world may have been more humid, have more rain and created more rainforests. I do not like humidity, but I cherish the times I can walk through a forest and spend time in this microcosm of a unique ecosystem.

I currently live in a dry, arid climate with few trees, lots of sagebrush and arid forests. They are filled with beautiful aspen. I miss walking through a forest with inches, if not feet, of dropped evergreen needles, dampness, and all sorts of new growth just hidden below the surface. For example, if I were to lay down on my stomach and film the activity on the ground, I would see all sorts of insects, all sorts of new growth, and all sorts of aging and decomposition happening. You see, the forest floor is alive!

Therefore, I challenge each of you to explore the forest floor. For example, hold you camera at your ankles and take pictures from that angle. You will be surprised.

Look a Little Closer

What’s a Tree Got to Do With It?

Draw a tree. Brown crayon for trunk, green crayon for leaves. Done. Haven’t we all drawn trees that way?

But what if I asked you to get a little more detailed. I would get brown branches among the leaves. Black and yellow streaks along the trunk. Good, you are adding depth and character.

Finally, I give you a magnifying glass and tell you to go look at a tree trunk and come back and draw what you saw. What do you think the results would be?

Oh, my word, we would see a rainbow of colors, other species, some parts growing, and some are brand new… just by looking a little closer. We would see things we would have never, ever guessed were part of a tree trunk.

Let’s now look at the symbolism of a tree trunk. It has deep roots. It stands up and weathers all sorts of challenges. If a tree is to last, it needs a strong trunk. It needs to adapt and change with the seasons. Trees can survive even with the most horrific experiences.

People reference trees when talking about longevity, strength and adaptability. It is time we all look a little closer.

Trying to see what others don’t,


Celebrating my 100th post on Instagram! Check it out

Happy Birthday National Park Service

Grand Teton Mountains, Wyoming

Happy Birthday National Park Service! 105 years ago President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the creation of the National Park Service.

Grand Tetons National Park has always been one of my favorites.

A number of years ago, my sister and I were at Lassen National Park in @norcal and started looking at how many National Parks there were. Holy Cow! I thought I had been to many, but there are so many National Parks and National Monuments we haven’t seen.

In a time when our national leaders do not agree on much, they agreed and created such a monumental treasure that I fear too many take for granted.

Support our National Parks and National Monuments. Tell your representatives what they mean to you.
If our National Parks are not supported, I believe our nation will fail.

Look a Little Closer

I love this image. I see the power of God, I see a lava explosion, I see creation. What do you see?

A while ago, I focused (no pun intended) on doing some macro work. As a rock hound enthusiast, I have a lot of agates that have been sliced and polished. When you hold them up to a light, you begin to see things that you have never seen before. Then when you put a macro lens on them…holy cow, they seem to come alive!

I have a whole series of agates. They are fun to shoot – especially on a winter’s day that is pretty dreary. However, these are the days I feel most creative. I think I must ponder this some more…it may be that there are fewer distractions.

Your thoughts?

Costa Rican Sunset

Costa Rican Sunset… Do you have an escape place that you can go to when your world gets crazy? This is one of mine. This was one of my most serene and calming places in my life. While I cannot go back, this vision in my head is centering.

I have developed over the years a catalog of my favorite places that I lock away in my memories. I will revisit those places when I need a distraction from current circumstances.

My day job can be very political – therefore stressful. When I feel it piling up on me, I escape to some of my favorite places – in my memory – to re-center me.

I also remember some of my favorite places when I want to bask in God’s glory. I am in awe of the natural beauty of so many places. I strongly believe we all need to stop rushing around, stop, and take a step back. We might all look at things a little differently.

Happy or Sad?

Does this image make you happy or sad? I go back and forth. Sometimes I feel forlorn looking at this, and other times I feel very proud of the shot I took. What do you think?

I love the simplicity of this photo. But if I study it long enough, I see that there is a real complexity. At that point, I start studying this image and in my mind develop it as a metaphor for life, living and aging.

Is this a symbol of hope or despair? Does it depend on where you are in this moment in time? I could have processed this photo to appear with no botches, no faults and appear pristine. But, I opted not too, because all living things have scars, they age, and nothing is perfect.

This is okay. Resilience is key. What are your thoughts?

Just a Double Yellow Zinnia

Just a double yellow zinnia. That is a horrible way to describe this! No flower should ever be labeled “just.”

A little seed magically can turn into a beautiful bloom! For example, have you looked at the size of flower seeds? They can be so tiny! And yet, they produce such large, beautiful flowers.

I believe this is a lesson for us. Gardening is a lesson for us. Nurturing something as small as a flower seed will produce greatness.

This reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move… “

Do you nurture your faith and your relationships – especially with Jesus? Do you nurture your goals and plans?

Twenty years ago I was a dang good gardener. I had time, great conditions, and an internal drive to have some of the prettiest gardens around. Then, I moved.

The conditions are challenging, the soil is poor, the heat can be unbearable, and a hot summer wind seems to always blow. I am busier than I have ever been, demands on my time have increased, and my priorities have changed.

It has bothered me that I gave up on gardening. So, I have spent time focusing on my priorities. We all need a reset button now and then.

Next summer, I will have a beautiful garden. The prettiest? Who knows. But as I do a reset on priorities, I will never call a flower a “just” ever again!

So Much to See and Do At State Parks

Can’t get into a National Park? Don’t forget State Parks. This waterfall shot is at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Northern California. 

This is a time we should all be supporting Northern California and Oregon. Visit a state park. Hike, swim, boat, fish…there is so much you can do! For example, it was an easy hike to see this magnificent waterfall. It was through the forest on an easy trail. There is a lake, imagine taking s swim on a hot afternoon.

Find California parks here:

Rind Oregon parks here:

Visit the local communities and support local businesses near the park. Most people are happy to talk up their community and region. You never know what you might learn!

Remember, try looking at things a little differently.

See other images at

A Simple Still Life

A simple still life. I had turned my kitchen into a studio one weekend. I had a lot of fun playing with what I had on hand. You do not have to search far to find great subjects.

Photography subjects are not hard to find. It takes a little imagination and a willingness to look at things a little differently. It is true, that if you live in the Midwest and your favorite subject is mountains, then it might be harder to find your subjects. I suggest you reconsider your goals.

Some of my favorite work has been subjects I find in my house or yard. After that, I will stretch it out a bit, such as, to our local zoo and aquarium. Then I looked at what I have shot in less than 100 miles from my home. I can safely say that over 58% of my work is shot in locations less than 2 hours from my home.

Of course, when I do have the opportunity to travel, my gear goes with me. Prior to the pandemic, I had three incredible opportunities for experiences only dreamed of. But those experiences do not reflect the bulk of my work – a lot of it, but not the most.

My husband and I travel a great deal by car. And, our goal is to not stick to the interstates. I am realistic. We do travel on the interstates, but when it is feasible, we jump off and travel state and local highways. In fact, recently, we did 130 miles on gravel and dirt roads and I loved every minute of it. We see things that most people will never see.

If you go to Yellowstone, for example, visit and take pictures of Old Faithful. But, then along your journey through the park, watch for wildlife – I have stunning images of bison and elk. Then look for subtle things – like seedling trees sprouting up in burn scars.

But, most importantly, look around your house and yards. Don’t look at your pantry as only food…look at it as photo subjects. Think… what can I create and shoot with a tomato, or dried pasta, or peanut butter, or…..Let your imagination go.

Look at things a little differently.

Taste of Summer

Just a whimsical taste of summer. Quasi-sunflowers abound in Utah. I rather like them, and they appear in many locations. Just a celebration of summer!

These may be considered weeds. They pop-up in unexpected places. They grow along roads, in fields, and are not purposely planted by anyone. Yet, we can sure enjoy them for what they are!

We have some of these that popped up in a sandy section of our parking strip that we share with our neighbor. They may be called a Cup Plant, a Cup Rosinweed, or a Carpenter’s Weed. I am not sure. Bugs love them. They hover around all of the time, and feed in the center.

These beautiful flowers grow up to 8 to 10 feet high. The plant is spindly, not very attractive. I have cut them to place in a vase and was disappointed. I think they should be left outside.

Could it be that Mother Nature gives us a simple gift? Maybe we should just leave some things alone? This is a lesson we could apply to so many situations in our lives. Let some things be.

Get Off The Beaten Path

Get Off the Beaten Path – Go and discover what others are missing!

Way too many people jump on the interstate, travel to a major attraction, eat in chain restaurants, shop in chain stores and miss the incredible opportunity to explore! We found this little church between Susanville and Lassen National Park. It is in northern California.

We stopped at a local diner for breakfast that morning. It was a great place, full of locals and the food was excellent and the portions were enormous! We absolutely did not need a poached egg on an English Muffin wrapped in paper.

I love to get off the major highways and go exploring. I call it “boondoggling.” I grew up doing this kind of adventuring. One of my favorite memories are with my mother and sister out in eastern Oregon being in a antelope traffic jam – in the middle of “nowhere!” That was many years ago and I still hear our laughter of our predicament. Memories can be very special when you do something different.

Recently, traveling to Arizona, my husband and I stopped in a little town for the night. We ate at the most exquisite Italian restaurant – and it wasn’t some well-known chain! I could go on and on about the experiences of getting off the interstate. But I want to challenge you to do so.

I get it.But you can still get off the Beaten Path.

I get it. We all have busy lives, need to get somewhere quickly, want the experience NOW, want instant gratification and so on. But, what if you factored in the process, or the journey as part of your experience? Would you not be willing to savor a little more of what you see and can do?

Just my two cents. Because the summer is winding down and people are squeezing in every experience they can, I believe they are missing the journeys.

Do something different and see something different! Explore our world and learn about others!

You Can Still Bloom

You can still bloom! Be a source of inspiration with this digital download for your personal use. You can create gifts, cards, magnets, just about anything. Please no commercial use. Contact me if you are interested in commercial use of this image.

Everyone needs encouragement from time to time. Be a friend and help someone today!

Once purchased, your download will not contain a watermark.

SQUIRREL MOMENT, or, rather Chipmunk

SQUIRREL MOMENT! OK, rather a chipmunk moment.
Have you ever pondered a chipmunk’s feet? Me neither!
So, I have two things to discuss – first, seeing what we normally do not see, and second, why do you suppose Mother Nature graced the chipmunk with such long toes?

We all create images in our heads of what things should look like, right? Take Disney animals, for example. Deer should look adorable, with beautiful fur and in tip-top condition. But what are we to think when we see a deer with a splotchy coat, because of some parasitic condition or mange, or who knows what? What about seeing deer who have battle scars from territorial battles?

Let’s take a look at Chip & Dale – Disney’s infamous chipmunks. Were they drawn with enormous feet and toes? I honestly do not remember and it has been a long time since I saw them. I just Googled them – they were drawn with oval feet with no toes.

Please: I am NOT dissing Disney. Let’s remember the difference between fantasy and reality.

So, why do chipmunks have big feet and long toes?

Watching Where You Step

Are you watching you step? As a photographer who likes to look at things differently, I find myself looking at the ground as much as I look upward to the sky. The ground can be fascinating! I came across these mushrooms in a rainforest in Costa Rica. My message is this, remember to look down when you are busy looking up!

How often are you coached to always look up and look forward? Do you want to know my opinion? If we do not look down once in a while and see where our feet are planted, who knows if we will stumble or not? Are we trampling on something and doing harm?

So many living creatures live beneath our feet. Have you ever taken the time to seriously watch ants? What about the early sprouting of your favorite vegetable or herb? Do you ever look at rocks in amazement at the colors and the shapes?

Metaphorically, there is so much I could opine about on this subject. But, I will safe that for another time.

Remember to look down.