The Color Desert

Panoply of tints from an arid land...

Although many envision the desert as monochromatic with a seemingly endless monotony of sameness the arid landscape is varied polychromatic. 

The variety of chroma is as great as any moisture saturated terrain and displays subtly or brightly depending on object, time of year and place. The color palette ranges across the hues of blue, yellow, brown, green, red with a vast catalog of pigmentation from azure, cobalt, gold, sand, copper, sepia, jade, turquoise, coral, rose and gradations in between. Coloration blends and folds into the scenery or stands out distinctly among the backdrop. This set of photos demonstrates tinges of yellow, green and red.


Psychoactive Fossil Fuel Pumps

Dinosaurs died for this....

Diesel, Unleaded, Plus, Premium?

Late Great Nerve Synapses

This is your brain working at a corporation...

Under Construction

Taking stock and continuous  learning...

New Years has never been a time for resolutions for me. Somewhere around the end of September or beginning of October when the weather turns from blistering hot to a cooler warm my mind automatically starts taking stock thinking how I'd like to proceed the next year. It's a work in progress since for me life is a series of steps forward through continuous learning and being under construction. In December I start house cleaning thoroughly since it has been shut tight during the summer. While going through my entire home I am also clearing out the unnecessary stuff accumulated throughout the year. I shred what little paperwork I still keep, toss or give away things, organize my digital life, getting things in order for the New Year. No resolutions for the upcoming year except a list of things I want to do or get better at doing, clearing the cache in my brain and starting anew.

It's curious to me why so many people fight aging and dislike getting older. My life has gotten steadily better and easier to understand myself and others as life's milestones go by. I no longer worry about things that I once did and I'm not striving to stay young since I've already been young once. Why repeat it? It was fun, I had a pretty good time but it was also stressful because I was unsure of myself lacking maturity and wisdom of age. As I get older the pieces of the puzzle collected through years of living start coming together and I can see the bigger picture. I've lived a full life and if I died tomorrow, although I'd like to live until I'm a hundred, I'd be alright with that. Whenever it happens I want people to say "he died from having lived."

Life does get better as you put the miles on if you travel with the right attitude. Resolutions are declarations of intent with a deadline whereas goals are destinations to arrive at in order to move on to the next one. Each New Year is an opportunity to keep growing and learning through discovery. Cleaning the physical house you live in is also a way of renewing your energy and your physical being that is the house where your spirit lives. Taking stock of where your mind and soul are also is a way of refreshing and renewing your sense of purpose and direction. Resolutions somehow never seem to be met and to me far better to list out items that keep you moving forward and always learning alongside a renewed commitment of gracefully moving from one passage to another.


This Pilgrim's Progress

Now we see through a glass, darkly...

From this world to that which is to come.

The expression to see "through a glass" (or a mirror) "darkly" means having an opaque or limited vision of our existence in this world as we aware of it in this point in time. Our sense of what is real is obscured by what we know in the dimension of reality that we are limited to presently. Only through enlightenment in an extension outside of the one we exist in now will we see clearly the true meaning of life and a higher power greater than ourselves. It is rooted in the Biblical writings of Paul in the New Testament.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love. [1 Corinthians 13: 9-13 New American Standard 1977 edition]

Although the spiritual reference is paramount and overrides all else, on a practical level to see though a glass darkly should be a daily reminder on seemingly ordinary events. The point of discord you have with someone on something political or social, an event that prevented or enabled you to do something, a mood or attitude that has a hold on you should be reason to pause and reflect that you are not seeing everything from all angles. We are humans with a limited vision of what is really happening in totality.

Personally I know where my beliefs are and where they will lead me. Although my point of reference is what I have been taught combined with my spiritual experiences I do not limit the power of God and what He may see fit for other people and their view of enlightenment. This is antithetical to what many believe, those who believe in only one way. I only see in part and not yet face to face nor know fully therefore I reserve my judgment. I do believe that the overarching principle is love and to me that also means optimism for the future and thinking positively. Everyone is at different paths and points on the continuum of personal growth and I have faith in my hope that everyone will reach their own destination in peace, love and understanding.


Know Yourself and Be Yourself

We each have an expedition, yours belongs to you...

It is an act of courage that enriches your experience.

The goal is to keep going and not stop. One step a day is progress while taking none is going nowhere. Sometimes that one step is a motivating pause of reflection and in that moment we then still move upward and forward. There are other days when almost maniacally we take many steps and we breakthrough barriers in leaps and bounds. Other times the grade of the climb is so steep that every stride seems purchased at a painful price. Each type of ascent has its own merit.

It is also perfectly acceptable, actually advisable, to occasionally look back and see how far you have come. The act serves as encouragement to keep climbing. The passage in this life is not to reach the end destination but to prepare for it and make the most of the exploration. Ultimately you will get there but on the way positive steps in the right direction will make the expedition enriching and worthwhile. On rough terrain when the hike is steep and the slope slippery looking up to where you are going is more helpful than looking down. The time will come when you have gone over the jagged rock and up ahead are able look back and revel in the accomplishment.

Regardless of where you are in life you can always look around and find someone better off, someone in about the same condition and someone worse off than you are. All three should be humbling experiences to motivate you to keep going rather than to rate yourself against them and allow you to halt. Others have their own journey, the one you have belongs to you and are responsible for each rung you make on the way up. It never hurts to reach down and give a hand to help someone else over the jagged rock, it is advisable since you will need the aid some day.

Positive thinking, optimism, self-reliance and mutual help are the mental tools that will keep you going and avoid stopping. As we move along our pilgrimage we collect and gather the means to take the next step. Know yourself and be yourself, it is an act of courage that enriches your experience, as well as giving you the wisdom to help others. All roads indeed do lead to a common destination but the mission on the journey upward is to make it worthwhile.


Rains of Arizona

Winter rains soak the scorched urban landscape...

Hard rain hits this desert city so infrequently it gives a new meaning to the term desert pavement, which usually refers to the compacted sand and rock on the open range dry desert floor, that creates severe flooding runoff when it does rain. In the urban landscape there is literal man made pavement with insufficient man made drainage to handle the two seasons a year rain hits fast and furious in copious torrents. Just as the natural desert pavement is unable to absorb that amount of moisture into the ground in such a short time, neither can the manufactured pavement of a metropolitan area. It is an intensely exciting period of baptism by immersion and being washed cleaned.

Raindrops fall like bullets in rapid fire machine gun like from the stratosphere above assailing the ground. It happens so quickly with so much force that as it strikes the ground it quickly pools. Even the best inner-city drainage systems are unable to handle these storms. They're built for the gentler more subtle ones that are most likely to occur in between. Since gully washers are so infrequent in the desert the city doesn't have much opportunity to wash off the oil and grime that collects the dust and dirt of daily life. The combination of the two makes anything motorized with wheels float and glide above it with only perpetual motion and grace to guide them. It is a case of driver and all others beware for nature has momentarily asserted control.

These storms are a cause for celebration to urban and suburban desert dwellers. The sky, the air, the roofs, the buildings, the roads, everything is washed clean. The brief period when the storm is pelting the ground everything either dramatically slows or grinds to a complete stop. Indeed for awhile those caught driving in it may be in for as rough a time as intimidating as being stuck in a blizzard in Des Moines. Then slowly the streets and sidewalks drain into any overflow available eventually to make it underground where it will be stored during the long dry spell until the next storm. Life returns to normal only with a fresh, clean new start. The city has been replenished and reborn.


Winter Leaves In Arizona

In the cool of evening the colors are bright...

Deciduous trees turn and drop leaves in December and January.

The Electric Etch A Sketch

Utilitarian as aesthetic matter...

The perpendicular and horizontal lines that cross the landscape of the sky are omnipresent whether or not the ground beneath them is occupied by humans. Over the decades many of these lines have been buried but still just about everywhere you travel you see poles and lines. They serve as the conduit primarily for electricity which is the foundation of the other technologies of modern life, wireline telephone, cable television and the internet.

There are very few of us that live in contemporary society that would like to live without electricity and at least one of the other services these lines carry. Even wireless is transported at some point through the path of a physical line. Some people view them as marring the landscape, some are oblivious to them and some of us see them as markings on the panorama of state-of-the-art life. We are fascinated by what they transmit as well as viewing them as sketch marks to be recorded and developed into our creative vision of what the world around us looks like. They have a useful mission and utilitarian purpose as well as serving as outlines for images to the creative mind.

The crisscrossing of utility lines, utility poles, streets and traffic lights, rail lines, medians that divide them, sidewalks and shoulders that define them are commonplace but not ordinary due to purpose. They all have function and are the underpinnings of the very civilization we often taken for granted and sometimes curse. Every facet of twenty-first century living in some way or another is dependent upon them. The allure that appeals to me is two-fold. I am fascinated by the intertwining networks that somehow connect to make it all work and the angles and irregularities of the lines and shapes that are like borders on maps in the sky around us. They evoke images for me to record with a camera and then turn into my own work of my creativity.


Out of Focus

Weaving between the lines...

Rebel against perceived failure to create something new and different.

As a child we were told to color between the lines; as an adolescent learning to drive we were told to drive between the lines; as an adult if we paint-by-number we have to stay within the lines. The implication from childhood upwards is clear that staying within the boundaries is good and going out of them is bad. We are told to learn from our mistakes but are then also punished for them rather than turn a misdeed into a good deed.

In photography a blur is a mistake, an accident, something that shouldn't happen if you stay in focus. It is an aberration that supposedly makes a good photograph bad. What happens though if we decide to take that photo and play with it, as a small child does with finger painting before learning the rules, through editing and processing?

It is an occasion to let our creative minds wander and smear stuff around just as that little kindergartner does with paint and paper and no rules. What does it matter if it isn't a master photograph with all the qualities we are told make a good exposure? Sometimes experimenting with post processing a photo doesn't always work out but surprisingly more often than not, if we fool around some, we create a great picture. It is entirely different, inimitable and likely a more interesting one than originally intended, unique art of our own we probably would not have thought of. There's a lesson about life in there somewhere.

These photographs after being downloaded weren't what I had originally visualized within the lines I had drawn in my mind. My preconceptions of what the photograph was supposed to look like within the original lines in my head didn't work out. Rather than perceive photographs gone wrong as bad and let the opportunity to learn from a miscalculation go by I tried turning them into something good. Never waste the probability of getting a lucky break.