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Archive for September, 2010


Double Blessing Ceremony
So you were born to blog! Sharing with all the world your innermost thoughts, feelings and in my case, rants! Back up! Setting up a wordpress.com site has been a real experience, a positive experience, for one thing, they are free. Secondly, they really work well and therefore the pressure is on you–the blogger–to produce content someone wants to see or visit. Technically speaking, running web sites boil down to
the amount of space you have available to you, particularly when video, photographs, slideshows are involved. One video can easily add up to a gigabyte, slow to load and play, enter utube which allows you to upload your video to their servers and then link it back to your site without any
cost in space to you. They give you a nice looking player and it looks good. But once the viewer enjoys your video on your site–they are left on utube and they steal your traffic … that said. What traffic you might ask. WordPress sites have great search engine visability, for one reason because they are all linked and you can search all their content or WordPress will link you with related topics on other sites and bring you some readers. My videos have had a marginal affect on my site, however on utube, the Apache project, will soon enjoy its 1000th playing largely from Apache in Arizona and New Mexico but now has been found globally and is enjoying almost 25 hits a day on utube, my other videos, Dia de Muertos in Nogales, Son is second with much fewer hits, fifty eight views since mid-August, and my multi-media slideshow of the Day of the Dead Procession, my best I believe, has had fewer than forty views, inspite of all my spiffy digital sound capture overlaid with the video. Stumbleupon is another tool, if you get a good posting–Stumbleupon might bring you ten viewing in a good day, your content, and its interest to your reader will determine the degree. I recently sent my Shamanism post to Stumbleupon and found the mystery of the super natural brought in almost nine hits from the outside. Either way, it is hard to match the power and speed of the huge servers of utube but as you blog, your archives gives you depth, and slowly builds your daily viewings. SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK.COM and SOUTHWEST PHOTO JOURNAL are new and designed to promote each other by sucking in the search engines and finding new views and ultimately customers.
I can see from my stats page, readership is up, the curious are visiting–but I still am amazed by the success of my videos on utube and the total lack of interest in them on site. Obviously, the content needs improvement, and the right story will bring more visibility, so SWPB will continue to be topical and current and strive to reach you across multiple platforms. You can help by coming back and checking in.
Hey, if nothing else, the Tucson Weather Report on my page with its 10-day outlook is the BEST REPORT in Town. Weather in Tucson tomorrow! HOT and SUNNY … See, who would have seen that coming.



Preparing for flight on the PINAL PIONEER PARKWAY Thursday Morning ten TURKEY BUZZARDS warmed and dried their wings against the Morning Sun near the entrance to the FALCON VALLEY RANCH on AZ HWY 79 nine miles north of Oracle Junction. These area has been recognized as a key spot for raptor viewing, even an osprey has nested nearby, the Turkey Buzzards are an added bonus. The Turkey Vulture is common in the United States, its keen sense of smell is vital for finding carrion, contrary to popular belief, this bird enjoys plant matter as well. The Turkey Vulture soars above the ground for most of the day, searching for food with its excellent eyesight and highly developed sense of smell. Extremely non-confrontational, the Turkey vulture will not feed on live prey, an occasional habit of its cousin the black vulture. Turkey Vultures, like these, are often seen along roadsides, cleaning up roadkill. The turkey vulture is one of the most skilled gliders among the North American birds. It migrates across the continents with minimal energy output. Vultures launch themselves from their perches only after the morning air has warmed. Then, they circle upward, searching for pockets of rising warm air, or thermals. Once they have secured a thermal, they allow it to carry them upward in rising circles. When they reach the top of the thermal, they dive across the sky at speeds near 60 miles per hour, losing altitude until they reach another thermal. All this is done without the necessity to flap. In fact, the turkey vulture can glide for over 6 hours at a time without flapping a wing! …


PUSCH RIDGE DRESSES UP THE ENTIRE NORTHWEST SIDE OF TUCSON AND MAKES IT THE FASHIONABLE SIDE OF TOWN. I’m closing out my 4th decade in TUCSON and most of that time I have lived in one spot in the shadow of PUSCH RIDGE. Early on, I set up a ladder and never moved it, eventually the vines grew over the ladder and now it can never move but nightly I will find myself on my roof watching the interplay of lite and color as both bounce off PUSCH RIDGE. It can be particularly rewarding this time of the year when clouds appear and give the sky contrast and color at sunset, the storms and lightening add a completely different component, each photographer has to decide how much of that he can handle. I frankly get off the roof when the sky is crackling, the tree in my front yard was recently reduced to a hedge by an explosive lightening strike. So take my advise, keep your head down and find a good, solid plastic tripod. Today I am posting a new slide show on SouthWestPhotoBank.Com which will show a portion of my collection of my PUSCH RIDGE Collection and hope you find them fun in the real-time of a slideshow and remember in actuality each reflects a day, or 24 hours, in changing weather and time spent. I have driven all over the AMERICAN SOUTHWEST and BAJA and few places I have visited have had the class and beauty that PUSCH RIDGE lends TUCSON. Its always fun when driving in, after a long trip, to finally spy my view of the ridge and finally know, I’M HOME ! There is PUSCH RIDGE to prove it. HOPE YOU ENJOY…


Landscape photography requires the photographer to have a link with the land, he must be attuned to the weather, the time of year, the movements of the moon and sun, blooms and fall-all things natural, but often out of sight and out of mind, not something city-dwellers easily track. Therefore the challenge, Ansel Adams described the landscape photograph as often the source of great hope and often the source of severe disappointment, it’s hard to keep it all together and be there when great things happen, unfold and become a lasting digital moment. That doesn’t mean that untold numbers of photographers won’t strive to accomplish what Ansel Adams did, with every breath they take. His record selling “Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico” was one of those “drove into the ditch, threw up the tripod, slammed in a film holder into his camera, pulled the slide, guessed the exposure, made the exposure, light faded. Then he pulled a light meter and made his readings and developed according. Hernandez New Mexico print sold recently for $609,600, more recently, the Adam’s photo “Winter Storm clearing” has sold for $722,000.00 bypassing all other Adam’s photos for a price paid. I asked Ansel about “Winter Storm clearing” once he said that he often visited that view and some times there was a photo but often nothing and he drove on. So luck, has a lot to do with Ansel Adams “luck” but his diligence and tenacity always the deciding factor, he was out there working and checking out ideas that may bear fruit, but maybe not today, keep checking. Years ago I decided that Landscape work needed total devotion and tried to devise ways of improving my chances, without living in the desert the rest of the year. A few tricks that help, the moon calendar on this website’s blog roll, tells you when the full moon will present itself, it also shows you the dark of the moon, for night shots. The AZ Highways scenic drive and monthly event calender gives you ideas of pretty drives that can dove-tail with up-coming events like the Fort Verde Days October 8 thru 10, lots of living history, drilling, posing for tourists. Maybe enroute or on the way home you decide to visit wet Beaver Creek, the road travels across several one-lane bridges and a country boarding school to the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, where after a short half-mile hike, visitors can see more than 1,300 petroglyphs depicting everything from snakes to humans with walking sticks. A nice diversion, breaks up a long drive and a good thing to shoot mid-day and gives you some variety and more bang for your buck.<!–
SW SPRINGPK WeisI have a habit of picking up rocks along the way and over the years I find myself with a huge rock garden and in the nooks and crannies of these rock, cactus adorn and bloom annually right in my backyard. Frequently cactus blooms at home fill in the blanks when I need a particular bloom but better still it keeps me in touch with the desert and when I notice the blooms in my garden I realize things are heating up out in the Sonoran Desert and I might do well to take a look.

SHAMANISM: Crack in the Rock divides US from our Spiritual Side

Rock art in North America is found deep into Mexico north into Utah-it can be quite old, in central Arizona it begins before Christ and around 1000 AD rock arts takes on human shapes. North to New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, a rock wall has a series of lines in a single panel said to mark the summer equinox, a sun dagger is said to mark the coming and going of summer. Elsewhere in Chaco’s back country is a panel said to depict a 10th century Super Nova seen in the sky. Graphic shapes or counting seems to be one media but art does become more expressive, but nowhere is the javelina or wild-pig and mountain lion depicted in stone. They migrated late into our area only within the past two hundred years. This flute-playing Mountain Goat carved in rock is found at SAND ISLAND IN BLUFF UTAH in the midst of the NAVAJO Nation but is a remnant of the ANASAZI prehistoric culture. This isolated view represents perhaps 18 inches by maybe 30 inches sliced from a rock art panel on a 150’ cliff beside the San Juan River. Most of that 150 foot cliff is rock art, this is simply a paragraph.
It appeared to me as very cool having a Mountain Goat playing the flute, like Kokopelli, so I pulled this in with a 300mm lens and thought no more about it until one day when I visited Edgar Perry, a White Mountain Apache Medicine Man and described the panel to him from memory.
Is there a crack between the two groups of sheep? he asked. Yes, I said. “That line represent the real world (topside) and the supernatural world (beneath),” he said. Topside you see two sheep walking on all fours beneath the crack you see two sheep — one standing on two legs and playing a flute and the other on all fours with a bird (raven) appearing from its head the Navajos call this, skinwalkers or shape–shifting. The Medicine Man points out the White Sheep becoming a black Raven characterizes the battle between good and bad, right and wrong. Imagine if that much meaning can be taken from a fraction of the entire panel, imagine what else, we could learn everywhere.butlercanyon.tiff


UPDATE: New signs unlike the sign above have replaced the one below and some say its because of the election and the need to show greater control of the border. The Pinal Sheriff said it was all politics but the sign below was placed in an area where he held a four day smuggling sting in northwest Pima/southwest Pinal to justify his request for a million-day anti-smuggling team. Investigative leads have brought in outside agencies to investigate a Pinal Deputy’s shooting allegedly tracking smugglers. Governor Candidate Jan Brewer stood in front of a sign like below and told Washington to “do its job” ranting about “heads in the desert” and some might say that all could be called politics. “I’m 80 miles away from the border and only 30 miles away from Arizona’s capital. This is an outrage. Washington says our border is as safe as it’s ever been. Does this look safe to you?” she asked. Still reports say Americans must take care driving Sonora in 2010 and to stick to the main roads or join organized tours who do business there regularly….end of update…
There was time when I would throw my camping gear in the car and take off and camp where ever the wind blew me.
Today I find myself questioning whether or not camping along the US-Mexico Border is as safe as it once was. I find myself considering whether a person alone carrying expensive camera gear is as safe as I once always thought. The Robert Krenz shooting in the SouthEast corner of Arizona says no. Shit happens, people say, until it happens to them. I have always known that crossers were honest hard working people crossing into Arizona’s Sonoran Desert are not the problem. I have seen dozens and know they simply wish to fade in the texture of the desert and reappear close to their goal and awaiting friends and family. God Bless them—I wish them well.

Having said all that, I still find myself thinking twice about venturing out and carefully considering my destination. I used to drive the border road between Nogales and the Coronado National Monument south of Sierra Vista, I frequently camped along it, heard occasionally things going bump in the night but never had a problem. I often camped in the riparian region called Sycamore Canyon west of I-19 along the Ruby Road south of the fantastic Tumacacori Highlands, no more.
The picture above was taken at the west end of Avra Valley Road–west of Marana–north of the Tucson Mountain chain but south of the magnificent Silverbell Range. That opening leads into the Tohono Oodham Reservation which is frequently used by smugglers. Violence in Mexico trinkles down to the little guy, the mules, the folks carrying the loads and if they lose their cargo, they too may lose and so, in the days of trickle-down economics, so may you. Daylight brings some safety and fewer issues arise with the sun but with nightfall, so comes Trouble. And everyone knows “Trouble rides a fast horse”, so be smart and safe. Get an early start home by dark, always carry spare water in case you find someone in trouble, but take care not to place yourself and loved ones in a compromised situation.

UPDATE: Two Mexican immigrants have been found shot to death in Pinal County 500 yards from a migrant camp, each with a single AK-47 round, the shootings occurred an area known as Antelope Pass, not far from where a Pinal County Sheriff Deputy was shot by smugglers five weeks earlier. One of the victims may have reported the shootings with a cellphone prior to dying from his injuries, when helped arrived, both were dead. A rifle was found with the victims and question whether or not, the victims were out were hunting or perhaps had been smuggling themselves.
FURTHER UPDATE: The Arizona DPS reports "militia groups" operating in the open desert with the intent to deter smuggling and capture illegal crossers. Many different points of view are represented in these groups and care should be taken around any group of heavily armed individuals. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu blasted the federal government during an Oct. 10 tea-party rally in Tucson for putting up the signs in English “instead of in Spanish, facing south, saying, ‘Stay out.’ “