Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Still a Bug

About 2 months ago I actually got out for some exercise and met my sister for an evening walk around Reid Park. While on our walk the clouds glowing in the setting rays of the sun were broken up by the outline of the mature trees in the park. I was lamenting that I didn’t have my camera - never thought I would end up with such a great photo opportunity in central Tucson while on an exercise lap around the city park. So last week I finally found a few stolen moments and went back to the Park to see what I could find. I ended up down by one of the ponds and found a wealth of wildlife. Between the ducks, falcons, song birds, butterflies, dragonflies and flowers I had more to shoot than I had daylight. It was an unexpected and delightful surprise. I went back today for more photos; on the search for different types of dragonflies than I captured last week. No such luck, rather than what seemed like hundreds of dragonflies flittering all around, there were about 3. Those 3 were not the least bit interested in holding still for me or letting me get close.

Some of the dragonfly photos are slated to become fine art prints and will be sold in a 3-photo frame as well as separately. (Like how the bee photos are arranged (For those of you who have yet to see the bee photos, you’re missing out so I will post them soon)) in the triple frame.

These photos are available as fine art prints…I can print from a 4 x 6 to over a 20 x 30 photo and ship them as just the photo, mounted on foam core or matted so email me to with any questions.







The grip
Delicate balance

As big as my head

These photos are available as stock photography…

And these photos are available as free desktops....

Now for the typical disclaimers…my fine art prints are not enhanced in any way: no staging, no Photoshop, only an occasional crop. However, these photos have been reduced in both size and quality for posting to this blog. Please remember all photos are copyright Backcountry Photography, all rights reserved and may not be used without my express written permission. Thanks and enjoy.


Hello one and all,

You are receiving this email because you have bought something from me, thought of buying something from me, stopped by my booth at a show and chatted, or are friends and family. Please let me know if you wish to be removed from this list. Thanks.


Just a quick thank you for all those who stopped by the booth over the July 4th weekend at the Pine/Strawberry Art Show. It was a pleasure meeting you all. Lisa and I had a great time and did not want to head back down to the Old Pueblo to be greeted by the summer heat. We did and we were. Sigh. Congratulations go out to Paula Burch who won this shows’ raffle prize. Paula please email me with your information so I can send you the photo.

I’ve been pretty busy since the show and have spent quite a bit of time out of town: I have been chasing after the fireball seen over Tucson about a month ago, taken some training classes, done a little photography, adopted another greyhound (Dru of the last desktop photo fame), took classes to be licensed in Fight Like a Girl a women’s self defense program, created a blog, and the list goes on…

Wait, hold on, back up - that’s right - Backcountry Photography now has a blog. So far the (few) posts extend to covering shows I’ve attended, photography jaunts and the latest available photos. I have another post to make in the near future as I have been taking some great photos while out in the desert meteorite hunting (the photo ops are the only thing I am finding). So stop on by…

And to the part of the newsletter I know you are all anxious to get to…

The latest desktop photo installment. For your viewing pleasure today, we have the door from an out building at the oldest school in Arizona. I was able to spend some time there over the 4th of July weekend; it was just down the road from the Strawberry Lodge. You can check out my blog for more photos of the school itself.

Hope this finds you well.


Friday, July 24, 2009

End of a Weekend

Sunday’s traffic at the 4th of July Strawberry/Pine show turned out to be a little slower than Saturday’s and by late afternoon Lisa and I were starting to think ahead to the drive home and which route we would be taking when a familiar face appeared in front of my tent. Karen Custer-Thurston of Flagstaff completely took me by surprise by stopping by on her way back from picking her sister, Melanie, up at the Phoenix airport. Melanie used to spend quite a bit of time in the Payson area and wanted to drive through on the way to Flagstaff. Thanks Melanie!

So with a delighted girlie squeal, I jumped up from lounging in my chair and threw myself on Karen. Lisa was right behind me. In fact, I think I heard her utter the same girlie noise. We had a 30 minute visit with Miss Karen and Melanie; it made my day, my weekend, my week.

Lisa and I have the packing and loading thing down and once 4 PM rolled around were quickly on the road home to Tucson. We decided to avoid the section of freeway between Payson and Mesa that was masquerading as a NASCAR track and headed the back, back way through Roosevelt Lake, Globe and Oracle. Lisa suggested it and I just went along for the ride. (heh) But she was right as we were one of the only cars on the road for most of the drive.

The truck - loaded

Lisa humors me on our drives and assuming we aren’t completely late for an event, will stop when I casually point out “that would be a great photo”. So at my Roosevelt Lake “that would be a great photo” Lisa found a parking spot so I could do a bit of picture taking. A saguaro with a lake background… you gotta’ love the diversity of Arizona.

Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake

BUT the best was yet to come, and I don’t mean driving up into the driveway of my house to fall into bed. Midway between Roosevelt and Globe I caught a flash on the rock outcrop above us as we topped one ‘mountain’ pass. My cry of “BIG HORN SHEEP, BIG HORN SHEEP” startled Lisa for only a moment. The u-turn executed at the cry of goat milk cheese looked like amateur hour compared to the u-turn Lisa pulled just then. Loaded truck, narrow road, other cars, nothing stopped her. We got (safely and quickly) back to the spot I had seen the sheep and looked up hoping against hope they hadn’t backed up from the edge of the cliff and disappeared from sight. And there they were … 4 big horns; Mom, Dad and 2 babies.

Specks on a cliff - the rushed shot

They were magnificent. Mom was a bit more nervous and ducked out of sight within moments of us stopping below them. But, we had about a minute or so of watching Dad and the babies before another car came up the road and we had to leave.


I only managed a few photos, in my excitement I didn’t turn the flash off and due to the lighting the camera wouldn’t quickly fire off a shot. So I managed only 3 decent photos before we had to leave. There was a little motion from the dad on my favorite photo, so there is a small movement blur on his face; but you can see the curve of the horn really well in addition to the 2 little ones peering inquisitively at us. Not bad for such a distance shot: they had to be 30 - 40 feet above us.

So of the many, many photos taken over the 4th of July weekend I will be printing only two. Both posted above: the saguaro lit up with the rays of the setting sun against the backdrop of a brilliantly blue lake and mountains in the distance and the close-up of the 3 big horn sheep - dad and 2 babies, silhouetted and peering down at us, with the cliff face stark against the fading evening sky. I have many more shots from the trip for stock photography so if you need any photos of old barns, pastures, donkeys, cows, flowers, gates, goats, etc. let me know.

As most of you know, my fine art prints are un-edited aside from the occasional cropping. For the purpose of posting to this blog the photos have been resized and the quality reduced. Can’t have people saving and printing the photos themselves. With the tiny size of the photo posted and at the resolution used, even a small print wouldn’t come out. Not that any of my readers would do that. I have fantastic prices so please let me know if you would like to order a copy, or two or three.

Unexpected Detour

The next morning we were stunned during checkout when the new waitress at the register responded to my inquiry of the check out procedures by holding out her hand for the keys and saying ‘thank you for staying with us’. The Lodge was quirky, the room small, the shower the size of a phone booth and we loved every minute of it.

I had told Lisa about the school house and since we were running a bit early (I know … more shock and amazement) we decided to take a small detour so she could peer in windows as well. When we were leaving the site I noticed a small sign on the side of the road – “goat milk cheese and fudge” and read it to Lisa. It was one of the most spectacular U-turns I have ever seen executed. Lisa knows how to handle that truck. We played scavenger hunt for the blue signs and were rewarded in the end by one large sign with arrows pointing down a drive. A glance at the clock - 7 AM - we held our breath that the farm was open to the public so early in the morning. To our delight, we were greeted warmly and welcomed though not officially open.

The morning’s milking was underway. Stolen glances in the open doorway showed two goats on metal platforms hooked up to a very uncomfortable looking suction torture device, I flashed to thoughts of Westly in the Princess Bride on the Machine. Continuing the movie related theme, I quietly commented to Lisa the goat tethered near the door next in line for milking, reminded me of the tethered snacky treat goat in Jurassic Park waiting for the T-Rex to come out of the woods.

Apparently not torture

We were invited into the store to pick out our goat milk purchases, Lisa went straight for the cheese and yogurt while I went for the chocolate fudge. We were then invited on a tour of the facility to see how the process was undertaken. I now know what curds and whey actually is, one obscure nursery rhyme reference solved.

Curds and Whey

We were also invited into the torture device room we had glanced in when we first arrived. Both goats we had seen earlier happily munching on their morning breakfast while the pumps automatically milked them. The goats were switched out while we were there with the T-Rex goat running in, leaping on the platform and begging to be strapped in. The explanation – ‘they like their breakfast’, which they get once the milking begins.


As we were preparing to leave, the gentleman running the pumps asked if we had ever milked a goat before, in response to our negative replies he invited us to try our hand, so to speak.

Torture device

So…I milked a goat. As did Lisa. And knowing how competitive I am some of you will appreciate how difficult it is for me to admit she was far better at it than I.

Lisa tries her hand at milking...

If you are in the Strawberry area, please stop in to the Fossil Creek Creamery, they are located at 10379 W Fossil Creed Rd, 3.5 miles west of the Strawberry Lodge, 928-476-5178 and their web site is They were accommodating, patient, welcoming to Lisa and me. And…the food…I can’t describe how good the fudge was.

Checking out the city folk

A few hundred photos, one package of cheese, a yogurt, a box of fudge, and a whole new experience later we were on our way to the show for the last day.

Stay tuned for part 3 in the Strawberry/Pine saga…

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Beginning

Over the weekend of the 4th, Lisa and I traveled to the Pine/Strawberry area for the 29th annual Pine Arts and Craft show. We had a great time. We met new friends, ate great food, stayed at the fabulous Strawberry Lodge, visited a goat ranch and somehow managed to fit in actual work. We arrived on-time (For those of you that know us, you will recognize the importance of that statement) Saturday morning for check-in and were greeted by cool temperatures and the wonderful scent of pine trees. I spent the day eye-balling the old barn in the field behind the show location and, because Lisa and I were set up next to each other, was able to sneak off and do a bit of photography. I ran into a buffet of old buildings, pastures, wagons, and fence lines that kept me away from the booth far longer than anticipated. After returning to the booth I had a surprise visit from Susan and Johnnie from Mesa who came up to visit for just a few moments before heading back out; but not before Johnnie yet again tried to set me up with someone he knows.

Lisa and I closed up shop and headed 3 miles north to our home away from home for the evening – the Strawberry Lodge. We entered the attached restaurant looking for the hotel check-in desk, the young waitress swinging past the register asked if she could help us out and we loudly requested directions to the motel check-in area over the band playing in the other room. She asked for our names, reached over, plucked out a set of keys and said “you will find the room up the stairs to the right”. After a moment of us standing there looking at her she asked if there was anything else we needed. I had to unhinge my drooping lower jaw to ask “That’s it? You don’t need anything else from us?” “Nope” and off she went to serve the leering drunk patron who was polite enough to be sure Lisa and I weren’t bored that evening by offering us some entertainment.

After carrying all our stuff up to the room; (stuffed to capacity with 2 twin beds and a chair the room barely held out luggage. A fireplace dominated one corner and the narrow bath was tucked behind a curtain), I borrowed the keys, jumped in Lisa’s truck and headed off to what I hoped was the wilds of Strawberry with grand plans of capturing the perfect high country sunset shots.

My first stop was only a mile and a half down the road at the oldest schoolhouse in Arizona. Reconditioned in 1980, the schoolhouse was picture perfect sitting in a tiny grove of pine trees. Though closed and tours available by appointment only, it didn’t stop me from walking the perimeter, examining the dove-tailed corner joints, wishing I could ring the old bell at the roof peak or peering in windows at rows of desks waiting for students.

I continued my drive, anxious to see what was around the next corner and to my delight it was a dirt forest service road leading into the national forest. Once in the forest I was waylaid by an old cattle shoot, then the cattle, then some flowers, then the old fencing with gate barely clinging on, then… Least to say, I didn’t make it too far into the back country and to my perfect sunset vista before sundown.

I abandoned the photo shoot and headed back into town to meet up with Lisa for a wonderful dinner at the Strawberry Lodge. The strawberry salsa is something I will remember for a long time to come and will order when we stay at the Lodge next year. Stuffed full, exhausted and relieved the band ended at 10, we retired to our room and fell into bed.
Stay tuned for Strawberry/Pine post part 2 where we visit a local goat farm...