Dec 222011

It’a a Ghost Town near Elko Nevada.


About 50 miles northwest is a a very small place.  And old place once inhabited by the pioneers, cowboys or at the very least adventurers.  Have you seen this area?  Not sure I would have driven my tent post permanently there.    Must have been a tough bunch of people.  I mean real tough.  No couch watching Bones and eating Dorito chips in that town.

I am always drawn to the cemetery in these places.  In there, there is the real evidence of class and style of the people who expired in this dry and unwelcoming place.  A wide range of respect for the dead?  Probably not.  Just evidence of the financial status or position in the community.   Here is an example of a headstone that stood about 6′ tall made of solid stone probably imported from Salt Lake City.

Annie headstone

A beautiful marker from a man that lost his bride at the early age of 25.  A sad story anytime a loved one is lost.  What a great epitaph to his love.. “Gone but not forgotten”.  Maybe a sure indication of no religious experience tying his marriage or relationship with her to a life after earth?   All kinds of questions.

Then there is this headstone…….

headstone in sagebrush

A simple wood plate.  The person beneath it now unknown to us who visit these days.  Probably a beautiful headstone when placed over 100 years ago.  Hand carved name, date of birth and date of passing inscribed on the plate.   Maybe the work done by a family member or loved one.  Why not out of stone?  There are several wood headstones just like this one in the cemetery……


Name only.  What is the history behind this headstone?  Is it a part of another that over time had been vandalized, weathered or just aged?    A man? A Woman?  Or a Child?  This particular head stone really move me to tears.  A name not forgotten but a history vanished.  What I would give for a journal of this “Hubbard”.  Days on a horse?  How did they survive day to day?  Where did they get water?  How many in their family?  What games did they play….if at all.  It may have been all about survival not fun and games.  I wish I knew.


“DOVE”  A nickname?   A last name?  An enduring message?


Look real close.   The very faint partial wording of “in Memory “.   In Memory of who?  Someone important to someone else.  A part of a family lineage.  A spirit forgotten here on earth.  Depending on what one may believe, maybe to return to rise again?   Maybe to tell his/her story to others.  I love to hear the stories.


Miles R. Dunton.  Dien in October 17, 1906.  At 57 years old.  Same age as me.  The fence around his headstone was made by a company based in of Salt Lake City.  An ironworks company.  The headstone was the nicest one in the cemetery.   Mr. Dunton must have had money or the means in his family to provide this beautiful plot.   There is a real interesting issue to me with this headstone.   It appears to have a place for another person to be inscibed on it. Just left of Mr. Dunton.  A place for a partner, spouse, child, or family member?  It’s off balance with only his name.  The two spires up to one point had to have some meaning as to the design.  What happened to the other person?  Did they move?  Did they lose the means or finances to have their name inscribed?  I will never know.  Probably no one knows.  It’s been over 100 years since Mr. Dunton was buried.  Does he have living relatives now?


I stayed until sunset.  All my thoughts revolved around who’s footsteps had been there before mine.  How many sunsets looked like the one I was witnessing?    It was very quiet.  Peaceful.  Probably one of the true reasons why someone could live to the age of 57 years old back then.  They worked hard.  Slept well?  Ate only to survive not to enjoy.  Sat at times and listened to the quiet.  No cars, planes, or machines to interrupt the peace.  Their stress was how to associate.  And how to endure.  I learned something in TUSCARORA.  We are all people that someday will expire.   Our spirits will leave us.  Our memories will go with us. What will we leave behind????????

 Posted by at 11:40 AM
Dec 162011

I work for a company called Maverik.

I am almost 57 years old.

Someone somewhere has to have done a study on how much time we spend at work.  Building, extending and nourishing our careers.  Let’s see a minimum of 8.5 hours a day.  A minimum of five days a week.  That’s about forty-two and a half hours a week.  Four weeks a month.  Now it’s up to 170 hours a month.  2040 hours a year…..and so it goes.  At an absolute minimum we spend 25% of our lives at task, being compensated and looking out for an organizations best interest.  At a minimum.  In some of our lives we have devoted up to 35-40 percent of our lives to grow another’s business.  Don’t think I am about to explode into a rampage about my most current employer.  Just a few opinions about relationships.



A family owned business.  In it’s third generation of family lineage overseeing the daily operations of the company.  Maverik is growing.  We are doing well as a company.  For some 13 or 14 years I have been compensated well.  Had offers from outside to make a change a few times.  Always said no.  And thank you.  What happens to corporations as they increase in size?  Add employees?  Become more and more top heavy?  What really happens?  The PEOPLE get lost in the big spreadsheets.  The bottom line looms greater than anything.  Company goals, mission statements and the like become routine without the human touch.  People soon have nicknames like guides, QA’s, customer advocates, etc.  What really makes companies successful.  Have long term success?  Enjoy street level compliments from it’s customers and peers?

It’s people.


We work in buildings made of steel, wood, brick, plastic and numerous other products.  Objects inside built by those residing within.  Thousands of warm bodies each with specific tasks to accomplish.  Some with perks.  Some without.  In the end every person plays a role in the success of the company.  Many very visual.  Most not.  Some empowering roles.  Most empowered.

As I near my so called Golden Years I have appreciated more the efforts of those empowered.  I work with the best team at Maverik.  Really.  We are at the bottom of the food chain.  My team knows that.  Yet they still look to each other to make each day more enjoyable than the day before.  They are self starters.  They all would drop anything to help each other.  Each day is different for them.  Great challenges and stressful tasks drive them.  I love these people.  They are my friends.  That’s why I stay at Maverik.


I will continue to laugh at the inaccuracies.  My time will be focused on my teams goals and efforts.  Their families will still be number 1!  And the bottom line…..well it will be just that a bottom line.  Nothing more.  But when I do walk from these responsibilities the bottom line will still be there.  Forever chased, studied, challenged and worshipped.  I will leave with friends and a knowledge that the PEOPLE at  Maverik are better  because of my team. And their desire to improve each other.  Knowing that people create the bottom line.  Happy, empowered, enthusiastic people grow the bottom line.

 Posted by at 1:13 PM
Dec 062011

My camera still travels with me.

Pretty much everywhere I go.

My postings are getting a little scattered for a couple of reasons;

1. I am getting lazy.  My job is taking a lot of my energy so by the end of the day I find myself watching an episode of Burn Notice, Body of Proof, Castle, Bones, or The Closer.  Yes a couch potato.

2. Late fall and early winter are not the best times to get out for only and hour or so and get some wildlife near home.  A little lame.  But again a little burned out and the end of each day.

On a recent trip from Scottsbluff, Nebraska driving back to Denver we stopped in a little town.  I was told by an associate to stop and see a collection of  old dispensers.  He was pretty excited to help in my quest for fun photography locations.  I love old stuff to photograph.  It holds real still and has tons of character.  We soon found the lot and I was out clicking away.

Gilbarco close1

Old dispensers of many brands.   This Gilbarco is a dinosaur.  So am I but I have never seen one quite like this one.  It was very cold out that day.  In the teens.  For most people unbearable.  For me….just need a tissue to keep wiping my nose.  A lot to take in here.  A little tough to shoot.  Harsh mid day sun. But more problematic was the close proximity of all the dispensers.   If you critic my photos you know I hate clutter in a photograph.  Partially because I need more skills to make clutter look organized or at least acceptable in a photograph.

dispensers goodyear

I did not want to disappoint my associate.  He expects good things from my photography.  He is a high achiever himself.  Expects a lot from those around him.  He is an “old” man. (insert smiley face here :-D)  Has years under his belt. And knows what he wants.

I almost paid the price here.  While squeezing around all this antique stuff I turned a corner and was face to face with the county Sheriff.  I guess I looked like an antique thief at this point.  He mentioned that he had several calls from passer-by that saw me rummaging through the stuff.  I held up my camera and suggested that I was only taking pictures not stealing stuff.  Quickly my questions turned on him about the city.  Crime stats.  And thanking him for his service.  He wasn’t buying the nice guy stuff and asked that I leave.  Always say yes to that comment when coming from a gun toting public servant in a strange town.

Ended with a couple of fun shots and another story to tell.


Mr. K.I. this ones for you buddy.

 Posted by at 4:25 AM
Nov 262011

This year I am focusing more on the Biology of the birds and wildlife I photograph.

For a decade or so my winter is a little more exciting when it comes to bird photography.  It easier to locate and shoot the hawks and Kestrels.  My fancy is photographing all wildlife.  Due to weather, travel and my close proximity to world class bird habitat, winter is prime birding time.  So off I go and chase the little (and) big critters that fly.

The American Kestral.  Always at the refuge.  Always hunting.  Can’t miss their tail feathers flapping up and down just after landing on a branch or power line.  They eat insects, small mammals, birds and reptiles.  Not really a migrator here in Utah I see them year round.  Just love the winter shots.  The snow usually highlights their bellies.  They can be more readily seen with no foliage in the trees.  The photograph below is a male.  The male has a much more distinctive coloring.  Especially down his back.  The spots are much more prevalent on the male.  They nest in cavities.  At the refuge there are a couple of man-made nests that have been used by the Kestrels.  They only have about a two foot wing span.  Man! they can fly.  Seen often hovering over prey along roadways.  They are naturally shy.  A very long lens is the best bet to get good photographs of the Kestrels.  The phot0 below is shot with a 600mm lens with a 2x converter producing a 1200mm image.  They are so quick and make such sudden changes that I am usually shoot at least 800 ISO.  I have found myself up in the 3200 ISO range (thank you Nikon and the D3s).  I almost always shoot wide open to get the highest shutter speed possible.  In auto focus mostly.  Shoot in aperture priority.  I love this bird,  He is beautiful.

Look close at the bug wing just below the claws of the Kestrel on the branch….

american kestral on branch

 Posted by at 4:12 PM
Nov 152011

Time on the Oregon Coast will eventually take you into a wooded area.  And possibly enjoying the manmade walkways.  They are wonderful.  They fit well into the environment.  When raining and overcast they really standout…..

Oregon Walkway

 Posted by at 9:54 PM
Nov 142011

The best of the best photographers have all agreed that rainy days can provide for the best photographs!

On the edge of my whits in Oregon.  Trying to get a permit at the very last minute.  Literally.  The store in Baker City was stocked.  Everything ready to start operations.  Including waiting customers.  I sat in a DEQ office in Bend Oregon.  Literally begging the permits manager there to not bend the rules.  Instead just process the permit in a couple fho ours and not the usual 30-60 days.  It was a very long shot.  I anticipated the call to Maverik’s executive team…” sorry guys we have to delay the opening between 30 and 60 days”.  YIKES!  I was begging. Believe me!  I felt like Jack Bower at an interrogation at gun point.   Didn’t sleep the hole night before.  It was on my shoulders.

I don’t remember walking out of the building in pouring rain calling the area supervisor to tell him “go ahead and open.  I got it”  Felt like the one time mom forgave me for stealing the candy bar from Grand Central and not telling my Dad.  Or the first time I kissed my sweetheart.  Elated would be a slight understatement.

Three days before my plane took me home.  What to do?  As a habit I carried well over 75 lbs. in photographic gear.   Bend is 3 hours from some of the most beautiful coast in the Americas.  Fifty-five miles an hour was just not fast enough.  Until I got to the first mountain range.   Beautiful fall colors.  In the rain the autumn hues were emphasized.  The tree bark contrast was incredible. A photographers dream.  I passed a small sign that pointed down a small to that said “falls”.  Hey I have all day.  Turned around and went back.  Did not regret it.  It was pouring as I hiked to the falls.  The camera gear had all its rain protect in place. I did not.  It was very cold as I turned the corner and gasped.  A small burst of sun shone on the falls. Even where I shot from it was like a morning shower.  I was drenched.  Had about three to five minutes to get exposure, the correct shooting position and break out the gear.  Forgot the tripod!!!!!!!  DUMBY!  I had to hand hold a 1/8 second exposure.  My hope was to get a 9 exposure HDR image.  In the end I think the single exposure worked to my favor.  The contrast of the sun really popped without the HDR coverage.   I love the shot…….

oregon Falls

 Posted by at 10:47 PM
Nov 092011


Easy to get a a decent click out of.  Pretty much they all look the same.  Clouds, weather and light play a factor…but best of all!


 Posted by at 9:53 PM
Nov 082011

When you are raised in the center of the U.S. going to the ocean is a spectacular experience.

Last few miles before the the ocean appears through the windshield is intense.  The anticipation building up.  Then finally it’s there.  Goes on forever.  Loud and rhythmic.    But difficult in many ways to capture in 2 dimension.  Great contrast.  High dynamic range.  For most part I am not thrilled with most of my shots of the ocean every time I go.  Still not thrilled……..


 Posted by at 8:42 PM
Nov 072011

Ok so its been a while!

Life has been crazy.

This last week my camera and I spent a few days on the Oregon Coast.  Tough shooting scenics on the coast.  Especially when raining the whole time.  So I looked for critters.  The ones with wings first.

Oregon Blue Heron color

The background of the Great Blue Heron is the ocean breaking against the coastal cliffs. Kinda cool.

Oregon Blue heron

Never got shots of Pelicans on cliffs before.

 Posted by at 11:26 PM