Bucket List!

It’s been a couple weeks since I talked photography, and I’ve had an exciting time!

For example, the other day I was out trolling for subjects to shoot when I crossed paths with a photographer friend.  We pulled to the side of the road and chatted for a few minutes, comparing notes on where we had been that morning.  As we chatted, my friend looked at the mountainside and began talking about his desire to get a picture of a Mountain Lion.  We talked about a mutual photographer friend who had gotten an image of a Badger, and how we would both like to get a Badger picture, too.

We parted, and I went on to make some good images that day.  As I continued my trolling (maintaining a vigilant watch on my surroundings and approaching vehicles, for my mother and concerned friends who remind me to be safe), I thought about the conversation and realized that I had never thought about specific images I desired to make – a photographic ‘bucket list,’ so to speak.  I have been focused (no pun intended) on learning the technical aspects of photography (remember that I’m just a simple country engineer masquerading as a photographer) and not looking for specific shots.

I decided that I should continue working on making better images, and not get caught up in creating a list of shots I want to make – at least for now.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t covet making that image of a Puma, Bobcat, or Badger.  If I find one, I’m happy to take the shot, and I’ll go to places where it’s likely to happen.  Watch for the images here.  I’ll just take what I can get – like this Coyote I found crossing an irrigation ditch.

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I first saw him on the bank, and grabbed the shot when he crossed the ditch.


Meanwhile, I’ve been out learning and trying new things.  A couple weeks ago, I journeyed to Virginia City to participate in a ‘photo walk-about’ sponsored by Gordon’s Photo Service and Tamron lenses.  Gordon’s provided the expertise and Tamron provided lenses to try.  I enjoyed the day, learning new techniques and getting information on my lenses.  A big THANKS to the crew at Gordon’s and to Lew from Tamron lenses for a great day! A few of my images from the day:

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The local railroad museum houses this beautiful locomotive.

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A view of St Mary’s Cathedral from Main Street.

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As I pulled into Virginia City on SR 342, the truck route, this view of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad yard caught my eye, and my camera recorded appropriately.


I’ve been playing ‘hide and seek’ with the Wild Horses and Eagles, and they’ve been winning.  I haven’t given up, though.  The Hawks were plentiful (see the Birds page for images).  I also found an interesting scene with a Coyote, Crane, and Cows.

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As I drove by, I saw the Crane. When I found the Coyote, I stopped and got a few pictures of him. When he noticed I was paying attention to him, he walked away. I made this image as he crossed paths with the other occupants of the pasture.


I spent some time this week preparing for the Annual Art Show at Emeritus of Gardnerville (formerly Merrill Gardens, 1565 Virginia Ranch Road, Gardnerville NV) this Saturday, November 22, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  I’m showing and will have prints for sale.  It’s supposed to be wet and cold, a perfect day to come see an art show indoors!

Back to the subject of the day – even though I am not making a ‘bucket list,’ I’m open to ideas for subjects.  If you have something you want to see, please comment or send me an email.  Thanks to everyone following my blog.  To those who just signed on – welcome!  Enjoy!


Veteran’s Day 2014

I promise not to do this very often, but I’m going to step away from my photographic journey for a moment to reflect on the day.  Veteran’s Day is very special to me, and it has become more special in recent years.

November 11 is the day we thank those who have taken the enlistment oath, put on a uniform, and put their lives on the line for our country.  My father worked in the National Guard as a traditional Guardsman and as a federal technician for 42 years, so we always treated Veteran’s Day as special.  My ancestors have proudly stepped up since before the nation was founded.

It is a day that I reflect on those with whom I personally served, and on family, both known and unknown, who have defended their nation – from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to the great wars of the early 20th century and the conflicts and police actions of the later 20th century to today.  Thanks to everyone who has served, and especially to members of my family.  We can document my ancestor’s service dating back to the Revolutionary War, fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War, chasing Pancho Villa in Mexico with Gen ‘Blackjack’ Pershing, and in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

My wife’s parents met while they were in the Navy, her uncles were sailors, and one of her cousins currently serves in the Marine Corps.


My lovely bride, Susan, with her father, Don Hardy, Uncle Ed Hardy, and cousin, LTC Jeff Tlapa, in Washington, D.C., in September 2014. Don and Ed were part of Nevada’s Honor Flight and Susan went along as an escort. Jeff is stationed in our nation’s capitol. Ed and Don both served during World War II, and Don served again during the Korean War.


I enlisted during the Cold War, in 1985, and made great friends during my 25 years of service.  I am proud to have served with these awesome people.


A friend from the 819th RED HORSE Squadron with me, sharing a quick lunch during Contingency Engineering training at Eglin AFB FL, July 1987.


A light moment during field training.


l to r: LtCoL Butch Van Leuven, COL (Ret) Don Del Porto, LtCol (Ret) Craig Wesner, me, LtCol Kevin Knuf: when we were captains together in the Nevada Air National Guard.

Sometimes, we sent our children off to serve.


Captain Amberlee Kurkowski (center), US Army, with her dad, CMSgt (Ret) Tom Kurkowski, and me, just before one of her deployments to Southwest Asia. Tom and I served together for many years, and we talked often about his daughter’s time at West Point and her subsequent service, and my son’s time in the Navy.

As I said, my father served for 42 years, retiring as the first federally appointed Command Sergeant Major in the Wyoming Army National Guard.  My older brother, Bob, served in Vietnam and died in the line of duty as a Deputy Sheriff, trying to save a little girl during a flood.  Dad and I visited my brother’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery last year, and took in a few of the memorials while we were there.


Bobby is interred in Columbarium 1. Top row – second from right.


Dad at the WWII Memorial…


…and at the Korean War Memorial.












And my son, Devon, served in the US Navy for 10 years.


Brother Drew, Mother Susan, and Devon at this graduation from basic training, December 1999.

Now you understand why this day has such special meaning for me.  Please pause on this day to think about everyone who has served, but thank our veterans every day!  God bless America, and God watch over those who put themselves in harm’s way in her defense!



Yes, I know.  It’s November and we should be drinking hot chocolate or apple cider.  The temperatures outside make warmer drinks more desirable.  The Sierras got a little snow this week.  We got rain at the house – in the desert, we generally don’t complain about getting moisture in any form.

I didn’t find the eagles this week, hence the lemonade.  When I don’t find the subjects I’m looking for (bears, eagles, etc.), I take the subjects I am given.  This week, I found 4 Coyotes and numerous Hawks on the hunt.  Here’s an image of one of the Coyotes about to strike!

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I got close to several Hawks and made wonderful images.  Here’s a sample, with a few more on the birds page.

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This Hawk sat on this fence post long enough for me to make multiple images. Then he took off and moved to another post, allowing me to make a few more sitting and flying.

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I saw two hawks in a field. As I got out of the Expedition, one flew away. If you look at the ground in front of this Hawk, you can see feathers. Go to the Birds page to see what happens next.

I was driving through Carson City yesterday.  Traffic stopped on Carson Street, right in front of the State Capitol Building, for a special tour group crossing the street and entering the Capitol grounds.  What a sight!

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All things considered, it was a great week of shooting.  For those of you in the area, the Carson Valley Art Association is having their Annual Scholarship Benefit Art Show at the CVIC Hall in Minden this weekend (November 7-9, 2014).  I am entering three photos.  Stop in and support the Art Association!

Enjoy!  Photorogr