An Extraordinary End to Monsoon 2016

Today is the last day of Monsoon 2016.  The best Monsoon I’ve experienced in my 11 years here.  I’ve neglected the blog so the entries of our microburst  in Oro Valley last month, varies rainbows, lightning shots, downpours, and other sundry Monsoon 2016 occurrences are missing from  Perhaps I will go through my pictures and catch some of those things up.  Perhaps.

Before I get into my story about last evening’s drive home, here’s how the day started yesterday:

092916ppsunriseYeah.  Not bad!  I love the view from my deck here in Oro Valley.  I’m happy to say that sunrises like that happen pretty frequently here and I have a front row seat.

Now.  On to yesterday’s drive home from the radio station.  Extraordinary indeed!  Every direction of sky brought joy and wonder (too much?).  It was a cool night.

It was raining pretty good when I left the station with a bright rainbow forming but nowhere to pull aside and grab a shot.  As I raced toward downtown I mostly drove out of the rain only to have it catch me again as I navigated down Congress.  I drove out of the rain again as I headed north on Granada which turns into Main which turns into Oracle.  As I approached River I could see a bright rainbow against the Catalina Mountains contrasted by dark menacing storm clouds.  I found an apartment complex off River Road and grabbed this shot:

092916rainbowToo bad I can’t include the rumbling thunder in the jpg, but it was cool.  I then continued on my trek north on Oracle and noticed the sunset was starting to pop.  I made it to Family Life Radio near Ina and Oracle just in time.  I pulled into their back parking lot.  Parked.  Walked to the eastern fence of Tohono Chul Park, and facing west (often the best direction for capturing sunsets), I got this shot:

092916sunsetI needed some supplies, so I doubled back a block to the Safeway and did some shopping.  By the time I got through the line and back to my car I could see lightning to the northeast.  As I neared my apartment it was apparent that the lightning was frequent and, as lightning tends to be, rather bright.  I parked in my spot.  Gathered my things and climbed to my third story apartment.  I efficiently put away my groceries, grabbed a cigar and my phone, and went out on the deck.  What a great light show!  I tried to get some shots with my iPhone 6S Plus in burst mode and they came out surprisingly good!  Grainy, yes.  Still not bad.  Here’s the best one:

092916lightningLast day of Monsoon 2016 is today.  There is a slight chance of storms in our forecast.  Will this evening equal yesterday’s in amazingness?  Not likely, but I’ll share if it does!

Here’s an animated gif of the storm just in case that works:


Tortolita Mountains Morning Clouds Time Lapse, July 25, 2016

Another beautiful morning in southern Oro Valley!  First, we started with this sunrise:


Then I set up my phone to capture a time lapse of the clouds overlooking Oro Valley north to the Tortolita Mountains.  Here is the result:

Hopefully clearing skies will lead to scattered afternoon and evening storms.  I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on how to capture lightning with my Sony a5100.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to try it tonight!

Happy Monday! Not an oxymoron. Not around here :-)

Happy Birthday to you two!

ORAZFlagsTwo of my favorite states celebrate birthdays today.  Arizona became a state in 1912 and Oregon became a state in 1859.  Both on Valentine’s day.  Both states that I love!

If you read my bio you know I grew up in Oregon.  All of the fun and the pain growing up entails happened in the Willamette Valley south of Portland.  Climbing trees, fishing and camping trips, jumping off bridges into the Mollala River, high school success, angst, failure.  All of it!  I still have family and friends there and I visit when I can, which is not enough.

I have lived in Arizona more than 10 years now and I have fallen in love.  The desert beauty is just as beautiful as the forests of Oregon but in an almost opposite way.  The Sun shines here like the rain falls there.

Both have amazing wildlife!  Here we have King Snakes, Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Big Horn Sheep, Lizards, and so many birds, including Quail everywhere!

In Oregon it’s possums (OK, not so amazing), Raccoon’s, Beavers, Garden Snakes, Mountain Lions (Cougars), and so many fish.

Both have a wide variety of plant life.  Oregon with the Douglas Fir, Cherry Trees, Boston Fern, Strawberries, Raspberries, Moss, Grass grows wild! and the rich top soil is feet deep.  How does your Oregon garden grow?  Amazingly with just a little care.

Arizona is home to the Sonoran Desert and the State Flower the Saguaro!  Also we have all kinds of plants that want to kill you;  Cholla, Ocotillo, Prickly Pear and Barrel Cactus.

Oregon’s Summer light last until nearly 10:00 pm!  Arizona has the world’s best Sunrises and Sunsets.  Oregon is home to Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, and the The Three Sisters.  Arizona has the Grand Canyon and the country’s only known Jaguar living just a few miles south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains.  Both states have so much beauty to brag about.

Turns out this year is the perfect year for me to reflect and expound on the two states that I love the most. (don’t worry New Mexico and Texas, I still love you two too) Turns out that Oregon is 53 years older than Arizona and I am 53 years old!  Coincidence?  Probably.

Best Sunrises and Sunsets on the Planet! January 23, 2016

Great way to start the day yesterday!  This is looking east to Pusch Peak from my perch here in Oro Valley.


As 6:00 pm approached I had a feeling that the sunset would be special if the sun could duck underneath the high clouds.  It did.  It was.  I drove less than 2 miles from the apartment to a spot on Magee east of Oracle near Pima Canyon.  God does the hard part, I just point and shoot.


No doubt that Arizona is God’s favorite place to paint!

Seattle Bats the Ball Out of the End Zone, No One Knows It’s a Rule

SeahawksLogoEveryone is all a twitter about K. J. Wright batting the ball out of the end zone to secure the Seahawks win over the Lions after an amazing play by Kam Chancellor. Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, and Ray Lewis have never heard of this rule after all of their years of football experience. Why? Here’s why.

Scenario: Punter gets a high snap that goes into the end zone and he kicks it backwards for a safety. Flag is NEVER thrown! The rule states that a bat (in this instance kick) in any end zone is a 10 yard penalty from the last place the last team to posses the ball possessed the ball. If the flag is thrown. The opposing team declines the penalty. Result of the play is a safety. Official explains the rule to the world.

If officials had been treating this rule this way over the years then EVERYONE knows it’s a rule and K. J. makes a play on the ball rather than batting it out of the end zone.

Someone at ESPN please point this out!

Congratulations on a hard fought win Seattle!

My Love Language and Birthday’s

Birthday+CakeI figured out why I love my birthday so much!  Yep.  I’m that guy who can’t resist telling people my birthday is coming up or is here.  It has bugged me at times because I know others who couldn’t care less that it is their birthday or that anyone knows.

My love language is Words of Affirmation.  Compliments and positive attention really affects me in a good way.  According to the book, The 5 Love Languages, Words of Affirmation fill my love tank.

People tend to show love and affection in the way they receive it.  So, I tend to give compliments and talk people up.  I think it explains why I tend to make a big deal out of other people’s birthday.  When I was the morning weather anchor in Lubbock I would buy a cake when someone on the crew had a birthday and we would celebrate on air.  “Make people do stuff for you on your special day” I would say.

Thanx to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, co-workers, and nice waitresses, I’m likely to get a full tank of nice comments :-)  Good times!

January 27, 2015 Oro Valley Sunset

I can’t always tell when there is going to be an amazing sunset, but sometimes it is painfully obvious.  Today was one of those days.  I left the station on the south side of Tucson about 5:10 in the evening.  A few minutes earlier than most.  The western sky was mostly overcast with mostly high clouds, but a few at mid levels.  I was thinking, “if the Sun can get below those clouds tonight’s sunset will be really nice.”  As I was driving north, the Sun came out.  The Sun had indeed gotten below the clouds.  The amazing sunset was on!  The next problem was, could I get to one of my favorite places on Magee in Oro Valley in time to get the shot?  Turns out I arrived with a good 10 to 15 minutes to spare.  I ended up taking at least a dozen shots, but this one is my favorite.  I think of all the places on the planet, Arizona is God’s favorite place to paint.


2015 is Going to be Amazing!

Tortolita Snow
Tortolita Snow

It has been a long time since I blogged here.  One of the things I plan on changing in 2015.  This year is off to an AMAZING start and the signs are unmistakable.

It snowed overnight!  A rare and exciting event in these parts.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.  Then, I am driving in my car to see the snow and take a few pictures, and Mix FM is playing an old American Top 40.  The top 100 songs of 1984!  Another unmistakable sign for the new year.  1984 is the year that I took my last pay check and bought a one way bus ticket for Roswell, NM in hopes of landing a radio (and eventually TV) job.  What an adventure as I arrived in Roswell in late Spring.  I hit the pavement looking for that radio gig I had always dreamed of.  I stopped by KBIM AM/FM and talked to one of the owners, Betty King.  They didn’t have any openings, but she was running for state senate.  She talked my ear off!  I guess my fro didn’t scare her off :-)

A couple of months later I was busing tables at Chew Den, a local Chinese restaurant, and the King’s sat in my section.  Betty recognized me despite my haircut.  She told me they had a part time opening and to talk to Harry Deirks.  So, the next morning I did.  He told me that since I had no radio experience he wasn’t interested.  I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  This is what I was here for!  Next morning I was waiting for Harry when he arrived for work.  the answer was still no.  Next morning I was there waiting for Harry when he arrived for work.  Still no.  The next morning I was there again.  I think he knew I wasn’t going to leave him alone unless he gave me a chance.  He had me read some wire copy.  Not bad, he said, except that I should change my inflection between stories.  At least I didn’t have a west Texas accent like the applicant’s cassettes he had on his desk, he said.  He hired me for weekends!  My first radio gig!  I worked at Chew Den and part time at the radio station until Harry moved me up to full time overnights.  I was there two years and finished my stint at KBIM AM/FM as Music Director.

I moved to TV at KOBR as Master Control Operator.  I learned how to edit, direct news breaks, run audio, graphics, and most importantly use a TV camera.

That eventually led to a news photographer job at KBIM TV.  That led to a reporter job and eventually weather anchor!  Ever since Jr. High I wanted to be a DJ and a Weatherman.  It took almost 8 years, but I made it happen in Roswell.

So this morning when I woke up to snow (I LOVE snow!) and then the top 100 of 1984, I knew.  The signs are clear.  This year will be special.  As I listen right now to the songs that I played as a new DJ, the songs that were the soundtrack of my life as I boldly moved to realizing my dreams, I feel the same excitement.

God has already opened the door to me doing news talk radio.  I know He is with me as I move in to 2015!  I will get in shape.  I will learn Spanish.  And maybe, just maybe… well, I’ll leave that dream to myself for now.

Dare to dream.  Step out in faith.  It is the road less chosen and it will make all the difference.