When people hear that we have traveled to Alaska, they usually ask us if we went to Denali National Park. Well, no, we say- we’re there to see our grandkids. This time we drove to Talkeetna, hoping to get a view of Denali, at 20,310 feet the highest peak in North America. You can actually see Denali from Anchorage, but we have never managed to catch a good view (similarly, we have never seen a moose or bear in Alaska- which I guess is pretty unusual!). Denali is so high that it creates its own weather- and is most often obscured by clouds.  This time was no different, but if you look closely at the photo, you can see the snow capped peak through wisps of clouds. Don’t get distracted by the darker peaks- those are big, but not gigantic like Denali- look at the top of the clouds, above the space between the two dark peaks on the right that are above the tree line. Yes, you have to look closely- but that’s all I’ve got!



Beach Time!

My husband was in Southern California on business last week, so I tagged along. Our first stop was Newport Beach, where we caught up with our son and his girlfriend and had a very quick afternoon at the beach. I’ll be posting a few photos this week from that all too short visit.

Unexpected Beauty

When we were in Yarnell with our friends, Joan and Rudy, Joan spotted a sign pointing to the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains. We followed signs and came upon a beautiful, quiet path up and over a rocky hill which took you through the fourteen stations of the cross, with concrete statues created in 1939 set into the hillside. It was a deeply spiritual and moving experience to go around corners and come upon these beautiful works of art.

Some impressions:


Uke Time

Since retiring, I’ve been exploring photography and continuing my lifelong passion for family history. My friend Joan has gone an entirely different (and unexpected) direction; she has learned to play the ukulele! She plays in several groups, volunteers as a ukulele teacher for the blind- and who knows what else? I played the baritone ukulele in high school in my wannabe a folk musician days, and she is much, much better than I ever was. Bravo, Joan!


Windmill Country

Rudy and I worked on multiple exposures, which he had never tried with his new Canon 5D Mark IV (the camera I was coveting because of its fabulous features for multiples).  This is one I captured with my Nikon- but I had to fiddle some in Photoshop to get one of the windmills positioned right (you can do this in camera with his Canon. . .). It really doesn’t matter HOW you get the image, but there is something so fun about getting it right in camera.

Memorial Day

In honor of all our veterans


Yes, I hiked . . .

I’ve been so inactive the past 6 months, alas.  But here is a bit of proof that I had to WALK to Red Rock Crossing- from the parking lot.

Another View

It’s all about the reflection.

Color Play

Another play with one of my multiple exposure photos from the Mogollon Rim. Yes, I do love Photoshop!



It’s up, it’s done, it exists! Huge exhale!

Yavapai College Photography Show

Let the fun begin!

It is a beautiful show- and I am honored to be a part of it!

P.S. One of my photos has SOLD!

Down to the Wire

It is crunch time.

As I have mentioned, I am participating in two photography shows- but did I mention that they are happening at the same time? And that the receptions are on the same day at the same exact time?

Tomorrow, I and another  photographer will help hang the show for our photo group at the Yavapai College Art Gallery (for me, it’s mostly to learn how!). I have three photos in the show- an Alaska landscape, a Utah landscape, and The Magician. I’m not too nervous about it, because I’m only one of fifteen. And the others are superstars.

The next show (which we hang next Monday) is a different matter . My good friend, Debbie, who makes fabulous “fauxbots” out of found objects, and I have our OWN show (whaaaaaat?) in the mezzanine of ‘Tis Gallery across from the square here in Prescott. Unlike with shows on the main floor, we are totally responsible for the organizing, arranging, hanging, and some of the publicity. Oh and we pay for the space too. The show is called “F-stops and Fauxbots” with the tagline making magic with photography and found objects. 

We were actually invited to do this and I said no three times before I said yes. I have hardly ever sold anything and don’t have a business (and don’t plan on having one). Debbie does have a business and sells her work. People love her fauxbots (I do too!). I have been stressing over this for months, but finally had an attitude adjustment and decided to just enjoy the process- which I have. I don’t mind telling you that it was a big investment and a hell of a lot of work, but I am almost at the finish line!

What you see here are the framed photos wrapped up so I don’t scratch the frames, some matted unframed prints ready to package in plastic- and some cards.  Now it’s just details and the actual setup. One more week!

P.S. The receptions for both are Friday May 26 at 5:00- Yavapai Community College for the class- and ‘Tis Gallery for “F-stops and Fauxbots”. The shows each last about a month. I’ll post the details later on.

P.P.S. Did I mention that Debbie is in California awaiting the birth of grandchild number 5? She promises to make it back in time for our show . . .

DNA, NPE, and Family Secrets

This post isn’t exactly photography related, but it’s about something that has been very much on my mind and heart in the last couple months.

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by family stories and relationships- how do we all connect? I wrote out family trees while still a child, although they only went back to my great-grandparents- and weren’t entirely accurate.  I think some of this fascination had to do with being an only child; I wanted more PEOPLE!

Well, I have them now! We are still a small family, but our family tree includes 6,057 people at last count.

In the last year, I’ve developed an interest in DNA as a genealogical tool, but, truthfully, it was hard to wrap my mind around triangulations, chromosomes, centimorgans and segments. Still is! However, some unexpected DNA cousin matches in the last couple months have motivated me to learn to apply science to my lifelong hobby.  You see, when you have your DNA done, you not only learn your ethnicity, but you see how other people who have taken the test are related to you. People can be totally private, but their user names still pop up as matches and their relationship to you is estimated by the number of centimorgans you have in common. There were some surnames in four close cousin matches that were totally unfamiliar to me- and they had trees!

Without divulging names and where they fit on our tree, I will say that at least 3 of the 4 were adopted- and one has not written back.  And they were from the same general geographical area.  A mystery- and I love mysteries!

The more I went through their sketchy, incomplete trees and those of dozens of others that connected to them, the more I realized we had an NPE- a Non-Paternal Event, which means that the father of record is not the biological father. This was not a huge surprise, because there was a known ancestor who we had heard was not the actual father. About ten years ago, I decided to incorporate the father of record into our tree and had traced his ancestors back to colonial days. Now it looks like there will be a whole new line to investigate.

The adoptees that I wrote to knew the names of their birth parents, but not their ancestors- except for one. And I’ve found how she connects to the others- most likely through her unknown father’s line. This is the fun part. The hard part for me is seeing the broken families in the trees and imagining the hardships some of these people were facing.

The evidence is not solid yet on how these adopted cousins fit into our tree; I can connect them more easily to each other than to us- except through DNA. And the conventional wisdom is that DNA doesn’t lie- people do. Yikes.

I’m sure this post is hard to follow without more specific details, but I’m trying to respect the privacy of family members. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation- it is so wonderful how DNA can bring people together, but it also can reveal secrets that the people involved may never have wanted to be revealed. There are ethical dilemmas involved.

And then there is another DNA family story that will have a happy ending- just not yet.  Almost fifteen years ago, a twenty-some year old second cousin of Lonnie’s named Kenny (whom he had never met) contacted us wanting to share family history. He has the mind and dedication of a cold-case detective and is highly skilled at tracing family from past to present, as well as present to past (and all on his PHONE!). While other genealogy contacts have come and gone (or died. . .), I’ve been talking to Kenny (and, in recent years, texting with him) regularly all these years. And. . . DNA just showed us that he and Lonnie are not related. This has been very upsetting to say the least, but, since we know family is not all about DNA, he is and will always be our cousin.

So, as you may surmise, despite being very busy getting ready for two photography shows and leading an otherwise busy life as well- I have been obsessed with family history- and not getting much sleep. I keep putting my files aside, but then just can’t seem to step away from the computer!

So that’s what I’ve been doing!





Atomic Tumbleweed

I’ve tried to photograph tumbleweeds before, but can’t seem to find the right way when they the single subject.  So here’s a jazzed up multiple exposure/composite. . .




Last week we had a huge windstorm and snow the next day. And now we are back to Spring weather, and our apple trees are in bloom!