Sunday, November 28, 2010



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Storm clouds moved in late this afternoon so we may have some inclement weather headed our way. 


Hey, isn’t that Bert over there from Sesame Street’s Bert & Ernie team.  >>>>>>

Woke up to a bit of wind in the Valley this morning but was happy to see our over night temps have come way up from just a few short days ago.  47F is far more acceptable than 10F for sure.  By 7:30 the sun had spilled over the Swiss Helm Mountains flooding our coach with warming sunlight.  By noon the south wind had picked up enough speed in the lower valley to cause great clouds of dust to appear like mist across the valley floor.  Higher up & closer in to the Swiss Helm mountains our winds were less intense & barely flapped our window awnings but did manage to blow our outside ladder over & scatter some mats we had out drying.


Kelly stops to tie a shoelace after blowing a running show on the trail.

All of today’s photos with the exception of Rick’s Red Barn photo & the storm clouds were taken on Saturdays Chiricahua Monument hike on the Natural Bridge Trail.



It’s rugged territory in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Awhile back, RICK had a snow scene photo with a red barn in his blog.  I commented on the photo saying I liked how he composed it by not putting the red barn in the center of the picture.  Rick stated in his next blog that he really hadn’t composed it that way but wondered if I would explain my comment. 


RICK’S PHOTO…(disregard Bayfield Bunch watermark)

First, let me explain that in both painting & photography there are a few basic rules that people follow to make their finished product more pleasing to the eye.  Of course in some cases rules are meant to be broken but in Rick’s photo he accidentally composed it right.  One of the basics in composing a photo (especially landscapes) is to think in the rule of ‘thirds.’  When looking through your lens, imagine two evenly spaced vertical & two evenly space horizontal lines dividing your picture into 9 equally sized squares.  The 4 intersecting lines will give you the area where your main subject can be placed to make a good looking photo.  Top right or left of center or bottom right or left of center.  Rick’s attention was on the lake but the actual main subject in his photo turned out to be the red barn & that red barn just happens to be exactly placed at where one of those horizontal lines intersects with one of the vertical lines.  In other words, his red barn is top left of center & that is one of the things that makes this a good photo.  Many people would look at that scene, see the red barn, & then put it dead center in the frame & snap the picture.  Well, it’s where you place that red barn that will make the difference between having your photo look like an average tourist snap or a great looking photograph.  Rick didn’t know it but he also accidentally did something else that made this a good photo.  He did not put the horizontal horizon line dead center across the photo.  His center horizon line happens to be above center.  That is another thing that separates tourist snaps from well thought out photos.  Keep your horizon either above or below center.  I could tell you why to do that but let’s just stick to the photo at hand.  There are a few other things that caught my eye in this photo.  Notice how the foreground fence breaks up the otherwise almost solid white slope to the barn.  Also notice how the barn buildings step down along a line that continues via shrubbery downward to the right side of the photo & begins to converge with the fence line.  It is that line that brings your eye from the fence back up to the main subject….’the barn.’  In fact this photo has the makings of a classic composition ploy in that it has the much sought after classic ‘S’ line in the photo.  Notice how the fence line comes in from the left foreground & leads your eye across the photo the right & then nearly connects with the converging barn line that draws your eye left up to the barn.  The ‘S’ line then continues from the barn & tapers out around the lake to the right & takes you out of the photo.  Not the perfect ‘S’ but pretty darn close for an accidentally composed photo.  A little more like a ‘Z’ than an ‘S’ but it works just fine in having the same effect.  Also notice how the grey bush frames the red barn before tapering off around the lake.     And also notice a bit of brightness in the sky behind the barn on the left throwing a slight highlight on the snow covered barn roof.  Again very appealing & just the type of scene you would see in a painting.  Luckily, the type of cloud cover lends some texture to the sky but if this was my photo I might have cropped some of that sky out a bit.  Had the sky been blue with big white fluffy clouds I would not crop it.  If the sky would have been a solid white cloud cover I would definitely have cropped about two thirds of it out.  I see a lot of photos with big chunks of bland white or blue & unnecessary sky in them.  Do not be afraid to use your cropping tool!!  Anyway, right or wrong & in my totally humble opinion, that’s my take on Rick’s photo, & I bet some of you folks never even realized why you liked that picture so much, until now………………10-4:))

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The Shadow Cowboy is followed by Kelly on our long climb back out of the Canyon

Kelly did some laundry in the house today & I settled in to bonking around on the computer & reading my latest book, ‘A Cowman’s Wife.’  This RV lifestyle of ours is sure different from our sticks & bricks lifestyle at home.  I can relax & read a book without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else.  At home in Bayfield Kelly is constantly at work & I am plagued with guilt about that when I am sitting at home twiddling my thumbs.  It is a problem I do not have while we are traveling & that of course makes the traveling lifestyle much more appealing to me than sitting at home all summer.  And, speaking of summer at home……. by the sounds of what is happening with the once named ‘Town & Country’ company I drove for this past 6 or 7 years I will likely not have my job when we get back in the Spring.  The company has been undergoing a lot of changes & growing pains & sounds like it has just stepped from small town charm to big business stiffness with lots of rules, regulations, name & staff changes.  It has been swallowed yet again by a larger company by the sounds of it.  Oh well, 6 or 7 years at the same job was waaaaaaay too long for me anyway.  How boring is that, doing the same thing over & over, year after year!! 


I see an Egyptian Pharaoh guy on the right talking to Jay Leno on the left.


It’s a good thing we are nearly back to the Jeep:))    >>>  

GROANER’S CORNER:((  Latest news reports advise that a cell of five terrorists has been operating in the Harlem area.

Police advised earlier today that four of the five have already been detained. The Regional Police Commissioner stated that the terrorists: Bin Sleepin, Bin Drinkin, Bin Fightin and Bin Pimpin have already been arrested on immigration issues.  The police advise further that they can find no one fitting the description of the fifth cell member:  Bin Workin, in the area. Police are however, confident that anyone who looks like Workin will be extremely easy to spot in the community.


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. thanks for the photo lesson!..long winded but I will try to take it all under advisement!! much pressure!!

  2. Oooooohhh! That "shadow cowboy" sure is scary!....and the "rock pics" of Bert,Jay Leno & the egyptian pharoh
    are great fun!

  3. The winds are almost too much for me. Maybe if the temperatures moderate a bit?

  4. Thanks for the great explanation of the 'rule of thirds'. I even think I understand it now. Even if I don't remember all of it, there is still a good chance that I may get lucky by taking a few more accidental shots!!

    The rock in your first picture sure does look like "Ernie" too!

  5. The rule of thirds is a lot easier with trains,than it is in scenery shots, be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  6. Nicely composed post...1/3 was about weather and scenery, 1/3 was a photo lesson, and 1/3 was about seasonal life style changes! All topics weaving their way to an ending groan. :)

  7. Those S and Z curves are difficult to come by, Al, but the reminder was certainly welcome. And the cropping tool is definitely one of my best friends! There are those times that one needs to ignore the rules and take a great picture just as it shows up. You first picture today is one of those -- the motorhome is dead center in the picture, but delightfully framed by trees and clouds. We had the same clouds here in Benson, but not many trees, especially since the August windstorm!

  8. Fashion rules, driving rules, cooking rules, and now...More rules!!!!! NO, REALLY?? You already know that I am SUCH a rule breaker! (Especially the fashion rules!)...
    Actually, believe it or not, I have taken some art classes and I used to work for a florist doing flower arrangements...focal points , and ALLLLLL OF THOSE DARN RULES!!
    Looks like you two are right at home there...Can I just say that maybe you should buy it, eh????

  9. Great notes on the barn. It was a really nice shot for sure.

    You look so "at home" out there, nice to see you are enjoying your winter!

    Great groaner!