International Space Station and Saturn Over Paradise

The ISS hit a peak of 80 degrees last night, almost directly overhead, and I captured a very clear shot. Then I took some good pictures of Saturn, also brightly visible last night, and made a composite of the ringed planet and the ISS for the second photo posted here. The ISS travels at 18KContinue reading “International Space Station and Saturn Over Paradise”

The Dixie Fire and Sunrise

The fire keeps going, though it hasn’t been a threat to us for awhile. Mornings are smoky and afternoons clear, with the towering presence of the fire always evident to the north. Here are two shots, the pyrocumulus cloud from yesterday evening, and a red sun this morning. Happy Friday everyone!

Midnight Skies, and a Little Rain Just Now

The Dixie Fire effects are no longer felt here, just west of Paradise. We have had steady winds to clear any haze, and about an hour ago we had a light rain – unheard of in July! Please enjoy these six pictures, beginning with a beautiful full moon from last night:

Dixie Fire Morning Sun – Smoke, Shadow, and Light

The Dixie Fire front has moved to our north and east and is at higher elevations, so we have layers of clouds and smoke in the sky, with the sunlight producing unique effects. This looks like another planet. Air quality at ground level is good here, with an AQI of 44 (compared to scores sometimesContinue reading “Dixie Fire Morning Sun – Smoke, Shadow, and Light”

Do You Have Questions? Please Read My Book

My new book, BRAHMAN – Learning To Thrive In Paradise, Essays on Living Cosmic Life is available on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback. Please see a description below the link: Introduction This book is about living Cosmic life, our human birthright, expressed as my spiritual memoir. Although each of the 170 essays making up thisContinue reading “Do You Have Questions? Please Read My Book”

Fire Season in Paradise – A Close Fire Today

We received an evacuation warning this afternoon from the Butte County Sheriff, due to a 15 acre fire about a mile away, in the next canyon over to the east. It was moving fast in our direction, so they brought in an air tanker and helos to dump retardant and stop the spread. Success! AllContinue reading “Fire Season in Paradise – A Close Fire Today”

Nature Remains Calm During the Dixie Fire

Fortunately the Dixie Fire has grown away from us, with a steady southern breeze to ensure it. I cannot see any evidence of the fire this morning to the east, though there continues to be a thick band of smoke to the northwest. I also can’t fly my drone for at least a month asContinue reading “Nature Remains Calm During the Dixie Fire”

Dixie Fire Night Panorama Northeast of Paradise

[July 19, 2021] The fire has moved far east of us tonight – no smoky air – calm, with a southern breeze here. Coyotes were howling in the canyon last night. Tankers are flying overhead now, refueling at Firebase Chico, and then back into it. Downtown Paradise can be seen lower right of the fireContinue reading “Dixie Fire Night Panorama Northeast of Paradise”

Nance Pond Today, July 17, 2021

Nance Pond can be clearly seen from the back fence now – All the burnt brush from the 2018 Camp Fire, including most of the snags except for the tallest ones, has been pushed down and broken up, for fire safety and erosion prevention. As I was moving up on a jackrabbit inside the fenceContinue reading “Nance Pond Today, July 17, 2021”

Summer Fire Season in Paradise 2021

Some haze this morning and a smoke smell. The Dixie Fire continues to grow, nearly 10K acres now, but away from us, up into the high country. As the day goes on we should again have a consistent wind from the southeast to blow the smoke away. Here are six pictures from yesterday, including anContinue reading “Summer Fire Season in Paradise 2021”

Mid-Summer in Paradise

Cooler today and normal temps for this time – 74/23 now, rising to 96/35 later. The Dixie Fire is smudging the sky near the horizon and I may have smelled a whiff of smoke, though it is really not an issue. Here are four pictures, showing the smoke smudge today looking west, a few ofContinue reading “Mid-Summer in Paradise”

Our Fire Season 2021

A much calmer time this year, though we have our first sizable fire in the county now, The Dixie Fire. Started yesterday at 60, then 500, now 1,200 acres. Burning in a wilderness area with low population. The wind is blowing from the SSE here, perfect to keep the fire and smoke out of Paradise.Continue reading “Our Fire Season 2021”

Harvesting Grapes Today

With the heat the fruit is coming in quickly. I took in about 100 white peaches yesterday, and 12 lbs/5.4 kg of red grapes today. We will eat some and juice some, and the birds get the rest. All our fruit is organic, grown in volcanic soil, and gets plenty of sun. Please enjoy theseContinue reading “Harvesting Grapes Today”

Saturday’s Sunset and The Milky Way

Last night was a very clear night for sky photos. Enjoy these five pictures, and please look left on the last one to see a faint meteor trail. The International Space Station swings by this Monday night at 10:22, at a height of 65 degrees, for seven minutes. I’ll have my camera ready for thatContinue reading “Saturday’s Sunset and The Milky Way”

A Red Tail Hawk Hunting In the Heat

This hawk was above the canyon two days ago, nearly translucent from the strength of the sun. Not even the buzzards are flying this morning. It is 93 degrees now (10 AM) and forecast to hit 112 today, and tomorrow. I am very tolerant of hot weather, and found out my body temperature is consistentlyContinue reading “A Red Tail Hawk Hunting In the Heat”

Animals Get Some Relief From The Heat At Nance Pond

Mostly deer and quail were seen on the Nance Pond gamecam this month, with one nightshot of two raccoons. The quail are growing a large bevy, now numbering twenty birds. See if you can count them all in the third photo below – it isn’t easy! We are at 108/42 today, going to 112/44 overContinue reading “Animals Get Some Relief From The Heat At Nance Pond”

Riding Ponies as a Kid in SE Asia

My brother and I used to do this a lot, mostly in Indonesia. Here are two vintage photos of us on the ponies (me on the left one in both): The first in the Javanese highlands from 1960, and the second from the Philippines in 1968. I was always outside on an adventure of someContinue reading “Riding Ponies as a Kid in SE Asia”

A Pair of Great Horned Owls Visited This Evening

This is the first time I have seen a pair of these owls together here. What a magical sight. It was dusk, about 8 PM, and the male showed up first. Soon after I took the pictures, both soared silently down the canyon to hunt. Here are my best five photos. Enjoy!

The Sutter Buttes on US Independence Day 2021

The Sutter Buttes (elevation 2,000 ft/610 m) rising from California’s Central Valley, are the world’s smallest complete mountain range. Formed from an erupted volcano, the Sutter Buttes were considered the creation spirit for the local indigenous people. We decided to take a trip today to see how close we could get by dead reckoning. HereContinue reading “The Sutter Buttes on US Independence Day 2021”

Showing Off the Prize

Yesterday afternoon I saw this scrub jay with a huge peanut in its beak. I am finding this is not uncommon behavior, and have seen other birds too, flying about with an abundance of worms or insects in their beaks before feeding. As if to advertise their hunting prowess. Here are two pictures of theContinue reading “Showing Off the Prize”

A Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly and Other Winged Creatures Today

Here are five photos of a western tiger swallowtail butterfly in the garden, followed by a dove, a bee in the middle of a crepe myrtle bloom, and a California scrub jay. Also, though I don’t have a picture, yesterday evening we were sitting outside, and suddenly there was a very loud sound about fourContinue reading “A Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly and Other Winged Creatures Today”

Happy Summer Solstice 2021 (and Me)!

Here are six pictures of the garden flowers still blooming: a rose, crepe myrtle, oleander, and butterfly plants. The final picture is of me from Amsterdam, in early March of 2020. I am both happy and a bit jet-lagged in that picture, and obviously “open”…. What a lovely city – hope to return next year!Continue reading “Happy Summer Solstice 2021 (and Me)!”

Paperback Now Available: BRAHMAN – Learning to Thrive in Paradise: Essays on Living Cosmic Life

My book has now been published as a paperback on Amazon (tinyurl.com/2d5np68m). Now that Kindle accepts .docx manuscripts, the process is a breeze from submission to publication. Kindle tools for cover design are excellent and easy to implement. Please enjoy!

‘Star Ladders’ and a CalFire Spotter Plane

I took several 30s time exposures last night of distant high-altitude jets. Their light patterns look like ladders to me when seen up close. Earlier, our first CalFire spotter plane of the season flew overhead. Please enjoy these four pics!

Published: BRAHMAN – Learning to Thrive in Paradise: Essays on Living Cosmic Life

I have just published BRAHMAN – Learning to Thrive in Paradise: Essays on Living Cosmic Life as a Kindle e-book on Amazon (USD$9.99), with a paperback version coming soon. https://www.tinyurl.com/2kkzudn5 Here is the introduction to the book. I am excited to publish it, and I hope everyone enjoys it, and finds it a practical guideContinue reading “Published: BRAHMAN – Learning to Thrive in Paradise: Essays on Living Cosmic Life”

A New Discovery – A Western Pond Turtle in Nance Pond

Today I was taking pictures of the bullfrogs sunning at Nance Pond. Then I noticed something at the far end of the pond, a Western Pond turtle. I had not seen one here before. These turtles are California’s only native freshwater turtle species. They are now endangered, with an estimated 25% of the population left.Continue reading “A New Discovery – A Western Pond Turtle in Nance Pond”

The International Space Station (ISS)

Taking a reasonably clear picture of the International Space Station (ISS) has been a goal of mine for several years, especially with the clear skies in Paradise and the frequency of observable flyovers, as many as five per night. The challenges are the intensity of sunlight reflecting from the station, its speed, about 5 mi/8Continue reading “The International Space Station (ISS)”

Hong Kong 2019

Here are seven pictures from my visit, each with a caption. Most are of the island, as that is where my family lived from 1969 to 1972. When our family arrived large demonstrations had just ended – in favor of Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution. This time the large demonstrations began the day after IContinue reading “Hong Kong 2019”

Turkey Vulture at Nance Pond

Here is a striking personification of natural curiosity and focus by a turkey vulture, as it spotted me, and came over for a visit while I was down at the pond yesterday. The wingspan of these birds is about six feet, or just under two meters. Since coming to Paradise I have felt a kinshipContinue reading “Turkey Vulture at Nance Pond”

A Strange Light In The Woods

Today I pulled the picture card from the camera facing the back meadow, and was very surprised by a sequence of photos taken two seconds apart. In the first, a deer is exiting the frame to the right, and a very bright and focused light appears on the ground like a beam of some sort,Continue reading “A Strange Light In The Woods”

Sky Pictures and a Spotted Towhee

Here are nine recent photos from the Nikon P950. There are three cloudscapes to begin with, then the Spotted Towhee, a large sparrow, hunting in the brush, followed by a jet contrail headed northeast and correcting due north, and a close-up of the plane creating it (a Southwest airlines’ Boeing 737) above 20,000 feet. AContinue reading “Sky Pictures and a Spotted Towhee”

Paradise, California Goes Cosmic on the Mars Rover ‘Perseverance’

‘Paradise Strong’ emblazoned on Mars Rover Perseverance as it reaches the red planet https://krcrtv.com/news/local/paradise-strong-emblazoned-on-mars-rover-perseverance-as-it-reaches-the-red-planet PARADISE, Calif. β€” On Thursday, the Mars rover Perseverance will land on the red planet to begin a two-year mission looking for signs of past life and the potential for future visits by humans. This new rover is carrying a pieceContinue reading “Paradise, California Goes Cosmic on the Mars Rover ‘Perseverance’”

Snow in Paradise (A Pictorial)

It began snowing last night, wet and heavy. I took some pictures, including one of the dawn yesterday and another of the approaching storm in the afternoon. The wind was very strong last night and we have also “warmed up” by a few degrees, so heavy rain is falling now. We are just on theContinue reading “Snow in Paradise (A Pictorial)”

Four Sky Views and a Hummingbird – A Pictorial

Enjoying this quiet time for rest and rejuvenation. The sky is beautiful and always changing now during early winter. This morning the setting full moon was a special treat before daybreak. Here are five favorites from yesterday and today. Please enjoy! πŸ™‚

Four Views of Nance Pond Today

My Nikon P900 was well-worn after five years of heavy use, and it was time for a replacement. Thankfully this year Nikon came out with the P950. It is a little heavier but the balance is better, and the performance in terms of speed and resolution is excellent. Same 83x optical zoom, and with aContinue reading “Four Views of Nance Pond Today”

Nance Pond Wildlife – A Pictorial

I went down to the pond today to swap out the gamecam card, and just as I was off the hill a young buck bolted out of the underbrush to my left. He crossed the path and then stopped. I took his picture and continued on. After I swapped the card out, I noticed aContinue reading “Nance Pond Wildlife – A Pictorial”

Upper Nance Canyon – A Pictorial

The smoke has died away and we have clean healthy air, though we remain in a severe fire warning condition. The nearby fire is 95 percent contained, however if the wind comes up there is still plenty of fuel left to burn inside the perimeter. The wind has been lighter than forecast, but a proactiveContinue reading “Upper Nance Canyon – A Pictorial”

Near Sunset in Paradise – October 8th, 2020

All of our evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted in Butte County, and the nearby North Complex West Zone fire is about 90 percent contained (not out, though no longer growing). The skies are much clearer and we have even had the windows open all day – haven’t been able to do that sinceContinue reading “Near Sunset in Paradise – October 8th, 2020”

Nance Pond in Early October – A Pictorial

Yesterday, I walked down the hill to swap out my game-cam chip at the pond, and look for visitors’ pictures later on the retrieved one. A lot of wildlife is stopping by, including a bobcat hunting at one in the morning (though I must adjust my night/infrared settings to post pictures of the cat…) TheContinue reading “Nance Pond in Early October – A Pictorial”

Flying Butte Creek Canyon – A 7.5 Mile/12 Kilometer Flight

Here is a video flying my UAV (DJI Mavic Pro 2) in Butte Creek Canyon, from the overlook on Skyway. I began the flight at a ground altitude of 1,100 ft/335 m, and backed into the center of the canyon, then turned the craft WSW and headed nearly a mile down the canyon towards Chico,Continue reading “Flying Butte Creek Canyon – A 7.5 Mile/12 Kilometer Flight”

Approaching the Equinox in Northern California – A Pictorial for 2020

Images accumulate over time in my Nikon as the year advances. Here are a favorite eight showing us moving into Fall, as the weather cools and the current crop of fires wane slightly. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

On Kissing – From a Small Book Given to Me in 1996

The book is called appropriately The Kiss, by Running Press (c) 1992. One of those tiny ones found in the check-out stand at the book or drug store. As we are spending most of our time indoors, I read it this morning. These are my favorite quotes from the book – Enjoy! πŸ™‚ “There isContinue reading “On Kissing – From a Small Book Given to Me in 1996”

California Fire Season 2020 – Fire Southeast Today – A Pictorial

After my meditation early this afternoon, I noticed a big plume of clouds to the east-southeast. The entire north state is under a red flag warning due to high winds, low humidity, and dry brush, so I was alert. The devastating Camp Fire in 2018 also came from the east. The wind was relatively strong,Continue reading “California Fire Season 2020 – Fire Southeast Today – A Pictorial”

Flying Butte Creek Canyon – A Four Mile Flight (UHD video)

I flew the UAV in Butte Creek Canyon yesterday morning, and was quite pleased to be able to render the video in 4K/50 fps., the same resolution and frame rate as the source video. After painstakingly evaluating several video editing software programs yesterday, Filmora9 by Wondershare is the ONLY one that can edit and exportContinue reading “Flying Butte Creek Canyon – A Four Mile Flight (UHD video)”

Wildlife Near Nance Pond – A Pictorial

Today at noon I flew the UAV over Nance Pond and spotted one of the ducks, a very welcome sight. I haven’t seen all four ducks for awhile, and suspect the coyotes or another predator may have taken at least one. When I last hiked in the canyon, I found two ribs of a deerContinue reading “Wildlife Near Nance Pond – A Pictorial”

Flying Nance Canyon Today – A Three Mile Flight

The weather is a little cooler today (94 F/34 C), and a lot less smoke, so I went down the hill into the canyon around noon and found a good take-off point. I flew the UAV (DJI Mavic Pro 2) straight out for about a mile and a half and returned, with a cruising speedContinue reading “Flying Nance Canyon Today – A Three Mile Flight”

Helicopters Headed to the Fire and a Smoky Rising Sun – A Pictorial

Here near Paradise, we are on the flight path for many helicopters headed north and east, especially the fire crews. A flight level of 1,500 feet clears us by less than 200 feet, so they are close. Nance Pond, behind our house, is a listed Calfire water resource though they have only dipped those orangeContinue reading “Helicopters Headed to the Fire and a Smoky Rising Sun – A Pictorial”

A Star Trail Video with Meteors

Here is a star trail video (10 s.) from last night, showing a total of eight meteors (the video title is incorrect). Several are just single points of light, or quite faint, though the most dramatic one, a red streak through the center can’t be missed. I ran the video through an editor and auto-leveledContinue reading “A Star Trail Video with Meteors”

Meteors and Update for August 9th, 2020

All continents (except Antarctica) are now represented, with two new additions (in italics), bringing the total countries and territories to 39: Africa – South Africa Asia – China, Hong Kong SAR – China, India, Israel, Malaysia, The Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey Australia Europe – Austria,Continue reading “Meteors and Update for August 9th, 2020”

Three Perseid Meteors

The Persied meteor shower is occurring now in the NNE sky until the end of August. This is how I hunt for meteors: At roughly 2300 on a clear night, I set my camera on its tripod at a best guess angle and direction, and initiate the Nikon P900 “Night sky” program. Then I simplyContinue reading “Three Perseid Meteors”

My First UAV Night Flight

Last night the moon was nearly full, and forming a triangle with Saturn on its left, and Jupiter on the right. So I decided to take the Mavic Pro 2 up to 390 feet (just below my maximum ceiling), hover, and take some pictures. Here are three photos, moving from southwest to southeast. The photosContinue reading “My First UAV Night Flight”

Last Pictures of Comet NEOWISE and One Each of Saturn and Jupiter

Here are my four final pictures of the Comet NEOWISE taken July 18th, before it left us for awhile, due back in 6,800 years (all 60s. time exposures using the Panasonic LUMIX). Last night I was also able to take my clearest photo of Saturn yet. I had the Nikon set manually (f/8 and ISOContinue reading “Last Pictures of Comet NEOWISE and One Each of Saturn and Jupiter”

UAV (Drone) Flying Nance Canyon

Here is my first video (3:43) flying in Nance Canyon with the Mavic Pro 2 drone (shown below), with Gail as spotter using binoculars. After about 400 feet out, even against a clear sky, the drone is impossible to see unaided. The video is 4K quality and too big to upload directly, so I haveContinue reading “UAV (Drone) Flying Nance Canyon”

Photos: A Deer Looking in the Window, Coyotes on the Game Cam, and Starlink Satellites Crowding the Sky

Here are six recent photos from Paradise – A buck looking in our window yesterday, coyotes from the game-cam at Nance Pond, and a composite shot from last night showing several Starlink (Space-X) satellites in orbit. It is always magic to see the larger animals around here, and celestial objects. About seventy years ago, theContinue reading “Photos: A Deer Looking in the Window, Coyotes on the Game Cam, and Starlink Satellites Crowding the Sky”

Two Photos of Saturn and a Later Rising of Jupiter

I was pleased to be able to take the Saturn photographs, 830 million miles away, as it is tricky to get the right light and focus, even with a tripod (Nikon P900 – ISO 400, 1/60 s., F 6.3, manual focus). My Jupiter and four moons rising video is 2:26 tonight, as I caught JupiterContinue reading “Two Photos of Saturn and a Later Rising of Jupiter”

Independence Day – Drone Flights

I have recently taken an interest in drone photography and video. These are stills from a flight this evening out to Butte Canyon, and over Nance Pond in back. The equipment is a DJI Mavic Mini, flying close to 400 feet max altitude from a take-off point 1,300 feet above sea level. Speed is aboutContinue reading “Independence Day – Drone Flights”

Rainer Maria Rilke Quotations

Inside during a brief rain today, I found myself wandering through an extensive list of quotes of Rainer Maria Rilke, a poet who captures so many of our states of consciousness. I selected a page of favorites. Please enjoy: β€œIt is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” β€œEverythingContinue reading “Rainer Maria Rilke Quotations”

The Milky Way, Meteors, and Jupiter

Just as here on Earth, the Heavens have been quite lively lately. Here are four photos from last night; a video-still of a meteor streaking in, and three exposures of the Milky Way. Every time I step outside during these clear nights, I see several meteor trails. The video-still image is one exposure of aContinue reading “The Milky Way, Meteors, and Jupiter”

A Trip to the Feather River Canyon

Two days ago I took a road-trip to the nearby Feather River Canyon. I traveled through it as a child by train, from Reno, Nevada, to Sacramento. It is also where the Camp Fire began in late 2018, hence the numerous burned trees in the area. Here are my favorite seven pictures of the recentContinue reading “A Trip to the Feather River Canyon”

A New Resident, the Golden Eagle

After the Camp Fire in November 2018 our landscape changed, with fewer live tall trees and a shift in the bird population, adding several species I hadn’t seen here before. Our most prized new arrival is a golden eagle, seen hunting in the canyon and also perched in the burned pine tree in our lowerContinue reading “A New Resident, the Golden Eagle”

Winged Victory Global Update for May 14th, 2020

All continents (except Antarctica) are now represented, with four new additions (in italics), bringing the total countries and territories to 37: Africa – South Africa. Asia – China, Hong Kong SAR – China, India, Israel, Malaysia, The Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey. Australia Europe – Austria,Continue reading “Winged Victory Global Update for May 14th, 2020”

Butte Creek Canyon and the Sutter Buttes Today

I haven’t really been off the property in weeks, so I really wanted to go into the “big city” down the hill (Chico, population 100,000) and get a take-out breakfast. It is a ten mile drive, and along the way is an overlook for Butte Creek Canyon. Not in any hurry today, I stopped andContinue reading “Butte Creek Canyon and the Sutter Buttes Today”