Monday, December 18, 2023

Japanese New Years Traditions at the Japanese Friendship Garden 16 December 2023

Saturday 16 December 2023 the Japanese Friendship Garden put on workshops highlighting New Years traditions.

First was a demonstration of mochitsuki where glutinous rice is pounded to make muchi, a chewy rcie cake.   It can be used in a variety of dishes or enjoyed on it own, sometimes with toppings or fillings.

Then there was a demonstration of mochi bana (rice cake and flower), a traditional japanese art form that involved shaping and decorating mochi, the chewy rice cake.  Here, the mochi is shaped into small pieces of various colors, and then attached to branches.  They are then displayed in homes to greet the new year and bring good fortune.

Finally, there was a demonstration of what goes into a kadomatsu (or gate pine).   They typically are displayed in pairs (male and female) at the entrance of a home.   They are typically made of pine, bamboo, and sometimes plum tree sprigs.  The pine represents longevity. The bamboo is strength and growth.  And the plum blossoms are for strength through adversity.  

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand 14 December 2023

I love photographing country artists and bands.   I enjoy the music and the people are nice.   The same is true here while photographing Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand.  This was their Christmas show in Mesa, Arizona.

The song that put them on the map was "Dream Big."   


I showed up early, but not that early.   The auditorium seemed closed so I walked all the way around and found an open door.  I peeked in and Ryan peeked back and invited us in from the backstage.  

One of my other favorites they had done was called "Corn Dogs."  Now they changed the lyrics to Egg Nog!  

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE

Cave Creek Stagecoach Village Christmas 9 Dec 2023

Stagecoach Village in Cave Creek, Arizona hosted a Christmas celebration.   You could do some Christmas shopping, get something to eat (I had those delicious candy apples), and even a softdrink or adult beverage (Sapporo beer from Japan went down nicely).  

Well well well, here's Santa and Mrs. Claus!  

And here is a close up of a glass statue of a deer.  

And then they had a few hot air balloons some in for lighting.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

ZooLights at the Zoo 25 November 2023

A yearly tradition in the Phoenix area is ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo.   It's my chance to capture low light images with my Canon EOS R6 Mark II and this time using the wide angle Canon RF 14-35mm lens.  

It's truly amazing how beautiful the zoo  is at night with all of these lights.   

I even caught a jet coming in to land at nearby Sky Harbor airport.  

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Otsukimi Japanese Friendship Garden Event 29 Oct 2023

Otsukimi in Japanese means to gaze at the moon.  And it was a full moon on 29 October 2023 at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix.

The theme this year is Gekka, or moonflower.  It refers to the gentle light of the moon on flowers at night.   

The tradition of moon gazing in September and October began during the Heian period 794 AD to 1185 AD.  They would admire the reflection of the moon on ponds and in their sake, recite poetry, and play musical instruments.  

As part of the celebration, we witnessed the beauty of calligraphy as well.   

Japanese snacks and foods were featured along with sake and beer.   

And traditional Japanese music of singing and drums featuring musicians from the Yamaguchi Music Academy in Japan. 

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park and Gates Pass

 Sunday 22 October 2023 meant a trip to the Tucson area to visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum sponsored by Tempe Camera and Canon.  And, to get to the ASDM you had to drive through Saguaro National Park (west).

The area has special meaning for me.  I went to the University of Arizona, just a short drive east on Kinney Road, where ASDM is located.  

ASDM has a variety of plant life that live in the Sonora Desert.   The iconic symbol of the west, the saguaro cactus, is everywhere in any direction. And, many species of animals live in the Sonoran Desert, like these fish.

... and that bee hovering over a green leaf.

And now it's time to head back to the interstate and my home in north Phoenix.  This is Gates Pass road that turns into Speedway which leads me to I-10 and home.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from my visit, click HERE 

Friday, October 20, 2023

Taste of Cave Creek 18 October 2023

I visited the Taste of Cave Creek Arizona on Wednesday 18 October 2023.   Now that the temperatures are cooling down and the snowbirds are slowly arriving, there will be more events in Cave Creek, just a few miles northeast of Phoenix.

There were lots of tents from various restaurants and breweries mostly.   I seemed to have sampled a great deal of beer, haha.   

The photo above featuring three ladies from Big Earl's is the place I always have breakfast with before the rodeo parade in March.  Then I sit up my chair on the street for a great spot to photograph.

And, another favorite of mine, Local Jonny's!

Taking a break sipping on a beer, I noticed in the distance two lovely young ladies doing the same thing.  The nice thing about having a telephoto lens is I can zero in on things.. or people.   I went over to say hello and they said.. wait!   Here, you have to get us together.   Characters in Cave Creek!

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from The Taste of Cave Creek, visit, click HERE 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Various Photo Ops from May 2022 to August 2023

* All of my images on Flickr

* All of my images on SmugMug

* My Instagram Feed

8 May 2022: Crystal Gayle and Gatlin Brothers at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.  Images captured with the iPhone 13.  

21 May 2022:  Canon Models at Tempe Camera.

22 May 2022:  Wild Horses of Tonto National Forest.

May 2022:  Hummingbirds in my front yard.  They seem attracted to the Red Yucca blooms.

25 June 2022: Wickenburg Spurs Cafe and Museum.  First, breakfast at the Spurs Cafe and then a tour of the Desert Caballeros Western Museum and their "Cowgirl Up" exhibit of artwork.

2 July 2022: Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley. Enjoying horse racing in the high desert of Arizona at Arizona Downs.

4 July 2022: Bull Riding at the Buffalo Chip. To celebrate the 4th of July, bull riding in the Buffalo Chip arena in Cave Creek, Arizona.

9 July 2022: Wickenburg Hassyampa BBQ & Palomino & Saguaros.  Another visit to Wickenburg, Arizona, an hour northwest of Phoenix. Visits to Hassyampa BBQ, the Palomino Club, and the saguaro cactus forests along Vulture Mine Road.

Late July to Early August 2022: Hunter Peak Ranch + Beartooths + Cody Wyoming. Northwest Wyoming from Hunter Peak Ranch to the Beartooth Mountains to Cody.

13 August 2022: Butterfly Wonderland Photowalk 2022.  A KelbyOne photowalk to Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale.

20 August 2022Payson Arizona Rodeo. Billed as the oldest continuous rodeo, the Payson Arizona Rodeo held their afternoon rodeo that Sunday.

October 2022Joshua Tree National Park. Visit to Joshua Tree National Park in California with the Tamron people. Close enough for me to drive from Phoenix!

November 2022: Big Sur Carmel. The Tamron VIP trip to Big Sur and Carmel, California.

December 2022: Australia and New Zealand. Visiting three ports in Australia and five ports in New Zealand aboard the Viking Orion.

January 2023: Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction. Barrett-Jackson is the HUGE auto show in Scottsdale. After the show, dinner at Brugos of Cave Creek.

11 February 2023:  Wickenburg Arizona Gold Rush parade, then enough time to make the Wickenburg Senior Pro Rodeo.

25 February 2023: Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show from Westworld.

19 March 2023Bartlett Lake and Dam are east of Cave Creek and Carefree Arizona, north of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Water levels are probably now over 100%. The spring of '23 was a wet one and more rain coming!

3 April 2023Hunting for spring wildflowers at Thunderbird Park between Glendale and Phoenix Arizona.  

9 April 2023: Spur Cross to Apache Wash. Walkabout from the Sonoran Desert on Easter Sunday. Also amazing wildflowers after our wetter than normal winter.

15 April 2023: Picacho Peak Arizona. Picacho Peak Arizona is about an hour northwest of Tucson just off I-10. Still a few wildflowers out and tons of saguaro cactus.

6 May 2023: Alice in Wonderland Characters from Tempe Camera. Alice in Wonderland with The Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts.

7 May 2023Salt River Horses. The hunt for wild horses along the Salt River in Arizona.

4 June 2023Lake Pleasant sunset dinner cruise in Peoria, north of Phoenix, Arizona.

3 & 4 July 2023Fireworks from Hurricane Harbor in Glendale Arizona.

July & August 2023: Seeing the sights in New Brunswick, Canada. Craft beer, Bay of Fundy, Highland Games, Kings Landing, and more!

19 August 2023: Karchner Caverns Benson Arizona. The amazing underground world of Karchner Caverns.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Visiting the Phoenix Zoo: 30 April 2023 and 2022

Here are a momma giraffe and her baby.  I think clouds in the sky make for a nice scene.  In Arizona, there aren't many days with clouds in the sky.

My most recent visits to the Phoenix Zoo were exactly a year apart on 30 April 2023 and 2022.

There are always a variety of animals around.   And, even though it's a desert zoo, there are lakes and water animals and birds, too.

Look at this rubber skinned reptile!

And, these water fowl who look like pink flamingos.

And this monkey having a good time.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from the 30 April 2023 visit, click HERE 

For images from the 30 April 2022 visit, click HERE 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Cave Creek Rodeo Parade: 18 March 2023 and 19 March 2022

A week before the Cave Creek Rodeo will find the whole town out enjoying the Cave Creek Rodeo Parade

Bring a folding chair and get there early.

I typically set up in front of Big Earl's and usually am there early enough to have breakfast there.   

Cave Creek is known for its friendly nature and quirkiness, so you can pretty much expect anything.  All in good taste, of course! 

It is a free parade, no tickets necessary.   Just claim a spot on Cave Creek Road early.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

For images from the 2023 parade, click HERE

For images from the 2022 parade, click HERE

Cave Creek Rodeo: 27 March 2022 and 26 March 2023

Certainly my favorite rodeo is the one closest to where I live:  The Cave Creek Rodeo.   Another "must see" around the Phoenix area is the Cave Creek Rodeo parade.  I'll post more on that with photos in another blog entry.

One of the crowd favorite events is bull riding.   Riders have to ride for at least 8 seconds or it's a no ride.   Scores come 50% from the cowboy and 50% from the bull.  

Cave Creek is an hour or so east of Wickenburg, the self proclaimed "team roping capital of the world."   Certainly some team ropers come from Wickenburg, but really from all over the USA and Canada.

My second favorite event is barrel racing.  Here, ladies of rodeo take center stage.   Knock over a barrel, and add a five second penalty to the final score.  The idea is to get around three barrels and then race to the finish line.   It's electronic timing.  Passing through the beam starts the clock; passing through the exit stops the clock.

Until My Next Adventure,

See you on down the road,

Jim Patterson

All images from 27 March 2022 HERE

All images from 26 March 2023 HERE