Commuter Chronicles #13: Extra Lighting

A few months back, in the height of the summer, I spotted this light rail passenger sitting at the stop with presumably a new purchase.

Light Rail Lamp


From my vantage point across the street, it looked like a lamp.  I was so glad to be taking the express bus home instead of the light rail that day.  The light rail trains are usually packed at that hour. I was stunned when this woman found enough space to squeeze into the train with the over-sized lamp.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post is Let There Be Light. The point of the challenge is to feature a light source.  For my entry, I’ve gone a more abstract direction. The photo below was created using very traditional light sources in a nondescript location at night. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this photo and have just been hanging on to it, but when I saw the topic of this post, I knew this photo was meant for this challenge.

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Quail Run

This week, I have yet another post highlighting some of the wildlife that crosses through my backyard.  I do have many different types of birds that cross through the neighborhood. One of my favorite birds to observe is the Gambel’s Quail. Gambel’s Quails, named after 19th century naturalist William Gambel, are primarily found in the Southwestern United States. They are ground foragers and eat mostly plant matter (i.e. seeds, leaves, etc…) though juveniles tend to eat insects as well. 

The first two photos below are of a male quail.  Males have a mask-like appearance on their faces and copper colored feathers on the tops of their heads.

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Typically, these quails will travel in packs as a family unit.  At the beginning of summer, many new quails were spotted running around the yard with their parents.  Below, I was able to snap a photo of a female Gamble’s Quail with her two chicks.




Photo Friday: Gilbert Riparian Preserve Part II

Last week I introduced the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, complete with photos of the surrounding plants and wildlife.  This week, I’d like to share a few more photos, taken just last month on a very humid July morning.


With the overcast sky, temperature hovering just above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60% humidity, the preserve had a very sub-tropical ambiance.

The ducks in the pond near the entrance of the preserve were up and about.

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As I began my hike into the preserve, I noticed a few signs around the preserve that contained random facts about the universe in general.  Here is one such sign about Jupiter.


I suppose these help entertain those of us here for a morning walk.

As I moved further into the preserve, I came across a neat little babbling brook, which I had  somehow missed on previous visits.

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At another pond was a completely different flock of birds than the ones found at the entrance.

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I also came across a dragonfly and a hummingbird.

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The egrets and herons were also in abundance during this visit.


Thankfully, I didn’t see any snakes on this visit.  I did however catch more than just a glimpse of the numerous jackrabbits running around the preserve.

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This was definitely a great way to wake up and start my morning.

Photo Friday: Gilbert Riparian Preserve Part I

Over the past year, I’ve discovered a hidden gem among a primarily developed area known as the Gilbert Riparian Preserve.  The preserve is 110 acres big, contains 8 ponds and claims to have over 200 species of birds residing in the preserve.  The best part is, it is free and open to the public.

This week’s post is a brief introduction to the preserve with photos from my initial visit last spring.  Next week, I’ll post photos from my most recent visit.


1 of 8 ponds located in the preserve. 

Towards the north end of the preserve is an observatory and a small lake for urban fishing.


Small lake at north entrance.

The plant life is mostly native desert plants, including cotton, cacti and succulents.  





There are numerous walking trails making the Gilbert Riparian Preserve a great option for peaceful walks. But watch out, there are a few ground dwellers running around the preserve, including this rattlesnake who was making his own path through the preserve. 


There are maps available, as well as plenty of signs displaying the latitude and longitude- in case you get lost.



There are many areas within the preserve that mimic a wetland.  Some of the larger birds, like egrets and herons, congregate in these areas.



I Love a Parade: Part II

As promised, below are more pictures from the Oct. 27th Arizona State University Homecoming Parade. Enjoy!

I want to say this was entered by one of the dorms, but am not sure.  They built a handmade replica of a computer dashboard, which included a mouse. How meta.

Next up was one of the international student clubs, which included flags from several nations and a HUGE globe.

Although the homecoming game was against UCLA, the next entry chose to heckle another PAC 12 rival, the USC Trojans.  Below: Trojan Horse

The next entry showcased some of the campus’s newer building which have incorporated green standards to reduct energy consumption.

This entry celebrates the class of 1962.

Field goal anyone?

This car with ASU’s pitchfork emblem was one of the last entries.

Again, there were more entries than shown here, but I found it difficult to capture all of them.  Anyhow, a great time was had by everyone in attendance.  This is one event I try not to miss.

Photo Friday: Back to the Rosson House

Hello and Happy Friday!  October has flown by and I haven’t had the opportunity to upload some of the newer pictures I’ve taken.  I’m out of town this weekend, so this seemed like a good time to direct some attention back to an older Photo Friday post on the Rosson House.

Rosson House: Present Day

Located in Phoenix’s Heritage Park, the Rosson House was a custom built in the 1890s for approximately $8,000.  The Victorian style architecture of the home was unique for the area, which mostly consisted of adobe structures.  The original owner, Dr. Rosson owned the home for two years.  The home had several owners over the years and by the 1950′s, it became a boarding house that basically deteriorated into a flophouse.

 In 1974, the city of Phoenix purchased the home. Six years and $750,000 later, the home was restored to the way it looked in 1895.  The tour guide informed us that the wallpaper was the original 1895 design and cost $40,000 to restore because it had to be custom made by a company back east.

If you’d like to read my adventurous tour of the Rosson House, check out my post from last spring:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

A quick snapshot of a sleepy side street  late afternoon in the height of the summer in Downtown Phoenix.  The Phoenix Convention Center is across the street at the east end and Central Ave, the lifeblood of  Central Phoenix, is to the west.

You can see the misting system is working in full force to provide relief to restaurant patrons brave enough to sit in the outdoor patio.  There is a car parked by a meter in every parking space available as parking is extremely hard to find in downtown.  Even putting this picture in black and white, you can still see a ray of sun hitting the glass of the first visible business at the front of the photo.

It’s about a quarter to five and the only reason I’m out and about is to head to the express bus stop, which will whisk me away from this scene of asphalt and concrete.

Check out the details of The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Related Posts:

Photo Friday: An Afternoon at Cabrillo Redux

Hi there!  Hope most of you are enjoying this transition from summer to fall.  For this week’s Photo Friday, I’ve opted to update a post from last summer.  The photos below are from my visits to the Cabrillo National Monument back in October 2009 and March 2010.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the very tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in California.  This national park, which is very affordable at $5.00 per car (2010 prices – do check current prices if you decide to go), provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. To see the exhibits at the Visitor Center and walk the path around the lighthouse takes approximately an hour.

From the top of Cabrillo National Monument, you can actually see the San Diego Bay and part of downtown.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Before WordPress adds a new Photo Challenge, I wanted to post for this challenge.  This will serve in lieu of my normal Photo Friday post.

I shot this while heading towards Chase Field near the light rail tracks on a cloudy spring morning.  Despite the urban setting, it is a bit strange that there are no people in the vicinity. In many ways, this signifies a failed attempt at creating an “urban” atmosphere.  Phoenix has always struggled with its identity.  It has fought heavily to be in the major leagues of big cities, yet it  never quite seems to deliver.  Depending on what you think of big cities, this could be a pro or a con.

Photo Friday: Blinding Sun

We all know you aren’t supposed to look straight on at the sun.  So for kicks I aimed my camera phone towards the sky, looked away and clicked a picture of the otherwise blinding and bright afternoon sun.   This was on my way to the bus stop near a building provides shade on the walk to the stop, so it’s not as though I was just wandering around outside in the summer for fun.

I just thought it looked cool and wanted to share it.  All my pictures of the sun are sunsets (see Photo Friday: Sundown at San Diego Bay for an example).

Photo Friday: The Dog Days of Summer

Since I don’t mention the weather enough in my blog (yeah right), I decided to incorporate a few fun facts about the term “dog days of summer”.  What does it mean? Why do we use the term?

The term comes from Sirius, a.k.a the dog star.  Sirius goes through cycles where it rises and sets at the same times as the Sun.  The Egyptians and Romans saw that the dog star coincided with the height of the summer heat and posited that Sirius was adding to the heat.

The “dog days of summer” in the northern hemisphere  is defined as the time period from 20 days before Sirius coincides with the Sun to 20 days after.  This typically begins early July and runs through mid-August, though it can extend to early September depending on the region.

In Phoenix for example,  the monsoon storm season can run through late August – even past Labor Day which results in a longer period of heat and high humidity.

I thought this picture of my uncle’s little doggie was a great visual for “dog days of summer”.  I snapped this in early June when it was still somewhat tolerable outside (which would be before the onset of the dog days).  We were grilling some hot dogs and this guy was enjoying the sunshine in the early part of the afternoon. Of course, after about 10 minutes he ran back inside.

For more information on the term “dogs days of summer”, check out these links: