Call the Press!


Two posts in the same week! I’m on a roll, somebody stop me 😉 My internet is no better today, but I was so pleased with the way my photo session went yesterday, I can’t wait to share my work with you…just after finishing the larger common juniper, I decided to work on the Pacific yew.

I’ve posted about this tree on the blog before, regarding its first potting to a bonsai container. I did some pruning this summer and realized the tree is very strong, so had planned to style it this fall, after one year and seven months in a bonsai pot. Here is the tree after styling with a view of the new preferred front, which is rotated about 5 minutes clockwise from the original front:

And a shot of the original front:


Detail of live veins near apex:


Detail of apex and ten-jin:


Detail of upper…

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Sub Alpine Firs…


The very dry summer we had here in Portland would lead you to think it would make for a poor fall collecting season…but after a scouting trip in early August, the trees were definitely actively growing roots. Everything I brought home responded very well to receiving regular watering for a change, especially the sub alpine firs. Their needle color went from a stressed yellowish color to green very quickly and stiffened up as they became turgid with the much needed moisture. I gave them all some organic fertilizer I’d made late summer and even felt confident enough to style some of them. So here are a few I was able to photograph well–there are many too large to get good photos of and will post about these when the time is right. First up is a natural bunjin style tree I cleaned up, removing toothpick jins and junk from the…

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Season’s Greetings!


The holidays are upon us and I’ve been busy with a few new trees, two of them to show you today…so let this be my Christmas card to you, as I most likely will not do another post until the new year. The first tree up is a ponderosa pine I acquired two or three years ago that was potted in turface or oil dry and in a very nice glazed white pot that was totally inappropriate for the tree. First order of business was to change the soil to pumice, then let the tree gain strength with a good regimen of organic fertilizer. That also gave me time to study the tree and I recently styled it for the first time; here is the result:


The tree was tall and gangly–sorry for the lack of a before photo. I was able to reduce its height with a single guy…

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Alaska Yellow Cedar Update…


I covered the birth of this bonsai in a post from December, 2012…if you look on the sidebar of this blog, click on that date to get you up to speed. I potted the tree in March, 2013 and it came through all the previous work with no problems. The tree lives in Seattle, and I would check in to see it whenever I was up on bonsai business…it lost one branch on the right after a year, which I think was due to the adjustment to life in a pot. It has otherwise filled in nicely and I was asked to re-style it this winter. Just so you can see what I started with, here is the tree before work ever started:


That was in November, 2012. And here is the same tree February, 2016:


Now a view of the right side, or the tree’s left:


The back side:

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Cairns: Turtles in the Tropics

Images & Moments

I arrived in Cairns, Australia on Sunday and began my volunteering at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Monday. The Centre is located on Fitzroy Island, about 45 minutes from Cairns on a fast ferry. This tropical island is in the Great Barrier Reef, and a popular location for snorkeling and scuba. The volunteers leave Cairns at 8 am, arriving at the island’s resort. Then it’s just a 10-minute walk to reach the facility which hosts a variety of turtles in need of care. Most of the turtles here will be released as soon as it’s possible.

The work (so far, at least) has included cleaning tank filters, preparing food, feeding the turtles, and cleaning the tanks…

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Yellow Water Cruise

Images & Moments

Saturday morning I went on a sunrise cruise leaving from the billabong known as Yellow Water. (According to my computer, a billabong is “a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool, made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood.”)

Anyway, we saw a great number of crocodiles, active as the day was still relatively cool. We also saw (at a distance) some buffalo and even half a dozen wallabies. Alas! I didn’t have my super zoom lens, or I might have photos worth sharing. But we also saw a great number of birds, and I’ve included…

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Arnem Land & the Custodians of the Land

Images & Moments

On Friday I joined an all-day excursion into Arnem Land, an area entirely under Aboriginal control. This means, for example, you aren’t even allowed into this region without purchasing a permit. And even then you are limited to visit only the one destination you’re allowed to request. Or you can join a tour offered by an Aboriginal-owned company as I did. During the busy season (when it’s not 104° outside!) this tour takes up to 20 people. Today, however, our guide, Trevor, had only four…

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A Tangled Web

Roadkill Crossing

Birding and photography go hand-in-hand. Binoculars and a camera are essential tools for me to hone my dual hobbies. I heard the Red-winged Blackbird singing before I spotted it in this dead tree with its tangle of branches. I have always considered the blackbird’s song a harbinger of springtime. To hear its melodious song in January was music to my ears. Of course, it was a warm afternoon in Florida, not Virginia or Ohio. A look through the bins confirmed the pair of Eastern Bluebirds that sat silently behind the blackbird.

I knew full well that the photo would produce only silhouettes since I was shooting into the southern sky with the sun an hour from setting. The crisscross of dead limbs immediately brought to mind the Walter Scott quote of “Oh what tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.”

Well, there is no deceit on my…

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