Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

There was a myriad of channel lights as we left the Panama Canal last month so I decided to experiment with my camera to see what I could achieve. This is the result. My version of fireworks. Happy New Year.

"Happy New Year" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Not Spring Yet

Today, as I was hosing off the patio, I heard this honking noise. I recognized it as coming from Canadian Geese but it seems awfully early for them to be flying north through our valley. But there they were. In the usual "V" formation. Three groups went by and I never saw any others the rest of the day. But I can tell you this, they'll stop here for a while and enjoy our 70 degree weather before heading out.

"It's Not Spring Yet" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

White Poppies

Spring isn't here yet, but when I found these white poppies in France this year I was amazed. I've never seen white California Poppies. Let alone in France. They were stunning when mixed in with the brilliant orange flowers.

"White Poppies" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flaming Reds

Red flowers have, at times, presented photographic challenges. So I was happy when these red dahlias turned out with great contrasts.

"Flaming Reds" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Colors of Christmas

Christmas is past but these succulents don't know the seasons and are always red and green.

"The Colors of Christmas" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rising Moon

Every so often we get a spectacular moon rise. And this was no exception. Night time digital photography can be challenging so I took my chances when I spotted this shot.

"Rising Moon" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Christmas Morning

I awoke this morning and was treated to this beautiful sunrise. A perfect greeting to Christmas.

"Christmas Morning" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Today I visited Cabot's Pueblo Museum, a historical treasure in the Coachella Valley. The Hopi inspired, hand made home of Cabot Yerxa is filled with unique artifacts and photographs of the early 20th century. It has recently undergone some renovations and touring it is like stepping back in time. This is the wreath on the entry door with it's welcoming sign. Check it out at

"Happy Holidays" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snake Charmer

Last night it was the camel driver so tonight I had to share the snake charmer. He loved being photographed and always posed for the camera.

"Snake Charmer" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Camel Driver

In the spirit of the season, I thought a camel driver to be very appropriate. This one was saying good bye to us as we left a rather interesting show of Moroccan Horsemen along with dancers and a snake charmer (but that's for another day).

"Camel Driver" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have Some Garlic

A fellow artist and dear friend, who also has a blog, posted some garlic last night on his site. But I thought, "wait until he sees the picture I took in Agadir last year at the Souk Souk (big bazaar)". So here it is. And this was only a portion of the garlic the vendor had for sale.

"Have Some Garlic" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mist on the Course

The other morning, after the rains, I was treated to this lovely view of frost and a slight mist rising from the golf course. It almost looks like snow, but that's a heavy dusting of frost. I'm sure the golfers were not happy as they delay play until the frost is gone. Walking on the grass while it has frost on it breaks the blades and ruins the greens.

"Mist on the Course" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

White Poinsettia

Christmas is almost here and I love the flowers that remind us of the season. I found these white poinsettias in the Canary Islands last year.

"White Poinsettias" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow in the Desert

Remember, I promised you more snow? It rained all day yesterday and it was cold. That meant we should have snow. And I wasn't disappointed. This morning I awoke to a sunny day and snow on all the mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley. This is a view from my driveway. Looking southwest. I felt I could reach out and touch the hills it was so clear. By this afternoon a lot of the snow had melted but what a sight we had this morning.

"Snow in the Desert" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Flower Vendor

Christmas in Cadiz, Spain. This vendor sat stolidly watching as tourists picked through her flowers and took lots of pictures. All without buying a thing. She sort of reminded me of Whistler's Mother the way she was dressed and sat so solemnly in her chair.

"The Flower Vendor" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tiger's Claws

I found this spectacular flower in Costa Rica last month and it took me a while to track down it's botanical name, but thanks to my gardening friends I now know it's called a Gloriosa superba "Rothschildiana". That's a mighty big name for this stunning member of the lily family. Native to Africa and Asia, this tropical flower resembles a burning flame. It's also known as Tiger's Claws; why, I'm not sure.

"Tiger's Claws" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Agadir Tent

It was the holiday season when we were in Agadir last year and I thought this tent was appropriately decked out in Christmas colors. As we watched the horsemen perform their charge and the snake charmer do his thing, I was reminded how wonderful it was being able to visit the different cultures of the world.

"Agadir Tent" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bermuda Flowers

With the holiday season and colder weather upon us, I remembered the warm days of Bermuda and this lovely flowering shrub I found on a walk around Hamilton, the capitol.

"Bermuda Flowers" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snowy Morning

A couple of years ago we had a cold front move through the desert and it deposited snow at very low levels on the local mountains. This was the view from my back yard. We've got another front coming through this weekend but I don't think we'll get a show like this.

"Snowy Morning" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chinese Influences

While visiting the old fort in Acapulco I came upon this beautiful display of Chinese artifacts. The display was meant to show the influence of the Chinese trade in the early days of shipping in and out of Acapulco. The stunning colors of the silk embroidery floss along with the other items made a striking statement.

"Chinese Influences" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


While in Acapulco, we found a little known mask museum, not too far from the old Fort. It contains about 500 masks from around the world but a majority of them are from local areas within Mexico. It's not an elaborate museum, as museums go, but fascinating none-the-less.

"Masks" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sign of Christmas

I bought a poinsettia today and it reminded me of the wonderful ones we saw last year while in Spain at the holiday time. They were absolutely magnificent. I have never seen such fantastic public displays of gorgeous poinsettias. So naturally, I spent lots of time taking pictures of this holiday favorite.

"Sign of Christmas" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Las Ramblas at Night

This time last year I was in Barcelona getting ready to do a trans Atlantic cruise. The holiday season is big in Spain and the colors and decorations are spectacular. This is one of the flower vendors on Las Ramblas, the favorite strolling avenue that runs from the sea to the central area of the city.

"Las Ramblas at Night" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Candy for Sale

Everywhere we went in Old Cartagena we saw these very colorful ladies carrying large pans on their heads with food and candy for sale. Their costumes were definitely eye catching.

"Candy for Sale" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not for Youngsters

Every time we departed the elevator on our deck we were greeted with this bank of wheel chairs. I’m sure they were well used as we saw quite a few octogenarians on this cruise. In fact, the most we’ve ever encountered. But we had a great time, lots of fun, super entertainment and classes full of neat students.

“Not for Youngsters” © Kathy Dunham

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cartagena Flowers

Old Cartagena is a city alive with color. The buildings, the flowers and even the people. Bordering on the Caribbean, the influence of the neighboring countries brings this city alive. It’s a regular melting pot of cultures.

“Cartagena Flowers” © Kathy Dunham

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cathedral de Cartagena

Today’s “deluxe” city tour was a delight to an artist’s eye. The old town of Cartagena was everything I expected. Old buildings, wild colors, bougainvillea of all colors hanging over balcony railings and more street vendors than you normally see in Mexico. With 15% unemployment, those out of work are becoming street vendors. And talk about pushy…even if you say no 10 times, they still won’t leave you alone.

“Cathedral de Categana” © Kathy Dunham

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gregorio the Weaver

During our stop in Huatalco, Mexico, we met this delightful weaver plying his trade. He was smart, setting up his loom right outside his shop for all to see. He was gracious as he explained the history of the designs that originated with his tribe further inland. The wool is from the sheep they raise; hand carded, combed, dyed and spun, mostly by his mother.

“Gregorio the Weaver” © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Centennial Bridge

This beautiful bridge crosses the Guillard Cut through the Isthmus of Panama. This nine mile cut through volcanic rock was an extreme challenge during the building of the Panama Canal. Thousands of lives were lost to malaria and yellow fever before they realized that it was the little mosquito that was responsible for transmitting both diseases. A transit through the canal should be on your "must do" list. It's an engineering phenomenon.

"Centennial Bridge" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Three Little Mules All in a Row

These electric "mules" are what keep our ship evenly spaced once in the Panama Canal locks. There was only 24" of clearance on either side so it's important that the tension on the cables between the ship and the three mules on each side of our ship are perfect. Otherwise, we'd be leaving paint on the side of the locks. There are three locks on each end of the 50 mile canal. Three steps up and three down. Lake Gatun, in the middle, is man made and took four years to fill. It was a brilliant idea to eliminate a lot of earth removal had a cut been necessary through the entire width of Panama.

"Three Little Mules All in a Row" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunset - Punta Arenas

We were headed back to the ship from our day's outing in the hills of Costa Rica when we noticed the sky sporting beautiful colors. Our guide said "looks like it's going to be a beautiful sunset". And under my breath I said "only if we get to the dock on time". I took this shot as we were driving onto the dock headed for our ship. It was beautiful but I wish we had been there sooner. Sunsets like this are so fleeting.

"Sunset - Punta Arenas" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Big Ox Cart

Today we toured an ox cart factory in Sarchi, Costa Rica. This one sitting in the town square is the biggest ox cart in the world. I wonder if it fits "Babe", Paul Bunyan's big blue ox. He would certainly be a colorful addition to this beautifully decorated cart. Ox carts came into use at the beginning of the coffee trade in Costa Rica before the railroads and current day 18 wheelers. Lovingly hand painted, these colorful carts are now decorator items. And yes, I did buy a small one.

"One Big Ox Cart" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mexican Spur

The museum at the fort in Acapulco held many treasures. Among them this beautifully crafted spur. There was only one, don't know where the other one was. Would that make it difficult to ride a horse with only one spur on??? Inquiring minds want to know.

"Mexican Spur" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Colors of Huatulco

Huatulco is a verrrrry small cruise ship port on the southern coast of Mexico. Noted for it's eight beautiful bays, this area is great for snorkeling. Or shopping if you don't want to get wet. The buildings are painted wonderful, bright colors. Lots of fun with vendors always trying to get you to buy.

"The Colors of Huatulco" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fuerte de San Diego

Acapulco in the sun. But instead of beaches and cliff divers we decided to visit the old fort. Thank goodness it was just across the street from where our ship docked. Originally built in 1776, it was hit by a major earthquake in the 1800s and rebuilt. Not an exciting fort, as forts go, but filled with wonderful historical "stuff". I'm sure it gets missed by a lot of visitors.

"Fuerte de San Diego" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

While strolling through Cabo San Lucas we came upon a very upscale "bar". It wasn't the drinks that caught our attention but these intricate ceramic statues of Dia de los Muertos figures. They were exquisitely done in wonderful colors and with a sense humor. This celebration in recognition of the deceased is held on November 2nd, but you can find figures similar to these all over Mexico any time of the year.

"Dia de los Muertos" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lucy with "Mexican Barbies"

Four dollar... four dollar.... and I could have my own Mexican Barbie. Lucy was cute and for only two dollars, she posed for me on our walk in Cabo San Lucas. Then she offered to sell me a clay whistle for $3. I graciously declined.

Lucy with "Mexican Barbies" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All Ashore

This seagull didn't know it was time to get off the ship. We've spent all day at sea enjoying cool temps and a little sun in the late afternoon. Tomorrow we'll be in Cabo San Lucas. Margarita time!!!!

"All Ashore" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Almost There

We just departed the dock in San Diego and are almost to Pt. Loma as I write this. Yes, I'm on another cruise. This time to the Panama Canal. Tomorrow we'll be at sea. Our first port of call is Cabo San Lucas. Pictures will follow. This shot is from another cruise I took a few years ago, just to whet your appetite. It's Punta Arenas, Costa Rica. We'll be there in about 5 days.

"Almost There" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Canna lilies come in a wide range of colors. From delicate pinks to deep reds and everything in between. I wonder if a flower artist came along with a paint brush and added the freckles. Personally, that's a lot of work!

"Freckles" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dew Drops

Finding subjects with dew drops always presents an intriguing shot. I never know whether they are "cutsie" or really add interest to an image. I found these hiding in the shade under other foliage and because of the light, they are relfecting the color of the sky.

"Dew Drops" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shrimp Plant

My Mom used to call this a "Shrimp Plant". Actually, it was a rust colored cousin of this member of the Justicia family. Native to Mexico and Central America, I found this lovely specimen in a conservatory at the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Vancouver, B.C.

"Shrimp Plant" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Domes of St. Mark's

I went to see the new James Bond flick tonight and after seeing all the exotic sights the movie takes you to, I started looking through my photos to see if I had anything that 007 might visit. Well, Venice certainly fit the bill and the beautiful domes of St. Mark's Cathedral do signify that fantastic city. Here's to you Mr. Bond.

"The Domes of St. Mark's" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A French Rose

I don't often paint roses but I'm always taking pictures hoping to find the perfect one to paint. I found this lovely rose in France earlier this year and although I don't think it has the qualities I look for to make a great painting, it still was a pretty flower.

"A French Rose" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sweet Lilacs

I love lilacs in the spring and when I saw this shot tonight I could almost smell their fragrant aroma in the air. Descanso Gardens in La Canada (near Pasadena) has planted a lilac grove with as many varieties as would be happy in this climate. It's proving very successful and after three years they're really taking off. Take time next March to visit if you're in the area and smell the lilacs.

"Sweet Lilac" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Mama, Papa, Baby

Randy, a photographer friend, sent me some spectacular images tonight of flowers photographed in black and white. The lighting was perfect, creating the drama that I'm always looking for when searching out subject matter. I tried turning some of my photos into black and white but I'm addicted to color. Bright, exciting, unique and knock your socks off color. These three callas, with the splash of blue in the background just didn't look the same in black and white. Or maybe you should be the judge.

"Mama, Papa, Baby" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mouse on a Stick

Today I was at my friend Clonard's house and was surprised to find the cute little mouse finger puppet I gave her, stuck on a stick in her living room. Poor little guy! She's chairman of our Plein Air painters group (referred to as the Field Mice) so it was appropriate she have the mouse. I'm not sure this was the best spot but he was guarding the realm from his high perch.

"Mouse on Stick" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Venetian Balcony

Tonight I spent a wonderful evening with my friend Terry, celebrating my birthday. So this one's for you Terry. She joined me three years ago on a fantastic cruise of the Mediterranean. We both love Italy so needless to say, there wasn't one bad port of call with an Italian name on it. We had a great time in Venice, drinks at the Pitti Palace across the Grand Canal from the Santa Maria della Salute; a stroll through Piazza San Marco; and of course, a trip over the Rialto bridge. Ahhhh.... to be in Venice again!!

"Venetian Balcony" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yukon Spirit

While in Skagway, Alaska several years ago, I was taken with the colorful bunting and flags flying above the station for the White Pass-Yukon Railway. This was the starting point for the big Yukon gold rush. The White Pass was steep, narrow and treacherous and the Canadian Mounties required anyone going to the gold fields over the pass to have 2,000 lbs. of food and other gear to sustain them once they made it over the top. This was a tough trip before the railroad was built and was usually carried or drug up the narrow pass, normally taking several trips to get everything to the top. Since today is Veterans Day, I thought the red, white and blue was appropriate.

"Yukon Spirit" © Kathy Dunham 2008