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Retirement Anniversary XIII

The anniversary of my retirement from Hewlett-Packard is fast approaching and, as usual, I would like to share 12 photos from the past 12 months. This annual issue is a bit before the actual anniversary due to the fact that on Wednesday, I'm heading west to Maui for another visit to my beloved paradise. During the two weeks there, I expect to be busy with photography and seeing old friends and trips to the beach (only steps away from the condo) and the Maui County Fair — so don't be surprised if you do not receive the next "Life After HP" issue until I return. But if and when I do return, you can expect lots of Maui pictures.

This first photo was taken in Georgia when my family got together to see the solar eclipse last August. We were so lucky that totality went right over my sister's house — we did not have to drive and fight the crowds to enjoy Nature's spectacular solar show. Of course, while visiting, we saw more than just the eclipse — here is an old farmhouse that was being moved and rebuilt in a park in Blairsville.

In November, Johnny and I went on a boat ride aboard the faux-paddlewheeler, Dolly, which sails on Canyon Lake, some 40 miles east of Phoenix. We were treated to wonderful scenery and we treated ourselves to a great lunch at Tortilla Flat, just down the road from the lake.

In December, I shared photos of the spectacular light displays at the Mormon Temple in Mesa. It is one of those traditional events that families visit every year. The kids remember it for a lifetime.

In January, I took my new Nikon D850 to the Desert Botanical Garden to capture the twice-annual butterfly exhibition. Those delicate little beauties delight me every time I visit.

During the month of February, I visited the David & Gladys Wright House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) for a fundraiser auction of sculptures by Jun Kaneko. It was my second visit (both times with camera) and, as a result, have gained a real love for this architectural masterpiece.

Come March, I was sharing photos taken at the Arizona Heritage Center — a museum celebrating the history and culture of the Grand Canyon state. This scene was particularly intriguing to me — a reconstructed general store — similar to the one in Maryland, owned and operated by my uncle and his father-in-law — one in which I worked two summers during my teenage years.

In April, I shared photos from a special exhibition at the Musical Instrument Museum — "Ancient Musical Treasures from Central China". On display were instruments, statues and accessories such as this instrument stand in the form of a divine beast, dated to the Spring and Autumn period, 770 - 476 BCE. It was intended as a stand for a drum or a set of stone chimes. This sculptural masterpiece combines a dragon's head, a tiger's body and tortoise legs. Its body includes phoenix motifs inlaid with malachite. Its horns consist of dragons. The blending of creatures may refer to "the four symbols" of Daoism with their respective attributes of power, harmonized here to reflect strength and virtue.

There was so much to share from the museum that issues continued into May with images such as this Les Paul Special guitar made by the Gibson Guitar Corporation and which was played by Taylor Swift to perform the song "Red" on her RED tour.

In June, I was publishing photos from the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, located above the Deck Park Tunnel. This was my personal favorite — a frenzy of koi, mistakenly thinking I was there to feed them.

As temperatures rose in July, I was sharing photos from my birthday exploration of the Desert Botanical Garden — always a special treat with lots of wildflowers, butterflies and a Curved-bill thresher sitting on a Saguaro cactus in bloom. It was cooler when I visited (in April) and it helped me survive the heat of the summer.

August brought forth photos from the Phoenix Zoo — my first visit time in years. I loved the photo of this young giraffe — just starting his life on the plains of Africa, as transplanted to Phoenix.

But the thing that really brought me to the zoo was their collection of life-size animatronic dinosaurs complete with believable vocalization. It was an awesome exhibit — so glad I was able to catch it — it has now migrated elsewhere. I hope you all enjoyed seeing it too.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com