December 16, 2017

I Like It

A couple of weeks ago Choco Blanca and I were sitting on one of our favorite rises in the middle of Norm's Island when our new Norm's friend Tim Ballou and his constant companion Tucker happened to walk by. Tim took a few snaps of my kids and I and he got one I really liked. He was kind enough to give me the file, so I worked it up and post it here for all my friends to see. Thanks Tim.

December 13, 2017

Merry Blanca Walk with Bernie and Simon

Today we walked with Blanca's favorite dog in the world (after Choco), Simon.  That is him shakin under the Christmas Tree.  Simon walks with his peep Pat, who is one of a very select group of women Blanca thinks are the cat's meow.  When Blanca was a wee pup Pat would bring Simon over to our house for play dates.  Blanca loved it.  So when she sees either Pat or Simon, she is besides herself with joy.  She was a Happy White Girl today.

We have made a new friend at Norm's, Bernie.  He walks with his friend Lenny.  They did two, at least, laps today as we saw them twice.  Lenny has had Bernie three weeks and it looks like he is doing really swell.  Bernie and Simon discuss the different flavors of salt and pepper.  The first time we saw Bernie Blanca gave him a hard time, he is a runner which is not allowed around The Princess.

November 19, 2017

Snow Balls

It was a beautiful day, back about a week ago.  It was the 10th.  Most of the snow is gone now.  I am always amazed that Blanca likes to lay on the snow so much.

Dog parade. This husky type dog almost became a problem.  He would not leave Blanca alone and she does not like to be poked at.  She is very dominate, I was afraid we were gonna have a fight.  But luckily Simon was a good enough distraction, Pat threw snow balls.

Choco really loved this game.  Snowballs.  I captured him here all feet in the air. Simon is a much better jumper, but I was not able to get any acceptable photos.

October 27, 2017

Gimme Gimme

I have probably taken a 1000 photos of the kids playing with a stick. I have gotten few good ones. I like this one. Blanca cares little about sticks or balls, she just wants to torture Choco and get them away from him. She drops them as soon as she gets them. Chocolate is used to it. 
Today was cold. Not as bad as advertised, but it kept people away. We saw very few dogs or people on Norm's, so we default to photographs of the beautiful American Shepherds.

B&W No People No Comments

I accepted this photo challenge on Face Book, I have no idea who started it or why. 
B&W  No People No Comments.  I have been seeing many people participate.  I originally said: "no way" but I like my challenger so I said Ok.
I am actually enjoying it.  For several years I have been thinking to take up the challenge posted by Mike Johnston on the On Line Photographer, One Year One Camera One Lens.  But I am not the greatest stick to it kinda fella, so I thought it foolish to ignore my basic tendencies and start.

Day 6

Day 5 already.  My Nina Blanca

Number 4. Mikes favorite tree.

This was my number 3 attempt, the South Hills of Billings with the South Billings Boulevard bridge. And some clouds.  

The Three Crows was challenge response number 2. So far I have added for myself the added restriction that the photos all be taken at Norm Schoenthal Island, this is where I met my challenger Gerry, Norms is the subject of this blog (along with Dogs) so Hey!

This is Norm's.  Admittedly it is stretching it because it is not on the Island but in the parking lot.  I am going with it.  I was attracted to this for many reasons.  It is SHINY.  The fella parked it perfectly to be photographed (doubt that was his motivation). My best friend in my wayward youth had a, I believe it was a 1968 Road Runner.  His was yellow.  This one is Black and White.  Ha Ha, no, it is fire hydrant red. I figured that would translate to B&W really swell.  This was my first Challenge response.

October 26, 2017

My Sentries

I Love this photo. It was really windy this morning, so we found a sheltered spot and I got low by a log and kept out of the wind. The sun was on me. Choco and Blanca doing their American Shepherd thing and keeping an eye out so I can relax and soak up the sun. I also love this time of the year.  The air is cool but the sun is wonderfully warm.  The sun being out most of the time is one of the good positive things about living in Billings Montana

October 25, 2017


Puppy.  We have been seeing Skye quite regularly lately.  She is still shy of other dogs, but people not at all.  This is difficult, a solid black dog with the sun to her back.  But we were able to pull it off with help from the Nik filter detail extractor, which I have been using often as of late on Blanca.  I see it works quite well on black also.  I tried to pull the black up without using a filter first but I was not as successful. My version caused the black to go much flatter.  Disappointing they have discontinued these filters.  

I am not sure how old Skye is.  She walks with her peep Jenny, I hope I am getting both names correct.  For years we have been seeing Skye's sibling at Norm's, but she has reached the age where walking at Norm's is too much, so Skye has taken over the job.  Skye is a pleasure to see.

B&W in Colour Crows at Norm Schoenthal Island

I let myself get talked into accepting this current 7 day challenge on Facebook.  This is my day two photo, before conversion to B&W.  I was at first resistant, naw I ain't gonna do this, but I went ahead and started because I like Gerry, my challenger.  But now that I have started I think I am enjoying it.  I have often thought I would like to accept the challenge that Michael Johnston puts out on his blog The Online Photographer; One Lens One Camera One Year.  That would be a prime lens. This is shorter and simpler, so I am going for it. Thanks Gerry.

A day for the birds.  These two woodpeckers flew around me for several minutes playing.  It may have been coincidence, but I felt honored anyway.  I took a lot of photos but this is my favorite.  My lens is not long enough nor sharp enough to do them justice.  In this photo they were maybe 10 feet away.

October 20, 2017

Puppy Puppy Puppy

Puppy! Cute enough for 3 puppies.
I am gonna have to get back to you with a name.  We meet her at Norm's this morning, walking with her peep that we see regularly. I will have to get back to you on her name too.  I need to get a new notebook and then use it, regularly.  My phone would work too if I thought to inquire.

Papa.  Ha! Not hardly.  I was proud of Choco for being gentle with him.  When Choco was a pup, around this size, he used to constantly tag along after a Tricolor with markings like this girl.


I love this grass. It has read and orange streaks.  Did not quite catch it, but I still like this.

October 19, 2017

Susan and Moxie

Two of my favorite people.  Susan and Moxie.  If it were not for Choco Blanca I would call Moxie the coolest dog in the world.  She is trying to get Susan to throw the stick.  It is a full time occupation once one lets it begin.

The Fall Portrait

The weather has been unbelievable.  Today was 80 degrees. We have been roaming about on Norm's all week.  Today we ventured into areas I have not been to in years.  This time of year is great because you can venture into areas that in warmer parts of the year would be tick infested.  Not now, we can wallow in old dead leaves and sit on old rotten logs and wander through the thickest foliage, no problem.  We can lay on our backs, well me anyway, in the tall grass and watch the clouds or like today the blue.
This photo was found.  I did not pose them as I usually do. I was sitting on the banks of the dry pond behind Dog Beach and I turned around and Choco Blanca were sitting in the shade watching me.  I got this pic.  So this will be the Official ChocoBlanca Fall 2017 Portrait.

I got it again.  Much heavier frost this time, and the sun was out.  My previous attempt was taken in overcast conditions.
  This was Tuesday morning I do believe.  This morning, Thursday, it was 45 by the time I got to this spot, so no frost. 
I have been taking a lot of pictures lately, which is good.  I need to get more processed and displayed. 

October 11, 2017

Moxie, the Wonder Tree Climbing Dog

The wonderful fall days continue at Norm's. Today we have a pic of the Wonder Tree Climbing Dog Moxie.
Moxie walks Norm's and many other locales with her peep Susan Stone


All Norm's regulars know this tree. I have probably photographed it 50 times. This is as good as any. Guess I need to bring more creativity to it. It is a REALLY big and beautiful tree. This is the tree Moxie is climbing on, on the right side there, along with many dogs and about half the kids that pass by.

October 10, 2017

Big Frost On Indigenous Peoples Day

Big Frost. It was not our first frost, but I do think it was our first big one. Of course it may also be the first one I noticed. 
I was at Norm's early, it was 32 degrees when I left my house. I was able to catch this beautiful frost display on Dogwood leaves.
This was yesterday, October 9, Indigenous Peoples Day.

October 8, 2017

One Year Old Photo

This photo is one year old.  My friend Pat took it with her iphone, so my ability to modify it, lighten my face, is limited.  But we love it.  It is called ecstasy, because of the look on Choco's face.
I post this so my new facebook friend Tam can see my family.

October 7, 2017

Blanca's Favorite Place

In the backyard.  She likes to keep the sun off her eyes.  The table is kinda like a hat for her. It was overcast when I took the picture, but the sky was bright.  Love my beautiful girl.

October 5, 2017

Eight Years Old

I took this photo last Friday, September 29, which was Chocolate and Nina Blanca's 8th Birthday.   it took until today to get it posted.  We have been walking at Norm's pretty regular, as the weather has been beautiful, even when it was cold and rainy.  You must excuse Choco, he is taking the still moment to practice his mindfulness meditation.  

Moxie and Susan were walking with us, and Sharon and Bentley.  Moxie is a great poser.  

The sky was an amazing deep blue. No polarizer on this (wouldn't work anyway, they need to be at 90 degrees)  I did push the blue up in photoshop. Some, not much.  This is how I saw it.

Choco and Bentley are pretty impressed too, I would say.  Sorry, the word producing part of me is not working, but I wanted to get these photos up.  I take so many photos that never make it out of the computer . . . .

I LOVE Norm Schoenthal Island.  Thanks Norm.  Norms helps me keep my sanity in this crazy, and getting crazier world.

September 27, 2017

Another Glorious Day, with New Friends

We met this young man at the climbing limb, along with his mother and his two wonderful pups.  This one, unfortunately I did not record names, was quite willing to climb up the tree.  Very high energy pups.  Very high energy young man.

Obviously mostly Border Collie in this beautiful pup.  Both are boys. I was lucky to get this, they did not stop to chat very often.

Not a day goes by that I do not take a dozen photos of my beautiful girl.

This is for reference.  I photographed this spot, which I call Froggie Spot, yesterday shrouded in fog.  Today it is bathed in sunlight.  I live this spot.  I should find a photo Michael E Garcia took of me and my pups walking in the distance.  I will do it.

I love Norm Schoenthal Island.  Norm's is what keeps me sane living in Billings in the red state of Montana and in the modern world.  This evergreen marks what I have calculated to be the half way point if you walk the circumference of the Island

September 25, 2017

Foggy Cool and Beautiful Fall Day

What a gorgeous morning. When we arrived at Norm's this morning the fog was just beginning to lift.  So we walked fast so we could get to the water before it was burned off. The fog was still in the canal.  Everything was was so soft.

The fog was leaving when we got to the river.  We were able to catch some on the opposite shore, as mist rising off the water.  Beautiful.  

Froggy spot was still holding fog as we went by, racing to the canal.  I did not hear any frogs in froggy spot this year.  Maybe they are gone.  I might have just missed them.

The fog lingered in the interior for a while longer.  What a wonderful day.  It looks like we will be going to Norm's all week, the forcast is for mavelous.

September 13, 2017

Rollin rollin Rolling . . . .

The days are sliding by.  Been some time since we posted.  But, we are still goin to Norm's, now especially since the bugs are gone.  Fall is the best time.  It is still warm, the bugs are gone, it is dry.  We can start to explore the nooks and cranies of Norm's Island.  There are nooks?

Walking today we met our good friend Michael E. Garcia and his constant companion Diego Garcia.  Diego has convinced Mike that there is simply too much walking going on, so Mike got this rig to let Diego ride in leisure.

Pretty Cool! hey

August 10, 2017

Back at Norm's Island

Today we walked at Norm's.  I usually don't walk this early in August but the mosquitos seem to be down earlier than normal.
I took a "fetching' photo of my friend, Shasta's sister Carmen.  This was after we finished our walk.

June 27, 2017

Movin The Bench, Again.

Chocolate is askin, "where did it go?"
We were present when the Riverfront volunteers moved the bench - Again.  On the point here we have lost an amazing amount of island.  Maybe like 30 yards or so, I have no idea.  I remember when this point went out at least half a football field ( a unit of measure I am confident in, I was in the Marching Band, one of the joys of my life ). Used to be a huge logjam here which the dogs loved, you could walk on it, and a great swimming hole behind it for playing fetch the ball in the water.  No more, the water is raging past. I will look for pictures of it.
The year of "The Oil Spill" this bench actually went into the drink, was not to be seen again until the water went down, in maybe late July or August. After they dredged it out the put it WAY back here, not far enough obviously.
Norm's Island is being chewed away pretty aggressively on the south side, the river side.  I do not remember it being so fiercely attacked the first 10 years or so I walked at Norm's, even in years where the Island flooded, not so much land area was lost.  Sigh.

June 19, 2017

British Dog Photographer of the Year

Entries from all over the world.  It sets the bar pretty high, there are some good photos here.

June 18, 2017

Norm's Report

Chocolate Blanca and I put on our brave suit, actually it was only me, and ventured out to Norm's this morning.  It was sixty degrees, overcast and no wind.  Perfect mosquito weather.  We kept moving and had no problems with the little pests.  The few times we stopped, they found us.  So it was not bad mosquito wise.
The water is down quite a bit.  I was able to never get my feet wet.  The east end of the island still has water across the path, and there is one place on the cross path where one would have to wade ankle deep to go that way. We went back. We went to Dog Beach then went left and then left again into the interior where the Cheatgrass is taking over.  Then back out to the river.  So we got in about 7500 steps without getting our feet wet.
I did not take my cameras as I did not think we were going to be able to walk.
We sat for about 20 minutes on the banks of the river, the slight breeze keeping us mosquito free.  It was a pleasant time, even if we were sprinting most of the time.

June 8, 2017

Norm Schoenthal Island; Water is High

Blanca says "I will wait here while you decide what we are going to do" We walked west, away from this flooding.  It is flooded everywhere.  You can take a nice walk and get only wet up to your ankles, but if you wanna go all the way around you are gonna get your knees wet.
The bigger problem now is that since there has been ground water seeping up for at least a week, the mosquitoes have had time to hatch a brood.  The are abundant now.

These thees will probably go soon.  We have lost a good 6-10 feet in some places on the south side of the Island.

Oh well, change is inevitable.

But not all is lost.  The grasses this year have been magnificent.  I guess it is all the moisture we have been getting.  I have no idea about the names for these grasses, except the cheatgrass.  But they are great.  

Choco met some new friends.  We have been seeing them occasionally. They are all young, compared to Chocolates 8 years, so he is a little nippy with them.

Then we have, what did Tim call them? The Branch Managers? Good one. Elsa, Phillip and Moxie.

Copy is supposed to be under the pictures.  Sorry, I got confused ;-)