4th Annual Photographic Alphabet – IV

And now for a brief (non-commercial) message:

 Sending you wishes for a Happy New Year’s Day
and a perfectly matched 2012, filled with good health, inner joy and true contentment.

 Now we return to Bo’s photographic alphabet:


Poppy Composition

Poppy Composition © 2011 Bo Mackison

My year-end alphabet would not be complete if I did not include a few of the photographs which have become my photo identity and art festival favorites. I’ve worked a set of eight poppy photographs that I took in the garden of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in many ways.

In White

Composition In White © 2011 Bo Mackison

And I’ve learned much about the possibilities of Lightroom and Nik Software, programs I once thought I could never learn how to use. These new avenues of exploration brought my botanical photographs into places I only thought existed in my mind, in my vision.

"Sunset" Coneflowers

“Sunset” Coneflowers © 2011 Bo Mackison

So many wonders, so many possibilities!


Round Barn - Fromme-Birney Barn

Fromme-Birney Barn © 2011 Bo Mackison

On our drive from Tucson to Wisconsin this spring, we left the Interstate and took State Highway 54 through Kansas. It is hard to see much of anything while zooming along the interstates at 75 mph, squeezed between double semi trailers, and when I did see something of interest, it was never safe to pull on the side of the road or stop. But once we were on a two lane highway, I felt like we were traveling and seeing.

I love to shoot architectural subjects, so when we noticed a sign for “Historical Barn – 3 Miles”, we turned off the highway and headed into the countryside. Soon this amazing structure came into view.

Round Barn - Second Floor and Ceiling

Round Barn Ceiling © 2011 Bo Mackison

What a wonderful place to explore, and we had it all to ourselves. The Fromme-Birney barn was planned in 1912 by Henry W. Fromme. He hired William “Pat” Campbell to build a round barn to house his 28 draft horses and a special stall for the Percheron stallion that he imported from France.

Shortly after completion, the tractor replaced the horse and the barn became obsolete and eventually fell into disrepair. It was restored in the 1980s and then listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A good reminder to keep taking advantage of those experiences which sound quite ordinary. Never know what you’ll find a few miles off the hurried road.


Three Rocks

Three Rocks © 2011 Bo Mackison

Sometimes life takes me to the top of the highest pinnacle. The view is mighty fine, but I discover that climbing up was doable because I could only see where I was going, I did not look back to see the treacherous open space behind me. I concentrated on moving, not on falling.

But once I’ve taken in the view, I realize I must get off the top of this mountain.

But how?

The answer is in this quotation I copied into my quote book a few years ago:

Come to the edge,
He said.
They said:
We are afraid.
Come to the edge,
He said.
They came.
He pushed them,
And they flew.
~ Guillaume Apollinaire


Quail Condo

Quail Condo © 2011 Bo Mackison

Joseph Wood Krutch, who wrote the book The Desert Year in 1985, discovered the Sonoran Desert and its evocative beauty quite late in life. I discovered the book last February and couldn’t stop reading it. I copied several quotations into my journal that seemed to resonate deep within my soul.

“More rarely…one experiences something more like love at first sight. The desire to stay, to enter in, is not a whim or a notion but a passion.”

“Verweile doch, du bist so schön.” translated from German to “Linger yet, you are so beautiful.”

If I do not somehow possess this, if I never learn what it was that was being offered, I shall feel all my life that I have missed something intended for me. If I do not, for a time at least, live here I shall not have lived as fully as I had the capacity to live.” ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

Last March, on the very day that Sherpa and I were to return to the Midwest from the Tucson area, we saw an “open house” on a realtor’s sign. It was near the condo I had rented for two months, in an area I had fallen in love with. Impulsively we went in to see what we might see. That condo was too large and too costly, but the realtor offered to show us some smaller condos in the area.

Sherpa and I explored one of those condos with growing enthusiasm and with a great deal of growing doubt. How could we be serious about purchasing a place when we were getting in a car and driving 2,000 miles to our home in a few hours? After a few amazing, coincidental happenings, the pieces of the ‘property purchase puzzle’ fell neatly into place. We made an offer through the realtor, also a neighbor, and drove away.

Yes, we did buy the place. We agreed to the contract while we were driving in northeastern New Mexico, and finalized the deal by email and fax when we reached Wisconsin.

I’ll be flying to Arizona in a couple of weeks and I am thoroughly thrilled. Like the owners of state-sized ranches and fifty room mansions, Sherpa and I christened the tiny condo with its own name — Quail Condo! (Because when we were there in November, there were many Gambel’s quails strutting through the back arroyo every morning.)

As Krutch wrote, “…not a whim or a notion, but a passion.” Now I can take photos of the deserts and the surrounding area for an extended time and do art festivals in the winter and spring. So excited! A dream realized.


Today’s post has been brought to you by the letters N, O, P and Q.

Tomorrow’s post will be brought to you by R, S, T and U.

And yesterday’s post was brought to you by K, L and M.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Posts brought to you by the letters of the alphabet through January 3rd — what would we do without alphabet letters!

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. All are wonderful! I love the Fromme-Birney Barn. Congrats on Quail Condo! Sounds wonderful.

    Happy New Year 2012 and Bright Blessings! 🙂

  2. Happy New Year, Bo. And congrats on your new place. The way you describe your life feels abundant and passionate. I am happy to have met you through our creative energy. Prosperity for the coming year.

  3. Bo, your photographic alphabet is marvelous! I always admire your work, but this series is very special!

  4. Congratulations on Quail Condo! How wonderful to be able to explore your passion that way. 🙂

  5. I appreciate the way you tied the letters of the alphabet to your photographs.
    Your asymmetric Composition in White reminds me of a picture I posted last year, even though it’s of a different plant:


  6. I continue to enjoy your annual alphabet. This year’s edition is your most interesting. The commentary you’ve added is insightful and entertaining.

  7. Bo, Bo, BO! I didn’t know! You bought a condo! In the grand Southwest! Quail Condo, indeed and of course – I’m just soooo happy for you!!! Again, I love your photos, prose and the quotes you so thoughtfully add. Wonderful! XO!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Bo has a con-do,
      to go to Tucson so-lo
      and pho-to ma-cro
      bo-tanicals.Yay, Bo!

      Lots of words rhyme with Bo, but that doesn’t mean I can create poetry.
      Does effort count?

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