A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness


"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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If you wish to leave a comment or want to contact me please do so using my email:
(If your interest is primarily biographical, and you want to see what my early adventures were, be sure to view the older posts. They go back seven decades to my childhood.)
Do not reproduce without my permission!

To see an archive of our personal artifacts,
as another way to peek into our history,
go to:  mholtby.blogspot.com

More of our travels go to:



This trip was postponed for a year due to the COVID pandemic. Even so, with the Delta variant, I was uneasy about the travel portion, as were some of my fellow travelers.

 It was a safari where we stayed in the luxury of the And Beyond Kitchwe Tembo Lodge in Maasai Mara National Park, and had a vehicle customized for photographers with a photo expert guide, Hendri Coetzer from CNP Safaris, South Africa. There was only one other guest, David Laronde, from Canada, who turned out to be a semi-pro photographer as experienced as myself.

We did twenty game drives, and I took 6,850 photos. That was in part because I was using my new Sony A1 mirrorless camera that shoots 30 frames a second. So catching a bird in flight might involve a burst rate that is blindingly fast.

We also had significant encounters with lions, leopards, hyenas, hippos, baboons, vultures, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, and wildebeest. 

On the last day I was able to visit a Maasai Village. They had been closed to outsiders due to the Pandemic, and they had no cases of COVID. However, at the end of my time there they opened up to tourists. On the day I visited I was the only tourist.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


I did a photoshoot at the Triple D Game Farm which provides photo opportunities with semi-wild animals for movies and still photographers. Here are the best shots of the week.

A horse roundup consisting of about fifty horses herded right at us. However, the impact is lost when all the horses were in the frame. Here the white stallion is leading the herd.

A mountain lion is charging through the water right at us  

but I was shooting with a long lens.


Thursday, April 8, 2021



In October, 2020 I moved to Whidbey Island, closer to my family. My two brothers are ten minutes away, and my oldest sister is about 15 minutes away. My daughter, son-in-law, grandson, younger sister, and lots of nieces and nephews are all here in the Northwest.

I have two acres with a pond, some great landscaping, and regular visits from black tailed deer. I also have two very busy bird feeds, and hummingbirds year around. 

Due to the pandemic all of my travel plans were cancelled for 2020, and into 2021. I have spent time keeping up my photo skills by focusing on my resident birds:

Thursday, August 13, 2020


A bright spot during the stay-at-home time mandated by the COVID pandemic.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Swainsons Hawk photographed in the morning on a walk with Drummer on Stapleton Greenway.

While on lock down due to the Pandemic I have gotten out by driving over to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and hanging out with the burrowing owls in the prairie dog town. The Arsenal underwent Superfund cleanup and is a wildlife refuge with white tailed deer, bison, raptors, etc. It is an eight mile drive. A nice break from the commute from my bedroom to the kitchen.


Thursday, February 27, 2020


I spent most of February in Myanmar with Jim Cline Photo Tours, and the Asia trip leader Karl Grobl. It is my fourth trip with Karl, and I know I'll have a good experience and come home with good photos on trips with Karl. Judy is working in San Diego, and did not go on this trip. However, both of us are going in July 2020 to Mongolia with Karl.

One of the highlights was a balloon ride over Bagan which has 3,400 pagodas and stupas. I had never done a balloon ride before, and I would consider it a lifetime high.

Another highlight, which was not a scheduled part of the tour, was an all day excursion to the Ta Lai Nal Elephant Camp. It apparently rescues elephants from the lumber industry (where they haul around 2 ton logs). It appeared to be a happy family of about a dozen elephants and 3 youngsters.

See my 3 minute video of the elephant encounter:

We visited a number of markets but the most unique was one was on active train tracks. When the train came through all the merchants moved their wares, and put them back after the train had passed. One of our group got a little too close to the passing train and was pulled out of the way by one of the local people. I too was a bit too close, and grabbed by the back of my shirt.

Here is a video that puts you right there:

We also visited a fishing village on the Ngapali Beach as they were bringing in the night's catch, hauling them on shore in 100+ pound buckets, sorting them and putting them out to dry.

And of course the Myanmar culture is steeped in Buddhism, so we saw lots of monks, nuns, novices and statues of Buddha. We were constantly removing our sandals to visit a pagoda.

For a slide show of my best photos from the trip go to:

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Every year in Denver we host the National Western Stock Show, and it starts with a parade through downtown headed by a herd of thirty longhorn cattle:

I am still trying to get the perfect shot - which I don't believe this is. I got there an hour early and there was already a crowd several people deep. The cowboys also surrounded the herd.

I liked this shot, however because of the "Urban Farmer" sign in the background.

This, however, is my favorite Denver parade, reflecting our Western history and lingering culture.

Monday, October 28, 2019


Judy & I are back from a visual storytelling workshop in Cambodia. It was through Jim Cline Photo tours, and we were on our third tour with the company's Asia tour guide, Karl Grobl. The other tour group leader was Bob Krist from National Geographic. We had to each do a project, and produce a video story. Ours was about the Last Mahouts in Angkor Wat, as the elephants are moved to a reserve in December. Here is the description:

In December, 2019 the remaining elephants in Ankor Wat will be removed to a reserve, leaving several of their handlers, the mahouts without their way of life. International pressure has lead to this move after one of the elephants died, but upon our investigation for this video we ended up believing that moving the elephants wasn't necessarily the best for them. They average forty-five years old, and this has been their way of life for decades. We saw no evidence of mistreatment, and in fact found that the elephants were checked by a veterinarian every week. Elephants have been a part of Ankor Wat for centuries, and in fact, did the heavy lifting to build the temple. They remain very embedded in Khmer culture.

 The video is under three minutes in length: 

Another interesting project was about rats trained to find land mines. They are so light they aren't blown up, and by smell they can detect where they are. Land mines still injure an average of three people a week in Cambodia.

I also produced a brief slide show of some of my best still photos of the trip: two minutes in a very complex country, severely traumatized by Pol Pot, war with the Vietnamese, and the continuing threat of land mines. Yet Cambodia is a beautiful country with friendly, gentle people; and they embrace both centuries old traditions as well as modern advances.

This has been quite a year for my photography: In February I was selected to be part of a team of photographers with the Jimmy Nelson Foundation to document the Hadzabe, the last hunter gatherers in Tanzania. Then this summer a photograph I took at Denver's Cinco de Mayo was selected to be one of thirty-five to be exhibited in a collection called My Colorado, selected from over 4,000 entries. The exhibit is in the A Concourse of the Denver International Airport. I also was accepted into two juried shows, and won third place in one of them, an exhibit of Colorado photography. And finally, I won first place in the wildlife division at the Colorado Mountain College Art Show in Vail.

Saturday, July 27, 2019


The primary reason to visit Uganda, the reason most tourists go, is to visit the mountain gorillas. We did, and I'm pleased with the photos we got. However, the back story is it was a 2 hour drive up a rutted and potholed dirt road, followed by a 2 1/2 hour trek to get to where the Mukiza gorilla family was. This is the silverback who is the big daddy. We were ten feet away and he just ignored us. We could only stay an our. The trip back included an incline like a staircase, in the rain and humidity at an elevation of 7,000 feet for a half mile. It was on my 74th birthday, so it was very special, but I thought I might pass out or have a heart attack on the way back.

We also took photos of harvesting tea, and bananas being taken to market.

We visited three primary schools, and at one point I had a half dozen kids holding my hand - all at the same time.

In addition to gorillas we saw several other primates, as well as two eagles.

And finally we visited a Banyonkole farm which had a herd of the rare Ankole cattle.

Here is a video of our trip (its only 5 minutes long - you have time to watch it!):

Monday, June 24, 2019


I am a member of the Vail Valley Arts Association and was up there last weekend as part of a project to produce art about the ranches in the area. These two photographs were taken on the Webster Ranch.

This is Eziguel Javier Veliz Zevallos who is Peruvian sheep herder who is here on the 3 year contract with the Southern Cross Sheep Division in McCoy, Colorado. His wife and four children remain in Peru. The rifle is to kill coyotes who have killed seven lambs. He and 8 large white dogs guard 800 ewes and 900 lambs.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Another short trip, this one to Custer State Park for three days. Custer, South Dakota is about six hours from Denver. We went there to photograph baby bison, but had far more sightings of antelope. All through Wyoming & S. Dakota along the highway you can see antelope, but if you stop they are alarmed and run away. But in the Park they are more used to people and cars and you can get a lot closer.

Also lots of colorful birds. These are mountain bluebirds.


Took a day trip to Mt. Evans, an hour outside of Denver. We were hoping to see baby mountain goats. However, there is still a lot of snow up there and the babies haven't been born yet. We did find a fox den. This is the best photo from that trip of the Mom.

Monday, April 8, 2019

FEBRUARY 2019: TANZANIA's Hadzabe Tribe

The last hunter-gatherers of Tanzania

I was selected to be on a four person team of photographers to spend four full days with the Hadzabe tribe. They now only number about one thousand people, and 90% of their land has been taken over by neighboring pastoral tribes.

This endeavor is a part of a larger mission to describe and photograph the indigenous cultures of the world before they disappear. It is part of the Jimmy Nelson Foundation based in Amsterdam.

The full website illustrating this project can be found at:

My own website is:  https://www.hadzabe.org/

Here is a video introducing the tribe: