❤️ This image from November 2 Is fascinating to me. It’s such a mishmash! I took this at a local Schreiners wild animal farm near Lyle, Washington, with my phone.

I was on my way to The Dalles for a slideshow about a new book “Ever Wild” by Darryl Lloyd, with stories, photos, history in geology etc. about Mount Adams. I got distracted by a sunset.

On the way into the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, I had to stop for one more picture.

By the way, here is the cover of the beautiful new book, and if you click on it it will open the website about the book.

Click on book photo to go to



Stronger than Cancer

Updated April 2, 2019


The Story: “Stronger than Cancer”. Erica Kuneki, a young Native American girl currently 18 years old, is fighting Osteosarcoma, bone cancer.

NEWEST UPDATE: April 2 @ 2 pm

Erica Kuneki, whose story is told below via updates (newest first) is at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland with her mom and dad. This morning she was more spunky, gave her mom a hard time (Believe me that’s a good thing). Erica has found some relief from the pain and other problems, is able to move her legs more easily.



April 1,2019 @ 10:35 pm

Many people, family and close friends, came and went all day on Monday. Folks from many faiths and cultures were praying and singing for Erica. Friends from school and the neighborhood were making her laugh, and vice versa, or crying with her mom, Elsa Spence .

Erica just now headed out on the ambulance to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, with her mom following. They’re going to try to help her get better control of the pain and other problems, and it’s in Gods hands next. He knows the bigger picture, whether it’s better to take Erica back to heaven so she’s out of pain, or bring her a miracle and heal her. I was totally humbled by how many different people came; different colors , languages, cultures, and ages but all with the same prayers from the heart. This girl not quite 19 yet has touched so many hearts in her short life. She was always looking out for other people, especially those who would forget to take care of themselves. Even today, she spoke very few words and two words were to remind someone else to eat.

Erica will be 19 on April 5.

There were some powerful prayers spoken or sung on Monday and in at least five different languages. Whether it be for a miracle healing or for comfort and ease of passing, the prayers were all from the heart.


There are 3 ways people can help by donating.

1. If you live anywhere near an Umpqua Bank, go in and tell them you want to donate to an account called “Stronger than Cancer” for you are using a check, make it out to Elsa Spence. Or, mail a check to Elsa for “Stronger than Cancer”.

“Stronger than Cancer”

Donations For Erica Kuneki

Umpqua Bank

PO Box 67

White Salmon, WA



Bank Located at 73 NE Estes St in White Salmon


2. Anyone that wanted to send a personal card and/or donation to Elsa Spence and her daughter Erica Kuneki (she is 18 by the way, and turns 19 April 5). Elsa also just had a birthday in late March.

Send it to :

Elsa Spence

Erica Kuneki

Po Box 778

Bingen, WA 98605


3. Elsa set up a GoFundMe account, originally to get Erica money for a trip, but with her health going downhill the trip is possibly not happening. This will put the money directly into their bank account.

************ (GoFundMe)


Updated January 10,2019


The Story: “Stronger than Cancer”. Erica Kuneki, a young Native American girl currently 18 years old, is fighting Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. A few months ago when it seemed like the cancer was doing better, it jumped to soft tissue and new tumors showed up. More rounds of chemo and radiation nearly killed her, and she took a long rest from treatment. Recently, however, inflammation showed up in her bones again and she became very ill. They opted to do a weeks worth of radiation therapy. Now, As of the fourth day of radiation she started feeling quite a bit better so we are feeling hopeful again. In fact, she sounded remarkably energetic over the phone tonight, laughing at a funny movie.

Unfortunately, while at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at OHSU in Portland this week, someone broke into Elsa Spence’s car in the parking garage. The girls had just gotten there and were already stressed and accidentally left Erica’s wallet in the car. She had all her Christmas gift money in the wallet, so it was a mighty big blow emotionally.

Erica had saved up her money for a trip to New Jersey that will be provided by the Make a Wish Foundation. She wanted to be able to buy souvenirs or special treats. All of her money was taken and the wallet was left laying somewhere on hospital grounds. Someone turned it in to the security.

Elsa made this Facebook live video:

I keep dreaming that someone with a little extra money would help sponsor this local Native American girl, whose family lived in the valley for many generations fishing on the river. While theoretically the tribe helps people in situations like this, the truth is people this far away from the reservation often slip through the cracks.

❤ ❤

DONATIONS: There are now several options for helping financially. See list above under newest update.


Original post May 2017


I would like to tell you a story about a girl named Erica Kuneki. She’s a very special girl, one that has always watched out for others. And she LOVES the SEAHAWKS! More on that soon ❤️😀. Erica and her parents are from the Klickitat tribe, part of the Yakama Nation. Their family is from the Husum, WA area, and her grandmother Elsie Thomas used to make the traditional split cedar root huckleberry baskets that are so prized in museums now.

Erica at her 8th grade graduation

Erica with her uncle

Erica at school

And in Drama, she was in a play in Hood river.

Last November, 2016, Erica started having severe pain in one leg. She was very athletic, involved in several sports. After much testing, she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, A cancerous tumor in the bone below the knee. She was very quickly started on aggressive chemotherapy, which took a toll on her body. Often very nauseous, she lost weight and had a very tough time keeping up in school. With the help of teachers at the Cancer Hospital in Portland, she kept up with her schoolwork as best she could. Early this year, they did a total knee replacement including a length of bone from the leg below the knee. For a while there was a break from chemo while she recovered from surgery, and during that time Erica was able to go back to school here in White Salmon. One of her coaches was very supportive, as he himself was a cancer survivor, and when Erica returned to school he and the team honored Erica in an assembly, making her an honorary team leader.

Erica with her Coach Don

Recently chemo started back up again, along with the struggle to keep eating and hold food down. Occasionally the weekly hospital stay lasts longer when her body isn’t ready to get up and go home. Chemotherapy will likely continue up to a year total, perhaps less if all goes well.

Mom and Daughter at sports event

Through this whole experience her amazing mother Elsa Spence has been right by her side most of the time, and if she has to be working then generally Erica’s father Leon Kuneki spends the time with his daughter at the hospital. They never leave her in Portland at the hospital alone.

Dad and Daughter times

Elsa is a caregiver by trade, working for Klickitat County Seniors. She helped take care of my sister Nora for several years. Her boss Norma Pickett has been so good with her, scheduling work around Erica’s medical appointments, as much as possible. Norma also helped run a fundraiser to get Elsa a working car after her old one broke down. Various bills are still a struggle, between lost work hours and the long drives to Portland. Elsa is the primary wage earner of the household, and I know from personal experience that caregiving in rural areas is a low paying job.

Through all the struggles with cancer, these Gals have done an amazing job of keeping their chin up and moving forward with a positive attitude.

Erica has frequently cheered up and encouraged others in the cancer ward and at home. Erica has a wise old soul, while also young and silly. She and her mom laugh together over so many things, and their laughter is contagious.

At the same time, both of them can be very serious, have a great deal of respect for their elders, and often reach out to help others. Both Elsa and Erica are very empathic, often sensing when those around them are troubled or in pain. Recently, A young patient at the cancer center passed away in a nearby room. The mother’s cries of loss carried through several wings, and Erica left her own room to go out and give hugs to the family. She brought them tissues and encouragement.

A year earlier, after I had lost my own sister, Erica would often stop by my house after school to check on me and make me laugh.

She never fails to brighten my day when I see her. Tonight i was on the phone with Elsa, and I could hear Erica in the background making us both crack up with laughter, and she had just come home from the hospital after more chemo.

Recently on two separate occasions, Elsa and Erica ran into KGW Channel 8 newscasters out on a mission. They talked each of the reporters into a photo, never even mentioning the cancer to the reporters!

Erica is really rocking all this!

TO THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: One thing that Erica is sad about is that no one has invited her to her senior prom which is June 2, at 8:00 pm. . Her cousin Shaneeta Bly came up with the idea of trying to reach out to the Seahawks, especially to Erica’s favorite player Earl Thomas, to see if he or any of the team would be willing to help fulfill the dream of a cancer patient. Erica just turned 18, and will hopefully be graduating soon from Columbia High School where she has participated in several sports including her personal favorite, basketball. She and her family are long time hard core Seahawks fans, with the Seahawk emblem painted on her father‘s truck and several birthday cakes that have had the Seahawks written on the cake.

Dad and Daughter, on Erica’s 18th birthday in April. There was no money or energy for a birthday party this year, but great hopes and plans to save money and have a combined birthday/ graduation/ end of chemo party in a few months.

Seahawks thru and thru!

Any acknowledgement from the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS team would be bound to uplift Erica and her family unimaginably, and an actual escort to prom, especially from Earl Thomas, would bring over the top joy for Erica. She also loves wrestling, her favorite wrestler is Dean Ambomore, and her favorite singer is Lil Pimp.

Please share this and help bring joy to this amazing young lady and her family!

My Erika Kuneki: I am Stronger than Cancer! I Will Survive! Will you go to Prom with me on June 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM? Columbia High School, White Salmon, Washington. Please?

“Stronger than Cancer”UPDATE 5/10/18: Last night Erica and her mother were interviewed for KGW Channel 8 by Christine Pitawanich/KGW. The interview was aired on the late evening news. Meanwhile on another front, our local Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce executive director had emailed her connection with the Seahawks, Mike Flood. Mike replied saying they can’t really send a player out to take Erica to prom, but he is offering some other perks such as some tickets to a game. He is also coming this way later this month for other business and plans to bring Erica some official Seahawks swag.

And then to make it even more fun, Elsa realized that Mike was the same person that saw her sitting in Leon’s truck that has a Seahawks logo, two years ago, and gave her the blue towel that Erica was holding in the video interview. It is a small world!

– Darlisa

News Story from KGW channel 8 aired late evening on 5/09/2018, following interview with Christine Pitawanich/KGW.

Above: Christine Pitawanich/KGW and Erica Kuneki


Update 5/22/18: Erica was thrilled to get a visit from a Seahawk rep who came to her home and brought a bunch of Seahawk swag. He was so touched by her story and by seeing the huge scar from the knee and leg bone replacement that he cried and gave her a big hug. Now that is a real man, in my opinion!


❤️ Prom pictures! June 2017

❤️ Graduation photo June 2017

MUCH THANKS to any an all who contribute to this lifesaving operation!!


Thank you,

Darlisa Black


Here are the rest of the updates, oldest first:


Update 6/08/18. Erica had another unexpected trip to the hospital this week due to a fever. She is ok and home again and her mother Elsa says to tell everyone how grateful she is for the donations that have been made to the bank account. She had no gas money but there was money in the account and she was able to fill up and make the trip to the hospital.


❤️6/16/18 Update)

For those following the story of my adopted niece ⭐️Erica Kuneki ⭐️, who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer: A huge thank you to various people who have already helped with the money donations at the bank and paid the water bill!! Thanks to you Erica had a cap and gown for High School graduation. Elsa was able to buy her Protein powder to help her with weight from chem. She was also able to get a new “hair” in time to use it for prom and graduation. You can’t begin to know what a relief all of that was for Erica and her mother! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


Erica was able to go to prom and dance with her friends, although none of the Seahawks were able to actually come and go with her due to scheduling conflicts. Nevertheless the Seahawks honored her with a visit and phone call. We didn’t really expect they would be able to come for prom but it was fun to ask, and as a result of asking they have chosen to honor her in other ways! Erica and her Family have been given tickets to a Seahawks game August 9, where they will honor Erica by giving her a complete tour. There was hint of another surprise as well 🙂. I think I mentioned earlier that the family received a visit from someone in marketing, who brought her all kinds of Seahawks swag to add to her collection. In spite of not having her date for prom she went anyway, with her family, and had fun. After being so sick for so long from the cancer and the chemo, it warms the heart to see her looking healthier and happy. She was also able to walk with her class at the Graduation, and there will be another post about that.


8/08/2018 new Update on

😍*~*Erica Kuneki*~*😍


“Stronger than Cancer”


Erica is heading to Seattle with her family to see the Seahawks game, With tickets and a hotel room complements of the Seahawks as well.

🌈🌹 Erica Kuneki is doing pretty good, still getting through her chemo treatments. Recently she had a fall however that gave her a spiral fracture in her back bone. It’s not too bad as long as she’s careful and she still able to get around. She’ll need to wear a brace for sitting or walking long time.


August 10, 2018

I dream of finding some wonderful person who likes to donate regularly to charity who would take this Native American family on and sponsor them for a while until this cancer stuff is cleared up. Erica has bone cancer. They need some help badly with gas, food and utility bills. I will add more info in comments. Erica is at Chemo today, and her mom Elsa needs gas money.

Erica was honored last week by the Seattle Seahawks. She and her family were given tickets and a hotel room so they could go see the preseason game last Friday! Oh my gosh that perked This young lady up so much.



New Erica Kuneki update August 2018, the prayers helped! THANK YOU!!! The good news Is that the bone scan did not light her up like a Christmas tree. It only does that when there’s active cancer in the bones, so things are looking good right now! They’re going to stop chemo, and give her time to get strong again and build her platelets back up.

The bad news is that the compression fracture in her back may have damaged a disk. There’s also a mystery spot they have some concerns about, near the spine. So we’re not celebrating yet but happy the bone cancer look good.

Keep the prayers coming, there will be many more Visits to Portland coming up to research this new mystery. Erica has been such a trooper through all this!


UPDATE October 9, 2018

Erica has more tumors, and after going through a strong focused Chemo and radiation treatment last week she is back in the hospital in Portland. A high fever and low platelet count knocked her flat for the moment, and her mom Elsa is not leaving her side much.

A Native brother has brought me fresh meat and fish from the forest, so i can make soup to take the girls at the hospital. Many prayers are being said by people all over for this brave young Native American girl, barely a woman.


Erica and her family had a good holiday season, with improved health. She stayed home through the winter to enjoy life and try to build up her strength. As appetite improved, this brave young woman gained some strength back, and was able to do some limited activities.


Most recent update at top of post.

2017 Solar Eclipse info Links

2017 Total Solar Eclipse info
Even here in southern Washington we will be in the range of 98% totality, which means that during the #Eclipse2017 #greatamericaneclipse it is still VERY dangerous to look at the sun without proper filtering glasses.
I know that the Goldendale Chamber Of Commerce has several pairs for sale for two dollars each. They may also available at the Dalles – Wasco county library and the White Salmon Community Library for free. I will be sharing some links here on the page for information about the eclipse coming up.

This website is where I got the map screenshot from and they sell 11 x 14 posters of this map. The site also has a ton of information relating to the eclipse! You can buy eclipse viewing glasses in bulk on this site great for schools and libraries etc.
>>>CLICK HERE for the website<<< greatamericaneclipse
They also have this handy book comes with two pairs of viewing glasses, $9.99 for the package

Traffic could be a real issue even on Highway 14 leading up to and following 21 August. Be prepared!
This article has excellent tips for important things to make sure you have in your car if you head into the areas of totality in Oregon or other places.
>>Click Here for 16 Essentials for your car<<

There are festivities planned in Goldendale, WA the 20th and 21st with viewing locations set up on the 21st, even though they are not in the path of totality they're close enough to the edge they will still get about 98% of the total eclipse.
Goldendale Chamber of Commerce

**Photographers need to know their camera also needs a filter or it can destroy the sensor.^**.
Here is an example of inexpensive filter you can purchase to create a filter to your lens.
Filter prices are climbing fast now as companies are running out of stock.

I've seen people take this filter and sandwich it between two pieces of cardboard a bit larger, with a circle slightly larger than your camera lens cut out for the filter. That cardboard holder can be clamped together around the edges with those folding paper clips for documents. It can then be glued to the end of a cardboard tubes slightly larger than your lens.
This makes it easy to remove for totality and put back on as soon as the light begins to return. Here is an example compliments of Jamie Hill Photography

Excellent iphone app if you plan to be inside the totality zone for the eclipse, complete with prompts and reminders for each stage of the event.
Solar Eclipse Timer by Gordon Telepun
And here is a video interview with Gordon Telepun with the breakdown on the different parts of the eclipse to watch for.

If you are simply unable to get to a place where you can witness the total Eclipse, there are people live streaming it with telescopes. Here is another iPhone app, but they're probably on a website too.

Total Solar Eclipse by Exploratorium

Fire Department Holiday Parade

December 14, 2015 in Hood River, Oregon

I was driving thru town on my way home across the Columbia, when what did my wondering eyes appear but a sleigh, and 8 big fire department reindeer.  Ok, might not have been 8 exactly, and maybe the reindeer looked a lot like fire trucks, but you get the idea!  They were winding down the hill on old highway 30, so I pulled quickly into the park and ride on the corner of highway 35.  Much to my surprise, the little parade pulled in to the parking lot also, and parked for awhile, and I was able to take some photos.  Which was pretty cool because I had not felt much like taking photos lately!


Grand Flying Adventure, Lady Washington from above!

I got blessed this week to be able to FLY over my home turf, a new experience for me!  Can you tell I am still thrilled?


There is a wonderful pilot tour and training company in Hood River, Oregon called Classic Wings Aero Service  (if you click on that blue name it will open a new page for their website).  Scott took me up on an exhilarating tour over the Lady Washington, a tall ship that starred as the British ship the Interceptor in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

LadyWashington_flight-crop2-7618 LadyWashington_flight-7602 LadyWashington_flight-crop-7528 LadyWashington_flight-7526

She ( the Lady) was sailing near Hood River, Oregon on one of her stops along the Columbia River as part of her educational tours.  Sailed with a largely volunteer crew, the tours allow time for dockside tours (by donation); they also do evening sails in many ports, with tickets costing only $35.00 for a couple hours on the river on this historical replica. As you can see by all the people on board, the sails are popular!  Click on the blue link Lady Washington for their official website.

Here are a few detail shots from the tall ship

Meanwhile back on the small plane, up and away we went, circling back and forth across the Columbia River.  Scott seemed to know instinctively what I would find fascinating to shoot, and making sure to position the plane in various angles to the subjects, including Lady Washington.  What a joy, an exhilarating feeling being far above the hustle and bustle of towns and cars and people; all the cares of the world fade away and there is only the moment.  If you get an opportunity, save up for a tour with these folks in Hood River, Oregon called Classic Wings Aero Service  (if you click on that blue name it will open a new page for their website).

Here are a few more photos from above, all cell phone shots… and I will be doing a second post later with more images from the big camera.

Peace be with you!  Starlisa

Requiem of Ice

Friends have created this amazing video, “Requiem of Ice”.  Thank you to Ben Canales, John Waller and the others at Uncage the Soul Productions.

Experience a visual and narrative odyssey of the largest glacier cave system in the lower 48 states.
Produced, written, and directed 2014 by Uncage the Soul Productions from Portland, Oregon.

For additional details and a photo gallery, visit

To see the original video on Vimeo, click here:  Requiem of Ice on Vimeo

Well written article on this process here:  Article in Shred Hood 

This next video is documenting the process of making the first video!

Chelatchie Railroad

ChelatchiePraireRR-BYCX-8001-45 ChelatchiePraireRR-BYCX-8007-47

It is that time of year again and the Chelatchie Railroad in SW Washington is no doubt busy taking tourists on fun rides on the trains… I highly recommend it!

You can learn more about me and see my best photos in the menu links on the sidebar, take time to browse a bit!

Darlisa Black

Starlisa Black Photography

Thanks everyone for helping me get a show ready!

Thank you all for jumping in on this gallery show!

Thank you all for jumping in on this gallery show!

This was a real Win-Win situation I feel like… several of you got some killer awesome prints coming at barely above cost, and I got those prints to use for this gallery show!  I was too broke to go buy new prints, and this idea popped in during a moment of inspiration.

I will probably do this for another show sometimes!


Thanks everyone… and yes the sale is Done now except for those I have already discussed options with.

This weekend will be a 2 day market at the Grange in Trout Lake, Washington, too!  I am now planning to go set up a booth for the weekend.  It is also the annual Trout Lake Community Yard Sale to raise money for scholarships for kids and other community needs.


Be sure to check out the links in the sidebar when you have time, especially the galleries link!

Have a great weekend…


Ketchum Kalf Rodeo Mutton Race

These little cowboys and cowgirls toughed it up at the Rodeo with their own races, the Stick pony race and the Mutton Race. An earlier post shows the pics I got of the Stick pony race as well. What troopers!!! Once the Sheep were released with the kids on their backs, chaos ensued for a very short race, with a couple really determined kids who held on the longest.
If you are one of the parents, feel free to contact me below on the contact form which goes straight to my email.  If you click on a photo it gets larger, and if you click on it again it goes to the next photo.

Previous Post about the Stick Pony Races can be found by clicking here

Stick Pony Races at Ketchum Kalf Rodeo

More images from the Glenwood Rodeo of a time-honored tradition… Stick Pony races! Starting with the kids, and ending with a race between Keith Kreps and the Ketchum Kalf Rodeo Queen for 2014

If you are a parent of any of these children, you can contact me here via email and I can send you images… or comment directly on the images you want.