VACATION!

Wow. Time does move faster as you age! I JUST got back from vacation, and yet, it’s a month later!   We flew to Las Vegas in late February, and from there drove to:

11003241_10206697905270232_1504499733_o (Links take you to my photo albums.)

  • Hoover Dam— JUST amazing. To think of the time it was built, and to see the scale of everything….
  •  The Grand Canyon —We overdid on superlatives these few days. By going in the winter, we were able to get a room at one of the lodges, approximately a 90 SECOND walk to the Canyon’s edge.
  • Bedrock City —Yes, Fred and Wilma’s place.
  • Pima Air and Space Museum —This one was for Timmy,  but I had fun, too.
  • Slide Rock State Park—Driving by, down toward Sedona, and we decided to stop. Glad we did.
  • Gold King Mine in the ghost town of Jerome Arizona. HAS to be seen to be believed.
  •  Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch—Toss up time. Do we drive south to Tombstone? Or back to that odd little roadside attraction?
  • Picacho State Park, AZ.  For sunset, I wanted something dramatic. I think saguaro silhouettes gave me what I wanted.
  • And, back to Vegas! An adult Disneyland is all I’ve got. It was wet. And sparkly… I’d go back, certainly, but I don’t need to go back. We had fun, though!

Plans to spend my 50th birthday walking some of the trails at Red Rock Canyon were squelched by the appearance of an errant ice storm, but by continuing to follow the 13 mile trail, we managed to out-drive the storm for a while, and see some Joshua trees. The little black cloud caught back up with us in Boulder City. My wonderful daughter gave us tickets to Mystere, one of the older Cirque du Soliel shows, which, as always was fabulous! (They were in a one ring Big Top tent on the edge of Battery City, NYC the first time I saw them perform!) Photos of us, of funny signs, and of everyone’s favorite pal WALDO are here. 

Yes, it was another “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium” trip….   (What can I say, we want to practice before we take THAT trip!)

Screenshot 2015-03-25 16.19.53The only regret I have? We didn’t go back to this rock shop. I took a few minutes walk through the yard. I was sure we would see more rock shops along the road over the course of the week, and we wanted to be back at the canyon for sunset. LOOK at the size of it! It’s right next to the Grand Canyon Inn on 180 in Williams, AZ. If you found this post and are planning a trip, don’t miss it. (I probably would have had an over-weight charge at the airport is all I’m saying.) And, be pleasantly surprised by the friendly people and good food at the Bedrock City ‘diner’ tucked away in the back corner of a curiosity shop that has every random kitch  for sale…Plus, it has Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Pebbles and BamBam, AND  Dino!

Ok. It wasn’t the ONLY regret. I would have loved to have stayed EVERYWHERE longer. I would have loved to have stopped at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale. I would have LOVED to have had a chance to spend a few days exploring Sedona, not just driving through trying to beat a storm cloud. Of getting to spend a bit more time with my brother, or of detouring just a wee bit further and convincing my other brother to drive up from San Diego. But the best part of vacation is spending time and making memories with my hunny, and that we certainly did!

IF YOU follow my Facebook page or this blog, (and WHY don’t you??) you may have seen SOME of these photo albums, but not all.  The last few weeks I have posted a few blogs pulling out some of the albums)   ENJOY!!!

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Airplanes and Ostriches.

Saturday saw us on the road, again. This time we awoke to particularly overcast and not very promising outdoor weather in Scottsdale, AZ. We were headed for the  PIMA Air and Space Museum. As we drove farther south, the sun became a bit more determined to force it’s way through the clouds. We were left with wind, but gorgeous blue sky and white clouds, rather than the threatening gray of the morning.

I know NOTHING about planes. I can identify very few. But I do enjoy taking photos of them. Timmy was enjoying himself immensely.

20150228-IMG_4732Originally added to our itinerary because of the airplane graveyard, we had determined

we weren’t going to arrive in time for tickets. So, we actually went

on a Saturday and didn’t take the tour.

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They have a number of planes from the graveyard on the museum grounds.

They have been painted by local artists.

 

 

 

 

 

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  More airplane photos.

 

Sperm whale or guppy?
I’ll let you decide. I believe that Douglas Adams may have seen this, and then a bowl of petunias…… because that is all I can say. Laughing out loud

 

 

 

 

And, then, OSTRICHS.

On the way down to Pima, we saw a roadside attraction that caught Timmy’s imagination. After the museum, we were debating our next move. South to Tombstone? Start back to Vegas? Timmy thought that the ostrich ranch sound too funny to pass up. Besides the silliness of that, they were giving monster truck rides. So, of course, we had to go.

As we were driving, I decided to Google Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch. I came across some Yelp! reviews that had us laughing out loud.  It’s worth your time to read some! (We visited on 2/28/15, so reviews before then)

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20150228-IMG_4901 There’s one in every group that just can’t keep it together, isn’t there?  The rest of the visit to the ostrich ranch is here.

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Hoover Dam and more Vacation photos

Vacation, part two. Day one of vacation brought us to Lake Mead, Nevada, on the way to Hoover Dam. The day was beautiful. What an oasis!

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Hoover Dam, one of the wonders of the world… Astonishing.  Because of time constraints, we agreed we would walk along the bridge on the return trip, hoping for a lovely early morning or late afternoon, low in the sky sun to really show some color. Little did we know that this moment was about the sunniest, calmest weather we would find.

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On our return trip, we had company. This little black cloud had followed us all the way from Vegas. The second photo is showing you the Arizona side of the river. The storm hadn’t reached there yet.

20150303-IMG_596120150303-IMG_595020150225-IMG_311820150225-IMG_3101Notice the tree at the top of the cliff! And a selfie using the mirrored glass window…

After the Grand Canyon, everything else paled. But we had an amazing time and found some incredible things to do.  We stopped on the way to Sedona at a state park called Slide Rock.

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The weather looked ominous and the forecasts even worse, so we didn’t end up staying in or exploring Sedona. NEXT TIME! These are all on the road toward Sedona.

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To see the rest of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, follow this link.

To see the rest of Slide Rock Park and traveling shots, follow this link.

PART THREE coming soon!

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Grand Canyon National Park

The first in a series of blog posts about our trip.  The main focus of the trip was The Grand Canyon. We will go photo heavy and word light for the moment! Enjoy!!!

First, we will deal with Waldo. He believed himself young and invincible, and therefore lost his nose. 20150226-IMG_3534

20150226-IMG_353520150226-IMG_359020150226-IMG_3589 These girls may be next. Open-mouthed smile (at least they weren’t using a selfie stick. OR streaking.)

 

20150225-IMG_337920150225-IMG_3383 Sunset just as we arrived at the park. Then, it was apparently dinner time for the mule deer, because they came out as the sun set.

 

20150226-IMG_3408  We stayed at Bright Angel Lodge and had a 1.5 minute walking commute to the edge of the canyon. Unfortunately, this was as much sunrise as we got. We didn’t see the sun again until after 3pm.

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Overcast skies do have advantages…

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But when it came out, it was glorious!

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After the sunset on our second (last) day.

I took a LOT more photos! These look best larger, so visit my website to see them! —>>>>  To see the entire album of Grand Canyon photos, or to purchase any, go here.

My Photography website. All images available for purchase.

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It’s February 1st. Do you know where your photos are?

New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, but you have probably already slipped up some. (shhh. I won’t tell.Winking smile)  I have one that you can keep your promise on, right now!

It’s Sunday morning. And JANUARY 2015 is FINISHED. Let’s get organized!

  • MINIMUM EFFORTphonto2Find the cord to your phone and upload all the photos you took in January 2015 into a folder on your C drive called  2015-01-JAN (or something close). If you took photos with a real camera, grab those SD cards and upload all the photos you took into the same folder. (If you are feeling ambitious, make a folder that is 2014-ALL and get the rest of the photos off the phone now, too.) DO NOT DELETE or ERASE CARDS YET.
  • A BIT MORE EFFORT— Look at every photo you took in January 2015. Are there duplicates, or totally blurry or otherwise absolutely useless photos (like the photo of a recipe so you could go the store)? If so, delete them NOW from the folder.  Go ahead, be brutal. When you are done, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in to do some reading.  <—-Read this blog that I wrote a few years back about how I organize my photos.
  • More about HOW TO organize your photos

And then, read even more about it that I have written over the years.

I fear greatly that this generation coming up is not only going to be the most photographed, but also the generation with the fewest images accessible to them when they’re 64.

Technology is great! All those great movies and music on those eight-tracks cassette tapes  floppy disks CDs MP3s VHSs DVDs Blu-ray’s that we stream via the internet every day…

EXCEPT.

The year is 2060. Your grandson was downsized at work. He and his wife and his 13 year old twins are moving back across the country, following a job. They are staying in a friends basement while deciding if this is the right town for them.  While packing the most important things and putting the rest in storage, for a better time, he comes across a box full of antiquated media. A mish-mash of all the variety of storage devices he had seen in museums. Some has writing on the edges; cryptic information like “Daddy’s fishing boat photos”, but mostly they have nothing or simply dates. Although he smiles at the box; he recalls Grandma putting treasures into it when he was a child.

As he digs through the box, he sighs. There hasn’t been a player to watch some of this stuff in decades without having to go to a historical society. And while he recalls vaguely seeing old family photos, he wouldn’t have a clue where to start to locate them amidst  the dozens of disks in the box.  They have become Frisbees. He guesses he could probably go to a college, or contact a library to see if they have something that can still read these items.  But, does he have the time? He and his wife will be working more hours, trying to get back on their feet and the twins are insistent on getting back on sports teams when they move. The money and inclination to take random, unlabeled VHS or floppy disks or CD’ s or Blu-ray’s somewhere, pay to be told that they are hopelessly corrupted, or have the information transferred to the current media? His wife will go crazy if he spends more money that they don’t have having them transferred. Braces, the dentist said. Times two. And how disappointed will he be after spending all the time and effort to discover that the images rescued are of some people that must have been friends of friends of his great grandparents? This box heads to storage.

Discovering a dusty, even poorly maintained, horrible ‘magnetic’ photo album? A Buster Brown shoe box full of negatives and curling black and white photos of some dude who, wow, looks like his kids? Those actual printed photos? Shoeboxes full, even, will end up in the back of the minivan, because when he opened the lid, he saw a photo of his puppy from when he was seven. The box may end up on a shelf, half-heartedly sorted through on a random snow day far in the future.  But, one day, a child will ask about dad’s first pet, and he will be able to scrounge around, find the box, and spend hours laughing at the odd clothing and hysterical haircuts from the past.

Will it EVER get opened again? Will the rent stop arriving on the storage facility when the job doesn’t pan out? Because mortgages, electricity, gas, clothing for growing children, and a huge list of other bills will eventually be more important than THINGS they haven’t needed in months or years. Sold at auction, you can bet those disks are trash. phonto1

The same situation IS going to happen to your current storage devices, you know. It WILL. Forward progress. Whether the images mean something to YOU or not, when your kids are cleaning out your home after you die in 50 years, and they run across media they can not EASILY look at—will they take it home, tell their kids no vacation this year because the money is going toward seeing the treasures Grandma had on a (what turns out to be a corrupted) CD?

Have I scared you yet?

  • PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!  And by print, I DO mean have your photos PRINTED by a lab, photo paper, chemicals, the whole nine yards. Think you have a photo printer attached to your computer that does as well, as cheaply?  Photo inks are not stable enough. The inks are sprayed onto the top of the glossy paper.
  • Sign up to Shutterfly, Mpix, SmugMug, somewhere! and have some images printed. Not everything.  But some. The ones that are special, and sometimes the ones that are not. Photo books are great, too. If you have media that is readable still, look at it! Check to see that is is still usable, and send it to an online gallery for storage. Pass them around to far-flung family in a Valentines card.

This will not protect you from fire or flood, though. GIVE some family photos to other family members. Connection AND insurance. And have an online presence. Some online is better than other online. You do not want to only do this— if they go out of business (Kodak Gallery) you are out of luck. Free places tend to be more iffy; so…. Of course, you do then have the “braces this month or pay my yearly online fee” conundrum…. My thought is the cost of the year of storage is less than the cost of a half dozen rolls of film and developing.

  • ONLINE, UNLIMITED STORAGE, plus the ability to order PRINTS of all your images! This is where I have all my photos; my photo web-page rteest42.com is powered by Smugmug! If you sign up USING THIS LINK, there are DISCOUNTS involved! Galleries can be totally locked down so that no one or only those with the code can get into them. (when you go look at my site you will see a fraction of the galleries I have) ( Pricing and features of Smugmug)
  • Or go to Flickr. BUT MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE all the options to be private and right-click protected. The last thing you want is for your family photos to be accessible to just anyone. (Facebook notwithstanding, you really don’t want EVERYTHING out there…)
  • phontoNegatives. Just don’t throw them away, ok? Seriously, how much room do they take up? It’s hard to sort them, but look at the bright side, you are probably not making more! Take the envelopes, open and glance. Can you get a year based on the images? Date the outside, and put into a big old shoe box. If you don’t get around to doing anything ever with them, let your grandkids decide to trash them. Who knows, you may want to have something printed. Even if you trash the photos, the negatives are available. (My negatives from 1983 until 2004.)

Oh, right. I said don’t delete from the phone yet. So, having read all of the above, (coffee topped off?) have you a backup plan? Once you have burned a CD or DVD (properly labeled as to be retrievable), and uploaded to your fancy-pants new online photo storage, hit that delete button!  I was with someone the other day who I haven’t seen for a YEAR. She STILL had photos from the last time we got together on her phone. One minute of distraction and the phone is gone….

 

PS. THIS IS A DO AS I SAY, not as I do post, meant to motivate ME to finish as much as to get you to START!!

PPS Someone on Facebook posted this the other day…”I was cleaning out yet another part of the house and happened upon a folder I hadn’t seen since I moved away to college inside I found all these moments of my families past I wasn’t even aware of…” I doubt if she had run into a CD she would have even glanced at it; as it was when I ran across her thread, with photos, there was a healthy conversation happening about the photos from different family members.

The Week in Photos CY365 W/E 11/22/14

This is CY365!   My photography website.    Follow me on Facebook.    On Twitter, I am@rteest42My  Etsy shop! Something new all the time.

CHRISTMAS PHOTO A DAY starts ON MONDAY! 

Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe, happy and warm! 

16. Home Cookin’
17. Comfort
18. The Final Stages
19. The number 4
20. Companions
21. Unpredictable
22. Dramatic Skies

10362844_10205812473855000_1445700831741306555_n17. Comfort
10473750_10205813264154757_7517643293509403509_n18. The Final Stages –of destruction by the cat.
10520828_10205801774467522_75896697480030384_n19. The number 4—and a half. Laylabug took off Baby Doll’s shoes so she could nap with her.
1235914_10205799757737105_3774528163776934156_n20. Companions The Prince and the Princess. (because everything is Prince and Princess)
10390345_10205825744226751_4315015534031860409_n21. Unpredictable—Only unpredictable if you don’t have a cat…
img_278022. Dramatic Skies—well, COLD skies. 17 degrees.

10689623_10205843494790504_7635847350081317369_nAnd because it’s Virginia, 24 hours later a high of 79 and sunny!

Photos of the Week: CY365, Week ending 9/27/14

This is CY365!   My photography website.    Follow me on Facebook.    On Twitter, I am @rteest42

Let’s go out with a bang! Tell everyone you know that the sale on my photos is only good through Tuesday, September 30!

 

This week, we will just pretend the prompts don’t exist, ok? Because, really, maybe one photo works with them, IF you are flexible on definition.

However, I think there are a few nice photos, prompt-less though they may be!

21. Hold On
22. Goodbye Summer
23. Who?
24. The Number One
25. Morning Light
26. A Street View
27. A Friendly Face

10644213_10205406887515595_1324015191997222161_o  Ah, Neko…

10705208_10205371979642920_1604641507_n  My poor husband really had to beg, but look, I did some mending!

10621830_10205380050844695_2066926187_n  September morning, Autumn!
1476317_10205406923476494_2099424457017333270_n  Hmm, what kind of trouble can I get into and will anyone notice if I steal a straight pin?
10716274_10205401740146914_1563585667_n  A Where I Stand kind of photo (or, if you must have the whole truth, another “Oh, right. I have to take a photo today” photo.)
10704825_10205382725271554_1009426750_n My new handwork project. No. I have no idea what I will be doing with these honeycombs; I just wanted something to do in front of the TV.
10708089_10205410422203960_1107740421_n I bought Laylabug this mirror for her new room and until I get it to her, it’s leaning against the table in my studio. I was working on a quilt top this morning and liked the concept.