Wednesday, August 29, 2007


A lunch time visit to La Conner, WA

Pat and I decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch today. It is located in the quaint little town of La Conner, about 15 miles from home and on the waterfront of the Swinomish Channel that separates the mainland from Fidalgo Island. Lunch was good as usual and I took advantage of great weather and a beautiful area to take some photos. Artists and photographers alike like to go here to record some of the beauty of the area.

LaConner 8-29-07 01
Our restaurant has an outside deck on the water side. While I was waiting for our lunch to be prepared I took the camera out onto that deck for a few photos. Here is one of the artists with her painting and another just beyond hers. The bridge in the background is called the Rainbow Bridge. My lighting for these photos isn't the best at about noon but with the sun starting to move back to the south (late summer) there is a bit of side lighting, so I guess the photo works.

LaConner 8-29-07 02
This shows the scene the artists were painting. I have dialed up a bit of a telephoto view (zoom lens) so things are not really quite as close as they look to be here as the lens compresses distance somewhat. As you can see this is quite a boating area.

LaConner 8-29-07 03
Here is a medium size power boat heading south through the channel. The tide is a bit low at this time. The land in the background is Tribal land on the Swinomish Reservation, across the channel from La Conner.

LaConner 8-29-07 04
Sail boats are about as popular as power boats and here is a fair size one moored alongside a small one on the same pier.

LaConner 8-29-07 05
This scene is just a little south of the others and shows a bit more of the waterfront, boats and the Rainbow bridge. The boats on the other side of the channel are mostly fishing boats belonging to Tribal members.

We needed to head back home so this was a short visit. Pat and a neighbor wanted to go to one of the local Farmer's Markets that operates on Wednesday afternoons from something like 2 to 7pm, so we hopped in the car and headed back. We went a different way and stopped at the Rexville Store because of a sign saying they had fresh berries. The stand selling them was closed as I guess the girls operating it have gone back to school, but there was a fascinating out house right in front of where we parked our car.

Porta-Potties 01
In this view it looks pretty much like any other porta-potty but I really enjoyed the sign posted on it.

Porta-Potties 02
Here is a closer view of that sign. Have you ever seen a better name for a company with this product? Seeing something like this really gives one an appreciation for advertising people. "Wizards of Ooze - Portable Restrooms." Something everyone needs. I don't think this is one of the VIP models!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007


Yet another live performance & other stuff

I hadn't planned on it being over a week from that last post of the Danny Vernon photo until this one but here it is, a week and a day. Time sure flies when you are having fun. A lot has gone on during that week. And a day.

Pat doesn't like to fly but I have managed to talk her into going to Hawaii this fall. I checked online for airline tickets and condo reservation and found we could get a good price break if we went a little earlier than I'd planned. My thought was to go in early December. But we can get a reservation at the condo for just $90 a day, up to Oct. 31st. That is if we stay seven or more nights. So, we are going over on Oct. 24th and coming home on the 31st. If anyone else is interested in a Hawaiian trip, the condo is Kamaole Sands and we got the reservation through Condominium Rentals Hawaii. The link I have included is to Condo Rentals HI but highlights the Kamaole Sands condo on Kihei beach on Maui. Then of course you need to get there as the genie hasn't yet built the bridge we can drive the RV over to Maui. Hawaiian Airlines just happened to have a special price for the flight direct from Seattle to Maui of $167 each, each way. The total cost, taxes & landing fees plus travel insurance was less then $740 for the two of us, round trip. We have a car reserved from Budget for the week. I think we are all set other than getting reservations on the local shuttle bus to and from the airport.

I went to Maui with Annie & some friends for our 30th anniversary ten years ago. That was my first and so far only trip to Hawaii and Pat has never been there so I think we will both enjoy the short vacation. Is it correct to call it a vacation when we are both retired? We are not going through Honolulu but it is just another big town, although with great weather. And this way Pat only has one aircraft take off and landing each direction rather than two each way as we would with spending any time in Honolulu. It is interesting to note that the condo and flight prices are actually less today than they were ten years ago. Of course these are special prices and probably during a normally slow time.

I do have some photos finished from a show we attended on August 9th. It featured Rusty Evans and his band in a show they called, "Ring of Fire." When he started singing his first song we were amazed to discover that he sounds just like Johnny Cash. He talked a bit about Johnny and they did know each other and have performed together in the past. I posted a link to Rusty's web site for anyone who would like to learn more about them and here are five photos from that show:

Ring of Fire 01
This is the drummer, Dan Porter, Rusty and the bass guitarist who's name I did not get.

Ring of Fire 02
Rusty's son, Danny, plays lead guitar and does backup singing. Here is Danny at the left, Dan the drummer and Rusty.

Ring of Fire 03
Rusty has written music of his own in addition to covering some of the Johnny Cash songs. His web site talks about some of the other things he has done.

Ring of Fire 04
Here is Danny Evans. He does a good job with his guitar.

Ring of Fire 05
And here is Danny and Rusty together in one photo.

We enjoyed the show and thanks to a couple of friends from church were able to get a pair of tickets so Pat's daughter C and her friend J were able to go. C is a real country & western music fan so really enjoyed the show. We did, too and would go again to hear him when he returns to our neck of the woods.

There is more but this post is getting a bit long. Maybe this way I'll do another before waiting so long.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


30 years ago today, Elvis died

Today is the 30th anniversary of the way too early death of Elvis Presley. Pat and I were again privileged to see Danny Vernon's Tribute to Elvis show last night. I took nearly 200 photos and eliminated about half of them due to too much motion caused blurring. I've only had enough time to get one ready to post here but did want to get it done on this date, so here is Danny as Elvis:

8-15-07 Elvis 01

I'll get more of them done and a longer post made later. I seem to be too busy any more and this takes time. Dinner is nearly ready and then we have to be at the clubhouse at 18:15 for a game of Mexican Train. We missed the game last week to go to the Ring of Fire show and don't want to miss another. Yes, I still have those photos to get some of ready and a post done here but remember I just last Saturday got one up from a show we attended July 8th. Hang in there and I'll get them up sometime.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007


A live performance from last month

Pat won two tickets to a live show on July 8th at the old but restored Lincoln Theater here in town. We were not sure who the performer was until we got there but learned that Jesse Colin Young was the lead singer from the 1960s-70s rock group, The Youngbloods. The show was a lot of fun and I did take some photos. But I kind of forgot what I had been learning about taking photos of live acts. I left the 18 - 200mm zoom lens on the camera. It doesn't offer a very fast (large) f/stop to let light in, only about f/3.5 - f/4.5, while my 90mm prime lens is f/2.8 and the 50mm lens is f/1.8. I also left the ISO setting (like film speed) at 200 rather than increasing it. So, motion is a big problem with all of the photos from that set. I have selected a few that are almost okay and a couple of them are kind of interesting in the way the movement is shown, but the sharpness isn't what I really like. I'll go ahead and post some of them as they are interesting to see, especially for anyone who remembers some of the old rock groups like I do.

Jesse Colin Young performance 01
This is the poster for the show and it quotes a line from the group's best known song. "Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now" from 1969. The poster was inside a glass window that I shot through. I took it after the show while we were walking back to the car and the light was failing. I should have taken it while we were going to the show with plenty of light.

Jesse Colin Young performance 02
Here is the group that was playing that night. I am not sure if the drummer is an original member of The Youngbloods or not but I know the other two are not. The lady fiddler is Jesse' wife and the other guitarist was probably still in diapers or not even yet born when the group was starting out. He talked some about those early years in San Francisco. The band came from New York and were sort of out of place with their suits and ties among the Hippie, Summer of Love group then current in the Bay area. But they did make good music.

Jesse Colin Young performance 03
Jesse Colin Young is a very good guitarist. He wrote most of the songs the group performed and has written many since.

Jesse Colin Young performance 04
This is the Mrs. I like the way the movement came through, with her face recognizable but a lot of motion showing up with the bow. She did move about a lot and was hard to get a photo of while standing still.

Jesse Colin Young performance 05
The other guitarist I think is a native of Hawaii. He always wears flip-flops, even on stage. Or I guess he is bare footed if not in the flip-flops. Anyway he is a good guitarist even though he didn't know this kind of music while it was originally popular.

Jesse Colin Young performance 06
And here is another of Jesse. His guitar work really is impressive.

Jesse Colin Young performance 07
Another of the whole group. This is probably about the best one of the drummer. They are hard to get good photos of as they are usually in the back of the group, so every photo seems to feature one of the other band members.

I had forgotten that I've never posted about this show on my blog. Sorry for the delay but here they finally are. What reminded me is that we attended another live performance two nights ago, the "Ring of Fire" show with a singer who sounds amazingly like Johnny Cash. I have photos from that show where I DID use one of the prime lenses and kicked the ISO up to 1600, so my shutter speeds were more like 1/60 sec. That isn't real fast but it sure makes a lot of difference. I'll wait a day or two and then try to get a post done about that one. I still have to reduce their size & upload them to Flickr. Then next Wednesday, the 15th, we will be going to another show with Danny Vernon as Elvis. Maybe he will have some new outfits. Becky, the Absent Minded Housewife enjoys seeing them because they tweak her interest as a costume maker.

By the way, my house sale did close yesterday as it was supposed to. I am now without a house of my own for the first time since early in 1969. Although I do have the RV and Pat & I are living in her house. We are now making it into "our" house.

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Friday, August 03, 2007


A benefit performance for a friend

A friend of ours was seriously injured in a fall at work back in June. She is improving regularly but still can not talk and doesn't have all of her strength back yet. Since she was injured at work I think most of her medical expenses are covered but she has lost income since then and there are some expenses that probably are not covered by L & I, such as parking costs, etc. as she has to drive to Seattle on a regular basis for medical care. The people she works with at the Cranberry Tree Restaurant in Mt. Vernon held a benefit for her on July 28th with a good local band, "Work Release," donating their music to the evening. Pat & I attended along with Pat's daughter, C, who also knows K very well and it was a full house.

I took my camera and have a few photos of the band that I'll post here. I also have some of K and her family but will not post them as I haven't talked with her about doing that.

Work Release 1
Here is the full band. There are three guys on guitar, one on keyboard, one on drums and a lady singer who is very good.

Work Release 2
This is the three guitarists and the singer, under the red stage lighting.

Work Release 3
And here is the lady singer by herself.

These were all taken with the ISO kicked up to 1600 but I used the zoom lens rather than one of the faster prime lenses. I don't think there is any real problem from grain (noise) due to the high ISO setting so I will be doing this more often as I photograph things in low light levels. We will be going to another Danny Vernon as Elvis performance on the 15th and I'll for sure use this technique for photos there.

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