Sacramento Music Festival, part 2

It takes a lot of volunteers to run a weekend festival like ours. Although we just help during the weekend, I do feel like I’m a part of the whole operation. As a volunteer, we get free admission and a T-shirt. That shirt and our badge will get us into all the venues free. Of course, we work our own venues each day.

We work a youth venue on the Delta King dock. The ship’s staff is very gracious in their sponsorship and support of youth. Some of the older kids are just as good as some of the adult bands, and the younger kids are pretty good too. This year we had a group of  4th and 5th graders, and they were so cute! Evolution from North Bend Oregon drew crowds that numbered more than 100. They are a community band with children from 12 to 21. They were excellent. A local band from River City High School in West Sacramento drew crowds also.

Just watching the kids filled me with joy. They have a passion for music, and it keeps them away from other destructive activities. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to say, “I saw him/her play in our youth venue!”

While we do get to listen to wicked good music, we also work. The entire crew gathers on Friday morning to set up the venue. We put out the chairs, zip tie them together, help get the band area ready and our own table set up. During the performances that run all day, we keep the venue clean, patrol the fire lanes, and introduce and close the bands’ sets. It’s not too difficult, and it is fun. Next year I’ll take before and after shots!

Here are the last of the pictures. We’ll continue with the parade.

Sacramento Music Festival: a Memorial Weekend tradition

It was HOT! During the entire Memorial weekend at the Sacramento Music Festival (sponsored by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society) mother nature turned on the furnace. I’m sure it could have been worse; but then, it could have been better. The heat did put a damper on our weekend of listening to wonderful music, but we handled it. Well, I handled it until Monday morning when I realized that I was suffering from some form of heat stroke. We did not go to the Festival that day to listen to bands, but to just help tear down our youth venue. I rested and slept most of Monday.

The sets we attended were great. Our favorites did not let us down. I kept wondering how the performers were handling the heat. I guess they give it their all no matter what. We also enjoyed seeing bands we haven’t listened to before. One stand out was a band from Poland. In addition to being great musicians, they were funny and entertaining.

The standout was Dave Bennett. For the past two years he has appeared with the Memphis Boys, doing Jerry Lee Lewis style rock and roll, and some country. He plays the piano like Lewis, uses Lewis’ style and does the vocals. However, he also plays the clarinet, and this year he did two “Tribute to Benny Goodman” sets. He was amazing–so much talent.

Now, in the past, I’ve posted mostly photos of the various groups we’ve enjoyed. This year, I decided to focus on street photography and show you what the Festival looks like outside of the venues. I only brought my camera in one day. I hope you enjoy them. I’ll put them in two posts. Today you’ll see most of the parade. More to come tomorrow.

Oh, today (the Tuesday after the Festival) the temperature was in the ’80s and a nice cooling breeze was blowing. Talk about bad luck!


On the road again: family reunion in Las Vegas

We went in search of neon last night. Actually we went to the Linq an outdoor shopping center. Jim suggested I go there to get a good shot of the High Roller (a 550-foot observation wheel) and a fountain. The High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in the world and takes one hour to ride. I heard it costs $35 per person. It’s easy to shoot since it doesn’t move fast!

The shopping center was fun to walk through, not too crowded and had a variety of shops and restaurants. I hope you enjoy what I managed to capture.

Today we are going to visit with Anita and Jim again. I’m looking forward to this post-reunion visit. We go home tomorrow, hoping to drive straight through. Do we sound anxious to get home–yes!

Tomorrow were going to hit the highway in search of home!

Family reunion in Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire

It’s a wonder that near the neon, fast paced city called Las Vegas, there are two beautiful natural areas. Yesterday I showed you Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and today I’ll show you images I took last night at the Valley of Fire State Park. They are both beautiful, but different.

While the Valley of Fire also has red rock, it has more formations like you’d find in Arches National Park. We did miss some formations because we stuck to the road due to the late hour and lack of any shoes to hike in. But, there still was much to see during the golden hours. My only regret was the lack of a sunset worthy of shooting.

That was because the high winds blew sand and grit into the air creating a haze of sorts. The wind was so strong that as soon as I released my car door lock, it blew the door open. Many times I had to brace myself so I wouldn’t fall down. I hope you like today’s photos and, maybe, visit the two awesome areas someday.

Tonight we are going into town to catch some neon and whatever else we can.


On the road again: Family reunion in Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon

On the way back to the resort from visiting The Valley of Fire State Park and just as we were getting into Las Vegas, Simon and Garfunkel (singing the Sounds of Silence) sang, “and the people bowed and prayed to a neon God they made..” That was a wicked amazing sense of timing! Neon was all over the city.

Another wicked bad timing has been the wind. Tonight’s sunset wasn’t. There was just light colored haze up in the mountains. At least it’s keeping us cooler. It was windy last night too when we had the reunion dinner. I’m hoping our hosts are resting today. They deserve to.

Last night was great. People mixed before dinner, looked at the boards again and after dinner Anita showed a slide show she put together with all the pictures we cut out. She’s going to create a DVD and mail it to all of us. I didn’t do too well in the capturing images department last night. I guess if I knew the clan better, I would have gotten in their faces with my camera. Jim was taking groups for another DVD, and at the very end of the evening, he got a group shot of all of us. It took some time to set up, and I’m anxious to find out how it came out.

By the way, Jim and Anita’s photography can be viewed at their website Sandstone Photography.

In addition to a few pictures of the dinner last night, I do have some images to show you of Red Rock Canyon. This beauty is relatively close to our resort, and reminded me of parts of Sedona Arizona and Southern Utah. We drove the 13-mile scenic route. The only disappointment was the sunset–not too grand.

Tomorrow we are having breakfast with friends. After that, I’m not too sure what we will be doing. Maybe if the wind dies down, Richard can put up his sun scope, and I’ll edit my Valley of Fire shots.

On the road again: Family reunion, part 3

Here we were this morning walking around the hospitality suite, wearing our buttons, eating our breakfast and trying once more to meet family. Some I recognized from last night. One cousin, he’s a Friedman, actually remembered where we were from! Now that’s good remembering for someone with grey hair! More of the younger set showed up this morning too.

After the meet and greet, Richard and I took off to eat lunch and find the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop of TV fame. If you’ve ever watched the show on the History channel you know what I’m talking about. The shop was pretty much as it’s shown in the TV series, except for the owner’s desk area. That wasn’t in the shop. We strolled through the store like the others who wanted to catch a glimpse of TV history. I didn’t bring my camera in because it was a long, narrow and crowded room. But, now, when I watch the show, I can say, “I was there!”

Back at our resort, I took advantage of the down time to edit some shots I took of the Las Vegas strip the other day. I really don’t like to vacation in Las Vegas. I cry when I lose money, I don’t drink and the shows have gotten very expensive. It was hot when we were out so we just walked a little.

They make it easy for you to walk the strip with elevated walkways going from casino, to shopping, across streets, etc. I remember when I was here last for a trade show. We walked from casino to casino, soaking in the lavish interiors. I do have a disclaimer–where our cousins live, it is nice. Their home is near the mountains and is beautiful. The people who live here seldom come down to the strip. Just us tourists walk from shop to shop and casino to casino. It’s like living in Manhattan, you seldom go to Times Square. It took me 12 years to visit the California State Capitol building and we live in the Sacramento area!

Here’s a glimpse of what we saw. Tonight is our dinner and then a large family portrait.


On the road again: Las Vegas family reunion, part 2

What do you do when you’re shy and know you’re about to meet a whole bunch of family for the first time? You get anxious–at least I did. But, cousin Anita did a great job of helping us sort out the branches of the family tree.

Since we arrived in Las Vegas early, we went to help Anita and Jim Ziegler prepare for the reunion. Actually, the only help we could give was to cut pictures. Anita had asked us all to send her family photos. She edited them, printed them, cut them (that’s where we came in) and glued them on poster board according to family. She also made up family organization charts, showing us where and which part of the family tree we belonged to. To say that she put in a lot of effort is an understatement.

This effort began last summer with her asking for phone numbers and emails of all family members. She had no idea that she’d have 80 of us attend. This afternoon was the day we all met at the LVH Hotel. Even though I was anxious to begin with, I rapidly got caught up in the “who are you?” game. Anita had made up button badges of various colors according to our family branch. So once you understood the color/branch connection it was easy. Everyone was eager to meet and learn.

The Zieglers took time away from their photography business to plan and execute this reunion. I was amazed at their images, or should I say ART. From portraits to landscapes, their work is wonderful. And, they made sure that 66 high school seniors who couldn’t afford their senior pictures got them taken with out charge.

We have taken time to visit other places in the area and I’ll show you some images in a later post. Right now here isare some photos about the reunion itself–the preparation and first meeting. Tomorrow is breakfast and dinner. I won’t be so anxious.


On the road again: to Las Vegas, Nevada for a family reunion

I’ve been busy; so busy that I’ve hardly had time for photography. My schedule has kept me from several photography meetup opportunities, but I have taken photos–not many–but enough to practice. This trip to Las Vegas will provide me with some photo opportunities.

I’ve decided to turn this blog into, for a short time, a series on our Family reunion in Las Vegas. It took us two days to arrive in Las Vegas, stopping for the night in Tehachapi, California. I did take some shots of the Tehachapi Historic Depot before the sun set.

The depot was built in 1904 along a Southern Pacific Railroad line, which founded the town of Tehachapi, and was one of the most active rural stations during World War II. Later it was a warehouse and a railroad office. In 2008, the depot burned down, was rebuilt in 2010 and is now museum.

We saw many trains come through. Some with three engines to carry the load they were pulling. These were long trains. They continued moving down the tracks all night.

The California desert is not pretty. I remember thinking that when we began our cross-country trip last summer. Things were bleak until we got into Arizona and New Mexico. The Nevada desert is also bleak, except for the casinos. Just as you cross the border into Nevada, there’s a small town with many casinos and hotels. “Welcome to Nevada,” the sign said.

In this post, you’ll see the train depot and a windmill farm. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about the reunion and its preparation.

A love of horses part 2

Yesterday I admitted that I had not been around horses, but had a yearning to photograph them. I’ve always thought they were beautiful animals. So, the shoot at Dr. Stacey Adam’s ranch was a joy. I got caught up in sensing her love for her animals. Each of the three has their own personality.

Part one of this shoot focused on Lucky, a very handsome and photogenic horse, and Alyda (Stacey, I apologize for messing up her name) the grand old mare at 30 years. I only posted a couple of Alyda’s images because she was muddy on one side, and I really don’t know how to use the clone tool in Lightroom yet. When I master the tool, I’ll post more of our senior horse. I also realized that I had not totally followed the advice in the articles I had read about shooting horses. In some instances, I did not get down low enough and the horses’ legs did look a little short. Fortunately, I took a lot of shots. Lesson learned, and I’m sure there will be more to come! Each shoot is a learning experience for me.

Today you will meet Honeymoon, a frisky 3-year-old. Right now, she is the only horse that is able to be ridden. Stacey’s goal is to get another horse so she and her husband can ride together. Age and health conditions are not problems here. All the horses are loved equally. I think Dr. Stacey is amazing.

Meet Honeymoon!



A love for horses

It’s not that I have a love  for horses (never having been around them), but I know someone who does. Stacey Adams, DC in San Jose loves her horses and shows it. I recently visited her ranch with a friend because I wanted to shoot horses. What I found and learned is that they are majestic creatures who feel, love, get jealous and enjoy attention–at least these three horses did.

First we have 30-year old Alyda, who in her day must have been even more beautiful than she is now. Next comes Lucky, 20-years old, the handsome and photogenic one (especially when the sun hits his body). Last is Honeymoon. She’s the baby of the family at 3-years old. She’s frisky and playful. You can meet them in the gallery that will be posted in two parts.

Before we went for the shoot, I did my homework and read tutorials on how to shoot horses. Some of it was applicable to the environment in which I shot, but much wasn’t. I love all the information available on the internet, and most of it is free.

My friend, Kim, and I got to Stacey’s ranch about 4:15 p.m. to catch the golden light and left at about 8 p.m. A great big thank you goes out to Stacey who worked with each of the horses for us. You can just see the love she has for her animals. I’m hoping that comes through in some of the images. Tomorrow you’ll get to see more of Honeymoon.