Feelin’ the spirit: July 4th

It was a parade, it was lunch, it was fun! Every July 4, the residents in our new senior community decorate their golf carts, trucks, cars, and even bikes for the annual July 4 parade. I was invited to ride in my neighbor’s two-seater Miata that she decorated with flags.

I was amazed as we drove around to see how many other residents were lined up on the parade route. All were yelling “Happy fourth of July,” and some were throwing candy into the carts, cars and trucks. We waved and yelled back. I was also trying to take pictures as the car was moving of people moving. Not easy.

After the parade, we had a hot dog lunch, which fortunately was inside. It was a hot day. I had fun, and I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be decorating something–maybe. My Camry????

I can show you some of the carts and cars, but we are asked not to take pictures of the homes. I did my best, and you’ll get an idea of how this zany senior community celebrates. The last picture is of our honored guest, a World War II veteran who still fits into his uniform.

 

Lost and found: Finishing up the Sedona trip

Great news, I found my rice cooker and some other things!! But, now where is the other speaker for my stereo? I know I saw it sitting apart from the other speaker and stereo, but where? This is the game Richard and I have been playing while trying to get things back to normal activity.

I did go out with my Tuesday group last Tuesday, and I’m still processing those pictures. I finally finished processing the Sedona trip. Time for shooting and processing has been minimal; plus I managed to catch a cold. I really wasn’t chasing after it.

So let’s look back at my fun time at the Blazin’ M Ranch in Cottonwood, Arizona. We went for the dinner show, and it was a blast. I, of course, ate way too much. The chicken was excellent and so were the ribs. The entertainment was even better. If you’re ever in Sedona, this is a must.

 

On the way home, when I wasn’t driving, I shared my seat with my D7100. I was able to capture some drive by shots somewhere between Utah,Nevada and California. 

 

On the road again: Leaving Glacier National Park

Right now, I’m sitting inside my air conditioned trailer courtesy of the National Oldtime Fiddlers Association in Weiser ID. It’s hot outside and people from all over are coming in to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse. Whether I will be able to shoot it is still up in the air.

In the meantime, I’m going to show you some images from the Going To The Sun Road that are new, a couple from a pull out on the road heading into Idaho and one of a new fire.

I’m glad we went to Glacier National Park. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time. I can wish there was no smoke and no fires, but I’ve learned to deal with what I’ve got. That was my part of the trip and now we’re on to Richard’s part. Not that he didn’t enjoy Montana, and I’m certainly going to enjoy my once-in-a lifetime eclipse.

So here’s the end of Glacier National Park and, looking forward, perhaps, a way for me to shoot the eclipse.

 

Holiday countdown: Festival of Lights, Palm Springs

I know everyone is busy now with holiday preparation, but I hope you take time to view this blog anyway. The Festival of Lights is a weekly evening event in Palm Springs during the winter months. I don’t know what I was expecting, but all we saw were vendors. Since we got there early, musicians were just setting up.

To make matters even worse, I left my D7100 and walk around lens in my cousin’s car. That left me with the D3100 and my 55 – 300 mm lens. It was make do time and challenging. Cold, hungry and disappointed, we went inside a restaurant. There we found our evening’s entertainment.

A group was setting up on the small stage and we asked what they were doing. One of them impersonated Carol Channing, and they were going to rehearse for the next evening’s show.  We asked if we could stay to see the rehearsal and they were very agreeable. The show was very good, but we had to imagine it with costumes. We were even asked for input at the end. Also, photographing it was difficult. I only had my on camera flash, no tripod, bad lighting and a small area. But, I think I did well this was a shooting and processing lesson for me.

So here are some pictures. So take some time and look at them and thanks!

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Rain, Rain–stay don’t go away! Knights Landing, part 2

Yes, its been raining here in parched Northern California. And, we do want it to stay. Gem (my dog) and I got caught in it while we were out for our morning walk. He got slightly confused when I wouldn’t let him stop, sniff and pee. He doesn’t mind getting wet, but I do!

This post is dedicated to my friend and outing chauffeur Greg who was hospitalized last week. He’s so cagey that he hasn’t let the doctors diagnose his symptoms yet. However, he is feeling better and is back to his old sarcastic self. In fact, our Knights Landing trip was the last one he was able to attend. I’m glad he’s feeling and doing better. Either Marlene or I will be driving for a while, but we will still have him guide us in back road adventures.

In my last post, I promised to show you images of Stingrayz Beach Boardwalk and Marina. While the name sounds fancy, the place is not. This is a place to have good old fashioned fun. Mostly operating during the summer months, folks come here to eat, listen to music, camp and enjoy the company of good people. It’s also a photographers dream. Marlene and I shot handheld, but Greg shot his usual HDR on the tripod. I’m looking forward to seeing his pictures when he’s up to it.

Why is this place a photographers dream? It’s full of surprises: a small boat in a tree, a bus sawed in half with each painted, a grandstand decorated with outboard motors, and lots of small collectibles. Even though it was mid day and the stage was empty, I had fun, and the owner/manager was gracious and easy to talk with. And let it rain!

So, take a look at Stingrayz on the Sacramento River.

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California, part 2

Will we have a music festival? That’s the question we hear asked each year. This year the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society put on its 42nd festival and made money by working with an all volunteer staff and cutting down on venues outside of Old Sacramento.

We are not involved in the yearly pre-planning, but only work the festival during the weekend. It’s fun and I love listening to the youth bands, called the Next Generation bands. And you never know who will drop in and jam with them. This year our usual 3 1/2 shifts were lengthened to 4 – 4 1/2 hours. But, that still left us enough time to see acts and listen to wonderful music.

And, we have one of the half days off. Ours was Monday. Because we had the closing shift Sunday night and are not used to staying up after midnight, we didn’t go in Monday morning. We did help break down the venue. Why does it always take less time to break down than put up? It’s the same when you travel. It takes longer to get there than it does coming home!

Home was sweet on Monday morning. I had time to prepare for our out of town dinner guest.

Will there be a 43rd festival? I’m sure they will have it. This format worked, and the newspaper reported that a small profit was made. Till next year!

Music, music, music: The Sacramento Music Festival, Sacramento, California

Four days of music, music and more. The more resulted in a pound weight gain! I wait all year for the brats, kettle corn, and ice cream: jazz, dixieland, rag, rock and country. What would you do at a music festival besides listen to wonderful music and eat fun food? Well, we work at the Sacramento Music Festival too.

Should I call listening to talented youth bands work? Probably not, except for the night we closed and our last band set ended at 11 p.m. That was too late for kids and seniors! Our venue is free for the public while most other venues are by paid admission only. So, our attendance varies between 50 and 70 people who come and go during the sets. Some youth bands have a strong following and attendance can go up to 90.

We enjoy working here because it’s a small venue with little clean up and the kids are great. In fact, some are equal to the professional bands we listened to. Many of the local youths are graduates of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s, sponsor of the festival, music camp. In fact, local professional musicians are involved with these young musicians and their musical education.

I also used this 4-day festival to practice photography. Each day, I had a particular goal in mind. Many times, you cannot do photography and enjoy the event. But, while I was shooting, I could still hear the music. And, the performers don’t mind having someone take their pictures.

Confession, we did not go in on Monday except to help tear down our venue.  Yes, there is such a thing as too much music, music and more! This a 2-part post.

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!

 

Cross country: Memphis, Tennessee and Beale Street

June 20, 2013

The old folks went clubbing last night. Yes, we followed the advice given us by one of the Memphis Boys band (who weren’t from Memphis) at the Sacramento Music Festival and just walked Beal Street, going into various clubs.

It was fantastic. Great music! You walk by a small club and the music draws you in. And you don’t have to walk far. All the clubs are in a jammed three blocks. For a three dollar cover charge, you can sit and enjoy all you want.

To add to the evening, every Wednesday is bike night. There were motorcycles up and down the three blocks. I’ll just let the photos tell you the rest.

Also, we tried Memphis barbecue at a well-known restaurant, but didn’t like it as much as the ribs in Little Rock. Tonight, we are going to a smaller club for their well-known New York style pizza and music. I just can’t wait until we get to New York for that Pizza! So we won’t be clubbing—just one club!