Castles In The Sand

At the Hotel Del Coronado July 22, 2016

At the Hotel Del Coronado
July 22, 2016



Sand Castle at Coronado Beach

Sand Castle at Coronado Beach

I’m sorry. I wanted to write a witty, fun narrative of my recent trip to San Diego but, though I have tried twice already, it comes out stilted and forced. The highlights? I saw my friend Matt for the first time in 3 years and it was as if we had seen each other just the night before. The lows? I got sick on the drive down and had to spend Wednesday night and most of Thursday in, or very close to, the motel bathroom. I even had to take a nap the next day, I was so exhausted. But by 2:30 I was finally feeling better and went to the Gaslamp Quarter to wait for Matt to get out of Comic-con. I walked around for about 3 hours in 100 degree heat when I couldn’t find my car. Then I sat in it until Matt was free. That night we had a great  Mexican dinner (OK, mine was not great, but the Margarita was super!) then I dropped him at the place he was staying and I returned to my motel. The next morning I checked out and drove to Coronado and walked along the beach where I took the photo above. The photo below was taken near the Gaslamp Quarter the day before.

My drive back home took only 5 and a half hours.

Home For the Homeless

Home For the Homeless

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Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons: July 2016

Prompts and Challenges

July at Calico Basin

The above pano (3 shots stitched together) was taken July 24, 2016 at approximately 9:30 in the morning when the temperature was already 90 degrees in Calico Basin, Nevada. That’s a veritable cold spell here. A wildfire in Santa Clarita California, about 270 miles south, rendered the mountains almost invisible. There are actually three layers of mountains. The first are clearly visible, the second can barely be seen towards the center and to the right. The third is totally obliterated by smoke. I have come to Calico Basin each month as part of Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge. And since the seasons barely change here in Nevada I’ve tried to focus on different aspects of the basin.

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(Stolen with impunity from Cardinal Guzman’s latest post)

What’s this “Changing Seasons” blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2016. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed. These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!


Share Your World – 2016 Week 30

Prompts and Challenges
Grand Ballroom-2

The fireplace in the Grand Salon aboard the Queen Mary

Do you prefer a bath or shower? I prefer a shower, even though it’s easier to read in a bath. I just have to figure out how to keep the pages dry when I shower, that’s all.

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why? That’s a no-brainer. Victoria’s Secret, of course. I might not buy anything but that’s the one place where I don’t mind shopping. Why, you ask? Seriously now!

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be? My wife swears I am thirteen. I’m here to confirm, that is most definitely true. If you have any doubts, go back and read my answer to the question right above!

List at least five movies that cheer you up. I remember, as a child, sitting at my father’s knee, watching old movies on television. He would buy bags of popcorn for our movie nights and it was almost better than actually going to the local movie theater. So the movies that cheer me up are full of memories with him and are not necessarily of my era. They are:

  1. The Searchers- We were about the same age when I first saw Natalie Wood in this and I fell in love with her.
  2. Psycho- I couldn’t take a shower for weeks. My dad says he kept trying to turn off the tv but I wouldn’t let him. That’s not how I remember it, though. And yes, I am cheerful when I see this film just because it is so good.
  3. Blazing Saddles- the scene around the campfire after a dinner of beans is a classic. My mom used to call it “foofing” rather than “farting”. But my sense of humor is much more mature now.
  4. Alien- Sigourney Weaver is so sexy in the last scene.
  5. Casablanca- My all time hero in this and The Maltese Falcon is, and always will be Humphrey Bogart. I think I started smoking in high school because of him. I quit, though, during my first year of college.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Last week I traveled to San Diego to meet an old friend. And though it was not as expected (details to follow in an upcoming post) it was good to see him. Next week I’m looking forward to chillin’ and fixing up a few things around the house.

OK, so that’s another installment of Cee’s Share Your World challenge. Go visit her sight to read more from other people and to get involved with any number of the other challenges she runs daily.

For a black and white version of the image above, please check out Monochromia.


Share Your World – 2016 Week 29

Prompts and Challenges


Monochromia ThreeWhat is the perfect pizza? In my youth, there was no such thing as a bad pizza. I would even eat pizza from the supermarket. You know, the frozen type you get in a box with the face of that blue eyed Italian Paul Newman on the cover. Then I got older. Not wiser, just older. There is a local weekly magazine in town called Las Vegas Weekly and somewhere around 2006, they named the best neighborhood pizza place of the year. It was within 10 miles of where I lived at the time and it is truly a gustatory delight. Called Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, it is…, well…, please read a very short description for yourself here. Our favorite is a margherita pizza with kalamata olives. We are actually going there tonight for Margherita Monday. All night their individual size margherita pizza is only $5.

What is your favorite time of day? In my youth, I used to like to go to bed late and sleep in on a weekend. Lately, I have been waking up around 5 am and it is just beautiful out. The sun rises around 5:30, the sky is slightly pink and the air is clean and the temperature bearable- around the low 80’s. And the quiet…. I just love getting up at that hour. Over this past weekend, while Lynn still slept, I took off on my own with my camera for a couple of hours. And by the time I got back home it was only around 10:30. It was great.

Show us two of your favorites photographs?  The photos can be from anytime in your life span.  Explain why they are your favorite. The two black and white images above are two of my favorite early posts, even though I feel my photography and processing have improved since then. The wooden cabin was a nothing shot until I converted it to black and white and then realized how important lighting is. The image of the plane was used to inaugurate the first ever Monochromia post. Both shots were taken in one of my favorite places around here- Nelson NV.

Complete this sentence:  I’m looking forward to…. Well, Lynn and I are planning to take a short trip to Fontanarosa Italy next year (where my family comes from) and we have been doing all kinds of research online. So I have to get my passport soon.  

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? It was a quiet week but I really enjoy my solo weekend trip with my camera. Not because I was solo but because of the serenity so early in the morning. In two days I am driving down to San Diego to meet up with an old friend I haven’t seen in about 3 years and then Lynn will join me on Saturday. 

So there you have it. Cee’s Share Your World. If you want to read more people’s answers- or write some of your own- please visit.




Prompts and Challenges

Grafton Shack-

What is your earliest memory? It was early morning. Cold and damp. Our uniforms were crusted in mud. Crouched behind enemy lines, we returned fire when the colonel called for an advance. We stood and the cannon’s started roaring around us. We could barely see through the smoke. The air was heavy with the smell of black powder. I went down in the first few steps towards the South. I remember yelling, “don’t let me die.” And then nothing…

What was the last photo you took with your phone? My phone is with me everywhere I go. I’m not as bad as my wife- who sometimes takes hers to bed- but it’s always there. And yet I usually don’t think of it as a camera. So, when I opened the photo app. to respond to this question, imagine my surprise to see a photo from June 9 of this year. The sunset was amazing and Lynn had me jump in the car to find a place to more easily view it. While there I  took this image. SOOP. Straight Out Of Phone!


Have you ever danced in the rain? I swear I’m going to get killed for this but, before we were married, Lynn and I were enjoying a lazy summer night at my place when we heard distant thunder. That’s actually pretty rare in the desert, but it does happen. We went out back and watched as the rain began to pour down. Without a word, Lynn stripped to her underwear and stepped out from under the patio roof. What was I to do? I stripped down, too, thankful that there were no holes in my shorts, and joined her. Whenever I refer to it now, she blushes and denies it. “That was someone else”, she says. But we both know the truth!

What is the longest you have gone without sleep? I never did an all-nighter when in college so it would have to be upon high school graduation. My best friend and I drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco and then turned around and drove back. We never got out of the car. The only way my parents found out is that I got a ticket for speeding somewhere in King County- wherever that is.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Last week was very uneventful, as was the weekend. Next week I am looking forward to visiting an old friend as he travels to San Diego for Comic-Con. And though I won’t be joining him during the day, I’m sure I’ll be busy exploring with my camera! 

The above is in response to Cee’s Share Your World challenge that happens every week. Except for last week when it didn’t! Please take a side trip to her site to read what other bloggers had to say. And thanks for stopping by.


Grafton Cemetery

Fuji X-T1 JPG 18mm f/4 @1/6000 sec ISO 200 June 25, 2016

Fuji X-T1 JPG
18mm f/4 @1/6000 sec ISO 200
June 25, 2016

I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with cemeteries. Every time we find a new town- either with few live inhabitants or merely ghosts- Lynn and I will search out the cemetery. At Grafton there are a few dozen graves that stand as footnote to the harsh life of the times. There is Robert Berry, 24, his wife, Isabella Hales Berry, 20, and his brother Joseph, 22, all died on August 2, 1866, killed by indians. In the SE corner of the cemetery are the burial sites of Native Americans who were killed in the same battles.

Please visit Monochromia for a black and white version of this image plus a bit more history of the area.