Seven Day Photo Challenge, Day 1

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges

I have been invited to participate in Judy Dykstra-Brown’s Seven Day Photo Challenge. Actually I wasn’t really invited, but had to beg Marilyn and shame her into extending an invitation to me. She is too much like me in that she does not like to impose so I, too, will not invite anybody to participate unless they tell me they want to join in. Anyway, the rules, which I’ve already violated, are as follows: “The challenge is one black and white photo from your own life each day for seven days. No people depicted, no words of explanation. Invite one other person to join each day.”

So, day 1:

The Esslinger Building
San Juan Capistrano CA
September 9, 2017



The Day After The Day After


So many random thoughts. No matter what you think of Las Vegas, it is a community. I think that was proven these past two days when, just after the shooting, people driving past were stopped by concertgoers and were told they had to put a wounded person in their car or truck and take them to the hospital. Yesterday, we could not get near the United Blood Services building to donate, the crowds were so huge. A Go Fund Me page was set up for the victims and has now reached over $3.5 million. The first responders, who have trained for this eventuality, knew exactly what to do without hesitation when they got on the scene. I was in the neighborhood of Mandalay Bay this morning and decided to drive by but the street is blocked off and news crews are parked all along the side streets. All traffic is being diverted around the hotel. On my way into the office yesterday, the streets and highways were almost empty. You could feel a heaviness in the air. By the time I got home in the evening, I was exhausted. Lynn and I were both sitting on the edge of our emotions and decided to go out for a pizza. The place we always go to has large windows overlooking a parking lot and, sitting there, all I could imagine was a car or truck just ramming through the glass, the driver shooting into the crowd. We got home, crawled into bed, and held each other until Lynn fell asleep. Today we are seeming to get closer to normal, or the new normal. But it’s not really new, is it? We have all been living with the possibility of a senseless act such as this happening in our own community since, at least, 2001 if not earlier. But I can tell you now that it is much different when it is in your own community and affects someone you know, or a friend of a friend. And no matter what the politicians say, this was an act of terror. Just ask anyone who survived the attack!

October 7th-8th 2017

Verified! Eastside Cannery Casino Gun Show

Eastside Cannery Casino Hotel Las Vegas NV


The Day After


Some of you are aware that we live in Las Vegas. Actually, North Las Vegas. That’s about a half hour north of Mandalay Bay where last night’s horrific event unfolded. I wanted to share with you the text messages I woke up to this morning, unaware that anything had happened. These are all between family members and I have used initials only.

October 1 11:18 pm TS
“Please tell me none of you are on the strip. This is insane.”

October 1 11:18 pm WJ

“I’m getting scared. We’re at our house.”

October 1 11:19 pm TS

“So scary. I heard Mandalay Bay but now seeing some people are saying there’s multiple ones at different hotels.”

October 1 11:19 pm WJ

“One of K’s (her 16 y.o. son) basketball friends was at the concert and he got shot in the arm. He’s apparently at hospital now.”

October 1 11:19 pm TS

“OMG! I can’t imagine that is horrible.”

October 1 11:20 pm WJ

“That’s what K is telling me that it’s at other hotels but news hasn’t said that yet.”

October 1 11:21 pm TS

“Someone said there’s bombs now.”

October 1 11:21 pm WJ

“K just told me that too.”

October 1 11:22 pm TS

Well I’m glad you guys aren’t there and imagine Mom (Lynn), E (me) and J (brother) wouldn’t be down there but just had to check. I hope K’s friend is ok.”

October 1 11:22 pm WJ

“K was just at a huge concert on the strip last weekend. S (her daughter) is scheduled for 2 in the next month. I want to move.”

October 1 11:23 pm TS

“[She was?] Omg thank god not tonight.”

October 1 11:23 pm WJ

“Omg ur right. Now [maybe she’ll] understand why I don’t want [her] going down there.”

October 1 11:24 pm TS

“Yeah it’s getting to be too dangerous maybe hold off on big events for a while.”

October 1 11:25 pm WJ

K (her son) has a friend who is hiding at Top Golf right now. Her boyfriend is the one who is at the hospital now.”

October 1 11:26 pm TS

“This is horrifying.”

October 1 11:26 pm WJ

“News just said maybe one suspect is dead in hotel room at Mandalay Bay.”

October 1 11:28 pm TS

“That’s some good news. But it sounds like from what I’m seeing there’s shootings at Tropicana and NYNY and maybe Aria.”

October 1 11:28 pm WJ


Today 6:37 am Lynn

“Just woke up this morning to the news. So sad.”

Today 6:48 am WJ

“Glad ur ok.”

Today 6:55 am Lynn

“Fortunately for this family none of us [were at the] country music festival. And E (me) was too sick to be doing night photos on the strip, as he likes to do. Not so lucky for others. But always knew Vegas would be a prime target and was just a matter of time. Figured it would be terrorists, though.”

Today 7:14 am WJ (oldest daughter)

“One of K’s basketball teammates was shot in the arm as he laid on top of his girlfriend (a good friend of K’s who lives in our old neighborhood). He punctured his lung and broke his rib and will be in hospital for a week. The girl hid out at Top Golf for hours. They are both ok now. We have several friends who had family members there too. S had a couple friends down there as well.”

Today 8:05 am Lynn

“Just never figured anything would be going on here on Sunday nights. Today is a good day to donate blood. On my way.”

We could not get near the blood services building. Traffic was being diverted due to the amount of people wanting to help the only way they knew how. I got into my office around 11:30 to find almost no one here. I just learned that my secretary was there last night with her husband and his sister, who were both wounded.

In Retrospect: Goffs CA


Goffs Railway Depot
Rte 66 CA
October 11, 2015

There’s not much left of Goffs CA, situated as it was on Old Route 66. When I-40 was completed, the community simply faded away. The only two buildings that remain are the schoolhouse- totally renovated in 2008, and this building, a replica of the historic Goffs Santa Fe Railway Depot (1902-1956).

I don’t have any shots of the schoolhouse because it was a rather boring square box shaped adobe style building that looked brand new. And I hate brand new. So here’s some rusty old, for your viewing pleasure. That is, unless you like brand new, in which case you’ll hate the rest of these shots.

Looks like this tow truck could use a tow.

Now, this old jalopy reminds me of an early sitcom called “My Mother The Car” in which a man’s mother is reincarnated as an old car. Or maybe it’s just her soul that takes over the car. Either way, she torments him, as mothers are wont to do, by never shutting up!

This could be the original workshop they used to build the original railway depot. Or the original schoolhouse. Who knows?

And this was a nice little romantic streetlight on the desert pathway around the schoolhouse.

framed art prints for sale

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter F

Prompts and Challenges

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter F – Topic is Fun or Flowers

For me, this is the quintessential film noir image. Bright highlights, and deep dark shadows with a strong light source. It was to be my submission to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter F. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the title thoroughly and this image says murder or mayhem more than flowers or fun. But that’s where you’d be wrong because the guy off camera in deep shadow was wearing a ghastly hawaiian shirt with green flowers and this was shot at an event that was described as “A FUN Night With Panasonic And Drink And Click At Our Las Vegas Event”!


A Fun Night at Drink and Click?


OK, that’s the hype on the Drink and Click website, “A Fun Night With Panasonic And Drink And Click At Our Las Vegas Event”! It must be understood that I am never, have never been, the life of the party. I much prefer moving incognito through a room full of strangers. Because there was a full bar, I thought a drink might help. But the last time I was at a bar, the drinks were about half the price they are now. So I did not imbibe.

I did not drink, either.

The event started at 7 and there were less than 20 people there when I arrived at 6:45 pm. I was the 3rd or 4th person in line and, after a few questions like what do I shoot with (Fuji X-T1) and am I looking to compare or trade up (compare), I was handed the G85 Lumix.

Sorry for all the dust but the second and third photos above were from my iPhone and I did not clean them up.

The first I can tell you about the Lumix is that it seemed a lot heavier and thicker than what I am used to. I found a seat and tried to figure out where all the controls were. It was impossible and so I found someone from B & C Camera, the store that was sponsoring the event, and they set up the camera for me. That was the extent of the tutorial. I know it would have been a daunting task to give instructions on each model of camera they had at the event. But something. I didn’t realize until after I got home and downloaded my photos into Lightroom that I was shooting in jpeg all night.

No, that’s not me trying to figure out the camera I was handed. It’s simply confirmation that I wasn’t alone. In fact, the room was full of people looking askance at the camera in their hands. The guy in the hoodie in that first photo up there, the guy sitting at the bar? He’s checking out the camera in his hand, too, as if thinking to himself, “Now what do I do?” Well, maybe that wasn’t him saying that, but me.

Vanessa Green

Chelsey Smith









I had gone around the room and taken photos of the two models who were there (as seen in my previous post Cee’s Share Your World), then took some shots of the people, then even some photos of the artwork on the walls. And then I wondered if it was close to the time to leave. I looked at my phone. It was only 7:30.

OK, stop complaining and get on with the review. I will. Except, at that point, I was able to get up my courage to step outside of the place and take some shots. After all, they had my driver’s license so I figured they wouldn’t mind. They didn’t.

They didn’t even know I was gone.

Then I went back in, splurged, and went up to the bar to order a glass of wine. It cost more than what I would spend on a full bottle at a liquor store!

This woman is putting on her glasses to try to figure out the camera that is sitting on the bar in front of her. Anyway, after all that bitching and moaning I have to say I was pretty impressed by the Lumix G85. Once I got a bit more comfortable with it I was able to hand hold at extremely slow speeds because they had, unbeknownst to me, set the ISO to automatic. And there was hardly any noise on any of the shots. Amazing.

The exterior photo of the people having a smoke was handheld at 1/10 sec. The guy at the table studying his camera was shot at ISO 3200 with not a trace of noise. Maybe not that extraordinary but still I liked it.

So, not a very technical review but let me tell you, if I was actually in the market for another camera, I would definitely consider the Lumix G85. And save a bit of money, too.

Oh, and let me say the people from B & C Camera who gave up their evening for this event were appreciated. They maintained their professionalism and friendliness all evening. I wonder if they received any compensation?

Cee’s Share Your World – September 25, 2017

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges

Las Vegas NV
September 21, 2017

What is your favorite outdoor activity? You’re kidding, right? OK, well, maybe you’re not. I guess not many people are as driven with their hobby as I am. Unless, of course, they are obsessive/compulsive. Or, maybe that’s manic/depressive. I know it was two words Lynn used to describe me. She knows that if I can’t get out to shoot, I become very irritable. But when I’ve got a camera in hand, I can go hours on end without eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom. (And I don’t mean to be dismissive of anyone who is actually manic/depressive. I flirted with that diagnosis for years.)

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger? You are not allowed to tell Lynn about this but I am definitely more comfortable driving. Lynn has a habit of living life much closer to the edge than I do and I find myself slamming my foot down on my imaginary brakes whenever she is driving and I am in the passenger seat. To her credit, she has never had an accident. And I have. But it was the other person’s fault.

If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be? Didn’t we have this question once before? And didn’t I respond that I would not wish for world peace because everyone else probably would and so I felt that would be covered? Let me preface my answer by saying I don’t have a life of abundance, but I certainly have more than others. I drive a car that has over 220,000 miles on it and several dents. Lynn’s car has over 175,000 miles and looks brand new. We have a house, and enough money to live paycheck to paycheck. So, what I would wish for would be lots and lots of money and happiness and security for our family. Mostly for the kids, so they could follow their dreams. But, since combined we have ten kids, I think the three wishes will not be quite enough.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. My local camera store, B & C Camera, sponsored a Drink & Click event with Panasonic Lumix last Thursday night at a hipster club called Artifice in the Art District of Las Vegas. Lynn asked why I would want to go if I was happy with my Fuji. I wish I could have explained better but she could see how excited I was when I got home. Just hanging around other photographers and trying a different camera- even though I have no plans to switch- was invigorating and exciting. Since I am an introvert, I really had to push myself out of my box. And, though I pretty much kept to myself, I did have fun. I will write a review of the evening and the camera a little later. Until then, check out the images at DRINKandCLICK! You can see the back of my head in the 10th photo (I’m ogling the camera rather than the model) and in the 13th photo I am headed to the bar!

Vanessa Green

Chelsey Smith


Share Your World – September 25, 2017


Gallery, Prompts and Challenges

Vintage Cart
Goldfield NV
May 15, 2016

Paula, at Lost In Translation, has a once a month Sunday challenge where she asks you to post the same image both in black and white and in color. And I just happen to have an image I was playing around with last night.

For me, black and white needs high contrast. If you’re shooting in the middle of the day, think about converting your image to black and white. Two other considerations for me are, one; if the sky is bland, and two; if the colors within the image itself are not too exciting. Of course, most times I don’t follow my own rules. But then again, they’re my rules that I acquired from years of experience (and loads of youtube videos)!

Vintage Cart – B & W
Goldfield NV
May 15, 2016


In Retrospect: Venice


Piazza San Marco Facade
January 30, 2014

Ah, Venice. Venezia. The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. Venice has been known as “La Dominante,” “Serenissima,” “Queen of the Adriatic,” “City of Water,” “City of Masks,” “City of Bridges,” “The Floating City,” and “City of Canals.”

The Grand Canal
January 30, 2014

This is, of course, none of the above, but a mere reproduction in the desert of Las Vegas Nevada.

Piazza San Marco
January 30, 2014

OK, I’m sure this could have passed for the real Piazza San Marco if I had cropped it so that the Mirage Hotel in the background wasn’t so obvious. Or if my Photoshop skills were up to the challenge. So, if you’re like me and have yet to visit the real Venice, then The Venetian Hotel will have to do. For now.

In Retrospect is an ongoing series of older photos from my archives, newly processed. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I enjoy revisiting the memories.