Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year with Class

I took the larger family out to brunch on Sunday at a place in N. Minneapolis.  I brought the camera specifically because they have a pianist who plays for the brunches and during the evening hours.   I specifically wanted her photo.

Meet Lois:

She has played there for 17 years.   And, as I asked to take her photo, she nodded and continued playing.  She never stopped! 

If you are ever in Minneapolis and want great food and lovely music, stop in and say "hi" to Lois. Slip her a $10 and she will play almost any tune you can name.

And, I did have to chuckle at the table placard. 

Note the Lutefisk and Lefse dinner.  I will pass, thank you.

Thanks Lois!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

After the Snow

Not a portrait post today.  Earlier in December I wanted to experiment with long range shooting using a telephoto lens, in the dark, with a tripod.

We were in the middle of a storm that would dump about 15" of snow.  At this point, we had about 8-9" and it was about 11:00 PM.

I shot this through a window (because I had no desire to trapse outside in the storm on a bum leg.

The arbor is about 80' from the window and is wrapped with lights.  So, what you are seeing are the lights illuminating through the snow.

I rather like it.

As much of a pain as snow is, once it starts, it is best to just sit down, have a nice glass of wine, and keep warm.  Some things you don't get to control and you are best served by adapting to the circumstances.

Keep safe and warm.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Gatherings

Meet Dan!

I have known Dan for years.  The first time I met him, we were at a party where we ended up playing charades.  Dan spelled out Ally Oop with this arms and legs.  I figured it out when he got to the "Y".  I knew I was going to like him after that.

As I recall, the police were called because we were laughing so hard.  But, being we were all pretty straighlaced at the time, it just added to the moment. 

Over the years, we have only disagreed on one issue.   And, I gave up my argument because I didn't want to fill the hole all by myself.  It's a long story.  But, Dan knows what I'm talking about. 

Thanks Dan!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Coffee

I have featured quite a few posts this year of people with whom I cross paths at the local coffee shop.  I haven't featured the morning crew.  Frankly, they are swamped in the morning when I am there and I don't want to be a pest.

But, a few mornings ago, there was a lull. 

Meet the morning crew:

My sincere thanks to them not only for the photo, but for the wonderful smiling service each morning.  I know that it is very early when I go through.  But, they are always there with a smile.  Of course, it could be that I look like an idiot with my lion slippers and robe.

Thanks Morning Crew!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

I want to thank all of those who have encouraged me to keep the blog going this year.  I have enjoyed the experience.  It gave me a reason to get out and use the camera.  I learned a lot.  And, based upon those lessons, I will probably be changing a few things in 2013. 

But for now, I want to thank all of you.

And, I hope this gives you a smile this holiday season.  

Sometimes it is hard to remember what is important.  Perhaps this will help.

Thank you.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Coffee Shop Cousins

I occasionally see the two women below at the local coffee shop.  They are most often engaged in intense conversation about something.  So I don't tend to interupt.

However, earlier this week I ended up sitting next to them.  During a break in their conversation, I introduced myself, the blog, and asked whether I could take their photos.  They were very gracious!

Meet Emily:

Meet Amber:

Emily was studying for finals but taking a break with her cousin Amber.   First, let it be known that Emily was studying advanced hematology. And, she had just completed a few other impressive sounding finals, too!  So, well done!
It seems that the magic number in their family is 11.  They are 11 years apart.  If I caught the story correctly, Amber has a daughter.....and Emily has a daughter...and they are 11 years apart.   And, Emily is 11 years older than Amber's daughter.  So, they meet as a peer support group!
My sincere thanks to you both!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lined Up

OK, not a people post.  But, I liked this photo.

The photo seems simple.  Balanced.   The 3-ball is still bothering me.  But, I like it.  Comments?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Helpful Servers: 2

My last post mentioned the wonderful service we had at a company event.  
Here is the other half of the dynamic duo that did such a wonderful job attending to our group.

Meet Michelle!

She kept my wine glass filled and I didn't lack for food! 

My sincere thanks, Michelle for being such a good sport with the group!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Helpful Servers: 1

Having a company event at a restaurant can be a bit chaotic.  It helps if the facility has a dedicated person or two that focuses on the group.

This restaurant did!

Meet Lisa!

She was one of two staff members that were doing a great job with the group.   Her co-worker will be my next post!  When I asked her what hobbies or interests she had, she said he loves to just go exploring, especially small towns. 

Thanks Lisa!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Coming Back

I am still not quite ready to expend the energy getting out and meeting people to photograph them.  But, it is slowly coming back.

For now:  I was at a work event with co-workers from around the world.  I haven't shot pool for a long time and I could tell.

Meet Order:  Contained.

Meet The Beginning of Freedom.  Not contained..but still uncertain.

Meet Freedom:  Go where you wish.   And get bounced around on the ride.

OK.  It isn't my best work.  But, it was fun to shoot pool AND the camera.  The smudge on the 3-ball is driving me nuts!  I should have turned it.  Oh well.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Your Responsibility

A few of my readers know me personally.  They know of my grand kids and have met them.  They know that there is nothing I wouldn't give up for them.  So, the events in Connecticut weigh deeply.  I can scarcely imagine what the parents and grandparents are going through.

This holiday season, in the rush of gifts and traditions, take a moment to hug your kids.  Spend time with them.  Hold them.  Read them stories.  Tuck them in.

You have no greater objective in your entire life than to ensure they are safe; That they are cared for and loved.  You no longer have your own self-focused life.  Your responsibility is them.

No Updated Blog Posts Today

I am still not ready to move on from the horrific events of Friday.  Give me a little time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unbounded Grief

There are no words to comfort.

There is just emptiness.

A Random Smile

I was at a work event last Wednesday evening.  I brought my camera with to capture images of various co-workers.   I hope to be able to post them in the blog sioon.  But, I am very careful with images of people I work with.  I always take care to ensure they do not feel obligated to participate.  So, I will be vetting the photos with them before posting them.

That being the case, the woman below gave me this beautiful smile as I walked by her table. So, I stopped long enough to chat and get a quick photo. 

Meet Alicia!

She had just finished her shift working at the establishment we were at.  And, she was sitting down to relax and have her own dinner.  She is a psych student and is getting back to college. 

Thank you, Alicia!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Power Rangers...Really!!

Last weekend I was asked to watch grandkids #1 (the Big D) and #3 (Little H), for about a 24 hr period.  In general, these are wonderful times.  The kids are incredible.  And, I love spending the time with them.  It can also be exhausting!

On Saturday, the Big D was watching TV in the basement when Power Rangers came on.  I hadn't seen him watch this before.  But, he was quite into it.

It occurred to me that many years ago a friend had sent me a sword from Japan.  It was decorative; not sharp.  It took a little while to find it.  But, I told the Big D that I had it and I had to drag it out to show him.

He, of course, wanted to know why I had one. 

This is where grandpa's are at their best.  I told him I used to be a Power Ranger.

He has the coolest grandpa in the world. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting Kissed

I like the couple below.  I see them often at the coffee shop.  And, on occasion, they bring in their dog.  The coffee shop welcomes pets.   So, it is very fun to see the family pets showing up from time to time.  Saturday morning was one of those occasions.

Meet Glen, Nancy, and Lucy (the dog!)

I took two photos that morning.  The other one was slightly out of focus.  But, I rather liked this one anyway.  It was just after Lucy gave Nancy a big kiss.  I thought it was appropriate.  They do love little Lucy!  And, little Lucy was obviously not getting any loving.

Thanks Glen, Nancy, and Lucy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Heading out to Ski

I see the gentleman below quite often at the local coffee shop.  We've chatted a few times.   And, I think he knew about my  blog because he's seen me doing photos from time to time.

Meet Troy!

Every time I have seen him he is smiling and enjoying life.  So last Saturday morning, I finally cornered him for a photo.  

When I asked what I could say about him, he said he is heading out to ski for 3-4 months.  He's heading to Colorado and then through the Rockies all the way to BC and Alaska where he wants to do some helicopter skiing.  If you don't know, that is where they bring you high up to the mountain on a helicopter and drop you off. You ski down.  Waist deep powder.

He is waiting to leave until after pheasant season ends in S. Dakota. 

He can't wait.  I am not sure I have the time to disappear for three months to ski.  But, he did extend the invitaton to me!

Thanks Troy!   Ski safely!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I am running a bit short of portraits.  The truth be told, I have been swamped with work issues and have not had the time to focus (no pun intended) on working with people.  I actually find I need to be in the right mood to go out to get portraits of strangers.  Trying to do it when the mood isn't right doesn't work very well.  I have noticed that trying to force it generates more polite declines.

When the mood is right, I must convey that it is safe or fun or something. 

At any rate, this is an older photo.  I find fox just beautiful animals.  They are a bit skittish and hard to catch.  So, I was pleased with this.

Meet...well..Foxy, I guess.

It was taken with an older camera.  And, I was just getting used to it.  Still, I was pretty excited.

Thanks Foxy!

Friday, December 7, 2012


If you have had any surgery over the last 10 years or so, maybe even longer, you have had the chance to wear hospital socks.

Functional:  Yes.   They give everyone the appearence of commonality (sort of like privates in the Army after their first hair cuts) when your backside could be waving in the breeze with a rather short and sparce hospital gown.  And, the socks have these very interesting rubber/sticky things on them to help prevent slips and falls.  Very smart!

But, fashionable.....Not so much.  Nice color, though!

It is a bit difficult taking a photo of your own leg.  The distances didn't quite work out!, this works VERY well.  I should be up and around in no time.  They did warn me about operating heavy equipment while taking the meds.  Good thing I mostly drive the computer!

Off to get a cup of coffee!  :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photos from the Road

I am traveling more now and decided to bring my camera along on this last trip.  I had the best of intentions of getting a number of photos.  But, with the work schedule, it was just too hectic.

However, I had to pause for a moment and ask the gentleman below whether I could take his photo.

Meet James!

James was working at the hotel I where I stayed for a couple of days.  He was always smiling and helpful.  And, I liked the bow tie!

He graciously permitted me to take his photo.  When I asked what I could say about him in the blog, he let me know that he and his wife may be on the television show "Property Virgins".  They had put in an offer on a home in a short sale and were keeping their fingers crossed.

Good luck James!  And, thank you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Smiling Face in the Morning

Following my mostly usual morning routine, I stopped and grabbed a cup of coffee at the local favorite coffee shop. 

Meet Ryan!

He was sitting next to me at a table against the window.  I was tinkering with a few setting on my camera and asked if I could take a few test shots with various settings.  He was gracious enough to say, "sure!".

Thanks Ryan!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blowing Bubbles

I am a big believer that everyone should know how to swim.  This is a skill that provides good exercise and can easily save your life if the unexpected occurs.
I was thrilled to see that Little H has started swimming lessons.  Here she is learning to blow bubbles.  She gets comfortable putting her face in the water.

After a successful lesson.

Thanks Little H.  You are doing FANTASTIC!  I even have photos of you jumping off the diving board!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Muskie Bait

OK, I will need to apologize to my niece for this post.  She loves this little critter.  But, to me, it looks like something that could be used for Muskie bait.  Or, perhaps he is some weird genetic blending of a dog and a rat.   I am not sure.

She does not find my comment amusing.  But, the Gipper knows he is loved up even around me!

Thanks Gipper!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coffee Anyone?

I was at my local coffee shop on Thanksgiving morning and the sun was streaming in through a front window.  A group of people were gathered at a table, chatting, laughing, and having a relaxing time.

I noticed this:

And this:

So, I interrupted.  The owners liked the coffee cup photo enough to put it on their FaceBook page! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Get Along, Little Doggy

I found this cleaning up older photos.  The Big D was waiting his turn to ride.

He is growing up and it is marvelous to watch.

Thanks Big D.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Race for the Cure: Nashville" Family and Friends: A Group Photo!

The team below was having a lot of fun.   

They willingly gathered together for a group photo but haven't told me their names!  

Regardless, my sincere thanks to you all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


It had been almost 10 years since I had been to California for something other than work.  So, I was pleased to make a trip there recently to visit friends. 

Meet Barney and Maria!

They were gracious enough to drive me around and ply me with wine! 

They are wonderful hosts and friends.

We ended the trip there with a dinner at their home.  It was a beautiful evening and the table was set outdoors.  This isn't a bad shot, considering it was hand held with the aperature wide open!

Thanks Barney and Maria!  I will try to get a trip scheduled again VERY soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HDR: Grasses in the Sunrise

OK, this isn't a portrait.  I know.  It's my blog.  I can change from time to time if I want.
This is one of my first attempts at High Density Resolution (HDR) imagery. 

You take a photograph with your camera set to take three images with one press of the shutter.  Each of the images are different in terms of the color balance (the correct term is "bracketing")   Using HDR software, you blend the three images and, in theory, take the best of all three.

This was taken at sunrise.  I did a little editing with the software just to see what it looked like.

I rather like it.  But, I am not sure how it works for portraits.  I will need to find out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Halloween with the Little Ones

I happened to be visiting my daughter over Halloween.  I don't get to visit as often as I would like.  So, being there when the kids were especially "active" with something was pretty fun.

Meet Big J and Little J:

In the photo above, Big J had put Little J inside, out of the reach of the candy.   It's all about protecting your turf, ya know.

Hi Buzz!

Hi Woody!  Woody, you need to learn to eat sitting in the kitchen rather than wandering around with pizza all over your mouth and fingers!

Monday, November 26, 2012


When I was in Nashville, I had the chance to visit my friend Oleg.   If you follow Oleg's blog, you will recognize today's portrait!

Meet Gremlin!

Thanks for standing still long enough for me to zoom in!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Race for the Cure: Nashville" Family and Friends: Random!

The family/group below saw me wandering around taking photos and asked if I would be willing to get a couple of photos of their entire group.
"Of course!".  It was my sincere pleasure!  I did not get everyone's name for these photos.  But, they were delightful and charming.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them.
I actually stopped these three first.  I loved the balloon hat!

Meet the entire group!

Finally, I asked whether I could take this gentleman's photo by himself.  I LOVED his smile.  He was having a great day with his family and friends.  You could tell! 

My sincere thanks to you all!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Race for the Cure: Nashville" Family and Friends

Normally as I walk around, I am the person asking to take someone's photo.  I was delighted at this event when two different groups of people asked me to take their photos. 
It was my sincere pleasure to help both groups celebrate this event.
Meet Group 1:  (I really need to be more creative with group names!)
Front row: left to right:  Joyce (purple coat), Rudy, Toledo (in the pink wig), and Corsica.
Second row: left to right:  Melissa, Ben, Bobby, Dot, and Terrell.  My apologies to the group if I got someone's name out of order!

Terrell asked whether I would take a photo of him and his artwork.  He has a number of beautiful pieces on display.

This group was walking to celebrate Joyce's surviving.  She was just eight weeks out of surgery.
My sincere thanks to all of you.  And, thank you for your kindness in asking me to take your photos.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving: 2012

First, to those whom I communicated with as to the timing of future posts, my apologies.  I have delayed all scheduled posts for a couple of days to account for the holiday and personal issues. 

Now, for the Thanksgiving post.

As we look at our lives, there are obvious things for which we can be thankful.   They include family, friends, food, health, etc.  All are important.  All are priceless.

But now and then, it is important to be thankful for the mundane; for the ordinary.

Meet Little J and his father.

The conversation went like this:

My daughter:  "Honey, will you please check Little J?  I think he has a messy diaper."
There is nothing more to be said after that.

Be thankful for what you have.  While it could be better.  It could be worse.  Keep your balance. Keep your compass.  Take care of yourselves.  Love those about you, near and far.  And, be kind and gentle to one another.  We can be pretty fragile.

Little J was hospitalized this last week.  He was a very sick little man.  He is home now and feeling better.  But, we are watching him closely.

Be thankful for what you have.  It can all change in an instant.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Race for the Cure: Nashville 5 Ford 2/2

OK, I am the first to admit the title for this posting isn't very creative.  But, it is descriptive.
Here is the second group of charming volunteers at the Ford booth!

Meet Amber!

Meet Marva!

Meet Sanna!

I hope I got everyone's name right!  It was a bit chaotic with me trying to get photos and names while they were busy helping others in the Ford booth.

My sincere thanks to you all!