France Vacation – I (Paris)

We’ve returned from what can only be described as an incredible almost-three-week vacation to France. We spent time in Paris, Provence, the Dordogne, the Midi-Pyrenees, and the Loire Valley, with a one-evening kicker in Istanbul thrown into the bargain.

We were accompanied on our adventure by my sister Wanda and her husband, Mark Ostler. Mark was the genius trip planner and we could not possibly have had a better one. There were three camera-carriers (Wanda, Dawn and me), and one driver/tour guide (Mark). It worked out just right. Dawn and I split up the wide-angle and telephoto duties; she had the Nikon D800 with a 28-70mm lens and I had the Nikon D750 with a heavier 70-200mm lens.

My original plan was to post some photos from each segment of our trip, with commentary, but after doing this one I am thinking I may not finish the project. It is just too time-consuming and I have so many other things to do.

Wanda has posted her excellent photos and I highly recommend visiting her blog Adventures in Wandaland. I’ll try not to duplicate the exact same shots here. (As always, you can see a better version of each photo by clicking on it.)

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One evening we went down to the Eiffel Tower to get some night photos. I wasn’t entirely happy with how mine turned out, but I did get the moon in the shot. (The little white orb hanging in the middle of the tower is not the moon—it is a ball with “Roland Garros” written on it, The French Open tennis tournament was underway while we were there.

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Sixth Ward YWYM Dinner & Auction

Last Saturday (April 11, 2015) the Anaheim Sixth Ward Young Women and Young Men organizations put on their annual fundraising dinner and auction. It was an outstanding event, well organized, creatively decorated, and smoothly run. All of those involved deserve great praise.

I brought along my Nikon D750 and a 70-200 mm telephoto lens with an extender so I could capture candid portraits of some of the people in attendance. I had no official duties and I didn’t feel obliged to shoot wide-angle shots of the crowd or to try to include everyone present (which would have been impossible). I just took pictures of those who found themselves within the focus of my lens.  I didn’t consciously include some people or exclude others. Some of the shots I took didn’t turn out; sometimes the camera didn’t focus quickly enough and by the time I was able to compose the shot the person’s back was turned or someone else had wandered into my line of sight. Sometimes they were just bad pictures. Although I enjoy capturing images of children, it is a difficult endeavor, as they are constantly moving. However, it is always fun when a successful candid results.

So here are the ones that I felt turned out (with apologies to the folks I missed). If you want to see or download a larger version, just click on the photo. And please don’t complain if I didn’t catch your most flattering look–the whole point of candid shots is to portray subjects in unguarded, natural moments. I wouldn’t post anything that was embarrassing, so be assured that everyone portrayed below looked great to me!

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The party had a cowboy theme with lots of cool decorations. Here is one of them.

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Noah’s Championship Basketball Game

Quade and Noah both play in Norco basketball leagues. Their teams had done very well in the regular season and were advancing in the post-season tournament. The championship games were to be held last Saturday (March 7, 2015) and Dawn and I planned attend them. Unfortunately, Quade’s previously undefeated team was upset in the semifinal game and never made it to the Saturday championship. Noah’s team did advance, however, and so we drove out to Norco to see his game.

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If he didn’t have his name on his jersey, you could tell which one was Noah by his cool shoes and sox!

What a game it was! At the beginning it looked like Noah’s team (the gold jersey team) would be slaughtered by the opponents (the black jersey team). By midway through the first half the Gold was behind 18 to 4! For an NBA team that would be a big deficit to overcome. However, the NBA teams play much longer games and they tend to score between 90 and 110 points, so such a lead would not be insurmountable. Noah’s team was made up of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders who do well to score 25 – 35 points a game. The other team seemed bigger and more talented. I was pretty sure the game was over; I just hoped the Golds didn’t get blown out of the gym.

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Brooke’s Dance Recital

On December 15 we traveled to Corona, California, to see Brooke’s dance recital. Naturally, I took some photos. Although my camera was mainly trained on Brooke (and other family members), I did get a few interesting photos of other things to give a flavor of the event. The recital was held at the Corona Dance Academy. Brooke’s teachers are Rosemary McCarter (who heads the studio) and her daughter, Elizabeth Huebner.

Here is Brooke (in the foreground) performing with her modern dance group. Possibly I’m biased, but I thought she was great!

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Tyson’s Student Music Recital

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, our son Tyson held a recital for his music students. It was well performed — in all, there were 27 individual performances. It was also well attended, with lots of siblings, parents and grandparents making up an enthusiastic audience. It reminded us of the recitals in which Tyson performed some 25 years ago.

I tried to get photos of all his students without being too intrusive. It was a challenge because most of them exited the stage after their performance like they were competing in the twenty-yard dash. If I were to do it again I would ask that each student stand for a moment, smile and take a bow before leaving the stage.

Although I did my best, I missed several shots because I couldn’t focus fast enough. Toward the end of the recital the batteries in my flash attachment gave out. On the other hand, sometimes I was able to get more than one shot of a student. My apologies to those I missed. Maybe next time!

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 The recital was held at the pianoforte studios.

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A Visit With Tyson & Lyra

Last week Dawn and I flew to Chicago to visit Tyson and Lyra. The impetus for the trip was a music recital for Tyson’s students. I’ll tell more about that in a later post. The recital was on Saturday; on Friday evening we had dinner at Tyson and Lyra’s home in Chicago’s Avondale district. I brought my camera to memorialize our visit.

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Tyson and Lyra in their kitchen in full dinner preparation mode

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San Diego Weekend

October 22-26, 2014: This has been an enjoyable week and weekend. First, Wanda and Mark Ostler (my sister and brother-in-law) visited from Pleasanton. They stayed over for our Friday night Miller Eccles Study Group meeting, featuring BYU professor Craig Harline talking about his outstanding mission memoir Way Below the Angels. Then we spent the weekend in San Diego where Dawn spoke at a special dinner of the San Diego Genealogy Society. We used the opportunity to walk along the boardwalk and take in the USS Midway Museum.

We were pleasantly surprised to see this statue, called “Unconditional Surrender,” based on an iconic photo taken at the end of World War II. The statue stood next to the USS Midway. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)

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Jessie’s Ninetieth

On September 13, 2014 we celebrated the ninetieth birthday of Jessie Parrett, Dawn’s mother. Dawn had been planning the party for months and, like everything Dawn does, it was spectacular. All but one of Jessie’s descendants was there, most traveling great distances. We had enough food to feed half of China for several days. It was a good chance to catch up on extended family—perhaps the last time all of these relatives would be together at the same place and time. (Click on any photo to bring up a larger version.)

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Jessie and her children, Dawn and Brad. (Her middle child, Richard, is deceased.)

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