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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The Orange County Fair and the Thrill of Victory

I have been a competitive person for as long as I can remember. I like to watch championship basketball games and share vicariously the exhilaration of the players on the winning team. The same is true for the Oscars or the Emmys. Of course, I’m not Michael Jordan or Meryl Streep or Julia Louis Dreyfus, so, for me, the thrill of victory is a rare one.

As most of my readers will know, I’m an amateur photographer who loves taking pictures. I think some of my photos are nice, but I don’t pretend to be a pro. I also enjoy making photo books (sometimes called digital scrapbooks). It merges two of my loves—photography and book design—into one art form. I like selecting the photos, determining where to put them, what size to make them, whether borders or shading enhances or detracts, adding color to the backgrounds, inserting text—all with an eye to telling a story.

I had attended county fairs in the past and always admired the beautiful handcrafted work created by participants, oohing and aahing over the particularly spectacular ones. This year I decided to become a participant.

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This is an “establishing” shot of the OC Fair. I didn’t take it, but I admire the work.

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Mothers Day — 2014

We had a fun Mothers Day this year. Almost all of our family members were with us, as was Dawn’s mother. We missed Chicago-based son Tyson and his girlfriend Lyra, but we hope we’ll see them another time.

I had my camera at the ready all day and here are some of the results:

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Dawn and her nearly-ninety-year-old mother, Jessie, who has made a remarkable comeback from life-threatening health issues.

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Tuesday Morning Tennis!

Whenever possible I enjoy playing tennis with a fun group of players on Tuesday mornings. I’ve had to miss for the last few weeks because of a synovial cyst that is irritating my sciatic nerve and causing a good deal of pain. I was hoping that laying off tennis would be beneficial, but it doesn’t seem to have helped.

Since I wasn’t playing this week, I decided to go and be a photographer. Here are the results. (You can click on any photo and get an enlarged version.)

20140408 Tennis 18056 (1) (Standing) Diane, Bea, Sandy, Cheryl, Sa. (Kneeling) Denise, Eric, Lisa. (Normally we have more men, but having so many women no doubt made the photos more colorful.)

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An Evening at the Clarks’

On Saturday evening, March 8, we had a delightful evening at the home of Dean and Joyce Clark in Capistrano Beach. The company was outstanding — in addition to the Clarks, those in attendance were Scott and Patti Smith and Don and Mary Mealing (along with their son, Brian) and, of course, Dawn. I brought along my trusty Nikon D800.

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We arrived shortly before sunset. The Clarks’ home sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with both Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands clearly visible. As can be seen from the above photo, they are in the midst of a tremendous remodeling project. (This picture was taken from the edge of the bluff looking back at the rear of the home.)

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Santa Barbara Film Festival

Our sons David (and his wife, Alexis) and Matt (and his wife, Amy) gave us a wonderful Christmas present this year—a trip to the Santa Barbara Film Festival. I’m doing this blog post to memorialize the great time we had.

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Here are the six of us—Matt, Amy, David, Alexis, Dawn and me. I look stupid but, hey, sometimes that can’t be helped.

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New York, New York!

I really don’t have time for a blog post and composing this one has dragged on for over a month. But wanted to have something to remember our great New York trip with my sister and brother-in-law, Wanda and Mark Ostler, so here goes. Forgive the rushed prose.

For the record, the dates were November 19-24, 2013 (Tuesday through Sunday). Our director of activities, Mark, had things well planned so we got the maximum out of our time there. I didn’t carry my Nikon D800 on some days because I knew I would just have to check it at the gate for our inside events, but I’ll use a combination of camera photos, iPhone photos and other materials to tell the story.

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Even though we were there before Thanksgiving, many of the Christmas decorations were up, so Manhattan had a festive look.

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Wandering Around on Temple Square

While I was in Utah last month for the fall colors photography workshop, I spent a couple of afternoons wandering on and around Temple Square, looking for interesting photos. The day was overcast and the flowers were definitely past their prime, but I think I got some decent shots and wanted to share them.

This shot of the north side of the temple is a very common one, but it is difficult to get a photographic image because it is always shady and turns out too dark. However, I liked how this HDR image was able to capture the vibrancy that the eye sees.

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