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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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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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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Autumn in the Utah Mountains

Last week (October 3-5, 2013) I had the opportunity to fly to Utah to participate in a landscape photography workshop conducted by Willie Holdman, an extremely talented photographer who lives in Heber, Utah. Willie has a gallery at 580 Main Street in Park City, which you should visit if you’re ever in that area. Willie got his start as a boy, assisting his father on assignments for National Geographic. Although he has photographed nature all over the world, Willie says it can’t compare with the versatility and beauty of Utah.

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Mt. Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains
(Click on this and the other photos in this blog to see larger versions,
which will more fully illustrate the beauty of the scenes.)

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A Week in Cancun

 

I have been terribly remiss in failing to keep this blog current. It is way past time to post something, and what better subject than our trip to Cancun, Mexico?

Under ordinary circumstances we probably wouldn’t have chosen Cancun as a destination, since we aren’t exactly beach people, but we had a timeshare week to use and decided it would be fun to discover what the Mayan Riviera is all about. We had a two-bedroom unit (plus kitchen and living room) and we wanted to share it. My sister and brother-in-law, Wanda and Mark Ostler, were kind enough to agree to go with us. Mark is a vacation planner extraordinaire—we really should have paid him to join us.

We stayed at the Royal Mayan resort, one of three Royal resorts in a row toward the south end of hotel row. We had a wonderful view from our balcony, looking out over one of the swimming pools and beyond to the ocean.

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A Wedding Story (Becca & Austin)

Last week ago Dawn and I flew to Salt Lake City to attend the wedding of my niece, Rebecca Ostler to Austin Copeland-Rynders. For the record, the wedding date was October 7, 2012. It was a fabulous event at a beautiful location. Picture taking was fun—all the Ostlers clean up quite nicely! Here are some photos I took at the wedding.

The wedding and reception were held at La Caille,
a picture-perfect venue for a such an affair (though with a tragic history).

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Visit From the Seldens

We had a nice visit with the Seldens on Labor Day—or at least a small percentage of the Seldens. My sister and brother-in-law, Carolyn and Craig were here, along with their son and daughter-in law, Leland and Tammy, and L&T’s children, Brandon, Vincent and Megan. In addition, Matt and Amy, and their children, Quade, Brooke and Noah, were with us. Dawn fixed a wonderful meal and I barbecued the hamburgers. A fun time was had by all.

(L-R) Vincent Selden, Quade Thurston, Noah Thurston, Brandon Selden, Megan Selden, Brooke Thurston

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