Sunday, November 5, 2017
Had made plans with relatives on my mom's family side. Aunt Mart Jane and cousin Beth Johnson met me to a late lunch at the hotel's Grand Cafe.
I packed up most of my stuff from the room, Cousin Don and fellow New Mexico pipe makers Victor and Nathan invited me to join them with pizza a brew after the show. Since I had a big, late lunch I just had a couple pints of craft beer.
The "after glow" was at PizzaRev a couple blocks from the hotel. Interesting set-up at the place. Pizzas where one person sized pizza. Beer and wine are on a tap wall. After ID check, we were given wrist bands which link with the tap wall. The base amount was 32 oz, end we could choose that we want and how much of each, until the 32 oz was used up.
I opted for "Full Sail" amber ale from a brewery in Hood River, OR.
Called it an early evening as we were planning to be out of the hotel heading home about 6am.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
I took the opportunity to catch up on sleep and did some photo work. Dinner was spaghetti with meat balls at the hotel's Grand Cafe.
When we got off the interstate and headed to the park entrance, the sky way mostly cloudy. We paid the $10 entrance fee and started our drive through the park.
Valley of Fire gets its name from the red rocks that abound in the park. I took a lot of HDR photos. Set up for 2 panoramic sets. (First pano set turned out well. The second one was a mess - forgot to change camera setting from bracketed exposures to manual single-shot.)
Drove the North Shore road from Valley of Fire, through the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Then into Las Vegas. I was exhausted when we got back to the hotel. The combination of he fresh air and walking around the park took its toll on me. Crashed on the bed for a hour or so nap.
Eventually, I shower and we went down to the Grand Cafe for dinner. After dinner, Don went off to visit with his pipe-making friends. I was going to crash, but ended up processing my photos from the day.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
A block from the restaurant is the depot of the Grand Canyon Railway. Took time to look at 2 if their locomotives and talked with workers decorating the locomotives for the holidays.
The railway's operational locomotive has been converted to run on used vegetable oil. I would nick-name it the "French Fry Express".
Event-less drive on into Las Vegas. Checked into our room. Had a beer and a burger in the hotel for dinner.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Plans are best made over a couple pints of craft beer.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Relaxed the rest of the day until getting dressed for the celebration. Plans were for food, drinks, and conversation at Billy's Long Bar in Albuquerque.
Cousin Don arrived early about the same time I did. At 5:30 the guests started filtering in. All totaled, 13 of my ham radio club friends and spouses settled into the Dart Room. My friend and real estate agent Leland, also made the function.
The food and service was great - thanks for the folks at Billy's. The room was just the right size for our group of 16 people. Thanks to my Albuquerque "family" for making my 70th birthday celebration a success.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
I seemed to finally got the right camera settings for shooting the Dawn Patrol. To get enough light, I set the ISO all the way up to 6400. Manual focus because there was not enough light for the automatic settings. Had to run -3 stops compensation with the bright balloons and the black sky. I could (or should) have set the compensation at -4 or -5, Processing the image from RAW, I was able to get the light correct.
Very light winds this morning. Many of the balloons seemed to just stay on the same place. The first ones launched drifted off to the SE. No box wind running today.