Sunday, November 5, 2017

Family Visitors

Spent most of the morning resting in the room.  Worked on some artistic photo taken at  Valley of Fire.  Spelled my cousin at his pipe show table.

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

West Coast Pipe Show

The trip to Las Vegas, NV was to share driving and expenses as my cousin was attending the pipe show.  I helped him set up his display and manned the table while he took a lunch break.

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.

Valley of Fire

Today was the day for playing "tourist".  After a hardy breakfast at the hotel buffet, we headed 50 miles NE of Las Vegas to the Valley of Fire State Park.  Weather was perfect for the trip with temps in the 60s, climbing to the 70s.

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

Grand Canyon Railway

Don and I are on the road again, heading to Las Vegas and the West Coast Pipe Show,  Stopped in Williams, AZ for breakfast.

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

Trip Planning

Cousin Don and I met at Billy's Long Bar to finish plans for the Las Vegas trip.  Don is traveling to exhibit hes pipe at the West Coast Pipe Show.  I am to help the driving and gives me a chance to get out of town for a long weekend.

Plans are best made over a couple pints of craft beer.

Monday, October 16, 2017

70th Birthday

My 70th birthday celebration was just what I would hope it would be.  I picked op the cake in the morning - I had drive about 15 miles or more into central Albuquerque to find a bakery to bake a spice cake.

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

Getting Photos right

Today was my last shift at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Weather was a lot warmer this monring, still chilly in the tent.  There were originally 3 of us on the work schedule - ended up with 5.  Being a Saturday, we were pretty busy talking with folks about ham radio.

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.