2013—Day 90—Easter Cactus

Today is Easter Sunday. I haven’t left the house all day. I was too tired to even consider taking any photos today. Late this afternoon, I took a couple of Bobo with the Easter Cactus blooming in the background. It started out as a Christmas Cactus but years of neglect have delayed its blooming until spring and so it is now an Easter cactus.

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And, this is how I feel right now so I am off to bed and rest at last….

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2013—Day 89—Grand Opening—Mo’s By Day—Mo’s By Night

Doug Thomas, a DJ with The Eagle, snipped the red ribbon about 10 Saturday morning and suddenly, we were open for business. I am embarrassed to admit that I set up the ribbon cutting shot using just the sign as a reference instead of people. When we all scrambled up the embankment to the monument sign, we realized too late that Doug was blocking me. Oh well, live and learn! I do need to work on my group shots. So, left to right, Lisa, our Kitchen Manager, Doug, the DJ, a little bit of me, Jesse my business partner, Kathleen, Jesse’s wife, Rich, our day manager.

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Quite a few people stopped by for free coffee and samples of our cinnamon rolls. Evan Zee played acoustic guitar and sang for us and Foxtrot Mary Light, a mini version of Foxtrot Mary played as well, with Tim Brisson on guitar and Mott Reaves and Dana Moret on vocals. This was an incredible afternoon.

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The Grand Opening with Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers sold out! What an incredibly fun night.

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And the festivities were over too soon.

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2013—Day 88-2—A Little Duct Tape

Friday night we opened our doors for a Housewarming Party. The turnout was light but the music was fabulous and the light attendance gave our crew a chance to get in the swing of things in preparation for the Grand Opening. Jeramy Norris and the Dangerous Mood are a phenomenal blues act and we’ll have them back so that when the word gets around about Mo’s, people will be able to experience Jeramy and the Mood. They weren’t at all dangerous! 🙂 My favorite shots were of the instruments because this band’s instruments were intriguing.

I love closeups of the head of guitars for some reason and this base is gorgeous.


Jeramy Norris used a table top to play his guitar!


My favorite shot of the night, though, was this bundle of drum sticks. I didn’t notice if he used the duct tape wrapped stick during the performance.


2013—Day 88—My Wall

Today we hung photos and guitars on one of the walls at Famous Mo’s. All of the photos are mine; I’ve never had such large prints made. And one of the guitars is Ron’s guitar. I took this shot with my iPhone; one of the upside-down tables protruded into my shot.

Mo's Wall

2013—Day 87—Ceanothus

I took this shot Sunday afternoon in my brother’s front yard in Santa Rosa. Ceanothus, also known as wild lilac, is one of the few plants that sport blue flowers and its blooming period is short, always in early spring. The rest of the time, this evergreen plant is unnoticed.

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2013—Day 86—Cuppa

My friend Annie found this lovely cup and saucer at an antique store near Famous Mo’s yesterday. It’s in Mo’s colors and she suggested I use it to sip lattes and cappuccinos at Mo’s. I decided to photograph it this morning with a reflection to show off its elegant profile.

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2013—Day 85—Black Velvet

This morning I tried one of the blends that my friends at Vaneli’s Handcrafted Coffees gave me a week or so ago. It is called Black Velvet and the fragrance and flavor are divine. I spilled a handful of the beans onto a swatch of black velvet this morning. Sigh. I could drink this elixir every morning forever!

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2013—Day 84/Day 55—Back to the Canyon

I have to confess I didn’t take a single photograph today. It is the first time in almost two and half years that I haven’t taken at least one photograph with my Nikon. I’m having computer and hard disk issues; my huge D800 files have finally filled every nook and cranny of my hard drives and my computer and I need to take a few hours to figure out what’s going on but I can’t take the time right now. Earlier today, I got an email from the “Nik Collection by Google” people announcing an update to software I had previously purchased; because my purchase was recent (right after my Grand Canyon trip) they’re giving me a $50 refund and updated software. I haven’t had time to look carefully at it yet but I tried it, exporting one of my Grand Canyon time lapse shots (another problem I haven’t yet resolved…getting my time lapse shots to look like a time lapse movie) and edited it in Silver Efex Pro 2, one of the Nik collection recommended by Moose Peterson on my trip to the Grand Canyon. The editing creates a very dramatic view of the Grand Canyon.

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2013—Day 83—The Agnews

Yesterday was my Mom’s 96th birthday and we convened at my brother John’s house in Santa Rosa today to celebrate along with her caregivers Luisa and Tammy who are sisters. Mom loved her new red sequined cap and it coordinated well with the sparkly sweater she sported. There was lots of animated talk today and Mom was happy but focused on her food. John made a fabulous coconut shrimp and spinach dish that he concocted and will never be able to duplicate; everyone had seconds because we knew we would never get that exact taste again. When we cut the cake, we joked that Mom would have to have enough breath to blow out 96 candles but in the end there was only one which she nimbly managed to dispense with. I wonder what she wished for?

Here are some shots of my family. My sister-in-law Pam, John’s wife, was cat sitting in San Diego for their son Michael so she wasn’t there. Arthur’s wife Sue joined us, though. After looking at the shot of Arthur, it’s no wonder that they named a nut house after us. 🙂 It is also clear to me that I need to work on focusing group shots, especially when I’m in them!

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2013—Day 82—Slide Guitar

Memphis soul music by Foxtrot Mary filled Famous Mo’s on the second night of our “soft opening” and I was blown away…Foxtrot Mary was fabulous as usual and the energy in the place was palpable, but what blew me away was not a Foxtrot Mary regular but rather Jim Papastathis III who sat in for part of the set. As he played a slide guitar solo I realized that he was sliding a bottle of Deschutes Obsidian Stout. Obsidian Stout is on our beer menu because I insisted it be. I am not usually a beer drinker, preferring an Old Vine Zin to most beers but my brother introduced me to the dark richness of this stout and I discovered my now favorite beer. I wonder if I can sell this photo to Deschutes for an advertising campaign? Oh, and don’t try this at home…unless you’re playing an air guitar!

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2013—Day 81—Mo’s by Night

Famous Mo’s Coffeehouse & Theater opened its doors Friday night. The place is transformed and now actually looks like the cabaret style restaurant we envisioned and not the filthy construction zone it’s been for months and months. We offered a “Theater Menu Lite” so that our staff could get used to the kitchen. Before the show started, there was lots of prepping by our wonderful new staff, including Dallas and James in the kitchen, and a bit of hamming as well by two of our other new employees, Nico and Jacob.

The show started about 8PM featuring the lovely Dana Moret offering soulful jazz standards and some more modern fare, including a stirring rendition of the Beatles’ “And I Love Her” which she dedicated to her husband, Jim Papastathis III, who accompanied her on guitar. The second feature on the playbill was the talented Aaron Tomashefsky, billed as Aaron Patrick for his take on Elton John. A few friends stepped in to play with him including Tim Brisson on guitar and Michael St. John and Mott Reaves with vocals.

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2013—Day 80—Sound Check

Dana and Annie came by Famous Mo’s this afternoon to make sure the sound equipment is ready for our “soft opening” tomorrow night. I’m really looking forward to Dana’s solo performance of soulful and mellow American jazz standards.

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Focal Length 66mm
ISo 1000

2013—Day 79 or Day 55—Shadows in the Canyon

I’ve noticed that since my return from the Grand Canyon, my photos tend to be closeups and mostly small objects, nothing on the grand scale of the Grand Canyon. I yearn for some dramatic landscapes but I don’t have the time to find any. So, I looked at some of my Grand Canyon shots and decided to post a few. These are from Sunday morning, February 24, Day 55, the last morning we went out at sunrise. The temperature was 0 degrees, maybe a degree or two less, and there was wind; lots of it. I don’t know what the wind chill factor was but I have never been so cold. When it was clear that I couldn’t take the cold any longer, one of my fellow photographers suggested I walk around to get the blood circulating in my fingers and toes. I think his suggestion saved me. Moving around briskly got the circulation flowing again and I felt some life come back into my digits. I went back and captured a few of my favorite shots of the morning. I took the first two as my fingers deadened with the cold; all feeling was gone and I could barely operate the camera. I took the last two about 15 minutes later, after walking in circles for about ten minutes, with a bit of feeling back in them. I love the first two because the dramatic black shadow in the middle of the shots reminds me of the burnt edge of a piece of paper. I used my 70-200mm lens and took the first set at 200mm and the second at 110mm. I was facing west. I took the last two shots facing north toward the north rim of the canyon at 70mm and 160mm. I like these shots because the sky was darkening dramatically in the north and the shadows created by the clouds and the diagonal edges of the canyon make for interesting photographs.

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2013—Day 77—Bunch

My three-bunches-for-five-dollars deal from Safeway a couple of days ago continues to make me happy. I love daffodils and these are lovely. I photographed three of them in profile the other day and changed the photo to black and white. Today I first thought to focus on the whole bunch but I zoomed in on just a couple instead.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fair Weather

2013—Day 76—Fob

My Irish grandfather’s jade and silver watch fob is my homage to St. Paddy’s Day. I have never been able to figure out the hallmarks stamped on it, though. Maybe some day I will. It probably belonged to his father who immigrated from Ireland some time after the mid 1800’s. I think the date hallmark indicates a date of either 1812 or 1892, a significant span of time. If my great grandfather brought it with him to America, it was probably created in 1812. I received the fob after my grandmother passed away in 1980. My grandfather died in 1940. Some day I hope to figure them out. It is now a pendant for a necklace.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100

2013—Day 75—Three Bunches for $5

Safeway had a great deal on daffodils…three bunches for $5.00. Here are just three of the flowers from the three bunches I bought; for some reason, the color version of the shot wasn’t appealing to me. Once I changed it to black and white, I found it to be much more interesting. The pungent fragrance of the chives from last night and the heady fragrance of the freesia’s I featured a couple of days ago has been replaced by the delicate frangrance of the daffodils.

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2013—Day 74—The Chives of March

I got home tonight almost too late to take my long-planned photo, the “Chives of March.” Well, it wasn’t really long-planned…maybe about a week, to be honest. But the way I take photos for this blog, actually planning something for it is extremely rare. A week or so ago, while I was outside waiting for the hummingbirds to bathe, I noticed that my pot of chives was thriving and I took a couple of shots of it. Then I realized that photographing the chives on the Ides of March would be amusing (probably only to me) so I planned to take some shots of the chives for today. But, it was past 11 when I got home and it was too dark to get the shot I originally planned. Then I realized that cutting off a few leaves and chopping them up made for a better subject anyway. My house now smells of chives. Et tu, Brute! I may have to start calling my chive plant Brutus.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fine Weather

2013—Day 73—Freesia

I love the first freesia of the season and their fragrance is one of my favorites among all spring flowers. The fact that they come back year after year with my complete neglect makes me very happy. I’ve photographed so much on black backgrounds lately that I thought a white background might make a nice change. I didn’t have to do too much to this photo but I did add a vignette because although I found the white background nice, it seemed too stark without something to give it definition.

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Focal Length 70mm
ISO 100
WB Fine Weather