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“The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon.  There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.”  ~Norman Mailer

We drove back to the Valley of Fire this afternoon to catch the sunset.  We then drove back through the northern edge of Lake Mead and found this amazing spot where the lights from Vegas were just stunning.  We set up the tripod and I attempted to do star trails, but didn’t really succeed.  Not dark enough.  However, I did capture the stars, the moon, and light trails from all the airplanes in the sky over the city.  We were here for over an hour and a half . . . mesmerized.  Only a few cars passed by on the road while we were there.  This shot is my attempt at doing sync flash – something MTM taught us when we shot on the Strip a few nights ago.  Not sure I was 100% successful as it seems the background is out of focus.  The first shot is the original with just a bit of LR4 editing.  

D800e, 70-200mm VRII lens @ 70mm, 2 sec @ f6.3, 800ISO, and SB800 flash mounted on camera set at zero.  

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I ended up not really liking that the background was out of focus, so took it in to LR4 and reworked it . . . adding in the starry moonlit sky from another photo I took just a bit earlier in the evening.  I think I like the reworked version best.

This is my edited/reworked version.

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“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”  Oscar Wilde

Today’s 365 photo is quite a switch for me.  I don’t usually go to the “dark side” . . . but I couldn’t resist this when I was fiddling around with different presets and editing in both Photoshop and Lightroom.  One of the guys in my 365 group does some pretty far out and amazing things so I’m just channeling my inner “DigiMax” on this one.  

I liked today’s quote when I read it because I really do believe that to be true.  I make choices every day that create my experience of life.  That experience can be pretty darned wonderful, pretty darned awful, or somewhere in between those two extremes.  Bad things happen in life . . .they just do.  However, I have choice in every moment in how I am going to act or react in any given situation.  That choice impacts everyone within my sphere of influence – be it intimate or casual.  I strive to wake up every morning thinking with a positive mind, looking for the good things in my life and the lives of others . . . I am so very grateful for every moment of my life leading up to today because each of those moments add up to the person I am now.  Some of those moments aren’t so great – I’m not proud of every decision or action I’ve taken . . . but I strive to move forward and learn from each and every one . . . to be better and to be a positive example and influence for those whose lives I do touch.  I’m no saint and I’m far from perfect, but I am happy and ever so grateful for all the love and abundance I have in my life.  

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“Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real.”  Ralph Fiennes

I was shooting pics of my 4 year old Great Nephew when he looked at me and said “Why don’t you take a picture of yourself?”.  Ha!  So I did!  And this is the result . . . an upside down shot of myself.  I took it in to Lightroom 4 to do a bit of processing, then in to Photoshop CS6 and Topaz Labs to further render the photo.  I also added some texture from Kim Klassen Cafe .

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“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”  Walt Disney

I drove out to the beach today as I thought it would be cooler than staying here where it’s getting in to the 90’s this weekend.  Of course, everybody and their neighbor thought it was a great idea too!  It was a challenge to find a beach with close enough parking for me and the little one to walk.  I did finally find good parking at San Gregorio Beach just south of Half Moon Bay.  It was actually the perfect beach because of the little bay with a sand spit between it and the ocean.  Baby girl was elated at the opportunity to play in the sand, get her feet wet, then venture further out where she could actually dunk herself completely.  This little doll is not afraid of the water!  

I had to finally drag her back to shore as she was getting a bit too far out for my comfort.  As it was just the two of us, and there were tons of people at the beach, I wasn’t very confident in leaving my camera and purse on the beach while I went in to play with her.  So . . . sadly her fun had to end.  She cried all the way back to the car!  I felt so bad . . . however as soon as I got a bottle of water out to wash her down and change her in to dry clothes, she was happy again.  

If only we could just stay young and not have to worry about responsibility and just live life as we see fit.  She was having so much fun . . . screeching for joy every time she dunked herself in the water.  Truly, it was precious.

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“You mean what we thought they thought we think and thought they thought?”  SpongeBob

I’ve never really been a huge fan of Sponge Bob Square Pants . . . but he’s growing on me!  I love some of the “sayings” that come from the show . . . although some of it is a bit “nasty” for my taste.  Anyway – my Granddaughter has this board game called Sponge Bob Life, so we played it this evening.  It’s not that often anymore, in this age of the Internet, that we sit down face to face and play an interactive board game, so it was quite a lot of fun.  And don’t you just love that quote??

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“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”  Friedrich Nietzche 

I’m hanging out with my granddaughter, playing in the pool and just being goofy.  We had been to a Ren Faire where the Queen bestowed this beautiful golden necklace on her . . . so she bestowed it upon me!  I love being a Grandmother!  

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INFRARED – in-fra-red  http://flircam.omsi.edu/local/viewer/cam.html

I’m in Oregon visiting my Son and his family.  We’re visiting the O.M.S.I which is a fascinating museum downtown Portland.  We walked through this infra-red exhibit and I immediately saw my 365 Portrait for the day!  That’s my Daughter-in-law on the left, my granddaughter, and then myself assuming the Photographer’s Pose.  

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“I don’t think I will ever get tired of wearing pink.”  Emma Bunton

My Granddaughter is almost five years old . . . and she loves pink!  I rarely see her in any other colour.  She told me once that she dreams in pink!  I just love her sweet innocent exuberance  and enthusiasm for life.  Oh how I wish I could preserve that for her, store some away for a time when she will need to stock up on it . . . refresh the coffers.  Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to go back to that time in life when we believed that the world was a perfect place?  Even for a few minutes?  Ahh . . . I guess that’s why we have Grandchildren . . . I know I sure get my coffers filled when I’ve been around them!

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“Oh, it could’ve been, should’ve been worse than you would ever know. Well, the windshield was broken but I love the fresh air you know.”  Modest Mouse

On my way out of the muddy (mud was like cement on the car) Chilcotin on the way back to Ruth Lake in the Cariboo, I experienced a chip in my windshield.  Now – I’d been traveling on some pretty rough back roads in the Chilcotin and half expected to end up with a chip at some point.  So where did this happen??  On a nicely paved, non-rocky highway south of Williams Lake, BC.  I was headed south as a little car passed going north and my car was pelted with little rocks!!  I was quite shocked, and even more shocked when I noticed the little chip in the left corner of the windshield.  As I drove on the chip grew in to a crack and continued to spread.  Oh well . . . thank goodness for excellent replacement insurance!   Just goes to show that you never know what is going to happen when . . . and when you least expect it!

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“I do not participate in any sport with ambulances at the bottom of the hill.”  Erma Bombeck

We spent the day up Grouse Mountain enjoying the beautiful day and taking advantage of some of the summer events.  They have a Lumberjack Show that is hilarious, the Eye to the Sky at the top of the peak (where we are headed in this photo), a bear habitat, and a Raptor Show.  I captured this shot with my little Point & Shoot camera – held behind my head as we’re going up to the Eye of the Sky.  Incredibly Gorgeous Day!  I love Erma Bombeck’s quote though – as I don’t go up a ski hill to ski . . . I go up for the experience of being on a beautiful mountain and enjoying incredible views!

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