Monday, September 6, 2010

Up in the Air

The end of summer is rapidly approaching. As this is Labor Day - that means school starts in the morning. One of the things that really tells me summer is about to end is the NW Art & Air Festival. 3 days of morning lift-offs, crafts, entertainment & food & more. 40 balloons from all around come to Albany for this festival. I love to watch them inflate and take off. From dark to dawn, the late summer sunrise is always beautiful to watch Add to that the stunning colors of the ballons and you have a wonderful start to a day.
The balloon fest is a great time for people from towns nearby to watch as the balloons unpack, inflate & launch. The amount of small digital cameras, cell phone cameras & DSL cameras is amazing. The amount of pictures being taken that weekend has to be in the high thousands
I always am amazed at how fast the people disappear from the launch field after the balloons take off. :) Many off the chase the sailing balloons but many returning home to take naps.

This was a great year for me, I was the Official Photographer. I was honored & thrilled to be asked. I loved being able to walk around taking pictures of anything & everything. I enjoyed being able to talk so many people, including the people cooking dinner for the band "America" that was playing in the park on Saturday night. Having the badge that said that I was the event photographer allowed me to go back and take a few pictures from the stage before the band came out. I spoke with the bands manager and was allowed to come backstage to take a few shots before & during the concert.
The concert was good. It is hard to believe that America has been around for 40 years. They have some awesome songs.

Being the photographer I really wanted to get some good shots and since the weather was great I decided I was going to spend the $30 and take the helicopter ride that they always offer at the festival. Plus I hadn't made it to the airport yet so this was the perfect time. I walked around looking at all the planes on the field, watching the small planes take off, circle the town and land. I walked around the hanger featuring WWII memorabilia. Amazed that they looked good given how old they were. I headed to the airport office to ask when the helicopter rides were going to start. They were a bit startled to find out that the guy hadn't shown up yet. So off to call and find out what was going on. Sorry was the reply, no rides that day. How sad!!!

All in all it was an awesome weekend. Now to prepare for work on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Saturday - Morning Out & About

I like Saturdays, Summer Saturdays the best. I have the time to spend walking around the local Saturday Markets. I walk around the Albany Market taking the pictures of the beautiful fresh produce. Enjoying the fact that so much goodness comes to the market from farms nearby.
Occasionally I will drive over to Corvallis, taking in their larger Market. Taking time to smell the sweetness of the ripening fruits. Gazing at the wondrous breads, muffins, cookies and handmade pretzels. Taking time to stop at the booth with the honey, as he has a window with bees doing their dance, making & filling the honeycombs. I watch the people walking their dogs through the market, running into friends they haven't seen in a long time. I love finding the one picture that I just have to stop and take. One stop that is a must is stopping in at Great Harvest Bakery for one of their samples (maybe even splurging & getting a loaf)

If I have no other plans for the day I might just do the Eugene Saturday Market. Now that is an awesome place. They not only do the fruits, veggies & plants but they also do crafts, food, arts & entertainment. It is a place where you can not only get your produce for the week but you can also start your holiday shopping. (

So this past Saturday I went to both the Albany & Corvallis markets. The fruits were just beautiful and they smelled awesome. The colors were just fantastic. One of the vendors had this cute material they were using as a tablecloth. As I was taking pictures of the table I noticed this cute little ladybug that had placed herself right between the sign and an ear of corn. I didn't dare move her for fear she would fly away. Overall I like the shot.

I stood and listened to the Oregon Tuba Ensemble. The sounds were fantastic. The glistening horns pitching high & low. Playing some oldies that my parents used to listen to but yet classic. I loved the reflections of the people playing their respective instrument. I noticed that from where I was standing I was getting a reflection of City Hall. To me it helped that the building is a golden colored brick. I wished I had taken a few extra seconds to get a picture of one of the older players reflected in their tuba.

I took this shot of squash blossoms because to me it is a unique food. Even though I have seen it being used on the Food Network & on menus, I have yet to try one. Why? Mainly because I haven't found them stuffed with something I enjoy. They do look pretty & delicate though.

I look at the flowers that are at the market wishing I had the talent to grow something so beautiful. Amazed at the colors that are out there. The beautiful bouquets. I hope that you are able to stop by your local Saturday Market and enjoy the fruits of your neighbors.

All the best

Monday, August 23, 2010

Almost A Year Behind

Wow almost a year has gone by without me entering an entry.
Many things have happened in that time. I just lost sight of entering my thoughts, keeping myself a bit more centered. I could list all the things that have happened but I think just hitting a few of the pluses & negatives will have to do.

I have enjoyed the times the Besties and I have had the last year, unfortunately we haven't been able to do that as often as we'd like. The times we spend together I cherish. I care for them so dearly. As the 2009 holidays arrived we were able to get together and exchange ornaments and wish each other Happy Holidays.

In January my daughter finally got a puppy. I will be honest, at first I thought it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. The picture she sent me via text were pretty scary. I was with 3 friends and we all said "Eww". Her name is Sophie and she is almost a year old now. She is part Jack Russell & Yorkie. Full of love & energy. I love to be greeted by her when I get home from work or running errands. She loves to play and has a bunch of fun little toys. One of her favorites is a cat toy that looks like a parrot and makes this chirping sound. Sadly I did have to take off the remainder of the tail feathers as she started eating them. Oh Sophie - you are so funny. She has ears that large and as soft as velvet.
March found us in Florence at the dunes with great friend and a great time. I love hanging out there, of course I just love the coast. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival was beautiful. I have never seen such bright & beautiful colors. Spring came and we spent a weekend in Sisters at the Five Pines Lodge. Oh my gosh if you haven't been there yet - GO!!! The whole family went and I think we had a good time. Sisters/Bend area is so beautiful.

As the end of May came around I was getting more & more news that my mom's health was going down. My brother and grandmother kept me as informed as they could. I got to speak to my mom and we made peace with each other, said our good-byes and I told her not to give up. That we all love her and always will.
The beginning of June again found us at the coast doing the dunes. For me it was the best time. I was able to ride along with several people and get many shots that I haven't been able to get before. I went to the casino and won $100. But during that Saturday I got another call from my brother stating that mom was having multiple failures with her body. That if I needed/wanted to be with her I should come back home soon. I told him I'd do what I could do to get home but I knew it wouldn't be fast. Unfortunately on Sunday, June 6th my mom passed away. I quickly made the reservations to get back to Illinois for the funeral. I will miss my mom; but I know she is no longer in pain or suffering and that she is in a better place.

As the summer continued my daughter, her friend & I headed north to the Seattle area to visit a friend who was home from Mexico where she is working. 2 days was just not enough time. It was great seeing our friend. She showed us her little town. Apparently the town's claim to fame is that famed artist David Chihuly once lived there and Martha Stewart even flew in (by helicopter). We went to lunch on the second day in Poulsbo. Sitting on the deck over looking the bay watching kayakers float by, wonderfully relaxing. After lunch we headed back to Seattle to quickly go to Westlake Mall before heading home. I want to go back soon, that's for sure.

As we round out the summer I have attended 2 of Albany's Nosh Tours, where we visited 7 different local owned restaurants. Sampling their food gives you an idea of what this town has to offer beyond the usual chains, what makes their establishment stand out. The food was delicious. There were a few of the places I had never been before so it was nice to sample without having to get a full meal and find out you didn't like it.

This past Sunday was the Albany Criterium. An annual bike race taking place in the Historic area near downtown. I had never been to a bike race before. It was amazing, the age groups, the amount of riders, the sounds of the bikes as the race around. I tried to take a few shots at the races and was pleasantly surprised with my results.

Well - that about sums up a small part of the last 10 months. Tuesday night will find me with most of the Besties saying good-bye to one who is moving to Wyoming and figuring out what we can do to support our friend who lost her mom to cancer today.

I can only hope that her mom finds my mom in heaven and they hang out with each other and do whatever angels in heaven do.

Back soon my friends.