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Joshua Tree 2016 Print

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After taking two years off while Jennifer was in nursing school, Jennifer and Duane resumed their annual rock climbing trip to Joshua Tree in 2015. Unfortunately, I couldn't go with them that year because I was in Washington, DC. This year (2016) I went along again, not to go rock climbing but to act as the (un)official photographer.

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Palm Springs at the J W Marriott Desert Springs Resort Print

We love going to Palm Springs as a family and have done so a number of times.  We did it again in April 2013 so Jennifer could enjoy a break from nursing school, and, of course, Christopher and Brooklyn were in hog heaven at the pool.

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Aquarium of the Pacific Photographers Night Print

 

We have a Grandparents membership at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. It's a great aquarium and Christopher and Brooklyn love it there. Once a year, the aquarium hosts a photographers night at which the public is uninvited and photographers have the run of the aquarium. We can use flash, tripods, etc. I took Jennifer and Duane and we had a great time shooting the stuff we love with far fewer people to interfere with things.

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Photo of the whale that hangs in the ground floor area taken with my iPhone, blurred around the edges with Big Lens, processed in Snapseed.

I had read up on aquarium shooting and the advice was all over the map.  Some suggested using wide angle lenses, some macro;  some suggested using flash, some available light.  After listening to the briefing (at which I learned that shooting in shutter priority was the way to go--something I almost never do) I ended up shooting exclusively in shutter priority with my 105mm macro using available light.  Click the thumbnail to see some pretty cool photos (if I dare say so myself).

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Joshua Tree 2012 Print

Once again, I accompanied Jennifer, Duane, Christopher and Brooklyn (and Gabby and Finn) on another family rock climbing adventure with a bunch of their friends. Once again, it was great fun. Once again, I did not climb. Once again, I was the official photographer. And, once again, I had a great time. I think everyone else did, too.

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1st Thursday in San Pedro, October 2012 Print

I spent Thursday night, October 4th with Jennifer, Duane, Christopher and Brooklyn in San Pedro at the monthly 1st Thursday event. Food trucks set up all around 5th and 6th street, the galleries and stores are open late to walk through, numerous restaurants are in the area, and it made for a nice evening. I enjoyed a grilled lamb "al pastor" slider from the slummin' gourmet truck (excellent!) and ate a few of Jennifer's maple chipotle sweet potato tater tots (also excellent). I also had a Chinese style pulled pork rice bowl from the Asian Cravings truck that was terrific. We topped it off with shave ice (which was excellent also) from the A Rockin' Ice shave Ice truck. I took photos, of course, which you see by clicking the thumbnail below.

 

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Aquarium of the Pacific with CJ & Bee, August 2012 Print

Papa and Tutu had Christopher and Brooklyn over for a sleep-in while Mommy and Daddy went up to Malibu for a long weekend. It was hot enough to melt your brains so I made a classic American hot weather meal--I grilled hot dogs on the BBQ and we had really good potato chips to go with the dogs. And, we had celery sticks and carrots.

The next day, Tutu took Brooklyn to her ballet class while CJ and I got to go for a walk around our place and then walked the cliff trail down to the shore so we could see the ocean, throw rocks and generally have a good time.

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July 4, 2012 Print

We went to Christine's for the Pacific Palisades 4th of July Parade and stayed for dinner this year.  Kelsey was due to move back to Washington, DC the following week and we wanted to spend the time with them.

 

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Disneyland on Christopher's 7th birthday Print

We went to Disneyland for Christopher's 7th birthday and (of course!) had a wonderful time.  Chris and Kelsey joined us and we saw most of our favorite things.  Nicole and Henry joined us too, and it was an even more amazing day when we learned that Nicole had never been to Disneyland.  Whoa.  Never been to Disneyland?!?...

 

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Brooklyn's Olympics Print

In June 2012, Brooklyn graduated from pre-school and, as it had with Christopher and every other graduating class since time immemorial, the school held an "Olympics" instead of a graduation ceremony.  It gives the children a chance to show off any athletic prowess they possess, blow off some steam, and in general be cool for their parents and grandparents (and anyone else observing).  We were on vacation at the time but drove up for the ceremonies and--of course--loved watching Bee in action.

 

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Brooklyn's Ballet Recital Print

Brooklyn is still actively involved in ballet (with enthusiastic support from Jennifer) and we went to her recital in June on the afternoon we left to check into our timeshare at Newport Coast Villas. This year we couldn't get front row seats for the performance so I used my 70-200mm lens with an extender.

 

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Disneyland for Brooklyn's 5th birthday Print

After enjoying the dual birthday party for Jennifer and Brooklyn, Sue and I joined Duane and Jennifer at Disneyland with Christopher, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn's two BFFs from school, Mia and Anna. We started with the character lunch at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure, where Brooklyn, Mia and Anna changed into their own special character outfits so they could pose with each character as she came by during lunch. Cheryl Briiggs, an elementary school classmate of mine with whom I reconnected via Facebook, joined us at lunch and for the day. It was a wonderful day in the Happiest Place On Earth.

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Birthday Party for Jennifer and Brooklyn Print

Jennifer and Brooklyn share the same birthday (March 5th) and it's always a treat to celebrate with (and for) them. We gathered on the 5th to do so and watch the hilarity involving the birthday table. Jennifer and Duane always put together a birthday table, which they decorate with a theme designed to amuse and/or annoy the birthday celebrant. As Jennifer is a Yankees fan, the table this year was particularly amusing.

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