And excellent food, too! At Tamayo in downtown Denver.
I'm not quite sure what they're painting but it's something. Seen at the Whiskey War Fest concert, a small, local, all-day concert.
Leslie was our waitress at Chiapparelli's, an old-school Italian restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy, and she was great.
Alex playing the hammered dulcimer.
You exit the Metro at Denfert-Rochereau, cross the street, enter the little building and pay the admission price, then descend 130-something steps down a steep spiral staircase. From there, you walk and walk through dimly lit tunnels until you come to a doorway with a large sign admonishing you to touch nothing and to not smoke. Through the doorway begins a walk through the largest cemetery imaginable. You walk past thousands and thousands of human bones, stacked neatly and artfully in sections marked by signs indicating which cemetery they come from. It's an interesting and creepy tour, and well worth your time if you're in Paris.
We've made it a tradition in our house, going back to when we were first married, to go out to a Christmas tree farm each year and cut down our tree. Yes, it's way more work than popping a fake tree out of a box but we love doing it. It's like a treasure hunt with no map: You know exactly what the treasure looks like but you have no idea where to find it. Given that we live in sprawling suburbia, we often drove a pretty good distance to a suitable tree farm. The return trip was always fun — us doing our Griswald family impression, blasting down the interstate with the tree strapped to the roof of the car, praying that it wouldn't blow off and kill somebody. But a few years ago we found a tree farm very near home. It's one of those places, one of those "I can't believe this hasn't been bulldozed and turned into a subdivision" places, tucked away in the next suburb over. And it's, ummm, rustic.
This is not a tree farm with rows of perfectly pruned and spray painted trees lined up like six foot tall green dominos. This is a "Here's your saw; here's your cart; good luck" kind of place: Lots of acreage, paths that meander all over said acreage, and a wild mix of trees. Wild as in "haphazardly placed by Mother Nature." Wild as in "forget pruning and shaping; these babies are all natural."
Some years, it's taken a lot of wandering and hiking, and some desperation, to find a tree. As we're not of the "Let's put the tree up right away — like on Halloween!" ilk, we tend to wait well into the season before venturing out for the yearly hunt. This year, we were actually kind of early (for us).
And so these are some pictures from this past weekend's hunt in which we ended up with not one but two trees: one not terribly tall, but tall enough, and the other fat and downright short for a spot upstairs.
Photo geek info: It was a bleak, gray day and the colors were very flat so I decided to try out Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro plugin to convert everything to black and white. Summary of the experience: the software works well, is very flexible, and generates some really nice tones. The only downside is that there's no way to batch images in Lightroom. You can do it with the "costs twice as much" Photoshop version but not with the Lightroom version.
It was another successful Thanksgiving feast: we gathered, we ate (way too much), we hung out, and we avoided all political and/or social arguments. All in all, a very successful Thanksgiving. Somehow, though, I managed to not get a picture of the turkey.
Though it's technically not correct, I always view Fall as beginning on Labor Day (the first Monday of September) and ending today, Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). For those outside the U.S., Thanksgiving is a national holiday in which we're supposed to give thanks for everything that's good in our lives. In practical terms, it's when families get together and, by tradition, eat more in a single meal than a normal person needs in three days. Thanksgiving = "Eat too much; watch football." To celebrate the end of the season, I thought I'd post these from the beginning of the season when we drove into southern Illinois to pick apples. I can't remember how many pounds of apples we came out with but even with their "buy one lb., get another lb. free" pricing that weekend we still spent $40. But it's a lot of fun and we try to go every year.
I've always thought that the nicest time to spend in the French Quarter is a weekday morning. The craziness of the night is (mostly) gone, there are far fewer tourists or people in general on the streets, and the morning sun highlights the area in a way that you don't see later in the day. Mornings make the Quarter feel like a real neighborhood with a history that you can almost taste. I was in New Orleans for a job a couple weeks ago, over a weekend. My flight on Monday wasn't until the afternoon so I was able to spend the morning just wandering about.
These guys always creep me out just a little bit, and this one especially with the gold mask and sunglasses. I think the red gloves are his homage to the Christmas season. Taken along N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago on a Canon 5D with 24-105 mm lens.
Each year, my wife and her sisters take turns hosting Thanksgiving. This has worked out well as it evenly distributes the "OMG, I'VE GOT TO CLEAN MY HOUSE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM BECAUSE THE WHOLE FAMILY IS COMING OVER"-issues that are part of hosting. This year was Trish's turn. Each segment of the family brings something, or sometimes several somethings, and the host usually does the turkey. Our contribution this year: green bean casserole and gigantically mammoth croissants (easy!). It was fun. We were stuffed.
The images were shot on a Canon 5D with 50mm f/1.4 lens. Shot as RAW files; converted to B&W in Lightroom. A link to the full set of images on Flickr is in the right-hand column.
The pier is really there to mark the entrance to the harbor and to serve as a home for the foghorn. But on nice nights, it's easy enough to hop down on the rocks and fish.