Last Site Update... Nov 29, 2017
My Favorite Action Shot
On Buckskin Pass in a storm that arrived about 1 PM. It came from over the top of Snowmass Lake which is at the left side
of this photo. I hiked in the rain, sleet, lightning and thunder for about 6 hours to get to Snowmass Lake. Normally the trip
would be much shorter time wise, but I did stop to take photos and I tried to help some other people on the trail find a creek
crossing for their lamas. In the end, they turned back, I waded the creek and headed on to Snowmass Lake. Hiking all
afternoon and setting up camp in this kind of weather is quite the experience. To see the images I am sharing from this
adventure, please use the following link: Four Pass Loop.
Projects in work:
1. Cruise photos from San Juan to Aruba and back, Jan. 2008.
2. Cruise from Mexico to Hawaii in April 2008.
3. More backpacking images from 2007
4. Fall colors(aspens) in Colorado, Sept. 2007 and 2009
5. Backpacking in Colorado, August 2009
6. Caribbean Cruises, Feb 2012.
2008 Colorado Adventure and two week solo backpack trip. CLICK HERE.
The trip started at the upper most point on the Current River and ended in Arkansas shortly
after the Current River crosses the state line. The trip was planned to take two weeks and
cover 140 miles. The photos here are from a practice trip in early July. I paddled the canoe
shown in these photos. The personalized canoe was provided by my long time friend and
outfitter, Anita Van Steenis, owner of Two Rivers Canoe Rental in Eminence, Missouri.
Her website is: 2riverscanoe.com.. Her office is located at the confluence of the Jacks
Fork River and Current River. There is a small camping area near her office with a great
bathroom and shower building, for cleaning up after canoe trips.
I had a GPS and SPOT satellite transmitter so my support group back home could track me
via messages from the river. This is a big improvement over the old days of people only
guessing where I was and how I was doing... Cell phones do not work on the river yet, but
that too will happen some day in the future. The pictures and story for this trip are now
ready for viewing. There may be a few bugs yet to fix, but lets try it and see what happens.
Hope you enjoy the story and the memory photos I brought back. In 2010, I soloed the
length of the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Was a GREAT adventure. I am working on the
The 2009 Colorado Adventure was a great
adventure, but did not go as planned. The hills
were hard and the land was dry. More on this
when I get the images ready to share. This
adventure was also in the Weminuche Wilderness
in southern Colorado. On the July 2009 float trip I
used a SPOT satellite messenger to let people
know where I was as I moved along.. It worked
great.. It went with me on this trip so people could
monitor my trip for safety reasons and for fun...
I am working on the images and the story for the
Blooms in my yard............
July 29, 2009...........
As with most of my images, I am just out running
around when I see something that catches my eye.
This is what happened here. I was outside for a bit to
do a chore and noticed the blooms on a couple of the
trees. There were two trees, side by side, in bloom
and each was a different color.. Really neat.. Besides
the natural color of the blooms, I found that some of
the images looked neat in black and white, so I
included my experiments here as well...
To see the slide show, click here......
Hiking in a heavy fog can be rather fun, if you are in
a good fog-viewing place. Creve Coeur Park near St.
Louis, Missouri is just such a place. On Jan. 20,
2010, I joined one of my hiking groups for a brisk
trek around the park. The GPS said we covered 5.7
miles, which went around the lake, along the beach,
under the bridge, through the pasture, through the
woods and back to the car. The images I am sharing
here were selected from the many I took on the hike.
Was fun. As always, many of my images are similar,
you get to decide which one you would have kept and
which one you would have tossed. These images
were taken with a Canon SX1-IS. Nikon and I are not
getting along. Their customer service is the worst I
have ever seen.
In my opinion, NIKON SUCKS.. Click "NIKON SUCKS" to read why I think so.
Tom Ballard Photography
|A window in Tom's universe.
This is more than a website of photos, it is a place to share photos, adventures, stories,
opinions, and information. I hope you enjoy the time you spend here.
If you are looking for the canoe trip to do in Missouri, this is it!! I have
canoed a fair number of streams in Missouri, and the surrounding
area.. So far, the Current is the best. And, the best outfitter is Anita
Van Steenis at Two Rivers Canoe Rental.. Call her, tell her I sent ya,
wait till she stops laughing, then tell her you are ready to do the Tom
Ballard Current River Trip!!! Actually, all you really want to do is the
section of the river inside the National Waterway. Once you get outside
the park, things get nasty really fast... I stayed on the river until I got to
the Arkansas line, just for the adventure, but for the real feeling of
being in the wild and on a river, take out after you finish the section of
the river inside the park.. I think the section inside the park is 105 miles
in length... Awesome float, DO IT!!!!!!!!!!
2010 was a whirlwind of travel and adventure. The photos below are from that adventure.. I am still working on the stories and the photos,
but for what I have completed, click on this link, 2010 Criss-Cross of America.
More than once in my life I have set out on an adventure, not knowing full
well where I was going, what I was getting into, what I would find, etc. Such
was the case when I and my photo-buddy started this adventure. We were
sitting at Subway, our office, one evening, chatting about our next photo
adventure. Living less than 100 miles from Springfield, IL., where I had
heard there was a lot of Lincoln history, I had wanted to go there some day.
While having the little chat with my buddy, I threw out the idea of "finally"
going to Springfield solely for the purpose of seeing all we could see that
related to Lincoln, in a few days time.
In two days, we should be able to cover just about all
that we had planned to see, but added one extra day
for good luck, making it three, just to be safe. Then
we checked our calendars, chose the dates, and we
were set to go. Now we had a "time to leave and a
time to get back". Everything in the middle was up for
grabs.. Turned out to be one of the best trips I have
been on in a long time. We really needed the third
day, and could have very well made good use of
another one, maybe two even...
We left home early Tuesday morning, June 12, 2012.
We arrived in Springfield, IL., around 10:30 AM.
Ralph had done some research, and had found us a
potential hotel. We checked it out, thought it to meet
our needs, and we signed the papers for a two night
stay.. Good thing we did, an FFA event came into
town and filled up most all the rooms around the
area! But, we had ours, so we were covered. Once
checked it, we were on the discovery trail "Looking
for Lincoln", and find him we did.. There is most likely
a lot more Lincoln history in the town than we saw,
but we saw a lot, and we got lucky with our timing. At
the first stop, the Old Capitol Building, we learned
there would be a lowering of the flag ceremony at
7:00 PM that evening. This set the tone for the trip, I
think.. The more we looked, the more we found, and
the faster we went to see everything. We did our
three days, full days, and came home with great
memories and some pretty neat memory photos.
As the adventure progressed, I wrote summaries of
each day and sent them back home to friends and
family. Attached to each message was a set of
photos from the day. Instead of retelling the story just
for the this website, I will share with you the exact
messages and photo links that I sent to my friends.
I hope you enjoy the reading part and the photos you
will see if you follow the links! Click on LOOKING
Central West End Photo Walk
.... Most people know me as
a traveler with a camera, who
stories as I wonder around
the country doing adventures,
meeting people, and just sort
of going with the flow. But, I
also do more organized type
events as well. I am a
member of a photography
club here in my area, and
when I can, I get together
with them and participate in
their events. On July 14,
2012, I attended one of these
events. It was a
MEETUP.COM event, and
was arranged by the group
leader Ed Crim. Was great
fun. About 25 people showed
up for the event, which took
place in the area of St. Louis
known as the Central West
End. Lots of neat things there
to take photos of.. I consider
the place to be mostly an
"eating" place, which opens
the doors to lots of photo
opportunities! If you like to
eat and do "people watching",
this is for you. If you take
photos, you will find lots of
things to attract your camera.
I share some of my images
as samples of what you can
find. Click on Central West
End, to see my shared
Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden 2012... WOW, what a show
this was!!! This was one of the most awesome shows I have seen at a botanical garden!!
Last night, August 19, 2012, was the last night of the show, and it was GREAT! And, it
was packed!! I hope you were able to see it, but if not, you can still share the memory.
Click on Lantern Festival to visit the show via the photos I am sharing from the show.
Hope you enjoy the photos.
2012...... July 23 through August 07, my photo buddy Ralph and I were on a Road Trip through Michigan. When
we left our home town, we were grabs. The trip is over now and I am sharing the trip via emails and photos. If
you would like to share our trip, use this link, 2012 Road Trip in Michigan. It is still being updated!
My Nikon D7000
died on Nov 1,
2012, in Rome. I
left Nov 2, on a 16
cruise with no
camera to use.
Because of Nikon, I
have no cruise
photos to share.
Dec 29, 2012
I sent my camera to
Nikon. They say it
will Cost 434
dollars for repairs!!
They tell me it is
water damaged. I
did get caught in
some rain the day
before, but I
camera as best I
could. It is
supposed to be
On tour in Colorado, August and September of 2012... Chasing color, visiting scenic places, sharing stories and
photos from the road. If you have the time, check out my road reports and the related photos. To access these
stories and photos, use this link, Colorado 2012.
January 21, 2013. I
finally got the Nikon
repair. The final cost
for the repair was
cost. Nikon claimed
liquid damage. I
reported the cost to
company and have
now gotten all my
money back.. What
next from Nikon!!
UPDATE: May 5,
2013. The D7000 and
18-200 lens was
mailed back to Nikon
today. It is taking out
of focus photos and
off metered photos. I
do not expect to see
this equipment again
for at least a month!
What chance do I
have that it will be
right this time???? I
think the drum beat to
go to CANON is
getting very loud!
D7000 arrived this
morning at 1030.
Within two hours it
was tested and found
to be as bad as when
it was mailed back.
Nikon reviewed the
test images and
asked for the camera
back. At 0830 on May
15, the D7000 was
dropped off at the
UPS office for its trip
back to Nikon. My
D40 takes better
2013-05-17. Used a
friends Canon 1DX
May 25, 2013, the
holiday weekend and
my D7000 is not
back. I called Nikon
last week, they do not
know when I will get it
back. I keep reading
comments about the
D7000 being weather
resistant. Trust me, it
is NOT. I think that
even a heavy humid
day would kill a
D7000. And, the
repairs are just
horrible. I am looking
at moving to another
June 9, 2013. I still do
not have my D7000
here and working!
Since my last report,
the D7000 went back
to Nikon again, I think.
I am losing track, but
on May 30, it arrived
here from their
California office, then
was forwarded to the
New Your office, as
the California people
did not know what to
do with it. Last report I
got was that they
were trying to find out
what is wrong with it.
D7000 returned today
from Nikon in New
York. I took it out
soon after it arrived
and took some
photos. It works, but I
did not get a chance
to do closeup work
with it, which was
major reason for the
last trip back to Nikon.
Will update as soon
as I feel I have more
to share. This repair
thing has been going
on since last
Today is July 7, 2017,
Seems like this should
be a luck day, and
maybe it will be, but I
am still using Nikon.
And, I am still having
issues, which I will
share in a much
overdue update. Last
night, 2017-07-06, I
went to a glass show,
to see and to
photograph. Before I
went to the show, I
had to put rubber
bands on the lens to
keep the focusing grib
from moving, and
readjust some of the
Gorilla tape used to
keep things in place
on the camera.. Just
before finishing the
show, the camera, a
D7200, died. DEAD.
Nothing worked. I sat
down, thought about
the mess I was in.
Decided to remove all
the battery power,
from the grip and the
body, and start over. I
did, and it worked!!
What next!!!!!! Watch
for update, and
photos of patched up
camera! What does
work great is the
focusing and the auto
Note: Watch this area
for an update soon.. I
have let this area slide
for awhile, but I have
more stories to share.
It is now Nov 27,
February 2, 2013. What a great day to be out playing in our great outdoors. Today
turned out to be an awesome day here in St. Louis, MO. The Lets Hike Meetup group,
lead by Anne, met at Lone Elk Park for an awesome hike. After the hiking was over, I
went across the road and visited the World Bird Sanctuary. During the day I grabbed
some nice memory photos of the elks in the part and of birds in the sanctuary. To see
these memories, click on Elks and Owls Page. Remember to help preserve and protect
our outdoor friends..
2013-02-19... Strange isn't that a person can live in an area for nearly 40 years and
not ever go to their local city hall.. Well, that is the case for me.. Been in the area
almost 40 years and have never been in a lot of the public buildings, such as city
hall.. Then something changes. In this case, I joined a local MEETUP photography
club, and met some really fun people who go out as a group to photograph some
Right now, I think the target is to photograph 20 of the local architectural attractions
in our area. CITY HALL was one of those attractions, and on Tuesday the 19th of
February, our group met there and photographed for about 1.5 hours, then went to a
place called Maggie O'Brien's for lunch, where we sat and talked over the fun we
had at City Hall.
After lunch, we all took off to do our own thing for the rest of the day, but several of
us made our first stop to be the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum in downtown St.
Louis. From there, I do not know where the others went, but I drove around the
arch, then headed down to the famous GRAFFITI WALL along the waterfront. It had
changed some since I was there last.. I think it was better before, but still there was
some fun stuff to see, so I captured a few images of the wall for sharing...
Was a cold, but sunny day, to do photography, however, we all had a great time..
Now, it is time to share some of the images from the day. The image set I am
sharing is rather large, and some of the images will look very much alike to some
people, but to those of us who are into this sort of thing, they will quickly see the
difference.. If you have the time, you can amuse yourself trying to decide why I have
two images so much alike... To view the images from this day, click on St. Louis City
Hall Page. PS. I am finishing up my Trip to Europe last fall, so watch for that to
appear here soon, I hope.
The Orchid Show 2013 is now going on at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St.
Louis, Missouri.. If you have not seen it, now is the time to go!!!! I think the show for
this year ends March 31, 2013....
I try to make it to all the Orchid Shows at the garden, and I try to grab some nice
memory photos while there, to share with people who will not be able to see the
show for whatever reason, and also to share with people who share my interest in
photography.. As usual, many of my images will look alike to some people, but that
is the fun of it.. Deciding which of the two or three is the best choice. You can try
your hand at the selection process.
Note: When I arrived, I had a bit of free time before going in to see the show, so I
went out and grabbed a few photos in the front part of the garden, then went to the
show, then back to touring the garden, so the image set does not start with the
Orchid Show, but will get to the show shortly...
The images I am sharing here now were taken on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
Was a beautiful day both indoors and out. In the images you will see that the garden
is still dressed in white from the last snow that came to our town.. Makes for some
neat images!!! To see the images shared, click on Orchid Show 2013.
At last, it looks like I have finally finished the story of my first trip to Europe,
and my first Trans-Atlantic cruise. Both happened in October and
November of 2012. This story is filled with all kinds of twists and turns, as
things we have never seen, dealt with issues we never expected, then
things we have never seen, dealt with issues we never expected, then
return back home alive. But, being back home is not the end of this
adventure, as some things happened on the trip that is causing us to be a
part of criminal charges being filed against our travel agent. Travel agents
are suppose to solve problems, not create them!!
To read our story, start by clicking on this link, Europe 2012.
Missouri Botanical Garden is coming alive again, from its long winter sleep. You
will want to see it if you live in the area, or if you are traveling near the area! Things
are really starting to open up. .. One of my fellow photo club members invited me to
join them for a morning of photography in the garden, and so I did. On April 26,
2013, we toured the garden and collected really nice images. To see this collection,
click on Missouri Botanical Garden, April 26, 2013.
2013-05-04, OK, here is the deal, if you live in St. Louis, Mo, near St. Louis, or
your are just passing through, here are a couple of places you will want to
check out. Kiener Plaza is a name you will hear used often as a reference
location for everything downtown. It has the famous running man, in the
fountain, and a large water cascade. Great location for special event photos.
And that is just what was happening when my photo club arrived there
Saturday night! Lots of well dressed prom people there for memory photos.
Then, just a couple of blocks further to the west in the mall, is a new addition I
had not yet seen. It is called the City Garden. Don't know how long it has been
there, but I just recently learned that it was there. Saw some photos of it in the
collection of one of the other photogs. I had to go see the place for myself.
Well, this evening was that time. Actually after taking images of Kiener Plaza, I
was nearly frozen, and planned to save the City Garden for a later time, but as
I drove off, I passed the garden. What I saw from the car was just too inviting,
so I parked, grabbed the camera and went exploring.. I did get a few memory
shots, but because I was freezing, I made my visit short and headed home,
however, I think I have a few neat images to share that will give you a fair idea
of what is there, so that you too will be enticed to go there and explore. I think
it would be best in warm weather, but I am sure it is good fun anytime of the
year.. Check it out! To see the shared images for this visit, click on this link:
Kiener Plaza and City Garden, St Louis, MO.
2013-05-10.... St. Charles, MO., is one on those near forgotten little river
towns from the past that have found a new life in our time. Seems like more
and more of these little river towns are being brought back to life through lots
of love, money, and TLC.. They are the place to go for craft stores, antiques,
micro brewery beer, great food, etc. And, as it turns out, at least one of them
makes a great place for a photo club to spend the evening and night, taking
photos. Was a lot of fun. Lots of new members had a chance to learn the the
people on the street.. All wanted to know what important event was taking
place or was going to take place.. All were friendly and were told how they
could join our club or just see our club photos if they were interested. Each
member submits several images to the club website, were they can be viewed
and critiqued by the other members. Is a fun thing to do. For those of us who
have websites, we can use our personal site to share a much larger collection
than what is submitted to the club site. To see the images I am sharing with
the public, click on this link, St. Charles, Missouri at Night.
2013-05-17, Faust Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Home to the famous
Butterfly House and indoor Merry-Go-Round. This is one park you do not
want to miss if you are ever traveling near it. If you live in the area, it is a
great place to visit often. If you live far away, put it on your list of places
to visit... I have been here many times, but today was a special for me.
Knowing that I am having LOTS of problems with Nikon equipment, one
of the men from my photo club, Tom Tucker, offered to bring some real
equipment out and let me see it and use it for a bit.. I saw it, I used it, I
could hardly believe how awesome the images were.. I have never seen
anything that could take images like this equipment did. In the image
above, I am holding the most expensive DSLR camera that I know of, on
the market, plus it has a premium lens and flash on it that are the best of
the best, as far as I know. The camera I am holding is a Canon 1DX with
70-200mm, F2.8. It does not get any better than this. I am going to add
all this to my Christmas List.. Hope I win the lottery soon! Today, I saw
images taken by this camera that I thought were beyond the ability of a
DSLR.... Was awesome... Speaking of awesome, the park was
awesome today. We had great fun, capturing some images of the
butterflies, the Merry-Go-Round, then the old buildings that are
preserved on the property. Was great fun.. As always, I have selected a
set of images to share with my photo buddies and the public in general.
You are invited to check them out. To see the images, click on this link,
Faust Park in St. Louis, MO., May 2013.
May 24, 2013. Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri.
In St. Louis, Missouri, there are several really neat little parks tucked away in out of sight
places, scattered around town. Some of them I had not found until here recently. Others,
like this park, I have been going to for years. And, I think this park provided me with some
of the first images I posted on this website. So, I have been keeping an eye on it for
many years. Today, was a return visit after being away for a long time. Many changes
have been made to the park, most all are good. Now, there is a wonderfully large parking
lot, a nearly new restroom building, and some new sculptures. But, much has remained
the same. The big red "thing" you see above has been there as far back as I can
remember, and this is true for some of the other sculptures. However, a lot of them have
been relocated since they were first brought to the park.. Some of the original sculptures
have been removed from the park, but, have reappeared in other parts of town!
Today, in the mid-afternoon, I joined two of my photo club members for a stroll through
the park. And, of course, we gathered some images to share. The images I have to
share from todays visit can be seen by clicking on this link, Laumeier Sculpture Park. I
hope you enjoy this glimpse of the park and I hope you will go see it for yourself.The park
has a large stage area where mega concerts are presented during the summer, and it
has a lot of great hiking, suitable for everyone. So, there is a lot more to the park than
just the sculptures! It is very near the intersection of Highway 44 and 270. Another great
park in this area is Powder Valley, which has great hiking trails and lots of friendly deer
that come out in the late evening.
2013-06-08, Cathedral Basilica St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd, St Louis, MO.
This is one of those "must see" places in St. Louis. I have been in St Louis
nearly 40 years and it was not until this visit that I even knew this place
existed! It happens, but now that I know it is here, I can recommend it as a
"place to see" in St. Louis. I visited this church as part of a photo event with
my photo club. We have a very active leader who finds really wonderful places
to hold these events. Today, it was the Basilica. I was not prepared for the
experience.. Did not know such a place existed in St. Louis. We took the 10
AM tour and learned just about every important thing a person could know
about this place. And, it was amazing to learn how many famous St. Louis
people have had their weddings and funerals here. Even the story about how
parking is handled here is amazing! I strongly suggest you visit this Basilica,
and that you take the tour. Without the tour, you will not know how amazing
this place really is. To learn more about the Basilica and the tours, visit its
website at http://cathedralstl.com. There are lots of tours offered, but you
must call ahead and check to see when they are being given, as they are
offered only when services, etc, are not taking place. When you visit the site,
click on "Friends", then "Tours". At the end of each tour, you will be asked to
make a donation of two dollars or more. It is worth way more than two
dollars!! After the tour, we photogs got to work doing the photo thing. Was
great fun, but, not so easy to do. The church is rather dark inside when
services are not taking place. And, it is worth noting, there is no paint used in
the service area. All the art work is done in glass, stone, metal, etc. One of
the facts that you will learn on the tour is that it costs over 13 dollars per
minute to have the lights on in this place!!! So, it is rather dark in here most of
time! To see the images I am sharing from my visit, click on this link: Cathedral
Basilica St. Louis. Warning, we were told this Cathedral is often confused with
the old one downtown! Many times people have arrived at one, when they
should have been at the other! I suppose this happens most often when
people are coming into town for a wedding or a funeral. More than likely, they
just did not read their announcement well enough!!! The tour guide has very
interesting facts to offer on the topic of weddings here.
2013-06-12, Missouri Botanical Garden. This is one of the most popular
attractions in the St. Louis area. I have visited here many times and each trip
is different. There is always something new and exciting to find, to see, to
photograph, to share, and the list goes on.
Today, I was here following the suggestion of one of my photo buddies, Al,
who planned to go to the garden, early, and work with the dew drops that can
found on the plants in the wee hours of the day. We made the arrangements
and set the wheel in motion. I arrived at 0700 and found my buddy already
hard at work. It would seem he had arrived much earlier, had found the dew
drops, and was focused on capturing them with his camera. Was not long
before I found my own dew drops to play with, along with other "stuff", and
myself busy trying lots of different ways to get the best image I could before
the sun and the heat could end out adventure. To do the drops, it is necessary
to arrive early and work fast before the sun is actually shining directly on the
plants.. I hope you will see what I mean when you view the images shared
here for this adventure. Many of the images will look similar, but, they are
different. See if you can find the difference! To view, use is link: Dew Drops!.
4th of July Celebration, 2013!!!! For as long as I can remember, the
4th of July and Fireworks have been one and the same.. When you
have one, you are sure to have the other.. When I was growing up in
the country, fireworks did not get much bigger than the "firecrackers"
that we bought in little packages and lighted them with a stick that we
bought at the time we got the firecrackers.. I think it was called a
"punk"! I used a many of them, but have no idea where the name
came from, but it was a necessity to have if you were going to shoot
Now older, I have left the country and joined the big kids in the city..
Here, things are a bit different.. From the noise around the
neighborhood, I have to think firecrackers are still bought, sold, and
lighted, just like we did when I was a kid.. But, the real difference of
being in the city, is that the fireworks are not fireworks, they are
fireshows!!!!!! The displays that take place around the 4th of July are
just off the scale amazing!!!!!! And, from what I have heard, they cost
a small fortune, which is paid for my merchants and other organized
groups in the town.
Most of the displays start around 9:19 PM, and go for about 20
minutes.. Not only is there awesome displays of color and design,
there is also the sound.. Some of the displays are accompanied by
big bangs that make you think there is a major war going on!!!!!!
Whatever is happening, it is great fun to watch... And, if you are a
camera person life me and my friends, you will do your best to
capture the visual effects.. This is just what took place this holiday
On this 4th of July, after a long drive back from the mountains of
Colorado, I unloaded my gear, napped, grabbed my camera again,
headed out to meet my friends who were photographing the fireworks
in St. Charles, MO. Turned out to be an awesome event and provided
some great images. Then last night, the 5th, I met my photo club
again, on the Eads Bridge, where we watched and photographed the
fireworks show this evening in front of the The Arch in St. Louis, on
the riverfront! Was another great show....
Showtime~! If you would like to see the images from these two
fireworks displays, use the links below:
St. Charles, Missouri fireworks, July 4, 2013
St. Louis, Missouri fireworks, in front of The Arch, July 5, 2013.
Colorado Adventure, June/July, 2013... If you are ready for another one
of my adventures, here it is. I tried to think of what to call it, but I guess
a "Reunion Backpack Trip" would be as good as any.. Bob, who is in the
photo with me took me on my first backpacking trip, ever, in August
1986, it happened here in Colorado. We did a few other trips after that,
but retirement and lifestyle changes took us in different directions. But,
as fate would have it, this year we would have the opportunity for a
reunion trip. We took the opprotunity and ran with it.. To learn what all
happened, and to see the memory photos, click on this link, Colorodo
Adventure, Early 2013. Here you will get to live the adventure as if you
were with us!!!
2013-07-16, Ultralight flying is not new, in fact it is very old. To be precise, it is the
original method of flying made famous by the Wright Brothers a good number of
years ago. Some found it so attractive and fun that they stayed with it, while others
moved away from the fun part of flying and moved to heavy-weight flying for tasks
far removed from the basic fun element of soaring with the birds. As a young
person, I thought flying would be my occupation in this life, but that did not happen.
However, I have not been far removed from it, for most of my life. Shorly after
arriving in St. Louis in 1974, I worked with and became friends with one of the most
active pilots in both model airplanes and the ultralight airplanes. All these years
later, we are both now retired and pursuing our hobbies. Mine is photographer and
travel, my friend Kilburn is still designing and building, model airplanes, model boats,
real boats, and what we would call real airplanes..We have seemingly different
hobbies, but they mix well and we have made that work for us over the years. And,
Kilburn helped me build and fly my first RC sailplane, in 1975, I think it was. I still
have the plane, plus the other four or five I built, When I first met Kilburn, his son
Michael was probably just starting grade school. Now Michael is a full grown man
and has joined his dad in the love of and sport of flying small aircraft.. They are
both very good pilots. We would say they are "naturals" at this. It is in their blood!
That said, Kilburn called yesterday and asked if I would like to come to the airfield
and take some airplane photos. I accepted, as it sounded like good fun. And, it
was! Great fun. I took photos of the models that Kilburn had there, but also took a
lot of images of his son's Firestar Ultralight, with Michael flying it. All this was just
great fun in itself, but then Michael offered me a ride in his plane. I had to accept,
and did! He managed to get me in the back seat, then took me for what maybe the
most enjoyable plane ride I have been a part of... Was awesome!! Of couse, it was
the purpose of the day to take photos and I did, both on the ground and in the air,
but the plane ride was the icing on the cake. When it as all over, I had a great day,
had some great photos, and most of all some great memories.. And, if you are into
airplanes, ultralights in particular, you might like to view the images I am sharing
here. My buddy's name is Kilburn Adams, and his son's name is Michael Adams,
and both own FireStar ultralights. They both have websites, but I do not have those
handy at this time. This flying thing is in the Adams blood. Kilburn has another son
who is also neck deep into this flying thing, though he lives in California, and he is
most famous these days in the world of Radio Control aircraft. His name is Ken
Adams. If it flys, the Adams are into it.. Pretty much the same for sailing!
Ok, for my readers who like airplanes, this next set of images is for you.. Here is
the link to shared images from my afternoon with the Adams Family!!!
2013-07-19~21, Just got back from a nice road trip to visit my niece, Becky,
who is serving in the Army, as a veterinarian, at Fort Campbell, KY!!! Was a
great trip, even if it was just a short weekend adventure.. But, we packed in a
lot of "tourist" action while I was there. And, as usual, I recorded the better
part of the trip in photos. There were a lot of "family" memory photos taken on
this trip, but there were a lot of travel images as well. So, I set up a share file
that is a blend of family photos for the relatives to view and then "travel" photos
for those people who are more interested in the other parts of the trip. In
short, I traveled to Clarksville, TN, met up with my niece, then started doing the
tourist thing. We ate, we visited the Army base, and we drove to Nashville
where we cruised through the tourist areas, to include the bars where the day
singers try to get noticed. Truth is, I think they really need to work on their
craft. I did not see any "stars" there! I expected much better.. We did however
find some great food and some great ice cream!!! You will see this in the
photos.. And, as the trip drew to a close, we found a great coffee shop and a
fun winery. Check'um out, Flippy's and Mike's in Nashville, then GetSome
Coffee and Beachaven Winery in Clarksville!!!!!! You will like them. And,
Logan's Steakhouse is a "must-do"!!!! To view the images from this adventure,
use the link: Tennessee-- Clarksville and Nashville.
2013-08-02, I been out exploring again, and had a fun time doing it!!!
Some of my readers will be familiar with the area I explored this day,
but I expect few, if any, have seen the building and met the man
involved in the Cotton Belt Mural Project!!! I'll share that story with
you here.. click on this link to read the story and see the shared
images: River Road Drive.
Isn't it amazing how fast a phone call can change your day!!!!!!!!!
This is exactly what happened on August 4, 2013. To read about this
adventure and see the shared images, use this link: St Louis Zoo
and Sea Lion Show.
2013-08-15... Forest Park After Lunch. For followers of my site, it
is well known that I revisit points of interest in the St Louis area. This
happens at Forest Park several times per year. This day was one of
those. My purpose for going to the park was to hike the perimeter of the
park with a MEETUP hiking group. But, like any self respecting person
who owns a big camera, I put the camera in the car along with my water
bottle, etc. After the hike was completed, there was still plenty of
daylight left, and I did not have a commitment for the afternoon, so I
started off with a little drive around the park. First stop, the pond at the
bottom of art hill. Weather was good, energy in the park was good, so I
just kept on doing what I was doing.. Before long, I had collected over
1000 images for the day, and I was worn out. So, it was time to end the
park visit and head home. To learn more about this day and to see the
shared images, click on this link: Forest Park After Lunch.
OCT 26, 2013, The Western Adventure 2013 story is now finished ...
The Trans-Atlantic is Complete as of Nov 17, 2013
and now the story and the photos are ready to share!!! See below
On Nov 17, 2013, I completed a TransAtlantic Cruise on Royal Caribbean's
Adventure of the Seas. Was an awesome 13 night cruise that started in
Southampton, England on November 4, 2013, and completed in San Juan on
November 17, 2013. Was my second TransAtlantic, and was great fun. Met lots of
great people and made lots of new friends. I also met some old friends from my
last trip on this ship!!!!! The story and the photos are now ready for you to enjoy..
Use this link: Trans-Atlantic Cruise 2013.
If you have not noticed, it is the Christmas season once again, and there
is a lot going on around the country, related to this season.. One of those
things is light shows. Some neighborhoods have become well known for
their big displays of seasonal lights.. St Louis Hills in St Louis is just such
a place.. I had never been there before, but went last night, by invitation,
to be part of a "hike" through this neighborhood.. Was fun!! We moved so
fast, it was more like a run and than a hike, but of course I took a camera
and snapped a few memory images as we zoomed by the homes.. Using
the link below, you can see the images that survived the editing.. Due to
the speed that we were traveling, it was shoot and run, so a lot of images
were lost in the editing, but the ones that survived should be enough to
encourage you to go browse the area and see these well dressed homes
for yourself, if you live in the area.
On the internet, search for Candy Cane Lane, St Louis Hills. You will get
directions and other info about the show!
Christmas Light Show: Candy Cane Lane, St Louis Hill, St Louis, MO
January 01, 2014!!! Missouri Botanical Garden's "Garden Glow", seasonal light display!! If you live
in the St Louis, Missouri area, I hope you were able to make it out to see the special display presented this year at
the Missouri Botanical Garden.. It was great fun.. I will have to admit that I did not get there until 1/1/14, which was
near the end of the run, but I did get to see it and have brought back some memory photos that I will share with you. I
do not know the planning behind this show, but not long ago the garden had a summer show that was so popular that
I think they tried this to see how popular it would be. I am guessing it was a winner, as it was hard to get in to see it,
some nights!!! I am guessing they will do it again next year.. For people who are far from the St Louis area, I hope
you get a sense of what the show was like as you watch the slide show, and maybe someday you can include one of
these shows in your travel plans... To see the images from this event, use this link: Missouri Botanical Garden,
2014-01-19... Eagle watching day in Clarksville, Missouri.. On this day I saw more eagles in one place
than ever in my life, anywhere, to include Alaska, etc. My photo club chose this day to meet in Clarksville, MO,
and try their hand at capturing images of the eagles fishing in the early morning, below Lock and Dam Number 24
on the Mississippi River. Each winter eagles come to the Mississippi River to feed, but this year has been a real
showcase for eagle watching. The extremely cold weather on the northern part of the Mississippi River has forced
the eagles to move south in search of food. The locks and dams provide the perfect place to fish, as the moving
water is mostly free of ice below the locks. Was an awesome day to be out taking photos, from sunrise till dark.
So, I did. I started before daylight and I did not get home until after dark. Not only did I watch the eagles feed, but
then I moved on up the River Road to Louisiana and Hannibal, before heading home.. My camera gear is not
good enough to get National Geographic quality photos of the eagles, but I think they are good enough to show
you what was there for viewers to enjoy. If you are in the area, I hope you will go witness this amazing show. To
see my images, use this link: Clarksville, Missouri Eagles, January 19, 2014.
2014-02-13, It is back and it is beautiful!!! The Missouri Botanical Garden is once again presenting its
annual Orchid Show. This year the title of the show is Orchids of South America!! The show is now open, as of Feb
1. It will remain open through March 23. I can now tell you from experience, that the 2014 show is awesome.. I do not
remember how many years now I have been going to these shows, but they are great and should be attended by all who
live close enough to do see them. This year one of my photo buddies and I sneaked over and viewed the show on the day
before Valentine's Day. The orchids are amazing.. I hope you will go see it for yourself.. And, for the official info, such as
times and prices for the show, please use this link, Orchids 2014. If you would like a sneak peek at some of the orchids
in the show, you can do that by viewing the images I am sharing from my visit.. I visited the Orchid Show, then took a
short walk through the climatron, so at the end of my share file, you will find a few images that are not a part of the Orchid
Show.. To see the images I am sharing from the orchid show and my visit to the gardens, please use this link:
Missouri Botanical Garden's Orchid Show 2014.
2014-05-10 thru 17....... Costa Rica, at last!!!! For years I have heard of Costa
Rica. I have had friends going there for any number of reasons. One work mate went
there to visit a daughter. Other friends went to play. Some even invited me to go, but I
was afraid to go because of the poison snakes!! Then, a recent invite finally broke the
barrier with me, and I threw my fears to the wind and accepted.. What I found was some
of just about everything.. From the high ground to the ocean, and from the rich down to
the other end of the scale.. In this release of images, I will share samples of what I saw..
To get the whole story, click on Costa Rica May 2014.
2014-06-14, Forest Park, St Louis, MO. Here are a few images from a stroll
and lunch, in Forest Park, on Saturday before Fathers Day.. Went to the park with
another club member, for a stroll, some lunch, and some photo scouting.. To see
the images, Use this link: FP Stroll.
2014-05-25, Scouts Flag Day at Jefferson Barracks National
Cemetery..... I have lived within 5 miles of this cemetery for over 40
years and I have been to the cemetery in the late evening of Memorial
Day, to photo the flags and other decorations. I always wondered how
the cemetery got all those flags on all those graves.. For years I
wondered, then at the funeral of a close friend who was killed in an
auto accident, I met my friend's family, and learned that they, being
part of a local scout troop, were much involved in the process of
putting the flags on the graves. And, I was invited to bring camera gear
and record the next event. That event took place on May 25, 2014.
The family picked me up, took me with them to witness the process..
Was amazing.. I was in awe. In 1.5 hours, approximately 2000 people
put a flag on every single grave. There are 199,000 graves. To see my
memory photos, use these two links:
Camera one ----- Camera two.
2014-05-26, Memorial Day in Jefferson Barracks
National Cemetery, St Louis, MO.
Yesterday, I was embedded with one of the scout troops that
came to the cemetery to put flags on the graves, all 199,000
of them.. Today, I return in the early morning to witness and
record the events of the day. After 40 years of being a
neighbor to the cemetery, this would be the first time I had
been here for the ceremonies. Was really neat. I hope that by
viewing the images from yesterday and today, you will feel
like you were there with me.. As a side note, tomorrow,
volunteers will return to the cemetery and remove all the
flags.. Next year, they will be put back on... To see my
memory images of this day, use these links:
Camera One ---------- Camera Two.
2012-06-27.... Desert Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis, Missouri. If you
are into desert flowers, this just might be something you would like.. Between June 28 and July 27, the
garden has a Desert Show ready for viewing. Pretty neat. I got in to see the show a day early, at the
invitation of my photo buddy, Al, who is a member of the garden. The garden offered a "members and
guest" event the night before the official opening of the show.. I attended as Al's guest. We arrived and
started our visit at 5:30 PM, and left less than an hour later.. The reviews for the show are mixed. I liked
it, and stayed as long as Al would put up with me being there. On the other hand, he was less impressed
with it. So, it would seem it is a personal thing. I will say, that compared to the huge Orchid Show the
garden has each year, this is less. But, for people who like desert plants and flowers, this works. I can
find something neat in nearly everything.. And, I will be sharing the memories I have of this visit. I did use
two cameras, so I will share two files, one for each camera.. Also, after our time in the Desert Show, we
met more photo friends at a local park for more photos, and then we were off to dinner.. Was a great
evening. To see the memories I am sharing from the Desert Show, please use these links: Camera One
and Camera Two.
2014-06-25 Evening of Music and Photos at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis,
Missouri. I do not know the history of the music programs in the gardens, but I know they are very popular and
very well attended.. I have been attending these musicals in the park as far back as I can remember.. Originally
they were small, but as the years have gone by and the popularity has increased, the numbers have increased!!
You will see what I mean later.. .. ... Now, along comes my photo club, and they found that it was great fun to
join the music lovers for these evenings in the park, taking advantage of the evening light and the visual effects
available after dark.. So, everyone wins.. As a member of the club, I get to share in the photo adventure and
have the music in the background.. The photo club members arrive around 5:30 PM, and do photography until
the crowd starts leaving. People interested in the music will need to check the Missouri Botanical Garden
website at: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org for details on the music in the gardens and other programs
for this summer. I think the music festival goes through August. Currently, there is a Desert Show on display.
The music is free, however there is an additional fee for the Desert Show. To view the memories I am sharing
of this evening in the gardens, please use this link: Missouri Botanical Garden in the Evening Light.
2014-07-03+04, Fireworks. How much better could it be! The weather in the St Louis area
was absolutely perfect for the holiday weekend. I did not stay outside enough this weekend to
enjoy all the great weather, but I did go out for a couple of the firework shows, and they were
great. The first one was in Alton, IL, on the 3rd. The second one was in St Charles, MO. on the
4th. Both were great shows... Due to some issues with the camera, my set of images from the
St Charles show is much smaller, but still the surviving images are kinda neat.. Digital cameras
can be neat, or then can drive you crazy!! Mine drove me crazy on the 4th! Things will be better
next time! To see the images from this weekend, use the links below:
Alton, IL .......... St Charles, MO
The Great China Adventure! I returned from China on July 27! Amazing! The
old China is being replaced by a New China that has to be seen to be
believed!!! Much has been done, and much more is on the "do List"... The way
they are going now, the whole place will look like Disneyland before long! All
the images are ready for viewing. I hope to add some personal stories later. To
experience the China Adventure, Click on CHINA 2014. The trip dates of my
travel were July 9, 2014 thru July 27, 2014.
All the images for the China Adventure are now ready for viewing.
Peru and Ecuador! Machu Picchu is AWESOME, Galapagos was a LOSER!
I returned from these countries on Sept 20, 2014. I thought Machu Picchu was
even better than advertised. But, my experience in Galapagos was just horrible.
It is nothing like the advertising. All the images from this adventure are now
ready for viewing! To see the plan used for the trip, and the shared photos,
click on this link: Peru & Ecuador, Sept 2014.
Thanksgiving Memories 2014
November 2014. Thanksgiving Season.. A time to travel and see friends, eat
turkey, travel the highways, make new discoveries, get that warm welcome
feeling about coming home!!! Visiting friends is always a treasure. Visiting
beautiful homes, parks, and businesses, dressed for the season is such a joy!!!
And while you are all pumped up with great feelings of your travels, you come
to the welcome home sign!!! And, what can you do but laugh!!!! In the set of
memories shared here, I share some of the moments of joy during my holiday
travels, then I share with you the attention getting WELCOME HOME!!!! Check
it out.. Click on the link: WELCOME HOME to the SHOW ME state!!
2014-12-04~17.... Patagonia Adventure!!! This is one place I have
wanted to go for many years, and now, I have been there, and I am now back!!!
I am alive, and I am getting well... Nearly everyone on this adventure caught a
cold, plus I even managed to get an eye infection on top of the cold.. Not good,
but I have now been treated, so I am much better! This was my 4th Smartours
trip this year, and it turned out to be the worst!! A fair number of the travelers
had traveled with Smartours before, and all agreed that this was the worst
experience so far.. There were just sooo many things that were less than we
expected... I would not recommend Smartours for this adventure. The guides
were a problem, the food was a problem, and the list goes on.. Really felt
cheated on this trip... That said, I met some great people and acquired some
neat new friends, that I would not have if I had not been on this trip, so there was
good that came out of all the challenges!!! As soon as I have time, I will write my
usual story, and by reading it, you will learn what I mean by being disappointed..
To connect with the pages that will tell the story, and share the images taken,
use this link: 2014 Patagonia Adventure.
Note: For those who have been checking my site for new road trips, I have hit a
snag... My first trip for 2015 would have been in Feb, to Vietnam, but that was not to
On Jan 6, I went in for an ultra sound test of my heart. Something did not look right. So,
in the early morning of Jan 13, I went in for a simple cath test.. I expected I might need
another stent. I already had two. And, as I was being tested, I told the doctor to take
good care of me, as I was to go on a photo trip to Vietnam in February. He replied by
saying I was not going anywhere for 90 days!!!!!! Then, on his monitor, he showed me
what the issue was. I had two bad blockages. One blockage was commonly known as a
Widow Maker.. It had to be fixed, and fast.. My feet did not touch the floor, I was taken
from testing to open heart surgery. When I woke up later that evening, I was in ICU,
recovering from a double bypass on my heart.. WOW!!! That was a
surprise!!! But, I am Happy to report that I am doing well, and look forward to getting
back on the road and back behind the camera.. The doctor thinks I might be traveling
again in June or July..
Bottom line, I am a very lucky fellow.. If the medical people had not caught the issue,
and had not gotten me to surgery when they did, this website might have ended!!!!
That said, I have been taking statin drugs for years, to avoid this. In 2006, I had to have
two stents, and I continued to take my statins and other meds as prescribed, plus, since
the beginning of 2011, I have been on the heart healthy diet foods.. And when I could, I
consumed organic foods.. But, in the end, none of it worked!!!!!!!!!! Exercise did not
work, medication did not work, food did not work... So, whats left???? I spend my
recovery time trying to solve the mystery, and to finish the photo updates from last years
trips... I hope to be back on the road in a few months!!! Hope you will be ready for some
more adventure photos....
All the images for the Patagonia Adventure are now
ready for viewing...
All the images for the Peru and Ecuador Adventure are now ready for viewing.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015
Memorial Day Weekend, 2015.. For the second year in a row I have
been invited by Boy Scout Troop 181 to join them and other scouts, plus family
and friends, as they performed their annual tradition of placing flags on the
graves in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO. I think I read
that this tradition started in 1939, and continues on today.. It is an amazing
thing to watch, as some 4000 scouts flood into the cemetery and place flags on
more than 190,000 graves. Around 1130 the scouts started gathering in the
assembly area. At 1230 they entered the cemetery, and attended a ceremony.
At 1330, they were released to start placing flags on graves.. At 1430, it was
all over. In one hour, they had placed flags on all the graves and were leaving
the cemetery.. It was an amazing sight to watch.. This exercise took place on
Sunday. On Monday, the official Memorial Day ceremony was to start at 1000.
I arrived around 0900 and started gathering images of the day.. The ceremony
was very nice, and was lucky to have beautiful weather.. In fact the weather
was so nice this weekend, I got a nasty sunburn!!! Forgot to apply suntan
lotion!!!! The ceremony was over around 1115. I was back to the car around
1130... I had planned to go back late in the day and get more memory images
of the cemetery in the evening light, but other plans took longer than expected
and I did not make it back... Now, after several days of processing, I have
memory images to share.. Please use the links below to view the memories
from my day with scouts and my return on Monday for the Memorial Day
ceremony. I used two cameras, so the files are divided by camera.
Sunday with the scouts: Camera One ....... Camera Two
Memorial Day: Camera One ....... Camera Two
This site is best viewed in Google Chrome
Scotland Adventure, 2015.. August 3-13.. The trip is
now complete and all the info for it, along with photos is now ready to share..
Click on this link: Scotland 2015, to share the adventure.
2015-08-01, Lantern Festival at Missouri Botanical
Garden.. The 2012 Lantern Festival was so popular that the gardens chose
to do it again in 2015. If you missed either one, or both, of them, you can share
the memories of them here via my shared photos.. Both shows were a success,
but the 2012 show was just awesome and spoiled us.. Even though the 2015
show was good, the 2012 show was the winner!!! This year I have divided my
shared photos into two sets, one before dark, and one after dark, with the lights
one. During the before dark set, you get to see an awesome stage show!!!
Amazing what these young people could do!!! Use the links below to enjoy
memories of the 2015 Lantern Festival.
Lanterns: Before Dark ........... After Dark
2015-09-02~15, Treasures of Turkey... What an
awesome trip!!! This is one of those places that has to be seen to be
appreciated.. Stories and photos are not enough.. I will share stories,
and I will share photos, which will not be enough, but it is a start.. To
share in the experience, use this link : Turkey 2015.
2015-11-09~24. Vietnam and Cambodia. WOW,
what an amazing adventure! Given the history behind these two countries, I
think this is a trip everyone should make, especially those who served
there during the famous Vietnam War. In Vietnam, they call it the American
War. Whatever the title, a lot of bad things happened there and a lot of lives
were wasted. Now, there is little evidence of the past conflicts. It would seem
the countries are doing their best to recover and become a part of the modern
world. What people see now, of the past, are those things that have been
preserved for people like me to see and try to visualize how the past must
have been. Now the countries are building multi-million dollar hotels and
resorts, as part of a plan to attract tourists. Large companies like Samsung
have built huge production plants there, both to take advantage of cheap labor,
and to move the economy forward. Given that it is a tropical region of the world,
it will most likely always show signs of what looks like poverty to the rest of the
world. However to the locals, it is just living off the land and sea. Lots of people
grow an abundance of fresh food, and gather amazing amounts of fish, etc,
from the water. Just because they do not live in mansion size houses, does not
mean they are poor or unhealthy. The land is very fertile and the sea is full of
life .The things I am remembering most is that the people are healthy and thin,
they are very social, they are very friendly to all, and it seems everyone rides a
motor scooter! You will have to see my photos to fully appreciate what I saw. I
will be sharing the images as I work though the editing process. To learn about
the adventure, and see the shared photos, use this link: Vietnam-Cambodia Nov
In front of the famous Hanoi Hilton
Visiting the Sunset Temple
My new 3 dollar hat
The most fun way to travel in town!!!!
Its here again!! The Garden Glow and Gardenland Express flower and
train show. These presentations are available from November 21, 2015,
through January 2, 2016. On the morning of December 11, 2015, I checked the
weather report for the weekend and found that rain was headed toward our area, but this
evening was supposed to be good for viewing the shows at the garden, before the rains
arrived!! So, I purchased my ticket and started getting my camera ready for an evening of
fun at the garden. I chose to be there when the show started at 5 PM. I timed it right, and
when I arrived, there was still plenty of parking, and a fairly short line to get in..
After a short wait, and some good conversation with others in line, the doors opened and in
we went!!! I am not sure what I expected, as I had not talked to anyone who had already
been there, so I did not know what to expect.. And, I did not know exactly how I was going
to use my time trying to get around to seeing the full show. When here for previous shows,
I did not remember there being a path to follow through the show, and I am not sure how
long it took for me to wake up and notice the "Follow the Glow" signs. But, there they were,
and even then I was not confident the signs were the best plan, as I could see things I
wanted photos of, but the signs did not point to. So, I stopped and asked one of the
volunteers about the best way to see the show, and she said that this year, following the
signs would eventually take me through the complete show. I hoped they were correct, and
as it turns out, they were!!! Was a great tour plan, and I saw everything. I started the Glow
tour at 5 PM, and was finished at 7:45 PM. Then as I left the garden, I noticed the train
show sign.. I had almost missed it!!! So, I bought a ticket for that and went in to see the
display. This show is presented in the entrance building of the garden.
As for my evaluation of the show, there are lots of lights!!! Maybe millions, so it was a great
place to wander around and just enjoy an outdoor evening, but the one thing that was
missing was creativity. I noticed the same thing with the last Lantern Festival. There was a
lot of lights on display, but no WOW. For this show, I think the lights in the climatron
fountain was the highlight, as is always the case, but more so this time.. Is it worth the time
and expense to go, yes, but keep your expectations low..
I now have a set of memory images to share with those who have the time and interest to
watch them. As always, be warned, my shows are long, so before you start, grab a
refreshment, then set back and relax. To view the images, use this link: 2015 Garden Glow
and Gardenland Express.
The buddha statue above is 11,000 pounds of 18 carat gold!!!! The lady
in the photo with me is one of the famous Longnecks of Thailand!!!
Thailand, what an amazing place to visit!!! I loved it.........
Jan 5~21, 2016, The Thailand Adventure!!!
This was just an awesome trip! Many have asked me to explain why I
describe it as AWESOME and AMAZING!! I have not yet been able to
put the answer into words, but when I can, I will.. The country, the land,
the people, the culture, the food, the religion, the temples, the statues,
and the list goes on.. In a short, each of the items above is amazing,
then when you add them all together, you have an overload of the
senses.. I was traveling with a great group of people, we went to a
beautiful place, we had great fun, and we got home safely, bringing
back lots of photos and many great memories!! I tell my stories with
photos. I hope you will find time to browse the share files. They will be
shared at the following link, as they are edited and released!!
Link = Thailand 2016.
Friends from previous trip..
Marilyn and Judy
India and Nepal, March 2016
Gandhi was cremated at
The stone marks the
location and serves as a
Another adventure is now complete!! On March 6, 2016, I flew to NYC.
On the 7th, I caught the official flight to India. At JFK, I met two ole friends
from a previous adventure who would be with me on this adventure.. What
a nice surprise!! They were great fun!!! Wonderful ladies...
Now back, I have a lot of mixed feelings about India and Nepal.. On one
hand we saw some really neat tourist type stuff.. On the other hand, we
were exposed to the most nasty, dirty, filthy, trashy, and polluted places I
have ever visited... And, from that, I came home super sick, as did many
others in the group.. Out of the 16 tourists in our group, at least 12 got
very sick.. Once back, I was so sick that I ended up at the emergency
room.. The diagnoses was viral lung infection!!! I think the others had
something similar, given the amount of pollution and filth we inhaled!!
While on the trip, I shared blog emails, describing the challenges!!! These
will be shared on my site here, as soon as I get to feeling better!!!
To see the historical paperwork and planning material, click on this link:
India and Nepal, 2016.
2016-05-09, Testing a Samsung S7 Smartphone, on a very cloudy day, that turned to
showers, then an all out rain!!! But, before my guide and I were forced off the trails by rain, I
was able to see some really neat rock formations, some great Azalea Blooms, the famous
Pickle Spring waterfall in the Pickle Springs Conservation Area, and part of Pickle Creek in
Hawn State Park.
A local guide offered to show me where I could do some photo testing that would put me in
close touch with some really neat wildflowers, so that I could test a new smartphone from
Samsung, the S7. On this day, I saw many different wildflowers, but the star flower of this
adventure was to be the Azalea, which was in full bloom!!! Beautiful...
The plan was to drive to one of Missouri Conservation Department's neatest properties,
Pickle Springs, where we would hike the two mile trail, see the amazing rock formations, find
Azaleas, and other wildflowers, then move to Hawn State Park for the remainder of the time
we had left... The plan worked great, except that heavy clouds ruled the day, first by
sprinkling water on us, then later, in Hawn, turning the sprinkles into an all out rain!! At
which time, we headed for the car, ditched the wet gear, and headed to Midway Bar and
Grill for some great burgers and beverages!!! I shot a lot of images, I edited out a lot of
images, and I adjusted the ones I kept.. If you would like to see the results of my day with a
Samsung S7, use the link below!!! Hope you enjoy!!!
Samsung S7 Test.
2016-05-19 thru 2016-06-01, France Adventure!
Another check mark has been added to my DO LIST. I have now
joined the long list of people in my social circle who have been to
FRANCE! As far back as I can remember, I have seen images of
the Eiffel Tower, and was drawn to the task of someday getting
there, making my way up it as far as was allowed, then add that famous
check mark to my DID IT list. Well, now I have been to France, I have
been to the famous D-Day Beaches, I have been to the southern part
of France, around Nice, but I did not get close enough to the Eiffel
Tower to even touch it, much less go up in it, nor did I get to go inside
another of the famous attractions in France, the Louvre.. I suppose I
did not plan well when choosing my tour company. I got close enough
to the Eiffel Tower to see it, I got close enough to the Louvre to see it,
but that was about it. My tour company used up their time visiting
chateaus and going shopping.. I suppose those have value, but were
not at the top of my list. I loved the gardens at the chateaus, they were
awesome, and were also something I always wanted to see. And, I got
to make a short touch and go visit to a couple of the D-Day beaches.
So, of the four things I expected to get up close and personal with,
the D-Day Beaches, the Chateau Gardens, the Louvre, and the Eiffel
Tower, I managed to do two, the beaches and the gardens, the Louvre
and the Eiffel Tower, are still on my DO-LIST... Will be making plans to
return and add these to my DID IT list. On my MYTH BUSTERS list, I
found the French super friendly, which is the opposite of what I had
been told, but, I did not find the food to be anywhere near as good as
I was told. I ended up eating at McDonald's more often than not! Wanna
know more, follow this link to the road reports and the memory photos:
France Adventure 2016.
2014-10-02--14. Ireland! Now I can say I too have been there!
If there is any one place on earth that everyone has heard of, it is Ireland. That
means it had to be on my travel list. Now, I have been there, I saw it, I
photographed what I saw, and have returned safely. If you have been there, my
photos will bring back memories. If you have not been there, you will most likely
want to go after you see my photos. What can I tell you now about the trip? It
was a fun trip! I traveled with great people and a great guide-driver, Paul. That
said, it was not a WOW place to go, as there is very little WOW on the island,
but by comparison to other places, it is really neat and makes for a nice place to
do a vacation. I think my perspective will be different than what you might expect.
Below are a few well chosen images to get you ready for the larger sets of
images. All the images for the Ireland Adventure are now ready for viewing. To
view my shared memories,
use this link: Ireland Adventure.
Caribbean Adventure, January 05~14, 2017
January in most parts of the United States is a great time to get away
to the Caribbean for some fun in the sun! Some people, I hear, just go
to one location, and lay in the sun! I am okay with that, but for me and
most of my friends, that is too stale! We need something more,and one
great way to add the more is to go on a cruise, which is exactly what I
did! I have done this many times before, and have done it on the same
ship before, but this time it was much different. The sun was great, the
islands were great, the people were great, the wind was great, etc, but
the ship,the Adventure of the Seas, had fallen from grace. I was super
disappointed with my ole friend of many great trips. Some of my best
cruises and best memories are related to this ship, but something has
happened. I am guessing it is the pricing war among the cruise lines.
They are charging the same prices now that they were many years
ago, and when they do that, quality is thrown out the window! And, this
ship is a good example, it has been let goto decay and rot. The food,
the service, the maintenance, the entertainment, all gone down the
tubes. Very sad. Now, it is more like an ole ferry boat or an inter island
shuttle boat, than a cruise ship. For people who do not know the
difference, they might think current conditions are normal, but to us ole
timers, it is sad. I do not know if the damage is limited to this one ship,
or if it is all through the Royal Caribbean line of ships. I know Carnival
and NCL have dived in the hole, and I hear Princess has as well, from a
friend who just returned from a Princess trip. Per my travel agent, there
are still a few cruise lines delivering a great cruise adventure, but it
comes at a higher cost,which is not a bad thing. My new goal is to go
check out some of the other cruise lines and find out who is still
delivering the ole time cruise experience that we all fell in love with! I
do not mind paying more! I have set up a page on my site to share this
recent adventure, both verbally and in photos. To get there, click on
Caribbean Adventure 2017.
|Garden of Glass... The art of Craig Mitchell Smith
Missouri Botanical Garden.... July 06, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from friends who had just returned from the
Garden of Glass show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. As members, they had
gone early in the day, and they only saw the daytime version of the show, but they
were much impressed and called me. They said I really should see the show, and
for photo purposes, should consider including the evening show! Took awhile for
me to get there, but last night I finally did the deed. I do not know all the details,
but the show seems to be open every day for daytime viewing, and on
THURSDAY-SATURDAY nights, through August 13, for the evening light show.
Last night was a Thursday night, and off I went. The evening event starts at 7 PM
and ends at 11 PM. I arrived a bit after 7 PM, paid 16 dollars to get in, and started
my tour. First was the water fountain then one of the side buildings. From there I
made my way through a rose garden, past the reflection pools, past the musicians,
and entered the Climatron around 7:30 PM. The bulk of the show is in the
Climatron, and entry is controlled by a staff member. Traffic is one way, but
visitors can go through as many times as time will allow. I went through during the
daylight hours, then circled around and went through again after the sun went
down. Was a big difference between the two visits!! Both were fun!!
This show is in St Louis, Missouri, so I would encourage all locals to go out and
see it, if they have not already. At 16 dollars for a non-member adult, it seems a
bit high, but, consider it a donation, for which you get a free ticket!!! To both
locals, and others visiting my site and seeing my memories, I hope you will enjoy
viewing the slide show I set up, of my visit. To view the slide show, click on the
link: Garden of Glass, The art of Craig Mitchell Smith.
2017-11-11, Veterans Day in Jefferson Barracks Cemetery. For anyone who knows
me personally, or via my website, they know I am a fan of Jefferson Barracks National
Cemetery and the beautiful county park across the road from it, Sylvan Springs Park. I
go there several times a year, to include all the national holidays, if I can. This year, I
was able to visit later in the day. At first, it looked as though it might be a bit low on
something to take new memory photos of, but, then came the evening visitors, the park
deer!!! The are now famous, by my standards, as lots of people drive out to see them,
and sneak a bit of food treats out to them!!! I do not know if this is legal, but I support it!!
Keeps the deer gentle enough that families can bring kids out to enjoy the wildlife, and it
allows photogs like me a great chance to get near them and do the images I like to do.
After the deer show in the cemetery, I drove over to Sylvan Springs and enjoyed the
awesome fall colors that are always a great show this time of year!!! Big beautiful trees..
On my last trip to the park, just a few days ago, I left my shoes in the car and just walked
barefoot in the leaves for an hour!! Felt great, plus, by walking slow, feeling the earth on
your feet, you have time to get grounded, which I believe is great for your health, and it
allows you to really notice the natural life around you. Everyone should do it.. Use the
link below to enjoy the images I am sharing that I took on this Veterans Day.
Veterans Day at Jeffersons Barracks and Sylvan Springs Park.
2017-11-04, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Decorations. Not long ago, I was
contacted by a fellow whose father had recently passed, and was buried in JB cemetery.
This fellow wanted memory photos of the family with the headstone in JB cemetery. I agreed
to help, and made arrangements for us to meet earlier and go over the plan. We did, and we
did it on this day. After the meeting, I started driving around the cemetery, looking for
anything new. Then it dawned on me how much people had been decorating graves for the
fall season, to include Halloween!!! And, yes, I grabbed as many images as I could, in the
time I had. Back home, I processed the better images, put them in one of my file share
programs and sent them out to family and friends. Now, they are available to the general
public.. Some of the decorations this year are really neat. Hope you will see what I mean,
and that you too will enjoy the visit, as I did. To see the images I am sharing, use the link
Jefferson Barracks Cemetery Decorations, 2017-Nov-04.
I have been traveling a lot, and
have gotten behind on my
photo work, and updating my
website!!!! I hope to get caught
up on some of it soon!!!
SO, do not stop here................
Scroll past the INWORK areas
and continue following my
adventures lower down on this
This area reserved for my 18 day cruise
through the Panama Canal, Sept 7-27,
This area reserved for my 14 day Alaskan
Cruise, Aug 14-28, 2017..
This area reserved for my Memorial Day
Memories, at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery,
This area reserved for my trip to Branson,
Missouri to see the Christmas shows.