Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I must have gotten 10 emails asking me what it is like to spend the holidays on the road in an RV??

So much depends on where you are camped, I am lucky to be in an active park with plenty of group functions going on for the Holidays with a ton of nice people to share it with.

Sure, I don't have a "Tree" in the RV, but I do have Christmas Lights on the outside to contribute to the parks festive atmosphere! There is a tree in the clubhouse along with a ton of other decorations and I joined in to help with the decorating so it gets you in the spirit of things.

So my holiday plans are as follows!

Today, Christmas Day I will attend the Park Pot Luck Christmas Dinner at 2:00 pm - Park furnishes 4 Turkeys - 2 will be deep fried and 2 will be oven roasted and they are also baking a ham. The park residents all bring dishes to add to the main course and desserts - I am taking two pies.

New Years is another big party - with a prime rib dinner, live music and plenty of fun. We celebrate on Chicago Time so over earlier for the older folks...last year was fantastic and I expect this year to be the same.

What I have been up to!

I finished the Menu for the new restaurant nearby the park...nice place and great food!

Still loving my Camp Chef griddle and BBQ - Made grilled onions, foil wrapped baked potatoes and some boneless pork ribs the other night - this was just before I put on the BBQ Sauce!

Santa Arrived a couple days ago!

My followers all know I am in to photography and have a large amount of dollars invested in my equipment, well for the past three years there have been 2 items on my wish list and it looks like 2014 has been the year to acquire them.

Number one on my list was the top of the line weatherproof body by Olympus - I was lucky this summer to have a good friend, Toni Ard, who was selling her slightly used camera and we struck a deal and I got it in June. Three days ago my great Montana Friend Jim Flinchbaugh emailed me a link to the last item on my wish list - it was put up for sale by another photography forum friend and again was slightly used and the exact lens I have been wanting for a long time. It is one of Olympus's Super High Grade lens and rated as one of the best lenses they ever made. For the techie's it is a 150mm F:2 lens, affectionately called the Little Tuna. Olympus also makes a bigger telephoto a 300mm and it is called the Big Tuna, however not many people own that one as it sells for over $6000.00 new! And you rarely ever find one used. The 150 I am getting retails for $2499.00 and I am getting mine for less than half of that, so it was now or never.

The check is in the mail so to speak and I expect it will be arriving here at the park in another week or so!

Stay tuned - I will be shooting with this thing the moment it arrives and can't wait!

Merry Christmas my friends!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Update - sorry for the delay!

I got three emails today asking if I was alright - blog followers getting anxious. So figured I would do an update - have been busy since Thanksgiving the park is filling up and there were decorations to put up in the clubhouse and other tasks. The weather has not been that great, I am still waiting for a good clear night to go to Joshua Tree National Park and shoot some star trail pictures. But the rain and cloudy cold nights have been relentless.

I also had another project to revise the park map for the website and use in the office to direct people to their site. I finished that the other day and updated the website. Thought it came out nice - it was a challenge to create all those little RV Sites and label correctly and color code...but it is complete!

I have also taken on another project for a new restaurant and lounge just outside the RV Park - taking pictures of food and creating a nice menu....just starting on that but have taken the pictures we need. Great Food!

Just a little "Artsy" Shot of the name and the owner!

And another!

How about a Roast Beef or Turkey Wrap or a combination?

How about a Big Burger!

Or how about a Salmon and Artichoke Pizza!!!

I hope to have the menu designed in the next few days.

I have also been working hard on gathering photos for my Art Show in April...digging through thousands of photos to find the originals then get them cropped and sized properly and uploaded, it is a ton of work! Here are a few of the more recent finds and additions to the finalists...the number now exceeds what I will probably display, but we shall see!

The last three are very old pictures that were taken in the 70's in Philadelphia while I was in Photography school and I always liked them a bunch, so I scanned the originals and prepared them to print.

Stay Tuned for Star Trails and Christmas!! Merry Christmas my friends!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Update - Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is always a great day for me and a busy one here at the Park also a day to reflect on the many, many great Thanksgiving Days of past with my family and the joys of remembering those days is one of the things I am most Thankful for.

Now I am Thankful for my health, my family, my friends and followers, my RV and Park friends, my wonderful Yes Bay Friends, my cameras and the ability to share my camera views with my friends while I travel and play.

I have much to be Thankful for!

Enjoying life is so much more important than material things! My little home gives me everything I need and my friends make it all worthwhile.

Still playing with Star Trails! This is my first test of the rocky landscape in Joshua Tree. I plan on many more this winter!

Now on to my busy Thanksgiving Day!

Same as last year, I volunteered to bring my famous sausage dressing which is a little time consuming to prepare. I saute onions, celery, fresh mushrooms in butter then brown the sausage - this gets added to two bags of Pepperidge Farm stuffing - one bag of cornbread and one bag of seasoned. Then it all gets mixed together in the sink - since I really don't have a pan big enough to mix well. Add some seasoning then place in my large crock pot bowl and bake in the oven for about 1.25 hours at 350!

I wanted to add a little bit of Alaska this Thanksgiving so I dug out a full filet of Smoked Silver Salmon and prepared to make some smoked salmon deviled eggs. Add that to a nice tray with the remaining part of the filet of smoked salmon. Thanks Nicky Martinez - Hack the chef at the Lodge for the recipe.

A dozen eggs cut and peeled and washed!

A concoction of salmon, egg yellow, mustard, relish, mayo and a few secret ingredients and it was complete!

Throwaway serving tray with a bed of lettuce and it was ready for the group!

The dressing ready for the oven!

Dishes finished and ready for some Turkey!

At about noon I walked up to the clubhouse to deliver the salmon tray and put in the large fridge in the kitchen. I was also planning to watch and record the last turkey coming out of the fryer!

Damn that Looks Good!

Cleaned up and back for our dinner - we had a great turn-out!

The food line seemed endless with all the trimmings!

Plenty of Turkey - there were 4 - two deep fried and two oven roasted!

I hope all my friends and followers had just as much fun and companionship as I had!

Stay Tuned for more adventures from my little home to yours! My calendars have been printed and shipped and I should have them this coming week to send out to those who have purchased! You can still place your orders!

You can see it here!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Update - Star Trails and new Calendar

I finally was able to spend some time and process a series of photos I took earlier this summer - you may recall the "Big Dipper" picture well when I was shooting that I shot a ton of images and learned the technique to merge all those many shots to create the star trails I was searching to do.

In the meantime to further enhance my equipment list and give me the ability to do more star trails without having to stand there and take 90 pictures one at a time - I bought a "Intervalometer" which is a sophisticated timer for the can be programmed to take multiple shots, with several options - delay before 1st shot - delay between shots - length of exposure and finally the number of shots to take. It was like programming the clock on a friggin VCR - since it is made in China and the instructions were written by a non-english speaking person and translated...but last night I went out to shoot the sunset and learn to use the timer. It is radio controlled so I can set the camera up on a tripod and then go back to the truck and relax in the warmth and press the button and it will shoot the series of shots that are programmed into the timer...pretty slick. Well it works and once I figured out the programming it is a piece of cake!

I am pleased with the results. Here are some pics!

First the revised shot I took this past summer at Noxon Reservoir!

Shot from Last night!

The sunset last night!

As my Facebook friends already know I have created a calendar for 2015 and it is available for sale - you can purchase it HERE! The specs for the calendar for my printer friends are as follows - It will be a flat size of 8 1/2 X 11 and a hanging size of 11 inches wide by 17 inches tall - printed on 80# gloss cover and plasticoil bound and pre-drilled to hang. The pictures will be above the months - I am not going to show all the month pages here just the image pages!

Here are the page images from the calendar!

All the months are included but I am only going to show the image pages....

I would like to sell about 35 of these and so far about 20 are sold, so if you want one hit the link above and you can purchase through PayPal... or HERE! Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!