March 2017

Ken Douglas, by Vesta Irene, March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017: It’s possible Vesta didn’t capture me at my very best.

Fishing Boat, by Ken Douglas, March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017: Vesta and I were walking along the Wharf, when we came across this boat. She’s beaten, battered and small, but seaworthy. You’d have to love to fish. And you’d have to know the sea. But if you did, God what a life.

Portrait of Shannon and Gordon, by Ken Douglas

March 3, 2017: Here are Shannon and Gordon. She’s happy here. Gordon is too. Was Gordon happy sixteen months ago or so, I don’t know. I do know Shannon wasn’t. How could she have been?

Vesta and I met her at Ken and Peggy's on Thanksgiving Day in Fernley Nevada. She seemed nice. We didn’t talk to her much. There was a game on. There were kids running around. We didn’t stay long after dinner, cuz we had a long ride back to Reno.

A few days later, maybe a couple weeks, we got a message from her about her cancer and she wondered would we be interested in documenting her journey. She said she couldn’t afford to pay us very much. And I didn’t think it was something we could afford to spend a lot of time on. But we agreed to meet her and she came to our house.

And about five minutes into the meeting, I knew we were gonna do it and not for any money. And I’ve not regretted it, not for a second, not for a fraction of an instant. God dealt her bad cards and when she threw four away, the next four were worse.

To say Shannon got a raw deal would be an understatement. Here’s a girl who played by the rules, got cancer, fought it, got better and became uninsurable. Then along came the ACA and they had to insure her and she bought a policy which would cover her if she got sick again and she got sick again.

However, insurance, no matter how good, doesn’t pay your rent, buy food for your kids, buy the clothes they need for school, pay the utilities or even for a bottle of wine on a Friday night, cuz you just need an hour for yourself to decompress.

But somehow, she managed. Some friends stepped up. Some strangers did too. Her employer bent over backwards to help her. Giving her all the time off she needed and more.

When we met Shannon, we met a girl who wasn’t gonna give up, just cuz God wanted her dead. She was strong, but she was scared. She was plucky and determined, but she was terrified. She had cancer, but she wasn’t gonna roll over and cry about it.

And you know, to get better from cancer, you gotta get sick, sick enough that death almost seems a blessing. And we’ve seen Shannon so sick all we could do was cry. But she’s better now. And she’s changed. Somehow she not only beat the cancer, but she got her life, which was a mess, together. Really together.

Shannon is happy, really happy even though her hair came back curly chemo gray.

And you can lay a lot of that happiness at Gordon’s front door. Vesta and I spent an hour with him the other day and he’s a good guy. And more than anything on God’s green Earth, Shannon deserves a good guy in her life.

So God, if you’re reading this, Vesta and I are glad you didn’t kill Shannon and we’d really appreciate it if you’d just let her be, cuz the world is her oyster now and she deserves it.

A Winter Road, by Ken Douglas

A Winter Road.

The Lake Tahoe Dam, by Ken Douglas

The Lake Tahoe Dam.

There was this guy back in 1858, named John Hanning Speke, who discovered he mouth of the Nile. Except maybe he really didn’t discover it. You know, like Columbus didn’t really discover America, cuz it was already occupied and how do you discover a place if it’s already full of people who know it’s there.

And, of course, they know it’s there, cuz they’re there.

Well, the Nile is a long, long way away, so Vesta and I and Mike and Maggie couldn’t go and discover where it started, so we decided to go and discover the mouth of the Truckee and we did and here it is.

Portrait of Mike Barr, by Ken Douglas

March 5, 2017: Here is my friend Mike Barr, contemplating a wine list, because life is too short to waste any of it on bad wine. And sadly, it’s not long enough to let us drink good wine with people we care about as often as we’d like.

Vodka and Tequila, by Ken Douglas

So, Vesta and I were strolling along the Wharf right after sunrise and about an hour or so after the fisherman had put to sea when we came across these two bottles sitting near an empty berth.

Vesta thought it would be a good photograph so she took the picture and it’s been sitting on my desktop for awhile, cuz I just like it. Not only the creative labels, but the thought that there were a boatload of happy guys out on the sea, looking for their catch.

It just seems to me that drinking and fishing to together and I’ve done it on all day fishing boats on occasion. Of course, I wasn’t driving the boat. And I’d hope that the skipper of the boat with the happy crew didn’t partake of the devil’s brew. But I’m betting he did.

And I guess I have to admit, that I might’ve had a drop of two of rum, maybe more, when I’ve been behind the wheel when Vesta and I were sailing between islands. I know, I know, I probably should’ve turned the wheel over to her, but who do think was pouring the rum?

Thankfully it’s a big ocean.

PS. Vesta thinks it was a crab boat, so the fisher folk were just drinking the vodka for good luck. But then you got that dead guys on the bottle next to it, so what kinda luck do you think that portends?

Portrait of Erica and Her Son, by Ken Douglas

When your mom loves you this much, being a kid is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Self Portrait of Ken Douglas with Hanna

If you’re driving though Denton, Texas, stop in and see Hanna at Supercuts. I did and when I got back to the hotel, Vesta and her mother said I looked great. From Vesta, she pretty much has to say that. But from her mom, well that’s high praise indeed. 

Portrait of Ken Douglas, by Vesta Irene, March 6, 2017

Portrait of Ken Douglas, by Vesta Irene. Taken on March 6, 2017

Two Anglers, by Ken Dougas

March 5, 2017: Two Anglers.

The city is big. People rush from here to there. The news is never good. The sky is always falling. Taking a Sunday away, with your girl and couple fishing rods, may not make it all better, but it beats the Sunday paper and anything they got on TV anyday.

Vesta at Work, by Ken Douglas March 8, 2017

March 8, 2017: Vesta at Work.

The Prettiest Girl in Paris, by Ken Douglas

March 9, 2017: The Prettiest Girl in Paris.

Alley in Sausalito, by Ken Douglas

March 10, 2017: Sometimes a gritty alley can be a pretty scary place. Like life, I suppose.

Photographed in Sausalito, California.

Reno's Virginia St. Bridge, by Ken Douglas. The sky is overcast.

Reno’s Virginia Street Bridge Under an Early Morning Overcast Sky.

Ken Douglas Resting on a bench, by Vesta Irene. The bench is by the Truckee River. We've done a lot of engagement photography in this spot.

After a two mile walk, Ken thought he deserved a little sit down.

Vesta with a hammer working on building the galley in Great White Wonder, the sailboat we lived on in the Caribbean for ten years.

The Prettiest Boat Builder in the Caribbean.

I’m using this photograph of Vesta to highlight another Captain Katie Osborn Story. In this one, she showcases Five Ways to Flirt with Fruit. I especially like the two recipes with grapefruit in them.

Also, I must say again, that Captain Katie wasn’t and isn’t real. She was me and I was her. I invented her, because Vesta and I were pretty broke in the Caribbean and the sailing magazines I was writing for didn’t pay us enough to get by. So I made up Katie and she started sending in stories about cooking at sea and darned if she didn’t quickly become more popular them me.

She wrote for little more than a year, till Vesta and I didn’t need her anymore. I couldn’t kill her, cuz I liked her too much. So, like an old soldier, she just faded away.

Though Katie wasn’t real, Vesta is and the recipes are hers and here’s the link to the story and Katie-slash-Vesta’s fruit recipes: Five Ways to Flirt with Fruit.

Ken Chinning Himself on a Branch

March 11, 2017: I think I can. I think I can. — And I almost could.

Julie and Her Mom taken on Julie's Wedding Dad. Her mom is kissing her cheak.

March 12, 2017: I was going through Julie’s wedding photos—because I forgot to do her wedding book, cuz my brain is in backwards, so I’m doing it now—when I came across this photograph Vesta took and I really like it.

It is actually against my religion to post a photograph of anyone with their eyes closed, but I’ve been looking at this one for the last five minutes and I really like it, cuz it shows how happy Julie was on her special day. Just a few minutes after her mom kissed her, she was putting on her dress and shortly after that, she was facing the man of her dreams and saying I do.

It was a wonderful day.

San Francisco Houses Under a cloudy blue sky

March 13, 2017: It’s a ten minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf, fifteen from downtown. The color isn’t the best, but three stories above a garage in San Francisco. How cool would it be to live there?

Yes, there’s probably no elevator, but think of the shape you’d be in going up and down those stairs. Plus, the house in on kind of a hill, so if you walked, you’d be in even better shape. So you’d really be healthy. Sadly, in these times, you’d probably have to be wealthy to afford it.

Still, Vesta and I would love living there. Wouldn’t anybody?

The Truckee River in Downtown Reno at Sunrise. The sky is pink.

March 14, 2017: The river was up fast this morning and a couple days ago, I woulda said, “I can hardly wait till it warms up, so that we can raft it.” But then Vestashowed me this story she read in the newspaper that said cuz if the massive amount of water this year, there are parts of the riverbed that have shifted and they got these dangerous downdrafts, that suck you under and don’t let you up till you’re dead.

The article didn’t exactly say dead, but it did quote a fire and rescue guy as saying if you get caught in one it basically becomes a body recovery operation and not a rescue. AND the article said the over the years more than sixty people have been killed in these things.

And I thought those signs they got up which say you risk possible death if you get in the river—and Devon, Vesta and I have been in it a lot—were just being overly cautious.

I mean, who knew?

Fishman's Wharf, San Francisco 001. It's around sunrise. The sky is pink. There are fishing boats in the foreground,.

March 15, 2017: Another Morning on the Wharf.

California Dawn, by Ken Douglas. Photo is of a fishing boat going out to sea with the Golden Gate in the background.

March 16, 2017: California Dawn

I’m counting ten people on that small boat and the only thing I could think of when I took this photograph, was that I wished there were eleven.

Secret Lake, by Ken Douglas. Photograph is of a lake in South Reno which is surrounded by a gated village, which is why I call it a "Secret Lake."

March 17, 2017: Secret Lake

There is a secret lake in Reno. It’s near Virginia and Huffaker and it’s surrounded by a housing development and if you don’t live in it, you don’t have access. It’s a pretty place in the evening and Vesta and I photographed Natalie and Seth and their girls there.

But I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of the lake as well.

The Sun Hong Kong Restaurant, by Ken Douglas.

March 19, 2017: Here is the New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant on the corner of Broadway and Columbus, where they serve great food. Vesta and I think so anyway. So if you get to San Francisco, you might wanna have lunch or dinner here.

And if you do, tell ‘em Ken and Vesta say, “Hi.” And if they look at you kinda funny, tell ’em that’s the fun couple with the cameras around their necks and they’ll know who you mean.

Vesta Irene in Fisherman's Wharf

The Prettiest Girl in San Francisco.

The Lighthouse at Reno's Secret Lake

March 20, 2017: Here are Natalie and Seth and Addie and Eden in front of the lighthouse at Reno’s Secret Lake. You can barely make out who they are, cuz they're so small. But it's them. It really is.

Street Cars in San Francisco

March 21, 2017: Boys Just Wanna Have Fun Too.

Vesta Irene in Lisbon

The Prettiest Girl in Lisbon.

Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene in St. Martin

The Luckiest Couple in St. Martin.

Vesta Irene and her Aunt Ruby Irene

March 22, 2017: Here are Vesta Irene with her Aunt Ruby Irene, the prettiest girls in Midland, Texas.

Julie Dancing on her Wedding Day

Here is Julie, dancing, laughing and happy on her wedding day and what a day it was. I’ve been reliving it for the last week or so, cuz I forgot to make her wedding album. However, Julie, if you’re reading this, it’s been turned in, it’s been made and UPS says it’s gonna get here something in the next five days.

It’s late, I know and Vesta says I should be flogged. Thankfully, she doesn’t know how to flog.

Vesta Irene Driving her 59 Chevy on Mars

March 23, 2017: Here she is, The Prettiest Girl on Mars in her Nineteen Fifty-Nine Chevrolet.

I posted this photograph about a year ago, but I’m posting it again, cuz yesterday a friend of mine didn’t believe Vesta and I met on Mars, so here’s the proof.

And in case you’re wondering why there are no tire tracks, it’s cuz the wheels have been replaced with anti gravity pods, so the car floats above the ground, sorta, but not exactly like Luke Skywalker’s speeder. Of course, Star Wars is fiction.

Blue Dawn Over the Wharf. It's early morning, the sun's not up yet. The Wharf is quiet.

March 24, 2017: Blue Dawn Over the Wharf.

Baby Quilt Vesta Irene made for Baby Kristine

Here is a baby quilt Vesta made for her niece Kristine. Her baby girl Everly is due any day.

Bubble Gum Machines, by Vesta Irene


Rosemary and Aaron, by Ken Douglas. In this engagement photograph, Rosemary is pretending to strangle Aaron.

Here are Rosemary and Aaron in not your average Engagement Photograph.

Vesta riding a dimestore horse in the mall.

Ride ‘em, Cowgirl. Or. The Prettiest Girl in the Mall.

Vesta by Window Light

Vesta by Window Light. 

Just Another Sunrise Over the Wharf

March 25, 2017: Just Another Sunrise Over the Wharf.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

We like to ride trains, Vesta and me. And we first met this bridge, so many died to build, by going over it on one. Then we came back and walked it.

It goes over the River Kwai.

And they made a movie about it. And a lotta tourists come to see it. And they got a museum about it in Kanchanaburi that’ll make you sad.

Cathy at Sea, by Ken Douglas. This is a black and white photograph of a girl in sunglasses on a cruise ship.

Here is Cathy at sea. Well, she’s not on a sailboat. That’s at sea for me. But she is on a cruise ship on her way to Ensenada, which is where Vesta and I met her. The ship stopped in Catalina and we photographed her there. Then it went on to Ensenada and we photographed her there too.

This is the first photograph we made of her, before we knew her.

Ken  Douglas and an unknown Mexican. This photo was taken south of Tijuana about a half century ago.

We were maybe halfway between Ensenada and Tijuana, on our way back to Long Beach, when I had to pee. I saw an outhouse by the side of the road, so I stopped to use it, but this guy in the photograph with me was inside.

So I had to wait and when he came out, Vesta took this photograph.

Now, would you look at my waist, I swear it’s gotta be a size twenty-eight.


I used to listen to Harry Nilsson a lot, but then we went away and while we were away, he passed away. And when we came back, for reasons I don’t know why, I didn’t listen to him at all. Not till just now. And it’s like connecting with an old friend.

He had the sweetest voice, an unbelievable range and he sang the most wonderful songs.


The Mayflower, Docked in Fisherman's Wharf. The fishing boat Mayflower, no the one that brought the pilgrims over.

March 25, 2017: Mayflower Dawn.

Vesta and I were strolling the Wharf, just after breakfast, when she stopped me and pointed.

“Look, it’s the Mayflower. Take a picture.” She had a camera. She coulda done it. But she was laughing. “You know, because it’s famous.”

“It’s not the real one,” I said.

“How do you know? Were you there?”

“I wasn’t,” I said. And I took the picture.

Barkley, by Ken Douglas. Black and White photo of a girl on a bed in Bra and panties.

March 25, 2017: There are a lotta reasons, Vesta and I go to San Francisco. The Wharf. The Ocean. The amazing people we get to photograph there, like Barkley. And sometimes, when we go there, Vesta even wears a flower in her hair.

Maggie in Belmont Shore, by Ken Douglas. This is a photograph of a girl on the street in Belmont Shore, California.

Maggie in Belmont Shore.

Vesta and I were out and about on Second Street in Belmont Shore, which is the trendy section of Long Beach, on a Sunny Sunday a couple months ago or so, when we spied our fried Maggie and here she is rocking Sunny Sunday Second Street.

Tori, by Ken Douglas. Black and white photograph of a girl looking like Eva Perron.

March 26, 2017: Tori as Evita.

Sunrise in San Rafael Park, by Ken Douglas

March 27, 2017: Winter Sunrise in the Park.

It was supposed to snow today. That’s what they said on the radio. But it hasn’t. Not yet. And despite the fact that winter is beautiful, it’s awfully cold and the streets get slippery and you gotta bundle up, because it’s awfully cold and people are late to work, cuz a lotta people don’t know how to drive in the snow and one last time, it’s awfully cold, so we’re kinda glad the snow fairy passed us by. At least for now.

But the pictures are pretty and I made this one last month on a grey snowy morning, while Vesta and I were walking in Reno’s San Rafael park at sunrise. The morning was quite and eery and beautiful, but it was awfully cold.

Tori and Dustin Hugging and Happy. Smiling and Laughing in their engagement photograph. You can tell they can hardly wait for their wedding day.

Here are Tori and Dustin in the park. Have you ever seen anybody happier?

Dustin and Tori, by Ken Douglas

And here is one more photograph of Tori and Dustin in San Rafael Park.

Vesta Irene, photographed in 1969, by Ken Douglas

The Prettiest Girl in 1969.


So Vesta says to me, “Could you get some glasses like Anderson Cooper? I really like those.”

So I turned on CNN on my computer. Saw Anderson and said, “Yeah, they’re okay.”

Then she said, “Could you get your hair cut like that too?”

And I thought about it for a second, then said, “Hey what!”


Dawn Breaks Over the Wharf

March 27, 2017: Dawn Breaks Over the Wharf.


Vesta Irene in California, by Ken Douglas

March 27, 2018: Here She is Again, The Prettiest Girl in California.

Dizzy, by Ken Douglas. This is a photograph of a beautiful girl in black and white.

Here is Dizzy, who Vesta and I have photographed in the past. But for reasons I don’t know why, when we photographed her back then, she looked her real age, which is twenty-six. But now she looks about ten years younger. So, I guess I gotta find out when she’s been eating and drinking and eat and drink it too. Cuz it appears to work.

Ken Douglas on a bench, tired

March 28, 2018: Ken, early this morning, after taking his 691st photo of Our 1001 Days of Faces project.

Pink Dawn on Fisherman's Wharf

March 28, 2018: Another Day, Another Dawn.

Bubble Gum Girl by Ken Douglas. This is a photograph of a young girl blowing a bubble gum bubble.

March 29, 2018: Bubble Gum Girl.

Ken Douglas and Rodrigo the Parking Meter, by Vesta Irene

March 29, 2018: Me and My Friend Rodrigo.

Vesta and I were wandering around San Francisco on a bright, but foggy morning, when I heard someone shout out, “Hola, Ken. Que tal.”

I turned and was I surprised. “Rodrigo, mi amigo.” I laughed. “Long time no see. Where have you been keeping yourself?”

And he told me he got this job, helping people see the Golden Gate close up. “It’s pretty much a stationary position,” he said. “But I meet a lotta nice people.”

We chatted for a bit, then Vesta said we should pose for a photograph. So we did, but my heart wasn’t in it, cuz I knew we were gonna have to leave soon and he was gonna be stuck there.

“You gonna be okay here?” I said.

“Sure, it’s not a bad job.”


“Beats being a greeter at Walmart.”

“There is that,” I said. Then I reached out to shake hands goodbye, before I realized Rodrigo didn’t have any hands.

San Francisco Sunset, by Ken Douglas.

March 30, 2018: Sundown Over the City by the Bay.

They have this really long pier off Downtown San Francisco and Vesta and I were on it when the sun started going down and I was kicking myself, cuz I didn’t have a tripod, because when the city lights were gonna go on in about an hour or so, it woulda made a wonderful picture.

So, we resolved to come back the next night and make the photograph, but we wound up in this Italian restaurant which had great, but expensive Cab by the glass, so we didn’t make it.

Ah well, next trip. And that’s what’s so great about San Francisco. There’s always a really good reason for coming back.

So here’s Downtown San Francisco at Sundown. Someday in the not too distant future, God willing, I’ll post Downtown San Francisco After Dark, from this same spot.

Vesta Irene in Kenya, by Ken Douglas

The Prettiest Girl in Kenya.

Mural of a Mermaid in Martinique

A while back, Vesta and I were wandering around in Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe, or maybe it was Fort de France in Martinique, it was a fairly large city on one of the French islands, that much I know I’m right about, when Vesta all of a sudden said, “Ken, stand by the mermaid.”

She had her camera, cuz she always has her camera, so I stood next to the mermaid in the mural and she took my picture, and you can see that photograph in the comments below.

As for this photograph, I cropped it out of Vesta’s original and brightened it up some, because I really like mermaids and though I’ve never actually seen one in real life, and Vesta and I lived on the ocean for a decade, I know in my heart they’re as real as you or me.

Fisherman's Wharf, on Taylor, Looking North at Dawn

March 31, 2018: The Wharf, on Taylor, Looking North at Dawn.

The Reno Sign in Downtown Reno

Very Early in the morning on Virginia Street in Downtown Reno.


So yesterday, Vesta and I had lunch at Del Taco on McCarran, cuz we’d just left Home Depot—where we bought lots of tomato and zucchini and squash and pepper seeds and the thought of all that future food made me hungry.

So we got our tacos, taquitos and tostadas and took a seat. Yes, I tend to over order at both Del Taco and Taco Bell. Can’t help it, I love the food.

At our table, I was about to take a bite, when Vesta poked my shoulder, hard. “Ken, turn around, look!”

So I did and my heart skipped a beat, cuz I saw an grey haired black man reading GECKO. “Holy shit,” I whispered.

“Yeah,” Vesta whispered back.

My first book came out like fifteen or sixteen years ago and I had never, not ever, came across someone actually reading one in public, out in the world where the whole world could see what they were doing.

Sure, one time Vesta came across DEAD RINGER in a library sale once and we were pretty excited about that, till I realized they were getting rid of it. So this was way, way different.

“I’m gonna go talk to him,” I said.


I got up. Went over to his table. Sat.

He lowered his glasses, looked over the top of the book, met me straight in the eye. “Can I help you?”

“Are you enjoying the book?” I said.


“I wrote it.”

“Uh huh.”

“No really, I did.”

“Uh huh.”

“You can ask her.” I pointed to Vesta.

“Un huh.” He put his glasses back on his eyes, looked back into the book and acted like I wasn’t there anymore. Only it didn’t seem like he was acting.

I got up, went back to my taco, taquitos and tostada.

“What’d he say?” Vesta wanted to know.

I told her.

“Well he did go back to the book, so he must like it.”

“He thought I was a nut job.”

“Yeah, that’s too bad.”

Ken Douglas Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529