May 2016

May 201 Vesta with a Camera

May 1, 2016: Vesta is so excited, because we’re starting May on vacation. Okay, it’s our last day, we leave at noon, but we haven’t left yet, still a few hours to enjoy.

May 002

May 2, 2016: That’s me and Vesta at sunrise in Downtown Reno. Well, our shadows anyway.

May 004

May 3, 2016: The prettiest girl on the highway. But why she's got no shoes, I can't remember.

2016 May 021

May 4, 2016: Up, up and away!

2016 May 022

May 4, 2016: She was so little and I had hair. Oh where oh where does it all go. Nothing stays the same. There are no do overs. So you just gotta do it right the first time.

Sadly, none of us do it all right the first time and sometimes what we did wrong comes back to haunt us, sometimes when we’re driving a car or walking in the park and sometimes in our dreams.

Sometimes we can put the bad out of our minds and sometimes we can’t, cuz we can’t control what comes to us in our dreams.

But what we can do is remember back to a very good time and smile and let that memory chase the bad ones away. This was one of those very good times.

May 5 2016 Downtown Reno

May 5, 2016: It was a grey morning this morning in Downtown Reno. But grey mornings don’t mean we have to have grey days. And this is gonna be a great day. I can feel it in my bones, even if it is kinda raining.

May 5 2016, Ken and Vesta

May 5, 2016: This morning we spent about five minutes waiting for the elevator in the Cal Neva Casino and since we had nothing to do, Vesta took a picture of this cute couple.  

May 6 2016 A Robot Sculpture

May 6, 2016, Vesta says: Ken and I were walking downtown this afternoon and came across this awesome sculpture. Seams this Lady is going to be part of the Reno Sculpture Fest this week end.

May 8 2016 Bald Eagle Sculpture

May 8, 2016: I don’t think the sculptor meant for his eagle to be viewed from this perspective. Maybe he did, but I had to get under it and shoot up to get the photograph I wanted and why I wanted to photograph him from below, I don’t know.

I suppose cuz I wanted to be different. Or maybe cuz I wanted him framed by the blue sky. Or maybe cuz I had a camera and was killing time, waiting for Vesta to finish photographing the Reno Sign. Whatever reason, after I clicked the shutter, I forgot about Mr. Eagle.

But when I started going thru my photos, I saw that maybe I’d hit upon something. Heck, I thought, with a little work I might have a nice photograph (I had to photoshop sky below his wing, cuz there was a building there).

And now, for the last twenty minutes or so, I’ve been looking at this photograph, marveling at how if you look at it long enough, it comes alive. Well, it does for me anyway, but then my imagine may go just a little farther, wider and weirder then most.

I wish I knew who made this wonderful thing, cuz I coulda and shoulda mentioned who he or she was, so if you know, please put his or her name in the comments below.

May 9 2016 Caroline and Tom's Engagement Photograph

May 9, 2016: Here are Caroline and Thomas on a warm overcast day in the park. Warm and overcast, we haven’t had a lot of that lately. Mostly it’s been cold and overcast, but we were lucky with the weather.

And let’s hope we stay lucky for the next two months, cuz Vesta planted tomatoes today and I like tomatoes. She tried two weeks ago, but it snowed the day after she planted ‘em and the poor little guys froze before I could eat ’em.

Whoops, I almost forgot, cuz I was thinking about those tomatoes, Caroline and Thomas are getting married soon and it couldn’t happen to a nicer couple.

May 10, 2016 A Girl Named Amanda

May 10, 2016: There are a very few people in this world who the camera just loves. Our friend Heather, who used to live in Reno, but moved away to Southern California, our cameras loved her, Vesta's and mine. We could do no wrong, every photo of ours of her was to die for.

And our friend Amanda, she’s in the middle of a never ending camera love affair. It’s impossible to muck up a photo with her in it.

I don’t know if they got magic in their bones or special camera genes. They’re pretty girls to be sure, but in real life, they’re as ordinary as you or me. But point a camera at ‘em and they become very far from ordinary. They’re special and exceptional. I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is.

The camera just loves some people.

Like Skyla.

It’s like the gods of all our legends got together one day and crafted the perfect face. A face destined to break not one heart, not two or three, but millions.

And she is only eleven.

May 10, 2016 Ken Douglas at Burning Man

May 10, 2016: Hard as it is to believe, this was a very good day, plus you should see the photograph I took of the photographer. Oh wait! I think I'll post it.

May 10, 2016 Vesta Irene at Burning Man

May 10, 2016: Here she is, the prettiest girl in the desert. 

May 10, 2016 Vesta Irene in Texas

May 10, 2016: And here she is, the Prettiest Girl in Texas.

May 10, 2016 Hap and Mary's Wedding Photograph

May 10, 2016: From Vesta’s Vintage Wedding Photograph Collection.

Here are Hap and Mary on their wedding day. Hap is the third gentleman from the left. Mary is the girl in the wedding dress standing next to him. It almost looks like a double wedding, but it’s not.

Mary’s sister is the maid of honor and Hap’s brother is the best man. I don’t know the names of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, but they sure do look nice in their tuxes and fine dresses.

Back then a wedding photographer had to be patient. He or she couldn’t just snap away. He had to really have a rapport with everyone in front of his camera, because he only got one chance, maybe two, to get it right.

May 11, 2016 Two Pretty Girls

May 11, 2016: Here are Alex and Joanie having a good time in the prime of their lives. Actually, now that I think about it, just what is the prime of your life and what’s over the hill really mean?

Without a doubt, prime is better than over, but when does prime end and when does over start?

I remember this song by Rick Nelson called Half Breed and a line in it goes like this, “A man is man as long as he can stand and think straight.” And I think that’s a good definition of “Prime of Your Life.” If you can stand and think straight, you still in your prime. I think so anyway.

And when you gotta ride the battery operated carts in the supermarket, you’re over the hill.

So, just likes Alex and Joanie with their umbrellas, Vesta and I are not only having the time of our lives, we’re in the prime of our lives. Any you know what? We got fancy colored umbrellas too.

May 11, 2016 Truckee River in Reno

May 11, 2016: Most evenings, you can find me and Vesta walking along on this very sidewalk near sundown, looking for our face for the next morning. So, if you’ve not been able to get up at 6:00 in the morning to have us make your portrait by the Dawn’s Early Light, you might wanna come out and have your portrait made by the Early Evening’s Light.

But their’s no hurry, you got a couple years.

Vesta, Lee and Marianne at Juicy's, by Ken Douglas

May 10, 2016, Lee is feeling so much better after his last surgery.

538811 377901988914482 531789913 n

May 11, 2016: Vesta says: Tiffany's here for a week-end visit. Shopped all day.— with Scruffy the Cat. Sadly, Scruffy is no longer with us.

Ken Douglas on his birthday

May 13, 2016: So, here’s my annual birthday post. Every year on this day and sometimes throughout the year, I get messages like, “Hey, Ken, you didn’t go to Texas A&M.” Or, “You weren’t born in 1966.” Or “Your birthday isn’t September 13th.”

And all that’s true. I went to Long Beach State, not Texas A&M. My birthday is on May 13 and not in September.

So why do I lie. First off, I don’t think I gotta tell Facebook my private details, though I suppose I just did, and Secondly, I wanna make it just a teensy weensy itty bitty harder for my government to track me.

I stated doing this, cuz I noticed a lotta my young friends we’re lying to FB about their high schools and their birthdays and they were changing the spelling of their names. When I asked why, they said, so that when future, prospective employers wanted to check up on them, they would direct them to a FB account they never used. Also, they knew different government agencies tracked people and they didn’t really wanna be tracked.

And I thought, those kids, they’re pretty smart. Then know about the NSA and the FBI and the CIA and the IRS and they don’t wanna roll over and make it easy for all those three letter guys to check up on ‘em. So if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me.

And every year, when I post a message like this, some people respond by saying something like, “I’ve got nothing to hide, so I don’t care if the government tracks me.”

And I just smile and think, they’re not coming for you yet, but maybe some day. Let’s hope it never happens, but let’s not roll over and make it easy for ‘em.

And that is why I like to Facebook.

Happy Birthday Ken

May 13, 2016: Vesta says, Happy Birthday, Ken! Hope all your wishes come true.

May 14, 2001 Motorcycles

May 14, 2016: I guess maybe it’s the day after birthday blues, but sometimes all I wanna do is ride on down those miles. Is that asking too much?

May 14, 2016 Jesse

May 14, 2016: Here is our friend JessieVesta’s and mine. Like most of my portraits, whether done in the studio, or out in the Dawn’s Early Light or the Early Evening’s Light, I’m about two feet away from his face, maybe less.

Most portrait photographers like to use a medium telephoto to give them a little working distance from their subjects and some prefer a longer telephoto, cuz it both flattens the subject’s features and gives the photographer a lot more distance.

But I like to taste their breath when I click the shutter. I like to see them and I like them to see me, cuz I believe for that flash of a second when I’m there, when I am right up in their faces, that for that brief instant, they let their guard down, cuz that lens is so close, cuz I’m so close.

And in that brief instant, if I’m lucky, I get to capture a tiny bit of their humanity.

May 16, 2016: Got up late today, cuz we were both pretty sick yesterday. For me, that’s twice in the same year. Sick sucks and I blame it on the kid. Yep, the kid. My sister is visiting and she brought along her eleven year old son who brought along twelve year old kid sick germs all the way from North Carolina.

We went out in the morning yesterday, took some photos, came home crashed when we got home. Got up just before we had company and I did okay and I thought maybe I was getting better. Vesta was pretty much not better. Then we drank a bunch a wine and when our company left we went to bed.

Now it’s morning and we’re a lot better. Gonna go out and take our morning photos, then we’re gonna go to bed so that we can be all better by tonight.

May 16, 2016 Alan

May 16: 2016: Here is Alan, who Vesta and I have seen play with a couple three different bands. He plays the drums and he’s awful doggone good. I took this photo a while back at a wedding show, Vesta and I were working, and I just got around to looking at it and I liked the faraway look in his eyes, so I decided to post it.

May 17, 2016 Shannon

May 17, 2016: Shannon went to see her oncologist last Tuesday and it took me till today to get this post up, an hour and fifteen minutes before she goes again. I will try to be more prompt about today’s visit. In fact, come heck or high water, I’ll get it up this evening.

And, if she’s up to it, I’m going to try and get a photo of her outside, so that maybe she could be my person of the day. It could happen. Fingers crossed and it will.

If you’d like to read the latest chapter in Shannon’s Journey, you can find it here:

Sadly it’s not my best effort. Sometimes the words come easy, sometimes they come hard, but they always, eventually come.

May 19, 2016: Caffeine withdrawal, it’s awful, but I got tired of peeing every half hour, so I decided to quit coffee. For some that might not be a big deal, but until the day before yesterday, I was drinking it all day long, right up till it was time to call it quits for the day.

So I’ve been pretty doggone miserable with a killer headache for the last forty-eight hours, but it’s starting to ease up a bit. And I’m not so jittery now. And, guess what, we’re gonna cut down a whole lot on our water bill, cuz I’m not flushing the toilet nearly as much.

May 19, 2016: Caffeine withdrawal, it’s awful, but I got tired of peeing every half hour, so I decided to quit coffee. For some that might not be a big deal, but until the day before yesterday, I was drinking it all day long, right up till it was time to call it quits for the day.

So I’ve been pretty doggone miserable with a killer headache for the last forty-eight hours, but it’s starting to ease up a bit. And I’m not so jittery now. And, guess what, we’re gonna cut down a whole lot on our water bill, cuz I’m not flushing the toilet nearly as much.

Sharon Olsen Pearson I gave up caffein about 5 or 6 years ago when I was down with the flu. I slept through the caffein headache and decided not to go back to it. I haven't missed it a bit. I was a big caffein drinker but never "needed" it to wake up in the morning. It was just a bad habit.

Dustin Brewer I'm a one cup in the morning kind of girl. I can only drink half a cup of the stuff Kevin makes because it's like black sludge with creamer. And I mean that as a compliment as to how strong it is lol.

Candy Barr Ginger with lemon is even better.

Rick Baker I have to limit my caffeine intake, I used to drink coffee like water, now I have to be careful if I even have half a cup. Makes my heart flutter too much. One thing I learned to love when I am not drinking any is there is no roller coaster effect of awake tired during the day. It never bothered my sleep, I could drink a pot before bed in the past. Now if I have a red bull or coffee out of weakness I enjoy it but the next day I get that nice caffeine headache.

Christopher Kane It snowed in Buffalo last Sunday.

Penny Lee Oh no, & I am complaining about all the rain here! Yeah cover them with plastic.

Vesta Irene and Tiffany, by Ken Douglas

May 17, 2016: Here are Vesta and Tiffany, ready for the ball.

A Walk Along the River, by Vesta Irene

May 20, 2016: It wasn’t snowing yesterday, when Vesta made this photograph, but, Holy Crap! It's May 20th in Reno and it's snowing now. There go Vesta's tomatoes, again.

Debbie Knackert I'm not sure what this means but our local farmers ALWAYS have at least 2 ft. Of corn popping up by now and driving around the area I just recently noticed corn and it is about 3 in. I didn't check the "Farmers Almanac" but there may have been a sign

Cindy Sebastian-Broadstock Cover them with a sheet Ken! Stake the sheet up do it doesn't crush the plant and don't remove it until it warms up. Trust your " Ohio " farmer friend.

Christopher Kane It snowed in Buffalo last Sunday.

Penny Lee Oh no, & I am complaining about all the rain here! Yeah cover them with plastic.

Purple Flowers, by Vesta Irene

May 25, 2016: Vesta photographed this purple flowers yesterday, while we were walking along the river.

May 20, 2016 Bob and Geraldine's Wedding Photograph

May 20, 2016: From Vesta’s Vintage Wedding Photograph Collection.

Here are Bob and Geraldine on their wedding day. They got married in the 12th floor Sky Room of the Mapes Hotel in Reno, Nevada on December 31st in 1947.

Bob’s loved fishing and could often be seen pulling a big one out of the Truckee River, which flows thru downtown Reno.

Pictured here, with Bob and Geraldine are Geraldine’s sister, who looks so much like her, she could almost be a twin, and her husband Charles, who is Bob’s best friend, so it was only natural that they were maid of honor and best man to such a beautiful bride and handsome groom.

And, of course, the wedding photographer was Bob’s brother Bruce, who was famous for putting his subjects at ease. He was expensive and maybe a little out of Bob’s league, but Bruce cut him a deal, five percent off.

Jesus and MaryLu

May 21, 2016: Here are Jesus and MaryLu. I made this photograph shortly after Vesta and I moved to Reno. Actually, it’s from our first photo session in the Biggest Little City in the World.

And I’m posting it, because I’m sitting in front of my computer nursing day three of my awful caffeine headache as I look through old photographs. Let me tell you, quitting coffee may be easy for some, but it’s hard for me.

But my head didn’t ache as much today as it did yesterday and the day before and I’m hoping tomorrow it, like my coffee craving, will be gone.

Anyway, MaryLu is beautiful and Jesus is gosh darned handsome, so here they are in gorgeous black and white, five years and fifty-one days after this photograph was taken.

Young lad in Empire Mine State Park

May 21, 2016: I do not remember this young man’s name as it’s been four years, five months and twenty-eight days since I made this photograph. Vesta and I were doing a family photo shoot at Empire Mine State Park in Northern California near a town called Grass Valley.

What I do remember is this kid was willing to whatever I asked as far as getting the picture was concerned, which was really cool.

And that’s a really neat thing about being a photographer, you can asked people to do really stupid stuff and they do it. And sometimes the photographs look as stupid as the stuff they were doing, but sometimes they turn out okay. And every now and they, they turn out better than okay.

Vera Claar My granddaughter was married at this park. It was up by the owners mansion!! Beautiful ( except it rained on her day, but things still turned out great!

Ken Douglas getting a traffic ticket in New Mexico

May 21, 2016: This was not my finest hour, but for reasons I can’t fathom why, Vesta decided she needed to record it.

We had just crossed into New Mexico from Arizona and this guy was waiting at the state line. How he knew I was gonna be coming, I don’t know. But when he turned his lights and siren on, I slowed down and about a mile later, I got outta the car.

“Good morning,” the officer said, then, “You don’ t have any shoes on.”

“I’ve been driving all night,” I said.

“Are you aware that you were going a hundred and seven miles an hour?”

“The speedometer only said a hundred and four,” Vesta said.

“Yeah, I knew I was going over a hundred,” I said. There was no use lying to the guy. The car was a four cylinder Mitsubishi Montero and it was shaking like it was gonna come apart and it was making noises like it was gonna explode. So I lit a cigarette and prepared myself for the lecture and the ticket.


“We heard how wonderful New Mexico was and we couldn’t wait to get here.” It was worth a shot.

“Now tell me the real reason.”

“Tell him,” Vesta said.

“We wanted to see if we could cross all the state lines between California and Florida at a hundred miles an hour.”

“Are you on drugs?”


“Well that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

“Looking back, I can see how you might think that.”

“Do you know how unlucky you are?”

“Well, I’m getting a ticket that’s gonna cost me a lotta money, so yeah.”

“There are only two of us on duty today in all of New Mexico, because of budget cuts, so if you’d a been a few minutes earlier or later, you maybe coulda blown through the whole state at a hundred.”

“But I’m only gonna be going sixty-five.”

“Really?” he raised his eyebrows.

“Well not today, we’ll be checking into a motel, cuz we haven’t had any sleep in like twenty-four hours.”

“You know, I coulda taken you to jail.” He handed me the ticket. Then he looked over at Vesta. “And if your wife wouldn’t’a been so pretty, I would have.”

“Thank you,” Vesta said.

“See that he keeps the speed down.”

“I will,” she said, “I promise.”

And this story is all true. I swear it is.

Annette Randell but it made for a great photo!

Marilyn Mitchell Aiton Lol, I believe you.

Lenae Luke I just read this to Stacy while driving over Donner. He's driving the speed limit.

Gordon Gruener The hours are long and the pay is low. So you better slow down, they're the highway patrol.

Dustin Brewer Nowadays you would have been shot for exiting your vehicle.

Amanda Lawson Omfg that's hilarious! You guys crack me up all the time.

Randi Welch Collier I love this picture! Good job Vesta! And your stories are just THE BEST! What a Life! Full of, well, Life! With, all of its Glorious Lifeisims.

Annie Casey Them is some short shorts

Barbara Matteoni LOL ... Now that has to be the top, there can't be any better stories then that .. Yours and Vesta's life is a # one seller.

Sherry Kelly Your stories would make a great sitcom! LOL.

Cindy Sebastian-Broadstock Cop: " I suggest the Land Crab" ( how cool are ya? Who's the author and the book?) This epic photo matches it.

Tina Tillman Love the outfit anyhow Ken! Good thing the cop didn't take you to jail!!! What a nice cop & a pretty wife which she is in my opinion too. You both make a very fine couple!! Thanks for another fine story.

Shannon with sign, by Ken Douglas

May 23, 2016: She did it, survived six rounds of chemo without having a nervous breakdown, without killing her kids, friends, neighbors or me. Actually, for the most part, she did pretty good, except there were a few times when her body betrayed her. Or rather the chemo did.

She’s been tired and weak, traumatized and hospitalized and depressed to beat the band, but not beaten.

She did it.

Still, she’s got a long way to go.

This time the chemo took her to a bad place, but she got out of it and the Gods smiled on her last night and you can read all about it by clicking on this link to the 21st chapter on Shannon’s Journey to Recovery:

13248446 1185340191499481 5178507017215391470 o

May 23, 2016: The prettiest photographer in London. 

Sand Harbor in Black and White, by Ken Douglas

May 24, 2016:

Sand Harbor last night, where our friend Bob now sleeps.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tall Trees up at Lake Tahoe, by Ken Douglas

May 25, 2016: We went up to the lake the day before yesterday to let our friend Bob’s ashes float away on the chilly waters. I thought it would be sad, but it wasn’t. It was kinda nice. We didn’t stay long, cuz it was awful cold.

However, just before I got in the car, I saw these trees on the opposite side of the parking lot, standing tall in the mist, like they were reaching up to Heaven.

And I imagined a heaven just above the fog. And in that heaven, there is no pain and those we’ve loved and lost are waiting.

Oh, if only it were true.

Reno's BELIEVE sign, by Vesta Irene

May 27, 2016: Vesta photograph Reno’s BELIEVE sign in its new permanent home and says, “It looks beautiful."

Shannon nad Natalie, by Ken Douglas

May 28, 2016: Here is our friend Shannon and our other friend Natalie. Shannon doesn’t have any hair, cuz she has cancer and the chemo took it all away. Natalie doesn’t have any hair cuz she’s only nine months old.

Vesta and I are hoping that when Natalie gets to be Shannon’s age, she won’t have to worry about cancer, cuz they’ll have a cure by then.

Shannon is finished with chemo now and we can hardly wait for her to get her beautiful hair back.

Devon holding NIGHTWITCH, by Ken Douglas

May 29, 2016: Five of my novels are going to be free on Kindle for five days, starting next Friday and they are: RAGGED MAN, GECKO, NIGHTWITCH, SCORPION and HURRICANE.

When the five days are up, I’m going to cut them out forever.

I loved those stories when I wrote them. But I’ve evolved. Jeez, that sounds funny, “evolved. Anyway, my writing kinda changed after HURRICANE and I’d rather promote the way I’m writing now, verses the way I was writing then.

I am currently working on JEALOUSY, which is based on the 250 word a day novella I did on Facebook, which features Jealousy Strong, the girl with the green hair, who is, I hope, going to come back in several more stories.

May 20, 2016 Mercy on her Wedding Day

May 20, 2016: From Vesta’s Vintage Wedding Photograph Collection.

Here is Mercy on her wedding day. It’s 1939, war is looming in Europe. In a few days Hitler is going to invade Poland and England will be in it.

But Mercy’s getting married in Reno, Nevada and this photograph was made in a studio far away from any thoughts of war, even though her groom, a handsome man named John, and all of his grooms men are United States Marines and in two years time, will all be in the Pacific Theater.

Unlike Mercy, none of her six bridesmaids ever married, so they didn’t have to worry about a husband at war. However, two of her bridesmaids enlisted. Thankfully they both came back unharmed, as did John and his groomsmen.

Back to Mercy’s wedding. It was a grand affair with not one, not two, but three wonderful wedding photographers, who captured every moment. 

Red Flowers, by Vesta Irene

May 31, 2016: Vesta photographed these red flowers on our walk yesterday.

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