May 2017

A Lake in the Woods, by Ken Douglas

May 1, 2017: A Lake in the Woods.

Looking Toward Downtown Reno, by Ken Douglas

May 2, 2017: Looking Toward Downtown Reno from I-80 at Sunset.


So, I’ve been working the day away, listening to John Mayer’s new record and you know what? He’s really good, in a mellow sorta way.


Ken Douglas in his New Hat

Ken in his new hat. He just might need a hair cut.

Ken Douglas and Maria Clark

Here’s a selfie I took with Maria at her mother’s wedding. She looks good and I gotta say, I do too, even if that wide angle lens gave me a really big nose. But heck, Cyrano did okay with his.

Oh, wait! He died at the end of that play. Well, I'll try to avoid that part for awhile.


So, I set aside more than I like to pay for music in a month for Bob Dylan’s complete 1966 concert tour, even though I’d probably never listen to all the shows. Then, thanks to Christopher Kane, I found out about Dead & Company and you know, you can buy all their 2016 shows.

So, what to do, what to do? Bob Dylan with the Band 1966 or Dead and Company with John Mayer 2016? Buying both would be stupid. And some might say, just get a few of each.

But I’m listening to the Dead and Company’s Manchester, Tennessee show as I’m typing this and I listened to the Boulder, Colorado show last night.

Sorry, Bob.


May 4, 2017: In a few minutes, Vesta and I are gonna go to the DMV, cuz I got a postcard in the mail from them saying I gotta come in and renew my license in person. I’m guessing I gotta get a new photo. So there goes my day, gone to the government.

I remember when we got our licenses in New Zealand in 1990. You get ‘em at the police station there.

Me to the cop who handed me my license: This doesn’t expire till my 77th birthday. What’s up with that?

The cop: We don’t think you forget how to drive every three years or so.

Me: What happens when I get to 77.

The cop: You have to come in for an eye test.

Me: Because you want to make sure your drivers aren’t blind?

The cop: Something like that.

Me: And there’s no picture on it.

The cop: Why would we want to waste money putting a picture on everybody’s license?

Me: What if somebody else uses a license that isn’t their’s?

The cop: Why would they want to do that?

So, can you see why Vesta and I loved living in New Zealand so much.


Vesta Irene in a hat, by Ken Douglas

May 5, 2017: Uh Oh, she’s not smiling. Okay, she was busy with her garden, when I dragged her over to the driveway, cuz I wanted to test out a new lens. I took the shot, chimped the photo (that means I checked it on the LCD on the camera’s back), then said, “The lens works, thanks.”

“Can I see?”

“You gonna smile for the next shot?”

“You gonna plant the tomatoes?

“I think I’m gonna go inside now.”

Vesta Irene in San Rafael Park

I took this photograph about a half hour ago, right after we got back from our walk in the park. And there are two things I want to talk about in it, the stuff on the ground and Vesta's shirt.

Do you see all that stuff on the ground? The elm trees are shedding—that’s probably not the right word, but that’s what they’re doing. Today our driveway was full of the tiny shedy things and Vesta doesn’t like ‘em, cuz when we open our garage door, the wind blows ’em all in. So she swept ‘em all up and put ’em in the trash.

Then we had lunch.

And the wind came up while we were eating.

And the driveway was full of ‘em all over again.

“Not gonna sweep ‘em up again are you?”

“No, I’m gonna go to Costco and buy something.”


“I don’t know yet, something. Do you wanna come?”

“Love to, but I got stuff to do.” We had an engagement shoot we promised to send out by tomorrow.

“Okay, back in an hour or so.”

And when she came back, she was sporting the shirt she’s wearing in this photograph. “You like it?” she said.;

“Yeah, it’s almost my favorite color.”

“Guess what it’s made of?”


“Nope, five water bottles.”

“Get outta here.”

“They had a sign.”

So now they’re making cloths outta water bottles. What next?

Green Trees on the Strand

May 5, 2017: The Green is Back on the Strand. Hooray!

Early Morning on Reno's Riverwalk, by Ken Douglas

May 7, 2017: Early Morning on Reno’s Riverwalk, After the Rain.

Devon Taking Photos

Photographer Devon hard at work.


Vesta and I attended services at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church in Reno today, because we’re going to be photographing Kelly and Ed’s wedding there soon. And I have to say, we were really made to feel welcome.

They had a guest speaker there and during his talk he quoted an old Jew of Galicia who said:

When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God.

But what’s to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.

Then Vesta leaned over to me and whispered, “Well you’re right about 35 percent of the time, so that’s not too bad.”


Start of the Crooked Mile at Idlewild Park

May 8, 2017: This is the beginning of the Crooked Mile, a mile long (duh) path through Reno’s Idlewild Park. It’s exactly a mile from where we park our car downtown in the mornings. So, if we walk to the Crooked Mile, do the whole mile, then walk back to our car, we’ve done four miles.

And as paths go, it’s a good one. Vesta and I have walked a lot of em, so we know.

But sadly, over the years, this pathway developed cracks and potholes and as you can see, they’ve fixed it. Actually, they just fixed it and a couple days ago when were there, we really liked what they did.

But now, maybe not so much. I’m betting it cost ten grand plus to paint those stupid lines on the pathway. Really? So we know what side to walk or bike on. Does somebody on Reno’s City Counsel have a brother in the line painting business, or are they all just stupid, or do they just have too much taxpayer money to spend and don’t know what to do with it.

Or did someone bump into someone else and did both bumpee and bumper sue the city and force them to paint those dumb lines. And if so, why did they cave.

Inquiring minds want to know.

The Lake at Idlewild Park, by Ken Douglas

May 9, 2017: The Lake at Idlewild at Sunset

A couple years ago, when the river was low, this lake dried up and it stayed that way until recently, when we got heavy snow in the mountains and the river started flowing like it hadn’t in years, but that’s another story.

Back to two years ago or so when the river was low. Back then a girl called us and said she’d like us to do her engagement session and could we do it by the lake at Idlewild Park.

“Sure,” I said. “We’d be glad too.”

And right after I hung up, I called up the park rangers. It took me a few calls and being on hold for a bit, till I got the right lady.

“Hello, I’m a photographer and I have a bride who’d like me to do her engagement shoot at Idlewild Park next Saturday, so could you please turn the water on or open up the gate, whatever it is you do, to fill it up for me?”

“This is a joke right?” the ranger lady said.

“Ma’am,” I wanted to be as polite as possible, “it took me twenty minutes to get through to you, so no it’s no joke.”

“Then you’re just stupid, right?” She was starting to sound irritated.

“No, I’m not stupid. I went to college. I’m very educated.” I was starting to get irritated too.

“Okay, you’re not stupid.” I heard her sigh down the line. That’s an old expression, I know cell phones don’t have wires. “The lake is filled by the river. We have no control over it. When the river comes back up, the lake will come back up. So no, we can’t fill it up.”


“Call up God, tell him about your engagement shoot. Maybe he’ll make it rain for you.”

“Now you’re not being very nice.”

“Bye now.” She hung up.

So I took her advice and made a mental call to God and asked him to make it rain and fill up the lake. And he did, but it took him two years to get back to me and do it. I guess I can’t blame him though, cuz he’s a very busy guy.

Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene in Lythia Park, in Oregon

Us in Lythia Park in Ashland, Oregon. —Photograph by Devon Douglass.

Sunrise on Sierra Street in Downtown Reno.

May 10, 2017: Sunrise on Sierra Street.

Yellow Sunrise in Reno

May 11, 2017: Yellow Sky, River High.

Tree on the Strand

May 12, 2017: The Tree On the Strand at Sunset.

River Rising

May 13, 2017: River Rising.

Virginia St. Bridge 401

May 15, 2017: The Virginia Street Bridge, just Before Sunrise.

It’s kinda scary to me, how many photographs I’ve made of this bridge and I know I’m in danger of being called “That Bridge Guy” again. But, it’s just that, we park on the Sierra Street Bridge in the mornings, when we come out to look for our face of the day, and the Virginia Street Bridge is the first thing I see, so naturally, if the sky is right and the light is right and the sun is right and the river is right, which all happens a lot, I make the photograph.

I just can’t help it.

Joshua Tree, by Vesta Irene

May 16, 2017: Joshua Tree in the Early Morning Desert Sun, by Vesta Irene.

We came across this tree during our early morning walk in the desert.

Vesta Irene Changing Oil

The Prettiest Oil Changer in the Caribbean.

I woulda changed the oil, really I would have. I wanted to even, but I just couldn’t fit into that itty bitty generator room.

Ken and Family

May 17, 2017: We spent a week celebrating Ken's and John's Birthdays, ending with a huge birthday cake at Michele's lakeside home.

Stupid Ken

May 18, 2017: Here is a stupid person with a mustache.

He doesn’t have one now, cuz he’s stupid. He shaves in the shower and a couple months ago, the suction cup that’s supposed to hold the mirror to the wall gave way and the mirror fell and broke.

Fortunately, it didn’t fall on his foot.

Now, with no mirror, this guy decided to go on shaving without one and for fifty-nine days it worked out well. But this morning, on day sixty, he put his razor under his nose and shaved down.

“Uh oh,” he said when the razor met mustache resistance. However, a huge chunk of mustache, under his nose, was now gone and on that razor. So with no choice, El Stupido shaved the rest of it off.

“So what are you gonna do now?” Vesta said after she stopped laughing.

“Grow it back.”

“You should post a picture.”

“I think I’ll find one with it on.”

“Tomorrow then?”

“We’ll see.’

So here’s a photograph Vesta made of me out on the Old Virginia Street Bridge seven hundred and forty days ago, which was Day One of our 1001 Days of Faces project.

Vesta Irene in Scotland

The Prettiest Girl in Scotland.

This photograph was taken at our hotel in Edinburgh and Twenty-Seven year-old Vesta is feeling like the top of the walk. Not so the next day. She woke up sicker than someone who’d eaten the rotting corpse of their worst enemy. And if that sounds like it’d make you plenty sick, well she was plenty sick.

So I went to the bell captain and he gave me a doctor’s address within walking distance. Only Vesta was in no condition to walk, so we took a cab. When we got there I helped her up to the doctor’s door and even though we had no appointment, he invited us in to his home and I figured he was either a pretty nice guy or maybe he just didn’t want her dying on his doorstep.

Anyway, he diagnosed that either the water or something she ate disagreed with her. He gave her some medicine and after about a half hour or so, with her feeling a little better, he sent us back to our hotel, with instructions for her to stay in bed for the rest of the day and if she wasn’t better on the morrow, to come back.

I asked him what I owed and he seemed shocked and said, “Nothing, it’s on the National Health.” And that’s how I learned that National Health is a good thing.

Merry Christmas from Us

May 19, 2017: Merry Christmas from us to you. Yes, we know it’s May, but Merry Christmas anyway.


Ivy is really stupid. If it would just grow where I wanted it to, I wouldn’t have to keep cutting it back, but noooo!


Vesta at Work 101

May 23, 2017: Vesta at work.

And look, you can’t even tell she’s sick. Yep, very sick. Actually, really, really sick. So sick she had to go to the doctor the next day and that’s really sick. Oh, I said that.

She got sick about five years ago or so when she was bitten by that brown recluse and had to go to the doctor. We didn’t have a doctor then and it wasn’t easy finding one, but we did and it was a difficult task. It’s harding finding a doctor in America.

We’d lived away for so long and we sorta got used to if we got sick or hurt, we’d just go to the nearest doctor and get fixed. Cuz that’s what doctors do in other countries, they fix people.

But now we had a doctor and she was close. Actually, just down the street. So if we ever got sick in America again, we could just go to her and get fixed, just like the doctors in France and Spain and New Zealand and Singapore and Trinidad fixed us when we got sick.

And it was a good thing we had a doctor close by, cuz five years after Vesta got that spider bite, the dentist wouldn’t clean my teeth, cuz my blood pressure was way too high. The teeth cleaning guy told me to go straight to the ER, cuz I was a heart attack waiting to happen.

But I didn’t have to go to the ER, cuz I had doctor. A real live American doctor. So I went to the doctor. But the doctor wouldn’t see me, cuz Vesta and I hadn’t been in in the last five years.

“But we weren’t sick,” I said.

“You have to come in at least once a year,” the receptionist said, ‘at least for a physical. You didn’t and we’re not accepting new patients.”

“But his blood pressure is through the roof,” Vesta said. “He needs to see the doctor.”

“I suggest you go to the ER,” the girl said.

And they turned us away, just like Mary and Joesph were turned away. Okay, I know we’re not them, but you get what I mean.

So we headed to the ER and we passed Renown’s Urgent Care on the way. “Let’s try there,” Vesta said. So we did and they took us and the urgent care doctor gave me a prescription and we were good to go.

I told him about our doctor problem and he said, that was pretty common, and he told us we could sign up with a doctor affiliated with Renown, but that we should probably have a physical or a wellness check once a year.

So a couple days before this photograph was taken we went in for a wellness check and the doctor and the people there were very nice and we had a good time and I was sad that I hadn’t brought a camera along, cuz I woulda like making their photographs, cuz they were so much fun.

But the next day, Vesta got sick. Really sick. Can’t get outta bed sick. So sick she smelled sick. So three days later, cuz she wasn’t getting any better we went back to the doctor. She tested her for strep throat and Vesta didn’t have it. She tested her for the flu and Vesta didn’t have it. And then she decided it was viral and she wanted to know if we’d been around a group of kids or anyone who seemed sick lately.

“We’ll we came here I said and there’s plenty of sick people here.”

“Whoops,” the doctor said, that coulda been it. So sorry.” And she wrote Vesta a prescription for some super cough medicine pills to stop the coughing and told her to take Ibuprofen.

She’s still sick, but she’s on the mend now.

And what I’m taking away from all this is that American doctors want you to come once a year, even if you're not sick and if you catch something and get sick while you’re there, well—

Vesta by Railroad Tracks

May 24, 2017: Here is Vesta in the Early Morning Light in Victorville, California. My brother John lives there and we went down to visit the week before last. They have these train tracks there, the ones in the photograph, that go over the road to John’s house, and we like to go up there in the early morning or late evening.

After I took this picture, I lost my lens hood on the way down and I didn’t notice that I bumped something and it went flying. Actually, I didn’t notice it was gone for a couple days. But I figured out where it must be and we went back and climbed back up there and I found it, lying in some tumbleweeds.

And that’s gotta be the first time that I ever lost something and found it. And that’s a good sign, cuz it might mean the beginning of a lucky streak. I think I’ll stop writing now and go and buy a lottery ticket.

Train Trestles in the Desert

Train trestles in the Mojave Desert, Vesta Irene.

Snowy Mountains

May 26, 2017: We were driving through the desert, with these snowcapped mountains on the right, when Vesta picked up her camera and pointed it at the mountains.

Me: You should roll the window down.

Vesta: It’ll be fine.

Me: No it won’t.

Vesta: It’ll be okay.

Me: Did you check your settings?

Vesta: Are you watching the road?

Me: Picture won’t come out.

Vesta: Do I tell you how to drive?

Me: Yes.

Vesta: Well, that’s different.

She took the picture and you know what? It’s possible I was wrong, because they way the sun reflected off the window glass really made some great sky effects.

This morning, after I saw the Photograph.

Me. You didn’t know it was gonna come out like that?

Vesta: Did too.

Me. Did not.

Vesta: What did you say you wanted for breakfast?

Me. What a wonderful photograph.

Vesta's Back

Vesta’s Back. She was sick, but she’s not anymore.

Ken, Vesta and the Beatles

Fifty years ago, we all joined the band.


If you have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.


Ken and Birthday Cake

May 30, 2017: A couple weeks ago at Ken and John’s Birthday Party.

Vesta Irene at Sunrise

Vesta at Sunrise. — Maybe I boosted the yellow a bit too much.


HEY, HEY, HEY. I’m off the meds.

Last August 1st, my dentist wouldn’t clean my teeth, cuz my blood pressure was 172/112. He said I was a heart attack waiting to happen and sent me to Urgent Care. And the doc there gave me blood pressure meds that lowered my bp.

He told me I could continue on just as I was and the little blue pill would keep my bp down, as long as I took it for the rest of my life, everyday without fail. And he told Vesta it was her responsibility to make sure I took the pill, cuz he knew I’d forget.

Or I could make some changes and try and get off the meds.

On August 2nd. I made the changes. I’m now twenty pounds lighter. I have fish with poached eggs in the morning, a light lunch and often no dinner. Meat, except for a Costco rotisserie chicken on occasion, is completely out of our diets. As is anything with sugar in it. Or gluten. Or dairy (but once a month I cheat and have some ice cream and I don’t count eggs as dairy).

So basically, eating isn’t much fun anymore.

And we exercise. A lot. Oftentimes two long walks a day, plus I ride my stationary bike, a lot.

And now, after nine months. I’M OFFICIALLY OFF THE MEDS. The doctor said Vesta and I were the two healthiest people she’d seen in months. My bp is holding at around 125/80 every morning.

Still, like I said, eating isn’t much fun anymore. But at least I’m alive.


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