October 2015


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October 1: The prettiest girl in Australia.

And can you see how the sun, peeking through the leafy shade making tree, has imprinted a glowing heart on her hat.

It’s like that big ol’ ball of yellow high in the sky, knew she’d stollen my heart and he wanted to tell me he knew it.

And all I gotta say about that is, “Thank you, Mr. Sun. I appreciate it.”

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Happy Anniversary to two wonderful people. I hope you guys have too many more to count. All happier than the last. So to Britney and Rigo, tonight, Vesta and I are gonna drink champagne and toast you with every glass. 


So, once again, I wasted an hour listening to Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut,” trying to like it. I’m not gonna try again. I guess it turns out David Gilmour was right when he said to Roger Waters, “If these songs weren't good enough for "The Wall," why are they good enough now?”

I’m sorry Roger’s dad was killed in the war, but if he was gonna make an album about it, he shoulda done a better job.


Andy and Claudine on their wedding day

Here are Andy and Claudine. They’d only been married for twenty minutes or so before this picture was taken. Vesta and I were not their wedding photographers. In fact, they didn’t have one. I suppose they thought multiple cellphone photos would be enough.

Anyway, we were in Minot to shoot Jade and Laura’s wedding and their reception was at the Grand Hotel and Andy and Claudine’s was right across the hall. Yep, two wedding receptions at the same time in the same hotel.

I grabbed this shot on the way into the reception I was supposed to be at and they were pleased to smile for the camera. A couple hours later, tired of red wine, I went to the bar and ordered a margarita, but they were out of margarita mix and unlike most bartenders, they didn’t know how to make one from scratch.

So, I wandered across the hall to see if the bartender at Andy and Claudine’s reception could make one and he made one from scratch, which was mighty good. Not as good as my friend YeVonne makes, but good nonetheless.

But as I was sneaking out, Claudine’s dad caught me. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was an open bar. I tipped, but the drink was free. At first, I thought Dad was gonna be ticked off, cuz I didn’t pay for the drink, but he just wanted me to take his picture and to shoot a bunch of his daughter and her groom.

So I stayed for about fifteen minutes or so and did, confident Vesta was across the hall, shooting away at the reception we were actually paid to photograph.

A couple hours later, I wanted a smoke and I remembered Dad had a pack in his pocket, so I went back across the hall, got another margarita, corralled Dad and asked could I bum one.

“Only if you come outside and smoke it with me.”

“I would be honored,” I said and we took our drinks outside, had a smoke and a short conversation about the meaning of life and then we parted ways. He was a nice guy, who was willing to share a smoke and a drink with a stranger on his daughter’s wedding day. That was pretty cool.

Vesta Catching a Rainbow

On October 2, Vesta posted:I always wanted to catch a rainbow, so when I saw this one, I grabbed my camera and got Ken to come outside and catch me catching it.

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Here are Megan and Steve, who’ve been married about two, maybe three hours, when this photo was taken.

It’s no secret I like photographing people who are dancing like nobody’s watching. I like getting shots of people kissing like nobody’s watching too. So, if I can catch ‘em dancing and kissing at the same time, like they’re all alone in the world, well then that’s a photograph I really wanna make.

And I’m over the moon happy I got to make this one, cuz Megan and Steve are two of the nicest people Vesta and I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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On October 3: Barbara Matteoni posted: Sweetest of Dreams .... 

On our way to Sand Harbor, with Steven-Felicia to meet Ken Douglas and Vesta Irene ... They are wedding photographers and all around wonderful people. They took all of Steven and Felicia's wedding photos and now ( 6 months later) are going to take pictures of them at Tahoe.How many photographers do you know that will do something like that ... Only the Best !! So if you need some one .. (Actually two) people to take Beautiful memories for you ,.. They are the ones to call !! 

This shot I took on the way ... Heavens window!!!

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Once again, here are Barbara and Dean, dancing at their daughter’s wedding. It might have been Felicia’s special day, but it was Barbara’s too, you can tell by the expression on her face.

Anyway, I’m posting them again so soon, cuz Vesta and I saw them tonight up at Lake Tahoe’s gorgeous Sand Harbor. It’s always nice working up there, but the drive home tonight was lightning filled and wet.

Though the lightning was way off in the distance, Vesta and I were uneasy. Okay, I’ll admit it, lightning scares us, even if it’s far away. It didn’t used to, but the very first time we were out at sea in the middle of a lightning storm in the middle of the night, things changed.

At first it was far, far away and we marveled at the show, but then it got closer and closer and in a couple hours it was all around us. I think we got hit and our boat was swallowed into a whirlpool and we died a horrible death, but then, somehow, I don’t know how, we came back to life.

Or did we?

I mean, think about it, there has to be a reason we like dressing up as zombies so much.

Lightning, it might be fun to photograph, but get too close and it can stop your heart.

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October 4: I was going thru old photos and I came across this one of the prettiest girl in California watering her lawn.

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And here she is again and who knew back then that the prettiest girl in California would one day become the best wedding photographer in Reno and Lake Tahoe. Heck all of America, the world even.

If you’re getting married anywhere in America, google Vesta Irene. She’s your girl with a camera.

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Though she’s had a camera in her hand since she was a little girl, sometimes she puts it down, because she’s got a green thumb too. And if you want your garden to grow, you have to water it.

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She has to be the most photographed photographer on Earth.

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Here are Sam and Ryan, who have only been married for about a minute and a half when I took this picture. This was a great day. Actually, any wedding which ends with lots of smiles and plenty of happy is a great day for me and Vesta.

There’s magic in they way they’re holding each other and that magic really shows through in black and white. I think so anyway.

When Vesta and I were very young, not kids anymore, but pretty young, we bought an airplane. We thought it was so cool. We learned how to fly it and we planned on going all over America in it. We didn’t, but we flew it around L.A. an awful lot.

The deal with this airplane business is, before they let you fly one by yourself, you gotta learn how they work. You know, what makes ‘em stay up. Then they teach you how to fly it and then they give you a license, which never expires.

To me, airplane flying was a special kind of juju. Magic. Sometimes I’m not so good about the why or how of something. I could never wrap my mind around why they went up or why they stayed up.

Every single time I left the ground, I was like a little kid who’d discovered candy. It was a wonderful thing. Magic. For me there was no other word for it.

When money got tight, we sold the plane and I got a camera. And I took photography classes in college and my hot looking professor would go on and on about shutter speeds and F stops and film types and chemicals and enlargers and everything she said went in my left ear and zoomed right outta my right.

Photography for me was like flying that airplane. It was juju. Magic. I didn’t listen during my lectures, but I looked hard at the slides she showed. And I haunted bookstores and looked at pictures in photography books and I tried to take those kinds of photos.

And somehow, through some kind of miracle osmosis, I figured my camera out and I used it a lot and I bought another one and Vesta got one and our kids got some and our house was full of cameras. And I built a dark room and I spent hours in it, marveling at the magic every time I made a photograph, cuz I didn’t know how the magic worked. I just knew it was magic.

And then digital cameras came out and the magic got even greater. And everyday I learn a little more about how to make a picture, but to this day I still don’t understand the magic. And I don’t think I ever wanna, cuz if I did, it might not be magic anymore.

And I think all this kinda explains why I like black and white so much, cuz it’s the magic I started with.

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October 5: As I said yesterday, she’s probably the most photographed photographer on Earth, but she doesn’t always appreciate me pointing a camera at her. Like maybe in this photograph. Because, as you can see, that usual Vesta smile is nowhere in sight.

I think it’s cuz she just got a new Nikon camera and she was in photographer mode, not model mode.

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Ken at Work.

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Here again, are Felicia and Steven at Lake Tahoe’s ever gorgeous Sand Harbor. Dawn, Dusk or Sundown, Sand Harbor is never disappointing. It’s almost like an Alien Place.

In fact, I think it is.

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Married for only a few minutes, but Peggy still has time for a hug for her best friend. Well, her best animal friend. I don’t know the doggie’s name, but she looked right at the camera and somehow they both have the same look on their faces.

If they’re not cute as all get out, then I don’t know cute and I’m in the cute business.

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October 6: It’s 5:40 in the morning and in a few minutes I’m gonna wake Vesta and we’re gonna walk to downtown Reno in the dark and find our face for today.

But I’ve been up since 3:00, drinking coffee and going thru photos with Billie Holiday singing in the background. And I came across this one, which we’ve used as a backdrop in our wedding show presentations in the past, and I decided to enhance it some, so here it is.

As for Billie Holiday, her life was a fiery comet ride and sadly her fire went out the way that comet’s did that killed off the dinosaurs. But in living the way she did and dying the way she did, she became a legend and she’ll never die, not as long as people like me get up in the middle of the night and put her music on.

Maria on her wedding day

Here is Maria on her wedding day in glorious black and white. And this, I believe, will be my last black and white wedding photograph for the foreseeable future.

It’s a whole heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be, keeping two year long projects running at the same time.

In truth, I thought the black and white wedding photo project would be easy peasy, cuz I’ve got a hard drive full of wedding photos. But it’s not so easy as I first thought. I spend at least an hour, sometimes much more, pouring through our work, looking for just the right picture to go with something I might want to say.

I wish it was as easy as just opening a folder, pulling out a photo, converting it to black and white, then saying a few words, but it’s not. It’s hard. I didn’t think it would be, but it is.

And since I’m only a month into this project and a hundred and fifty-five days into our morning show, well, the wedding ones gotta wait, cuz I can’t quit the Dawn’s Early Light photos.

When I get some more time, maybe I’ll pick up where I left off with the black and white project. Or maybe not. I don’t know.

However, I do know I hate quitting something once started, but I just don’t have the time right now for both projects.

Anyway, I really this photo, cuz it looks like it’s straight out of 1952. You know, a time when you could fix your car when it broke and color TV wasn’t invented yet.

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October 7: Vesta at Work.


 As a general rule, I believe you ought to tell the truth at all times. Sure, it’s okay to tell an old lady she’s got a nice hat, even if you think it stinks. But mostly you should be honest.

However, I just got off the phone with a woman from CNN, who quizzed me for about fifteen minutes about everything and anything to do with Hillary and Bernie and Trump and all the other folks running for president in the next election. And I’m wondering, is there is any reason on God’s green Earth, that I shoulda told this woman, who called me up during dinner, what I really think about anything?

So, I gave her what I thought were well informed, but amusing answers.

Okay, so I mighta inflated my annual income by about a hundred grand or so. And maybe I didn’t really get a Phd in English lit with a masters in Political Science. And maybe I’m not thirty-six. And maybe Vesta’s not a fashion model. And maybe my books aren’t the hottest thing since sliced bread. And maybe I don’t have fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. And maybe my hobby isn’t skydiving.

All and all, I thought I did pretty good, till she told me she was so taken with me that she wanted to know my name and could they send a reporter by and interview me in person. You know, cuz I was so interesting and all.

I had to think fast, so I told her I liked to stay outta the limelight, cuz I got skin cancer and look pretty awful, so thanks but no thanks.

She said the skin cancer didn’t matter.

But I told it did to me so, “No.”

But she was persistent.

So I hung up on her.


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October 8The prettiest girls in America. 

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Here are Taylore and Ben, who are enjoying the sunset, along with me andVesta, up at Lake Tahoe, on the California side, at Sugar Pine Point, where they are going to be married next year.

We like shooting up at the Lake, cuz it’s so pretty, on both sides. However, when you shoot at Sugar Pine, once the sun goes down, it goes dark. Real dark. And you got a long way to drive on a pretty crappy and scary road, before you get to the freeway.

And you can’t leave before dark, cuz you wanna squeeze out every single shot you can get, cuz every minute the light’s changing, getting better and better, till it’s gone.

Plus, when I’m driving, I got Vesta squealing and squirming and sometimes screaming about oncoming cars and imaginary deer and children and bunny rabbits that she sees, but I don’t, so I’m constantly hitting the breaks, scaring the crap outta her, myself and especially any car that might be behind us.

It’s true, we’re gonna die in a car, late at night. And it won’t be my fault.

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October 11Vesta and I would like to wish a very, Happy Anniversary to Pam and Albert. We hope you guys have a super day, a fabulous week, a fantastic month, a glorious year and a wonderful life together for about a hundred more anniversaries.

Once again, Happy, happy anniversary from me and Vesta.


“Hey, Ken, I was just on our price and package page and I don’t like it,” Vestasaid.

“What’s wrong with it?” I turned around to look at her, cuz she was right behind me.

“You don’t sound sincere.”

“Not sincere, me?”

“It’s just like the intro on all the other wedding photographer’s pages.”

“So what do you want me to say?”

“I want you to sound sincere. You know, like we’re the wedding photographers who care.”

“How do I do that?”

“Write something that’ll make me cry.”


“Make me cry.”

So I closed my eyes, spent ten minutes or so listening to Billie Holiday and then I wrote the following:

Your special day comes at you like a speeding steamroller, there is so much to do and you think you’ll never have it all done in time. But you do. Then your day is here and all of a sudden, in what seems like the blink of an eye, it’s over.

Your venue was beautiful, but you’re home now and will probably never be back. Your cake was gorgeous, delicious too, but it’s gone now. The flowers will wilt. Your guests may never be all together again.

It’s sad, but true, most everything about your wedding day will vanish like the wind in just a short time. However, your photographs will be a beautiful visual memory of your special day. You can pick up your wedding album and treasure the best day of your life anytime you like.

And years and years from now, your grandchildren will look through your album and see how happy you were and they’ll smile. And those smiles, not yet born, are priceless.


Kate Lowther That is amazing! Beautifully written!

Linda Allred I wish every time we look at wedding photos we'd have gotten to share our special day with you two. This is beautiful.

Jeff D Wanderlust I will have to read this later! :.)

Dorene McCall And........ Did Vesta cry? (Ken, that is beautifully said)! Truth!

Ken Douglas Yeah, she did. But she's a weepy softy.

Dorene McCall Ken, I wished I knew you when I married Dennis in Lake Tahoe back in 1979. I have few pictures for memories that I cherish for the man that left this earth way too young and early...our lives were just beginning. Love, love all of your posts. Hope to meet you and Vesta in person some day. (BTW, hope you have most of your Hawaiian shirts wink emoticon).

Sue Irish Hamilton We were married at Camp Pendleton and have very few Kodak memories. Wish we'd known you then! But it was done on a PFC's budget....and ended up in a cop car but that's a story for another time.

Michael Franks Did Vesta cry Ken Douglas ?

Ken Douglas Yep, she's a softie.

Randi Welch Collier I Hope someday to Meet You and Vesta in "Real Life"! Because, I am TRULY in Love with You Both heart emoticon

Meredith Tanzer Beautifully written and straight forward

Annie Casey Sincere 

Vera Claar Makes me want to get married again. Very touching!


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October 13: The Virginia street bridge is on the move. Ken and I watched it yesterday, It is moving at the fast rate of six feet an hour, pushed along by really big pistons. The bridge has moved about forty-six feet total.

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October 14: In this world, there are some people who are so much fun it’s frightening. We, the people in this photograph, are four of them. We are the scary fun people.


There is a certain stress involved with moving. You gotta put everything you own into boxes, which means you gotta look at it. And when I see some of the stuff I got, I gotta scratch my head and wonder why or how it became mine.

But somehow it did.

We move more than most and every move’s an adventure. In the last one, from our deluxe apartment in the sky to our haunted place in MidTown, we lostVesta's iPhone. It’s inside these walls somewhere, battery dead, lonely and feeling unloved and I really thought we’d find it by now, cuz we’ve boxed up a lotta stuff.

For us, a lotta stuff might not be as much as it is for you, cuz we moved here just last year, but it seems when we get rid of stuff during a move, we just buy more back after we settle.

For example, somehow, I don’t know how, I became a collector of vintage oil lamps. One or two around the house are kinda cool, but twenty-two are about twenty too many.

“You should put those on Craigslist,” Vesta said about an hour ago.

“But I like ‘em.”

“For crying out loud, why?”

“If we ever have a black out, we’d have plenty of light.”

“But we don’t have any lamp oil.”

“Then we better get some.”

“Some of those gotta go,” she said. “It’s too much trouble boxing them up.”

“But, we’re moving into a bigger place.” I tried to give her the look, but it never works when I do it. “We got plenty of room.”

“It’s family tradition. We get rid of stuff when we move.”

“Okay, I’ll donate all of the book’s I think I’ll never read.”

“You don’t own any books you think you’ll never read.” She gave me the look and when she does it, it works. “You wouldn’t buy a book if you thought you’d never read it.”

“Okay, I’ll get rid of some of the lamps.”

“That’s really not much of a sacrifice,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“If you really cared about those lamps, you would’ve gotten lamp oil.”

She got me there. But at least she’s not talking about my Hawaiian Shirts anymore. In our next place, they’re gonna have a closet all to themselves. They’re gonna be so happy.


Pam's First Dance at her wedding reception

October 15Vesta and I watched Casablanca last night on the computer. We do that sometimes, have chips and salsa at my desk and watch something. We like Casablanca cuz it’s a great love story, cuz Bogie is great and Ingrid is gorgeous and cuz it’s got the best song ever recorded in it.

And it’s an heroic movie, even if it’s a bit corny in places.

And Peter Lorre is, well he’s Peter Lorre at his best.

And the ending of that movie is to die for. The hero doesn’t get the girl. But in not getting the girl, he gets a pal who he goes off in the sunset with to fight the Nazis and save the world.

I did a stupid thing while we watched this movie late last night. I drank about three cups of coffee during it, so when it was over and we went to bed, I was staring and glaring at the ceiling, while Vesta was sleeping the sleep of the just and probably dreaming in black and white, because if you haven’t seen Casablanca, it’s in glorious black and white.

So I got up around midnight, went to my computer and started going through photos, looking for one I could process in such a way that it might remind me of the movie.

True, Pam and Albert are dancing in a big tent and not Rick’s Casino in French Morocco. And true they’re way happier than Bogie and Ingrid got to be the movie. Oh, they were happy for a moment, but you knew it was fleeting.

And true, they’re not dancing to “As Time Goes By.” But they could be and they were in my head and that’s what counts here, cuz I’m the one posting the photo.

And true, they’re a bit older than Bogie and Ingrid where when they made that film.

So, when you think about it, you might think I picked the wrong picture, but there was something about the look in Albert’s smile and the happy on Pam’s face that just made me think of how happy Bogie and Ingrid coulda been if they’d let the Lazlo character go off on that plane by himself.

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This is Bree at sea with the breeze behind her on a sunny day. I took this photo on the good ship, heck, I don’t remember the name, but it was a big boat heading to Catalina. We I used to go there a lot and for us we could hardly wait till the boat got there.

Vesta and I have traveled quite a bit in our lives and we’ve lived in a lotta places, but Catalina is special for us, cuz it was the first stop on our traveling career. Well, if you don’t count Mexico, cuz we did travel there to get married, but that was an in and out deal, we didn’t stay overnight.

Anyway, we knew we wanted to go somewhere before she had the baby and we didn’t have much money. But we wanted to fly somewhere, cuz when you go off the ground in a plane you know you’re going on vacation.

We picked Catalina, cuz it was something like twenty five bucks each and that was only a buck a mile from Long Beach, so we bought the tickets and what we had left from our paychecks we took to the bank and got traveler’s checks, cuz you know Catalina was so far away and we didn’t wanna carry cash, in cash some bad Catalinaian robbed us or something.

Lord were we young and dumb.

We got to the airport about three hours ahead of takeoff, cuz we were young and dumb and we waited and waited and waited. And as we wandered around and talked to people, we came across the plane and we were not expecting anything so tiny.

I mean, I knew we weren’t going on a DC8, but that little blue plane looked like a toy and Vesta, being pregnant and all, might not even be able to fit through the door, cuz she was big as an elephant. A little elephant, but an elephant nonetheless.

But she was able to squeeze in when it was time to go and I followed, carrying out precious two hundred dollars in Traveler’s checks and we settled in and we marveled as the plane taxied toward the runway and we were thrilled when it took off.

And about fifteen minutes later or so we thought we were going to die, cuz all of a sudden the plane started going down. Oh Lord, we were crashing into the sea. But before we hit the ocean the pilot straightened the plane out and landed on the water.

Nobody told us it was a seaplane.

We rented a little Fiat when were there and drove all over and I let strangers sign my cast, cuz I had a broken arm at the time. And we took lots of pictures. I remember I got one of Vesta standing on the scales they used to weigh the big fish. I won’t say what she weighed, cuz I don’t remember and even if I did, I wouldn’t say, cuz if I did she probably wouldn’t feed me for a day or two and I like to eat.

And, Bree, if you’re reading this, I hope things are going well for you in North Dakota.

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Ken and I had lunch today with Marianne and Leetoday at Juicy's. It's a great burger joint with 50's music and juicy burgers.

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October 16: The new Virginia Street arches are now in place. And today, Ken and I are going to go out and watch while they will drop the arches about a foot, and then start removing the jacks from underneath.

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This is Chloe, who looks so much like my niece Molly that it’s scary. They say everybody’s got a double somewhere and I’d like to meet mine someday. How cool would it be to walk into a place and see you?

Way cool. It would be way cool.

Anyway, we made Chloe’s portrait indoors, where where Vesta and I are starting to shoot more and more, cuz it doesn’t rain inside. We don’t get bright sun inside and when it gets to dark, we can make light.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re natural light photographers and after we do the indoor shots, we like to put our subjects in our car and take ‘em someplace really cool, preferably with water or green trees in the background and make their portrait there as well.

But sometimes, people just want a headshot and if that’s what they want, well you know what they say about the customer always being right. Still, Chloe woulda looked stunning at San Rafael Park or up at Sand Harbor, but she didn’t want anymore than the photographs we took, but that’s okay, cuz like I said, she looks just like Molly and we took some photos of Molly up at Sand Harbor and you can see them here: http://www.bootlegphoto.com/re…/mollys-wonderful-photos.html.

So there you go, you can have a studio portrait made, but our modest fee includes some natural light shots somewhere out among mother nature as well.

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October 17: Here are Ken and Russ in Reno. We haven't seen Russ in a very long time and it was a joy seeing him today and in just a little bit we're going out to dinner with him and Kat at the Wall. It's going to be so much fun. 

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Russ and Kat are in town for the Geekcon at Reno’s Town Mall and Vesta and I had an eye opening experience there. Kat had a booth and she sells ears and, as you can see, she’s wearing a pair.

Vesta and I will be working our booth at the wedding show at the Convention Center tomorrow and right across the street, Kat and Russ will working their booth. We’ll be seeing young couples and there’ll be wedding dress galore on display. Russ and Kat will be seeing comic book people, geeks and nerds galore.

Reno, you gotta love it.

Amway in the morning, geeks in the evening.

Oh yeah, while we were at geekcon, I went outside to sneak a smoke with Russ, cuz I don’t buy em’ cuz I don’t wanna get addicted, and we ran intoAmber and Alan, whose wedding we’re photographing next year. Brides and geeks, grooms and nerds, mingling freely, how about that, we can all get along. We don’t even have to try that hard. We just gotta wanna.

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Here is Gisele, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

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October 19: It’s 6:07 and Reno is waking up. The city’s put out a “Slow Down” sign in the middle of Virginia, cuz there’s an Amway convention in town. Eleven Thousand soap sellers have converged in the Biggest Little City in the World to pump themselves up, so they can go back home and hype their product.

There’s a guy spraying the sidewalks with a high pressure hose, deleting the gum and grim from the concrete. The sky is overcast, the sign is still lit up, hardly anybody is about.

This is the best time of day and in a half hour or so, Vesta and I will start looking for our face of the day. But for now, we’re out soaking up the air and the mist and everything we can. And we’re wondering and talking about who we’re gonna meet this morning, out in the Dawn’s Early Light.

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Here is Lauren, wearing a pretty exotic wedding dress. If you went to the wedding show at the Reno Sparks Convention Center yesterday, you walked under her to get in.

I watched her climb up into this wedding dress contraption and all I could think about was, what if she had to pee? This thought crashed into my mind, cuz she was gonna be up there from 10:45 till right around 4:00 and that’s a long time to go without going, if you get my drift.

If it woulda been me, pee woulda been sprinkling down upon some of the brides coming to the show looking for someone like me to photograph their wedding. I just can’t imagine going six hours without going. Well, I drink coffee all day long. So I wondered did Lauren drink coffee too. And since I think I’ve got a halfway decent sense of humor, I asked her did she want some and she said she’d already had a cup.

So I asked her how she was gonna pee, cuz somethings an enquiring mind just has to know.

And she said she wasn’t gonna.

Not gonna pee? This I had to see. So every hour or so, I checked on her. Cuz I had to know.

And you know what I noticed? Just about every guy between the age of like thirteen and eighty looked up when they walked under her. Not only when they were coming into the show, but when they were leaving too. Okay, maybe it’s a guy thing left over from puberty, when you thought it was neat if you could see up a girl’s dress. I don’t know.

But did they forget they couldn’t see anything on the way in when they came out? Maybe that’s a guy thing too, maybe we’re all just stupid.

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Here is Lauren again, after she’d been up in the wedding dress contraption for six hours. I asked her how she felt and she said fine, but her butt hurt. But that wasn’t what I wanted to know.

“Do you gotta pee?” I said.

“Surprisingly, no,” she said.


“I’m young.”

And there you have it. Youth. I want some of that back. But then don’t we all.

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One day, when my dad was still alive, he told me this story about Gary Cooper.

Cooper was waiting in a long line to get into the Stork Club in NYC and the guy behind him said, “Why are you waiting? You could just go up to the front and tell ‘em who you are and they’ll let you right in.”

And Gary Cooper said, “If you have to tell ‘em who you is, ya ain’t.”

And whenever I start to think maybe I might be a bit important, I think about Gary Cooper, cuz he was a smart man, who knew that nobody is better than anybody else.

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October 22: Sixteen years ago, Vesta and I wandered into a bar in Trinidad. It was a week night, Wednesday or Thursday, I think and business was slow.

The Miss Universe Pageant was happening in a few days. It was being held in Trinidad, cuz the outgoing Miss Universe, Wendy Fitzwilliam, did such a good job and was from the Island of Spices.

We were both excited and depressed, because Donald Trump was on the island, telling the cameras he wanted to buy Chacachacare, a deserted tropical island between Trinidad and Venezuela, which used to be a leper colony. It had a safe anchorage, where we liked to spend a lot of time. If Trump bought it and turned it into the casino based, island paradise, tourist attraction he was bragging about, we, and lots of other sailors, would lose this wonderful spot. But it would mean a lot of money for Trinidad and that was a good thing, cuz we loved it there.

There were a couple guys at the bar, drinking rum and Cokes and we told the bartender we’d have the same. Then we had a couple more.

Three girls came in. It was hot outside and hotter inside and the girls were gorgeous in their revealing summer dresses and one of those girls, the prettiest by far, looked like she belonged in Trump’s beauty pageant.

The only defect in her beauty was a small cold sore on her lower lip, something easily Photoshopped away, even back then.

She was hot, hot, hot.

And she had something I wanted.

I started to leave my barstool.

“You said you were gonna be good.” Vesta put a hand on my shoulder, stopping me.

“But I didn’t swear on a Bible.”

“Just try.”

“Okay,” I said. But I couldn’t take my eyes off her as put out her cigarette and lit another. Then she and her friends took to the dance floor, lighting it up with their moves.

“Keep it together,” Vesta said.

“I can’t.” I got off my stool.

“You’ll be sorry.”

“I’ll be fine.”


“Really.” I shivered in anticipation.

She saw me coming toward her and she smiled. I went right up onto the dance floor.

“You come to dance?” She said,

“I come to ask for a cigarette?” I gave her a smile back. “Could I bum one?”

“Sure.” She handed me the one she’d just lit.

“Thanks.” I took a deep drag.

“You are very welcome.” She offered me a hand. “You wanna dance?”

“Trying to keep up with you? That would probably kill me.”

She laughed and I left the dance floor. Back at the bar, I enjoyed the heck out of that cigarette with a third rum and coke.

Two weeks later I paid a visit to Doogie. Doogie was a new doctor, who had an office across from the yacht club. He looked like a teenager, thus the name Doogie. And he was just back from Ireland, where he’d gone to medical school.

“Herpes!” He said about the cold sore on my lower lip.

“But I haven’t kissed anybody but my wife in more years than you’ve been alive.”

“Then who’s she been kissing?”

“Nobody!” Vesta said. She’d been sitting right next to me.

Then I remembered the hot girl in the hot bar and I told Doogie.

“Smoking’s not good for you,” Doogie said, “in more ways than one, apparently.”

“Didn’t I tell you, you’d be sorry,” Vesta said.

And if you look closely at my picture, you can see why I’m still sorry.

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October 23: This is Annie Rose at UNR, looking like she stepped right out of 1968. That was a heck of time, 1968. Richard Nixon became President of the United States and for those of us who thought we didn’t belong in Vietnam, we didn’t see much difference between him and LBJ.

Of course, we didn’t know about his Southern strategy and his rat fucking and Watergate was four years away. If we’d known all that, we’d’a liked him less. As it was, we didn’t like him at all.

Bobby and Martin were shot dead earlier in the year. I heard about Martin on the TV, but I was there when Bobby was shot. And with Bobby gone, Hubert was gonna be the candidate and we knew that meant Nixon and it was Nixon we got.

In a year John Lennon and Yoko Ono were gonna release “Give Peace a Chance” and Nixon was gonna go after him, cuz Nixon couldn’t stand him. He wanted him outta the country, cuz he thought he was turning our kids against him and the war.

Like he couldn’t do that from England? But maybe that’s what Nixon thought. Maybe he didn’t understand how radio worked. We know he didn’t understand how tape recorders worked.

Nixon couldn’t get Lennon, but an assassin did.

That was a great and wonderful time in America, but it was a sad and soulful time too. Those events changed us, divided us, made us less than we could be.

And I don’t know if we’ll ever recover, if we’ll ever have leaders like FDR and Ike and JFK ever again. All three were flawed men and Ike and JFK didn’t like each other very much. But they loved their country and they put their country first and they fought for what was right.

Oh, we’ve had leaders who inspired some of us, like Ronald Reagan and Barrack Obama, but they failed to unite us, they failed to deliver and the promises of their campaigns turned to dust in the wind.

And now we’re gonna get Hillary, and please don’t comment on this post about how you love or hate her, that’s not what this is all about. I’m just saying what I believe to be true. I don’t think it’s gonna be a coronation, but it’s gonna be close. And if you watched what I watched yesterday with an open mind, you know that’s true.

So, I think what I’m trying to say with all this is, that maybe we should turn away from all this political junk, cuz in the end, they’re playing us all for saps. All of ‘em.

You might like your congressman or your senator or your president, but we’d be better off with Han Solo and Mickey Mouse running things with just a little help from Donald, Daffy, Bugs and Princess Leia.

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October 24: A Cat Nap.

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