September 15th, 2017 by grant

Had work up north and I didn’t want to stay in the hotel, so I drove out to Fort Bragg. After dinner at the North Coast Brewery I checked out Glass Beach. As it usually happens to me the skies were gray & gloomy.


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July 6th, 2017 by grant

This year we decided to go to Hawaii as Joan & Larry have never been there. Since we have some locals in the group, Jon declared it the “Insiders Tour”.

Thursday: We all met at HNL airport where Joan & Larry got lei’d. We haven’t seen Joan since our Germany/Switzerland vacation so it was a nice reunion. After the airport pickups we went to the Asatos’ home where Gavin terrorized everyone.


Our temporary home in Oahu was located near Diamond Head. Sandy did an incredible job of finding us a magnificent rental.


Hawaiian snails are huge by the way. I’ll spare you from the cockroach photo.

Lunch was a quick take out from the Diamond Head Grill. My Wasabi Shoyu Ahi Steak Sandwich was good. Dinner was at the Side Street Inn. No pix as it was really dark and I was distracted by the food.

Friday: Breakfast at home was incredible. We had papaya, lychee and gigantic blueberry scones from the Diamond Head Grill Bakery courtesy of the Asatos. Joan quickly learned how to serve a papaya.


The Bishop Museum was 1st on the schedule where we took in some important information on Hawaiian history and culture.

Gavin got a hold of some palm fronds that were riddled with thorns. Who was watching him?


Lunch was at Piggy Smalls. The porchetta was incredible. I have to say it was one of the best meals during this vacashun.



After lunch, the rest of the group proceeded to the Doris Duke’s Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art. We passed on this one so I do not have any photos. Instead, we used the swimming pool at the house to burn off calories from two days of food binging.

Dinner was at 3660 on the Rise. The ambiance was relaxing and our waiter was good but I’m sorry to say the food was slow to come & the copper river salmon was overcooked.


Saturday: We got up early to walk with Roy to the Diamond Head Farmers Market. We didn’t have much time and the light was horrible so I can’t offer many photos. This was unfortunate as there were so many unique items.


Later that morning, we visited the Hawaiian Plantation Village which centered around the different ethnic migrations to the islands.





A traditional Hawaiian lunch was set at the Highway Inn. This is where Joan got her 1st taste of Poi, it doesn’t look like she was impressed. Jon did not join us but he would have liked it as the food was served on compartment trays that kept the food from mixing.

Next destination was the North Shore in Haleiwa where we braved the long line at Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.  A traffic jam prevented us from going down the eastern coast.


Dinner was chinese food at Happy Day Seafood. No photos were taken.

Sunday: Sandy sought spiritual grace at nearby St Patrick Church.

Sunday brunch was at Willows. It was a huge spread but I forgot to take photos.


In the afternoon, we watched Jon at concert at the Orvis Auditorium. It was Jon’s last day of work.

I saw a bug in the parking garage, I couldn’t resist.


Our after concert dinner was Japanese food at Gyotaku.

Monday: USS Arizona Memorial I passed on this event. So I will post Sandy’s photos. She described the visit as melancholy.


We managed a quick trip to check out the the new International Market.

Our final Honolulu dinner was graciously hosted by the Asatos. No pix.

Tuesday: The Inouyes were nice to make an early morning run to Leonard’s for freshly made malasadas. Can’t leave without having one. Make that three.

Pack up your stuff as we are flying to Kona. Unfortunately we had to split up into 2 different houses.


Our first group dinner was at Cafe’ Pesto. The food was good.

Wednesday: Hilo Farmers Market – Sandy was getting the low down from her peeps.

Volcano National Park. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t get closer and only shoot it from 2 angles.

Lehua Orchids Roy’s cousin has an orchid farm close by so we dropped by to admire orchids and learn about orchid breeding.


The Asato’s also introduced us to stone cookies & star apples.

Dinner was at the other house as they was better equipped for cooking. Steaks were on the menu, thanks Larry & Uncle Harry.

Thursday: Waipio Valley Unfortunately the same situation I could only shoot from one angle. It would have been possible to go down the valley on a 4 WD or a 4 legged horse but time did not allow.

Lunch was Watz Shakin

Akaka Falls I sound like a broken record. The falls were magnificent but from the lookout you can only shoot it in a limited way.

Hawaiian Botanical Gardens We had a great time here as the flora was incredible. I’ve never seen Joan take so many photos.

The high winds in Waimea was perfect weather for some shave ice. I wish I would have taken a photo of everyone eating in their cars with the heater on. BTW what is organic shave ice?



Dinner Red Water Cafe’. The cold smoked sashimi was fantastic. Sandy had the guava braised short ribs which was also excellent.



Friday: Kailua Kona


Lunch at Fumi’s

Greenwell Farm Coffee Tour We learned the ins & outs of coffee making, for instance it takes 7lbs of berries to make 1lb of coffee.


Gavin was more interested in Lola the dog than finding the difference between normal & peaberry coffee beans.

Dinner was at the 100 year old Manago Hotel.

Saturday: Snorkel diving for us. I wish I had an underwater camera.

The group went to Waimea while I stayed home.


Our last dinner in Hawaii was at Merriman’s

Local farm raised Maine Lobster.

Finally we had a last get together for dessert and goodbyes. These family vacations always seem to bring us closer so we’re thankful we get to do these.

Sunday: Fly home.

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October 12th, 2016 by grant

Saw these on my way up Hwy 101 just past Geyserville.


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October 4th, 2016 by grant

This has been on my list for quite some time. Since I was in the area I decided to hit Burney Falls. It was an overcast day but I made do.

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September 20th, 2016 by grant

On another trip to Gualala I happened to stop at a location where there were a sh*tload of Pelicans so I had to take a photo.


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July 9th, 2016 by grant

Had to go up the coast to Gualala for work and as usual had to take some photos.

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June 7th, 2016 by grant

Day 6: Crans Montana, Switzerland.  We took the subway to the train station to pick up our rental vans. Once again the bait and switch. Instead of three full-size vans, Hertz gave us 3 mini vans. It wasn’t possible to fit everyone and their luggage in these small vehicles. Luckily, Joan was able to pull some strings and we got another small van (free) but that meant Aunty Irma had to drive. The 6-hour drive to the chalet was taxing, not to mention navigating some of the narrowest roads I’ve seen! But we made it and the dinner at Burger Lounge was a welcome treat. Before arriving at La Grande Baronne though, we had to brave a single lane uphill suicide road in the dark.

The 1st morning we spotted a spiral horn antelope, Sandy named her Annie. I think she was looking for her Father who was mounted on our wall above the stairs.

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We also celebrated Uncle Peyton’s Birthday.

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Day 7: Free day. I was always one of the 1st to awake every morning. After I made myself a cup of coffee, I would enter the living room to take in this spectacular view of the Swiss Alps.


Then I’d look to the left to view Jon & Kathy’s room with the growing collection of Gavin’s crap bags. Next time I’ll book a Motel 6.

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We ate lot at the chalet and like so many other times I forgot to photograph it.

Day 8: Lunch and a tour at La Maison De Gruyeres factory.

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What to do after eating cheese? Tour the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory!

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Day 9: After breakfast we took a train ride to the town of Zermatt which is set below Das Matterhorn. Lunch was at Hornli Beck, the salmon crepes were excellent.

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Day 10: My turn to make breakfast or so I thought. Just minutes after consuming a croissant, smoked salmon & scrambled egg, I got a nasty bout of food poisoning. I spent the next 3o minutes barfing while Sandy stood outside the bathroom googling food poisoning.

Day 11: We drove to Montreaux to check out Lake Geneva. Who knew this city was home to Freddie Mercury?

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We took the 2-hour boat cruise around the lake, which was very relaxing.

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Day 12: With a free morning we made a last minute decision to jump into the jacuzzi. It was well worth it as my back was killing me.


A group celebration lunch was scheduled at Le Petit Paradis. We decided to walk as the restaurant was 500 meters from the house and the weather was pleasant. Whoops almost stepped on a snake.

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Our final dinner was at Cafe Restaurant Le Rothorn. I was so hungry I could eat a horse. So I did and it was really good.

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Last opportunity to take a group shot.

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Day 13: Travel back home or so we thought. We got delayed in Zurich and missed our connection in Frankfurt, so we had to spend the night. We never ventured out of the Inter City Hotel. The bathrooms were ultra modern but the toilet seat was too high. I couldn’t live there.

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After a very long flight with some inconsiderate passengers, we made it back to SFO. The Super Shuttle ride back to Alameda was the most hair raising experience, but we were glad to be home.

Thanks to Sandy for contributing photos for this posting.

I used a Sony RX100IV & Canon EOS-M3 this trip, oh and Sandy’s iPhone.


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June 5th, 2016 by grant

This year we went on another “big” vacation setup by Jon & Joan. They arranged for us to go to Germany & Switzerland with the family. The departure day arrived all too soon and I went through my usual dilemma, my luggage packed full of camera gear and no clothes. I slowly started the inevitable task of swapping clothes for tripods & strobes. My bag topped off at 49.3 lbs.

Monday 5/16 our Super Shuttle driver is early. This created the 1st of many stressers.

The 11-hour Lufthansa flight out of SFO to MUN was as one would expect long & boring. There were a total of three babies on board: one had a melt down, the second screamed in chorus & Gavin hardly made a sound. This would be the norm for the entire vacation. Upon arrival in Munich we discovered a switch in transportation to the hotel. Instead of a large bus it was 2 small vans. This transportation bait and switch would be a regular occurring event.

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Every morning I awoke to this light fixture on our ceiling. This explains why the entire time in Germany I craved a bundt cake.

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The Blauer Bock hotel was in a great location in Munich, it was walking distance to so many sights.

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Dinner on our 1st night was at Wirtshaus zum Straubinger. The crispy pork knuckle was excellent and the dark beer & soft pretzels quickly became my favorite.

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Day 2: Munich. Our days always began with a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel. The layout was quite impressive, though I forgot to photograph most of it.

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Next it was on to the famous Viktualienmarkt, which is a very large open market with a huge beer garden in the center. The produce there was incredible.

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at the Viktualienmarket

What’s up with the green cheese & red eggs?

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It was asparagus season and we saw it everywhere including the menus. They love their white asparagus.

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A short walk brought us to Marienplatz which is the heart of the city. We went up the New Town Hall for some spectacular views of the city and then descended to watch the Rathaus Glockenspiel.

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I can’t go too long without eating. Thankfully, lunch was arranged for us at the Ratskeller. I had pork cheeks with white asparagus. This would be a good time to mention the obsession Europeans had with Gavin. Everyone wanted to hold him.

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After a quick nap at the hotel it was on to dinner time at Der Pschorr. The venison was so good, I’d say it was one of my favorite meals.

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Day 3: Salzburg. A subway, train & bus ride brought us to Austria. This was our only bad weather day although that meant flat photos. Of special interest was Mozart’s Museum. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.


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Day 4: Munich. We had a free morning. Some including Sandy, went shopping. I went with the group that had lunch at the famous Munich Hofbrauhaus. After lunch, we hopped on the subway to the BMW factory tour (no photos allowed). The robotic assembly line was quite impressive.

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After what seemed like a 10-mile walk (half of us went the wrong way) we arrived at our dinner spot Zum Ferdinand. Joan was reunited with her “German daughter”, Anja. She was responsible for making a lot of the reservations for us in Germany. Danke schön, Anja. Sandy loved the bacon salad.

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Day 5: Munich. A 2-hour train ride and a big hike brought us to the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle.

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We had free night & decided to go off on our own for dinner. We ended up in Andechser am Dom. The place was filled with locals and as it is customary, we did the community seating thing. Duck & dark beer was in order for me. Later, our table mates warmed up to us and even helped Sandy with her meal (which mustard goes better with the sausage and sausage must be enjoyed with bread). We bought them a beer as we left.

Thanks to Sandy & Uncle Peyton for the photos.

Next stop Switzerland…

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October 4th, 2015 by grant

While we were in Reno we visited the Animal Ark. We didn’t get there til midday so I have too many photos of sleeping animals which I will not post.

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July 14th, 2015 by grant

Our neighbors Paul & Brenda were gracious enough to invite us to their cabin at June Lake this past weekend.

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Silver Lake

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Sunday was church day in Lee Vining.

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While the others were at church, I shot some beat up old houses nearby.

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Then it was on to Mono Lake. A very unusual place. Highly recommended, just go there when the light is good.

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Back to the cabin for happy hour.

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They call this the Jesus rock (above). Can you see the profile?

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We also took a very relaxing trip on rafts into June Lake. I almost died as I tried to jump into the raft and went face 1st into the 3 ft deep stream. What do friends do when you have a life threatening experience, point & laugh or grab a photo? They did both.

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We stopped by Yosemite on the way back home. 1st stop Tuolumne Meadows.

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After a lovely lunch we headed up to Olmstead Point. We had a wonderful weekend.

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March 6th, 2015 by grant

This year for my birthday Sandy made reservations at the Bodega Bay Lodge. We could only stay 1 day but it was so relaxing. Their restaurant, the Duck Club was excellent. I had a superb lamb shank and Sandy had the sole in parchment paper, neither of which gave us diarrhea. The next morning we made a very slow drive down highway 1 through Point Reyes and Stinson Beach. What a wonderful way to spend a birthday.

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January 28th, 2015 by grant

While she passed away back in November we finally put Grandma Maeda to rest. She made it to 102, which is incredible these days. Sadly it was probably the last time we will all get together.

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I did not feel right taking photos at the funeral, as it just feels too morbid. Afterwards we put Grandma next to Grandpa in a very informal ceremony.

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Afterwards we converged at Christy’s place for food & drinks.

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I did my best to shoot portraits of everyone but my G1X2 doesn’t have a viewfinder and the glare on the LCD was really strong. That coupled with the usually flawless ETTL flash system was not giving consistent results. Nothing is ever easy. That is Diamond Head in the background BTW.

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September 21st, 2014 by grant

I had to spend some time training at the home office 30 minutes south of Miami. Luckily I was in the same class as my co-worker buddy Jhonathan.

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Training was quite demanding so we didn’t go out much other than to eat dinner in the local area. Friday night Jhonathan did give me some exposure to Ecuadorian food. The last time I saw him we could not find an single place in the bay area that served Ecuadorian food.

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Later we explored the Miami Beach scene. To my surprise it was pretty quiet. Other than the ringtail lemmer.

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Over the weekend we did drive down to Key West which is the southern most location in the US, unfortunately I was unimpressed.

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Wanting to take advantage of the local food scene we did our best to hit as many of the ethnic restaurants. This included Jamaican (good goat), Peruvian Polpus (octopus), Filipino, Colombian Patacones, Argentinian, Italian & Japanese.

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The final day a fellow employee flying back to Australia handed me a bottle of scotch. Which we shared that evening in the breakfast room of our Holiday Inn. I ended up passing it along to an engineer who would be there another 3 weeks.


I came back home 6 lbs heavier. Other than the vast eating, the hot & humid weather prevented me from my daily walks after dinner.

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April 13th, 2014 by grant

We took a train from Greenwich to Grand Central Station (forgot to take a photo). Paz met us and immediately whisked us to their favorite Thai Restaurant, Sripraphai. We consumed a whole fried fish & with fishy breath we jetted off to the Queens Museum to watch a press conference where Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a new commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs. When we arrived, Paz was invited to stand behind the mayor along with select leaders of arts organizations, we were directed to sit in the bleachers.


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Next we had a date at the MOMA where we had a pre-dinner dessert. Then it started to rain which only means… yes, ramen weather! We stumbled into ISE and was not expecting much but the food was great.

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The following day we went to the 911 Memorial. It was a somber experience to say the least. The magnitude of the memorial made it impossible to photograph properly.


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Wall Street

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The bull’s balls are noticeably shiny. That only means that there are a lot of people rubbing them. Disturbing.

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For lunch we met up with Charm an old car poolmate of Sandy’s before we married (14 yrs ago). I wasn’t sure I would recognize her but when I saw a woman running across the street screaming & waving her hands frantically, my question was answered. I was laughing so hard I was in tears. I wish I would have captured that moment on video. Charm brought us to a great soup dumpling place called, Shanghai Asian Cuisine. The food was excellent.

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Okay get dressed we are going to the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Anniversary Gala at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. But wait, there is a cool place on the way so we stopped at the High Line to shoot Paz.

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Unfortunately I didn’t shoot many photos at the gala. I missed the moment when Jon was petting the seeing eye dog (bad etiquette).

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Our last day in New York consisted of a last minute photoshoot at Topaz Arts before going to the airport.

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April 13th, 2014 by grant

As we do from time to time, we followed Jon to CT & NYC to play while he works. We stayed at an incredible house that was hosted by Inez & Al, two of the nicest folks ever.

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Lunch was at a little place downtown called, Mediterraneo. I loved the octopus.
For dinner we met up with Barry & Kathy. I haven’t seen Barry in years and I don’t remember the last time I saw Kathy. We dined at Ginger Man, duck tacos yes!

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This was followed up by a short portrait session.

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Breakfast at the house the next day was incredible, Mira did an outstanding job.

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The downtown Greenwich area was nice with plenty to see & do. Sandy was happy to find a Catholic church.

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We attended the Sunday matinee concert where Jon played Rachmaninoff II. That was followed by a party Inez threw at the yacht club. It was hilarious to witness Jon’s rock star status. Everyone wanted a photo with him.


The following day we headed into New York city!


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