Archive for the ‘photographs’ Tag

Shrimp Boil!   4 comments

If you think a picnic is too unsanitary to enjoy, stop reading now.  To enjoy this post, you’ll need to get up to your elbows in dinner.  And you will thank me later.


  • Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil in Bag (seasoning)
  • 4 lbs of 16-20 (large) shrimp, de-veined, shell on
  • 8 ears of corn (fresh is best; frozen can work)
  • 24 baby red potatoes
  • 4 lemons
  • cocktail sauce
  • butter or margarine
  • salt & pepper
  • Add Kielbasa or any pre-cooked sausage for those non-shrimp eaters
  • Add crab legs & melted butter (in plastic bowls) if desired.


Prepare the table.  Put disposable plastic table cloth on table.  Cover with brown paper. Can add a layer of newspaper if you like between the paper and plastic to help protect your table from the heat. Place butter or margarine cubes on the paper at each seat. Place seafood sauce, lemon wedges and disposable salt & pepper shakers on the table.

Fill large pot 2/3 full of water.  Bring to boil.  Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the water & add the squeezed lemon halves to the pot. Drop the Zatarain’s seasoning bag into the water.

Once it is boiling, add potatoes & cook until tender, 10-15 minutes.  Add corn, and cook 5 more minutes.  Add shrimp.  Stir.  Cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp curl and turn pink.

Drain.  Spread the food directly in the center of the table. Spread into a row within easy reach of all guests. It’s advisable to have the guests seated so they can catch the rolling potatoes and corn.

Have fun!  No plates allowed, eat off of the paper.  Pour cocktail sauce directly on the paper; no bowls allowed.

Clean up is easy.  Remove any uneaten food, and then roll everything left on the table into the bottom plastic table cloth, and throw it all away.

Posted February 19, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography, Recipes

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Centennial Park   Leave a comment

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad   Leave a comment

Leadville, CO, elev. 10,152′.

There’s an old steam train they’ve restored to take you on a pleasant ride up through the aspen and pine forest.  We bought our tickets, had lunch at the recommended Golden Burro Cafe & Lounge, and then wandered around the shops until it was time to board the train.  Take a little trip with me….

Kauai: Kilauea Lighthouse   1 comment

The Kilauea Lighthouse is set on a prominent point on the north shore of Kauai.  The view of the bay beside the lighthouse is the reason to go.

You’ll see the lighthouse, take the picture.  Maybe there will be some nene on the grounds to take a picture of.  Good.

Now, look at the coastline.  Look at the albatross gliding on the wind currents above the ocean currents of that wonderful sea green bay.

Bonus: make sure you visit the Kilauea Fish Market for an ahi wrap on your way to or from the Lighthouse.  It is the BEST wrap on the island.  It’s the best restaurant for the money on the island, and it’s our favorite restaurant on the island.

Posted November 27, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Antelope Valley Desert   Leave a comment

Silver Cholla with Indian Rice grass growing in bunches in the foreground


Fremont’s Pincushion

Posted September 15, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Muir Woods   2 comments

The Muir Woods National Monument is a little slice of paradise, located just a few miles north of San Francisco.

If you love trees, you need to go there.

This picture of ferns glistening in the sun is my favorite picture from a visit to Muir Woods. And the image wasn’t taken in the park; it was in a ditch at the edge of the parking lot. Beauty is all around us.

The Perfect Sunset   14 comments

In yesterday’s post, I talked about things you must do when visiting Maui.  Implicit in any itinerary is the search for the Perfect Sunset.

OK, not the perfect sunset, but definitely my best afternoon, under the umbrella reading on Ka’anapali Beach.

These young ladies were having a lot more fun than I sharing the sunset … immediately! The wonders of WiFi on the beach, creating instant jealousy among the friends back home.

Perhaps not the Perfect Sunset, but I’ll take it any day. Ka’anapali Beach, Maui.

Cue the sailboat….

The Haleakala Adventure   5 comments

We wanted our first trip to Maui to be special, so we did our research.

I told Velda one option was to watch the sun rise above the Haleakala volcano, knowing that Velda would never approve that idea.  I’m the early riser.  She’s the late riser.  So on vacation, would she want to get up early enough to see the sun rise?

This is one of a series of guidebooks that I highly recommend to anyone planning a trip to Hawaii. Andrew Doughty has a book about each of the islands, and he’s an entertaining read as well as an informative one. You need these books. About $15 on Amazon.


If you’re going to Maui, I think this is one of the 5 things you MUST do.  Here are the 5:

  1. Go find the World’s Best Banana Bread
  2. Take the Road to Hanna
  3. Eat at Lahaina Grill
  4. Go to Warren & Annabelle’s Magic Show
  5. See the sun rise over the Hale’akala Volcano

Now, of course, there are many, many other things you should do.  Cook fresh fish on the grill, drink your favorite beverage on the beach, see every gorgeous sunset (which is every one) … many things to do.  But this is the story of Haleakala.

Velda was blanket-wrapped with multiple layers, including her UCLA hoodie. She regretted not having gloves, and wearing Capris instead of long pants.

To enjoy the trip, it’s all about the prep.  Know this:  it will be cold at the summit.  Bring layers of clothing.  Long pants, gloves, hat, heavy socks, shoes.  Yes, you’re going to a tropical paradise, but the summit of Haleakala is 10,023′ above that paradise.  You’ll be in the dark, faced into a stiff wind, and it will be bone cold.  Be prepared, or you won’t enjoy this wonder.

Get the car ready the day before, with a full tank of gas.  Have breakfast preset, or eat in the car.  We got up at 2:30 am in order to get to the summit before sunrise, and we did not get there any too early.  We had time to get there, figure out what we should be doing, take a bathroom break, and then claim our spot on the observation rail.

When you arrive, the parking lot is pitch black.  You really just have to know where you’re going.  You can just go to the east … which is the larger, lower observation position.  There’s also a gate that’s opened a few minutes before sunrise, allowing you to go to the upper observation area near the Haleakala Observatory.  It’s higher, but the view of the sunrise is pretty comparable.  (After sunrise, make sure you go there to see the silverswords.)

I brought a monopod to steady my DSLR.  I held it steady against the metal handrail (I was there in time to get in the front row).  Some of the photographers did bring tripods, but I was fine on the monopod; the slowest exposure below is the first one, which was 1/30 of a second.  The pictures below are not color enhanced.

You watch the sun rise above the edge of the Haleakala crater.  You stand above the clouds, and watch the sunrise.    The views are simply astonishing.

The first view across the crater, above the clouds.

# 2. All shots taken with a Nikon D7000.

# 3. Close up view of the brilliant colors around the sun. I used a Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Telephoto Lens.

# 4. It just keeps getting better.

# 5.

# 6. With the sun fully risen, the clouds below covering the crater are fully revealed.  Wide shots taken with a Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX.

Creating a Family Photo Scrapbook   2 comments

Here’s the step-by-step that I followed to create my family’s photo scrapbooks.

I did cover pages for each book as a collage of fun pictures & details from the people featured. Later books also included a key to which person was in which photo (oops!).

Happy to recommend the # 1 selling genealogy software!

I updated my genealogy files with the parents, using the program Family Tree Maker.  It’s an easy program to use – and believe me, it’s very important to have a family tree to help you keep track of which child belongs with which parent.  There’s a dizzying array of last names, maiden names, extended families and “Uncles” that are really “friends.”  As baseball taught us, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard!

When you combine Family Tree Maker with a subscription to that company’s, you have a powerful tool to expand your family tree.  Highly recommended if you want a big job that few undertake … but that will thrill the people in your family that appreciate having good, accurate records of who’s who.

We made appointments with the family members we could visit; I also exchanged a few packages with relatives that preferred to send me pictures for scanning.

We visited each family for 2-3 hours.  I brought my laptop, flat bed scanner and a cheap printer.  I had a plug strip with extension cord, and typically set up the gear on a kitchen or dining room table.  I also brought my Nikon camera to shoot pictures too large for the scanner, and to shoot the people at each scanning “event.”  We had prepped families to set aside photos that they wanted included in the collection (and some did, some didn’t).  When the family started taking portraits off of the walls for scanning, I knew we were getting somewhere!

My goal, constantly reinforced, was to include “good pictures” of the family.  I focused on:

  • Studio shots
  • Senior pictures
  • Wedding pictures, especially of beautiful brides (they all are!)
  • Family snapshots at important events, like family reunions, birthday celebrations, etc.
  • Good pictures

I quickly learned that I needed a naming convention for all files as well as a file organization system that I understood.  Files were named “last name, first name and other people in the picture, ” or perhaps “Mowry Family, Henry, 2006.”  I used maiden names as much as possible, and used some key words to distinguish photos from each other, such as school, bride, toddler, Sr Pic, etc.  Group shots were given a relevant name (such as Baugher 7x), and then I printed the photo on my cheap printer.  Someone then wrote on the printed page the file name and the name of each person in the picture (names were often written on the faces in the printed copy to ensure we knew who was who).  Try it; it works and served to quickly identify group shots so we could keep scanning new pictures.

Having beautiful relatives always makes the books easier to look at!

I only included photos that each family wanted included.  Some wanted divorced spouses in the book; some didn’t.  Some included family pictures of spouses that weren’t in the bloodline.  That was all fine with me:  I appreciated the support.  I didn’t have an agenda in making these books; I just wanted to preserve and share family pictures.  Widely.

Pictures of brides are always beautiful … especially when the bride is my own!

Scans were done in the .tif format, which I learned is the best format for digital editing.  I did not scan photos as .jpg files, as those files lose quality each time they are edited/saved. Scans were done using settings of 48-bit color with a minimum of 300 dots per inch (dpi).  A scan done at 300 dpi will make a lovely print at its original size.

The B&W setting was 16 bit grayscale, with the same dpi.  I often increased the line screen dramatically for important photos; my mother’s wedding picture was done at 800 dpi.  My Great Great Grandfather’s Civil War tintype was scanned at 1200 dpi.  With high quality scans like those, you can blow up the photos, and often fix photographic problems using basic photo editing software like Photoshop Elements (where I started), or the full Photoshop (where I ended).  The tintype ended up blowing up from about 6 square inches to 80 square inches; it looked just fine.

Digital photos are today’s standard, and resolutions are rising along with smartphone lens quality.  When I started this process, Facebook photos were low resolution and virtually unusable in a printed book like I was creating.  Today, many photos posted to Facebook are higher resolution and can be printed with acceptable sharpness. Scanning photos is still essential, but Facebook photos are great supplements, especially from scattered relatives if you can’t visit their homes.

I laid the pages out using Word, which was the simplest solution for me (but I would use a “real” layout program if I was starting over today!).  Each of the four families had a unique color scheme (border and headline colors), which provided a subtle differentiation between the families.  I used four templates for each family:  plain landscape and portrait, and landscape and portrait with a text box for explanations and photo captions.

Family members love pages of snap shots. It’s OK to sacrifice quality when you only have a few pictures of some family members.

Here’s my basic formula:  each person got their own page, with 3-5 pictures on it.  Additional pages were created for brides, weddings, family gatherings, and whatever made sense.  If the pictures weren’t available, then the pages were combined so the layouts were pleasing to the eye.  Some families got 8 pages, some got 1 page.  Ancestors from the 1800s seldom had pictures; today’s child has pictures taken daily if you closely monitor Facebook!

The genealogy pages illustrating how people were related proved to be extremely popular. No one knows all of their relatives; pages like this one — created in Family Tree Maker — provide great road maps for understanding how the different branches of the family tree are connected.

Genealogy pages were added to help the reader follow the flow of the family.  I basically started with the oldest generation, organized by family group, with oldest child first, etc.

The final pages are a “complete” family tree showing birth, marriage and death dates for everyone in the family.  Each book includes a pair of CD ROMs with copies of the .pdf files for all pages, allowing for on screen viewing, or easy reprinting.  The Chucalo book also included a recording of a wonderful interview with 98-year old Aunt Millie about growing up in the 1920s and ‘30s.  Priceless.

Pages were printed on my color laserjet.  Pages were placed back-to-back in page protectors, in 3-ring binders.  The intent was to make a scrapbook that could change and expand with the family.  Given the number of pages I created (books have run 150 – 250 pages per family), I felt this was the right way to go.

Books were presented to all contributors.  I made between 15 and 25 copies of each family’s photo scrapbook.

Years later, I continue to hear from family members about how much they appreciate these books.  They were definitely big ideas; I spent many weekends and evenings completing all of the photo editing, layout, printing and assembly that went into each book.

Here’s the key question:  if you don’t have something like this, then how will your families remember their ancestors, cousins and good times that have been shared?

The simple ideas are best. Themed pages, such as this one, will be great additions to your family photo scrapbook.

Treasuring Family Photos   8 comments

Where are your family photos?

A few years ago, I found that my family’s older photos were in big plastic crates stored at my Mother’s house.  Mom was the family pack rat … she’d been given photos by people for decades.  Most of the photos were just loose; many were unlabeled.  They were all  irreplaceable.  And should tragedy strike her home, those photos would just be gone.

A label of “Mother” means nothing if you don’t know who wrote the label. In this case, my mother knew who labeled the photo: this is a photo of my Great Grandmother Cora Baugher Shull.

That was unacceptable!

I then learned something:  my 20 years of experience in handling advertising graphics had prepared me for the preservation of my family’s photographic heritage.  I truly had no idea that my knowledge of graphic files and what was then called desktop publishing was unique in my family, and absolutely essential to save and share the photographs that my Mother had lovingly collected over the years.

Here’s a published resource for how to preserve your family’s photos using archive-quality techniques.

Until I went through my mother’s photos, I had never seen this jaunty photo of my Grandfather, Wilbur Mowry.

Today, there are more challenges than just preserving photographic prints made 75 years ago.  Keeping, cataloging and just plain saving the flood of digital photographs we accumulate today is very difficult.  Our first digital camera was a Sony that took pictures on a 3.5” floppy disk … we almost retired our last computer with a 3.5” drive before I transferred all of those pictures onto a hard drive.

Many of today’s photos are taken with a smartphone and then uploaded to Facebook or Pinterest.  That’s great for sharing with family and friends … but almost useless for keeping those images.

Social media sites can use your images as they see fit – sometimes including  placing your pictures in advertisements without your specific approval!  The most popular sites all have published Terms on their sites that “clearly” outline their policies in legalese.  Prominent will be their policy that they can change their Terms at any time, without notice, without compensation.  So, they can DELETE your images at their pleasure.

They will always edit your pictures, compressing them with a unique algorithm that restricts their file size (and thus, quality) to a degree that they determine.  Don’t use Facebook to save your photos!

If you keep your photographs on your phone … what happens when you drop your phone?  Are all of your pictures … just gone?  What if your phone gets stolen?  Any back-up copies of your favorite pix?

This blackmail-worthy photo from 2004 was almost lost when it was left on old, outdated media: a 3.5″ floppy.

Digital photos must be labeled and organized … and then backed up … on your computer and external hard drives.  There’s no other way.

So, you’ve saved your photos.  Now what do you do with them?

In 2007, I began what has become a 5-year project to collect and preserve photographs, and then publish them in scrapbooks for four families:  those of my Father (Mowry), Mother (Shull), Father-in-law (Chucalo) and Mother-in-Law (Hepler).  I have visited many of my cousin’s homes to scan their favorite photographs and add them to my ever-expanding library.

The Mowry book was complete in 2007, and the Shull book followed soon after in 2008.  I was greatly assisted by my Mother, who had a huge number of photos … and had the genealogy nailed.

More research, and more long distance family visits were required for the other two books, and the Chucalo book was complete in 2011.  The Hepler book is now perhaps 80% complete; my goal is to complete it this year.

Each person that received one of the books was amazed by the pictures of their family – and themselves – that they had never seen.  By combining the pictures in each of the cousin’s homes, we created a unique collection that was much more complete than any owned by the individuals.  When those pictures were combined with pictures of their ancestors that they had never even known to exist, a true treasure was created.

I offered free copies of all digital photo and family tree files to anyone who would send me a portable hard drive on which to send them their data.

Please note that there are many ways to do these books … this is the way I did them beginning in 2007!  Today, you should certainly consider using services like Shutterfly or Adorama Pictures to print bound books.  There are no wrong answers here:  if you like your collection and how you share it, then that is a great thing.

Today, I have digital copies of all of the photos backed up in 3 locations.  That library currently has over 11,000 files and 183 gigabytes of data.  In addition, my personal photography library has over 32,000 files and 300+ gigabytes of data.  An emergency in my home or the death of my computer will not result in the loss of my files.  I backup using Norton 360 (which I know computer geeks hate, but it’s easy for this consumer).  I’m loving my automatic, online backup service through Carbonite.

Your family photos are treasures.  Treat them as such: cherish them, display them, share them.

This 1911 Chicago photo is of the wedding party for Simon Krstich (AKA Simon Chucalovich) and Mary Gavelda, my wife’s Grandparents. The original framed photo was kept in the closet of their eldest daughter in 2011 … her daughter didn’t even know she had the photo!

Posted August 1, 2012 by henrymowry in Genealogy, Photography

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