Vaessen family photo's
 

 

Here are links to various photo collections. Kim and I (plus friends & relatives) have been traipsing about the world; taking pictures wherever we go. If it so interests you - here's a glimpse into Robert & Kim's adventures. (Most of the photos are from places in Colorado, but you'll find a few pages of photos from other places as well.) Enjoy!
 
   

(Many of my photo galleries were created using iPhoto and a plugin (which no longer works with the current version of iPhoto (version 9 or later)) called BetterHTMLExport. Now (in the wake of MobileMe) I find myself using a php/mysql powered photo Gallery hosted on my webserver. This new photo gallery is powerful, but it isn't as elegant or tightly integrated as the now abandoned MobileMe Gallery.

Once upon a time, Apple ran a service called MobileMe. That pay service ($100.00 / year) included numerous valuable features. One of those features was the 'Gallery'; an online photo storage, hosting, sharing and collaboration gallery where you could share your photos (and videos) and collaborate with friends and family within a well designed, aesthetically pleasing photo gallery application. I used the 'MobileMe Gallery' quite extensively. I loved the CoverFlow interface. The ability to upload photos, to allow others to upload photos, to download photos, to post comments, to view slideshows, etc. Unfortunately, in June of 2011, Apple announced that it would be closing MobileMe in favor of a new service called 'iCloud'. In June of 2012, Apple shut down MobileMe, but they never identified or released a replacement for their Gallery service (unless you consider the less than usable Journals feature (in the iOS version of iPhoto) a replacement). As a result, some of my galleries have disappeared; they dangle at the end of a non-existent MobileMe Gallery link. I apologize if you find a link broken or photos missing, I'm slowly recovering the photos and posting them on an alternate gallery. I'll update the links as I have time, and hopefully you'll find the new gallery to be a somewhat adequate substitute. From time to time, I may experiment with other photo gallery solutions, but I'm really going to miss that MobileMe Gallery. What a stupid move that was...

 
    Photos of Colorado  
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Our House: After 20 years of moving around at the whim of Uncle Sam (See my bio for more details regarding my military service), Kim and I finally bought our first home in April of 2005. A home on the front range, a home where the Antelope roam (or the Pronghorn if you're really interested). It was a grueling process and we undertook it with much trepidation. In addition to the photos, I've also posted a web page dedicated to our new home.

 
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Friends and Family visit us in Colorado. Kim and I have hosted plenty of friends and family since we moved to Colorado. When they come to visit, we usually turn it into a vacation. Everyone has a good time (or so I've been told), and I usually take quite a few photos. Here are some of those visits/visitors.

* Kuchta's Conquer Colorado - Our first visitors after moving to Colorado. Kim's parents paid us a visit during August of 2002. After a week long vacation with the Kuchta's we needed a break.
* Cats Conquers Colorado. Robert's mother paid us a visit during August of 2002. Her first visit to Colorado. Surely there will be more. Not as crazy as the Kuchta's visit in 2002, Mom's visit was just as memorable.
* My mother came back to Colorado for a surprise visit in October of 2005. Kim (that sneaky Roman senator!) smuggled mom into Colorado without tipping her hand. One day I woke up from a nap, wandered out into the living room, and - Mom! what the? Here are pictures from that brief (22 - 28 October 2005) but memorable surprise visit.
* Kuchta's Visit Colorado - 2007. During June/July of 2007, Kim and I took a vacation. We planned the vacation well in advance, and we had a fantastic time. The vacation began on the 22nd of July, when our guests arrived. Over the course of the next ten days (22 Jun - 01 Jul), Kim and I hosted her parents (Ted & Sharon), and two of our nieces (Chantelle and Amber).
* Keith's Klan - 2009. During March of 2009, Kim and I hosted another group of world travelers. We planned the vacation well in advance, and everyone had a fantastic time. The vacation began on the 11th of March, when our guests arrived. Over the course of the next four days (11 - 14 Mar), Kim and I hosted her Brother Keith, Yvette, and two of their girls; Leah and Kaitlyn.
* Osaka Rob visits the Vaessens: Rob G. is one of our best friends. The best man at our wedding, Kim and I have known Rob as long as we've known each other. We go way back - Back to the early 80s and beyond. He's been living in Japan since 1989, and 2008 marks the first year he's been able to visit us in Colorado. Now that I'm retired (from the military), and we're not moving around every few years, this home base may make for an easier pit stop between Osaka and Green Bay. Thankfully those frequent flyer miles are good for something. Rob was here for a short visit - just four days, but we had a really good time. Hopefully, he can bring Ryoko and the kids next time. I'm sure they'd enjoy the visit as well.
* Grand Canyon Vacation - 2010: Kim's parents joined during may of 2010, for a vacation at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We drove from Colorado down to Arizona in our XC90, and we took a train to the Grand Canyon. Oh what a wonderful adventure. Check out the photos and slide show to see the world's biggest hole in the ground.
* Cloughs Conquer Colorado - 2010: Kim's sister Kary, Mark, Sam and Emma came to Colorado to visit Kim and I and take a tour of central Colorado. Despite some gloomy weather, we managed to visit many of our favorite attractions. Downtown Denver, The Royal Gorge train and park, Pikes Peak, rafting on the Arkansas river - to name a few. Everyone had a great time on their first visit to Colorado. After sorting through 800 plus photos, I've posted my favorites at "Rob's World!".
* Dennis Does Denver - 2010: In June of 2010, we were privileged to host a good friend from way back. Dennis hails from San Vito Italy (that's where we first met him). We met him way back when Kim and I were stationed in San Vito, Italy. We were stationed in Italy from 1985 - 1992, and Dennis was one of the people who made San Vito our favorite assignment. Dennis was in the Army when we met him, but that didn't last long. He soon left the Army and Joined Evie - a local Italian girl, for an exciting life in Italy. While we managed to visit Dennis and Evie on a few occasions, and he couldn't resist the call of our weekend D&D gaming sessions, we really lost track of the couple after we left Italy. Eventually we reestablished contact on the internet. After some trying times and a delay of far too many years, Dennis decided to pay us a visit in Denver. Dennis flew into Denver on the 25th and the adventure began on the morning after. After a five day vacation (six with arrival and departure), I gathered up all the photos and put together this gallery. I hope you enjoy it.

So when will you be visiting? Kim and I are still waiting for a visit from our sisters. It sure would be nice if they could visit. We've got a big house, so there's plenty of room, and we're always willing to host our friends and family.

 
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Birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations at home. Sure, Kim and I get away during these special events. You may occasionally note the use of a term called an 'Annibirthday' - Well, Kim and I got married on my Birthday (Oct 26, 1985). Yes, that's right, on my Birthday - and it's a long story. So if you see that term, you'll know where it came from. Here then are photos we took during a birthday or anniversary.

* Kim's Birthday weekend. A two day trip to Georgetown & Empire, Colorado in July of 2002.
* Annibirthday 2002: Kim and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary on the 26th of October. As you may already know, the 26th is also my Birthday. We spent the weekend in Estes Park, CO. A quiet little resort town, nestled up against the majesty of the Rockies. We stayed at a fantastic Bed & Breakfast called the Taharaa Mountain Lodge. (They even gave us a 15% military discount!) We spent the 26th sight seeing at Rocky Mountain National park. On the evening of the 26th we ate a little place called 'Grandmaison's Bistro'. The food was outstanding, and the service was stellar. We had a terrific time.
* Kim's Birthday weekend - 2003. A three day vacation in Buena Vista and Salida, Colorado. We went horse back riding, on a Jeep tour, and toured a micro-winery.
* Annibirthday 2007: We celebrated our 22nd anniversary on the 26th of October, 2007. That weekend, Kim and I took a little vacation. It was our anniversary, and my birthday. So, we decided to take a trip into the mountains. We hadn’t treated ourselves in a while, so this came as a welcome relief from the stresses of work and the hectic pace of our lives. We stayed two nights at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.
* Annibirthday 2008: Kim and I celebrated another Anniversary in October. As of 2008, it's been 23 years since we said our "I do"s. This year (2008), we celebrated our Anniversary (and my birthday) by taking a trip down to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. We stayed at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, attended an old fashioned wake at Miramount Castle, and watched the Coffin Races in Manitou Springs before heading back into town. We even had time to squeeze in a stop at the Seven Falls attraction and a Money Museum (sorry forgot to take pictures at the money museum) during our stay. Another great vacation in Colorado.
* Annibirthday 2009: Kim and I celebrated another Annibirthday in October of 2009. As Kim and I were married on my birthday, we celebrate an Annibirthday instead of an Anniversary, or my Birthday. This year we decided to take a trip out west; well, further west than Denver. We packed up the Volvo and headed west on I-70. Utah bound, we took up residence at the Arrowhead Country Inn of Mt. Carmel, Utah. From our base-camp we set forth on our adventure. Over a one week period, we visited four different parks. Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Coral Pink Sand Dunes (a state park), and the world's largest hole in the ground - The Grand Canyon (in Northern Arizona). During the vacation - despite the loss of my camera's battery charger - we took a lot of photos. Another great Annibirthday - and plenty of photos posted.
* Wisconsin vacation - 2010: This trip to Wisconsin was planned as a surprise for Kim's parents. The sneaky Vaessens (Kim & I) flew into Milwaukee, rented a car, and drove to De Pere. We delivered some flowers and treated Ted and Sharon to a meal at the Republic Chophouse, for their 45th wedding anniversary. Surprise!
* Annibirthday 2010: Kim and I celebrated another Annibirthday in October of 2010. As Kim and I were married on my birthday, we celebrate an Annibirthday instead of an Anniversary, or my Birthday. This year we decided on a 'Staycation'. While we stayed at home, we went to more places during our staycation than we did during many standard vacations. The staycation officially kicked off on the 24th of Oct. The official end of our 'Staycation' was 29 October, 2010.
* Kim's birthday 2012. In July of 2012, Kim and I took a four day, three night vacation in Colorado's lake country. Here are some photos of our vacation in the mountains near Grand Lake, Colorado.
* Annibirthday - 2012: Our anniversary/my birthday in 2012 was celebrated in Glenwood Springs. Kim's parents joined us for a fun weekend (25 - 29 Oct, 2012) in Aurora and Glenwood Springs. I've posted photos on my own website, and shared them via iCloud. If you want, you can create an account (on my website) in order to add comments on the individual photos.
* Kim's birthday 2013: Thankfully, Kim's birthday comes around once a year. It's an opportunity for us to take some time off in the summer. A reason to relax and have a good time. Kim turned 30 again this year. She closely guards the secret that keeps her young, but I think it has something to do with her bubbly personality.
* Kim's birthday 2014: In July of 2014, Kim and I took a little vacation to celebrate. It was a short three day vacation in Southwestern Colorado. We drove down to Durango, took a bus to Silverton, a jeep tour of the Animas river valley and a train back to Durango. I posted all the photos on my own website, but I also spread them around on Facebook, iCloud and Flickr.

Celebrations at home: Sometimes Kim & I stick around the house for a little celebration. We might have friends over or celebrate with our two best friends (Kim and I). Here's a few celebrations where we stayed home.

* Christmas - 2012: Over the last two days (25-26 Dec, 2012), the Denver/Aurora area received a welcome gift in the form of a White Christmas. Our area received approximately 2 inches of white fluffy snow and the mountains got more than 12 inches. On this festive occasion, Kim and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all our visitors a Happy Holiday Season, a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, a Joyous Festivus - Whatever flavor of holiday spirit trips your trigger. We sincerely hope that you and your family had a fantastic time during the last few days. We wish you prosperity and health throughout the year to come. Thanks for being our friends and family. We wish we could have made a trip out to see all our friends and family for the holidays, but we couldn't arrange it this year. Maybe we'll see you in 2012. Two different galleries created for this event. One created using 'Gallery 3.0' web hosted software, and another created using 'Exhibeo' application for the Mac.

Since moving to Colorado in 2001 and retiring from the military in 2005, Kim and I find that most of our Birthdays and Anniversaries (usually on the same date (see above)) are held in the Centennial state (or nearby states).

 
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Colorado weather: 90% of the time it's clear blue skies and moderate temperatures. When the wind carries a change over those mountains it's anybody's guess what the weather will bring. In the span of five hours, the temperature can change by 30 degrees Fahrenheit. With it comes snow, rain, ice pellets, a rapid thaw and blinding sunshine. The mountains to our west sure do cause some unusual weather conditions. Here are some photos of Colorado's weather:

* Colorado Blizzard 2003: March of 2003 brought record snowfall to Eastern Colorado. Here's a few photos I took of the aftermath.
* Snowy surprise of 2006: A snowstorm struck in October of 2006. It came and went unexpectedly. I took a couple of pictures in order to capture the moment.
* Colorado Hooker of 2006: December of 2006 brought a record snow storm to Colorado. Here are some photos of the storm's result.
* Yet another snow storm: On Saturday (20 Jan 07) it started snowing, and it finally stopped on Sunday night (21 Jan 07). Another heavy storm hit our area. Here's a small collection of photo's I took after I finished shoveling.
* Snow storm in April of 2007: On the 23 of April, 2007, a storm moved into our area. By the evening of the 24th we had several inches of cold, wet, heavy snow covering everything.
* First snowfall of 2007: On the 20th of October, 2007, we experienced the first snowfall of the season. I took a few pictures.
* Just another snow storm. Here's a few photos from one of those contests. Man vs Snow. With the trusty Snow-Blower on my side, the battle was a one sided contest. Cleaning up after a minor snow storm in February of 2008.
* Snow Storm in the Spring of 2009: A three day Nor' Easter dumped a big pile of wet and slushy snow on us. The even lasted from 16 - 19 April in the Spring of 2009. The weather was so bad, we had to cancel our D&D meeting!
* The early autumn snowstorm of 2009: We accumulated 6+ inches well ahead of Winter's official arrival. I sure need a new Snow blower; this stuff was heavy. Later in the month 28 - 30 October, we got socked by an even bigger storm. This three day storm dumped 18 inches in Aurora. Unfortunately, didn't get many pictures of that storm.
* Snow Storm in the Spring of 2010: Nothing compared to some previous Springtime storms (since I moved here in 2001). As a matter of fact, this winter's weather was rather mild in comparison to previous years.
* The Big Bad snowstorm of Feb, 2012: It sure was a doozy. We haven't had this much snow in quite some time. The snow fell for two days, and we ended up missing a day of work (we still got paid). Digging out from under 18 inches wasn't all that easy. Check out the pics if you've got the time. I've got links to two different galleries. One was generated using software hosted on my webhost; the other I generated myself then uploaded to my website. I still can't believe that Apple is doing away with it's MobileMe 'Gallery' service. That sure was an awesome service.

 
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On the trail: Occasionally, Kim and I take a four wheeling trip. A journey into the rugged back country with our four wheel vehicle. Here are a few of the more scenic trips:

*Switzerland Trail: Located west of Boulder, Colorado. The Switzerland Trail offers a relaxing 4-Wheel drive. Suitable for any type of sport utility vehicle, the trail follows the old railroad bed of the the Switzerland Trail Railway. There are spectacular views all along the way. There's even a couple of historic towns along the route. A scenic drive through the Colorado Rockies.
* Sugarloaf Mountain: Located west of Boulder, Colorado. This is another easy drive for any stock sport utility vehicle; provided the roads are dry. The road follows the course of an old railroad bed.
* Cottonwood Pass: Kim and I have visited this mountain pass twice since we've arrived in Colorado. It's a beautiful pass. A place where the Pacific meets the Atlantic, a continental divide. We've taken other photos of this pass, but here you'll find just a couple. Maybe I'll add more later.
* Golden Gate Canyon: Kim and I went for a drive in our new Volvo. A short little jaunt up into the mountains. A park we haven't been to before. While there we took some photos and discovered a fantastic lookout spot. The park is located north west of Golden, Colorado.

 
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Our first documented trip in Colorado. An outing to Colorado's Royal Gorge near Cañon City. This park is a beautiful place to spend the day, and we've been back on many occasions.

 
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Denver Zoo: Located in the heart of Denver, Colorado. Kim and I took a day trip. We spent most of the day (0900-1530) at the Zoo. This was our first trip to the Denver Zoo, and we had a really good time. I read the names of all the animals in these photos, but I couldn't possibly remember them all. Have fun making up your own names for the ones you don't recognize.
 
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Six Flags: Located in the heart of Denver, Colorado. Kim and I took a day trip. We spent most of the day (1000-1630) at an amusement park. We went to Six Flags: Elitch Gardens in downtown Denver. We both had a fantastic time. Rode a bunch of roller coasters, had some goofy photos taken, felt like kids again!

Six flags revisited: On the 22nd of July, 2005. Kim and I took another trip to Elitch Gardens. The event was an annual picnic sponsored by my employer. They provided cut rate tickets as well as free food, drinks (including Fat Tire beer), and prizes (little trinkets). Kim and I had a good time. We were there from 1700-2030.

 
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Hiking in Boulder: I went hiking in the mountains just west of Boulder, CO. It was a military function, but there were only four people who showed up to hike. Oh, well. Despite the poor turn-out, I had a really good time.
 
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World Forum: From 2002 - 2005, I volunteered as a driver and security augmentee at an event called the World Forum. The event was held in Beaver Creek, Colorado. I started taking photos in 2004, and took more in 2005. You can check out the photos or the web page where I provide more details about my participation in the World Forum.
 
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Colorado votes - 2008: My first experience in the electoral process. After 20 years in the Air Force, I finally get a chance to participate in the democratic process. I participated in my party's caucus on the 5th of February. Super-Tuesday was a new experience for me. I vote, do you?
 
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The Denver Auto Show - 2009: In 2008, Kim and I started making plans to buy a new car. The Passat (2001.5) has been paid off for quite some time, and we're kind of tired of it. Not to mention the fact that it's electrical problems have always been a thorn in our side. In 2009, we decided to pay a visit to an auto show in order to get that 'in the Driver's seat' experience. After attending the auto show, we put three cars on our list. Now it's just a matter of narrowing things down. Here are photos from the show.
 
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Wilkerson Pass: Photos from a day trip (on the 11th of Aug, 2013) out to Wilkerson Pass, Colorado. Wilkerson Pass is (elevation 9,504 ft) located appx 50 miles west of Colorado Springs, CO (along U.S. Highway 24). Pikes Peak of the Front Range is located to the east, and the Collegiate peaks of the Sawatch Range are located to the west, just beyond South Park (a region of Park County in Colorado).
 
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Kim and I occasionally get out to enjoy the sports events available in Colorado. It's a big sports town, and we're trying to sample our share. I doubt we'll ever see as many games as we'd like, but we can still have fun trying.

* On the 29th of September, 2009, Kim and I went to our first Colorado Rockies baseball game. We've been here since '01, but we've never been to a Rockies game or a Broncos game... Or any of the many other sports activities available in Colorado. Colorado is a big sports town, but Kim and I have been busy. I'm sure we'll never get to see and do everything that Colorado has to offer, but we're working on it. Here are photos from that game.
* Our first ball game of 2012. Kim and went to a Colorado Rockies baseball game in May of 2012. This particular outing was arranged by a coworker (thanks Tim) as a 'Team Building' 'Off-Site' event. The price was right - $14.00 for two tickets, $16.00 for train tickets, $38.00 for lunch, and $30.00 for drinks and such at the ball park - and the game was enjoyable. Unfortunately, the Rockies lost - 9 to 7 vs the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that's o.k. We didn't go for the team, we went for the game. A great stress free, enjoyable day at the ball park. We had a great time! I've posted some photos from the game on my website, with a short narrative of our day at the ball park. I hope you enjoy the photos. We sure enjoyed the game.
* Another outing to see the Rockies play the Brewers (August of 2012). Our favorite game of the year. Kim and I are from De Pere (a suburb of Green Bay), so no matter who wins, we win. We went to a night game, enjoyed some ball-park food and a few drinks. Here's a few photos from that fun filled event.

 
       
    Photos of Wisconsin  
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Wisconsin Winter 2004: In January of 2004, Kim and I went home on vacation. We spent two weeks in De Pere and Pound WI, visiting the folks, family, and relatives. I took some pictures while we were there.
 
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Wisconsin Winter 2004 (Part II): As I was approaching military retirement, I had 60 days of leave to use. During that time frame, Kim (25 Nov - 1 Dec) and I (9 Nov - 2 Dec) took a well deserved vacation. I drove to and from Wisconsin, while Kim flew there and back. Here's a few pictures from the trip. For a more detailed synopsis, see my journal entry.
 
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Wedding - 2006: Mark and Kary's wedding. Wedding and reception at the Palm's restaurant in downtown Milwaukee. Kary is Kim's sister. The Cloughs live in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. We flew in for the weekend, attended the wedding and flew back to Denver. We had loads of fun, but the travel was hell. Here's a few photos from the wedding.
 
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Wisconsin Winter 2006: While visiting my parents for Christmas, I took the opportunity to capture these photos of the back woods near Pound, Wisconsin. It's a tranquil retreat from the hectic life of Denver. A place where I can relax, unwind, and stop worrying for a few minutes.
 
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Christmas in Wisconsin - 2006: Kim and I were able to spend Christmas with family and friends in 2006. We drove to Wisconsin, and enjoyed our nine day vacation. Here are some of the photos I took while we were there.
 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2008: Finally, Kim and I were able to visit Wisconsin in a season other than winter. We drove to Wisconsin, and enjoyed a vacation around memorial day. May 23rd - June 3rd, 2008. Here are some of the photos I took while we were there.
 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2009: This time around, Kim and I managed to visit Wisconsin in the summertime! The first time we've been back to Wisconsin in the summertime since... what was it, 1992? We drove to Wisconsin, and enjoyed a vacation at the end of July. We celebrated Kim's birthday, and managed to visit all our family members. Here are some of the photos I took while we were there.
 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2010: This trip to Wisconsin was planned as a surprise for Kim's parents. The sneaky Vaessens (Kim & I) flew into Milwaukee, rented a car, and drove to De Pere. We delivered some flowers and treated Ted and Sharon to a meal at the Republic Chophouse, for their 45th wedding anniversary. Surprise!

 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2011: Kim and I drove to Wisconsin in order to spend Thanksgiving with our family. We stayed in Valders from the 19-21st, visiting with my Mom, my older Sister and her husband. We spent the rest of the time in De Pere visiting the Kuchta's and a few of my old friends.

 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2012: Kim and I flew to Wisconsin during September of 2012. We took a long weekend (Thursday - Monday) to visit with family and attend my 30th class reunion (class of 1982). Our reunion vacation went great. The weather was perfect; we got to visit our family and the class reunion was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the 35th reunion. You can check out our vacation photos on my Gallery page or the new (as of 2012) Photo Stream.

 
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Wisconsin vacation - 2013: In May of 2013 (May 26 - Jun 3), Kim and I took a short vacation. We drove to Wisconsin in order to attend a high school graduation and visit with our family. We drove Kim's car (it gets way better mileage than the XC90) and stopped at my Mom's place first. I posted the photos from this vacation on my Gallery Page and Apple's iCloud Photo Stream.

 
       
    Photos of other places  
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Sunny San Vito: Kim and I lived in southern Italy from 1985 - 1992. My first assignment in the military, our first overseas base. It was the best tour we've ever had. The mission was worthwhile, the climate unbelievable, the people were genuine, the food was sinful, and the friends were the best of all. Here is a photo journal of our time in that fabled far away place from so long ago.

 
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West Berlin - 1990: Back in 1990, I spent nearly a month in 'West Berlin'. I was still in the Air Force, and I was lucky enough to snag a primo TDY. I was doing really well at my job; winning numerous awards and accolades, impressing my commander and supervisors. As a reward for my performance, my unit - the 6917th ESG (of San Vito, Italy) sent me on a TDY (Temporary Duty) to West Berlin. From the end of July, through most of August (returning on the 25th), I spent nearly 30 days in the divided city. Here are some photos from that amazing time.

 
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Architectural Porn: Unintentional porn? Architecture that looks like something else. Does a strong buttress do it for you? Perhaps your a Gazebo fan. A play on words, or playing to the eye? Is it sinful or artful?

 
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Photo-painting project: In 2005, I began work on a project to create a painting of the mountains for display above the fireplace in our new home. The project was quite an undertaking, but the results are well worth it. The project isn't finished yet, but you can read all about Our Mountain View if you're interested.
 
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Yellowstone and Grand Tetons: In September of 2012, Kim and I drove North to Wyoming in order to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. After a 10.5 hour drive we arrived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There we spent four days exploring the National Parks and 'some' of what they have to offer. Unfortunately our stay was far too short. Next time we'll stay longer and possibly camp in the parks in order to get closer to the park attractions. With wild fires burning near the parks, the sunsets were spectacular. We had a really good time, and we're looking forward to a return trip.
 
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The Island of Rota: In June of 2014, Kim and flew half way across the planet to a tropical island just above the equator. We flew to the Island of Rota, an island in the Northern Mariana Islands. We spent six days on the island and a couple on Guam. It was a awesome vacation in a tropical location. A scouting trip for a retirement destination and a complete escape from the big city that is Aurora, Colorado. We had a fantastic time. I hope we're able to return. In addition to the standard 'gallery' linked at the begining of this entry, I also created an 'Exhibeo' gallery. Exhibeo is a standalone application that allows you to create fantastic looking web galleries and slideshows. Designed for the Mac, it intergrates with Freeway web authoring software or allows you to create drop-in HTML galleries for any website. <http://exhibeoapp.com>

 
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La Jolla, California: In June of 2014 (15 - 18 June, 2014) I went on a business trip (with some co-workers) to San Diego. We stayed at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines while we were there. Arriving on a Sunday, we spent most our time working. When we weren't working we managed to visit a few of the local restaurants (Fidel's Little Mexico - Solana Beach, CA (North of Del Mar); Piatti - La Jolla shores; Sushi on the Rock - La Jolla), the hotel grounds, the golf course (Torrey Pines - no we didn't play while we were there), and the Torrey Pines state natural reserve. Here's a few of the photos I took while I was there.

 
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Baltimore, Maryland -2014: In July of 2014, I spent a week in Maryland (in the Baltimore area) on a business trip. I didn't have much time to enjoy the sites, but I did manage to eat some Blue Crab (appx $8.00 / crab!) and visit Baltimore's Inner Harbor (too bad it rained that evening).

 
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Honolulu, Hawaii - 2014: In August of 2014, I spent a week in Hawaii (On the island of Oahu) on a business trip. I spent the whole time on the Island of Oahu visiting various customers. We stayed in Waikiki, not too far from the beach. I drove around the island several times, and we saw some pretty cool spots. The beaches on the military bases are amazing; mostly abandoned, but perfect white sand beaches, with no crowds at all. If Kim and I go back for a vacation I know just where we can stay. Here's a few of the photos I posted on my website and the iCloud.

 
       

 

I hope you enjoy the photos I've posted to my web page. Photo's were taken using one of my digital cameras (listed chronologically (sort of)):

  • A Fuji FinePix FX-2400Zoom digital camera (2.1 Mega Pixel/3x Zoom) - Our first (well actually our second) digital camera. Purchased back in 1999 when we lived in Misawa Japan. Our first digital camera didn't take very impressive photos, but the convenience of the digital format was killer.
  • A Canon ZR200 (which took horrible photos - 450k pixel with 400x digital / 20x optical zoom). This video camera had a crappy photo option.
  • Nikon Coolpix 7900 (7.9 Mega Pixel with 3x digital / 3x optical zoom). A pretty good camera which we still own. Unfortunately, the battery closure is close to completely breaking. We haven't used this phone in many years.
  • iPhone 3GS (3 Mega Pixel w/5x digital zoom and 640-by-480 (VGA) video at 30 frames per second). Used this camera/phone from 2009-2011.
  • A Panasonic Lumix model DMC-FZ35 (12 Mega Pixel with 18x optical zoom and 4x digital (combined for max 72-148x)). The FZ35 records HD movies with 1280 x 720-pixel resolution using AVCHD Lite format (MPEG-4/H.264)). A great camera, but a bit bulky. Carrying it requires planning.
  • For a few years (2011-2013), I used an iPhone 4S (8 Mega Pixel with auto focus). Face detection in stills. LED flash. Records HD video (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio and video stabilization. The front facing camera (for video conferencing) has VGA quality photos and video at up to 30 frames per second. With iOS, the photos and videos can be geo-tagged. So far I'm very impressed with the photos it's generating.
  • As of 1 Nov, 2013, I'm using an iPhone 5s (8MP (1.5µ pixels) with a 3x zoom, auto focus and an ƒ/2.2 aperture). Records HD video (720p (for facetime) or 1080p) up to 30fps w/audio and video stabilization. Photos can be automatically geotagged (I don't usually use this). The camera has some really awesome features such as: True Tone flash, a hybrid IR filter, tap-to-focus and autofocus, Panorama, burst mode, slo-mo video, etc.

I created (some of) the photo pages using Apple's photo cataloging software - iPhoto. iPhoto is part of the iLife - Apple's 'creativity' suite. I also used (used to use) an iPhoto plugin called BetterHTMLExport. It was a snap, honestly! :-) Unfortunately, that plugin no longer works (under iPhoto 9 or greater), and the iPhoto native HTML export looks like crap. I've also been known to use other applications, such as 'ShutterBug', GraphicConverter, Gallery 3.0 (web hosted software), and Exhibeo.

Some photo editing was done using GraphicConverter and/or the GIMP, and web page tweaking was performed using BBEdit and/or Dreamweaver. (versions MX, CS4, CS5) Follow this link for more info on my favorite software.

 
 
Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
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