2019

Glendale Thrift Stores | Glendale, CA

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This is exactly where I was hoping this blog would go. I wanted to start catching our more candid moments. Feiya is constantly doing something crazy everywhere we go. It’s a riot. We try to get her to act “natural” but, it never lasts. One minute she’s doing something insanely goofy and the next she’s pouting because we didn’t get boba tea yet. Total drama queen. It won’t be long before she discovers the drama clubs.

Last weekend it was just Feiya and myself for an afternoon of antics and thrift store shopping. Dana had a ticket to attend a religious conference in Glendale, California. We left Vegas early in the morning on Saturday and made it to Glendale in time to have a nice lunch before the conference started. The three of us picked a Thai Food restaurant in the downtown area the night before. We weren’t disappointed.

After lunch we dropped Dana off at the community center where the conference was at. That left Feiya and myself a few hours for some adventures. One of our favorite pass times is going to thrift stores. Everywhere we’ve traveled over the past year we have reserved time to visit the local thrift stores. Feiya loves hoodies and sweatshirts that are from the local colleges, schools, and landmarks. We also shop for shoes. She has nice collection of Vans and Converse. All under $15 each. ;). She loves it, because she knows I hardly ever say know when it’s at a second hand price. She’s getting a good eye for finding the good stuff. We have a lot of fun.

After thrift store shopping Feiya and myself found a chain Udon noodle shop at the mall across the street from our hotel. The portions were generous. The food was good and we had enough to take back to the hotel and make use of the fridge and microwave in our room. I had coffee and noodles for breakfast!

Our plan was to get up and head back to Las Vegas Sunday morning. It rained all day Saturday and they were calling for more on Sunday. We didn’t see any point on sticking around Sunday morning. So, we hit the road bright and early. I was looking forward to hitting the couch to watch some football and editing the Saturday pics that afternoon. Somewhere near Pomona the water pump in my van decided to call it quits. The only shop open was the Pep Boys on Foothill BLVD. They saved the day!

It was a 6 hour layover while the repairs were being done on the van. There was a Mexican restaurant next door and lo and behold, two thrift stores just a short walk away. The stores were rubbish and we didn’t find anything, but we had a fun morning/afternoon. And I was able to get some extra shots. Not bad for a rainy day in Southern California!

Just a little photography geek talk: I used my Ricoh GR II on this trip. I had my Sony A6000 with me, batteries charged and ready to go, but I didn’t even turn it on. Anyway, I changed the focus setting in the Ricoh sometime on Saturday. This is the camera I used in China last year. When I was over there I was having focusing issues. I figured out what was wrong and set the camera to fix it. The focus is slow in that camera, but works pretty damn good. Well, for some reason I decide to change it back. What f*ck was I thinking? So, that’s the reason why some of these pics are focused weird. I really don’t mind how they turned out. They look ok. Maybe even a little creative.

Listening to- Baby Blue by the Scanners.

2019

E Desert Inn | Las Vegas

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I’ve been in Las Vegas for 2 years. I love it more every day. It’s just such an interesting place to live. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking in a different time. I shot a condo in this complex this past week. The condo was a little gloomy, but look at that courtyard! Saying it’s seen better days is an understatement.

The building was built in 1963 and is located just a half block from the strip. I can just imagine rolling up in a Chevy Convertible and parking under the carport. The pool teaming with people drinking cocktails and smoking Pall Malls. Bebop music playing from one of the open doors of an apartment. I can almost taste the bourbon!

That’s why I like it so much here in Vegas. You can get transported back in time at any moment. I hadn’t done much “research” on this building before I arrived. But when I was led through that courtyard for the 1st time, wow! I told the assistant that met me there that I’d do the courtyard last. I wanted to take my time with it. Well, I took maybe 10 minutes and was able to get these shots. The pool area was actually closed off, so I shot the ground level shot through the fence. I really wish I could have gotten some tighter shots. For personal use only, of course.

I shpt these with the company camera, a Canon 5D Mark IV. Very nice camera. The lens I used is a the 16-35mm f/ 4L, the standard real estate photography lens. I processed these as single frame as I would any other personal photos. I actually used the -1 ev photo in the set of 5 photos I take to produce my HDR image. I wish I could edit like that all day. I’m growing weary of HDR. Anyway, days like that day (it was on a Monday) remind me that I really do love my job.

2019

Dana’s USA Citizenship Ceremony | Las Vegas

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This past Friday Dana received her citizenship certificate. It was a very exciting moment for the 3 of us. We’re very proud of Dana and how far she has come since arriving in the US 5 1/2 years ago. She aced her interview because she was so well prepared. I was amazed by the accuracy that she knew the questions with. Great job sweetheart! I love you!

This will mean we can now proceed with Feiya’s application. It should be a fairly easy process. We hit some bumps in the road with her Green Card, but this will be different. I am hoping we can get this done by the time Feiya starts 7th grade. That would be about the time her braces would be coming off. She could start school with a new smile and new name. Feiya Rowland.

Another advantage for Dana’s and Feiya’s citizenship is being able to get the coveted US Passport. Travel abroad will be mush easier with a US Passport versus a Chinese Passport. It would be hard to travel to countries like Japan with a Chinese Passport. There are many more countries that doesn’t require a Visa as well when traveling with a US Passport. There are far fewer countries that allow Chinese citizens travel without a Visa. Obtaining these Visas can be challenging. However, soon we won’t have to worry about that. No that we’re looking to travel overseas anytime soon. Just nice to know later down the road.

We had a great weekend celebrating Dana’s citizenship. Friday evening after the ceremony we went to the renowned Chinese restaurant inside the Gold Coast Casino, Ping Pan Pong. The food was great! Today, we celebrated a again with a late lunch at Sapporo Revolving Sushi. Again, an outstanding meal! We are truly riding high in Las Vegas!

I used my Ricoh GR II to take these photos. This is the camera I used in China last year. Small, powerful, and takes beautiful photos. Really love this camera.

2019

Feiya’s iPhone Art | IbisPaint X Drawings

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Feiya makes some incredible renderings on her iPhone using IbisPaint X. She makes them scratch drawing with her fingers. She shows me the many many layers that goes into making the drawing. She starts with a simple outline and then fills in the spaces with colors. Then she adds shading and details after that. Incredible results!

I have been asking her to send me some. Finally today she sent some to me. I asked her for everything she had (she does several of these a week) and she told me she’s been deleting them because they take up too much room on her phone. I told her to stop that and send everyone to me. So, I’ll keep an going library of them here.

We’ll get to see her progress and growth as an artist, hopefully. I’ve seen her do a lot of those doll pictures and they’s impressive all by themselves, but the last pic in this group floored me. The best I’ve seen her do. I told it was a great and really got on her about sending me her drawings. I didn’t want this one to by the wayside. Let’s see where it goes.

2019

Stellar Logo Design Almost Live!

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Stellar Logo Design- Logo design and web design.

I bought a website @stellarlogodesign.com just about a year ago from a design team in India. I paid $125 basically to get the domain name. The website itself needed a makeover. My plan was to redesign the website and start hustling for logo design and web design work. I redesigned the website fairly quickly and felt good about the project. Well, the more I delved into it the more unanswered questions arose. I wanted to have it “live” by March of this year. That didn’t happen due to lack of education and know how on my part.

The first thing I had to figure out was hosting. Quality hosting that is. I’ve been with Godaddy for about 10 years, minus a year where I moved everything to Bluehost. Bluehost was a train wreck, so back to Godaddy. However, now I wanted to sell hosting along with my websites and Godaddy can be a bit problematic. So, I found Cloudways managed cloud hosting and couldn’t be happier. Okay, one issued solved and onto the next.

Next, was brushing up on SEO. I was familiar with white hat SEO tactics, but it had been a few years since doing any homework with it. I took a quality class on Udemy and put myself up to speed with it. SEO is tricky and not easy. I read a book on the subject a few years ago and the author said “It’s Google’s world and we’re just living in it.” Nothing could be truer. Google writes the playbook and rule book and does so secretly. Not an easy game to play when you don’t know for sure how to play and what the rules are. You just have to find the people who have had success with SEO and that are willing to teach you their tricks. And there’s a million of them. The couple of guys I follow seem to on point.

After my SEO class I took some coding classes on Udemy. I’ve always struggled with coding, but I have to have a solid grasp on the basics to make it as a web designer. Having that foundation of the basics will help me find the answers to the more complex issues I’ll inevitably will run into. I feel good about my coding and incorporated some custom coding into Stellar Logo Design.

About this time the home selling season was kicking in and I was getting busy at work. I became discouraged at this point because the next task was to write the content. I approach all my websites as a story. I just couldn’t figure out the narrative for this website. Sometimes I can write content really well and many times not so much. So, during the summer I shelved Stellar Logo Design.

That didn’t mean I stopped. I moved onto my photography website- RCRdigital.com. I was shooting a lot of clean houses here in Vegas and building an awesome portfolio. So, I switched gears and gave my real estate photography website the makeover it desperately needed. I had hastily built the one I was using when I moved here to Las Vegas. I just had so much to do that I couldn’t spend a lot of time on designing a new website. I never liked that website, but it was all I had because I had to remove myself completely from my California presence. I spent a couple of months redoing it and went live about 4 weeks ago. It still needs some work, but I’m happier with it now.

My end game is to leave my job and become independent once again. I could go head first into real estate photography. I have 2 years of shooting in Vegas under my belt. So why not? Well, I just don’t trust the Las Vegas real estate market. Probably because I don’t know it well enough outside of ERA. When I went solo in California I thought I knew all there was to know about real estate in the Bay Area. How wrong I was! I don’t want to repeat the same mistake.

So, before I go solo I want to have a supplemental income. The only other skill I have that is marketable is graphic design. Unfortunately, graphic design and web design are tough to market. My plan is to spread a far and wide net trying to find “my people”. That is, clients who get my aesthetics and I can easily work with. I’ve got a couple of regulars that have stuck with me over the years. One client goes as far back as when I lived in Denver. The others are from California. I want to outsource most of the heavy lifting and just do the light edits and revisions. I’ll need to find designers on my end that I can work with as well. I’ve found several labor pools of graphic designers abroad. I’ll cast a net far and wide in that direction as well. I’m confident that I can overcome any shortcomings any designer I hire has. I’ll have to weed out the ones that struggle with what I ask of them and find the ones that handle my given tasks well. I’ve already, over the past year, worked with several and have a pretty clear idea on how I’ll approach this.

Next, and final task is marketing. My goal is to be making a solid income by March of next year. That’s only 1 year off of my previous deadline. I don’t think that’s too bad. I have from now and then to figure out how I’m going to market this little venture. I’m leery of falling into a PPC money pit. So, I’ll try to figure out how to best cast my net. Facebook ads are an option, but I’ve tried those in the past with no such luck. I really want to got the direct marketing route through snail mail and email. That’s a dying avenue as well. But, I know it and have had success with it in the past.

I’ve come a long way over the past year. I still have a long way to go. Let’s see how I’m doing this time next year!

2019

Back Country Adventure | Brian Head, Utah

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Feiya had a 3 day weekend from school, so we took a little trip to Brian Head. We were hoping to catch some color in the leaves, but were too late. The area proved to be beautiful nonetheless. The spiny white aspens sauntered like ghosts against the spotless blue sky.

I’ve wanted to go on a back country OHV tour since we staid in Page, AZ last spring. The hotel we staid at had a off road tour company next door. I talked the guy about it and it sounded awesome. I was concerned to take Feiya, however. She can get car sick at times. It can be tough going on some the twisty turny roads we take on our adventures. We get through it by taking breaks and taking it slow. Anyway, a timed rental could be an issue if we get a few miles from the base and she get’s sick. So, I’ve been reluctant to try it. Until this past weekend.

She loved every minute of it! We put her up front and made sure she had plenty of layers on. It was a little brisk, 50-60’s. It was a wonderful time. Neither Dana nor Feiya had ever experienced anything in the back country like that. I had a plenty of those adventures while living in Colorado.

I did a lot of camping while living in Grand County during a couple of summers. I fell in love with Mother Nature during those years. There was nothing like laying on the ground and looking to the sky seeing the stars stretched horizon to horizon.

Later in the 00’s I had a small Ford Ranger 4×4 and just the right amount of camping gear. I spent many weekends high in the mountains secluded in Mother Nature. I loved spending weekends exploring National Forest access roads.

This past weekend brought back a lot of many fond memories of those Colorado days stomping around the mountains. Our outfitter gave us a nice map and some great well marked routes through the myriad of primitive access roads through a portion of the Dixie National Forest.

2019

Blissful Harmony | teakruthie

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Today was a beautiful day here in Vegas. Mid 70’s, clear sky, light breeze, and like I told my friendly neighbor at the mailboxes, no complaints! So, why not brew nice pot of tea this evening? Can’t really think of a reason not to.

Tonight’s brew is Blissful Harmony from our buddies at teakruthie . This is an infusion of orange Ceylon and white tea. It’s lighter than the Organic Orange from my last post on tea. I over steeped and it went too dark. So, it’s a stronger as usual. You can see by the photos that it’s darker than the orange Ceylon.

I really like this infusion. When done right it’s a nice evening tea. The reviews that I’ve read say it’s ok to add milk to this tea. I haven’t tried it with milk, as it’s very light to me. I’m an English Breakfast kind of guy. So, that being said, I really like this tea. It is very light, so I only drink it in the evening. Tonight’s batch, however, could definitely be drank at breakfast. It’s still a good tea. As you can see by the photos it’s very woody. This carry-overs into the texture of the brewed tea. A very smooth tea with just the right amount of punch, when you need it the least.

I paired tonight’s brew with Animal Cookies. Not my favorite strain, as it’s a little too mellow for me. Currently listening to Rancho Relaxo.

Have a great evening!

2019

Fremont Street & The Strip | Las Vegas

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I had some down time at work this week and was able to play tourist. My first stop was my favorite Las Vegas hangout, Fremont Street. Fremont Street is a great spot for people watching and street photography. I usually go in the mornings when it’s low key and easy going. This time there was a lot of construction as they are updating the canopy. The light show will be seen during the day. They had half of it completed. Anyway, I was able to get some shots off. I posted my favorites here.

My 2nd stop was the Strip. I parked at Paris Las Vegas. I was able to hit the front of the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Planet Hollywood. This is one of the busiest parts of the Strip as far as pedestrian traffic. Still, on a Thursday late morning it was busy, but far from crowded. I was able to get a few shots and posted them here.

2019

Always Changing | About Us

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Dana and Feiya- Iron County Fair 2019

I started this blog about 10 months ago. I wanted to take my “good” photos off of Facebook. Wary of social media and not interested in likes, hearts, or follows I started this blog. I cataloged all of my photos from 2010 to present and posted them here. It wasn’t too difficult and I was able to organize them into categories just how I wanted. I loved it!

Now, 10 months later I’m starting to realize there could be so much more here. Sure, photography is my life. I work with photography and play with photography. But, photography still isn’t my complete life.

I’m a family man first and foremost. Dana and Feiya are my heart and soul. So, why not include them here? Documenting my life here at the present moment can give something for us all to look back at the way we were.

I’ve been posting most of my family moments on Facebook over the past 5-6 years. I regret that. Maybe this Winter I’ll go back through those photos and repost them here? Will FB be around in 10 years? 20 years? Likely not. Will this blog be here? Likely so.

I’ve spent most of my adult life online going under the pseudonym of “Ed” or “ImNotEd”. There’s a story behind those names and I’ll save it for another post. However, I can’t see a better way to play homage to those beloved identities then posting my best life using Ed as the author at a blog named ImNotEd.

So, there you have it. This is now a blog about us. Maybe a little of the past and present mixed with a hopeful future? I think so.

Thank you,
—Rick