Photography by Ed Surmise.

Reflections From a Guy in a Mirror – Volume One • Post One

Here we go, more talk about my job. After eight years of real estate photography, I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself interested. I have become pretty routine here in Vegas. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve developed a template on just about every situation, every house. It’s good to have parameters. I like to set my boundaries and once I feel they’re solid is when I like to expand.

During this pandemic I’ve really tried to just be. A good time to try to be the person you think you are is during a crisis. If you’re not already, that is. At the beginning of this pandemic I told Feiya and Dana that it’s our time to shine. I really love it here in Las Vegas and want to really be part of the recovery process.

There’s a neighbor just downstairs next door that was parking in our spot while our place was empty. After a couple of friendly notes on his car I received a really friendly note back. He apologized and moved the car. After moving into our new place, I discovered that he likes to sit outside on the front patio. We always say hello and today he told me that he’s laid off. He’s a casino worker at Paris Las Vegas. I’ve met some really cool people in this town and I want us all to do well.

An actual room at Paris Las Vegas shot by your’s truly. A little side gig I had.

Guy in bathroom

With everything going on it’s nice to find a refuge wherever we can. I’ve been trying to break the monotony with a little project while at work. I’ve been amusing myself a lot with it. Wasn’t sure if I should post it on here or not. In the end, it brought a smile to my face and maybe it will do the same for you as well.

At first I was trying to get some selfies with my mask on. When I looked at the photos I thought I looked like an idiot. So, I thought, why not just be myself. Either way I’ll look like an idiot.

Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
This was when I started wearing a mask in occupied homes. I thought I’d get a new profile pic or something. Not so much.
Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
This is my 2nd attempt. I used a smaller bathroom at another house. Not much better, but I’m seeing something here.

Not long after I took those 1st two selfies I started to try to change things up a bit. The next phase was just trying to look stupid. It wasn’t to far of a stretch. I liked these picture much better. They made me laugh. And now there’s a danger in it as well. What would happen if one of these slipped through to the MLS? Yikes!

I think this is the one that made me smile the most. I don’t even think I was trying here.
I tried to be a little more creative here. How many times can I do this one? I’m not sure, but I plan on seeing how many.

Where will the guy go?

Is this just a pandemic thing and once things settle down I’ll move on from Guy in the Mirror? I don’t know. We’ll see where it goes. I do love doing the black and white editing. These photos have all been processed in Photomatix. I did the black and white treatment on top of the HDR process. They’ve been edited twice. One of these days I’m going to shoot a house just for black and white and process them without HDR. I don’t think it’d be too hard. Of course, it wouldn’t be real estate worthy. But, it’s something different and we like different.

I’m still waiting for a call from the Smithsonian or The Met. I can wait, because I’m still having fun.

Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
I tried to get a repeating effect with the mirror behind me. I had moderate success.
Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
This is the 2nd take on for this one. I’m glad I took the time to get it right.
Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
I shot this house yesterday. Very cool house.
A Saturday afternoon side job. Making money and having fun!
Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
Another one with 2 takes. This is the 1st take.
Guy in a mirror. Las Vegas real estate photographer.
Playing with perspective here. I think we have something here.

Listening to Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Sunday Meal with Greek Food

Chicken gyros and a Greek pasta salad


I’m starting this weeks Sunday Meal blog on Saturday night and I’ll finish it tomorrow. I made the Greek salad earlier today, so half of tomorrow’s dinner is already done. I didn’t take any pics today. Will take some pics tomorrow.

I got up early today and went to WinCo at 7am. It’s creepy shopping for groceries now a days. I’ve been wearing a mask in public and in occupied homes that I work in. I don’t do it out of fear or politics. I just wear my mask out of respect for those around me. If someone isn’t wearing a mask that’s their business. It does seem like everyone is a zombie walking through the grocery store though. I know we’re going to get through this and return to some type of normalcy. I don’t think the world will ever be the same. This is like how 9-11 changed the world. It’s always going to be different.

Summerlin sunset in Las Vegas, Nevada.
An incredible sky!
Summerlin sunset, Las Vegas, Nevada.
This the view south. The big building to the lower right is Red Rock Resort. Rumor has it that they’s opening June 1st. Now that the Palms is closed indefinitely, this is my favorite casino, hands down. And it’s right in my backyard!
Summerlin sunset in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is a zoomed in shot of Red Rocks. We get sunsets like this over here 2-3 times a week.

Anyway, the new house is coming along. We put together a new desk for me. It’s very nice looking. I’m going to do a little organizing with it. I now have my PC and all my battery charges right next to me. I’m also in the living room, so we need to make it look as neat as possible. My next project is that I’m going to put down some type of floor on the balcony. I’m going to put up a sunshade to enclose it somewhat. Should be nice. I’ll get a chair out and table out there and spend some time in the evenings with the laptop. That is before or after Summer.

Dana has been working on the bathrooms. We almost have the front bathroom done. I’m going to use that one and the girls will use the Master Bath. So, that will be nice.

Sunday AM

I woke up early today, around 4:30am. I would have liked to slept a little longer, but I wanted to get started on a new project I just dreamed up. I jumped out of bed and fired up my iron skillet that arrived yesterday from Amazon. I seasoned it yesterday afternoon and was excited to try it out. The first thing that came to mind was to make an omelet in it. I did it and it turned out pretty damn good.

Sunday morning omelet in an iron skillet.
1st step is to saute the onions and green bell peppers. I used butter and little salt to make them sweet and juicy. I add the mushrooms after the peppers and onions cooked a while.
Sunday morning omelet in an iron skillet.
This morning I used ingrediants that I had on hand from the other dishes we were making this weekend. I used colby jack cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and the sauted onions and green bell peppers.
Sunday morning omelet in an iron skillet.
Eggs cook perfectly in an iron skillet. I’m very happy to have one in my kitchen once more.
Sunday morning omelet in an iron skillet.
This is the just after I rolled the eggs. I whip the eggs with a fork until the eggs are creamy and frothy. This makes the eggs puffy when I cook them.

Dinner Prep Time

We had to do some prepping before we could cook our gyros. We had to marinate the chicken for a 1.5 hours. I also wanted to whip up the tzatziki sauce. I’ve had it a million times in Greek restaurants but I’d never made myself. The sauce was from this recipe on and consisted of plain Greek yogurt, fresh cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, and dill. It turned out great! It was, however, a little on the runny side. I didn’t strain the cucumber. Lesson learned and will revise this next time. Unfortunately, I din’t take any photos. 🙁

Dinner Time!

After all the prepping for the last day and half, it was time to start cooking. We were very excited about this meal. So far, everything was turning out well and the recipes were simple and easy to follow. That’s our style- simple and easy!

The main course of the day was the chicken gyros. I marinated the chicken in a mixture of red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings. I fried them in my iron skillet with olive oil. They turned out better than I expected. Next time I’ll do it a little different though.

Greek inspired chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce.
The chicken was marinated for about 1.5 hours. It turned out really good. If I had to do it over I would have seared them in a hot skillet and then baked them for about 15-20 minutes.
Greek inspired chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce.
Feiya had a much better day int he kitchen than she did last week. She had a hand in everything today and did really well.

The dinner today turned out exceptionally well. I’d give this one a 8.5 out of 10. Better than last week, but still lot’s room for improvement. Next week is Memorial Day weekend. This will be the 1st American holiday that both Feiya and Dana are American citizens. Also our 7th wedding anniversary is on Friday. I’m going to try to do a part II to the blog post I made last month. Hopefully I have that up by Friday.

Camera I used today was the Sony A6000. You can see more of my food photos by viviting my food category here:

Music- Tame Impala

Mexican Food- Sunday Meal

First Sunday meal in the new place

Well, that went ok. The kitchen performed flawlessly. The new gas range is a pure joy to cook with. I think it’s been since I lived in Rapid City, South Dakota since I had a kitchen with a gas stove. Cooking on that stove was a thrill in its self. Now that the thrift stores are open again, I’ll see if I can find some decent pots and pans. I was able to use my brand new Japanese chef knife that I paid $11.99 for on Amazon. It did pretty good. I have a genuine Ginsu knife arriving tomorrow. I’ll be able to slice through an aluminum can AND a tomato. I won’t take that kind of power lightly.


The main dish today was enchiladas. We followed a recipe from We didn’t follow it to a tee, but we didn’t stray to far from it either. The seasoning on the chicken breasts was Feiya’s idea. We mixed paprika, salt, chili powder, and cumin together. It was pretty tasty, but in the end you really couldn’t taste it in the finished dish. The salsa verde was the highlight of the day! Very easy to make- chicken broth, flour, butter, onions, chilis, and some cumin. I followed the recipe and turned out pretty good. Could use a little kick from some jalapenos or such.

Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
These are the chicken breasts we tried to spice up with a little concoction. The spices were pretty good, however they were lost in the finished dish.

Over all the enchiladas turned out pretty good. It was a little bland, but had a lot of potential. Hopefully someday soon we’ll revisit it and try to spice it up a bit.

Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
The enchiladas before the big bake.
Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
The enchiladas after the big bake.

Chili Rellenos

Another recipre we tried from was Chili Rellenos. This was a disaster in the making. I think what saved it was I talked to the produce guy at WinCo Foods and he told me that his grandmother soaks the chilis in saltwater for about 10 minutes before stuffing and cooking them. I did as he said the the ckilis turned out very favorable and sweet. Feiya made the batter and I think she went a little heavy with the milk making the batter a little runny. Not the end of the world. The recipe called for rolling them in flour and then dipping them into the batter. I did that on 3 of them. On the fourth chili I dipped it in an egg was and the batter stuck a little better when I fried it. Still not the greatest, but would like to try battering and frying something again soon. So I can get it grip on it.

Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
This looks a lot worse than it actually was.
Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
The batter wasn’t too bad.

Feiya wasn’t on her game today. We started at 11:00am and she had just woken up at 10:30am. I think there was too much coming at her too early in the day. Getting up for school this fall is going to be a real treat. She did prep the chilis and make the batter before she checked out. She accidentally rubbed her nose with a finger tip that had pepper on it. I think that was a lesson she needed to learn for herself.

Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
Feiya admiring her handy work with the chicken.
Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
She made a smoothie and went to her room after the pepper incident.


The final presentation could have been better. I’ll have to work on that. Overall I would give today’s meal 7.5 out of 10. It was a success overall, but we can improve. Which, for me, is the best part. Progressing. I used to think of myself as a pretty good cook. However, over the years my nomadic lifestyle has moved me away from cooking. I’m so glad Feiya has a such an interest in the kitchen. I’m hoping her passion can ignite my passion for cooking once again. I don’t think that’s a long shot.

Cooking Mexican food for our Sunday meal.
My plate could look better.

Next week we’re going Mediterranean. Feiya and I would go to this restaurant in San Mateo a lot- Cobani Gyro and Kebab. It was a Californian twist on the gyro. Very fresh and flavorful. Not like you get in the Midwest, which are good in their own rights. We’re going to try to miic the chicken gyro and greek salads we used to order there. Wish us luck!

Tonight’s music, an oldie but goody- Midnight Movies.

I used my trusty Sony A6000 with a 16-70mm lens from Sony Vario-Tessar. Like a doofus I had the butterfly lens hood on wrong and the wings showed up in some of the wide shots.