—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

775 393-9529

Day 145, Mike.

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This is Mike at 6:45 in the morning. He was out walking with a friend, who shied away when Vesta asked could we take their picture.

But Mike said, “You can take mine. I’m not camera shy.” So I did.

But Mike’s friend kept right on a walkin’ and he was walking fast, so Mike had to hurry to catch up, so we got absolutely no info about why he was out and about so early, other than his name.

He reminds me of an American Guy, Vesta and I met in the lobby of the Zurich Hotel one morning. Since we were Americans in a sea of Swiss and Germans, we decided to have breakfast together.

He was in Switzerland to check out Swissair pilots on their new DC-10s, which gives away how long ago that was, cuz DC-10s have been outta style for awhile.

He was full of stories, not a one of which I can remember. He was a character and the kinda person it woulda been fun knowing. We exchanged addresses, but we never heard from him again. And sadly, oftentimes that’s what happens when you meet cool people when you’re on vacation.

But that was before Facebook. Today, we just woulda friended each other on the spot and we probably woulda been friends for years.

Mike also looks like he should be named Jean Claude. Really, doesn’t he have a Jean Claude je ne sais quoi look about him?


Day 144, Kevin.

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This is Kevin in Downtown Reno at 6:40 in the morning. He works at the VA and that’s all we know about him, other than the fact that he let us take his photo, which was cool.

We’ve been taking these By the Dawn’s Early Light photos for twenty days past a third of a year and now we know an awful lot of people who are out early. For example, this morning we ran into three people whose photos we’ve taken and we had a short conversation with all three.

It’s hard for me to imagine not getting up early and going out. The homeless smile and wave at us. The cops two. People going to the gym or to work, as well. Walkers, joggers and runners, also.

And they all seem to be glad to see us. Well, we are likable people, Vesta and me.


Day 143, Cody.

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Here is Cody, he’s one of the guys building the New Virginia Street Bridge. He looks like he’s about twelve. But, of course, he’s older. I know this, cuz we got child labor laws in Nevada.

Yesterday, Vesta and I spent about an hour or so watching them work and, holy moly, it’s a pretty dangerous job these bridge building guys got.

They use these really big cranes to lift real heavy stuff. And guys standing on the ground grab onto the real heavy stuff and guide it into place. One wrong move, and you got a lotta dead bridge builders.

Anyway, what I like about these bridge building guys is that they’re always smiling and they’re all super friendly.

If you need a bridge built in your city, you should check out these guys. Yeah, some of ‘em, like Cody, look like they’re still in high school, but they know their business.


Day 142, Denise.

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This is Denise, out on the Sierra Street Bridge at exactly 6:35 this morning. As usual, Vesta and I got to the bridge at 6:30. We waited five minutes and decided to head out toward the Reno sign, cuz come rain or shine, there are always people there.

But just as we started, coming south from downtown, we saw Denise.

I asked, she said yes and I took this picture. “

What are you doing out so early?” Vesta said.

“I just left a party and I’m going home.”

“Wow!” we both said at the same time.

“I’m impressed,” Vesta said.

“Me too,” I said.

“I know!” Denise said. “Partying all night, on a Tuesday.” She smiled. Then laughed. “Gotta go.” she said and she left.

“I think she had more fun than we did last night,” Vesta said.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “That was a pretty gosh darned exciting grilled cheese sandwich I had for dinner.”

“Let’s see.” Vesta held out her hands, raised the left, said, “Grilled cheese.” Then she raised the right as she lowered her left and said, “Party.” And she went on like that for a few seconds, raising and lowering her hands. “Grilled cheese. Party. Grilled cheese. Party. Grilled cheese. Party.” She dropped her hands. “Party wins.”

“I’m glad.”

“Next Tuesday I wanna go to a party.”

“I’ll try to find you one.”

“That would be nice.”


Day 141, Neil.

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This is Neil, out in front of the Whitney Peak Hotel on Virginia Street, by the Reno Sign. We caught him at a quarter to seven, walking fast.

“Hey,” Vesta almost shouted, “Can we take your picture?”

He’d just gone by us, but he stopped. “Why?”

“Cuz we got a project going on.” I went on and told him about it and said that he’d be day one-forty-one.

“Okay,” he said and I took the shot. “Now, I gotta go.” And he took off down the street. Wherever he was going, he was in a hurry to get there. Probably work.

He’s got a dark band on his nose, even with his eyes, that you see on a someone who wears sunglasses a lot.

So maybe he’s a California Highway Patrolman in Reno on vacation, you know, cuz those guys never take their sunglasses off.

Or maybe he owns a fishing boat in the Caribbean. Maybe not, cuz he didn’t have an island accent. Hawaii’s a possibility though.

Or maybe he’s a baseball player or a golfer, they’re out in the sun a lot.

Or a surfer, he could be a surfer.

Or a Private Investigator, who hides behind his shades, cuz he follows people all the time.

Or maybe he’s a famous actor and hides behind his shades when he doesn’t wanna be recognized.

He could be a lotta things, but what he was today, was a man in a hurry, who was kind enough to stop for a minute and let me take his picture.


Day 140, Greg.

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Here is Greg, out in the Dawn’s Early light in Downtown Reno. We spied him as soon as we got to the Reno Sign, walking straight toward us, with a spring in his step.

“Can we take your picture?” Vesta said.

“Certainly.” He stopped, looked right at me as I raised the camera and I took this shot.

“What are you don’t out at 6:30 in the morning?” Vesta said.

“Going to Harrah’s.”

“To gamble?”

“No, I’m going to work.”

“Really?” she said. “Do you know Billie who works on the fifth floor?”

“Yeah.” He smiled, then laughed. “She’s my other half.”

“You're kidding!” I said. “We photographed her almost in this very spot about a month ago.”

He went on to tell us they came from California about three years ago and they love Reno. They both work at the same place and they love that too.

We must’ve talked to him for about fifteen minutes or so, because he was very interesting and funny too. He and Billie love life and they love living it. By the time we left him, we were so gosh darned happy, I wanted to go out and buy a new car.

“Hey,” he shouted at us as we were walking away, “I’ll tell Billie I met her photographers.”


Day 139, Will, Ashley, Sam and Bella.

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Here are Will, Ashley, Sam and Bella on Second Street in Downtown Reno at 6:35 in the morning. Yep, 6:35. Vesta and I get to our bridge now and wait about five minutes, then we roam, cuz it’s colder now and we don’t wanna stand and shiver.

You don’t notice the cold so much if you’re walking. So we went north on Sierra and ran into Will and his crew.

“Can we take your picture?” I said.

They stopped. “You’ve already taken mine.” Ashley smiled. “Do you remember me?”

“I do.” And you’re Will Moxley,” I said to Will. “And you got extra girls this morning.” I took the picture. “People are gonna think you got a lotta girlfriends.”

“It’s great seeing you here,” Ashley said, “because I was thinking about you last night.”

“Well, I’m glad we met up,” I said.

“Hey,” Will said, “the last time I saw you, I said when I saw you again, I was gonna get our picture together.”

“Okay,” I said and Ashley took our picture with his phone.

“I want one too,” Vesta said and she took one as well. 

Then we talked for a few minutes, finally said goodbye and we started home.

“She was thinking about you last night.” Vesta nudged me in the side with her elbow,

“Oh stop.” We laughed.

And then we saw our friend Stephanie, who was walking her dog. She didn’t want her photo taken, cuz she said she looked a fright. We’ve taken her picture quite a few times and she looked gorgeous, like she always does. But we didn’t take her picture, cuz we respect people’s wishes.

“You know,” she said. “I’ve been following your two year long projects and I like them.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“I think you should do three hundred and sixty-five days of Vesta photos.”

“Hey, that’s a good idea,” I said.

“You do,” Vesta said, “and I’ll bash your head in with a frying pan while you sleep.”

“Will there you go, Steph, since I don’t wanna fear going to sleep, I think I’ll pass on one.

We all laughed. Stephanie left and we went home.


Day 138, Jay and Christian.

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Here are Jay and Christian in Downtown Reno at 6:45 this morning. I asked could I take their picture, they said yes, and I took it.

Then Jay said, “Now can I see your badge?”

“I don’t have one.”

“Sure you do. Only a cop would stop a white guy and black guy, who aren’t bothering anyone, and want to take their picture.”

“Really?” I said. Then I told them about our project and that they there were number a hundred and thirty-eight.” Then I told them we’d even photographed cops in the Dawn’s Early Light.

“Then show me a card with your website on it.”

“He was just getting to that,” Vesta said.

“I was.” I pulled my cards from my back pocket and gave them each one. “Are you guys on Facebook?”

“We are,” Christian said.

“Then check my page in a couple hours.”

“I will,” Christian said.

So, Christian, if you’re reading this, and Jay too, see I was telling you true. No police officer me. I’m a photo taking person. Really, I am.


Day 137, Eric.

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This is Eric, out in the Dawn’s Early Light, under Reno’s famous, “Biggest Little City in the World” sign.

We saw Eric, when we got to the sign, hobbling toward us on his cane. He’s short, walks bowlegged and walking, for him, is obviously painful.

He stopped when we said hello, smiled and said yes when I asked if I could take his picture.

“And why are you out so early?” Vesta said.

“I’m taking a whack.”

“A whack, what’s a whack?”

“You know, a whack. You do it with your feet”

“Oh, you mean, a walk,” She said.

“Yeah, a whack. It’s what I said.”

“You’re not from here are you?”

“Yeah, I am. I live dan de black.” “Dan de black?”

“He means, down the block,” I said.

“And how long have you lived there?” Vesta said.

“Six months.”

“Okay, when I said you’re not from here, I wanted to know where you’re from originally, not where you live now.” She smiled. “You know, because you have an accent.”

“I’m from Oakland. I have an Oakland accent.”

“Ah,” Vesta said. “Oakland.” She sighed. “Do you mean the Oakland that’s in California? You know, the one that’s about a hundred and thirty miles that way.” She pointed west.

“Yeah, that Oakland.”

“Really?”

“Okay.” He laughed. “I gotta go.”

And he hobbled dan de black.


Day 136, Thibeaux.

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This is Thibeaux, which is pronounced TeeBo, at 6:45 this morning, out near the AmTrack Station in Downtown Reno.

Vesta and I got to our bridge this morning at 6:15 and six or seven people came by, but they were all on their way to work, all in too much of a hurry to have their picture taken. And, of course, there are always some who think it’s a trick. You know, that Vesta and I are somehow scheming to get their money.

At six thirty we decided to head over to the train station, instead of the Reno Sign, cuz I was looking for a different kind of background.

I heard someone coming up behind us as we got close to the station, so I turned around and there was Thibeaux, who was also in a hurry to get to work. However, he was kind enough to let us take his photo.

As I was trying to figure out how to place him, he backed up against this blue wall and that’s certainly different from any of our other photos. So I took his picture and here it is.

PS. And now I have to mention that we are changing our bridge time. Starting tomorrow, we’ll be on the bridge at 6:30. We like being there earlier, but winter is coming and it’s just too dark now. After all, this is a By the Dawn’s Early Light project. Maybe someday we’ll do a “Dark before the Dawn” series, but not yet.


Day 135, Jersey John.

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This is Jersey John, Vesta and I came across him on Virginia Street as he was sweeping up in front of the Eldorado Casino. He’s been sweeping up and keeping the place clean for them for the last five years and he loves his job.

And what’s not to love? He meets a ton of people in this tourist town, who are mostly in a pretty good mood, cuz they’re on vacation.

We took John’s picture and headed home without incident. Well, there was a white car parked on the corner and a brown Toyota parked in the middle of the street. They had their windows down and they talking, making it kinda difficult to get by, if you were in a car.

We were walking, so we had no problem and we didn’t pay ‘em much attention. At home, I went in to fire up my computer and start my work day and Vesta stayed out front to water the tomatoes.

I’d just opened our website software, when Vesta started shouting, loud enough to wake Lucifer from a sound slumber, “Ken, call 911! Call 911!”

That got my attention. I jumped up, but I didn’t call, first cuz I didn’t know where my phone was and second, cuz I didn’t know why. But I did rush outside.

“I think he’s dead. I think he’s dead!” Vesta dashed toward an accident right in front of our house. “It’s a kid! It’s a kid! I think he’s dead!” By now she was at the scene and I was right behind.

It wasn’t a kid. It was an old guy, wearing raggedy clothes. She just thought it was a kid, cuz he was riding a bike and got hit by a pickup truck.

“It’s his fault!” She pointed to a guy in a cowboy hat, getting out of the truck. “I saw the whole thing.” Then she pointed to the brown Toyota. “And he shouldn’t have been parked in the middle of the street.”

She went to the old guy, who was wearing shorts and bleeding from where his knees and legs got scraped on the pavement. “Do you want me to call 911?”

He struggled to get up and couldn’t quite do it by himself, so Cowboy Hat Guy, edged Vesta aside and stepped between Old Victim Guy and her, said something to him, then helped him to his feet.

“He’s fine,” Cowboy Hat Guy said. But, of course, if he wasn’t fine, Cowboy Hat Guy could be in a world of trouble, so he had a vested interested in pronouncing the victim as not hurt.

The brown Toyota, started to drive away.

“Hey, you can’t go anywhere!” But Vesta got out of his way, cuz she didn’t wanna get run over and he accelerated and was outta there.

“I guess he thought maybe he was partially responsible,” I said. “You know, cuz he was parked in the middle of the road. If it wasn’t for him, the truck wouldn’t a had to go around and he’d’a been able to see, so he probably wouldn’t’a hit the guy on the bike.”

Then the white car left. “And I guess he doesn’t wanna have to narc on his friend,” I said.

“They just can’t leave,” Vesta said.

“They’re gone,” I said.

Vesta turned back toward Victim Guy. “Are you sure you don’t want me to call 911?”

“He’s fine. His bike’s hurt more than he is,” Cowboy Hat Guy said. But the bike was fine, so I’m guessing that was Cowboy Hat’s way of saying Victim Guy was okay and that Vesta should mind her own business.

“But, but, but—” Vesta stammered.

“He’s okay,” Cowboy Hat Guy interrupted as he held the bike upright, so Victim Guy could get on it.

“I gotta go.” And Victim Guy peddled away, dripping blood on the pavement as he went.

“That was close.” Cowboy Hat Guy got in his truck. Then he looked at Vesta, “You’re right. It was all my fault.” Then he started it up and he was gone.

“I don’t understand,” Vesta said. “They just all left.” Then, “I get it that nobody wanted to be involved, but the guy who got hit, why did he leave all bloody like that?”

“He looked homeless and I’m guessing the guy in the pickup gave him a wad of cash when he pushed you aside and helped him up.”

“You think?”

“Yeah.”


Day 134, Susi.

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This is Susi at about 6:30 this morning. Vesta and I came across her as she was on her way to the Eldorado, where she works in the Gold Room, which is the VIP lounge.

I asked if I could take her picture and she said yes right away. You know, we get a heck of a lot more people saying yes, than no. I think it’s cuz people are so used to cellphones and everybody always taking pictures. That’s good for me and Vesta and our 365 Days of Faces by the Dawn’s Early Light project.

We can usually get up, get out the door and get our morning’s victim and be back home inside of an hour, usually without incident.

Not so this morning. We had an incident, cuz Vesta’s got this problem. When someone falls down, like you know, if they’re having a heart attack or something, she immediately runs to their aid without thinking.

This morning, as we’re walking south on Center, this old guy went down on the concrete driveway of the Cal Neva’s underground parking garage, his head hitting the pavement with a loud thud. I just knew the guy was dead and was about to say so to Vesta, but I didn’t get the change, cuz she charged across the street, dodging cars.

I kinda knew what the old guy’s problem was, cuz I saw the weave in his walk before he thudded to the ground.

“Are you alright?” Vesta tried to help him up. “Should I call 911?”

“I’m just stinking drunk,” the guy said. He looked straight at me, cuz I was there too, cuz how would it have looked, if I’d’a stayed on the other side of the street, with Vesta getting so involved and all. “And I haven’t eaten in three days.” Now he was boring right into my eyes as he issued more wasted words. “If I just had a little money for something to eat, I’d be fine.”

Well, I’ve been to the bar in the Cal Neva, been to most of the bars in most of the downtown casinos, and I’ve learned that unless you’re gambling, you gotta pay for your drinks. And he’d had a lot. He coulda bought a hot dog or a burger or something during his drunken binge, but he didn’t.

“Ken, can we—?” Vesta started to say.

“Sorry, we’re outta money,” I said.

She gave me a look that said I’m going straight to Hell. Then she helped him stand, cuz if he’d stayed on the ground where he was, someone was gonna come shooting out of that parking garage and run right over him.

“At least can you help me across the street?” He fell back down and Vesta helped him up again. “I can sleep it off in the park.”

“I can’t do it by myself.” Vesta glared at me.

I went to help, but the man reeked to high Heaven. “You can sit there.” I pointed to a sort of a ledge created by the shape of the building. “And we helped him over to it and got him sitting.”

“This is good,” the guy said and I saw what he meant. He was in the perfect spot to ask those passing by for money.

“Okay, we gotta go,” I said and we left him there.

“Meanie, meanie, chili beanie,” Vesta said as we started back on our walk home.

I just shook my head.


Day 133, James.

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This is James, out in the Dawn’s Early light. Vesta and I waited for ten minutes on our bridge, then we headed toward Virginia and the new bridge construction site, where we knew we could find someone, cuz there’s about forty or fifty people on the crew, though only about five or so hang out by the entrance to the construction zone at any one time.

But there was nobody there when we got there, so we were about to start our trek to the Reno Sign, when James pulls up on a black Harley, which looks showroom new, but it’s several years old.

Vesta asked if we could take his picture and he said yes.

Then she asked what he was doing out so early and he surprised us when he said, “I’m building that bridge.” He pointed toward the construction.

So we got a bridge worker this morning, without knowing it.


Day 132, Accent.

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Once again, here is Accent out in the Dawn’s Early Morning Light. He came by at 5:45, so it was still dark out, so I hadn’t planned on taking his picture and had I recognized him, I for sure wouldn’t have taken his photo, because we’d done him before.

And Vesta and I have sort of a rule that we don’t do anybody twice.

But he stopped when he saw us and we started talking. He recognized us, but we still didn’t recognize him. Probably because when we shot him three months ago or so, he was dressed all gangsta like.

But this morning, he looked very much the French artist.

He told us he’d been living on the streets in Reno since he was thirteen and that he was twenty seven now. Fourteen years, that’s a long time to survive on the streets, especially since he started as a kid.

He was very soft spoken as he told us about his life and after a bit the light got better and I asked could I take his picture.

He said yes.

And I did. Then Vesta asked his name.

“Accent,” he said.

“We’ve photographed you before,” she said.

“You have.” He smiled and added, “I’ll see you guys around.” Then he left.

“He sure has changed,” Vesta said on the way home.

“He’s pretty smart.”

“He’s gonna go far,” Vesta said.

And I believe her.


Day 131, Kin.

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This is Kin, out by the Reno Sign, at 6:30 in the morning.

This morning, Vesta and I got to our bridge at 6:00. At 6:01 an SUV came round the corner, from the southwest and turned the wrong way on Sierra, which is a one way street.

“Hey!” Vesta shouted, loud enough to wake the Devil from a sound slumber.

The SUV came to a screeching stop.

Vesta and I ran to her driver’s side window to tell her she was going the wrong way. And we both jumped back. If you wanted to define ugly with a picture, you’d have to search long and hard to find a better definition.

“You’re going the wrong way!” we both shouted from a safe two or three feet back from her window.

She nodded, then took off, like she didn’t care, still going the wrong way.

“Did you see that thing on her nose?” I said.

“It had a shadow,” Vesta said.

We were talking about a dime sized wart that protruded at least three quarters of in inch from her nose, sorta like her nose had a mini me.

We watched her taillights as she headed into a couple pair of headlights. Then she pulled outta the way and made a U turn.

“Looks like she figured it out,” Vesta said.

“Looks like.”

She drove right up to where we were, then parked about a car length from us. And she just sat there—in her car.

“You should go and see what she wants?” I said.

“I’m not going over there!” Vesta said. “You should go.”

“But I don’t wanna.”

“Let’s wait and see what she does.” Then, “Maybe she came out to have her picture taken.”

“Hey, now that would be a face.”

“Uh oh, she’s getting out of the car.”

“Oh my,” I muttered. This woman was short and squatty. She had a hook in her nose and a curl in her toes. I know this, cuz she was wearing flip flops with Star Wars pajamas that were at least three sizes two small. The top came down well above her navel, which was covered in folds of flab.

She coughed a couple times, from deep down in her lungs, blowing out enough germs to infect half the city, without disturbing the lit cigarette, clamped between lips thinner than a strand of thread. And as for hair, what she had of it was thinning fast and it was bright orange.

“Yeah,” Vesta said from about as far under your breath as you can get, “that’s a face.”

I was about to ask if I could take her picture, when I noticed the cheap point and shoot camera clutched in her claws. Yeah, claws. If she came up against a tiger in the jungle, well, I’d give her seven to one odds. Make this woman mad and you were doomed.

“I’m a photographer,” she said as she went to the back of her car, raised the tailgate and pulled out a dime store tripod. ”And I’m here to take pictures of the balloons.”

“The balloon races are about three miles that way.” Vesta pointed north. “At San Rafael Park.”

“I know that. I’m gonna shoot them as the come over the river.” She looked smug. “That way I can avoid all the traffic.”

“But their not gonna come over the river,” Vesta said.

“Why not?”

“Because that’s not the way they go.”

“Then I’ll shoot them off in the distance.”

“But all the tall buildings will be in the way?”

“Look!” She held up the cheapo tripod. “I’m a photographer and I know what I’m doing.” She spread her thick arms wide. “This is my area and I’d appreciate it if you stayed out of my zone.”

“I think maybe we should be on our way,” Vesta said. “Cuz these are not the droids we’re looking for.”

“Yeah, we gotta go,” I told Broomhilda. “Good luck with you’re pictures.”

“I don’t need luck,” she said as we were walking away.

Vesta and I both held up our hands and waved, without turning around.

“How come you didn’t ask if you could take her picture?” Vesta said.

“Then I’d’a had to admit that I fancy myself as a photographer too and we coulda got to talking and one thing coulda lead to another and we might not’ve gotten away before she got hungry.”

“What do you think she eats?” Vesta said,

“Well, Hansel and Gretel got away.”

“Yeah, maybe we didn’t wanna take her picture.”

So we wandered on down to the Reno Sign and right off the bat these two guys came walking up Virginia, speaking Chinese. I asked could I take their picture, half expecting them not to understand me. But one said no and the other said yes.

And that’s how we met Kin, out in the dawn’s early light.


Day 130, Karla.

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Here is Karla, out in even before the Dawn’s Early light. The sun’s not even thinking about coming up yet. It’s about 5:30.

This morning, Vesta and I decided to get up earlier than usual and head on over to San Rafael Park and watch the glow show. For those of you not from Reno, every year in September, we have hot air balloon races and the balloons put on an early morning glow show to start off the weekend’s festivities.

We knew there would be a sea of faces there, so we could have our pick for today’s photo. Plus, they have lots of venders, which sort of adds to a carnival like atmosphere. It was going to be fun.

“Hey, look.” I pointed to a sign. “The Kiwanis people are having all you can eat pancakes and sausages for only three bucks.”

“That sounds like a good deal.” Vesta was looking over at an Elvis shaped balloon across the field and wasn’t really paying attention to me. She does that sometimes, ignore me when I’m talking about food.

“How much money you got?”

“Seven dollars. Why?”

“For the sausages and pancakes. We can get some on the way out.”

“How much are they?”

“Three dollars for all you can eat. I told you.” I smiled. “And I can eat a lot.”

“That sounds awful cheap.”

“They’re Kiwanis, they don’t do it for the money.”

And we continued on and watched the glow show, which was a lot of fun. But when it was finished, it was still way too dark to do people portraits.

“I have an idea,” I said. “Since it’s gonna be almost an hour till light, why don’t we get the pancakes now?”

“The ones with the sausages for three dollars.”

“Yeah, those.”

“Okay.”

“Follow me.” I started off and I was in Heaven. Sausages, all I could eat. I don’t get those at home. Pancakes, all I could eat. I don’t get those at home either. Something about the syrup Vesta thinks is bad for me. Maybe it’s the sugar, I don’t know. I could hardly wait.

And as we closed on the Kiwanis tent, I saw there was no line, so I was super, super excited. In minutes, I was gonna be eating.

“Here.” Vesta handed me the seven bucks.

“Give ‘em a tip.”

“Gotcha.” I walked right up to the ticket selling lady.

“Can I help you?” she said.

“Two please.” “That’ll be sixteen dollars.”

“Huh?” I looked at the sign and sure ‘nuff, it said, “Pancakes and Sausages. All You can eat. $8.00.”

“I’ll be right back.” I went to where Vesta was waiting, just out of the ticket selling lady's hearing zone.

“Looks like you need to have your eyes checked,” she said.

“I’m hungry,” I said. "I wanna go home.” Then, “What’s for breakfast?”

“A poached egg. Dry toast and a tomato.”

“Oh man.”

“And your vitamins.”

“I can hardly wait.”

“We still have time to go out to our bridge.” And when Vesta said that, I realized with the bazillions of people in the park, I had yet to take a picture. “Or we could find somebody here,” she added.

So we went from tent to tent, checking the venders out. We talked to several of them, then I found Karla, who is from Reno and is a massage therapist. She gave me her card and when I saw she worked on Virginia, I knew she was the one for today and hear she is.

And now that I’ve finished my story, I guess I’ll have my poached egg, dry toast and tomato, but I’ll be pretending it’s sausages and pancakes, covered in syrup. Fortunately, I’m a great pretender.


Day 129, Jeff.

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This is Jeff, who is, I believe, a boom operator. I don’t know what a boom is, but Jeff works the arm. I think that’s right. And that brown, wooden structure behind him is gonna be one of the spans or the arches (I think one of those words is right) that holds up the new bridge.

When we got out to the construction site this morning, we met a camera shy bridge guy, who was manning the open gate to, I suppose, keep people like us from wandering in.

He told us he was shy and didn’t want his photo taken, even after I told him we’d already done Tom and Chris and Harry and Derek. He was unmoved. He said he was wanted and that was why.

“How about him?” Vesta pointed to Jeff, who was well past where we were allowed to go.

“He’d let you take his picture,” Camera Shy Bridge Guy said.

“Could you go get him?” Vesta can be a bit cheeky sometimes, but Shy Guy nodded and went and got him.

And here he is.


Day 128, Izzy and Jazzy.

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Here are Izzy and Jazzy, out in the Dawn’s Early Light, by where the Virginia Street Bridge used to be.

When Vesta asked them their names, Jazzy, the girl on the right in the photo, said, “I’m Jazzy.”

“I’m Isabelle,” Izzy said. “Really? Isabelle?” I said. “That’s a nice name, but don’t your friends call you Izzy?”

“They call me a lotta things.”

“I like Izzy. Not because I don’t like Isabelle, I like it a lot. But 'Izzy and Jazzy,' how cool is that?”

“Pretty cool,” Isabelle, who I’m calling Izzy said.

“There you go,” Izzy and Jazzy it is, at least for this morning on Facebook.

Then Vesta asked them what they were doing out so early and Jazzy said she was walking Izzy to work, cuz it was so far.

“Where does she work?” Vesta said.

“The Atlantis.”

“Holy moly! That’s like a couple miles, maybe more.”

“It only takes an hour.”

“And do you work?” I said to Izzy.

“I’m looking.” Then she said she had an application in where Izzy works.

“So you walk back by yourself?” Vesta wanted to know.

“It only takes an hour.”

“Another hour,” I said.

“Yes, another hour.”

“You guys need a car,” I said.

“We’re saving up,” Jazzy said.

And we wished them luck. Talked for a few more minutes and then we said goodbye.


Day 127, Derek.

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This is Derek, out basking in the morning glow of the Dawn’s Early Light. Okay, so maybe he’s not basking, cuz he’s about to start work. He’s the fourth, I believe, New Virginia Street Bridge Construction Guy, who I’ve posted in this 365 days of faces project.

He made sure to tell Vesta that he spells his name the right way. I didn’t know there was a wrong way, so when I got home, I googled it and sure ‘nuff, there is. And bridge worker Derek’s spelling is the correct one. I know this, cuz it’s how Eric Clapton spells it.

You know, when he was Derek and the Dominos. Well, he wasn’t all the Dominos, but he was Derek. Some might disagree about that, but they’d be wrong. If ever there was a Derek in the Dominos, it was EC.

And, thinking about Eric and Derek got me wanting to hear “Layla,” so that’s what I’m doing as I’m typing this. What a great song.


Day 126, Rosy, Tammy and Jeff.

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Here are Rosy, Tammy and Jeff, out under the Reno Sign in the Dawn’s Early Light. Rosy and Tammy are Reno girls, Jeff lives in San Jose and is here visiting them and they wanted a shot of all of three by the Sign, before Jeff got on the freeway and headed home.

They were just finished and getting into their car, when Vesta I came upon them and I approached with my usual line, “Can I take you picture this morning?”

“Us,” Jeff said, “why not.”

The girls got out of the car, they stood close to each other and I took the shot. Then we talked for a few minutes. Then they got in the car and were gone.

“That was easy,” Vesta said. “I’m hungry,” I said. “Let’s go home.”

“You’re always hungry.”

“That’s why diet’s don’t work for me.”

“Well, you’re going on another one I’ve found on the internet, starting tomorrow.”

“But I don’t wanna.”

“You wanna be known as Mr. Portly Photographer?”

“No,” I mumbled.

“Well, you can enjoy your breakfast this morning, but later today, I’m going to WinCo and it’s gonna be dietsville for you till you can button all those buttons on those Levi’s.”

“Oh, man, “I said under my breath, “you’re so mean.”

“I heard that.”


Day 125, Beatriz.

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This is Beatriz Uribe, out by the Reno Sign in the Dawn’s Early Light. She is the editor of RED Magazine and Vesta and I caught her as she was taking a picture of it for the cover of next month’s edition.

I try not to be political on Facebook, cuz I don’t think Facebook’s for that. Actually, I’m not that political at all anymore. Oh, I have opinions, but they’re constantly changing. However, those who know me, know there are a couple issues I care a lot about.

Same sex marriage, cuz I believe everybody should be treated the same in America.

And, like Ronald Reagan, I believe if someone’s been in America for two years or so, no matter how they got here, and hasn’t broken any laws, they oughta be allowed to take a citizenship test and if they pass it—well if it’s good enough for President Reagan, it’s good enough for me—they should become American Citizens.

Anyway, usually, I keep everything political off my page, but Beatriz’s Magazine is about Immigration Reform, so I felt I had to mention something about my views on it.

That out of the way, Vesta and I first met Beatriz in front of Reno’s courthouse on the day the Supreme Court made same sex marriage the law of the land. She took my picture and I took hers. And now, I took hers again.

That’s the neat thing about walking around with a camera, if you see someone you know, you can take their picture. In fact, if you see someone you don’t know, you can take their picture too.

Actually, today everyone’s got a camera in their Android or iPhones. And heck, those phones take pretty good pictures, so everybody’s snap happy now. And that’s a good thing. I think so anyway.

So, if you run across me and Vesta as we wander about downtown, you can take our picture and we'll take yours, cuz picture taking helps bring us all closer.


Day 124, Celeste.

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This is Celeste at exactly 6:00, out on Reno’s Sierra Street Bridge, shining in the Dawn’s Early Light.

It’s true, sometimes in the past when I’d approach a young girl and ask, could I take her picture, I’d get a look that said something like, “No, you creepy man, you may not.” Followed by a polite “No.” Which really meant, “Get away from me and take your camera with you. Get away, get away, get away. Go now!”

So I solved that problem by never, never ever asking a girl, who looks like she’s under eight-five or so, if I could take her picture.

Well, if she’s so obviously a hooker you’d have to have been born on another planet not to realize it, I’ll ask. Hookers sometimes say no, but oftentimes they say yes. I’ll ask hookers, cuz they never think I’m creepy and I suppose that’s cuz they meet a lot of really creepy people in their job and compared to them, I’m pretty tame.

But, if Vesta’s with me, then I’ll ask females and they always stop and ask why and when I tell them about our project they almost always say yes and never do they look at me like I’m creepy. I think that’s cuz if Vesta is with me, I must give off a very safe aura. Or maybe it’s not me, maybe Vesta’s aura is enveloping me as well.

So, I’ve learned, I can take photos of absolutely anybody I want, cuz just about everybody I ask is gonna let me, as long as I got Vesta standing next to me.

Anyway, back to Celeste, Vesta asked her what she was doing out so early and she said it was a beautiful morning, so she decided to take a walk and see the sun come up. And the sunrise was pretty awesome this morning.

Now, looking at her photo, I can see how young she is and it seems like just yesterday Vesta and I were that young.

Time flies by so fast. Really it does. You can’t waste it, cuz you can never get it back. And writing these words, I’m reminded about Jack London’s words, which I’ve written below.

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
 in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

I had a bottle of Kenwood’s Jack London Cab for years with those words on the back. I told myself, Vesta and I would drink it when I finished RAGGED MAN. I worked on that book everyday on my brother’s boat in Long Beach, California. But after I finished the book, we didn’t drink the wine. I finished GECKO in New Zealand, But we didn’t drink the wine. I finished three books in Trinidad, But we didn’t drink the wine. I finished a book in Medford, Oregon, but we didn’t drink the wine.

Then I finished DEATH GLITCH in Reno, Nevada and Vesta and I drank the wine and now that bottle is gone. I shoulda saved it, cuz for all those years, I read Jack’s words everyday. But I guess I don’t need that bottle anymore, cuz I don’t need to read the words anymore, cuz I know them by heart.


Day 123, Harry.

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This is Harry, out in the Dawn’s Early Light, who is in Reno from Phoenix. He’s part of the crew in town to build the new Virginia Street Bridge and he’s the third bridge building crew guy who I’ve photographed.

“How come you’re wearing a pink shirt?” Vesta wanted to know.

“Every Friday, everybody in our crew wears pink to work?

“Why?”

“For breast cancer awareness.”

“That’s nice,” she said and I have to agree.

We spent about five minutes with Harry and like every time we talk to a bridge worker guy, we learn a little more about bridge building. Well, specifically about how this bridge is getting built. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

I think so anyway and I’m not easily excited. However, I’m pretty excited about this new bridge, even though I wasn’t a fan when they tore down the old one, which I liked very much. But when you’ve seen the work progress day after day, I gotta admit, it’s really exiting.

Really, it is.


Day 122, Tom.

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This is Tom out in the Dawn’s Early Morning Light, standing in front of where the New Virginia Street Bridge is going to be. Right now, you can’t drive past that yellow sign in the background, cuz if you did, you fall into the river.

You wouldn’t sink far though, cuz the river is only about a foot deep here, but the fall would probably kill you.

Tom is one of the bridge constructors and Vesta I got him just before he donned his green glowey shirt and his hard hat.

He’s got a hard job. I know, cuz I’ve been seeing these guys everyday and they don’t slouch around. They work hard.

I had to do a hard thing this morning, something I never thought I’d ever, ever have to do and I was up all night worrying about it, but it came out okay. I knew it would, but it was still hard.


Day 121, Michael.

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This is Michael, out in front of the Basque Restaurant on Lake Street. Vesta and I went to our bridge, waited maybe ten minutes this morning, then we headed downtown, where we met the most interesting streetwalker by the Reno sign, but she didn’t want her photo taken and I guess I don’t blame her.

A couple camera shy tourists came by and after they turned us down, Vesta said, “Time to walk.” So we did.

There were quite a few people out, but Vesta said, “Let’s look for somebody in a hat.”

“Really, we’re picky now?”

“Let’s see if we can find someone.” I looked up and down Virginia and not hat in sight.

“So what do we do now?”

“Let’s walk some more. We can try the train station.” The station doesn’t open till 7:00, but often there are people out front, waiting. But not today.

So we headed south on Lake Street and I was beginning to think I might actually lose the Dawn’s Early Light I like so much.

“There, by the Basque place.” Vesta pointed.

“And his hat’s really cool.”

“What if he says no?”

“You’ll have to talk him into it.”

So we walked up to this guy, who was talking to three other gentlemen, probably deciding the fate of the world.

“I like your hat,” I said. Then, “Can I take your picture.”

“Sure,” he said and I did.

Vesta asked him what he was doing out and about so early and he said he worked graveyard at Harrah’s and had just gotten off work. She asked did he know Billie, who worked there, who we’d photographed a couple weeks ago.

“She’s a very nice lady,” he said.

“We thought so too,” Vesta said and she told him how to find his photo on Facebook and we left.

“This Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days of Faces business,” I said on the way home. “It’s gotta be a first come, first serve deal. No more looking for hats.”

“Really, why not?”

“Cuz next time you’ll want me to find someone wearing a wig or in pigtails.”

“I wouldn’t do that.”

“Oh yes you would. First come, first serve from now on.”

“Okay, Mr. Grumpy Pants.”


Day 120, Lala.

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This is LaShawnda, who is called Lala, by her friends. Vesta and I met her under the Reno sign. We were there, cuz the only people who crossed our bridge between 6:00 and 6:15 were people we’ve already photographed for this Days of Faces out in the Dawn’s Early Light project Vesta and I have going.

It took us five minutes to get to the Reno sign. LaShawnda was coming from the opposite direction, Starbuck’s coffee in hand, and she got there the same time we did. So we had no wait there.

“Can I take your picture this morning?” I said.

“I’d just love to have my picture taken.” She handed Vesta her coffee and I took the shot.

“What are you doing out so early?” Vesta said.

“Exercising.”

“Ah,” Vesta said. “We are too. You know, cuz we walked here with our cameras.”

“Walking’s good for the soul,” LaShawnda said. Then she asked me about our project and I told her. Then she told me how to spell her name, cuz she wanted me to get it right.

Then Vesta handed back her coffee, we said goodbye and she went north and we went south.

On the way home, this spaced out kid asked me if I had fifty cents.

I said no.

Then his friend, another spaced out guy, more of an adult, asked me if I had any sugar.

“Jeez,” I told Vesta, “Fifty cents? Sugar?” These guys don’t want much.

“What?” she said. “You thought they wanted real sugar, like to put on their Corn Flakes after they get just fifty cents more, so they can buy ‘em?”

“Well, maybe not the Corn Flakes part.”

“They were wanting to know if you have any drugs. You know, Meth.”

“How do you know that?”

Because I know stuff and apparently you do not.”


Day 119, William.

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This is William at 6:01 this morning, out on our bridge. Vesta and I got there about a minute before he came walking our way from the north, head down and moving fast. It was easy to see he was in a hurry and was probably gonna say no.

But I asked could I take his picture anyway and he stopped short.

“Okay.” He looked into the camera and I took the shot.

“Thanks,” I said.

“Why are you out so early?” Vesta said.

“I’m on my way to work and I’m a little late.”

“What do you do?” She wanted to know.

“I do the maintenance work for several motels in Reno and I’m in a hurry.”

“Okay, thanks for letting us take your picture.” She shook his hand and he left.

I’m thinking, cuz he works for several motels, that he must be an independent contractor of some kind. The kind of guy who is always on call, because when something breaks the motel owner’s gonna want it fixed pronto.

He seemed like a hard working nice guy.


Day 118, Howard.

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This is Howard, out on the Sierra Street Bridge in Reno, Nevada at 6:00 this morning. Vesta and I had been there for about three minutes, when he pulled up on the opposite side of the street in a new Ford Focus.

“Think he’s here to get his photo taken?”

I said. “It could happen, maybe.” She didn’t sound positive.

He got out of his car, carrying a catheter bag and crossed the street toward us.

“He does want his picture taken,” I said. And when I asked could I take his picture, he posed with his bag, but that’s not why he came out. He came out to check out the construction of the Virginia Street Bridge.

“Why are you carrying that bag around?” Vesta’s pretty direct sometimes.

“Cuz I went to the hospital and got a disease.”

“What disease?” “You know, one that runs around hospitals.”

“Like ebola?”

“No.” “Then what?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let me guess,” I said. “You went to the VA?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“Lucky guess.”

“So you really don’t know why you have a tube running up your pee pee?” Vesta said.

“Nope. I went to the VA and I got sick. They sent me home and I got pneumonia. I went back and they were full, so they sent me to Renown and I got this bag. Then they sent me to Rosewood Rehab and after awhile they sent me home, bag and all.”

“Well, I’d wanna know could I get rid of it, if I was you,” I said.

“I’m gonna go back to the VA and find out.”

“I would.”

“I’m gonna.” And we spent the next half hour talking with Howard. He knows a lot about a lot of stuff, even if he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him and he has a lot of opinions, mostly humorous.

“So you really don’t know what’s wrong with you?” Vesta said, just before we parted company.

“I got a disease, that’s all I know.”

“Let’s hope it’s not contagious,” Vesta said.

“Let’s hope.” I dropped my hands to cover my privates.

Howard and Vesta just laughed. Then we parted company.


Day 117, Chris.

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This is Chris, who is part of a crew from Arizona, who are here to work on the new Virginia Street Bridge. I took this shot at exactly 6:15 this morning.

Vesta and I were on our way out to our bridge, when we saw a crew of workmen having coffee, before starting their workday.

“Why don’t you shoot one of them?” Vesta said.

“Which one?” I said as we were getting closer.

“The first one who says okay.” She poked me. “Duh.”

So we walked up to these six guys and I told them about our project and Chris said, “Me, you can take my picture.”

And so I did and now I’m am back up to where I’m supposed to be. So from tomorrow til the middle of November, when we have to go to California for a couple weddings, I’ll be posting like usual, a face a day for my 365 days of Faces project.

Whew! Five faces posted in one day. I hope I didn’t overdo it.


Day 116, Ken.

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This is Me after four days in the wild, without hardly any sleep. I’m not really a camping type person, but Vesta and Devon like it, so I go.

Even though I don’t like it, I go, cuz I’m a nice guy.

Even though they got mosquitos and scorpions and poisonous bees, I go.

Even though they got cows and coyotes and evil chipmunks and probably bears, I go.

Even though the coffee is horrible and I hate hot dogs, I go.

I do like the smores though.


Day 115, Vesta.

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This is Vesta out in the Dawn’s Early Light, camping in Oregon. We’ve been two days with only one other person up here and that was Darrell, who I posted as Day One Hundred and Thirteen. Yesterday I did Devon and today it’s Vesta, cuz I really, really didn’t wanna drive all the way down the mountain looking for a face.

Beside, I like taking pictures of Vesta.

And if nobody else comes up here, tomorrow, it’s gonna be me.

Oh joy!


Day 114, Devon.

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This is Devon. He looks good as only a kid could, who’s been out in the woods for a couple days. He reveled in feeding the chipmunky little animals who live under the ground. They loved the chips.

Which I learned really well when he and Vesta went for a walk, leaving me alone with a bag of Costo Tortilla Strips and salsa.

This little bugger came right up next to my folding chair and looked up at me, like it was my duty to feed him. So I did. And I swear, he was only inches away, eating away at his chip. Then he wanted another, then another, then another, till I got tired of giving him MY FOOD.

“No more,” I said. “The rest is mine.”

He moved right between my feet, stared me right in the eyes as he rubbed his tiny hands together.

“I said no more.”

But he wouldn’t go away.

“I’ll stomp you!”

But the little bastard seemed to know I wouldn’t.

So I got up to put some more wood on the fire and when I turned back to my chair, he was gone.

But the next morning, when I got up to start the fire, I saw that my little friend had hopped up onto my chair and left me a little present. Five little presents actually. And you know what the sad part about all this is? I’m too big to crawl down into his little hole and return the favor.


Day 113, Darrell.

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This is Darrell, up on top of a mountain, by a lake in the wild, wooly, woods of Southern Oregon.

When Vesta, Devon and I decided to get away from it all, we really thought their might be some other campers up here, but that wasn’t the case, we were alone, all alone. Well, except for the howling coyotes we heard at night, but didn’t see during the day.

And the cows. Where they came from, I don’t know.

And the deer, a lotta those came by.

But no people, till Darrell, who works for the county. It’s his job to cruise on by and check things out. I told him about our project and asked could I take his picture and he said yes. Then we talked about cigars and JFK, cuz that’s what was on his mind. And after a bit he got in his truck and left and again we were alone and alone we stayed for three more days.

But it was fun.

Kinda scary.

But fun.


Day 112, Mondray.

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This is Mondray, who came by our spot on the Sierra Street Bridge at exactly 6:13 this morning, just two minutes before we were going to head over to the Reno Sign. He was on his way to work and when I asked, could I take his picture, he said yes, without asking why.

But I told him anyway, cuz I guess I just can’t help myself.

And as soon as we parted ways, Vesta and I walked straight home and took a nap from like 7:00 to 8:30. It seems working a bridal faire is very trying. I know, cuz I ache all over. It should be better by tomorrow though.


Day 111, Billie.

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This is Billie. She’s been working at Harrah’s for the last seven months and she’s loved every minute of her job.

She said her name was Wilhelmina Sue, but everybody calls her Billie. She said it with a smile. In fact, she says everything with a smile.

“That’s a great way to start your day,” Vesta said after we and Billie parted company. “You know with a smile and a sunrise.”

“She was full of smiles,” I said.

“Let’s go home,” Vesta said. “We have a big day.”

We do have a big day. We’re doing the North Lake Tahoe Wedding Show and we have to be there to set up at 8:30. And we’re both dragging some, cuz we stayed out late last night, coincidentally at Harrah’s, where Billie works.

We saw Tassel, which is sort of a sexy romp of a show and it didn’t end till well after midnight. It was very funny. I know, cuz I laughed a lot. I’m not laughing now though, cuz we gotta load the car with our stuff and get on the road.

The wedding show is in Squaw Valley, which is North of Tahoe City on the California side of the Lake and it goes till 4:30. So, we’re gonna be on our feet all day.

We usually do three of these wedding trade show deals a year. It’s how we keep our wedding calendar full. You gotta do that, if you’re a wedding photographer, I think so anyway. The brides go to the shows to meet the venders and we’re wedding venders, so we go too.

Because, gosh darn it, these girls these days just don’t wake up one day and all of a sudden decide they gotta get some guy to marry them, so they can have Ken and Vesta shoot their wedding.

For them, the fiancé comes first, then the photographer, go figure.


Day 110, Jesse.

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This is Jesse at 6:15 this morning. We caught him just as we were about to leave the Sierra Street Bridge and head on over to the Reno Sign, cuz nobody new had come by, though we did have a short conversation with two of our regular visitors, who we’ve already added to our 365 Days of Faces Project.

After I took his photo, Vesta asked him what he was doing out in the Dawn Early Light, when most people were still in bed.

“Walking,” he said.

“How far do you go?” She said. She’s a walker and a runner who usually does three or four miles a day.

“Down to Mayberry and around that area a while, then I come back here. Sometimes I go up the hill so I can look down and see all of Reno.”

“That’s a long way.” I could tell she was impressed.

“So you’re in shape,” I said and he obviously was.

He told us he’s into martial arts and the long walks are good for him. Plus, he likes to see the sunrise every morning.

Yeah, the sunrise, we’ve gotten used to seeing it everyday too and whether you’re a photographer or a martial artist, seeing the sun come up is a great way to start your day.


Day 109, Cuba.

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This is Cuba, pronounced Cooba. He’s been in America for a year and a half and you can guess where he’s from.

Vesta and I got out to our bridge at 6:00 and in fifteen minutes, we’d talked to two gangsta kids, but we’d done both their photos on different days, about two months ago. We said hello to Lou and Gary, but we’d done their photos as well. Captain Tom walked by, but we’d done him too.

So, with no new people by 6:15, we moved on toward the Reno sign, where we’d met a couple other people we’ve photographed out in the Dawn’s Early Light. From there, we headed over toward the Amtrack Station and near there we spotted Cuba.

“Can I take your picture?” I said.

“You wanna make a picture for me?” His accent was a cross between the character Marlon Brando played in the God Father and Jar Jar Binks.

“Yes.” I took the shot.

“You a policeman?”

“No.”

“Then what are you?”

“I’m a photographer.” I handed him my card.

He rattled off in Spanish and he didn’t sound happy. Then in English, “And you make a my picture cuz why?” When he spoke English, you’d swear he was Italian.

After five more minutes of talking to him, we figured out he was a gangster. Not the kind we’d talked to on the bridge earlier. No, not a gang banger. He’s an Edward G. Robinson slash James Cagney kinda gangster.

You can’t see his hands in this picture, but like a lotta Italians I’ve known, he talks with them. They move at light speed when he speaks and those hands, combined with his aura and his speech and his super confident manner all go together to say, you don’t wanna mess with him.


Day 108, Raul.

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This is Raul, out in the Dawn’s Early Light. He’s from Sparks, Nevada, which borders on Reno, so he didn’t have far to come to enjoy our town. And he’s in town, cuz he likes to gamble at the Silver Legacy.

They got casinos in Sparks, good ones, that’s where the Nugget is, but he likes the Silver Legacy and it’s his money and a gambler should only gamble where he feels comfortable. Who knows, maybe the comps are good or maybe does well there.

As for this photo, I was gonna photoshop out the label under the hat brim, but I changed my mind, cuz he left it there for a reason. Actually, a lotta people do that these days. I don’t understand it, but I’ve learned not to be critical or to judge things I don’t understand.

A lotta young men these days wear their pants down a lot lower than I’d be comfortable with, for example. Like the hat label thing, it’s something I don’t understand, but it’s not for me to say if it’s a good style or not.

Vesta and I spent some time in Fiji right after England kick ‘em out of the Commonwealth for their bloodless coup. But they kinda refused to go. They still acknowledged the queen as their sovereign. They still kept her image on their money and their stamps. And they didn’t change their flag, which looked an awful lot like the Union Jack.

They were pretty independent and they had their traditions and being part of the Commonwealth was one of ‘em.

Anyway, while we were their, they had this big controversy going on between the island chiefs and the central government. It seems this American guy, who was born on this island in the Fijian archipelago came back to retire.

He built a big house, fancier than anybody else’s. He was a bit of a showoff and he’d go around bragging about how much better he was than everybody else and it upset the people in this small village and they asked the chief to talk to him about it, cuz they didn’t like it.

So she did.

But he didn’t stop.

So she asked him again.

But he didn’t stop.

So she asked him again.

But he didn’t stop.

So she came over to his house with some of the villagers and they dragged him toward a tall tree in his front yard and they threw a rope around a branch and they hung this guy who wouldn’t shut up about how much better he was. Hung him till he was dead.

And that really pissed of the central government. You know, cuz even though they were coup guys, they had laws and trials and stuff like that, that the island chiefs didn’t wanna really be bothered with.

One day Vesta and I took a small boat to one of these tiny islands and we saw this guy sitting on his front porch and his lawn was full of garbage. I thought it was unsightly as heck, but this local guy told me that he was the richest guy in the village and he filled his lawn with trash to prove it. You know, cuz if he could make all that trash, he must be rich.

And I just nodded my head as if I understood. But I didn’t understand, however I understood about the rich American who got himself hung, cuz he couldn’t stop bragging.

And that’s why I don’t say anything to these young guys who wear their pants so low. And that’s why I think it’s perfectly okay to not take your label off your hat. You know, cuz I’m no dummy and I don’t wanna get hung till I’m dead.


Day 107, Emma.

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This is Emma at the Amtrak Station in the Dawn’s Early Light, at exactly 6:23 this morning. She came to Reno with family and friends from San Leandro for a short gambling vacation and sadly, she’s not leaving with a whole gang of extra money.

In fact, she lost all that she’d budgeted for gambling. Budgeted for gambling, now that’s pretty smart if you can stick to it. Once you lose it, you quit, that way you’ve had fun and you can still go home owning your car and your abode.

Vesta and I know this guy Jack, who lives down the street from us and a couple days ago he hit it big in Keno, over seven grand. Wow! He was a winner and he coulda made a nice down payment on that Toyota he’s been wanting, except that he stayed till he lost it all. That and an additional five hundred bucks.

I’m thinking Jack’s the kinda guy the casinos love and Emma, maybe not so much.


Day 106, Tonto and John.

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Here are Tonto and John, out in the Dawn’s Early Light. Okay, okay, I’m betting the one called Tonto doesn’t go by his real name. Maybe he took it from the Lone Ranger’s sidekick and he doesn’t speak Spanish.

Or maybe it means something else in a different language, but regardless these are nice guys. Vesta and I have seen them around and we’ve taken their picture out by our bridge before, but we’d already had someone for that day, so they never got posted.

However, this morning, nobody came by between 6:00 and 6:15, so we started wandering around downtown, like we do when our fifteen minute attention span is used up.

“Hey, camera, people!” We turned, looked behind. “How you guys doing?” Vesta said.

“How’s your project coming along,” John said.

“Okay,” I said.

“Wanna take our picture again?”

“I would be glad too,” I said and I took it and this time I’m posting it. You know, there are some people out early who are grumpy, but not many. Most people we’ve met, from the cops to the homeless, from those going home after a hard night out to those starting their day by going to work, most everybody we’ve met has been a pleasure to get to know.

No matter who they are or how they got to be where they are, most people like having their picture taken, well except those who think we’re stealing their souls or think we’re gonna use their likeness to make voodoo dolls. And if you talk to them, people talk back.

We’ve been doing this for a little over three months now and we get a lotta hellos and how are you’s every morning. It’s just incredible. It really is.


Day 105, Steve and Patty.

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Here are Steve and Patty in downtown Reno, near the famous, “Biggest Little City in the World” sign. Vesta and I waited from 6:00 to 6:15 at our bridge and since the only people who came by were ones we’ve already photographed for this 365 Days of Faces project, we decided to head over to the Sign, cuz there are always people there.

We had to hurry, as the light was quickly changing. Once the sun is up, that magic kind of Dawn’s Early Morning Light is gone.

Luckily, we found Steve and Patty straight away. I asked could I take their picture and they immediately went into a pose. Jeez, it was so easy with them and I told him that.

“It’s because my husband is a photographer,” Patty said. “Really? Where’s your camera?” I said to him.

“I don’t take it when I’m bowling.” Six in the morning and they're just done bowling. You can do that in Reno, cuz lots of stuff never closes.

“Are you from here?” Vesta said. “From Chico,” Steve said. “We come for the bowling.”

“Don’t they got that there?” I said.

“We have a lotta friends who come here for this. You’d have to be a bowler to understand.

After we parted company, I thought back to my one bittersweet bowling day at the Dutch Village Bowl in Lakewood, California. I’d just turned twenty-one and was drinking Bloody Marys with my friend Jim Rouse. And we were bowling.

And I was hot. I’d bowled a couple games in the high two hundreds and even picked up a seven ten split to a lot of applause. Yep, I had watchers and they were clapping. I was doing better than those bowlers you’d see on that Bowling for Dollars program they had on TV back then.

And then I bowled a two eighty something and I knew I’d found my new occupation. It was only my eighth or tenth time bowling and I was using any old ball that Jim gave me. I was a natural. People were telling me how good I was.

Then, determined to knock ‘em all down the next game, I had another drink and wowed ’em all with something like a fifty-seven or eight.

“That’s his problem,” Jim said to my audience, “he’s not too consistent.”

“I did good,” I told Jim after my cheerleaders wandered away, “right up till that last game.” “

You could be consistent,” Jim said. “If you had your own ball and bowled sober.”

So the next day, Vesta and I went to a store called Fedco and their bowling ball guy sold me a ball, a bag and some shoes. No more renting ‘em at the ally. I was styling. I was gonna show ’em all. But I never broke 150 again.


Day 104, Emma and Dan.

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Here are Emma and Dan and they’re running in the ten mile race Reno is having this morning. Vesta and I figured that out right away, cuz a whole bunch of people came by at a quarter to six with numbers attached to their clothes.

Usually the people pickings are pretty sparse this early, but not today. These were the first runners who came by and they were pleased to have their picture taken.

Dan was a whole bunch taller than Emma, so he had to squat down, otherwise I couldn’t’ve gotten both their heads in the picture unless I stepped way, way back.

Can you imagine, running ten miles on a Sunday morning, or any morning for that matter? And did they eat breakfast first? Can you run that far on an empty stomach? But then again, can you hold your breakfast down if you run that far after you eat?

It’s mind boggling, that’s what it is.


Day 103, Selasi.

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This is Selasi at exactly 6:00 in the morning, out on the Sierra Street Bridge in Reno, Nevada. As you can tell by looking at him, he is more alert than a lot of people we see this early. Maybe even more alert than the cops we’ve photographed out here.

He was walking with a spring in his step, when I asked could I take his photo. He stopped, wanted to know why, then said sure.

And as usual, I asked him his first name, so I could use it here.

“I’ll have to spell it for you.”

“I got a pencil,” I said, thinking I was gonna get a long name with a weird spelling. “What is it?”

“Selasi, S,E,L,A,S,I.” "After Haile Selassie?” I said, even though his name was spelled differently.

“Yes.” “Were you parents Rasta?”

“No.”

“He’s their god, you know.” Actually, he’s like their messiah, their Christ, but I’ve always believed that’s God enough.

“I know,” he said. And I wanted to ask why his non Rastafarian parents, named him after Haile Selassie, but changed the spelling.

But I wanted to know a little about him, so instead I said, “Are you from Reno?”

“Vegas,” he said.

“Here on Vacation?” Vesta said.

“I’m going to medical school at UNR.” He smiled and he has a good one. “I just finished my first year.”

“Did you do well?” she said.

“Got honors.”

“So you’re gonna be a doctor?” I said. “

Hope so.”

And I’m sure he well be. You can tell by looking in his eyes. Not only is he very friendly, he is one sharp guy. Anyway, we talked a few more minutes, then parted ways.

I did give him my card, though and I hope he looks me up on Facebook and reads this and friends me, cuz then maybe some of his sharpness might rub off over the internet from his computer to mine and then to me, cuz oftentimes I’m pretty dull and I could certainly use a dose of “Sharp” every now and then.


Day 102, Dave.

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This is Dave at 6:00 in the morning. After I took his picture, I asked him what he was doing out and about so early, like I always try to do, and he said he’d just dropped his wife off at work and now he was on his way to his job.

So, since he was walking, it appears he walked her to her work and now he was walking to where he worked.

How cool is that, having jobs where both you and your wife can walk to them? Now if they’d just put in a Trader Joe’s, or even a nice independent small supermarket downtown, they could live in Reno without a car.

Anyway, Vesta and I, we got a car, cuz we have to travel a lot, so that dream, even if they get a food buying place in downtown Reno, won’t free us up from wheels. At least this time, we got a car that gets good gas milage. However, if we have an accident with anything other than a small child on a tricycle, we lose. So we gotta be carful when we drive.

And I guess that’s it for this morning. Tomorrow’s another day.


Day 101, Jeff.

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This is Jeff, on Second and West Street, right where Vesta and I used to live in our Deluxe Apartment in the Sky. He was standing on the corner, talking on the phone, visibly unhappy. He hung up, just as we were walking by.

Whoops, I gotta backtrack just a little here.

We got to our bridge at a quarter to six just as Captain Tom, one of our past victims, came by. He told us we might want to take our cameras over to Second Street, by the Cathedral, because all the news vans were there along with about a dozen cops and lots of stuff was roped off with police tape.

So we decided to go. What the heck, there’d be early morning faces there. Besides, it was only a couple blocks away.

When we got there, we saw that Captain Tom had told us true. Lotta police, newspeople and gawkers. We don’t like to gawk, so I walked up to a cop and asked what was going on.

"A shooting," he said. "I don’t really want to talk about it."

“Thanks,” I said. “That’s all I need to know to know that I’m not needed here.” And Vesta and I left.

A couple blocks east we ran into Jeff.

“Do him,” Vesta said.

“He’s on the phone.”

“He’s cute.”

“Really.”

“Yeah, do him.”

So we waited till he hung up and I asked could I take his picture and he said I could and I did. Then I asked him why he was out so early in the morning.

“I’m supposed to be home,” he said. “But the police,” he pointed down the street, “put this yellow tape around the parking lot where my car is and they said I can’t get it till 10:00, so I had to call someone to come get me.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I talked to a cop. He said there was a shooting.”

“I heard someone ran over someone’s foot,” Jeff said.

“Do you really think the newspeople and an army of cops would be there if someone got their foot run over,” Vesta said.

“I heard he was in intensive care,” Jeff said.

“More like he’s dead,” Vesta said.

“Really?” Jeff said.

“An army of cops and they roped off fifty or a hundred cars. They’re looking for something?”

“What do you think?” Jeff said.

“Evidence,” Vesta said, “cuz somebody shot somebody.”

“Ya think?” Jeff said.

“Somebody’s dead,” I said.

“Wow, then maybe I don’t feel so bad about not getting my car.”

“That’s probably the right attitude to take,” I said.

A Chevy pulled up and stopped.

“That’s my ride.” Jeff got in the car, said, “Goodbye,” and then he was gone.


Day 100, Mike and Mike.

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Here are Mike and Mike, sitting on a planter out in front of the IRS office out in the Dawn’s Early Light at 6:45.

It was cold in Reno this morning, when Vesta and I got out to our bridge. I was wearing a tee shirt and sandals. Vesta was wearing shoes, warm socks and a sweatshirt. She wasn’t as cold as me.

We waited fifteen minutes for somebody to come by, which is our limit, before we headed over to the casinos, where we can always find somebody who will let us take their photo. But only the homeless were out and about.

So we went up to the Skywalk. Ah, indoors, where it’s cozy warm.

“We should come here in the winter,” Vesta said. “Besides, after we move, we’re going to have to drive and we could park in the Circus Circus garage and ride the shuttle.”

“Beats freezing.” I immediately fell in love with her idea. And I took a couple shots of her and I liked the light. So, I’m thinking in about a month or so, we’ll move our act up there, at least until the security tells us we gotta go.

But we’re not ready to move there yet, so we went back to the bridge, where it was still cold and where nobody was still walking by. So we decided to wander and that’s how come we stumbled on Mike and Mike.

They were actually waiting for the IRS to open and that can’t be good I said to them and Mike on the left said it wasn’t a big deal, he was just bringing our government a check.

After I took their picture, we headed home. I jaywalked two red lights and was about to cross against a third when Vesta grabbed my arm after I was about three steps into the street.

“Ken, step back!” She said it in such a way that I stepped back. “Car coming,” she said.

“He woulda stopped.”

“I’m sure he would have.” The car slowed. The cop turned on his overhead lights, just for a second. Then he smiled and said, “Thank you.” Then he drove on.


Day 99, Eric.

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This is Eric at 6:05, out in the Dawn’s Early Light. When I stopped him and asked could I take is picture, he said he was late for work, “So no.”

“But we  can’t go home, till we  take someone’s picture.”

“Really?” He stopped and Vesta told him about our project.

“Okay, but hurry.” He looked at the camera as I started to bring it up. “I’m not gonna pose.”

“You’re fine.” I took the picture.

“Okay, gotta go.” And he left.

We have a little more light at 6:00 than we did at 5:30, but every morning it’s getting darker, so in a week or two, we’ll have that light back that I like so much.

Also, the people are different. That switch from 5:30 made a big difference, people-wise, and maybe that’s a good thing, cuz now we’ll have a whole new crop of people to harass.


Day 98, Mike.

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This is Mike at 6:05 in the morning. He’s from Oakland, here in Reno on a gambling holiday. I asked him how he’s doing and he said, “Just about even.” And that’s good. I hope he goes home a winner, cuz he’s a nice guy.

He stopped me as Vesta and I were walking up Virginia, toward the Skywalk.

“Love the shirt,” he said. Then he went on to say something about the Raiders and now I think I have to say a little something about my shirt.

Last April, Vesta and I drove to Minot, North Dakota to shoot a wedding. We were gonna fly, but the bride, who lives in Reno, told us she drives it every year in April and she’s never had a problem with the weather.

So we decided to drive. We left a week early, just in case the weather went south on us. And it did and we got stuck in Custer, South Dakota for three days, cuz of a blizzard.

Usually, when we we’re on the road, we pack lightly, because meeting people in laundromats along the way is always kinda fun. But there was a blizzard going on and the town was basically shut down.

When it was over, we were in a bit of a hurry, so we drove straight through to Minot, without doing our clothes, so I had no clean tee shirts. But they got a mall there and we went to it and they had a sporting kinda clothing store in there and they had these tee shirts on sale.

I wanted black so I bought a “Raiders” one, cuz I liked the pirate on it. And I bought “Saints” one, cuz I liked the fleur-de-lis on it, because it reminded me of France. The fact that these shirts represented Football teams never entered my head. They were $7.99 and that was good enough for me.

And now a word about my Yankees hat. A couple years ago, Vesta and I were out garage sailing when we came upon this hat at a sale in South Reno. It was on top of a bookcase and this guy had taped a sign under it which said, “I hate the Yankees so I’ll give anybody $5.00 if they take this hat.”

So I said, “Gimme five bucks and I’ll take that hat.” He did and I took the hat. So now, depending on my attire, people stop me to talk about the Yankees, the Saints or the Raiders and I just don’t have a clue.


Day 97, Cierra.

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This is Cierra at a quarter to six in the Dawn’s Early Light, out for a walk on Virginia Street in Downtown Reno. She spied my camera and walked right up to me and Vesta and said, “Take My Picture.” So I did.

Usually, it’s us who have to do the asking, but not this time.

Cierra is burlesque dancer, who dances with the Whiskey Sirens, at the Singer Social Club on Second Street and she dances under the name Charlee Monsoon. So if you’re out and about Downtown and you’d like to be entertained, stop in, I’m sure the girls would love to see you.


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