2013 Photo of the Year

If our 2013 photo contest were a horse race, everyone would say, “The number 11 horse–Cannon Beach–won in a near wire to wire contest.” Yes, Charleston Boardwalk and A Walk  in the (Ecola State) Park fought the good fight and briefly contended. In the end, however, Cannon Beach finished with more than 40 percent of the votes. The results are listed at the bottom of this post, and are based on 1,099 votes.

Cannon Beach (top), Ecola State Park Walk (middle), and Charleston Boardwalk

Cannon Beach, OR (top), Ecola State Park ,OR Walk (middle), and Charleston Boardwalk

Of the thousands of pictures I took in the last year, it is interesting to note that two of the top three photos were taken about 100 yards from one another in Oregon’s magnificent Ecola State Park. To me this suggests a couple of points:

1) A photographer can take good photos in dark alleys or even barren fields, but it is a lot easier to move people when you slow down enough to truly see and capture the beauty of the works of our loving creator. I am so grateful that God put a camera in my hands; sometimes, I look through the view finder and say to myself, “Now, I’m seeing the world as God sees it. Creation is filled with soulful beauty – in places and people.”

2) Taking photos from the heart is the first step towards producing marvelous images. Our Oregon Coast trip was very special to me because it was, perhaps, my father and late mother’s favorite trip that they took together. They both came home from their Oregon journey enthusiastically gushing with stories of the state’s unbridled beauty. Mary and I both thought a lot about my parents during the trip. We’d stumble from one gem to another and, inevitably, one of us would say, “Mom and Dad would have loved this. I now know what they were talking about”

Cheers to all of us enthusiastically gushing about our encounters with beauty in the New Year. Let’s try and more frequently look through God’s lens and see our world’s overwhelming beauty– in places and, most importantly, people.


Greg in Astoria, OR

– Greg

When Words Are Not Necessary

Stephanie Inn - Cannon Beach, OR

Stephanie Inn – Cannon Beach, OR

Click on any image below to see our Oregon Gallery in slide show mode.

In the event you need words, ample information is available at: http://traveloregon.com/ and http://visittheoregoncoast.com/.

Greasy Spoon Redefined

Langlois_Greasy_Spoon_Interior-3j (1 of 1)You just can’t believe everything you read online.

I know that may be a shocker to  those who have found themselves occasionally saying, “It has to be true. I read it on the Internet!”

The various “greasy spoon” designations offered by the many online dictionaries are great examples of where the Internet can fail us. Almost all of them have “greasy spoon” definitions that basically say, “A cheap and rather unsanitary restaurant.”

Who writes these definitions? People who have never left major metropolitan areas? Drink wine with their pinky fingers fully extended? Frequently find themselves craving “food” from brightly colored chain restaurants?Langlois_Greasy_Spoon_Exterior-1j (1 of 1)

I was born and raised in Kansas, educated in Texas, and have spent the last 20 years loving Arizona. All of these states offer a variety of what are lovingly known as greasy spoons. To me, a great “greasy spoon” is like the one Mary and I frequented for breakfast on our recent Oregon coast exploration. The restaurant is located south of Bandon in Langlois and it is, appropriately, named the Greasy Spoon Cafe. All of the photos on this individual post are from this charming restaurant.GP Collage 1j

I was going to try and write my own definition of “greasy spoon.” I found, however, that it wasn’t necessary. Online reviews of the Langlois Greasy Spoon best tell the story of why this cafe, and similar restaurants, are ineradicably etched on the hearts (and stomachs!) of so many. A few Yelp reviews are offered below.GP Collage 2j

My husband and I ate at The Greasy Spoon after reading about it in a USA Two-lane Greasy_Spoon-Pancakes-1j (1 of 1)Highway Tour Book. The sausage gravy and biscuits was homemade fresh to order and it was amazing. As well, the pancakes melt in your mouth and  our over medium eggs were cooked to perfection; thick tasty bacon was to die for. We totally enjoyed our server and we even got a chance to chat with the owner/cook. Truly good folks and great home cooking! – Jesse W. from Chino Hills, CA

I was passing by at lunch time on a summer road trip. The Greasy Spoon was perfect Greasy_Spoon-1j (1 of 1)road trip fair. I had the ham melt with fries. Thick slab of ham with gooey American cheese on perfectly grilled sourdough bread and the fries were good. My traveling companion had the tuna melt and these tater tot jalapeño poppers that I kept stealing off the plate. She is a self proclaimed tuna melt fanatic and she proclaimed it a great example of the golden sandwich. – Susan M from San Fernando, CA

From Greasy Spoon Cafe's Gardens

From Greasy Spoon Cafe’s Gardens

I’ve driven by the Greasy Spoon Cafe for years, but never when it was open. Today I got lucky; the open sign was hanging in the window…I ordered a cheeseburger and fries, and it was better than I expected. (Hmm, I’m not even sure what I was expecting.) A warm, soft bun with a thin but large enough patty topped with two slices of cheese, fresh onion, tomato, and crispy lettuce.  After the couple at the next table raved about their milkshake I wished I would have ordered one, but I’ll be driving past here soon enough to try one, and maybe some pie too…I give it 5 stars, but don’t confuse the rating with some yuppie San Francisco burger bistro. The name of the place says it all. And for $6.50 including a soft drink what do you want? The best part is the sign on the menu board that reads, “This isn’t Burger King. You don’t get it your way. You take it my way or you don’t get the son of a bitch.”   Ha!  Inexpensive food and a priceless sign. A winning combo for this Greasy spoon. – R.W. from Humboldt, CALanglois_Greasy_Spoon_Interior-1j (1 of 1)

I’m thankful so many personable online reviews are offered. I feel like such descriptive stories help better define what constitutes a “Greasy Spoon.” The reviews for the Oregon Greasy Spoon Cafe also help prove that much of what we read online can–in fact–be extremely reliable. This was a great stop!

A Frontier Metropolis

View from Bainbridge Island Ferry

View from Bainbridge Island Ferry

The American author Tom Robbins once described Seattle by saying, “To some extent,Seattle remains a frontier metropolis, a place where people can experiment with their lives, and change and grow and make things happen.”



That, for the most part, fairly well summarizes why our son Will moved there this summer and started classes at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. He is looking to change and grow and make things happen in his life. We are very proud of him.

In the process of checking out the school, it gave me a great opportunity to get a little photoremedy. I was very much impressed with all there is to be experienced there.

Mt._Ranier_&_Cargo_Ship-1j (1 of 1)

Port of Seattle and Mount Ranier

Seattle is a major coastal seaport city that features lots of opportunities to explore the surrounding area’s water, mountains, icons (like the Space Needle), and much more.

Downtown_From_Needle-1j (1 of 1)

View of Downtown From Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

We’ll be looking to return to Seattle often. It is always great to see Will, and we will of course throw in a few opportunities to shoot more photos.

Pike Market

Pike Place Market

Mary and Will wouldn’t let me drive to Seattle when we moved his items there. They both indicated they were concerned that a long car ride (they were averaging more than 10 hours a day) would put my back in bad shape.

Lake Union From Space Needle

View of Lake Union From Space Needle

So, I flew in and Mary and I took a leisurely (a few hours daily) drive back to Arizona. My back ‘issues’ require that we frequently stop for me to ‘walk it off.’  And, as often as possible, I reload the ice packs I need for both my cervical and lumbar regions. The leisurely approach worked perfectly. There was awesome photoremedy all along the way, and I was able to capture (what I think were) some of the best pictures I have taken to date. I’ll be sharing some of these in upcoming posts.

Near Bandon, Oregon

Near Bandon, Oregon