Brunch at Oakland’s Portal Restaurant

The "Corned Beer and Hash" Two eggs any style, $12

After running the Hot Chocolate 15k in and around the famous Golden Gate Park, my wife and I decided to leave confines of San Francisco and find a brunch spot that rivals those found in the growing exclusiveness of San Francisco without the 1+ hour wait.  After a lengthy Google search, we discovered Portal in Oakland, shortly off the Lake Merritt BART station.  And we were glad that we did!

Portal Restaurant
1611 2nd Ave
Oakland, CA 94606

 

There wasn’t a lot of parking right around there, but there’s a Lucky store nearby that has a large parking lot, in addition to street parking off of East 18th.

The Portal Restaurant

The Portal Restaurant

Although the restaurant isn’t very large, the menu is quite expansive, capturing all of the sweet or savory taste buds that command you culinary decisions.  Take a look at the brunch menu below, I challenge you to find something that you won’t want to eat or drink….especially with bottomless mimosas and an expansive beer selection.

The Portal Restaurant Menu

The Portal Restaurant Menu

The view of Lake Merritt from the back patio

The view of Lake Merritt from the back patio

Looking back towards the restaurant on the back patio.

Looking back towards the restaurant on the back patio.

The Iron Springs Casey Jones Imperial IPA and Portal Restaurant Menu

The Iron Springs Casey Jones Imperial IPA $6 and Portal Restaurant Menu

The "Corned Beer and Hash" Two eggs any style, $12

The “Corned Beer and Hash” Two eggs any style, $12. Washed down with a Fieldwork Moraine Brett IPA $8.

"The Cowboy" two eggs (Any Style) over grilled polenta, drenched in tomato chili sauce $11

“The Cowboy” two eggs (Any Style) over grilled polenta, drenched in tomato chili sauce $11 with a side of bottomless mimosas $18.

From the great beer selection, like the Iron Springs Brewery Casey Jones Imperial IPA to the salty, beefy goodness of the Corned Beef.  All paths lead to a fantastic brunch.  So kick the concern about your calorie and sodium intake and indulge. After all, you only live once.

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = B
  • Service =  A+
  • Food = A+

A Night Out in London’s West End

The bar at The Porthouse

The West End of London is comparable to New York’s Broadway, filled with world class theaters hosting the latest plays and musicals and an array of restaurants and bars covering all culinary and liquid preferences.  A night out in the West End is always a memorable experience, one that should be on your short list of things to do if in London.

While on a weekend getaway in London back in July, 2011, there was one play that I had to see, Love Never Dies.  A new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera that could only be seen in London at the time.  So, we made an evening of it.

Looking for a a nice dinner near the theaters, we made reservations at the historic Savoy Grill located in the world famous Savoy Hotel.  This is a Gordon Ramsay Group restaurant, not as prestigious as his three Michelin-stars Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, but a convenient fine dining alternative that serves amazingly delicious, high quality steaks and seafood.

Savoy Grill
Savoy Hotel
Strand, London WC2R 0EU

 

We indulged in a smooth bottle of 2005 Chateau Noaillac Medoc Bordeaux wine and the Chateaubriand for two, cooked rare.  Didn’t even need a knife for that blood free, beefy morsel of deliciousness.  To this day, the best steak I have ever had.

Our Bordeaux Wine, 2005 Chateau Noaillac Medoc

Our Bordeaux Wine, 2005 Chateau Noaillac Medoc

 

Our amazing Chateaubriand for two, 22oz of delicious, perfectly cooked beef.

Our amazing Chateaubriand for two, 22oz of delicious, perfectly cooked beef.

 

Then onto our play, Love Never Dies, at the Adelphi Theatre.  After a short walk down Strand, we were at the theatre and promptly seated.  The play was good, but not near as good as Phantom.  Reading reviews, I wasn’t alone with this takeaway.  As it turns out, the play evolved while showing in London at the Adelphi, tweaked a little here and there to improve it and bring it together more.  Having seen the changes in their Melbourne production, I can say that it is better now.  The music though was always very good.

Adelphi Theatre
409-412 Strand, London WC2R 0NS

 

With the enjoyable play over, we headed out the side door of the Adelphi Theatre and straight into The Porterhouse bar next door that we conveniently stumbled upon.  Ironically we frequented the Dublin Porterhouse when we were there last, so it was reminiscent of that trip when we walked in.  Other than the name though, that was the only similarity.  The beer selection was far more limited at this location.  Being the weekend, the place was packed with people enjoying the music and cold beverages.  Service wasn’t great, but that’s to be expected in London.  It did have a pretty good beer selection though, so I wasn’t complaining.

The Porterhouse
21-22 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7NA

The bar at The Porthouse

The bar at The Porterhouse

A great end to a wonderful evening

A great end to a wonderful evening

London is one of my favorite places to visit and enjoying its West End is part of the reason why I love it so.  There are a ton of fantastic shows to see, restaurants to feast at and bars to wet your palette there.  So, you can’t go wrong with any of the options there.  This just happened to be my amazing evening out in London’s West End.

Museum of London

Museum of London

Museum of London
150 London Wall
London EC2Y 5HN

Having been to several of the other sites around London, I wanted to check out a different attraction.  This led me to the Museum of London

 

Stuck in the middle of a business area, the museum seemed a bit out of place initially.  Walking in, I was shocked by how big it was.  Greeted by a young lady with the lovely British courteousness, I walked into this free museum and started diving into the depths of London’s vast history.

Walking up to the Museum of London

 

Talk about old, London before London….

 

Medieval London

 

The People’s City, 1850’s – 1940’s.

 

More of the People’s City

 

The pictures do not do it justice.  In hindsight, I should have taken more, but was caught up reading everything.  We all know that London is an old city, built upon wars and triumphs, but really seeing the changes through the years helps you to appreciate the tumultuous history and pride that Britain has for our ancestral country.  From essentially conquering the world, then war, plague and fire, the United Kingdom has lived through the ups and downs that no country wants to experience.

Definitely worth checking out.

Dinner at Blacklock in London, England

Blacklock
24 Great Windmill St,
Soho, London W1D 7LG

After shooting some sunset pictures over the historical Parliament building, I wanted to eat at a nice, nearby restaurant.  Doing a quick Google search, I found the chop house Blacklock hidden away on Great Windmill Street.

At first I couldn’t find it, I walked down the street, hit the cross road Brewer Street and turned around only to unknowingly pass it again.  After asking for directions from teh nearby security guard, I eventually found it hidden away underneath the structure above.

Into the restaurant we go! The small, hidden door off of Great Windmill St.

View of the kitchen from downstairs inside of the restaurant.

View of the tables from downstairs inside of the restaurant.

 

Dinner, a little green and a lot of meat. All washed down with a local beer.

Pork belly anyone, yes please!

 

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = A
  • Service =  C+
  • Food = A

“Husk”, Great Dining in Charleston, SC

Husk Restaurant, Charleston, SC
Husk Restaurant
76 Queen Street
Charleston, SC 29401
 

 

While visiting my family in Columbia, South Carolina, we decided to take a one night field trip to Charleston.  Knowing that I was going there, my brother recommended the restaurant Husk, which won 2011 Best New Restaurant in America from Bon Appetit magazine and 2011 Best New Restaurant in the South from Southern Living magazine.  The restaurant is the creation of award winning Chef Sean Brock and owned and operated by the Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG).

Husk Restaurant, Charleston, SC

Husk Restaurant, Charleston, SC

What makes this restaurant unique is how it brands itself on using fresh, local ingredients to create extraordinary southern inspired recipes.  With a menu that is updated daily depending upon the local ingredients available, this centrally located Charleston restaurant provides an ever changing, casual culinary experience.

 

Servers Picking up the Culinary Delights from the Kitchen

Servers Picking up the Culinary Delights from the Kitchen

We made reservations for lunch and what a lunch it was!  I love to eat, especially fresh, flavorful, balanced creations that are part experience and part sustenance.  The menu for the day had numerous delightful gems as shown below.  Asking our server for recommendations, she advised us on the burger, shrimp and grits and the heritage pork.  In addition to the food, Husk had an extensive wine, beer and soda list as well.  Unfortunately they were out of the North Carolina Cheerwine, so I had to settle on Abita Root Beer instead.   Bring on the glutenous feast of southern culinary delight!

The Lunch Menu from July 21st, 2014.  The following sides were not included in the scan above: - Carolina Gold Rice with Sea Island Red Peas, Smoky Tomatoes - Grilled Courgettes with Tropea Onions and Sweet Cord

The Lunch Menu from July 21st, 2014.
The following sides were not included in the scan above:
– Carolina Gold Rice with Sea Island Red Peas, Smoky Tomatoes
– Grilled Courgettes with Tropea Onions and Sweet Cord

Abita Root Beer

Abita Root Beer

 

Grilled House Made Cheddar Summer Sausage with House Made Pickles and Mustard

Grilled House Made Cheddar Summer Sausage with House Made Pickles and Mustard

The sausage had an amazing smoked flavor from the grill.  The cheddar was subtle, but added just the little bit extra to the smoked sausage.  The pickles, mustard and toasted bread really rounded out the appetizer by diversifying the taste and texture.

Shrimp and Geechie Boy Grits, Smoky Tomatoes and Charred Onion, Sweet Peas and Surry Sausage

Shrimp and Geechie Boy Grits, Smoky Tomatoes and Charred Onion, Sweet Peas and Surry Sausage

Absolutely amazing.  Wow did those ingredients just fit together perfectly, creating amazing convolution of texture and taste again.  The gravy wasn’t too heavy, with minor flavor so you can still taste all of the other ingredients in this bowl of foodie heaven.

The Husk Cheeseburger with Fried Potato Wedges – Photo Courtesy of www.huskrestaurant.com

Not sure what sauce is on this, but it was really an amazing burger.

Fried Chicken Po'Boy with Kentucky Black Pepper Bacon, Home Made Pickles and Red Onion, Spicy Mayo (which was pretty spicy)

Fried Chicken Po’Boy with Kentucky Black Pepper Bacon, Home Made Pickles and Red Onion, Spicy Mayo (which was pretty spicy)

The chicken was good, but nothing special.  However, the bacon, what a great enhancement to this typically boring sandwich.  The mayo was rather spicy, but really good compliment to the meats.

Virginia Heritage Pork with Fried Cabbage, Smoky Butterbeans and Sea Island Red Peas, Pot Likker.  The pork was slow cooked for 12+ hours, pulled apart and then wrapped around the stomach and cooked again.  A slow cooked fatty goodness!

Virginia Heritage Pork with Fried Cabbage, Smoky Butterbeans and Sea Island Red Peas, Pot Likker.

The pork was slow cooked for 12+ hours, pulled apart and then wrapped around the stomach and cooked again. A slow cooked fatty goodness!  Really tasty and again, another great example of the quiet dance of textures and taste among the ingredients.

A side of a Skillet of Cornbread with Allan Benton's Tennessee Bacon

A side of a Skillet of Cornbread with Allan Benton’s Tennessee Bacon

Located off of Queen Street in downtown Charleston, Husk resides in an old Victorian house.  Supporting both floors for seating, the restaurant can support a decent amount of diners.  If you didn’t make a reservation and you do have to wait, the rocking benches on the porch are really clever and make waiting for a table a bit more enjoyable.

Outside Husk on Queen Street

Outside Husk on Queen Street

 

The paper menu printed each day each meal

The paper menu printed each day each meal

Some of the decorations located on the lower floor dining room

Some of the decorations located on the lower floor dining room

 

The dining room on the lower floor of Husk

The dining room on the lower floor of Husk

 

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = A   (Well decorated, decent size, clean, bright, and a parking garage across the street.  The bathroom on the lower floor is a single unisex bathroom, so could be an issue if more than one person needs to use it)
  • Service =  A-
  • Food = A+    (really amazing shrimp and grits, the pork was fatty heaven, the burger had some magical sauce on it that was to die for, but the corn bread was a little dry though)

Garden of the Gods with the MHWPC

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is one of the local, natural icons around Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Donated by the heirs of Charles Elliot Perkins in 1909 to the city of Colorado Springs so that it would remain as a park to share with all.  It is truly a magnificent site with the rock upheaval and the splendid Pikes Peak in the distance.

Having been there a few times now, I wasn’t going to miss another opportunity to visit it with the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) for a sunrise shoot.  We met at 5:30am at the Garden of the Gods main parking lot all caffeinated up.  After everyone got their photo equipment ready to go, we started to hike around to the eastern side of the park to hopefully shoot the rising sun on the rocks, which makes them glow a brilliant red, with Pikes Peak in the background.

The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) for our shoot

Disappointingly, the sun stayed behind a cloud covered sky to the East for most of the morning, which didn’t make for the most beautiful sunrise.  But, there aren’t too many sunrises that one can complain about, so it was still worth the trip.

All in all though, it was a great morning with some decent shots that I wanted to share below.

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Members of the Club Shooting Sunrise

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods (Black & White)

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

“Kissing Camels” on top of the Garden of the Gods

 

“Lone Tree” just Northeast of the Garden of the Gods

Lone Tree by Neal Fedora on 500px

Members of the Club Shooting Geese

 

“Geese on the Peak” on top of one of the formations within the park with 14er Pike’s Peak as the backdrop

Geese on the Peak by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

 

My Little Shih Tzu in the Winter

Powder Nose

This past week, I was going through some pictures and came across a series of pics that I really liked of my Shih Tzu from this past winter.  They were too good to keep to myself, so wanted to share them.

Portrait

 

Eating Snow

 

Powder Nose

 

Running Through the Snow 1

 

Running Through the Snow 2

 

She absolutely loves the snow, so come the first snow of the season she is constantly scratching on the back door to get outside to run in it and especially eat it.  Because of her food allergies, that the best treat she is going to get!  Man do we do love her though!

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014

Lunar Eclipse

During the early morning hours of April 15, 2014, the world was exposed to the amazing sight of a total lunar eclipse.  This was the first of four lunar eclipses (April 15th will be followed by another on October 8th, and again on April 4th and September 28th of next yearthat we will have the pleasure of witnessing over the next year and a half.  Never shooting the Moon, let alone a lunar eclipse before, my brother and I decided to brave the cold and sleep deprivation to enjoy this wonderful event.

It was really windy, so long exposures weren’t really possible unless you timed it right between the strong gusts of 20+ mph.  As a result, the typical recommended small apertures for sharpness wasn’t possible if I wanted to keep the noise to a useful level.  So, smaller F-stops it was!  Up until the main full lunar eclipse time at ~1:45 am local time, it gradually got more windy as the front rolled in which caused my earlier photos to be more in focus.  And here’s the best one of the lot at my full zoom…

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Wouldn't have traded a thing, a really amazing sight that used to awe our ancestors. The bottom right is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014 Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 448mm (200*1.6 crop * 1.4 tc), Shutter Speed 1/3 secs, Aperture f/8, ISO 1250

 

It got to the point that my phalanges were getting too frozen and rather unusable, so I wanted to make the most of the rest of the functional time that I had.  Seeing Mars so bright that evening was really disturbing to me as odd as that may sound.  I found myself constantly gravitated towards it and really wanted to include it in a photo with the amazing lunar eclipse that we were witnessing.  So I did (it’s the bright one on the far right)…

 

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Since Mars was so close, I really wanted to capture the Moon with Mars in the same frame capturing the contrast of the two this cold evening/morning.  The bottom right of the Moon is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014, Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 136mm (85 * 1.6 crop), Shutter Speed 1/2 secs, Aperture f/4, ISO 6400

It wasn’t long before I honestly could not do much with my fingers, even with the hand warmers.  So, I just couldn’t take any more pictures, but I felt I captured the ones that I wanted anyway.  Thus, I resorted to sitting back, stuffing my hands in my pockets with the hand warmers and enjoying the rest of the eclipse.  I hope you had a chance to see it.  If not, I hope that these pics help and that you take advantage of the upcoming ones.

Information on the photos above:

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 70-200L F4
  • Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter (Photo #2)
  • Benro Tripod
  • Mirror Lockup used
  • Canon RS-80N3 remote switch used
  • Nik software used to denoise the image, increase warmth and contrast and moderate the extreme dynamic range exposure of the Moon

References:

  1. Great photography guide from Mr. Eclipse
  2. Useful photography tips and explanations from PhotographyLife.com
  3. Some information on the lunar 2014 eclipses from io9.com

Photography Guide: Night Photography

Milky Way Zoomed 100%  - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Back in August 2013, the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) hosted acclaimed photographer and planetary scientist Dr. Roger Clark.  With his presentation on astrophotography tips and the annual Perseid meteor shower taking place on August 10-13, I was really inspired to take night photography more seriously and really see what I can do with my current equipment.  Unfortunately Dr. Clark’s MHWPC meeting was moved a week and I was unable to attend his lecture.  I did have several exchanges with him afterwards, however, and his insight was vital in improving my understanding and learning of nighttime photography.  As a result, it is the intent of this article to share my lessons learned, tips and other less common useful information to assist other photographers with their night photography.  Successful night photography, like most photography, is comprised of preparation, execution and post-processing.

I’ve found myself on many occasions outside at night witnessing a wonderful night sky, wishing I had a camera or alternatively sitting there with my camera and wishing I had a clear sky.  Although you can’t always predict Mother Nature, good preparation can increase your chances that she’ll help you get that perfect shot.  So, here are some useful links to assist you with your pre-night shoot preparation.

  • The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) to determine the Moon rise / set times and relative location in the sky.
  • ClearDarkSky is a really useful website for predicting the cloud cover, transparency, seeing and darkness.
  • Stellarium is a planetarium desktop software, which is great for searching the night sky, seeing where the Milky Way will be, planets, constellations, nebulae, etc.
  • US Navel Observatory provides a searchable moon and sun database, which is handy for researching the moon phase and set to obtain the darkest night possible
  • NOAA Predicted Geomagnetic Index is useful to check on the probability of seeing an aurora.  If the Kp turns up above 5, then there’s a good chance you may see an aurora. (Thanks Dr. Clark for this site)
  • POES Aurora Satellite Image is useful to check on the position of current aurora oval.  (Thanks Dr. Clark for this site)

Taking wonderful night images comes down to the same photography basics as any photograph; aperture, ISO, exposure and focus.  It’s the trade off of these that the photographer is faced with in order to capture their desired image.

Not surprisingly, a fast lens (F2.8 or less) is ideal for enabling the photographer more flexibility in trading off ISO and/or exposure to capture their desired image.  A fast lens is especially required to effectively capture meteors, where you only have a fraction of a second worth of light available for the exposure.

Full frame DSLRs are inherently better at minimizing the noise at high ISO’s when compared to cropped DSLRs because of their large pixel and sensor sizes, however. all exhibit an amazing ability at capturing images with high ISO’s.  Regardless of the DSLR used though, they should be capable of taking good photos at ISO 3200, 6400 or even higher.  With the advances of noise reduction software, such as Lightroom, Topaz DeNoise or Nik Dfine, photographers can really push their ISO settings and still produce really high quality results.  In addition, the built in camera long exposure compensation can be useful for reducing noise.  Using this feature typically doubles the processing time, but can greatly reduce the noise in the recorded image.

I have found that the exposure trade-off is the most important one, with many misconceptions on it.  Too short of exposure, then you aren’t able to acquire enough light to effectively capture all of the stars, stellar dust, airglow, etc.  Too long of an exposure, then your image will have star trails.  This is obviously sometimes a desired effect, but if you are trying to photograph the Milky Way for example, then this may not be desired.  Short star trails just make the stars look blurry since the stars appear larger than they should be.  An example of this is shown below in the following figures.

Milky Way - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Milky Way – 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

 

 

Milky Way Zoomed 100%  - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Milky Way Zoomed 100% – 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how long can you expose your image before star trails are visible?  You may have read about recommendations of 30 seconds or the 600x rule, which states that for a full frame camera if you multiple the focal length used times the exposure and the resultant value is less than or equal to 600, then the stars should appear without trails.  This ‘rule’ is misleading however, which after discussing it with Dr. Clark, he clarified that the real limiting factors are the focal length, exposure and camera sensor pixel size, also known as the pixel pitch.  During long exposures, the light received on the sensor from a star will transition from one pixel to the next as Earth rotates relative to the stars.  With a recommended maximum pixel drift of 2-3 pixels, the sensor pixel pitch has a direct impact on the useful exposure duration for images without star trails.  Dr. Clark has a great overview of the impact of pixel sizes on his website.  Astropix has a detailed table of the pixel pitches, sensor sizes, etc. for numerous Canon and Nikon cameras which is available here.  The following table captures the estimated exposure times with respect to sensor pixel pitch and focal lengths for a few common Canon and Nikon cameras.

Camera Pixel Pitch vs Exposure Comparison

Camera Pixel Pitch vs Exposure Comparison

Additionally, unless intended, what good is an out of focus photograph?  Using mirror lock-up, a remote shutter release and a sturdy tripod are essential tools to help mitigate against camera movement impacting the recorded image.  However, focusing on the stars at night can be a bit tricky as well given the limited light available.  Because of the reduced light available; auto-focus really doesn’t work very well.  As a result, using manual focus is recommended.  Switch off auto-focus on the lens and then use live-view to manually focus on a bright object in the distance, such as a star, planet, the Moon, a street lamp or city.  Every lens is a bit different, but generally starting your lens depth of field just outside of infinity is a good place to start.  It’s a good practice to make note of the resultant depth of field setting to quickly focus in the future with that particular lens as well.

If longer exposures are desired, but star trails are not, then additional equipment such as the AstroTrac or another astrophotography stabilization tripod mount may be used for accurate exposures of 5-minutes or more.  Alternatively, star trails can be a very creative lighting technique making for wonderful photos.  Instead of very long exposures of several hours, these long star trail photographs are usually stitched together using 100’s of 30-second exposures with software like Adobe Photoshop, Startrails.exe or Image Stacker.

Finally, post-processing.  This is very subjective, but if you want to keep the photograph white balance accurate then know that the sky is really ‘warm’ because of all of our dust in the atmosphere and that the green air glow really should be there.  If you shoot RAW, then it’s easy to change this after importing your photographs.  If shooting JPEG, then it’s worth spending sometime in the field adjusting the white balance.  Some great examples can be found on Dr. Clark’s website.

Regardless of the photography equipment you have, you can still take exciting nighttime photos.  So go out there, try to capture the night and have fun with it!

Useful Links:

1)  dpBestFlow detailed information on sensors.  Provides a good overview of terms and information relating to sensors.

2)  I encourage the reader to visit Dr. Clark’s website Clarkvision, which is full of detailed photography tips, information and of course his wonderful images.

3)  A couple informative links for How To Photograph Star Trails and from Petapixel, How to Create Star Trails from Start to Finish

4)  A very thorough guide for Astrophotography from Astropix.com

The Johnny Cash Museum, Long Live the Man in Black

Outside of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, TN
 Johnny Cash Museum
119 3rd Avenue South, Suite 110
Nashville, TN 37201
 

 

Back in September 2012 during the previous ION GNSS conference, I shared a cab with a friendly lady who lived in downtown Nashville.  Although the drive is only about 15 minutes long, we started talking since I had never been to Nashville before.  After some small talk, she shared a childhood memory of living down the street from Johnny Cash where she would frequently see him on his porch.  She was young and didn’t appreciate who he was at the time, but she said “he doesn’t always wear black.”  I couldn’t help but smile about that.  You could just see the nostalgia on her face and in her voice.  A great memory indeed.  For mostly everyone else, the Nashville, Tennessee Johnny Cash Museum will be the closest that we will ever get to him.

Outside of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, TN

Outside of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, TN

The museum wasn’t open in 2012, but when I was back in September 2013 I didn’t miss it.  So, before I flew home, I footed it from my hotel to the museum.  You enter through the strategically placed museum store off 3rd avenue.  Going straight to the counter, I bought one general admission ticket for $14.00, sold by the friendly Sierra.

My Johnny Cash Museum Ticket

My Johnny Cash Museum Ticket

The museum isn’t large, but this collection of memorabilia and interactive exhibits is really impressive.  The flow of the museum starts with his early years, school, start of his music career, etc and continues on through his later years concluding with his fantastic Nine Inch Nails cover, “Hurt”.  There were a few secluded side rooms that focused on his wonderful poem narrative, “Ragged Old Flag” and his extensive movie and television career.  For me, It was a very personal story telling the amazing life of this influential man.

Maintaining the flow of the museum, I tried to capture the atmosphere of the wonderful exhibits, mementos and diverse accomplishments and memories below.  Welcome to the House of Cash….

The museum and exhibits when you first walk in.

The museum and exhibits when you first walk in.

J.R. Cash's Birth Certificate

J.R. Cash’s Birth Certificate

 

Young J.R. Cash

Young J.R. Cash

 

J.R. Cash in High School (Junior) J.R. Cash is Top Row, 2nd from Right

J.R. Cash in High School (Junior)
J.R. Cash is Top Row, 2nd from Right

 

J.R. Cash in High School (Senior) J.R. Cash is Bottom, 3rd from Left.

J.R. Cash in High School (Senior)
J.R. Cash is Bottom, 3rd from Left.

 

Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two Johnny Cash's first band.

Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two
Johnny Cash’s first band.

 

Johnny Cash - 1950's

Johnny Cash – 1950’s

 

Johnny Cash - 1960's

Johnny Cash – 1960’s

 

Johnny Cash - 1970's

Johnny Cash – 1970’s

 

Johnny Cash - 1980's

Johnny Cash – 1980’s

 

Johnny Cash - 1990's

Johnny Cash – 1990’s

 

Johnny Cash - 2000's

Johnny Cash – 2000’s

 

The Million Dollar Quartet, signed photograph

The Million Dollar Quartet, signed photograph

 

Johnny Cash State Shirt, Boots and Photograph

Johnny Cash State Shirt, Boots and Photograph

 

The Folsom Concert Set List

The Folsom Concert Set List

 

Johnny Cash Custom Gibson J-200 Acoustic Guitar (1959)

Johnny Cash Custom Gibson J-200 Acoustic Guitar (1959)

 

The House of Cash

The House of Cash

 

Some of Johnny Cash's Musical Achievements

Some of Johnny Cash’s Musical Achievements

 

Ragged Old Flag Lyrics

Ragged Old Flag Lyrics

 

Ragged Old Flag Video

Ragged Old Flag Video

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

Valentine for June (1998)

Valentine for June (1998)

 

Johnny Cash on the balcony where Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theatre

Johnny Cash on the balcony where Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre

 

Johnny Cash at the famous lake house on 200 Caudill Drive with stones (not shown) from the Hurt video after it burnt down.

Johnny Cash at the famous lake house on 200 Caudill Drive with stones (not shown) from the Hurt video after it burnt down.

 

 

Johnny Cash and Paul McCartney with the shirt he wore

Johnny Cash and Paul McCartney with the shirt he wore

 

The Moon Man from Mtv Video Music Awards for his Video "Hurt" (2003)

The Moon Man from Mtv Video Music Awards for his Video “Hurt” (2003)

 

Johnny Cash D-42JC Custom Signature Guitar #65 of 200 from the Martin Guitar Company

Johnny Cash D-42JC Custom Signature Guitar #65 of 200 from the Martin Guitar Company

 

A Johnny Cash Original Art

A Johnny Cash Original Art

 

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Nashville is a wonderfully vibrant town, with lots of things to see and do.  The live music scene is, not surprisingly, amazing.  You would be hard pressed to visit a bar that did not have very talented, live music playing let alone the big names that continuously tour through Nashville.  While I was there for example, Taylor Swift was on her Red Tour.  Of course they have professional sports, such as the NFL Tennessee Titans and NHL Nashville Predators.  And a plethora of bars, great restaurants and museums such as the famous Merchants Restaurant & Bar and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Although the Johnny Cash Museum is worth a trip in itself, the rest of Nashville should not be missed either.

Taylor Swift's Red Tour Buses

Taylor Swift’s Red Tour Buses

 

Just one of the many lively bars in Nashville of exciting Broadway

Just one of the many lively bars in Nashville of exciting Broadway

 

The famous Merchants Restaurant off Broadway

The famous Merchants Restaurant off Broadway

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