03 Sep 12. A happy Labor Day to you all. We elected to spend the first of the three day weekend by taking in the first (annual?) Sequim Balloon Festival. It professed to be a really big show but lived up to none of its hype. We went in the afternoon on Saturday choosing to forgo the early morning launch (0600) of the 10 or so balloons in lieu of the night show called Twilight in the Olympics. According to the promotion there was to be lots of activities and crafts, a food court, non-stop music, and much more. All for the meager price of $19 a day or three days for $29. Non stop music there was, and of good quality and quite varied including one of our favorite artists, Jeffery Castle, but it was far more hype than anything else from my perspective and way over priced! But it was the first time out of the gate for this activity, so I guess we have to give it some time to mature. Of the crafts there were perhaps 20 individuals at most showing their wares, but one of them was, in our opinion, simply outstanding! Martha Collins is a local worker in wood, and her woodwork is best described as exquisite. She laminates hundreds of tiny pieces of different woods into a block and then turns that block on a lathe to create her product. We spent a considerable amount of time talking with her and she was kind enough to let me photograph her work. I thought about sharing with you some of what she has done, but then decided against that as it would not be my work I'm sharing but that of another. So I took an image that I shot of a set of bottle stoppers, and highly manipulated it for today's submission. I would highly encourage you to jump out to her web page, the blue link above, and look at her work. You will be impressed I assure you. Jan purchased a beautiful serving tray from her and a picture of it is on the web page. All of the bottle stoppers that are present in the image you are seeing today are shown individually here. So while we weren't all that impressed with the overall program, we certainly were with the artistry of Martha. Twilight in the Olympics, the finale of the day's program, was to be all the balloons arranged around a reflecting pond lighting off their engines such that they would reflect in the pond and illuminate the balloons in the dark of the night while live music played in the background. Unfortunately, wind came up that was too strong for that to happen and all that was done was for the balloon owners to position the engines around the pond and light them off. Having been invited to view it all from the privacy of one of the lavender farms owner's establishment, we found ourselves to be positioned such that we could not see the reflections at all. So the trip to see the balloon festival concluded with us seeing not a single balloon. As they say in some of the fairy tales, sometime the dragon wins. Nikon D300s; Aperture Priority; 18 - 200; ISO 200; 1/320 sec @ f /14.