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  • iPhone Challenge: Isbell at the Ryman

    Those who follow my page know that I shoot a lot of live concerts. When I can't get a photo pass, I join the masses in using my iPhone.

    How these photos turn out is often a mixed bag. Cellphone cameras don't capture movement well — if at all — and the lighting also is a challenge.

    But when the show you're attending is a bucket list item — my first concert at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, no less — you've got to try.

    Fortunately, the lighting for Friday's show — part of Isbell's annual residency at the Ryman — was good. And our seats, in the front row of the balcony, also helped.

    These photos show what you can get with an iPhone when the circumstances are right. They're not as good as I can get with my DSLR. But, given the circumstances, they are a great memory of a great show.

    For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Checking the Bucket List

    Earlier this year, my wife and I booked a bucket list trip to see Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit at the Ryman Auditorium this Friday. I’ve always wanted to see a show there and Isbell is one of our favorite musicians. Perfect. Check. Especially when I won the lottery to buy two tickets in the front row of the mezzanine.

    I didn’t think much about the fact the World Series would be going on at the same time. After all, the Nationals were struggling to reach .500, let alone make a bid for the postseason glory that had so agonizingly eluded them.

    I thought I had a better shot of seeing a World Series game sometime in my native Houston than ever seeing the Nats play one in our backyard.

    When the opportunity came for the all-in postseason strip of Nationals tickets, we hesitated. Eventually, we bought them, in part because we knew any unused tickets will be credited toward the 20-game package we get each year.

    You know the rest.

    This does have a happy ending. We are giving the game 3 tickets to Emma, cutting our trip to Nashville short, and getting back in time for games 4 and 5. The amount of money we were set to spend for the extra nights in the hotel almost covered the change fees for the flights.

    So I get to knock out multiple bucket list items in the same weekend, and with my favorite baseball teams playing each other to boot. Not bad at all...

    •••••••

    “Who are you rooting for?” is a question I’ve been asked all week. (After a while, it starts to sound like someone is asking me who I voted for, although that answer should be far more obvious.)

    If I have to pick, I’m going with the Nationals. They are a remarkable team with a remarkable story. As much as I love the Astros, they won in 2017 with a season that had a similar feel to this year’s Nats. And the Nationals remain the flawed but feisty underdog, just as they have been throughout the regular season and playoffs.

    That said, the logical part of my otherwise illogical brain says it’s the Astros in 6. That might not be the case, but my hope is we can at least get a series that lives up to the billing of a “fall classic.”