Thank you for the response. I appreciate the help.
I haven't tried other sketches; I have been using the LEDsteam (adalight) sketch. There is a sequence at the beginning of that to flash the lights to red, green, blue, then off. The behavior I get the first one to go red, green, blue, then stay on a light blue. None of the others have done anything. Since the notes in the sketch say this is to verify the wiring is correct (up to 25,000 less), I haven't been adventurous enough to try other sketches and introduce another variable in the troubleshooting (unless, of course, the sketch is the problem).
One wierd observation with the sketch though is I can only get the red, green, blue (then stay on blue) when I press upload from the sketch. Once upload I would expect the reset button on the aruduino to restart that sequence but it does not. If I do another upload from the sketch, the red, green, blue sequence works again (but still with the problem of only the first one and staying on blue).
Another observation, that probably is expected, is on both the led strings I have tested with, if I move the wiring around with it plugged in I get the first bulb to change color. I assume this is just noise but thought I would mention it. I did this because somewhere I saw to press on the connectors to ensure they are solid if the downstream leds don't light. Doing this had no effect; only the first led does anything.
I am including photos as requested
I really appreciate the help and I am very excited to do my project with the leds so hopefully a simple solution is found soon