Friday, December 26, 2008

Scale models .....

I remember reading years ago about a place in Holland that has a complete miniature town. A scaled down version 1:64 or 1:16 or something.

Looks pretty neat huh?

This was taken in Amsterdam which, of course, is in The Netherlands which some people call Holland.

Very realistic. I especially like how they do that "water effect" for the canal.

The "aerial" picture is how the town of Bruges (in the neighboring country of Belgium) would look if you climbed to the top of the bell tower in its famed Market Square.

Certainly a lot easier than trudging up more than 335 steps!

Oh, wait a minute...I DID walk up all those stairs in a narrow and confining passageway. The view WAS great from the top of the belfry.

I just experimented with a photography process called "Tilt-Shift" where you take a regular photo and manipulate it so it appears to be a true-to-scale model. The top photo really was taken from atop the Westerchurch next to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

People. cars and a canal boat frozen in place. Enhanced color saturation. A strong out-of-focus effect to simulate taking a close up shot of tiny objects.

Kinda fun to play with.

(You know how this works..click on the photos for more detail.)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

If there's A sign, somebody tried it.....

I feel I am a law abiding person.

My daughter is a sworn police officer but, even without that, I tend to do the right thing.

Seeing signs that forbid certain behavior or actions tells me someone must have tried it.

At the end of a tour of Buckingham Palace, I saw that someone MUST have flipped out a blanket and picnic basket on the Royal Lawn.


At Niagara Falls, I did not see anyone lugging around a barrel so maybe "going over the Falls" is no longer a popular fad.

The sign is a reminder NOT to even think about edging closer to the massive water surging past.

Perhaps lawyers suggested this sign as a head start in presenting a sad case in court.

Going in to see the inspiring Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I fought the urge to give that banister a ride.

Similar to the reaction we have when we see a "wet paint" sign.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Neighbors Are Starting To Talk....

Just had the 11th monthly meeting of my local Photographers Group. We have 101 members.

Usually there's a photo theme and December was "HEAT." Yes, I had a few ideas.

This "Texas Pete" shot is hot...but not really as warm as it seems. The cap is still tightly screwed in place. I used PhotoShop to remove the lid, create the falling sauce and the "sizzling puddle" on my tongue. It took a while to get the framing right.

The camera was set on a tripod out back on my deck and I used the timer for about 30 shots as I posed where I thought I should be. I sprinkled water on my face before each shot for "sweat" and clamped my eyes shut.

The family that lives behind me saw about 25 attempts. With the capped bottle.

I used to drive a 1971 VW Super Beetle but this was the closest I had for the "overheated" photo.

I emailed a copy to my brother, pretty proud of the way it turned out.

He called and said "You ARE aware that the VW engine is air cooled - and it is in the back?"

Wait till he talks with the neighbors.


(As usual, just click on the photos to see more details.)

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Friday, December 12, 2008

What A Week.....

Local Web Loggers were invited to a private Blog-Feast Monday at Coco's French Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant. Wow. Great eats!

Er, I mean "Tres Bien" and "Merci."

What a solo feat for Owner & Executive Chef Stephan Ollard who was alone in the kitchen...serving as host, shaking those pots and saute pans and then presenting out front.

Our role was to sample the French fare and help spread the word about the cozy - and inexpensive - dining spot in the Whole Foods plaza on Houston Northcutt.

To our obvious - and vocal - delight, Chef Ollard kept bringing out plate after plate after plate! Delicious. Marvelous mixtures of textures and tastes. I have added Coco's to my "rotation" of weekly/monthly dining choices.

Middle of the week found me concluding my monthly 21st Century Photographer's Meeting and hopping in my car to head over to Maybank Highway for a taste of the blues.An early show at the Pour House featured Blues man Larry McCray and his band, on tour down from Michigan.

Normally, the PoHo doesn't start kicking with live music until 11pm but THIS 9:30 show opened to a happy, packed house.

Larry McCray, lead guitar and vocals,was backed by "One Name" Stanley on bass, brother Steve McCray on drums and Mike Lynch on keys. They were in fine form and there were plenty of dancers crowding down front.

I spotted locals Detroit Debbie and Gator Rob - the Cotton Blue Band - having a drink with McCray during a break and who later sat in for about four songs.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Syncopated Musical Madness...

I just scared my cat by humming on my Kazoo. I had received one FREE last night at The Tin Roof.

The 1920-ish Two Man Gentlemen Band
had come down from New York City and handed them out. They wanted the crowd to join in. We sure did! And there were dancers too.

Bassist Fuller Condon played backup Kazoo to Andy Bean's lead Kazoo and banjo. Hey, introducing the band didn't take long.

"You name an activity you like and we'll compose a song for it," announced lead singer Andy Bean. They had us laughing and singing along with songs about badminton, croquet and even drip drying after a shower.

There were double - and triple - entrendres galore and enough innuendos to shock everyone. It was great.
And, best news of all, they are coming back to Tin Roof on Tuesday January 27 so you can go and enjoy their talented antics.

Be sure to pick up a Kazoo. Your cat will thank you.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

...new one about every 6 years.

My plan was to "Shop Local" but nobody local makes Dell computers.

Actually, while I was (virtually) running around on CyberMonday, I did almost buy a computer at Staples which has a store in Mt. Pleasant.

They had an excellent HP computer, with a too-good-to-be-true price on the one I wanted BUT...it was out of stock.

In fact, they seemed to be out of stock on all the bargains. What a shame for them, missing so many sales.

Maybe I should have increased the amount I was willing to spend? You know, to help them out. Yeah, right.

So I went to the Dell site and found what I was looking for to replace my 6-year old Dell desktop. They are making it for me right now and will send it in a few days. I didn't need a monitor because I bought a 22" one a few months ago.

Seems like most computers come with a monitor so that must be the real money-maker.

When I was completing the online paperwork, I saw something that is new (to me): you could indicate the use of TWO credit cards to spread the purchase amount around a bit!

Guess that's a sign of the times.

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