Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, not THAT New Year.

It's the first day of my 8th year of posting this blog. Hurrah!

My celebration is filtered however.

Literally. The clouds look great in this picture over my brother's house, right?

This was shot through my brand new CPF.

The Circular Polarizing Filter is used to darken blue and it makes clouds really pop out.

The primary use of this filter is to eliminate glare.

You look at the image in your camera and slowly rotate the filter.

In the sky, things get darker and clouds become whiter.

This wood floor has light streaming in through the door on the left and, as the filter turns, the glaring streaks slowly disappear.



You have to see it to believe it. We did.

About ten days ago I became able to use this - and other - filters with an adapter just added to my camera.

The delay has been the ordering process online and waiting for the mailman to deliver the new tools.

In addition to "polarizing" a scene, I soon can use my new Neutral Density filters to create  images that don't really exist. Well, not to our eyes.

Flowing water and ocean waves can be shot in daylight with long 10-15 second exposure times and the movement is transformed into a misty, foggy effect. Waterfalls become ribbons of frothy white.

I've seen the end results taken by some talented people and I'm eager to experiment with my much smaller camera that - up till now - lacked the ability to place filters in front of the lens.

I was having a delicious Easter dinner with my brother and his wife.

Naturally, I brought along my new camera set-up, my tripod and several of my new filters.

Pretty exciting to see some of the effects.

He broke out his camera too as we enjoyed the meal and snapped photos of each other.

At one point I noticed that his cat "Bebe" had curled up in her spot in the afternoon sun.

She moved just a bit - to get comfortable - and snoozed, ignoring our foolishness.

My attention turned to a great looking meal.

I see all the food groups are well displayed.

A little white wine poured all around and we
dug in.

Yes, a tin foil-wrapped plate came home with me for a future tasty meal.

Dennis and his wife Jerri know I don't "cook."

More of a "freezer/microwave" prep in my kitchen.
Thanks Bro.

Have a Happy New Year.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Hmm. She packed me more ham for later.

Maybe a ham sandwich tomorrow.

Or two.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Classic Traditions...

Yikes, I almost forgot.

Easter is coming up this Sunday and I sometimes forget to post my favorite chocolate bunny cartoon.

Here it is again.

I just wish I could credit whoever created it.

Came across it online many years ago and it makes me laugh every time I see it.

Hope you're smiling too.

What? I can't hear you.

On Tuesday I went on a chilly Photo Walk in Azalea Park , followed by a leisurely tour past some of Summerville's  grand old homes.

Our knowledgeable guide - and long-time resident - is a member of my Photography Group.

Charles walked us along Laurel and Sumter Avenues, past St. Paul's Episcopal church and back to the park.

We were bundled up and comfortable and the azaleas, camellias and dogwoods were awesome.

Obviously we were slightly ahead of the 200,000 who will converge April 5-7 on this area for the annual Flowertown Festival.

Cameras of all shapes and sizes were aimed at the profusion of flowers, vintage homes and elaborate private gardens.

Close-up lenses captured the beauty and intricate details of individual flowers and clusters of blooming bushes.

The sun appeared then dipped behind clouds. popped out again, throwing long afternoon shadows.

Oak trees soared above us, grabbing our attention.

Spanish moss danced on the wind as cool breezes started and stopped.

Dressing in layers was a good idea. Spring?

A few were taking their gloves and mittens on and off .
The sun disappeared and the sky was steely gray and gloomy as we criss-crossed the street to change angles on St. Paul's Church.

To me it seemed logical to shoot this charming building in black and white.

Then I put my glove back on and hurried to catch up with the others.

We strung out as one or another stopped to capture a view that had caught an eye.

I stood and studied an imposing oak tree for a few moments.

Mentally I formed a caption "Angel Oak, you are my inspiration."

Per usual when the Group does an outing, we create an online album. Please click the link.

Each member/photographer is encouraged to upload a few of their favorites. 

Comments often provide praise and pointers from the others.

Also, per usual, I try to come up with something funny to say.

I have azalea bushes at my home. Quite a few.

Frankly, the flowers that bloomed early had been beaten down by the rain and strong wind gusts whipped them to the ground.

Hoping that Flowertown would have a splendid setting, I was pleased to see color everywhere downtown in the Square area.

As you can see in this posting, I'm not really a nature or landscape photographer. 

Many others in the group ARE and make macro shots that get you so close, you're almost on the other side of the flower. 

Composition is another talent obvious among the members. And seeing things that others just walk right past.

Actually I prefer to step back in a situation like this.

Take pictures of the people taking pictures.

My brother and his wife were able to join our Tuesday afternoon walk. He had not been feeling well so it was great to see them mingle with the other members.

Yes, he took pictures and I snapped him doing that. We both were happy.

Thanks for joining us on the Azalea Photo Walk.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

When you go to the Flowertown Festival, be sure to take a camera.

Duh. Or a phone that can take pictures.

Enjoy Spring. Warmly.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Raging Rapids! Run for your life!

Caught a shot yesterday of a torrent of water cascading after our heavy rains!

Er, not exactly.

I was on an Azalea Photo Walk and we crossed over a small bridge in Azalea Park in Summerville.

I looked down at what could be described as a lazily-flowing little stream.

BUT, I set my camera to make a longer exposure (1/4 of a second) and that made the water "flow" and look more interesting.

There are dark filters for sale to be placed in front of your lens to make even longer exposures possible. Then you create scenes that were not visible before.S90 Quick-Change 
My Canon S90 now has that filter holder attached and I am shopping for Neutral Density (ND) filters.

Daytime usually is too bright to successfully shoot a 15-second long exposure but can you imagine how much water, waves and tides would be changed?


My ND filters have been ordered and are on the way.

I'll share what results I have.

Creating things that don't really exist.

And have a picture of it.


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Wish you were here."

I'm still finding envelopes stuck in drawers and dusty boxes in the back of closets.

My Mom died a year ago and I keep finding things she had saved.

Today I found some packets of postcards showing San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

From 1933.

These 80-year old, hand-colored cards were safely stored in a Zip-Loc plastic bag. Thanks Mom.

I lived in San Diego during the 1960s and can say first-hand that the traffic crunch at the border has gotten worse.

Today it's a 22-minute drive on the Interstate to San Diego but I'm sure that in the "thirties" it took much, much longer to drive the 17 miles.

Of course there were different cars then. Many no longer are made such as Austin, Hudson, Nash, Packard, Riley, Studebaker and Willys.

Mainly, those with cars, drove Fords and Chevys in the midst of the Great Depression.

A bright spot was the 21st Amendment that ended Prohibition.

These souvenir cards show that the downtown airport was under construction - named for "Lucky Lindy" who had made his solo flight to Paris 10 years before.

Mercy Hospital is still on the edge of downtown although it's surrounded now by multi-lane freeways.

I had worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune in a building at 919 Second Avenue that also opened onto Third Avenue into Horton Plaza.

By the time I got there, the "Electric Fountain" was no more and bums filled the park benches, sprawled on the grass and were perfecting the art of panhandling.

One card shows the stately Bank of Italy building rising high. It was the forerunner of today's Bank Of America.

I passed through the beautifully preserved Santa Fe Railroad station using my 30-day Amtrak rail pass in 2005.

Today you can stand out front of the depot and off to your right, see cruise ships anchored in the harbor and, on the left, watch planes take off and land at nearby Lindbergh Field.

Another card features an architect's drawing of the proposed US Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) that shows how the military facility would look.

We "old corps" Marines who went through boot camp at Parris Island call these West Coast newcomers "Hollywood Marines."

After WWI, this Navy town "moth balled" millions of dollars worth of destroyers in preparation for the next time they might be needed after "The War To End All Wars."

In the Tijuana folder I saw there were three pictures of the Agua Caliente Jockey Club.
 But no mention - nor photos - of the two bull rings. Oh, that's right, the downtown one opened in 1958 and the Bull Ring By The Sea opened in 1960 .

When I was a staff photographer at the paper, one of us was sent down every week to the track to shoot the finish of the feature race on Saturday. It was tricky 2-country situation and we had a definite deadline.

Once I remember running late and called the desk for advice. Next thing I knew, a Tijuana motorcycle cop pulled alongside my highly visible Union-Tribune red and white camera car sitting in heavy traffic.

He flashed his lights, growled his siren and escorted me to the front of the lines at the border crossing.

I made it in time for the Sunday paper sports page.

There is no postage stamp because the folders were handed to my grandmother by a friend visiting from Coronado, Calif who wrote 1933 inside the flap.

Another packet in the plastic bag was all about Jacksonville and was mailed on November 1, 1938.

It had a hand-cancelled 2 cent stamp.

Probably delivered on a Saturday.

(March 29 is the 7-year mark of doing this blog. It has been delightful!)

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Friday, March 22, 2013

"You may feel a little pressure..."

I invited a friend, a fellow member of my  photography group, to join me for a beer last night.

Knowing he liked offbeat and dive-y bars, I suggested The Sparrow in Park Circle.

My last few visits there were later in the evening with only a couple of regulars hanging out.

I like the murals that were painted on the walls and especially Gandhi and Bill Murray, almost side-by-side.

Marty asked if his son could join us and I asked if he liked beer? "Do we like cameras?" he responded.

The place was trying out a new approach to Happy Hour and was staging Carnivalesque. The bar was packed and it was still light outside. Yikes.

J. Honea, the MC and Ringmaster was also known as the "pain proof man."

Earlier he had walked - and jumped up and down - on a large area of broken glass shards placed on the stage.

This, however, was the highlight. The final part of his performance.

It involved an industrial strength staple gun and the invitation to the audience to "attach" dollar bills to various parts of his body.

$1 goes here, a $5 goes there and $10 gives you even more interesting choices. Apparently nobody had a  $50. Whew.

Marty lamented "Of course, THIS is the night my camera is at home."

The Carnival / Burlesque combo evening  started with a pretty lady spinning hula hoops around her scantily-clad body.

She was followed by an energetic Fan Dancer swirling around the stage as the rapt audience kept looking for an opening.

Feathers flew!

The bartender was working hard pouring craft beers - and opening PBRs - and management must have been pleased with their show biz decision.

The founder of this admittedly seedy performance troupe is Evelyn DeVere.

She introduced this in 2011 as a definite counterpoint to the popular Spoleto Festival of the Arts.

Because I happen to like a lowbrow dive-bar atmosphere, I found it a great concept.

What would Happy Hour be without some crowd participation?

As Marty, his son and I sort of stepped further back, three volunteers agreed to perform in a tassel-twirl contest.

The winner would get some bar prizes and probably make some new friends in the place.

The winner - and top bra gyrator - had gone the extra audience-pleasing step of removing his shirt.

The Fan Dancer gave technical pointers and enthusiastic support.

Things got a little edgy as the "Clown" took the stage and asked for ideas on what Balloon Animals to make.

Several patrons later were wearing oddly-formed balloon hats.

There was a definite theme and prominent shape to all of his critters.

We relaxed a bit as a "traditional" stripper came onto the stage, looking rather over-dressed.

She began to remedy that quickly in time to lively "bump & grind" music.

Her garments were shed and tossed around like confetti.

This Hour was indeed a happy one. Or two.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Marty said he enjoyed the bar outing with me.

Interesting entertainment.

I said I could send some pictures for him to show to his wife.

He decided I did not have to go to all that trouble.

As the Fan Dancer could have said...

That's THE END.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope we will do this again.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Caribbean-ish Lunch Time

Wanted to meet some friends downtown and we discussed where to have lunch.

I flashed on a former gas station turned into an Islands-flavored eatery called FUEL.

Actually Owner/Chef Broome calls it a Caribbean Cantina.

Despite jokes by my table mates, we ordered the Jerk Chicken.

The chicken has marinated 48 hours in a mixture of 36 ingredients!

I know, I saw the episode that was filmed here in 2011 with Guy Fieri on the Food Channel's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

 Guy asked the chef to describe the marinade he was making and pretended to be adding them up on his fingers.

The total - finally - reached 36.

Fieri said "Did you include the chicken?"

No, so that made it 37.

The sandwich came on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, crisp bacon and a grilled thin pineapple slice. 

 I chose some delicious black beans as my side dish.

Moments later a beer truck pulled up nearby to unload a delivery. 

I had been showing my new camera with a 20x zoom lens so I aimed it out the window at the distinctive design on the side of the truck.

It was clever  and I understood the "evolve" message. But I was clueless what the "OB" referred to and later looked it up online.

Well Duh. It stands for Oskar Blues, a Colorado-based craft beer brewery. I have enjoyed their Old Chub, Dale's and Yella but did not associate those tasty brews with the Evolution symbol that appears on sports clothing.

My friends looked at their watches and said they had to get back to work.

We had finished our meals and had admired the beer truck so it was time to leave.

I headed home while they drove back to work.  

We had filled up at Fuel.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

I'll keep an eye open for other products from Oskar Blues.

Guy Fieri featured a few other places around Charleston on his show so I look for his signature image.

I saw it spray painted on the wall over the cooler at the Tattooed Moose and looked for it at the Early Bird Diner but missed it.

Thanks for stopping by. Treat yourself to lunch at Fuel.

Wonder if anyone named Ethel has ever stopped by?

Or Ethyl?

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday At The "Bone Yard."

So, what do you know about Botany Bay Plantation? Please do yourself a favor with some online research.

The picture is a hint of what to expect. Bring your camera.

It's about an hour from here,  down US17 south, but make sure you get good directions.

Especially details on where to turn.

A rutted dirt washboard road is the final leg of your journey, beneath a canopy of magnificent oaks interspersed with loblolly pine and Cabbage Palmetto.

I was lucky to ride with a lady who has been there many times.

Dee was the genial guide for my Photo Group's  "Day At The Beach."

The  "Wildlife Management Area" covers more than 4,000 acres and was opened to the public in 2008 by DNR, the state's Department of Natural Resources..

About a dozen members of the photography group planned mainly to check out the beach area.

The Bone Yard of fallen trees.

We had seen a few shots as part of Show & Tell at meetings
but being there, looking at thousands and thousands of shells, was an added bonus.

Signs - and a very nice Volunteer - warned us that no shells could be taken away. There was a fine posted as $470.

Not sure if that would be PER shell or the act itself.

People obviously felt free to pick up large shells and hang them on trees. Or line them up on a fallen palmetto or arrange small patterns.

We had timed the tides so we would have several hours of the beach becoming wider as the tide retreated and isolated trees became prominent.

If we stuck around the whole day, there also was the  prospect of a fiery sunset.

Tidal pools were scattered about so we could reflect on our photos.

My small camera always looks silly perched on top of a much larger tripod but I joined the bunch.

Some very expensive cameras showed up in very talented and capable hands.

Be sure to click on the link to see the array of photos posted by the members.

I quickly learned that my inexpensive digital Point & Shoot was no match.

Some were able to place dark filters in front of their lens and take long exposures on the bright beach.

With a slow shutter speed of 10-20 seconds, it transforms the surf and moving eddies of water into feathery, magical whimsy with an aura not seen with our eyes.

Wow. I thought, as I looked at the pictures on the back of their cameras.

I concentrated on what my camera COULD do.

Back-lighting emphasizes the texture of the sand, the tree trunks and the assorted conch shells.

My camera could zoom into offshore water action and freeze a moment of surging foamy tide.

We only saw one flight of pelicans fly over but tracking fast moving objects is another thing my highly portable/take it anywhere camera does not do well. Sigh.

Usually on the weekends, I skip my daily exercise on the treadmill. This was more of a forced march.

It was about a half mile hike from the parking area to the beach.

Then you walk up the beach to the left to see the upright trees and the bleached "bones" of the ones  that had fallen through erosion.

The Volunteer said the salty sandy air is abrasive and strips the bark and the sun completes the bleaching process.

After the surf erodes the sand around the tree's root system, wind and tide knock it down.

Hence the nickname of these smooth, light colored remains.

The attached remnants of roots make for scenic compositions as we all found.

Everywhere you looked was a great shot.

And, over there, another. And, look back as you beach comb.

The light is different from looking forward.

Photographers come in close to capture something that caught their eye. Or stop and shift angles to see something new.

Botany Bay was a full day adventure.

We had scattered up and down the beach, walking miles.

It was getting late and had become cloudy. Gray and gloomy pretty much was hiding the sun.

One member remembered where she had seen a perfect circle formed in the roots of a toppled tree.

Well, she had a pretty good idea where it was and eventually we found it.

Each of us took a creative look through the opening.

Even my small camera captured the scene and I was pleased.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Thanks for walking the beach with me and my camera.

Today I skipped the treadmill.

I may be close to a week ahead on my exercise.

Check out Botany Bay. And see what pictures the others posted.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

TWO Green Days This Year.....

What a great weekend!

Saturday was Park Circle for the 10th annual Madra Rua St. Paddy's Day street party.

I chose to wear an OD (Olive Drab) green Marine Corps t-shirt.

Didn't want to get pinched.


This fellow wasn't liable to be pinched either.

Well, not for not wearing o' the green.

He was obvious in a bright body suit.

With matching beads. Perhaps a matching beer as well?

Looks like someone may need some "hair of the dog" tomorrow.

A moment later, the pooch was up on all fours, ready to continue the party.

One fellow with a beard, was wearing a pretty green frock.

It might have been inspired by an Irish Tinker Bell.

Well, it DID look like it had tiny bells sewn on it.

 He caught my eye several times. Something registered in my brain.

"Tinker" worked his way through the crowd, up and down Montague, stopping at a bar every now and then to replenish his beer.

I had on one of my simple green Marine t-shirts.

Nothing flashy.

I heard  "Semper Fi" and received a few handshakes.

Then I noticed the familiar EGA tattoo on the right shoulder of the bearded Tinker Bell.

The Marine Corp's official emblem:  Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

This young lass said it was OK to take a picture of her face painting.

But would not share her name.

She assured me it was NOT a tattoo.

It would be easy to remove after the party wound down.

Tables and chairs had been set up outside - in the street - in front of several eateries along Montague Avenue.

Food trucks were placed on either side of the street.

Yes, there were plenty of beer vendors.

I even saw 2 push carts offering a Guinness Popsicle.

Gives new meaning to "have a cold one."

(Click on the photos for more details.)

After a day of Irish foolishness, Sunday was a Day at the Beach.

My photography group headed down Highway 17 south to Botany Bay.

Yes, there WILL be some photos from that outing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope you had a safe and sane St. Patrick's Day... either Saturday or Sunday.

Or both.

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Very close to the target of 100,000 hits!

Now that I am within 50 of rolling past the 100,000 mark of people making "hits" on my blog, I want to do this "weekender" entry.

Funny how when you're thinking "silhouette" everything that's back-lighted grabs your attention.

Technically, this is just a shady oak tree early on a Saturday morning.

It casts nice shadows.

Even the retention pond that holds rain waste water looks attractive.

The "fountain" keeps scum from forming by keeping the pond water in motion.

I'll add this photo to next week's Show & Tell at my Photography Group monthly meeting.

Continuing this weekend posting, here's the lovely lead singer Young-Mi Feldsott of the Old You quartet.

Saw them perform last night at Home Team BBQ at Sullivan's Island.

If you look closely, you can see that's a photo of Muddy Waters hanging on the wall behind her.

Tried to get a shot like this last week when Muddy's son Big Bill Morganfield was playing.

Unfortunately, he wore a fedora-type hat that kept his face in shadow so that did not work out.

She announced they are leaving for Colorado in the morning to start a month-long tour. In a brand new van that was parked out front.

Ms. Feldsott said it was their 3rd vehicle but added no details on where the other two are. Hmm.

(I just checked and there are still 22 hits to go to reach the 100,000 target. Come on people, click in.)

Well, while we're just marking time, here's another shot of Old You showing lead guitarist Caleb Bodtorf.

Caleb reminded me of my Hippie Days back in the 1960s.

Mainly his long hair partially tucked back behind his ears.

Not that my hair was ever THAT long.

I started college after four years in the Marines. My hair was REALLY short by campus standards.

The menu at Brixx in Mt. Pleasant describes this sandwich as "roasted chicken club." 

It casually adds "served on toasted focaccia."

Man, that's a LOT of bread.

The usual hunk of chicken breast is replaced by a creamy shaved chicken.

And strips of bacon of course.

The fruit cup of melon probably was the healthiest part of the meal.

That pretty well covers what I've been up to the last few days. 

Food, music and snapping photos with the Canon sx260 camera I usually have with me.

Someone - actually quite a few -  asked me how do people find my blog? 

One way is they type in a subject matter or a  person's name.

Back in June 2008, I was fortunate to be in the front row center for a ZZ Top concert.

Cameras were NOT barred and I posted some remarkable shots of the trio that had - at that point- been together for almost 40 years.

The ZZ Top hits on my blog kept coming. Month after month. Year after year. 

When I checked online, I saw my blog came up FIRST with my photos of them. Maybe still does. 

I would not be surprised if the hit that takes me over the top will be someone looking for the long-bearded guys. 

The drummer has never worn a beard but his name is Frank Beard. Cool huh?

(Click on the photos to see more detail.)

Keep in mind, it's only been recently that I have a camera with a 20x optical zoom. 

For the last 10 years, my P/S (Point & Shoot) small Canon cameras had only a 3x zoom lenses. 

I tried to get as close as possible. Last night I was able to "zoom in" for some nice facial expressions of the Old You singer.

OK, closing out here. 

I'll take another look at my tracking program to see if we've rolled over the target number.

(*My 100,000th hit was received this evening at 21:51:36 from someone in Pompano Beach, Florida. Wow.)

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