Monday, October 31, 2016

"Woodman, spare that tree!"

Oct 31st is a good day to shop at Sears.

I saw a guy in a red flannel shirt walk by and thought he MIGHT be a person  who worked there.

Pretty casual shirt, though.

Then he came by again, carrying a double-bladed ax. Yes, I checked and it was a Craftsman model.

DUH. It's Halloween and he's in a costume.

A fellow customer waiting with me at the register started softly singing some lyrics of the Monty Python "Lumberjack Song."

I'm a Python fan so I smiled.

The fellow at the register said, "Wait till you see his partner - she's a tree."

And, great timing, she then walked past and Crystal Broad stopped to give a peck on the cheek to Frank Edwards, her favorite lumberjack.

Well, this started a series of awful cutting remarks and puns like going out on a limb, or leaf her alone. I faced him and said, "Let me ax you a question." There was a pause------ and he said "OK, I get it" and adjusted the tool on his shoulder.

The SEARS sign above the woodsy couple I altered by adding the word Halloween.

A few days earlier, I had seen comedian Louis C.K. at the Gaillard Center - the hottest ticket in town - on the second night of his two shows.

The Emmy, Peabody and Grammy-winning writer, actor and director, said he is venturing into larger venues for his hilarious stand-up routines.

He  "rented" the Charleston facility, sold his own tickets to thwart "scalpers" and offered all reserved seats at a flat $50 total, including tax and fees. WOW! 4,000 seats sold out quickly.

The only downside was the dire warning about taking pictures and I was seated close enough it would have been embarrassing to be called out.

So I went online and selected this photo, credited to Richard Shotwell, AP. It captured his look in a suit and tie instead of his more relaxed baggy t-shirt.

The next night I went to the North Charleston PAC (Performing Arts Center) for a delightful evening with Bonnie Raitt.

This was the fourth time I've seen her and I kept my small camera in my pocket, and my cell phone turned off as signs directed.

The warning didn't seem as harsh because my buddy saw online that, usually during her encore, Ms. Raitt will tell her fans she would not mind if they snapped a few pictures.

Many silent phones were quickly turned on and aimed at the stage.

Actually, I did take a few quiet photos covertly before the encore but joined in as we stood and sang along at the end of the show.

Louis C.K. had expressed it well the night before:

"Fans should come and enjoy the show with their own two eyes, not through a small screen."

He then described a sea of fans, each one holding up their phone cams, as a group came off the plane, all holding their own cell phones.

Funny image.

And security pointed a bright light at several in the audience who didn't seem to get the message.

A comedian does not want his well-rehearsed set being shown online in bits and pieces, with a shaky camera, poor lighting, and really bad sound.

Performers might start sending in an ax-wielding Lumberjack to assure enforcement of their demands.

(Click on the images and links for more details.)

Two nights of fantastic performances before large crowds and a small, funny scene in a Sears store in Northwoods Mall on Halloween.

Thanks for sharing my entertainment.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thanksgiving is WHEN?

 I arrived at Heather Solo's home in Ladson just about the right time last Sunday...the Thanksgiving roasted turkey was coming out of the oven.


Well, actually, it was the second or maybe even the third one.

This good-looking taste treat, I was told, was not "brined." That sounded kind of salty so I was glad I would be having some of this particular "EarlyBird" bird.

This was only October and the faux traditional holiday meal was being prepared about 30 days early.

This was so photos could be taken and used in food articles and recipes leading up to the real deal meal next month.

Heather Solos, a delightful, fun blogger I met 10 years ago, created to provide important tips on everyday living. Go to her site and perhaps get a copy of her book.

She details preparing a successful family dinner when everybody comes together, expecting to eat well.

Before I arrived, a full array of side dishes had been put together by Heather, then photographed by Phillip Guyton, Jr., who comes down from Florence each year that this event takes place.

 We, the lucky invited guests, sampled each dish.

These ran through a variety of collard greens with sausage, risotto with mushrooms, a trio of boiled potatoes, several stuffings, green string beans, cornbread, cherry and apple pies, etc., etc.

Of course, we who had done this before were wise enough to bring containers to take away portions for a later meal. Here's the dinner I had on Monday at home.

Heather even provided plasticware with lids so nobody left empty-handed.

The table filled as each new component had its picture taken and we dove in to sample the newest and go back for seconds.

This dining tutorial brought other fellow bloggers and friends so it was a pleasant afternoon and evening of eating and greeting.

One newcomer to me was seeing the family pet, a hedgehog whose name I didn't catch.

Maybe Barbie or Spike?

Heather lifted the critter, a spiny round ball and slowly coaxed it to relax and unfurl.

I have an inside cat who is curious about everything and she would have been stabbed in her nose if she got too close .

These defensives stiff spears are sharp and hurt if you touch the ends.

Heather showed us its full range of activity as it uncurled and showed that it too was curious.

I have no idea of what a hedgehog eats, but if it includes white and dark turkey, stuffing, and delicious side dishes, it had to be happy there as the family pet.

No, I never did reach out and touch it but I did snap a few pictures.

I packed up my early festive meal and headed home after thanking my hostess Heather. I was pretty sure I had a can of cranberry jelly in my cabinet.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Let me be the first to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving..just a few days before Halloween.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Half a century...seriously?

 A reunion is a time to see people you haven't seen in a long time.

Fifty-four years IS quite a bunch!

This was a get together in San Diego with about 60 former and retired editorial staffers from the Union-Tribune newspaper.

Some worked for either the afternoon Tribune or the morning Union.

Some worked for the combined paper after the merger which meant the Tribune was no longer a separate paper.

I was a staff photographer from 1962 to 1969 and often started the day on a story for one paper and ended the day "working" for the other.

The above photo shows photographers L-R:  me, Thane MacIntosh (a 40-year veteran at the paper), Phil McMahan (who started the year before me and who led the Photo Lab after Thane retired) and Joe Holly who came to the paper right after I had left and gone to Los Angeles.

We all benefited from a newsy newsletter that was emailed almost every day to members of the 919 GANG.

Editor Jack Reber has compiled and distributed that online for more than a decade.

The Gang's name came from the street address of the paper's entrance at 919 Second Avenue when it was still downtown before I left and it later moved out to Mission Valley.

It seemed appropriate to shoot these "vintage" photos in black and white.

Rex Salmon came up with the idea of a reunion and issued updates as names came in from people who wanted to gather and see and chat with old buddies.

Not sure, but I may have flown the longest distance.

I was coming to my daughter's delayed wedding reception in Oakland on Saturday and the timing meant I could then fly down to San Diego for the festivities there on Monday afternoon.

I remember putting together the very first Photo Lab Christmas card, er, I mean, Season's Greetings photo holiday card in 1966.

Looking back 50 years, we were a good looking crew and I am very glad at least a few of us showed up for the reunion.

Another photo staffer who did come - Andy Brown - apparently was part of the lab but I didn't recall him until I dug up this card and saw his face. Sorry, Andy!

There were lively conversations about The Union vs The Evening Tribune before and after the merger in 1992.

There was fierce competition between the two papers operating out of the same building.

We might go out on an extended search-and-rescue as I did and each of the 3 days I was camped on site, my coverage would shift from one paper to the other as deadlines passed. I had to keep quiet about leads and details that I saw through the 24-hour cycle.

We photographers were encouraged to keep an eye out for a stand-alone feature photo that would be suitable for a caption-only use.

My young son got in the paper a lot - as did other photographer's children - when a space needed to be filled.

While in town for the U-T reunion, I drove up behind a car with a personal license tag and I snapped a picture.

I did not bother to get any quotes or comments from the driver. I believe his name is Randolph.

I am sure the Photo Editor would have declined to use it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

I am glad I was in California and close enough to attend.

It was quite a weekend, a wedding soiree on Saturday and time travel on Monday in San Diego, going back half a century. Wow.

Of course, San Diego Bay had to be in color as I flew back up to Oakland.

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Friday, October 07, 2016

Here's the "BEFORE".....

 So, the carport was assembled and anchored in less than an hour.

Long augered rods were bored into the ground.

Attached by sturdy nuts and bolts.

A verbal guarantee and assurances that it will withstand storms and winds...I think. The workmen spoke Spanish.

The comfy deck chairs now are inside - much to the cat's delight - to keep them from in place and not blowing around.

She likes the introduction of "outside" smells.

Life for an indoor cat can get boring, I understand.

The rest of the deck has been changed from vertical to horizontal.

Less of a "full sail" effect as Hurricane Matthew barrels up the coast, driving people off the barrier islands and the Lowcountry.

All three counties - Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester - are below sea level so a storm surge is a realistic danger, underscored and evidenced by beach erosion.

The first-ever I-26 lane reversal seems to have worked very well. Close to 150,000 residents were reported to have been aided by this change.

Cars were bumper to-bumper on Sept. 14, 1999, during the Hurricane Floyd evacuation, while the incoming lanes on Intersate 26 were virtually empty. Motorists complained that the inbound lanes of I-26, should have been open to outbound traffic.During evacuations in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, distressed drivers looked longingly at the empty and unused lanes heading into town

So this long-rehearsed reversal change was made.

But, you did have to pay attention when the Eastbound lane was converted to Westbound.

If you got on the "left side" on the usual Eastbound lanes, you faced an unusual problem.

That side of the interstate had no working exits (well, DUH!) so when you got on, you stayed there until you reached Columbia, the capital, 105 miles away from the dangerous coast.

So I stayed home to ride it out.

I am 12-miles from the coast in an area that has never flooded. The nearest river is a few miles away so I don't expect to be bothered by the storm surge .

Sure do hope I'm right!

(Click on the photos and link for more details.)

Stay safe!

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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

"It droned on and on and on.."

 Having a mini-copter hovering overhead - with a camera pointing down - seems to be the new way to picture a scene.

I've had a varied and long career in photography but have not bought a drone copter . Yet,

Saturday was the 9th annual Scott Kelby World  Wide Photo Walk, and 20 members of my photo group in Charleston, S.Car., were among more than 1,100 participating cities all around the world.
We always submit a group photo, and this year - for the first time - member Joseph Nienstedt brought his new drone and did a smooth flyover to take an aerial view of us standing before a local landmark in the "Holy City," so named because the view from offshore showed many, many steeples.

This fountain is shaped like a Pineapple, the symbol of hospitality, and is one of two beautiful fountains at our Waterfront Park, which overlooks Charleston harbor.
I grew up hearing that this is where the Ashley River and the Cooper River come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.

Made sense to me as a kid growing up downtown in an historic city.
As Leader of the group, I am able to submit one picture into competition with more than 1,100 of my peers.

I entered a view of a fountain's rushing water caught with a fast shutter speed as it streams past a church steeple in the background.

Two years ago, one of our members placed in the Top Ten and received about $650 in prizes.

Yes, he owns the drone and he used it to create a clever video and submitted it. Hope Joseph wins again!

After the photo walk, we had lunch at Tommy Condon's and repeated something we have done each year - place all the cameras on the table.

What an impressive pile of money!

Of course, with ALL the cameras on display, we had to use our Smart phones to grab the moment.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

We also took a "traditional" ground level
group shot.

That's Doug DeLong hustling into the frame.
His camera had only a 2-second timer setting  before the shutter snapped.

Yes, he made it into the picture!


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