Sunday, May 09, 2021

Something's Brewing here....


Chuck Boyd: Something's Brewing here ...

I admit it was on my second visit to Ghost Monkey Brewery in Mount Pleasant that I caught the joke.

Looking over the changing menu of freshly-brewed beers -- trying to remember the name of the one which I had liked so much on my first visit -- I spotted the bold sign about WATER.

Many restaurants with soft drink dispensers usually have one tap for water when you don't care for a sugary, fizzy soda.

Just didn't register until my buddy pointed at the sign and said, "That's funny."

Huh? What's laughable about knowing where to find the water?

Well, in a place that concocts its own types and tastes of craft beers, it produces a chuckle when you see what these brewers think a certain other national beer tastes like.

Actually, when I told the owner I liked his visual joke, he explained he didn't have a Bud Lite pull to sit on top of the tap.

I agreed that anything with "LITE" in its name is hardly a craft brew.

At the second stop along a recent Brewery Crawl -- centering on East Cooper -- I pulled up a stool at Two Blokes Brewery and tried to quickly slurp a Spilt Milk.

Didn't follow the physics exactly, but, similar to an Irish Car Bomb, when you combine two different elements together in a rush, there is an explosive effect.

Here you start with a tasty Milk Stout and a separate 4-ounce glass of coffee.

I was advised to sip some stout to make room to add the coffee for an interesting mixture and taste.

I also was warned there would be an overflowing surprise reaction if I added the coffee too quickly.

(The bartender stood nearby with a handful of paper napkins and a fluffy bar towel.)

He saw the look in my eye and knew there would be some soppin' up to 
be done.

The final stop on this Crawl was nearby at Westbrook Brewing Co.

I had taken its excellent brewery tour a while back and remembered it as one of the largest in the area.

Several restaurants offered the Westbrook Mexican Cake, its first anniversary series, that contains aged cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers.

It is a chili beer, but it is not available year-round.

 Evil Twin Brewing liked its contents enough that it collaborated with Westbrook to produce the Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break.

Evil Twin is a gypsy, meaning its beers are brewed at/by another brewery. In this case, Westbrook.

As it was being poured the bartender made sure I knew it was the Biscotti version.

Tasted great!

Westbrook does not sell food so a few nights later I went to Zia Taqueria on Maybank Highway in West Ashley and ordered three enchiladas with chicken, pork and steak.

I probably should have ordered the Mexican rice as a side dish or the black beans to add some variety.

The "Christmas colors" of red and green sauces, drizzled with sour cream, were the reverse of what I expected: the green was hot and the red was milder.

Oh, and no Mexican Cake or Biscotti here so I drank a Dos Equis Amber. Sorry, Westbrook.

Thanks for tagging along on this three brewery area "crawl."

Just heard a new one has opened so I will explore another area where several breweries are clustered.

I believe the number of breweries here in Charleston has quickly grown from a "Baker's Dozen," to Two Dozen!

Look out Asheville!

Chuck Boyd is a retired newspaperman, having served in executive positions for the hospitality and tourism industries in Southern California, Missouri and Florida. He returned to Charleston to serve as InfoLine Director for The Post and Courier.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Was distracted for a while....

 The BLOGGER.COM people made some changes a few months ago. It affected my ability to easily jot down my thoughts, add a few photos and post it in my collection.

A friend came over and showed me a "workaround" so I posted several things but it wasn't my usual, visual, free-wheeling use of photos that is a key part of my blog name: Chuck + Photography. 

Oh, I also had started writing a weekly column for a new local publication started by Charlie Williams, a former editor of our paper The Post and Courier. 

Charlie launched it as the Mt. Pleasant Journal then later expanded its coverage and now calls it THE COAST, reporting items of events from Myrtle Beach all the way down to Beaufort. It is online each week on Friday.

So, because my Blog was in Limbo, I have been writing the weekly column but was faced with the same problem of not being able to use many photographs. Sigh.

The 2-or 3 photos Charlie is able to add to my column have to be stacked at the top instead of interspersed throughout the story as I used to be able to do in my blog postings.

And, sometimes, the particular photo I really liked was not used, so I have learned to send ONLY the three I would like to see in my column,

A case in point was a piece I wrote about store shelves being emptied early in the Pandemic. I had sent along several actual scenes of some shelves being picked clean but he did NOT use my favorite photo I took when my local Bi-Lo closed in March 2016 and ALL the shelves were bare!

I had stopped in the day before they actually locked the doors and saw that ALL was bare..Produce, frozen, meat, bread, etc. Really a haunting view.

So, today I am clicking on the photo I had wanted him to use. Feels good to see it in context!

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

I Am Smiling Again

I am smiling again after receiving my second COVID Pfizer vaccine shot ... somewhat antsy and a wee bit adventuresome.

Accepted an invitation from two friends to go where I had not been in more than a year -- inside a movie theater and then step into a bar to have a drink afterward!

Still wearing a mask (to protect others) I joined the couple to see the new movie Tom & Jerry at the Terrace Theater, a place I used to go to a LOT pre-Covid. I had kept track of various ways that 6-screen cinema managed to stay in business in the midst of a pandemic that was warning people to stay home and endure a personal lock-down ... for a year!

I saw the Terrace actually did shut down for several months then came back using their parking lot for an ersatz drive-in theater! 

Inside, it opened and blocked off most of the seats in each of the various-sized screening rooms to comply with social distancing and even started to offer to reserve an entire screening room for private parties -- limited to 10 people -- at a reasonable cost of about $15 per person!

I hoped the theater would continue to offer a film-viewing experience and would weather this most unusual time when many of us were huddled at home, doing our part to stem the rising tide of infections.

My friends assured me that at times they were seated alone in a screening room. They felt quite safe while the theater struggled to stay open even as the studios limited the release of new blockbuster films until larger audiences could be feasible. 

I was affected personally when local TV production of HBO's The Righteous Gemstones shut down and went on hiatus after aborting Season 2, Episode 1 last year and I was not being contacted to be on set as a frequent Extra/Background actor. This just changed and casting has started again for mid-March filming here. Yay!

So, this Sunday evening, I joined my friends in Theater 3 at the Terrace and a total of five people were separated around 56 seats.

I even lowered my mask to eat some popcorn! The movie featured live-action and animated inserts to tell a delightful wedding story that included live actors and the cartoon duo in a release on HBO Max and in select theaters through March.

A special feature of the Terrace is the array of classic movie posters that adorn the walls and I noticed that something had changed ... talented artistic staff members had taken the time to add COVID masks on the glass covering to faces on many of the posters! What a clever and amusing addition for even more fun to a night at the theater!

After enjoying our almost private screening, we went next door to The Paddock, my first time inside a bar in 12 months! The bar stools were a little too filled for my comfort so we sat in a heated area with access to the bar near the tented and heated entry, seated apart from others.

A fan of Jameson Irish whiskey, I moved up to the next level with a glass of RedBreast, served neat of course.

A nice evening out! Safe and sane with a bit of preplanning and the cooperation of the Charleston Hospitality industry. I hope to do this more often now, going forward ... it was a real shot in the arm.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Classic 4x5 Speed Graphic

A good friend gave me an exceptional gift, a slick coffee table -size copy of "MOMENTS - The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs," by Hal Buell.

WOW..what a picture-rich treasure trove to give to a photographer!

Not only visually exciting, but it is also filled with background on how the winning photos were taken and with the type of camera. 

The camera I carried for my high school Annual in the fifties, the one issued to me as a USMC photographer and even when I started as a staff photographer at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper in the sixties, was a 4x5 Speed Graphic!

That camera was introduced in 1912 and so pervasive was the camera among newspaper photographers of the 1930s and 1940s - even into the 1950s - that simply carrying one was, in and of itself, a Press Pass!

Early Pulitzer Prize-winning photos between 1942 and 1954 - and several after that - were made with the sturdy workhorse press camera, the Speed Graphic.

To "snap" a picture (they hated that word), meant changing the 2-sided film holder, remove the slide covering the film, replace the flashbulb, cock the shutter, sight the picture, focus the camera, set the proper lens aperture, and, at the right moment, press the shutter release button. 

If you mistimed it, it took about 6 to 8 seconds to repeat the process and try again., hence the common call-out "One more, please!"

In Korea, in the 1950s, American photographers started using smaller  21/4 x 21/4 format twin-lens cameras like Rolleiflex and Rolleicord that took 12-exposure film rolls instead of the single sheet film holder on the classic Graphic.

By the mid-sixties, most news photographers were using 35mm cameras. 

At the paper in San Diego, we first begrudgingly set aside our Speed Graphics and started carrying a twin-lens roll film Mamiyaflex for a few years then went even smaller camera crazy, switching to 35mm Nikon cameras and lenses.

A year ago I found a bargain and bought me a classic reminder of my earlier photography years and now have a well-preserved Speed Graphic sitting on my shelf at home!

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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

I Ran Outta Bridges...

Once the 2-lane 1929 bridge was closed and the 1960s newer 3-lane bridge was deemed out-moded, construction began on the newest 8-lane bridge to replace both of the oldies. 

 I was still running/walking the 3-lane bridge and we would pass the new one under construction that finally opened in 2005. That was my last annual run/walk over the Cooper River. I decided I would do my next bridge crossing when there was an even newer one! Haha. 

 A while later, the dismantling of the two older, unused bridges began. We have a VERY active port so ships come and go at all hours so that boat traffic had to be considered as the demolition and removal began in earnest. Two huge red cranes arrived on the scene to handle the heavy loads as large pieces were removed and barged away. 

It so happened one of the crane operators was the husband of the caregiver for my Mom as we tried to keep my mother at home as long as we could. Jenny was a sweet, caring lady who came 3-4 days a week and others filled in the rest of the week so Mom was assisted and stayed in her home for many months with great care. 

 One day Jenny asked me if I would like to have a piece of the 1929 bridge as she knew our family history with it and she had seen the photo of my grandmother actually ON the bridge while it was being built a year before it opened. I expected maybe a few rivets from the steel bridge I had driven over as a teenage driver. 

I am sure her husband, the crane operator, was a major part of how I received a LARGE and heavy piece of history! AND 2 rivets and 2 covers. WOW! 

 Later I saw for sale ads for pieces of the bridge and one similar to mine was priced at $1500. Yikes!

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Sunday, November 01, 2020

Coulda been a millionaire!


My 14-year old blog has avoided getting into national politics but I did just write about a nice benefit of all the clamor, drama, and repetition in the incessant deluge of one-sided, mainly negative ads slamming another candidate. Not policy, just slurs.

You may not even have noticed the blessed absence/relief from the excessive trial lawyers' ads, bragging about how they expertly obtained gigantic Jackpot Judgments for their accident victim-clients!

Happy faces in the ads exclaiming "I got $100,000 - $300K - or even more than a million!" WOW!

The small print in these ads proclaims "past settlements do not guarantee similar great future awards" or something to that effect. And, rightly so, it should be noted.

A few years ago my elderly mom, walking with a cane, was hit by a car backing out of a store's parking space and she was knocked to the ground. 

An alert employee ran over, banging on the driver's window yelling for him to stop. "Why? said the startled driver. 

He stopped, aid was given to my mom as she lay stunned on the hot asphalt and an ambulance took us to the hospital. She recovered and we met with an attorney who was recommended to me. Don't think he ever had any tv ads.

He got the store's security camera footage that recorded the whole sequence, showed it to the insurance agent for the driver and the agent quickly agreed to pay $100,000, the maximum liability coverage his client had. 

This was a nice bright spot for my mom as she recovered. It sorta helped ease the pain she had felt.

Handing mom a check (minus his 18% fee that we had negotiated), our attorney mused that it was "too bad the driver's coverage was not higher..we could easily have gotten a million dollars."

I remember that every time I see lawyers bragging about the huge settlements they "fought hard to get" for their clients. Too bad my mom was injured by a low-ball liability coverage driver.

And, hey, do you know what else has no room for viewing on tv -well, until Election Day? The wild array of wonder drugs that you and I are told we must inform our doctor about and request he prescribe! 

The litany of side-effects that are also in the ad is horrible and frightening. Yikes.

During this ongoing pandemic, I continue hunkering down at home watching more Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, and other such entertainment...without all the mind-numbing ads! It helps keep me sane.

Please stay healthy and smart. 

Oh, and be sure to wear the damned mask!

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hard to express THANK YOU...

 As you may recall, a few weeks ago was National Newspaper Carrier Day. YAY.. My brothers and I had done that when we were growing up.

I found out a day or two later, so I took the full-page ad that announced the salute to carriers and attached an envelope with two $5 bills tucked inside.

I hung it on my front yard gate that evening so my unknown carrier would see it when opening the gate to lob my paper up on the porch sometime before dawn.

The next day, my paper was on the porch but the envelope - unopened - still hung where I had put it.

For several mornings, it remained where I had replaced it the evening before....removing it each morning so the mailman would not think the "Carrier" in mind was him (or her) in the afternoon.

Didn't want it hanging there in the morning either when schoolkids trooped past.

Hmm, I tried pinning it to the front of the banister at the foot of the stairs. Nope.

I laid it on the ground at night inside the open gate and various other obvious sightlines. 

Still no taker!

Weeks later, frustrated, I called the paper and explained my futile attempts to reward my carrier with my appreciation for good service.

Good response reaction there and Circulation said it would alert the carrier there was a goodie being proferred.

Finally, I got tired of remembering to hang or place the now faded newspaper page and the soggy envelope out as a gracious pre-dawn present.

Some people just can't accept praise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Blast From The Past

 I was interviewed by a journalist named John Strubel in June 2007, just a few years after I retired from The Post and Courier newspaper.

Stumbled across this today and thought I would share. Hey, if you recall reading it back in 2007...I am impressed!

Chuck Boyd stood in a long line. As he waited, he was thinking. The longer he waited, the more devious his thoughts were. Little did he know it would be a defining moment in his life and his career.

After graduating high school in 1957, Boyd having "no desire to go to college," joined the United States Marine Corps during peacetime. In the wake of completing boot camp, Boyd wanted no part of what was coming next: MP School. He was now looking this option straight in the eye.

"They were all set to send me to Military Police school after boot camp but I lied and told them I had been published in LIFE magazine," remembers Boyd.

Straight-faced, Boyd told the Captain, "I'm a nationally published photographer, sir."

He laughs at the memory now. "There were 23 people in front of me, 25 behind me and only one was assigned to the Camp Lejeune Base Photo Lab." That one person was Charleston native Chuck Boyd.

Then he hesitates, considering the decision he made 50 years ago and says in defense, "It wasn't really a lie, it was a premonition because, six years later, I WAS published in LIFE, the full-back page called Miscellany." (He admits in his personal blog. "I would have been a skinny, lousy military cop.")

That is a fact.

In 1962 Boyd landed at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper as an "inside guy," a photo lab technician, but within a year, he was covering and photographing events.

In 1964, he stumbled on an interesting aerial photo assignment.

"We were flying back from the beach where we had been looking down on surfers," remembers Boyd, and I glanced down and did a double-take because there was a word carved in the ground that was large enough I could see it from the air. I hefted my Speed Graphic camera and shot two pictures as we passed over it.

QUIET. That was the word carved in the ground below me.

Back at the paper, I offered it to the photo editor and he said "Nah, we don't want that." So, as all we photographers were doing back then, we were calling TIME and LIFE," remembers Boyd. "They said send us a copy and I did. Then they called back, not mailing a written rejection slip,  and they said they need a caption! I said, "Wow, this sounds good!"

Boyd jumped in his Triumph TR3 and tried to find the site of where the word was carved. "I could not find the damn thing and had to rent a plane for $90. We circled around and I spotted it again, noting several landmarks. When we landed, I drove to the site and knocked on the man's door.."

"He asked how I found it and said I was the first to ask about it. He explained his orchard is near the end of the runway at Miramar NAS in San Diego and he was tired of the jets making noise and rattling everything in his house. 

He decided to send a message to Mirmar by plowing the word QUIET in his field. He added, he never measured it out or anything, he just eyeballed it," added Boyd.

"I think now they use it as a target to kick in the afterburners and the sound is worse, added the farmer.

Boyd informed the Tribune editors that photo was wanted by LIFE magazine and suddenly the throwaway image had a new value.

His 8-year run with the Union-Tribune placed Boyd - and his trusty camera - alongside people and in places he never imagined possible when he first started snapping family photos as a kid.

Boyd photographed President John F. Kennedy, the Beatles, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Raquel Welch, Liberace, Lyndon B. name it, if it was in San Diego in the 1960s, Boyd most likely photographed it.

He actually photographed Kennedy twice, first as a University of San Diego student photographer in 1960 and again in 1963 with the Union-Tribune.

In 1960 then Senator Kennedy campaigned for President in downtown San Diego. "I worked my way through the crowd, showed my USD ID, said I was the official photographer from the school, and asked a cop on the platform if I could come up there? Moments later I was up there on the stage with him."

Boyd paused one photo showing Kennedy at the microphone, on the computer monitor. He said "innocent times."

Boyd photographed Kennedy again in 1963 when the President received an honorary degree at San Diego State University, just five months before he traveled to Dallas.

The newspaper work was exciting and always new. Every day was another location, another subject. His most memorable assignment did not involve a celebrity, remembered Boyd. "It sounds really weird but a 4-day search for a missing boy in the desert had a happy ending! He was found alive, healthy and I was in the front row taking pictures of him and his smiling face, on the stretcher." 

After leaving the newspaper in 1969, Boyd caught on as a researcher for CBS-TV National news and was assigned to cover the Charles Manson trial in Los Angeles.

"For four months I was seated in the media front row and never wanted to make eye contact with Charlie. I was about 15-feet from him and he looked out in the courtroom crowd a lot. He was just eerie."

During his coverage for CBS, Boyd had the unenviable of seeing Manson at his worst. Boyd returned from lunch early one afternoon, making his way past the Manson Family girls parading and chanting at the entrance.

"The trial had already started and I was the only newsman back in the courtroom.

I was watching Charlie in his usual rubber shower shoes and he did something different. He kicked off the shoes and tucked one leg under his butt. Then he got his other leg under him so he was crouched sitting on his feet in the chair.

Before anyone knew it, he leaped across the defense table toward the judge with a pencil grasped in his right hand, shouting some gibberish!

"I made the mistake of standing and stepping into the aisle and was knocked aside as bailiffs rushed forward, one tackling Manson in the air, smashing him to the ground, then they hauled him out of the courtroom."

This all started when Boyd started taking family photos as a kid. Using a Kodak DuaflexII camera, Chuck snapped pictures of Mom, Dad, and his two brothers. He still has that late 50s Kodak camera.

"You'd expose a 12-shot roll of film. bring it to Walgreens and come back a week later to pick up the prints.," Boyd remembers, thinking of how far technology has advanced since his earliest photography efforts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fact, Fiction and inbetween...

Lots of serious discussion going on about voting in the upcoming election.

First, mainly the military who were out-of-state were able to use an absentee ballot. Makes sense, they probably would have preferred to be HERE I am sure. 

Then, with pandemic fears of infecting each other at the polls, absentee ballots could be sent out to people meeting certain guidelines, and, as I am over 65 years old, I could get one.

Wisdom then decreed that EVERYONE could get a safe-at-home voting process mail-in ballot. OK, made it easy-peasy to vote!  And people started sending them in.

OOPS, not so fast. First we were told someone had to witness us actually signing the ballot. Hmm, my bank lobby is closed so can't go there to seek a notary public to officially be my witness. But, I have a cousin who has the stamp and is licensed as a Notary.

Then we were told anybody could be a witness but a witness was no longer required for our ballot. YAY!
BUT, then the witness requirement came back as people were mailing in votes.

I received my absentee ballot but I waited to see if things would flip-flop again. The Berkeley County voting officials I called said after October 17, I could take my ballot to the Hanahan Library, have someone there witness my signing and then I deposit it in an official ballot collection box!

Fears of mail tampering also would be eliminated so my vote would be valid and counted.

Just like in a true democracy.

Growing up here in Charleston, I often heard about our two rivers coming together to form the Atlantic Ocean. 

Hmm, must be true, I just saw it illustrated on the Internet...

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

"Wait for a break in traffic..."

A few years ago, I bought a newer version of a Canon P/S (a camera called a Point and Shoot) that was light, compact, and small enough to slip into your shirt pocket.

A buddy showed me how to attach a circular holder on the front of my new Canon S90 so I could experiment using various lens filters.

When shooting black & white, a yellow filter makes a blue sky darker and clouds stand out more. A Polaroid one lessens glare as you rotate it, say reflections on the water.
The Neutral Density (ND) filter comes in a wide range of degrees of darkness, sort of like putting sunglasses on the camera.

I have used all of these but the most fun was attaching a very dark ND filter so I could slow down the shutter speed to several seconds and take sharp photos on a very bright sunny day.

Then I positioned my camera on a sturdy tripod and looked down on a typical busy San Diego Freeway from atop the Cabrillo Bridge leading into the beautiful Balboa Park.

Cars are speeding along, almost bumper to bumper below me, BUT the camera's slow shutter speed only captures something that stays still for several seconds.

A shorter exposure would show blurred images but this filter and shutter speed setting presents a completely empty roadway!

In the middle of the day, on a wide-open, multi-laned California freeway ..... zero cars. An impossible scene., but, there's the photo.

Closer to home, with less ND filter and slightly faster settings, I merely slowed down the waves to show the smooth ebb and flow of the white water sloshing and retreating on the rocks, looking out at the iconic Morris Island lighthouse at Charleston's Folly Beach in South Carolina, my hometown.

Hey, the camera doesn't lie but the truth can be altered!

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