Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Traffic ....

Well, people have started moving around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday long, long weekend.

We have heard that many were driving this year instead of flying.

No embarrassing body scans in the family car.

A few days ago at twilight I noted planes etching their trails overhead.

This was a pretty-looking "traffic" pattern in the blue sky at sunset.

Speaking of families and gathering together to eat, I checked out the new upstairs dining facility at Bowen's Island last week.

I'm not sure exactly when they started using the new building but my last time there I was seated out on the laid-back familiar dock.

Owner Robert Barber explained that the new dining area is designed to keep that same rustic feeling..lots of wood and swing-open windows to let the breeze flow through..but on a much larger scale.

I'm just glad the Barber family tradition is continuing.

Stop at our favorite island on the way to Folly Beach.

(Click on the photos for details. I was a passenger - not driving - when I shot the sunset jet contrails. I did a 15-second exposure of the new dining room at Bowen's Island. The Canon S90 is cool. Thanks.)

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Turkey ..... Vultures

So I stepped out for the paper and heard LOUD flapping of wings.


Don't remember seeing turkey vultures (buzzards?) in the neighborhood before.

There were 6 or 7 circling overhead and landing in front of my house.

Yikes. Something dead for sure.

(Yes, their red heads look like the seasonal dinner birds.)

They clustered up in the trees for a while.

After cars drove by, they would drop down for a quick snack.

Passing kids stopped to watch the action and made "caw caw" sounds.

Hey, I have been known to say "moo" out loud when I see a cow.

My cat wanted to go and explore.

I checked first and saw the "road kill" was a large possum.

These birds were bigger than my cat and might want a fresh meal for a change.

I kept him in for a little bit longer.

(Click on the pictures for a larger image. No, I did not take the possum's picture. Roadkill turkey and possum pilaf for the holidays. Thanks for checking this wacky menu.)

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Monday, November 15, 2010

"It's a Zoo Out There..."

My photography group had a great Saturday Photo Walk at BEE CITY ZOO, out past Summerville and near Givhans State Park on the way to Walterboro.

We arrived early - right when they opened at 9am - so the only "kids" around were baby goats.

But a Mama wallaby had her joey (baby) in her pouch.

This small member of the kangaroo family will carry the loaded pouch until the baby is able to fend for itself.

Staying at home with the parents is a shared trait in the animal world.

But this gives a new meaning to "living in your mom's basement."

Both sides of the fence were entertained by the llama enclosure.

I am sure they delighted in seeing how close to the lens they could get and vice versa.

(What the heck does that mean?)

You knew there would be a honey-making exhibit at BEE CITY.

The welcome sign said "population 1,265,000" and here are a few of the busy bees humming along.

Please enjoy the pictures taken by other members of the photography group.

The owner gave feeding demonstrations at the Nature Center that housed a collection of snakes, tarantulas, gators and other Lowcountry critters.

He runs a nice operation with a honey of a gift shop. The cafe has hot strong coffee and tasty burgers.

Go and check it out. It can be an enchanting experience for you and your children.

(As usual, click on the photos for more detail. Some of the group members were using SLRs so the overall quality is excellent. Thanks for stopping by my blog.)

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do you know "Tilt-Shift?"

Someone told me about an effect you can create with your photo called "Tilt-Shift."

Wow. It really does make objects look like toys or miniature models of everyday sights.

Well, an every day scene if you happen to be flying at 1,200 feet over the Yorktown aircraft carrier at Patriot's Point.

You make the focus very "soft" above and below the area you want to appear model-like. Then you crank up the color saturation to almost cartoon level.

Hey, this actually works.

I am sure there are phone apps by now that do this automatically with pictures.

I experimented and did it "by hand" on my computer.

The "round house" on Isle Of Palms is a good example of this visual manipulation.

A picture of the Brugge, Belgium town square taken from a tall bell tower became a collection of tiny objects.

Little itty-bitty horses and carriages.

Wee restaurants with small tables and chairs and umbrellas.

Not-so-haughty waiters in this view.

Here's how it looks when you apply this effect to an actual miniature model town of a railroad setting in Atlanta in the former Underground.

Size does not always matter.

(Click on the photos for detail. Some taken with my Canon S90. The rest with earlier Point and Shoot cameras. The BEST camera is the one you have with you. Thanks for viewing my blog.)

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Friday, November 05, 2010

The Cho Dependent Tour

Margaret Cho was recently voted off Dancing With The Stars so she was able to keep her scheduled concert tour to Washington, DC.

Nice dancer's body, Maggie!

Roll those sleeves up and show your colorful "tats."

When you sit in the very first row, you can see clearly she has worked hard on trimming and toning.

Obviously competitive dancing is good healthy exercise.

And her act still is definitely NOT G-rated.

This is the night before the Comedy Central "Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear" and her fans filled the Warner Theatre ready for an explicit evening.

She did not disappoint.

Halloween was in the air and seeing people in costumes wandering around almost seemed normal.

Arriving at your hotel and being checked in by laughing masked characters behind the counter. Happy hooded and caped figures crowding into Metro cars.

Yes, this is a prime time and place for her show.

The comedy routines were scathing and funny and, at the end, she brought the audience to its feet.

"I invited some friends here tonight to join me in song," Margaret announced.

The curtain behind her rose quickly and she was joined by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC. Yikes.

(Cameras were not exactly allowed but my Canon S90 didn't need a flash. In my lap it became a "spy cam" until the finale when cameras appeared everywhere. Click on the pictures for more detail. Look for some Photoshop work. Thanks.)

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A "Rally" Good Time In Washington...

You don't go all the way up to Washington just to attend a rally!

There were nearby attractions that merited exploring. And great entertainment.

The U.S. Botanic Garden is a real "hot spot" especially inside the Conservatory.

Years ago I promoted travel to Southern California so I knew that the "Bird of Paradise" is the official flower of the City of Los Angeles.

Been a while since I've seen them though.

Because it's the end of October, the blast of heat and humidity when you enter the huge glass house is a bit of a surprise.

A wonderfully pretty green place with colorful flowers blooming all year long.

Sort of like an endless summer in Charleston.

But more humid.

Is that even possible?

Remember that old toy you had that when you punched hard it popped right back up? Wasn't it a clown? Or maybe a boxer?

Thought of that as I passed some odd looking - but familiar - statues outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Inside it features Modern & Contemporary Art.

Like all the other public sites, it too had free admission but no pictures were allowed inside.

The Washington National Cathedral is the fourth recognizable structure on Washington's skyline.

Like the Capitol building it sits atop a hill and welcomes visitors with cameras. Except during actual services.

A docent guide pointed out that the sun shining through the stain glass windows casts a "rainbow effect" early and late in the day.

The afternoon was filled with patchy clouds so I waited until the sun broke through.

The wait was worth it, looking up at the 100-foot high ceiling and watching colors swirl around.

The National Zoo gave me my first glimpse of giant Panda bears.

I think Pandas may sit and Zen out in contemplation.

They seem to leisurely eat bamboo shoots for long lengths of time.

Just the opposite, a Snow Leopard showed fierce determination as it ripped and chewed chunks from a huge slab of red meat.

It definitely was feeding time at the zoo.

A sleek spotted Cheetah quickly paced back and forth from one side of its forested enclosure. No sudden burst of speed.

This was the first time in years that I have been in a large city for Halloween.

I know it was just a costume....but

I felt very comfortable and secure storing my luggage at the Hyatt Regency Hotel while I went sightseeing.

Robert Randolph & The Family Band was totally in the Halloween spirit with wigs, hats, and masks when they came onstage.

It was obviously costume night when the show started at the 9:30 Club. Patrons portrayed an astonishing array of characters as they welcomed the band.

Robert grinned beneath a glittering Mardi Gras-type mask.

His banner proudly proclaimed "Wet T-Shirt Winner" over his strapped on much-more-than-ample padded bosom.

As the evening wore on, each band member wore less as they took off their dress-up outfits.

I saw a young lady in the front row furtively reach out for Robert's discarded "chest."

She may have worn it home. It was that kind of night.

- 30 -

(My Canon S90 was quite busy. Click on the photos - twice - to see amazing detail. Thank you for viewing and please tell others.)

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Just A Face In The Crowd....

This appears to be the "Early Bird" souvenir towel.

Don't know how many were made but I got this at 9:00am before the noon start of the Rally.

Edged my way to the center near the second large screen but crowd crunch was fierce.

Ended up to the left of the stage with some more elbow room - and a place to sit on my small blanket. Unfortunately a media stand blocked my view.

But there was a great Jumbo-tron for an excellent view of the onstage activity.

And the SIGNS!

Very creative and funny.

I stood among a very mixed-age crowd. Some older but most younger.

A well-behaved group of people.

When the assemblage was told to do a Hand-Wave, one could see that the ripple took a long, long, long time to reach back toward the Washington Monument.

Later I heard that admittance to the actual Mall was closed by the National Park Service around 11 am.

I still have not heard an "official" estimate of the crowd size but certainly believe it was more than 150,000.

There were at least that many ahead of me trying to get on the Metro afterward.

Wow. I took a lot of pictures with my Canon S90. Click on these to see more detail. Thanks for coming by.

If you were in the DC crowd and I didn't say "hi" I'm sorry.)

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