Monday, December 31, 2012


Start by inviting several hundred people with cameras to a  Sunset Photo Shoot.

Call and alert Bowens Island Restaurant that 40 indicated they would come Saturday afternoon.

Begin doing my Anti-Rain dance on Friday.

Heavy stormy weather rolled into Charleston just before midnight.

The rain stopped at 10:00 am at my house. Whew.

Members of my Photography Group started arriving at 4:00 pm at the oyster place to set up for the 5:15 sinking of the sun into the Stono River.

With that many people carrying cameras, the challenge was to shoot interesting photos leading up to the sunset itself.

 And keeping warm.

Did I mention Saturday was dry and sunny but chilly.

Hell, it was COLD with an icy wind that cut right through you. Brrr.

Winter coats, hats, gloves, boots and scarfs were donned as the troops peered around and aimed their sights on this and that.

Some had not been back since the restaurant burned down a few years ago. 

The new place now has a 2-story dining room with great water views.

A few had never been on the tiny island before.

They had passed by on their way to Folly Beach but had not followed the sign and  ventured down the bumpy road to bivalve/oyster heaven.

The Dock House - venue for music and casual dining - has a narrow deck around it leading out to where boats tie up.

Fishermen also were on the piers, braving the wind to drop their lines into the water.

Pictures were snapped of all of this.

Those with a zoom lens spotted a few boats huddled nearby.

As the sun sets, there usually is a soft "golden glow" that enhances photography.

Don't have a clue what this was.

The large, rusting piece of machinery  sat near the dock, and it drew swarms of photographers..

I went with a detailed close up.

The many piles of white oyster shells showed how popular this sea fare was with the locals and visitors.

Tripods started appearing as the sun sank lower in the sky.

Determined sunset fans were about to seize the moment.

Either on film or with digital cameras.

I climbed up the stairs of the restaurant and stood on the upper deck to have a nice angle.

The wind whipped around me.

I was reminded that camera batteries react to the cold by having a short life.

With three spare batteries I felt secure as the sky became fiery and dramatic.

Some of my avid members waited on the leeward side of the building until the last moment then stepped forward to snap the spectacular end of day.

My shot of the colorful cloudy sky- streaked with jet contrails as an added bonus - was taken after I quickly inserted my third battery.

My hands were stiff and cold.

The camera body was frigid.

The metal tripod was cold.

I looked behind me and saw the restaurant was filled and people were waiting in line to get inside.

 It was going to be a challenge to get a seat and enjoy the warmth.

Hey, it was Saturday night at a popular seafood eatery and now it was getting dark and temps were dropping.

Time for a cold beer.

(Click on the photos for more details)

Go to the link above to see pictures posted by members of the Photography group.

They are very talented and devoted photographers.

Probably defrosted by now.


Labels: , , , ,

Friday, December 28, 2012

BAD Christmas present...

Well, this is my 600th posting on my blog.

I like to have a really good story to tell on such events but THIS one is kind of sad.

My 4-year old computer croaked on Christmas Eve. Fried and died. Yikes.

First time I've gone through a crash and this will be a good test to see if all my backup efforts work.

It took more than 3 weeks to upload all my pictures and data to the Carbonite cloud site earlier this year. I have several external hard drives that also back up the back up.

My buddy loaned me his 2-year old spare Dell so I'm still able to go online.

Then we went searching for a new computer that has all the bells and whistles I needed/wanted.

Wow. LOTS of technological  advances in the last four years.

I keep hearing that desk tops are no longer THE thing to have.

 Laptops, and now tablets, are the new toys of communications.

I'm old school so I'll stay with my old favorites.

This beauty has more speed, more memory, more other stuff than I've ever had before. For a lot less dollars.

Going through my files, I see that years ago I paid $2,100 for a tower PC. It came with a monitor and keyboard but TWO GRAND?

This Hewlett Packard Pavilion is priced right now at $379. I'm waiting to see if an After-Christmas drop in price will happen. I'll probably order it Sunday after looking at ads in the paper.**

Meanwhile, in the spirit of celebrating the 600th posting, I took my new camera that has a Fish Eye lens effect  to Christmas dinner with my brother.

Someone carving the ham seemed like a good use for the distortion such a lens creates.

Oops, I did not notice that people in the background would also be part of the exaggerated view.

I will remind all that the lens does NOT always present a TRUE picture.

It was a delicious meal and I took away a platter of food that gave me another dinner the next night.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)
I hope I'll be invited back again.

Probably hold off on taking special effect photos though.

As a safety factor.

For me.

**An update: on Sunday I went online to buy the new HP computer but the special low price now was shown as $499.99. A missed opportunity!

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 24, 2012

But, seriously....

Went to Home Team BBQ to listen to the Joe Taylor Group.

I've seen them before and really like their sound.

My new camera had not been tested yet in a dimly-lighted music venue.

Uh oh, I remembered it has a Fish Eye lens effect. That was the end of serious photography for the night.

At the break between sets, I spoke with Joe and apologized that my posting about his band was going to look weird.

He laughed and said he appreciates ANY coverage.

We'll see.

The first picture is during the drum solo.

The others step to the side so the player with drum sticks is the center of attention.

Well, the camera sure helped make THAT happen.

Later I was reminded that Taylor moves around a lot, bobs and weaves, ducks and leans...makes it a challenge to catch a good photo in poor lighting.

Let's see his reaction to these two shots.

Like most people with a "long" lens, I did my first Moon Shot.

I'm impressed that a camera about the size of a deck of cards can reach out with such clarity.

Over the last 10 years, I have bought 5 small digital cameras known as P/S Point & Shoot.

The latest is the Canon PowerPoint sx260 HS..

It is the first that offered more than a 3.8x zoom lens.

I've already talked about the long lens and some features.

It was fun doing a photo walk around the Battery to use the camera in the field.

A friend joined me with his big, bulky camera and we sought those magic few minutes of the "golden glow" near sunset.

We both were snapping away and "Chimping" the back of the camera after each shot.

The light was fantastic as the shadows grew longer and textures appeared in the cross light.

Two happy, smiling camera carriers.

I slipped into Fish Eye mode for a few shots.

The 1962 "Dancing Girl" bronze statue was a gift to the city by sculpturer William Hirsch.

It was fashioned into a water fountain, set on a low granite base so small children could easily sip some water.

Cannon balls stretch widely out of shape with this lens effect.

A stretch of the Battery grows large in the center and tapers off on each side.

I call that "A bend in the (Ashley) River."

*Chimping means looking at what you just shot and showing it to other people who make Yeah, Uh, Oh and Ahh sounds.

The Christmas lights and decorations alongside White Point Garden caught my eye.

They became bright and more festive as it grew dark.

Up til now I did not have extra lenses to pop on and off so I would have missed this warped effect before.

I still have a lot to learn about my newest camera.

You might say I'm a "loose canon."

(Please click on the photos for more detail.)

I expect to hear some feedback from Joe Taylor.

Hope he liked the shots.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 21, 2012

..A little of this and a bit of that ......

The year is winding down and there are pictures and topics I haven't included in this blog.

The world didn't end today, so I have more time to do some postings.

The Christmas lights on Marion Square caught my eye a few nights ago so I walked around a bit.

Inside the main lighted  "tree" I bumped into a couple who were trying to hold their camera at arm's length for a shot.

I asked if they wanted me to take their picture?

"Yes," they answered, pleased that I had offered.

I raised my camera and they looked stunned.

"Oh," I said, "you want me to use YOUR camera." I like to mess with people's minds a lot.

Speaking of photos, a friend of mine,  Alistair Nicol,  had a special show of his landscape photos in Mt. Pleasant at the Troubador Coffee.

It was also the first anniversary of the cozy spot so quite a crowd gathered and saw his work.

Two were printed on "metal" surfaced paper and the shiny effect was, well, dazzling.

At one of our recent Photo Group meetings, a fellow member put his camera on his tripod, extended the legs fully and then raised it high over his head.

He had set the timer so a few seconds later, it snapped a photo looking down.

Try this sometime.

It is a surprising high angle view.

I see my multiple chins disappear when I'm looking up like that.

Closer to home, I had my handyman come by to fix my dryer vent problem.

We all know a build up of lint could be a fire hazard. He said I had a hazard-in-the-works.

No matter how carefully I attached the flexible 4" hose, it crimped when I pushed the dryer back into place. He said the vinyl tube is illegal.

I described the situation and he picked up a solution on his way over.

Had never seen a metal "periscope vent" contraption like that but it was cut to size and slipped together. Inside, all smooth metal.

He attached one end to the dryer and the other to the outside opening and lint now flies out the vent like a miniature snow storm. 

Sometimes you can't get right in front of the stage with your camera.

Maybe it's too crowded or maybe one person is taking up a LOT of room so you hang back a bit.

This guy appeared to be the biggest fan for Popa Chubby at the Pour House.

Popa stopped playing to remark "You have a lot of stamina, don't you?"

I've seen him before in the audience and his energy level is very, very high.
He reminds me that usually I am the oldest person there. 

And probably the only one wearing protective ear plugs.

Another night I was enjoying Blair Crimmins and the Hookers at the PoHo. 
They play a great sound of jazzy 1920s and the pace is outrageous. 

A local Swing Dancers club always shows up when Blaire comes to town.

This night I decided that a black and white, grainy photograph would capture the tone and tempo of the evening.

(Please click on the photo for more details.)

I hate when I let pictures and events pile up. 

That's when the world would end.



Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"I can just walk up closer..."

All of you who have large cameras (known as SLRs in the trade - a single lens reflex), forgive me for being so excited.

My newest small digital Point-and-Shoot camera now has a terrific zoom lens.

For the last 10 years, each of my P/S cameras had to fit in my shirt pocket.

I now have bought a 5th one. The Canon Power Shot sx260HS.

It is the same size as a deck of cards, as were the others, but the last 3 years have seen a lot  of advances in technology.

This one has a 20x optical zoom.

In 35 mm camera terms, that means the lens starts with a fine 25 mm wide angle and can zoom out to a 500 mm telephoto lens.


My current camera - the Canon S90 - has been my workhorse since December 2009.

It has tons of nice features but the longest lens I have had zoomed only 3.8x.

Today, while testing my newbie, I found a setting for "fish eye lens" effect. This could be fun.

Reading the manual (online, a printed booklet no longer is shipped with cameras) I see this Smart Camera has a sensor that analyzes the scene.

It has 52 different ways to handle it when it is being used on AUTOMATIC.

I may never go back to MANUAL settings ever again.

Over the years I felt I could always walk up closer to the subject I was taking pictures of and nixed the idea of needing a telephoto lens.

But often there's a limit to how far you can back up.

So a wide-angle lens was my first choice and preference.

For many, many years I had carried a heavy camera with different lenses for various situations.

I was a Marine Corps combat cameraman in the 1950s and had to carry a rifle, or a pistol,  in addition to my photo gear.

Later, during most of the 1960s, I was on the editorial staff for a major metro daily in San Diego. Still a photographer but no rifle now.

A "gadget bag" was draped over my shoulder filled with lenses, many 4x5 film holders (before 35 mm cameras), extra #5 and #11 flash bulbs and, later, a portable strobe flash unit and it's bulky battery.

Even before I was thinking retirement, I realized I didn't want to lug around such a heavy load.

Luckily, digital camera appeared.

My three film cameras were put away in a glass case.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Caught the cat by surprise. She didn't even smile.

I was halfway across the room when I snapped her.

Wait till I check out the video High Definition 1080p capabilities of this mighty-mite camera.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Feasting On Fish....

Like many bloggers, I often take pictures when I am served a great meal.

We move the plate around a bit to get it's "good side."

People sitting nearby probably nudge one another and say "Must be one of those bloggers."

This time, even the server at Hyman's Seafood  was a little surprised when I said "I'm not quite finished with this fried flounder."

If ever there was a time when a Kitty Bag was needed instead of a Doggie Bag, this was it.

Of course I know that fish bones could be harmful so I did not have it boxed for take away.

"There's a reason there's usually a line out front," I was told by Eli Hyman.

In addition to the tourists, Eli markets to locals and welcomes them year round. I get a happy birthday discount letter every year.

I can testify that the crab cakes are very special.

Did you know that a family member - usually Eli or 5th generation son-in-law Brad -  is there every night and goes from table to table to chat and collect feedback?

That's attention to detail.

I ate there before going to the Music Farm to see two of my favorite acts.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops and, the opener, The Two Man Gentleman Band. Both have appeared here before.

But this was the final show on the current tour and I knew it would be special.

We did NOT get to see the vibrant "barefoot dance" by Rhiannon Giddens this time.

She - obviously - was quite pregnant but assured us the baby was not due....for another 3 weeks. Yikes.

Her feet were moving around to the beat but she remained seated. And, for that, we thank you.

The group won a "Traditional Folk Album" Grammy but saw the category was then eliminated.

However, this year their new  "Leaving Eden" album has been nominated for another Grammy.

It's in a new "Best Folk" category.

I think the first time I saw the foursome was at the Cistern  Area of the College of Charleston during a Spoleto Piccolo event.

Great setting.

Great sound.

Billed as a roots band, Dom Flement gave us an excellent run on jug.

Rhiannon strummed and slapped a replica of an 1850s minstrel banjo.

This instrument was closer to the type that originated in Africa, she explained.

(Click on the photos to see more details).

The cellist in the CCD is Leyla McCalla from Jamaica and on bass and harmonica is Hubby Jenkins.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Heeeree's Johnny!

In 1972, when I worked Public Relations for the Southern California Visitors Council (now defunct), the director of the SCVC created something he called a "Magnet Award."

This would honor celebrities who helped entice people to come visit our 13-county destination. It would be held at the Ambassador Hotel in the famed Coconut Grove. 

Among the names proposed to receive the new award was Jack Webb for his "Dragnet" tv show that prominently featured the Los Angeles City Hall in the opening credits every week. 

And Johnny Carson who recently had moved his "Tonight" show from New York to Los Angeles. 

Our Visitors Bureau board included an executive from NBC who quickly said "I can get Jack Webb, no problem." The exec balked at contacting Mr. Carson, saying  the popular late night host didn't like to do public events. 

My boss said "No problem. Chuck will call him, just give us Johnny's home phone." I was handed the number on a piece of paper. 

Gulp. Good Grief!

When I dialed, a man answered and said "who's calling?" 

I told him my name, who I was with and that the call was about Mr. Carson receiving an award, which I described. I assumed this fellow was screening calls.

A long silent moment passed and I heard "Hmmm. I kinda like that. Yeah, sure, tell me when and where and I'll be there."

Hey, wait,  it gets even better.

Guests filled the round 10-seat banquet tables in the Cocoanut Grove, the stage was decorated with posters and costumed characters from ALL of the SoCal attractions and the Lt. Governor sat at the head table. 

The emcees were two of Los Angles top KFI radio drive-time personalities Al Lohman and Roger Barkley. 

At a table near me was indeed Johnny Carson in a rare public appearance. He looked relaxed.

The NBC guy had scored spaces at the tables for several stars of an upcoming new television show called M*A*S*H.

 I heard it was about the army in Korea.

As the proceedings went on, I saw Carson scribbling notes on several napkins. 

It was a fun event and culminated with the award winners coming to the microphone and making a few comments of thanks. 

Carson was comically different.

He started by saying he had thought Lohman and Barkley was an intersection near Pacoima.

He smiled and said he never before knew what a Lt. Governor did. He thought it was sort of like being the Dance Director at Forest Lawn Cemetery. You're there but probably won't get called on.

Carson had an amazing grasp of the source of visitor promotion tax dollars.

"We need to get more tourists out of their cars and into beds and more of them out of beds and into their cars." 

(Gasoline and hotel rooms are taxed and some of  the dollars used to help promote tourism.)

He closed by promising to lighten up a bit on making fun of Southern California, then added "But, Los Angeles is such a  swell source for great comic material. Thank you for the Magnet."

Later in the year I saw on television the  M*A*S*H stars Loretta Swit, Larry Linville and McLean Stevenson.that I had met at the Magnet event. 

They all are shorter in person.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Let me stress I did NOT take these pictures.

NBC-Burbank had their professional photographer there to record the activity.

Later, at my office, I did manage to slip a few of the photos into my briefcase. 

Including this one of me and Jack Webb. 

Somebody had a LOT of extra hair.

Does anyone remember the name of the Lt. Governor under Reagan in 1972?.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Liking More Keb' Mo'....

Not sure when Keb' Mo' last came here, but even he said from the stage it had been "too long."

The three-time Grammy winner played Friday at the Charleston Music Hall - where I saw him his the last time here - and he was warmly welcomed.

It was nearly a sell out crowd of adoring fans.

He gave back a lot of love along with his music.

It was an acoustic set and he used all three guitars arrayed around him.

He sat atop a stool in the midst of a Winter Wonderland setting of glistening powdery snow?

(The stage was set up for the annual Christmas Show at the downtown  music venue.)

Several photographers discretely moved back and forth in front of the stage during his first song.

Then they quickly left to meet press deadlines and we all settled back for a fine evening of blues, jazz, R&B and soul.

Charleston music audiences are not shy about "suggesting" favorites they would like to hear.

Lots of them.

At one point Keb" (born Kevin Moore) smiled and pushed away his set list with his left foot.

"Don't know why I even bothered to write them down," he told the happy crowd and played what was requested.

He shooed away a security staffer who came over to a couple that hopped up and started dancing right in front of the stage.

"That lady in the red pants came here to dance with her man. I have no problem with that."

He played new songs and old ones.

Guitars were switched smoothly as he changed tempo and played such hits as "Suitcase" "Just Like You" and "Come On Back."

Other hits came from his albums "The Door" and "The Reflection."

By the end of the show, and an encore, the audience was on its dancing feet and he high-fived his way off stage.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

I'm thinking it was about three years since Keb' Mo' was in town.

He said to the audience that there was a "really fine restaurant next door. Can't remember its name, but it's good."

Hearing 50+ people shout out "39 Rue De Jean"
showed a lot of brand awareness.

And civic pride.

He's right of course.

It's a great for dinner and an after theater spot for dessert and coffee.

Can't remember if the coffee is French Press?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, December 08, 2012

You Still Have Time...until December 30.

It's quite a collection of photos from the 50s, 60s and 70s of Rock and Roll legends.

Many of these "portraits" and fortunate snaps were used on album covers and all are stunning enlarged and framed in the gallery.

The Sound and Vision: Monumental ROCK & ROLL Photography opened at the Gibbes Art Museum Sept 21 and is due to move on Dec 30.

If you click on the link, you can enjoy a preview of the powerful collection of very familiar faces..

The name of the exhibition comes from a song and single by David Bowie in his 1977 album LOW.

That title LOW is said to reflect Bowie's cocaine-induced paranoia while he was living in L.A.

Hey, it was the swingin' 70s after all.

I had seen a similar traveling exhibit a few years ago
 in Columbia.

It was called "Who Shot Rock & Roll?" and was a delight so I looked forward to this one downtown.

From my viewpoint, I appreciated all the credit that both shows heaped on the photographers who took the shots.

Some are elaborate studio set-ups with multiple lights and others are by talented people with good cameras being in the right place at the right time.

Of course this passes through my mind every time I have a security person give me grief for having my camera with me at a concert.

If you are interested in photography or the colorful larger-than-life performers who brought us rock & roll, be sure to get to the Gibbes.

(Click on the photos for more detail).

The shot of the banner is mine but the Glam Rock saxy Bowie and the fighting Beatles are copied from the handout brochure.

The links feature slide shows with much better quality. The photographers deserve to have their work seen in the best possible way.

*Here's one I could relate to...the happy Beatles in a 1964 pillow fight after learning they would be going on tour to the United States.

In August 1965, my camera and I covered their press conference in San Diego - camped in the front row - and my photos live on in musical history.

I was working for the San Diego Union newspaper and that night,  I roamed around Balboa Stadium at will.

Even down on the field, close enough to see them smiling at each other as they played, you could not hear them.

The screaming fans (young girls) drowned them out.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 03, 2012

High Tech Dining...

Of course they bring you a menu at Burwell's Stone Fire Grill. It's handsome and nicely bound.

And a printed wine list. And the list of desserts offered.

The usual printed things you find at  most dining places.

But...they also hand you an iPad?

Our server Meredith explained it had all the updated information (such as the changing craft beers available) AND displayed pictures of the meals.

Oh yeah. In full color.

I also realized that I did not show the crab cake dinner that Joan had ordered.

We eagerly shared back and forth so she knew how good my  petite filet was as I prepared hers "well done."

The crab cake lumps she transferred to my plate allowed me to savor what she had ordered.

That is shredded potato in the center of the platter.
Joan informed me. "Takes a lot to get the taste," she added.

Several have asked what the dessert was.

I would say a white  gelatin with sweet-tasting crispy thin cookies stuck in the top.

Oh, Joan told me we were enjoying panna cotta.

(Go ahead, treat yourself by clicking on the pictures.)

That's probably the last I'll say about the new restaurant. I think it fills a niche and will do well.

Well, when I eat there again, I might take some more pictures.

To share with you.

Labels: , , , ,