Saturday, August 27, 2016

Charleston's Artesian water...

Had not really thought about Charleston's artesian water and it's funky taste for a long time.

It all came back to me yesterday when I leaned in to sip some bubbling up in a fountain on Calhoun Street at Rutledge.

Wow, just as I recalled, growing up in Ansonborough in the 1950s.

We lived on Society, the next street over from the fire station at Meeting and Wentworth.

I know that station's fountain is dry and no longer has people showing up with gallon jugs to cart that distinctive-smelling well-water home.

My grandmother lived with us and all three boys would be told to go and retrieve  some of that water for her.
Yesterday I had dropped my brother off at MUSC for an out-patient procedure and had some time to kill.

I was only a few blocks from the renovated Colonial Lake so I wandered down Rutledge - past Cannon Park's 4 columns -  to see how the lake looked now,
Pretty neat! Wide sidewalks for dog-walking and exercise.

Charleston iron benches in the dappled shade, set among long, low walls that invite you to pause, sit and reflect.

Oh, and all the plants that people were talking about.

I even spotted a shiny new water fountain that I am sure was never there before.

Wonder if it provides artesian water? Didn't think to taste it.

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

Thanks for walking along Rutledge Avenue with me. Stop and refresh yourself at the Calhoun Street fountain!

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Messy New Orleans Jazz..."

 Went to the Sparrow in Park Circle a few night ago to see a "messy" band.

Stu Dias, the leader of Soggy Po'Boys, plays guitar with a passion and a voice to match.

Described as an Octet, I counted only 7 onstage, but I don't know how any movement, rhythm, or sound could possibly be missing.

Well, maybe a roving harp player and I don't mean a tiny harmonica.

A solid New Orleans jazz band that was formed in 2012.

The 'horn section" was especially active, ably backed by keys, drums, and an energetic upright bass.

The crowd was pleased there was no cover (really?) so when the tip jar was passed around, it was heavy with appreciation.

I salute the Sparrow for its delightful array of music and events.

It, the Mill and Madra Rua are basically in my neighborhood.

This makes a welcome change from heading downtown or to West Ashley and the Pour House.

The leader Stu told me they had just played a set at the Wednesday night series up at Awendaw Green.

They still had LOTS of energy and gave us quite a show.

A few days ago they played in Washington, DC, and worked their way down through Asheville to bring their messy Soggy Po'Boys show to the Lowcountry.

Kep an eye on the Sparrow when you're planning a night out. Lots of good surprises there. And - no smoking.

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

Yes, I will get back to my vacation photos but there's a lot going on!

We'll always have Paris.

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Monday, August 08, 2016

Hail..hail, the gang's all here!

 Almost a dozen members of my Photo Group got together Sunday morning in Summerville.

Rudy Lutge, a co-coordinator of the 21st Century Photography Group, offered a step-by-step tutorial on how - and why - to use Neutral Density (ND) filters.
"Think of these dark filters as sunglasses for your camera," he told us.

On a bright, sunny day, if you try to use a slower shutter speed, the image will be overexposed, Rudy added.

If you want to take a slow exposure shot of flowing water, an ND filter lets you use a longer shutter opening and change the look of a fountain (or waterfall) to a dreamy fog or blurred motion for a special effect.

Rudy often is out at Folly Beach in the wee hours before dawn, taking pictures of waves flowing  gently like mist, wrapping around rocks close to the shore. Oh, and he also shoots the sunrise!

Member David Gentry uses a tripod and shutter release cable to take his long exposure (1-3 seconds) photo.

By not touching the camera itself, the images are sharp because there is no camera shake.

Portraits with an out-of-focus background are another bonus of using the dark filters. Opening the lens wider causes a shallow depth of field and the face will stand out more.

The members brought an array of equipment and varying levels of expertise.

My little Canon sx280HS Point & Shoot camera can accept these filters and I can set a slow exposure for as long as 15 seconds. Not bad for a camera that fits in my shirt pocket.

Members John Cullati (L) and Charles Giet, discuss camera settings as we turn our attention to the water fountain.

It's behind city hall, where the Farmers Market is held on Saturdays, and I learned it's the site where a Summerville fire station used to stand. There is a monument there that honor first-responders.

Charles is a long-time resident and my go-to guy with any questions I have about his birthplace.

Here's one of my shots that alters the look of the flowing water.

Miniature waterfalls without having to drive a long distance. (Click on the photos and links for more details.)

If you're interested in photography, join our group. It's free and then come along on some of our photo walks or events.

Oh, what about my vacation photo of Paris and Edinburgh? I have plenty more and will share them in future postings on my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay cool for a just a while longer.

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Friday, August 05, 2016

More than a timely tune-up.....

 A few years ago, I was very pleased when David Guerry came to my house to get my lawn mower running again. He makes house calls!

While he was here with all his tools, he also made sure my "storm" emergency generator started on the first pull.

Both were in need of his trained attention and he delivered.

I had promised I would take better care of both in the future, as I wrote him a check.

My promise worked for a while but then, during the second hurricane season, I got lazy and complacent and stopped cranking the generator once a month.

Hey, I didn't have to use it for power outages so it just sat there in the shed.

About a year later, I DID try to start it, pulling the starter cord over, and over, and over.

All I got was out of breath, a sore arm, and a racing heart.

But no storms that year, so it was not needed.

But the last two times I mowed my grass - with the nicely running riding machine - I saw I was leaving long, thin lines of tall grass. I had to go over the same area a few times to cut it all.

"Hello David, can you come by to check my machines?" He could. And he did.

The generator needed only a good cleaning of the carburetor (it was solidly gummed up) and a lengthy, good scrubbing by me to remove dried on oil, grime, and dirt.

The mower, however, was another story. When Dave stood it on end, it was obvious that both blades had several inches broken off! Darn rocks!

Cut to the chase...all is well again. Generator starts on the first pull and the mower cuts a FULL 38" swath now. Whew.

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

Thanks for stopping by and sitting in the shade with me as David worked his mechanical magic.

He even loaned me some of his bug spray. Whatta guy!

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