Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Lake" at me now...

This is my one-picture stylized image of Lake Marion.

It was my first time on the water there.

Even off the water, I had not been here before.

Joan Perry, a good friend,  had invited me to join a group for BBQ and a boat ride out to Church Island.

I knew there were trees (Cypress) sticking up out of the water but I had not thought about the shorter ones that were slightly under the water.


We all were on the lookout for birds sitting atop these stumps to warn the skipper there was danger ahead on this "3-hour trip."

I should not have worried. The Captain was Wayne "Cat Fish'n Fool" Vining, a veteran fisherman.

He also was watching the screens of a depth-finder and, I guess, a stump-finder.

Joan had told us he takes out fishing parties but also groups of non-fishing types like we were.

She had hired him and mentioned we were interested in Church Island and its history.

"Hey, I ain't no historian, jes' a catfish guy. With me, you're not fishin', you're fish-catchin'."

We gathered for a group shot after walking around on Church Island.

The church was de-sanctified as the water rose when the dam was built and the lake formed.

Oddly enough, the cemetery was spared and we walked among headstones dating back to the 1800s.

The large island can't be reached by car, only by water.

A local young lady in our group remembers when her grandparents long-time family land was taken through eminent domain. 

I recalled reading about the danger of ticks when walking through tall grass.

I was prepared though with my hiking boots and long pants that were snug around my shoes.

We inspected each other before we re-loaded onto the pontoon boat. (It was NOT named the S.S. Minnow.)

There were no sightings of bugs.

Did see several trees that had been struck by lightning.
What an awesome display of power!

Bet it made quite a racket when the bolt(s) met the tree.

The group wandered around for quite a while at the cemetery. There was a marker where the church had stood.

There was an enclosed area with multiple plots for two families.

Joan found one headstone with no first name. Just the word "Baby." A sad reminder of young deaths.

The tree with the missing pieces of bark reminded me of some trees in a scene in  Charleston at Trident Tech.

Various areas represented a town in Ohio for the Mr. Mercedes 10-part series now playing on AT&T Audience network

Three tall palm trees stood at the entrance of a "hospital" building. We extras milled around inside, playing roles as doctors, nurses, visitors, and patients.

On a break, I wandered outside and saw the three palms had been covered with a 20-foot high fake oak tree bark. The "oak" was topped with palm fronds, but the camera did not aim that high. Haha.

I rode out in a comfortable chair, up front on the boat. My small camera often held high.

Fascinating scenery.

The lake water was down a bit we were told, so the bulbous "bottom" of the Cypress trees was very obvious.

I had seen Cypress "knees" before but don't recall seeing this array of so many distinctive-looking ones.

There was a bit of boat traffic on the lake.

My zoom lens and fast shutter speed captured one that was heading toward us.

It threw an impressive wake.

The zoom lens made it look much closer than it really was.

My Mom and Dad used to trailer their 14-foot aluminum boat up to this lake and Lake Murray.

I can picture my Dad cranking up his trusty 40 hp Evinrude!

I hope they had stopped at Sweatman's Bar-B-Que while in the area.

That's where the group met on the outskirts of Holly Hill at 1427 Eutaw Road.

Joan said they now are open Saturday and Sunday and usually are packed.

My full plate showed me why it was so popular featuring dine-in, take-out, and catering.

It was a fun-filled day ashore and on the water.

And the food was so good, one of the group stopped for a take-out meal before driving back to Charleston.

Lunch AND dinner at Sweatman's had crossed my mind too but
instead, I drove back home, planning to stop and visit my brother in Sangaree.

His wife suggested several delicious snacks and desserts but I figured I had topped off my tank with enough calories for the day.

Not very much exercise riding around on a boat!

I also wanted to take another look at a "billboard sign" that had been painted on the side of an abandoned trailer.

It was a pet-owner seeking justice.

I hope he finds the SOB.

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

Wore my wide-brimmed hat and sunblock.

I make my bi-annual visit to my dermatologist next week and she always asks.

Thanks for spending some time on my 3-hour boat ride that ended well.

This pontoon boat did not even have a name but a great Skipper.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Christmas Story....of sorts.

I came across a photo I actually did not remember taking back when I was moving to Jefferson City, Missouri.

In the late seventies, I had just been named the Director of Tourism for the state of Missouri and needed to move my family to the Capital.

With me would be my wife Sandy, our daughter Heather and our big, white, mixed-breed dog named CCASH*.

(*His name was the first initials of our family: Chuck, Chris (my son),  Amy (my older daughter), Sandy and Heather,)

My new job came with a substantial raise in pay and I realized prices were better there than in Kansas City, so four potential homes for the Boyds were examined by me.

I planned to fly Sandy in for - hopefully - her selection and approval.

I made sure the 2-story I liked best was first on the list for showing by my real estate rep and he alerted the owner, an elderly lady when we would come by and she went to stay with her son during our morning visit.

The realtor had baked some cookies in the oven so the house had a nice, pleasing aroma.  I placed a vodka tonic in the fridge to have something familiar in the house and had selected tapes of music I knew Sandy liked to be playing in the background as we toured.

We pulled up at the curb, Sandy got out and said: "I love it, we'll take it!" 

Pleasantly surprised by her quick acceptance, we then quickly went inside for the actual tour.

Well, that was easy. 

We had lunch with the happy realtor and I found it was not quite a done deal yet. One more step was needed before I flew Sandy back home to KC.

The realtor said the owner wanted to meet me to make sure her house would be in good hands.

I took Heather along that afternoon to meet the lady who had lived in that house for nearly 60 years.

It was near the holidays and she proudly showed off a wooden Christmas tree from Germany that was older than she. 

The rising heat from candles turned a paddle wheel at the top and the tree slowly revolved after she asked me to light the candles.

Heather charmed her of course so she agreed that we were a family she wanted in "her" house.

We bought some of her furniture at a good price including a huge mahogany china cabinet, a long dining room table with 8 chairs and several beds with carved headboards and several ornate dressers. 

She kept the beautiful grand piano that was in the living room and it was hauled away a few days after we closed on the deal. I saw deep ruts across the lawn and knew it was gone. Well, it DID take up a lot of space.

I may have posted photos of the stately house before.

And even some shots of the replica dollhouse I built for Heather when she was 9 years old. 

But the photo of the Christmas tree I just found.

I am so glad I had taken a view of it with the owner and my younger daughter.

I went online and could not find one even close to it.

The large, unique "tree" left with the owner. And, I guess that was a good move.

So many moving, lighted candles in that beautiful WOODEN house would have made me nervous.

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

I know it's a little early for Christmas stories.

But, I wonder how many people have seen one of these rotating holiday gems?

As I said, I Googled online but did not find any this tall and this grand.

And, as potentially dangerous with lighted candles!

I really loved that striking home in the middle of Missouri.

And, so did my cat.

Especially lounging around in the dollhouse copy that I had created.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Music was in the air....

Several recent musical nights sort of blended together.

None had made it into the blog. Time to correct that.

Even though I have been warned to use caution before I set my camera on "Fish Eye Effect," a smooth trombone slide just calls for it.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Excuse the distortion.

Steve Rogness kept playing and I kept shooting.

This was at the Pour House with Davina & the Vagabonds, a band from the Twin Cities of Minnesota, pounding out Old Time Blues and jazz.

Davina was in charge at the keys and jiving swing dancers were sweeping all around the dance floor.

I decided black and white images would capture the upbeat moment.

(I sent this image to Davina and she posted it on her Facebook page.)

Yes, I credited the PoHo and added my wish that they return again soon.

This was the second show for me that night.

Had raced out to the club on Maybank Highway after an enjoyable musical evening with Robert Cray and his band, Hi Rhythm.

This was the fourth or fifth time I have seen Mr. Cray and this might have been the best.

The sound of course in the Charleston Music Hall is superb and he and the band were on fire.

I had learned to turn off the green light that shoots from the camera to enhance focus.

Not only does it distract the players, ushers are quick to come tap me on the shoulder and say NO.

 And the focus was spot on.

I caught some facial expressions that were intense and showed the musician deep, deep into his playing.

Changing shutter speeds, depending on the stage lighting, has become second-nature, so the action was captured very sharp.

Head thrown back in emotion, grimacing at a sad passage, it was an exciting time.

All around me, cell phones were capturing images but I had a camera with a variable zoom lens. I controlled the lighting and camera speeds.

His hands were in constant motion on the strings.

I really didn't know I had caught his "pickin' hand" at a peak moment, until later as I went through the shots I had taken that night.

You can watch a performer and sometimes can gauge what might come next.

That moment when the face is NOT hidden by the microphone.

There is a pacing and rhythm that develops and I try to tune in to catch a brief, fleeting instant.

Robert came through for me this evening.

 The best recent "two-fer" was the combo of Taj Mahal and Keb Mo onstage at the Gaillard.

Have enjoyed both musicians separately and this was an interesting pairing.

Taj always has been a commanding presence as contrasted with the laidback smoothness of Keb Mo.

The chemistry was cooking that night and the jam-packed crowd lapped it up.

(I still wonder why there are no JumboTrons flanking the stage to accommodate the fans in the balcony seats at the back of the hall. I see them in lots of venues.)

I usually am able to shop early for tickets and get seats nice and up front so I can see all the action up close.

In fact, for this show, I could swear I was listening to the two guitars right in front of me while the amplified sound soared above me, over my head. To the balconies.

Makes for an intimate concert setting.

The two bounced back and forth with their individual hits and also presented tracks from the new album where they blend voices, sounds, and style.

A rare treat by two of my favorites.

At home a few days later, I asked my Google Alexa to "play me some Keb Mo."

It started with the opening song by RajMo.

Thanks, Alexa.

Keb Mo was his usual relaxed performer.

These seasoned pros knew what the audience wanted and they delivered.

A lady seated to my left had glanced over when I was checking some shots and nudged me and asked if I could send a few to her.

I had seen her stretching to get a good angle on her cell phone but her seat placed the microphone in front of the face for most of her tries.

No empty seats or space to maneuver so I agreed I would send some if she emailed me how to contact her.

 I handed her my card and Catherine thanked me and said she would send a request.

Never heard from her so she probably lost my card. Too bad. I had some good ones.

I wanted to drop in a shot of the opener for the TajMo Show.

The banjo player announced he had played for 12 years with the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

His banjo playing was great - as was the bassist who also played the violin - and it set a nice tone for the show that followed.

He said they were excited to be traveling as the openers for this great duo and band.

He had shown us his chops in root music so I hoped he would add some jug music but that wasn't on their set list. He did play the bones.

This was an overdue time to recap some of the fine music I had seen and heard.

I am a supporter of live music and had a terrific tripleheader.

Oh, and a good opener act.

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

Thank for hanging out with me at several different venues.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome to the 21st Century...

 Coming up on 10 years as the 21st Century Photography Group, I'm taking a look back over my shoulder.

Pleased to see we are still an active bunch of friendly and talented photographers and wannabes.

It has been a decade of change as we saw the rivalry between Nikon and Canon have to adjust to the number of people using cell phones to take pictures.

Now there's a 10-year old battle between the iPhone fans and the androids.

When I was growing up I used to drop off a roll of film at Walgreens - 12 or 24 exposures - and, a week later, got them back. Some were ok.

While in high school, I built a home darkroom so I cut the time-lag between shooting and seeing.

Digital means now you "click" and look at the back of the camera to see what you have.

Then adjust and shoot it again.

To give hands-on experience, we invite members to go on outings.

This is in addition to the regular second Wednesday meetings at the Carolina Ice Palace.

There we have a private space where we can dim the lights for Show and Tell, use our projector, pass around a microphone so all can hear and see what others are doing with the cameras.

When we go out in the field, the challenge is to pick places that are great for landscape photographers, architectural fans or nature lovers. Sometimes we go to historic places, we have had models join us on some shoots, street photography is a natural during 2nd Sunday on King Street.

For example, we have done themed outings-with-cameras to learn how to use dark filters in bright sunshine that lets us shoot at slower speeds and see how it affects rivers, or fountains or waterfalls.

Moving water slowed way down, becoming filmy or cloudy or leaving tracks on the beach as the waves roll in and recede out.

Co-Coordinator Rudy Lutge is very informative and knowledgeable so he often lectures and demonstrates how it's done.

In fact, Rudy was the presenter last week. Some members commented:

  • Diana O'Donnell
    Diana O'Donnell
    Really enjoyed last night's get together. Already learned a lot. Looking forward to the next time!
    Like · Reply · 8h ago · Mute
  • Tonya
    I had a great time and learned so much!!! Thank you Rudy for teaching me about the filters and the triangle!!! See everyone again soon!
    Like · Reply · 9h ago · Mute
  • Chuck
    Lots of new faces and long-timers. Spirited conversations about Macro and ND from Rudy who knows his stuff!
    2 · Like · Reply · 12h ago · Mute
  • Dc
    Good Meetup, Rudy did an excellent job!
    Like · Reply · 12h ago · Mute
  • Susan Turner
    Susan Turner
    Awesome meeting. Rudy gave a wonderful talk. I am so glad I found out about meetup and found this group.
    Like · Reply · 14h ago · Mute

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    Sunday, October 08, 2017

    12th Anniversary coming up.....

    The "marriage" with my 2006 Saturn Quad Ion has had some counseling and adjustments. I am happy that we are still together!

    You could say that cooler heads had good ideas that made our day.
    We handled a hot problem that was a surprise when it popped up.

    The mechanics at AAA Car Care heard my version of our A/C difficulties and then did their own consultation under-the-hood with the Saturn. 

    They agreed that some changes had to be made and they had a fact-filled discussion with me. I was optimistic that there might be a simple solution to keep us bonded to each other.

    Fantastic features on a small vehicle had originally caught my eye.
    The hope-for-a-small-leak-that-could-be-fixed-easily did not happen. 

    The $90 diagnostic showed that replacing the condenser was the only option that could be considered, and the reality of our surrounding climate and humidity made that decision easy - we had to chill. 

    Half of the cost was for the parts and the other half was the capable hands that did the labor.
    Experiences during the 11-year union showed that I had properly responded to the GM recall of the ignition system snafu and the Saturn's main expense to me had been only a replacement of her windshield after a 3rd party big gravel truck threw a rock at it. No guilt or fault by either of us.
    No extravagant expenses on either side. Always Regular at the pumps. Steady attention to detail in the partnership meant oil changes somewhat close to what the silly oil-change people suggested. 

    New "shoes" when appropriate where the rubber meets the road. No "nickel and dime" expenses had popped up. The Saturn had NOT ever "run home to mother" at the dealership. (Well, the dealership itself had changed its partner years ago.)
    In short, this $560 A/C challenge could be handled without a drastic disruption of a fine relationship. A two-year warranty on the parts sealed the deal.

    It has been a happy companionship and we look forward to December when we celebrate our 12th anniversary together.

    No sticker shock then..and still none now.

    I have noticed prices have gone up - a lot - since I entered into this relationship.

    My thought is I got more for my money than I ever expected.

    Unique design and features at an affordable cost.

    Can't begin to imagine what features a 2017 Saturn would have offered.

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