Thursday, September 27, 2018

Django Reinhardt Gypsy Jazz..

Last Tuesday night - in the midst of grave concern about approaching Hurricane Florence - the Charleston Music Hall rewarded those of us  who stuck around and ignored the Mandatory Evacuation.

And well we DID stay in town and went to the Django Reinhardt Review show on John Street.

Or, I should say, Rue de Jean, for it was a French Gypsy Jazz sort of evening featuring hours of music and fun starring the Stephane Wrembel Band.

Fastest hands I've ever seen.

While technically it's true that both of us OWN guitars, mine sits collecting dust.

Stephane really PLAYS his... and at a frantic pace!

The bass player was local and had worked with Stephane so he sat in for the bassist who could not make it.

I am a real fan of the music of Django Reinhardt so it was a very satisfying evening even as thoughts of the approaching storm were in my head.

The other guitarist and Stephane alternated, one strumming a rapid background while the other 's fingers flew all over the strings!

They played well together - and have done so for years -  and each had their solo moments.

The drummer used brushes most of the evening and provided a solid backing.

A comforting thought as we entered the Music Hall was a spectacular and non-threatening sunset and colorful cloud formations.

Later, when we were spared the damaging winds and excessive rain and flooding just a few miles to the north of us in Georgetown, I was glad the band decided to venture here.

Two other events had canceled and have been rescheduled at the popular downtown venue.

Dates are put on the calendar many, many months in advance.

Mother Nature has ample opportunity to disregard all the careful planning and bend us to her will.

Fortunately, it was an "All's well that ends well" evening.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A jaunt down Memory Lane..

Danny "The Eskimo" Tichonchuk was a nice guy and welcomed me to the San Diego Union and Tribune Photo Lab with helpful hints. 
He encouraged me to "hang in there" when I was hired and assigned to the tiny Wirephoto Room (still going to school) where I could do course reading after I turned the lights back on.

I often would read during the 7-minutes it took for an AP photo to be transmitted then I would turn off the overhead light, flip on the reddish-yellow "safe light," open the machine, take out the newly-exposed photo paper, wrap a new sheet around the drum, close the machine and then process the one just received in the trays of developer and fixer. Then it would wash for 10 minutes or so after I turned the white light on again.

This was time to "hit the books" again before the cycle repeated itself. And it did over and over as I was privileged to be seeing the BEST examples of news-worthy photography. 

When the prints were properly washed, I would drain them and take them down the short hallway to dry them on the glossy dryer so they would have the shiny finish necessary for use in the paper.

We really didn't worry about extended washing for long-lasting archival quality. These were news photos shot by AP professionals from around the world, and were discarded at the end of the day.

The Photo Editor would have seen the facsimile thin paper copy and alert me when he was really interested in a shot.

Sometimes I got a LOT of reading done for school and other times, not so much "white light."

Stan Griffin started a few of us in Wire photo so we could see these professional images and learn a thing or two about how to be a winner with our camera. Stan knew what he was doing!
After about 6 months I "graduated" to the large room where multiple prints and enlargements were made for the CNS, Copley News Service, working with Al Sund.

Shortly thereafter, I was paired in a small darkroom with Thane McIntosh and went out on my first assignment as a staff photographer for the San Diego Union and the Evening Tribune.

I started this during my sophomore year then took a break from college for four years to concentrate on being a news photographer. I got married, had two children and DID return to USD for my final two years and got my BA in English/Journalism in 1968. 

Stan encouraged me to complete my education and he and Charlie Sick arranged for me to work weekends and split days off when I went back to school.

I never did make the cover of TIME Magazine but I DID graduate in 1968 so I did a bit of manual cut-and-paste to have me featured.

In 1964, my full page in its sister publication LIFE, was for real.

I had snapped two shots of a sign I saw carved in an apple orchard while flying back from shooting aerials of surfers.

The paper turned it down (?) so I offered it to the national magazine. It was the Miscellany Page and I got a byline...and a $300 check.

After I graduated and had my BA in English and Journalism, I wanted to apply to the paper's Copley Training program and move over to the writing side of newspapering.

Stan Griffin broke the bad news to me.

After so many years as a staff photographer, my pay grade was much higher than the entry level for the writing/reporter slot. To use my newly-received diploma, I would have to take a cut in pay.

Instead, I started looking around and got hired as a Researcher by the CBS Cronkite Morning News. A new direction for my career in news.

Here are some miscellaneous views of me in the 1960s:

4 Attachments

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A "Training" update

 More than a year ago, I was dropping a buddy off to catch a train at the Amtrak station in North Charleston.

We both remarked how tired the station looked.

Not a great first image of the Holy City.

But, good news was in the works. Ground had been broken for the long-awaited new station.

 Even better, it was designed to be a multiple transportation hub.

Not only trains but also buses, airport shuttles and - hopefully - quick bus rides to downtown and Summerville.

Most cities have a quick and relatively inexpensive link between downtown and its airport.

Cabs have been the only choice I am aware of right now. Maybe Uber or Lyft too?

The new modern transportation hub should be a welcome change when it opens around the first of the year.

A staffer in the station said rains had slowed progress but they had been told they probably would pack up and move to the new station January or February.

The existing building then would be torn down and be part of a new larger parking lot.

The day I stopped by last month, there was plenty of construction activity.

Drainage ditches were being dug and it looked like interior work on the new building would commence now that the outside was nearing completion.

With staff permission, I walked out on the present loading area to snap some views.

Part of the overhead shelter had been removed and you could see where the new roof would extend in front of the new station.

Scaffolding was still in place as finishing exterior touches were being done.

I liked the flow of the design and included a copy of the printed elevation on display in the existing depot.

One thing I doubt will be seen in the new facility would be the once-familiar telephone booths.

The adjacent waiting room already had two empty spots where the pay phones used to be.

Progress now has most people carrying a phone in their pocket ...along with some quarters that used to feed these Ma Bell devices.

I recall when it was only a nickel! Or maybe I saw nickels being pushed into the coin slot in old movies. and conversations with an operator.
Black and white movies, of course.

Thanks for hitching a ride as I explore the near future of rail service in Charleston.

My Mom grew up in Yemassee and she and her 3 sisters would wander down to the train depot there to watch trains arrive.

Especially when a new batch of young Marine recruits were detraining. and boarding buses to take them to nearby Parris Island.

Oh, Mom!

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

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