Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hard to express THANK YOU...

 As you may recall, a few weeks ago was National Newspaper Carrier Day. YAY.. My brothers and I had done that when we were growing up.

I found out a day or two later, so I took the full-page ad that announced the salute to carriers and attached an envelope with two $5 bills tucked inside.

I hung it on my front yard gate that evening so my unknown carrier would see it when opening the gate to lob my paper up on the porch sometime before dawn.

The next day, my paper was on the porch but the envelope - unopened - still hung where I had put it.

For several mornings, it remained where I had replaced it the evening before....removing it each morning so the mailman would not think the "Carrier" in mind was him (or her) in the afternoon.

Didn't want it hanging there in the morning either when schoolkids trooped past.

Hmm, I tried pinning it to the front of the banister at the foot of the stairs. Nope.

I laid it on the ground at night inside the open gate and various other obvious sightlines. 

Still no taker!

Weeks later, frustrated, I called the paper and explained my futile attempts to reward my carrier with my appreciation for good service.

Good response reaction there and Circulation said it would alert the carrier there was a goodie being proferred.

Finally, I got tired of remembering to hang or place the now faded newspaper page and the soggy envelope out as a gracious pre-dawn present.

Some people just can't accept praise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Blast From The Past

 I was interviewed by a journalist named John Strubel in June 2007, just a few years after I retired from The Post and Courier newspaper.

Stumbled across this today and thought I would share. Hey, if you recall reading it back in 2007...I am impressed!

Chuck Boyd stood in a long line. As he waited, he was thinking. The longer he waited, the more devious his thoughts were. Little did he know it would be a defining moment in his life and his career.

After graduating high school in 1957, Boyd having "no desire to go to college," joined the United States Marine Corps during peacetime. In the wake of completing boot camp, Boyd wanted no part of what was coming next: MP School. He was now looking this option straight in the eye.

"They were all set to send me to Military Police school after boot camp but I lied and told them I had been published in LIFE magazine," remembers Boyd.

Straight-faced, Boyd told the Captain, "I'm a nationally published photographer, sir."

He laughs at the memory now. "There were 23 people in front of me, 25 behind me and only one was assigned to the Camp Lejeune Base Photo Lab." That one person was Charleston native Chuck Boyd.

Then he hesitates, considering the decision he made 50 years ago and says in defense, "It wasn't really a lie, it was a premonition because, six years later, I WAS published in LIFE, the full-back page called Miscellany." (He admits in his personal blog. "I would have been a skinny, lousy military cop.")

That is a fact.

In 1962 Boyd landed at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper as an "inside guy," a photo lab technician, but within a year, he was covering and photographing events.

In 1964, he stumbled on an interesting aerial photo assignment.

"We were flying back from the beach where we had been looking down on surfers," remembers Boyd, and I glanced down and did a double-take because there was a word carved in the ground that was large enough I could see it from the air. I hefted my Speed Graphic camera and shot two pictures as we passed over it.

QUIET. That was the word carved in the ground below me.

Back at the paper, I offered it to the photo editor and he said "Nah, we don't want that." So, as all we photographers were doing back then, we were calling TIME and LIFE," remembers Boyd. "They said send us a copy and I did. Then they called back, not mailing a written rejection slip,  and they said they need a caption! I said, "Wow, this sounds good!"

Boyd jumped in his Triumph TR3 and tried to find the site of where the word was carved. "I could not find the damn thing and had to rent a plane for $90. We circled around and I spotted it again, noting several landmarks. When we landed, I drove to the site and knocked on the man's door.."

"He asked how I found it and said I was the first to ask about it. He explained his orchard is near the end of the runway at Miramar NAS in San Diego and he was tired of the jets making noise and rattling everything in his house. 

He decided to send a message to Mirmar by plowing the word QUIET in his field. He added, he never measured it out or anything, he just eyeballed it," added Boyd.

"I think now they use it as a target to kick in the afterburners and the sound is worse, added the farmer.

Boyd informed the Tribune editors that photo was wanted by LIFE magazine and suddenly the throwaway image had a new value.

His 8-year run with the Union-Tribune placed Boyd - and his trusty camera - alongside people and in places he never imagined possible when he first started snapping family photos as a kid.

Boyd photographed President John F. Kennedy, the Beatles, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Raquel Welch, Liberace, Lyndon B. name it, if it was in San Diego in the 1960s, Boyd most likely photographed it.

He actually photographed Kennedy twice, first as a University of San Diego student photographer in 1960 and again in 1963 with the Union-Tribune.

In 1960 then Senator Kennedy campaigned for President in downtown San Diego. "I worked my way through the crowd, showed my USD ID, said I was the official photographer from the school, and asked a cop on the platform if I could come up there? Moments later I was up there on the stage with him."

Boyd paused one photo showing Kennedy at the microphone, on the computer monitor. He said "innocent times."

Boyd photographed Kennedy again in 1963 when the President received an honorary degree at San Diego State University, just five months before he traveled to Dallas.

The newspaper work was exciting and always new. Every day was another location, another subject. His most memorable assignment did not involve a celebrity, remembered Boyd. "It sounds really weird but a 4-day search for a missing boy in the desert had a happy ending! He was found alive, healthy and I was in the front row taking pictures of him and his smiling face, on the stretcher." 

After leaving the newspaper in 1969, Boyd caught on as a researcher for CBS-TV National news and was assigned to cover the Charles Manson trial in Los Angeles.

"For four months I was seated in the media front row and never wanted to make eye contact with Charlie. I was about 15-feet from him and he looked out in the courtroom crowd a lot. He was just eerie."

During his coverage for CBS, Boyd had the unenviable of seeing Manson at his worst. Boyd returned from lunch early one afternoon, making his way past the Manson Family girls parading and chanting at the entrance.

"The trial had already started and I was the only newsman back in the courtroom.

I was watching Charlie in his usual rubber shower shoes and he did something different. He kicked off the shoes and tucked one leg under his butt. Then he got his other leg under him so he was crouched sitting on his feet in the chair.

Before anyone knew it, he leaped across the defense table toward the judge with a pencil grasped in his right hand, shouting some gibberish!

"I made the mistake of standing and stepping into the aisle and was knocked aside as bailiffs rushed forward, one tackling Manson in the air, smashing him to the ground, then they hauled him out of the courtroom."

This all started when Boyd started taking family photos as a kid. Using a Kodak DuaflexII camera, Chuck snapped pictures of Mom, Dad, and his two brothers. He still has that late 50s Kodak camera.

"You'd expose a 12-shot roll of film. bring it to Walgreens and come back a week later to pick up the prints.," Boyd remembers, thinking of how far technology has advanced since his earliest photography efforts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fact, Fiction and inbetween...

Lots of serious discussion going on about voting in the upcoming election.

First, mainly the military who were out-of-state were able to use an absentee ballot. Makes sense, they probably would have preferred to be HERE I am sure. 

Then, with pandemic fears of infecting each other at the polls, absentee ballots could be sent out to people meeting certain guidelines, and, as I am over 65 years old, I could get one.

Wisdom then decreed that EVERYONE could get a safe-at-home voting process mail-in ballot. OK, made it easy-peasy to vote!  And people started sending them in.

OOPS, not so fast. First we were told someone had to witness us actually signing the ballot. Hmm, my bank lobby is closed so can't go there to seek a notary public to officially be my witness. But, I have a cousin who has the stamp and is licensed as a Notary.

Then we were told anybody could be a witness but a witness was no longer required for our ballot. YAY!
BUT, then the witness requirement came back as people were mailing in votes.

I received my absentee ballot but I waited to see if things would flip-flop again. The Berkeley County voting officials I called said after October 17, I could take my ballot to the Hanahan Library, have someone there witness my signing and then I deposit it in an official ballot collection box!

Fears of mail tampering also would be eliminated so my vote would be valid and counted.

Just like in a true democracy.

Growing up here in Charleston, I often heard about our two rivers coming together to form the Atlantic Ocean. 

Hmm, must be true, I just saw it illustrated on the Internet...

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

"Wait for a break in traffic..."

A few years ago, I bought a newer version of a Canon P/S (a camera called a Point and Shoot) that was light, compact, and small enough to slip into your shirt pocket.

A buddy showed me how to attach a circular holder on the front of my new Canon S90 so I could experiment using various lens filters.

When shooting black & white, a yellow filter makes a blue sky darker and clouds stand out more. A Polaroid one lessens glare as you rotate it, say reflections on the water.
The Neutral Density (ND) filter comes in a wide range of degrees of darkness, sort of like putting sunglasses on the camera.

I have used all of these but the most fun was attaching a very dark ND filter so I could slow down the shutter speed to several seconds and take sharp photos on a very bright sunny day.

Then I positioned my camera on a sturdy tripod and looked down on a typical busy San Diego Freeway from atop the Cabrillo Bridge leading into the beautiful Balboa Park.

Cars are speeding along, almost bumper to bumper below me, BUT the camera's slow shutter speed only captures something that stays still for several seconds.

A shorter exposure would show blurred images but this filter and shutter speed setting presents a completely empty roadway!

In the middle of the day, on a wide-open, multi-laned California freeway ..... zero cars. An impossible scene., but, there's the photo.

Closer to home, with less ND filter and slightly faster settings, I merely slowed down the waves to show the smooth ebb and flow of the white water sloshing and retreating on the rocks, looking out at the iconic Morris Island lighthouse at Charleston's Folly Beach in South Carolina, my hometown.

Hey, the camera doesn't lie but the truth can be altered!

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