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Born Charleston,SC; 4 yrs USMC; 1960 Scholarship to University San Diego; Union-Tribune staff photographer 7 yrs; Graduated USD 1968. Covered Charles Manson trial for CBS TV; 2 yrs at Universal Studios; promoted Southern Calif then Kansas City ConVisBurea

Updated: 2018-02-23T07:22:23.315-05:00


"Picture this...."


My Photo Group had a demonstration of portrait lighting on Saturday.I am pleased I drove to Summerville to attend.A nice small group as Gary set up his lights and a reflector in a nice size meeting place in Coastal Coffee Roasters.Had not been in here before and saw a weekend Farmer's Market was clearing out as we arrived.Gary Eaton pointed out the key light (strobe with a reflector umbrella), and the glowing "hair light"It did just as you could guess, placing emphasis on the hair to show texture as well as separating it from the background.A white reflector added as a "fill light" to make sure the shadows were not too deep and dark.We asked if the vivid background of empty coffee bean bags would be "too busy?"Gary showed how a wide opened aperture on the camera would cause the bags to blur.He controlled that blur by moving back or closer to the subject.We would look at the back of his camera to see the effects of the lighting and positioning after each shot.He described each step in the process as he balanced the light input, shutter speed and effects on the blurred background.Starting with shooting film in the 1970s, he explained that now we could look at a digital image right away.With film, he would shoot multiple images while bracketing exposures to get just what he wanted.Each of us had a turn posing as the others made note of why and how Gary was tweaking the desired results.Truly a demo as opposed to a lecture.We would ask why and he would show us alternatives.As usual, I used my newspaper experience by stepping back and capturing the whole overall scene.Gary would show us the small image on the camera back and later, he would take the time to finesse the image into his final version.These he later posted on the Photo Group's Facebook page.I was pleased the way Gary had positioned me and his instructions to lean one way or the other to make his lighting work on my face.Usually, I am on the other side of the camera so I knew that he had an image in mind and, by following his directions, together we would create a pleasing result.In my case, I now had a current bearded photo that I could use to send out to Casting Directors looking for people to be selected as an Extra or BG (Back Ground actor).Several tv shows - and a movie with Jamie Lee Curtis -  are being filmed in Charleston and I have appeared already in some and hope to be chosen for more.Cameras are not allowed on set so this was a good opportunity to have some new images to send when I apply for a casting call.Oh, did I mention the Coastal Coffee Roasters also houses Oak Road Brewing?I had visited the Summerville brewhouse when on my quest to sample all 23 local craft beer breweries in the Charleston area.I had visited the 23rd one - Commonhose Aleworks - on O'Hair Street in the Park Circle area the second week it had opened.I am diligent so I noted the addition of many new vats at Oak Road.Brewmaster & COO Brian Cox told me they had increased their capacity 10 X and were now distributing kegs all around the Summerville and Charleston area.The t-shirt they had for sale touts the "drink local" concept and continues to promote growth among the growing local brewers population and their efforts.The photographers who had gathered for the demo wandered in and carried pints back next door.We are very supportive of a worthy cause.(Click on the images and links for more details.)Thanks for following my blog and today's "twofer" of a photo session and sippin' some freshly brewed cold suds.Click on Brewery to see what I had to say as I visited all of our local craft beer makers sites and sampled their wares.Stop by often and tell your friends.Thanks![...]

Super Bowl MONDAY breakfast....


(image)  OK. The Super Bowl LII is over.

It was an exciting game and the winner was in doubt as the scoring went back and forth.

No "blow out" here.

Quarterbacks - as usual - drew the most attention and the Eagles QB Nick Foles was named Most Valuable Player (MVP)... both for his passing and for his catching!

Yes, I was among the millions who enjoyed a pizza during the game.

Have no idea how many saved a slice for breakfast the next day.

I DO enjoy some cold pizza.

Along with scrambled egg (whites) and a peeled banana.

Watching my figure.

Here's the magic moment when Nick caught the TD pass.

Fast forward to Nick and the ride he caught with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

No, I did not take the last two pictures. Found them online.

Could not be at home eating pizza AND be at the game.

And, I was not invited to "Go to Disneyland!"

Get up outta your seats!


 Went to see Pink Martini at the Gaillard the other night.Had enjoyed them before, right after we had elected a new Mayor.He was invited to come up and play a song on the piano and later led a Conga Line through the gorgeous place!That time I did not fall in line behind the Mayor but I did send him a photo and received a thank you on his City letterhead.I decided to take a "selfie" as we waited for the show to begin.Remembering my missed opportunity before, I hoped I could get more involved with the 10-piece band.Boy, did I ever!Shortly after they started, an invitation was issued to "the ladies in the audience" to come onstage to dance a number.Many accepted the offer and streamed up the steep steps on each side.I hoped there would be a chance for us guys to also climb up there.A bit later, another offer was made for couples to come up and dance behind the band - a much larger space - so up I went.The view from the stage was great.I liked being behind - and among -  the band for some outtasight angles as they played.Pink Martini's lead singer Storm Large belted out several tunes as we admired the scene from her viewpoint.A fun, special offer that was gladly accepted.I can't ever recall being onstage in such a beautiful setting.Not that I am onstage that often.Once, years ago, while chairing a tourism conference in Missouri in a small hall, I tapped the mic and said: "Ahem, can you hear me in the back?"A male voice loudly bellowed from a curtain behind me "Yeah, yes I can."It was really cool to look at the musicians and the audience in the huge hall from a VERY different viewpoint.The drummer caught my eye and I trained my phone cam on him.I shuffled around in my stage right corner, peeked into the curtained wings and soaked in a satisfying moment.I HAVE been backstage at the Music Farm, coming down the stairs from the Greenroom where the performers had idled and peeked onstage.But, no "peeking" this time. Right out there among them!And, yes, the "traditional" Conga line invitation later was announced and the audience members queued up and filled the aisles.Eventually, they ended up crisscrossing the stage.Maybe a Mayor was needed to organize and lead the bouncing, swaying procession?Needless to say, that audience-involved activity was the finale of the show.It was easier than usual to exit and head to my car.Here are some additional photos from that delightful evening.(Click on the links and photos for more details.)[...]

End of the year!


The Christmas holiday and New Year's Eve (NYE),  are bookends for the year.

Well, at least, the last of one year and the first of the new one.

A December 25 treat for my cat was a toy I found online that fascinates her.

It actually lives up to the excited hype that describes "hours of fun for kitty."

Well, more like short stretches of a few minutes, but she does keep coming back for more.

These impulse buys don't always work out this good.

(image) Still in the holiday mood,  I try to attend the annual NYE (New Year's Eve) "drop in" held downtown for the year's crop of retirees at the Post and Courier, at the paper's offices downtown on Columbus Street.

A nice buffet - with cake - is set up in the paper's large Conference Room on EOY (End Of Year) as close as possible to New Year's Eve.

I worked at the paper only 8 years as opposed to retirees I chat with at this event each year who were there 30 - 40 years or more.

The event is held from 1 pm to 3 pm so I usually opt for the photographer's reserved spot when I see it is empty.

Old habits die hard as I remember being a staff photographer for the San Deigo Union-Tribune Metro daily in southern California back in the 1960s. We were known to park anywhere we wanted when covering breaking news and deadlines were approaching!

I took my annual tour of the building and on the 3rd floor, walked out of the cafeteria to get a view of the back of the buildings going up at the Courier Square.

That was a new scene from the outdoor dining area.

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

Thanks for stopping by.

Please come by again. I'll be here.

Thinking outside of the (pizza) box...


 Joan Perry, a longtime friend - and fellow blogger - notified me about a new catering service being introduced by Mellow Mushroom.She and I both were going to a "preview" at the Mellow's Avondale store to see what new food treats they would be offering along with their famed pizzas.This store was converted a few years ago from a community movie theater. It's long and narrow and there still is a balcony upstairs above the entrance.The balcony has comfortable table seating and a semi-circle table had been set up with a tasty array of the new catering menu.Salads to the left and sandwiches to the right. I happened to be standing near the table as Karen Tassinari, Director of Catering, came over to open the neatly arranged covered boxes of samples.She smiled and said, "You are at the front of the line."I picked up a plate and followed her as she opened and described the contents of soups, signature salads, and sandwiches.Kaen's card says she oversees catering there, King Street, North Charleston and Summerville.Joan arrived as I sat at the table, looking over my choices.She picked her favorites and came back to sit next to me and we compared our plates. We each chose a glass of the house red wine.I said the baby kale, mixed with young spinach salad was tasty.Joan said she had won a raffle recently and Mellow Mushroom provided a diverse catered lunch for 25 of her hospital volunteers at Roper-St. Francis.Joan made it a first-come group because she had many more volunteers.I was pleased she had notified me of this preview in Avondale.I noticed a gentleman seated nearby who seemed to be answering questions about the foods. When I introduced myself, I found he was Todd LeBlanc, the chef who had designed the foods, in from Mellow Mushrooms's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.Joan told Todd about the 25-person lunch that was catered and how pleased she was to have won the drawing. He thanked her for her interest in doing a follow-up to the source.We all agreed this was a much better week to have such event rather than earlier during our ice and snow storm.[...]

Winter Weather in the Lowcountry..


We watched on tv as the icy, snow-laden weather streamed down from Canada.It happens every year and we were somewhat smug that it usually doesn't come this far south.I mean, we are described as "sub-tropic" and we have palm trees.My yard has almost a dozen of them.How South can you get?! Miami-like.Oh, I heeded the drastic warnings and dire forecasts.Oh boy, did I!I realized my plants needed to be tended to.Last year I had purchased a simple, $50 clear, plastic hothouse online from Amazon, just in case I ever needed to protect my smaller deck plants.A l00-watt incandescent light bulb could be plugged in if additional heat protection was needed.There was a brief - but heavy - snowfall in February 2014.That reminded me that in 2010, Wallaby was my cat when we had some snow. He was an outside cat and he itched to go check this.Wallaby galloped bravely down the snow-covered front steps and quickly realized this was NOT the "outside" he remembered.He was out only a few minutes and raced back up the stairs, giving me a look that he did not appreciate whatever joke I was trying to pull! I think he also wanted longer legs.With that quickly melting snowfall, things improved overnight, the palm trees popped back up as the snow melted and the silly Wallaby cat was ready - and eager - to be outside again.The weathermen mentioned that previous brief snow - and the one in Hugo Year 1989 -  but warned this was a Snowmagedden Storm and we needed to make sure faucets were dripping and cross our fingers that the power (and heat!) did not go out when ice burdened limbs and power lines snapped.This storm started late Tuesday with rain.Lots of it, freezing as it hit the ground. I draped a sheet over the exposed plants and switched on the warming light bulb.Wednesday I mainly looked out at the blanket of snow, snug inside and marveling at the amount that had fallen.The excited weather people pegged it at just under 6-inches and Carolina drivers were hearing about the threat of "black ice."That shocker extended all the way down to Tallahassee, Florida so this "climate change" was for real.I had overlooked some items left outside on the deck and saw now I had a pair of "snowshoes."During the day, some snow melted in the sunshine but quickly re-froze at night, creating treacherous slippery patches.This was NOT going to be a brief, chilly inconvenience.Projected temps for the next few days were going to be below freezing.Even to a low of 16 degrees!My slowly dripping faucet was still keeping my pipes from freezing.Hardy younger neighbors had never hesitated to go and romp in the snow while it was still falling.Note the socks used as gloves!I could hear a few cars crunching their way past my house that reminded me of the year I had lived up in Minnesota.Hmmm, were there oleanders that far north?After venturing out into my yard on Thursday, I listened closely to traffic conditions and decided on Friday to attend a quarterly luncheon of the Post and Courier Retirees Gang.I called and learned the restaurant had been closed since the storm struck but had re-opened Friday morning.A slow and careful drive to Liberty Tap Room in Mt Pleasant was uneventful. Whew.Stepped inside and saw the Liberty staff had arranged our meeting space to accommodate the 15-20  guys who usually attended.I saw one other retiree and, soon, two more joined us.Instead of messing up the neat setup, we sat at a table of four and listened to staffers tell us their snow and ice stories and we shared ours.My situation at home was fairly close to the others. We all were concerned and were careful driving.But a few close calls were cited as other drivers drove as if there was no ice and we all agreed, right now slipping and sliding, was a fact of life.Because I did not lose power, my home was toasty comfortable, and my cat just took it fo[...]

Tis the season for eatin'.......


 Ever since I saw the classic movie A Christmas Story, I think of the Asian dinner the family had on Christmas Eve.No goose with a long neck though!I think it is (possibly) a FACT that these restaurants always stay open at Yule time.All the other eateries are closed and the staff is at home with family.The Green Garden opened around the corner from my house last year and - so far - it has been open on Christmas. Got the Lemon chicken and veggies to go.Enough left over for a second meal.My brother and his wife invited me to have Christmas dinner at his house.We ate together on Turkey Day and I had brought along a pie and ice cream.Guess I started a "tradition" -  invite the bachelor bro and he'll bring a pie.This time I bought a frozen one, read the label carefully and baked it for 55-minutes and it was perfect!The crumbled topping and the crust were crispy.I thought he even had provided vanilla ice cream but it was frozen yogurt. Hmm, I'll have to remember that.The day before I had stopped for a late breakfast at a diner on Daniel Island after seeing my skin doctor.She told me the earlier blemish that she had frozen off my cheek was completely gone.She reminded me to apply sunblock there - and on my lips - four times a day to be safe.The dentist tells me to floss after every meal. I listen to both doctors.Well, I DO listen.Please note, I paid extra for the breakfast to add sausage to the bacon that came with it.And, instead of standard hashbrowns, this came with diced potatoes...including some sweet potatoes. How could I refuse?In addition to now actually cooking a meal (well, one frozen apple pie), I have started making Avocado Toast.More than once!This whole idea of living alone and making a grocery list every week (well, sometimes two weeks go by), is still fairly new.The internet is a great source of quick directions. I have had some frozen salmon filets and just figured out they can be zapped in the microwave fairly easily.Meanwhile, Wallis, the orange cat has shown my investment in an amusing cat toy is paying off.She ignored it for more than a week, then she would join me in playing with it until I got bored and walked away.Now, she not only spins the three brightly-colored ping pong balls, using her paw to push them, she will nudge the device around the room until it is sitting where she wants it.She also has added a new feature for it to entertain her...She manages to wrest one of the balls from its loop and it slowly rolls across the carpet.So far, just the pink one, on the bottom.(Clik on the links and photos for more details)Eating and playing with the cat.Retirement is a full-time effort.[...]

A Semper Fi "war story"....


I was telling a buddy of mine how much I enjoyed his stories about his Army days overseas in Italy and aboard troop ships getting there and coming back.He crammed a lot of "unofficial" events into his military memory floggers.Then, one day, I asked how long had he served and he said he was a 2-year draftee.Wow, the tales he told about in that short time span.My only Marine Corps time out of the United States was to an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, which of course, is a territory of the US, along with Guam and, I think,  Samoa.In my four-month stint on the small island of Vieques, in 1960, I was attached as a photographer to a tank Battalion from Camp Lejeune.It also included my only ocean voyage, but not aboard a fancy cruise ship.It was the USS Fremont, a flat-bottomed attack troop carrier from WWII and it bounced us down from North Carolina for 7 days, culminating with a USMC training pre-dawn landing.It was like every war movie I had seen in my young life,  tightening our helmet strap, donning a life jacket, hoisting our backpacks, and slowly climbing down the side of the ship on scratchy brown cargo nets.We timed our release to drop down into the bobbing small landing craft and hoped it would not be surging up when our boots made contact.The training was pretty authentic and we could see and hear loud explosions on the beach ahead.My job as a combat camera toter was to wade ashore and race ahead of the landing troops with my camera.(It helped a whole lot that nobody was actually firing at us!)I remember there were quite a few LCP (Landing Craft Personnel) as daybreak slowly lighted up the beach.We could see signed areas warning us to keep away from the planted explosions that were booming to create the sounds and noise of an actual combat landing of troops.I heard later that two Marines had died when one of the LCPs had sunk. However, I don't recall that was actually ever confirmed.It was my first view of a Marine Corps Amtrack vehicle used in an amphibious landing.Once ashore,the tankers set up their Tent City rows of 5-man units like everyone later saw on tv in M*A*S*H.As a photographer, I was issued a military field portable darkroom.It was divided into a section for storage of equipment and a light-proof side for processing film and making contact b&w prints.These were 4x5 inches, large enough to show the Colonel what I had taken that day of their training exercises with tanks. The darkroom was protected from the sun with a large outer tent that provided shade from the relentless tropical sun.The whole unit was quite a  functional design.It broke down into several large - but manageable - large crates.I scavaged wooden pallets to provide a floor for my workplace and the middle section contained a cooling fan to kept film cool ... and it also was a cool place to store Cokes. As in Rum & Coke and cans of beer.After a site was selected and the unit erected, I saw it was in close proximity to the area of the Officers Club (large tent).I guess a young Lieutenant heard about my neighboring photo operation and he paid me a visit to see what was involved.We became friendy (I was a 20-year old Cpl E-4, he was 23) and he was a very good amateur photographer.We discussed a lot about taking photos and one Saturday morning, he requisitioned a jeep and we took off on a photo jaunt into the "jungle" outside our camp.Not really a jungle and it had a few trails laughingly called roads.As we climbed into the jeep with our cameras, I casually mentioned I had a small .25 caliber pistol. that I would like to include in case there were animals that might be a threat. He said, "Sure, that makes sense."Yikes. He didn't ask why I had a non-disclosed, non-issued, weapon and I can't recall how I got it, why I had it packed in my gear and whatever happen[...]

If not healthy, sure is colorful...


 I say THIS is the message that appears when I step on my bathroom scale.Not true but COULD happen.The other message - as I feel a few more pounds have been added - would be "Come back alone."I showed this to somebody and he asked where did the sign really appear?It's on the entrance door at my Pinnacle Bank branch on Dorchester Road at the end of Ashley Phosphate in North Charleston.I started banking at the Mount Pleasant branch when it was named Southcoast, then became Bank of North Carolina. If you've been to either branch, you know that the door admits you inside but a second door does not open if it detects you have metal on you, like a gun or, I suppose, a sword.It made for an apt sign to indicate I am heavier and need to take another look at what I am eating.A recent house guest - taking a break from Chicago weather - came for few day's visit and I observed he bought different groceries than I do.Healthy dark green salads, fruits, and veggies, but he did use some bread when he made avocado toast.I had this for the first time while in Edinburgh, Scotland.Anyway, he left two avocados behind and I made my version of the breakfast dish.Not bad but I don't see any instant reduction shown on my scale.I do enjoy blueberries and other mixed fruits with my cereal and probably should follow his lead and eat healthier.Into grilled chicken and pork loin - the other white meat - so maybe I will see some lower figures on my scale.Meanwhile, after a lull in activity of building a sidewalk on my side of the street in Hanahan, the SCE&G crews showed up.Fascinating activity as the crews worked to install new power poles and removing the ones blocking the path of the sidewalk.Came a knock on the door and a linesman informed me that my power would be turned off around 10am and they would restore it quickly as possibe once the transition was made to new poles.Crews were working all the way down my street to clear the p[ath of the new sidewalk.They had two trucks with booms and it must be like working activity in space at the International Space Station.No, I think the ISS only has one boom arm.Obviously,  a new pole would be put in place but all the "stuff" already attached would have to be moved to the new one.We are talking about dangerous electrical connections that had to be carefully removed and then placed on a new pole.I used to call them telephone poles but - with everyone carrying and using cell phones, I guess "power" is the correct new name.Another example of how things are taken for granted and are subject to change.Meanwhile, I still look around in my freezer and either "nuke" a meal in the microwave or simply use my frying pan.I got rid of my pop-up toaster to have more counter space and use my toaster oven to prepare my bread slices or blueberry bagels.Sure bread has carbs but at least there is some fruit involved.I'll keep working on my food intake.(Click on the photos and links for more details.) If you have not tried avocado toast it is simple to make.Even I could do it.Burp.[...]

Seeing through the eyes of a visitor...


 T'is the season to do some holiday travel.Not in the crowded skies, but on-the-ground aboard AMTRAKIt was a good sign when my buddy from Chicago arrived two minutes EARLY.It has been a while since I went to our old, old railroad station but I was pleased that the parking lot had shrunk, due to the start of construction of a new intermodal facility.This had been talked about going back to when I first returned to Charleston from Tallahassee, back in the nineties.Doesn't look like much right now but the project has finally started.Dirt is being moved around and the digging of foundations is underway.The new, expanded, modern facility is scheduled to open next summer to welcome travelers.Not just as the passenger railroad connecting point for Amtrak, but also shuttles to the airport, the new Greyhound bus station and CARTA buses headed downtown.Back in 2005, after I had retired from the local paper, I bought a North America Rail Pass that gave me access to all the routes by Amtrak for 30 days.I learned a lot about train-riding as I traveled up and down both coasts and Coast to Coast when I added a trans-Canada trek on a restored 1950s vintage VIA Rail train.One of the parts of the Rail Pass was to include a leg of the journey in Canada.It was an added cost but the First Class posh ride - with my own roomette - was a relaxing Canadian break.Last week my buddy and I had 6 days to get around town and re-visit places we had gone to 3 years before.Last time, the remodeling of The Market had just been completed.So he had to walk through and do some gift shopping with a Southern flavor.Adjacent to the Market was Noisy Oyster where he enjoyed a platter of salmon.It was a sunny noontime and the open windows there went well with a mild, sunny day.I ate my way through a delicious serving of shrimp and grits, with pieces of sausage and crumbled bacon bits.Oh, and a slice of cornbread.Delicious.We spotted a group of (I guess) Amish young ladies in long blue skits and white bonnets.Right across from the Noisy Oyster, several of the older Amish gentlemen were in a lengthy discussion at a booth offering tickets to a carriage tour.Equine horse-power being the center of the conversion I am sure.Sure, it's a cliche or stereotyping but it MIGHT have been what they talked about.We had seen the younger folks as they trooped up the many steps of the Custom House and then came back down and wandered toward the market.We stopped at the Moon Pie Shop where I usually have my guests pose, sitting on the prop moon, set up in the back of the store.Today that area was filled with boxes and I was told they would be closing soon. Aww!Naturally one passes the Four Corners of Law at Broad and Meeting Street.Today I actually had something to mail so we ducked into the Federal main post office. I had not been in there for a long, long time.There was a small area off the lobby labeled History Room and it was pretty interesting.Old equipment, official uniforms of the 1900s era, Confederate stamps and currency and other odds and ends, like an odd-looking numbering machine in addition to old typewriters.There were many racks of various hand stamps that reminded me of summers at the Folly Beach post office in the fifties.My grandmother worked with Jimmy Ballard, the Postmaster, and she would let me take naps on piles of scratchy mail bags and "help her" as I hand-canceled tons of colorful postcards. Well, small stacks.I was probably 10 or so. Center Street had not been paved yet. It then was crushed oyster shells.My Chicago visitor and I wandered around today's Folly Beach Island - lunch at Rita's - after walking out to the end of the fishing pier. We saw craftsmen working on encasing damaged support pilings with a protective skin of concrete.Then I drove us [...]

Another anniversary...


 The date - November 22 - brings sad memories of President John F. Kennedy.My actual vivid recollection was in downtown San Diego when Senator Kennedy came to California, campaigning for the highest office.It was 1960 and I was a 21-year old former Marine Corps photographer who had just started as an older freshman at the University of San Diego.Some buddies and I skipped classes and went downtown to see this young candidate.Of course, I had a camera with me and stood at the back of the large crowd that had turned out in this basically Republican city.A few months before, I was at Camp Lejeune, N.C. as a Corporal E-4, trying on my new civvies before my discharge and heading home to Charleston.USD had offered me a photography scholarship and I jumped at the chance to be the first one in my family to attend college!As a designated Marine Combat Photographer, I was not shy about moving up through the crowd to get closer to the candidate.I've told this story before that I looked up at a policeman on the raised platform and held up my camera.I told him I was the official photographer from the University of San Diego and wanted to be up there for better photos.He had no problem with that and gave me a hand up.I was now standing on the end of the platform with a great view of the crowd, the dignitaries, and the candidate himself.Waited until he stretched out his left arm to make a point and turned his body and face in my direction."Click."As he finished his speech, Senator Kennedy was applauded and I hopped down to street level to photograph him coming down the steps, shaking hands. Got a few more photos as someone threw confetti.As I said, I was a newcomer to San Diego, trying to adjust my military mind to civilian activities.I recall I was wearing my USD windbreaker that day which no doubt helped the police officer decide I was not a threat.Back on campus, I watched the candidate's debate and generally was in tune with supporting the Catholic candidate. I mean, it was an 11-year old Catholic University and I was an eligible voter. There was a separate College For Men and a College for Women with the beautiful Immaculata Chapel situated between the two.The year after I graduated, the colleges combined and it was a true University, also with a School of Law, and a large seminary.With my photography background, I started to visit the downtown newspaper, the Union-Tribune and made sure to stop in the Photo Lab to chat with the staffers there. And the boss.About a year later, I was hired to be a lab tech and wire photo operator. After six months working inside the lab, I was sent out on assignments and became a staff photographer.In 1963 I was part of a team dispersed around San Diego to cover the arrival of President Kennedy.He was to receive an honorary degree from San Diego State and be the commencement speaker.With Secret Service approval and our newspaper credentials, we photographers and reporters swarmed all over State's campus and along the route of the Presidential motorcade in and out of the city.I had a plum assignment.Here I was again, on the left side of JFK, using a long lens to capture the moment and the happy June graduation crowd.The President flew to Dallas five months later.As I said, I have posted my photos of the candidate and, later, the President on my blog before.I'll probably share them again in the future.(Click on the photos for more details.)Thanks for sharing these memories.[...]

A very happy Veterans Day....


Burp.  I ate my way through Veterans Day 2017.There were invites by more than one eateries and I availed myself of a few.I even received a vet's voucher for a free haircut!Don't remember doing this before but it WAS the 60th anniversary of my becoming a U.S. Marine.Living in Charleston back then, my Reserve Unit had merely shipped me down to Parris Island in 1957 on a Greyhound bus.My lunch on Saturday was at Chili's, a national chain restaurant that had a special menu to treat veterans.My plans were to go have a free seafood dinner later so I chose the Old Timer burger. With cheese.Very fitting...for me.The restaurant was packed with happy - and hungry - vets and families.I had no drink or desserts so no check was presented. I handed my server $5 as a tip and hope everyone else did so.My choice for dinner was Hyman's Seafood and I saw many G.I. haircuts as I sat at the bar downstairs.I also saw some salty dudes with no hair. "Thank you for your service" was heard all around me.Hyman's offered a free entree up to $20. I chose to enjoy their Crispy Flounder at $18.95.Along with a Palmetto Amber, the restaurant would not be losing much with the $20 freebie for vets.I sat next to a nice-looking young couple and when I showed my red former service ID card, he asked if I was a Marine. I replied that I was and found he too was a Marine and his wife was Air Force.They asked what I did in the Corps and I said my MOS was combat still photographer. They said they knew others with that title and I added Being in 1957-1960, I was fortunate never having been under fire.Down the bar I saw a man with a David Letterman-like very full white beard.Have no idea if he actually WAS Letterman but the retired talk show host had to be somewhere and Charleston would have been a good choice.Hyman's places small brass plaques on tables showing what celebrities had sat there but I don't think they add those to the bar seats.It was my first time NOT sitting at a table so I was enjoying being among the chattering crowd being seated or stepping inside on a brisk evening, waiting for their names to be called.Nobody else seemed to think the bar patron was Letterman so I focused on my flounder, hushpuppies and the mac and cheese side.Oh, and my local craft beer.I had had my hair cut the day before and my regular barber noted it would have been free the next day.He suggested I stop by on my way to my Veterans Day lunch and he would give me a voucher for a free haircut, to be used before the end of December.I have had a beard for a year now so the picture shows me a few years ago, posing in front of his shop.I usually have my hair cut every 5 or 6 weeks, so I am sure I will use this freebie before the end of the year.(I am about to shave off my beard so this is a reminder to me of how I will look again.)Hmmm, I also stopped wearing glasses after successful cataract operations so I won't look exactly like that again.My evening ended when I stopped by the newest craft beer Brewery - MUNKLE - and chatted with the Owner/Brewer R. Palmer Quimbly.He opened a few weeks ago at 1513 Meeting Street Road and stated the only beer he would brew would be Belgian."No IPAs here, ever. They are too hoppy and burn your palette." I mentioned I had been in Belgium, taking a train down from Amsterdam, and had enjoyed my time - and beers - I had in Bruges. He poured me a tasty Bruges Brun (Brown ale) and pointed out his dog, sitting in the corner, was named Brugges, the Belgian spelling. He also pointed out items of furniture he had refinished and showed me photos hanging on the wall of familiar Belgian sights and sites.One included the famed Half-Moon brewery where I had continued my beer education.I said I had been told there are more t[...]

Meanwhile, down in Savannah....


 Had a brief - but pleasant - visit a  week ago down south in lovely Savannah.A 9-person musical group that we had seen in Toronto back in 2004 was bringing its hot Swing Jazz sound to town.Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was performing at a fairly new performance site a little bit away from downtown.The Stage On Bay resembled a warehouse from the outside but was set up pretty good inside for an evening of music.Folding chairs down front, a cleared dance area behind the seats, a full bar and even a VIP balcony area.The bar had TWO Irish whiskies: Jameson and Bushmill. Nice.We support live music, loved the band's contemporary swing revival sound and wanted to lend a hand to the new venue.The place is still a little rough around the edges but we hope it grows as a needed new entertainment outlet for Savannah.They might want to re-think the rather high $10 parking fee.The band's founder and lead singer Scottie Morris informed us the Southern California-based group has been around for 37 years ...with the same, original 9 musicians.I remembered there was a 5-piece horn section and they did not disappoint!A stand-out was Glen "The Kid" Marhevka on trumpet.Joshua Levy, composer, and pianist shared one side of the stage with bassist Dirk Shumaker.The drummer was Kurt Sodergren.Their new album "Louie, Louis, Louie" is a tribute to Armstrong, Jordan, and Prima.We heard some cuts from the new release as well as some Cab Callaway classics like "Minnie the Moocher."Leader Scottie Morris kept a fast pace on guitar, banjo - and even cowbell  - as he directed his long-time band through an energetic evening.Before the show, we had checked out two of the three craft beer breweries.We learned that the burdensome Georgia beer brewing dictates imposed in the past, recently had been eased and now a fourth brewery was in the works.Our experience in Atlanta with craft breweries earlier this year ago had been tasty but a bit confusing. There was a strong emphasis on giving a tour and limiting how much beer could be consumed in a taproom.I feel that Georgia has seen the light and there will be more breweries there in the near future.At Southbound Brewery, the first one we sampled, I enjoyed its Southern Delight Praline Amber, obviously with pecans in the mix.Southbound even had its own Brew Cat on premise. Did not get the guardian's name.Dire warnings about it being a "savage beast"  were discounted as it purring-ly roamed its turf all around inside.Then, it ambled out to the patio for a snooze among its new beer-drinking friends.I didn't try to pet it but I am told its fur was as soft as a cuddly bunny rabbit.I guess using actual rabbits would be a challenge, even more so than herding cats. When we sipped beers at Coastal Empire Brewing, one distinctive draft pull caught my eye.It denoted a part of Savannah's recent past with "the book"...Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. Nice touch.Hmmm, odd that none of the Atlanta breweries we had visited had come up with even a slight nod to the classic Gone With The Wind. Maybe a Scarlett (O'Hara)?Or (I Don't) Give A Damn.Just plain GWTW would make some visitor ask what that meant... and then perhaps try a pint.I leave all of these on the table for ANY brewing Company in the state of Georgia.Hmmm, trying to think of some good names for brews in Charleston not offered yet...maybe: Rainbow Rye beer?The Battery Bock.  Morris Lighthouse Lager.How 'bout Gose Creek?Summerville Saison?  Sangaree Stout?Between breweries in Savannah, we were referred to Treylor Park on Bay Street for a meal.It offered a slightly different decor and menu.The ambiance was road warrior and mobile transit residence.I settled on the Chicken Biscuit and collard greens so[...]

Don't step on a crack...


 Recently, I saw that a knee-high black plastic tarp had been placed in a shallow ditch in front of my house.In fact, as far as I could see, it was stretched in front of ALL the houses on my side of the street.A few days before, I had noticed colorfully painted lines on the pavement - blue, orange, yellow, and green - that showed where gas, water, and sewer lines were located.I expected some construction digging was going to happen. Been down that street before.Years ago, the city had dug up water connection pipes in the middle of the street.During that activity, a gas line had been clipped and the distinctive rotten egg smell filled the air.There was an adrenaline-rush of activity as word was spread of the possible danger.But, the leak was quickly repaired. No harm, no foul.So it was comforting that efforts had been made to locate potential danger zones.The contracted labor force showed up and starting to carve away a large portion of the lawn I had kept mowing by the street.I knew it was right-of-way but nobody else came by to cut it so I would hop on my riding mower.Heavy equipment arrived and dug out a rough path of what would become a sidewalk.The city had sent out a flyer to all of the homes affected by this new addition on my side of the street.It described the why, how, and when and - happily - assured us it was funded by a grant so home-owners would not be assessed for the improvement.Yay!Chatting with some neighbors, we realized it was to be a limited length of sidewalk.Children walked along this street to their school bus pickup points.The concern was for their safety.In the afternoon, flocks of after-schoolers walked down the middle of the street, to the consternation of impatient drivers.This project would help the drivers and increase safety for the walkers.After the path was cut, the root-filled dirt was hauled away and fresh construction soil was laid down as a smooth foundation.I quickly learned that half the workers were "Soil guys" and the others were the "Concrete team."Each was doing its part up and down the street, in sequence to allow the next step to be taken.That step appeared to be the placement of wooden strips to form the sides and ends for the later pouring of concrete. I believe those are called"forms."Once the foundation was made and the forms placed, a large cement (concrete?) truck rumbled up the street.It gets in place, its long chute is extended and wet concrete comes sliding down.Now the "concrete team" uses a long 2x4 to push and massage it into all the cracks and crannies to make it uniform.Several "finishers" follow along with long-handled toolsto buff and smooth the quickly drying surface.Eventually, there's just one man on his knees, giving the surface a final touch with his trowel.By now, it's starting to look like a sidewalk - but - something is missing.There are no "cracks" in it.I was told that once it had hardened or cured, another team member comes back with a saw and cuts the lines.These allow for expansion and contraction and that helps to keep it from cracking. Your Mother's Back is not a factor.The teams are now working further down the street.My strip of lawn that has been altered is just about ready for foot traffic.I keep receiving mail and putting mail out front with the red flag up for the mailman to retrieve.Not sure what was the purpose of the tarp?The teams have to do special work on driveways so they'll be back again nearby.My only complaint so far is a dangling wire that was snapped by one of the sidewalk builders vehicles.It is nose-high for the school children who soon will be passing by on the safety addition walkway.Human nature means someone is going to [...]

"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.Yikes.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 networkThree 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 f[...]

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.[...]

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[...]

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'DonnellReally enjoyed last night's get together. Already learned a lot. Looking forward to the next time!Like · Reply · 8h ago · MuteTonyaI 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 · MuteChuckLots of new faces and long-timers. Spirited conversations about Macro and ND from Rudy who knows his stuff!2 · Like · Reply · 12h ago · MuteDcGood Meetup, Rudy did an excellent job!Like · Reply · 12h ago · MuteSusan TurnerAwesome meeting. Rudy gave a wonderful talk. I am so glad I found out about meetup and found this group.Like · Reply · 14h ago · Mute[...]

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.[...]

Thirsty for some new brews....


11 days ago, the long-awaited Edmund's Oast Brewing Company opened its doors as the 21st local craft beer brewery.I was fortunate to have General Manager Devin T. Marquardt chat with me at the bar and give me a behind-the-scenes tour of the new facility.They will be adding additional products and right now are pouring four new draft beers and two cask ales.First cask ale I've had at a brewery. It bodes well for the future.Closed For Business on King Street has one cask setup and, I believe, there are two cask stations on Vanderhorst at Kudu. The problem has been getting the beverage from a brewery.Up till now, brewers had to juggle things around to make a small, delicate batch of this ale.Time and circumstances dictated when this might happen.Apparently, bars were never sure when a keg would become available.Now we have a local brewer who is committed to brewing it often to supply its own taps daily and, of course, to pour at its nearby namesake restaurant.A few weeks ago, as this area began to hunker down for the approaching hurricane Irma, there was a long-awaited opening of local craft brewery number 20.Well, Pawleys Island Brewing in North Charleston had not factored in a hurricane but the opening went well.Head Brewer Daren McLean gave a guided tour and explained the steps involved in making their beers.A Friday-after-work group from nearby Bosch arrived and quickly designated this would become a weekly local stop.Founder Fraser Blake, was behind the bar, talking about their goals for the brand new entity.All around him, snazzy new blue t-shirts were being sold that displayed the turtle logo elements.Several other new breweries are planned around the Charleston area and a few are close to opening, notably Munkle on upper King and Commonhouse Aleworks on O'Hear  in the Park Circle area.Living in Hanahan, the East Montague 3-block beer, wine, and eats places are close at hand so any and all new openings have my attention.As usual, I will stop in, sample what they have to offer and try to spread the word with my blog.It's a pleasant task...which just happens to rhyme with Cask!.* I had a vast array of casks while in Europe and the UK. Here I am in Edinburgh after the barkeep offered to let me "pull my own."I had asked if I could take a photo of him pulling my choice and he said "NO."I was taken aback until he added: "It will be me taking a picture of you doing that!And he did. It tasted delicious.I can add barkeep to my resume.[...]

Something about "compound interest"....


I receive a daily "newsletter" from San Diego compiled and edited by former newspapermen (and women) who had worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. I was a staff photographer there in the 1960s and belonged to the editorial staff as opposed to pressmen and plate makers. I like to submit an item now and then and the "Editor" Jack Reber graciously includes them in the newsletters. Here is a recent one I submitted:  CHUCK BOYD writes:I had mentioned a while back that in 1964 I took a photo of QUIET plowed into a field near Miramar. The paper was not interested so I offered it to LIFE magazine.Back in the sixties, LIFE was a biggie and the photo staff all had fired off photos, hoping to be part of this national treasure.  We usually received polite rejection slips.          This time they CALLED me to say they wanted it for the Miscellany Page at the back of the magazine. A full page in LIFE!          It ran in 1964 (yes, I have a copy or two) and I received not only a photo credit for me - and the newspaper - but also a check for $300. Wow.          I was telling someone about this and he said: "I wonder what that would be worth in today's dollars?" I Googled that query and got this back...          According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.98% per year. Prices in 2017 are 689.6% higher than prices in 1964.          In other words, $300 in the year 1964 is equivalent to $2,368.90 in 2017, a difference of $2,068.90 over 53 years.          Too bad I didn't invest that $300.Today there was a follow-up comment by a fellow photographer:ERNIE COWAN writes:Regarding payment for Chuck Boyd's "Quiet" image:Sadly, today the photographer would earn very little for a similar shot. The advent of digital photography and good cameras has made everyone a "photographer." Two examples:          I lead photo tours and it amazes me that just about everyone who participates has a business cardIdentifying them as some kind of photographer. Most have no real clue about taking pictures. Also, I was recently contacted by a resort asking to buy some of my images to promote their property. I quoted standard rates, and the person at the other end laughed, saying "I could find dozens of similar images on Facebook for $15 each."[...]

"My Friend Irma"....NOT!


When we first heard about the huge category 5 Hurricane Irma with winds of 180mph heading our way, the state of South Carolina paid attention. Many still remembered the devastation by Hurricane Hugo in 1989  when it clobbered Charleston with a direct hit. As it got closer, the "spaghetti" trails on the weather forecasts seemed to center on Charleston,Well, it sure seemed that way to me!OK, we all began preparations to be ready. I moved all of my deck plants inside.I stored chairs, tables, lamps and other items that would fly around like deadly missiles in the projected huge wind.I did leave up all the wind chimes, I remembered my dad telling me years ago "Don't hang up another one, there's not enough wind for two." I think he was joking.He also said he didn't like all the noise they produced.Dad could be difficult at times. He thought the same of me I am sure.A gallon of water per day per person seemed to be the norm suggested. I was all set for the long haul.Glad I thought ahead because about a week out, all the  expensive bottled water suddenly evaporated from store shelves. I filled empty sweet tea jugs with tap water.Also, the bathtub would be filled to be used to flush toilets if needed. Plan for the unexpected.I also saw a telling sign at Home Depot.This warning alerted buyers of generators not to even think about bringing it back after the storm passed.You buy it, you keep it.Mine is 11 years old and has NEVER been used during an emergency.I did crank it up ever so often and followed the suggestion to drain the gas out each year so things didn't get all gummed up.Armed with a generator,  I decided to hunker down and ride it out. I hoped for the best and reminded myself this house withstood Hugo and all the other storms since it was built in the 1950s. The 2-story is elevated and never has had more than a large puddle form in the yard so not likely to be flooded.My buddy booked a room for himself in Atlanta for Sunday and Monday, just in case we remained a major target on the weather forecasts. He also could cancel on short notice.Charleston started to relax a bit as the projected track wandered Westward. The warning tone shifted to a pretty sure tidal surge but I live 12 miles from the coast so didn't worry about beach erosion in my back yard. Those with houses on beaches had real concerns of course and it could be very damaging from flooding and brute force slamming ashore on a high tide.I asked my brother about his son living in Tampa, the new designated ground zero after Irma had her way in the keys and lumbered up the state. He responded that the family of four people - and 2 dogs - had hopped in their van and were heading to stay here until it was safe to return to Tampa/Clearwater.The wind is still just a breeze this Sunday afternoon and, on my tv in the background, I am hearing dire reports from Florida as well as detailed local updates from our mayors, first responders, and even the Coast Guard. We are indeed a harbor city.Hope to wake up tomorrow with an all clear as stormy Irma decreases intensity and continues limping north into hurricane history.(Click on the photos for more details.) Thanks for hunkering down with me. Hope you and your families are safe. [...]

"It's Istanbul, not Constantinople......."


I remember the ditty about what was once called Constantinople, that is now known as Istanbul.It must have been a geography lesson in high school. so that would have been in 1953 - 1957.The "Queen of Cities," as it was known during the middle ages, was the capital of the Byzantine Empire until it fell in 1453, and then the Ottoman Empire until 1930.That's when the name was changed by the Turkish National Reforms.Google or Bing told me all this. It was NOT from my 1950s memory.I did know I liked strong Turkish coffee.After my haircut at Great Clips near Tanger outlets, I stopped in to check out a new restaurant that had just opened.The hostess Nicole greeted me at the door and gave me a tour, telling me all about the new buffet offerings.I asked how long had it been open and she said: "Seventeen days and tomorrow will be my first day off!"  Nicole was smiling so I knew she was related and not just an employee.I mentioned I had enjoyed Turkish foods while vacationing overseas,Especially kabobs.She asked if I preferred chicken or lamb I said both so I watched the chef fanning two kabobs being cooked over a charcoal fire.My meal was coming together.The shawarma was being shaved off both the chicken and the lamb/beef combo as they slowly turned on vertical spitsI saw the fresh pita bread next to the familiar hummus and the roasted eggplant dip.Aha..Baba Ghanoush.Nicole oversaw the construction of my buffet meal.I tasted the Falafel and several variations of eggplant.The several round tasty balls of falafel were what I thought might be Middle Eastern hush puppies.Turned out to be crunchy, spicy rolled up chickpeas.So they were added to my plate with pita bread, along with the hummus and Baba GhonoushAs I started eating, more customers came in and one couple asked about the sushi?Nicole explained there was no sushi and agreed that, yes, the sign with "Shish" did sort of look like sushi and she seated them and started pointing out various items on the menu.I was shown two types of Turkish coffee. I picked one and Nicole said she would start getting it ready.Like most foods and beverages, it needed to be fresh and hot.I added "and strong," served in a demitasse cup.She brought a cup and poured the thick, dark coffee and advised me to wait a bit before drinking it."It is hot of course, but it's unfiltered so give it a few moments to let the grounds settle."I waited and sipped the strong flavored coffee, pretty sure this was not on the menu at Starbucks.The meal break just happened when I noticed the restaurant newcomer. It was a pleasant meal experience and I am sure I'll stop by again.Leaving, I looked closely at the sign. I didn't think it said Sushi at all.*I added a photo that shows more of my buffet meal.Man does not live on pita alone.(Click on the images and links for more details.)Actually, I was in the area again a few days later and stopped by.This time I tried the Turkish coffee with the green label.After it cooled and I sipped I realized that GREEN is the worldwide symbol for decaffeinated coffee.Yikes.It lacked the "punch" of the other cup I had had on my earlier visit.[...]

Hey, it's getting darker....


Yes, as L'il Orphan Annie sang, "The sun'll come out tomorrow," after the stunning and awesome 2017 eclipse in Charleston, S.C.         I had planned it pretty good. Slipping on my approved solar glasses, I had checked where the sun was in the sky several days at 2 pm when I stood on my deck in Hanahan.It looked like I could be seated comfortably and track it easily as the sun was gobbled up by the moon and arced across the sky.The total black out would happen before the sun dipped behind trees, so I was good to go!Unfortunately, those pesky clouds rolled in about two minutes before the eclipse reached totality.Sadly, I stepped inside and watched the "money shot" scene on tv. Bummer!It could be seen happening about 12 miles away on our barrier islands of Mount Pleasant and the Isle of Palms. Coastal breezes that we usually love had blown all the clouds my way!          Until the sun was blanked out, I had enjoyed watching the crescent sun that gradually mimicked the moon on our state flag before the rains came.I went back out on my deck, taking off the safety glasses.The sudden and complete brief 2-minute afternoon darkness was awesome!It got quiet - no birds chirping -  and all of my solar-powered yard and deck lights came on. My confused indoor cat ambled off to take yet another brief nap.          Several members of my Photo Group* were in the right places nearby and posted some really nice photos, (thanks, Rudy Lutge) including this great "Diamond Ring" one by Brian Smith.          I had planned to relax and just enjoy the experience and not even bother taking photos for a change. I saw my neighbor and family in their back yard, sitting in chairs and looking up and, later holding altered cereal boxes to get a pinhole camera effect.Member of the 21st Century Photo Group, Joseph Nienstedt, was able to shoot through a thin layer of clouds He caught this crisp shot as the sun started peeking out around the shadowing moon. This was when I would have put my solar glasses back on if I had had that great view.I think I scared some folks the day before when I posted a picture of my real solar dark glasses and a pair of some old 3-D glasses I found in a drawer.There was concern that I was dumb enough to damage my eyes wearing the wrong pair.I knew that National Geographic - and the NASA people in town - would produce better images than I could hope to with my small pocket-size Canon sx280HS. Hmm, but it does have a 25mm - 500mm zoom lens.Fortunately, my group members really came through.I was disappointed to have missed the several minutes of the awesome totality.Our tv weather persons were very apologetic about the cloud cover that wiped out views in Summerville, Ladson, North Charleston, Hanahan, and others.NBC's Al Roker, was aboard the USS Yorktown over at Patriot's Point in Mt. Pleasant.Al gave his morning report on the Today Show and stuck around to see the eclipse from the last view spot in the United States in South Carolina.He and all the people who chose to drive to the beaches made good choices and saw the heavenly display.(Click on the photos and links for more details.) Hopefully, you were in a clear sky spot and enjoyed the total experience. 2024 I'll get anoth[...]

Just chillin'....finally


 Bad as this looks - inside your home in Charleston, S.C.  in August - it kept going up!Hotter and hotter.It peaked out at 95 and then cooled a bit that night.Fortunately, I had several Tower Fans that I added to my bedroom to augment the ceiling fan.I slept fitfully... and somewhat moist.When I had awakened the day before, I was sweaty and I had a panicky thought "Oh, no, has the Air Conditioner broken?"Sure enough, the temp on the thermostat was at 88 and was rising.I called the company that had sold me the unit and installed it many, many years ago and asked for a repairman to come check it out. She said it might be Saturday - or even Sunday - before that could happen. Yikes. That was not what I wanted to hear.This was the company I had paid annually for twice-a-year inspections and adjustments.I was doing my part to keep it humming along and it had stopped humming.She contacted the repairman who had visited me two times a year and he called me.He had been off work, recovering from some broken bones after a fall but led me through the steps I had taken.He said it MIGHT be a malfunctioning thermostat that failed to start the compressor.I liked the sound of that, bought a new Honeywell wall unit, replaced the old "suspect one" and...nothing happened. Still watching the ambient temperature climb even as I jabbed in the desirable lower temps.The fellow on the Honeywell HOT line (see what I did there?) had me do several things and finally said his product was working fine but the compressor was not answering the command being sent to turn on. I brought several additional fans into the bedroom and decided I would get through the night and cross my fingers that I would hear from an AC repair person in the morning.During the afternoon, I did learn that the cat does not like fans blowing air in her face.My side of the house has windows that opened vertically at each end so I opened them to let the cooler night flow in.Well, it was a lovely thought. Instead of getting into the 'hammock" she made on the bottom of the bed's box spring, she slept curled up in the front hallway.Don't think any air was flowing there but how do you dissuade a feline when her mind is made up?I also didn't think there was an alternative.Fans obviously were out for her.I am sure we both spent an uncomfortable night.I called a different HVAC company this morning that had a 4.9 out of 5 approval rating and lots of July and August testimonials that touted their attitude and service. I figured a weekend call would be expensive but there was the cat to worry about, who depended on me to do the right thing.As I waited for a callback that he was on his way to my warm house, I suddenly remembered a smart thing I had done several years ago.There are so many!In the event of an AC failure, I had bought a 5,000 BTU window unit to give me a cold spot as things got sorted out! And a cool night's sleep!The windows on my side of the house would not accommodate it but my Mom's bedroom - now a spare room - had windows perfect for this. I unboxed it, set it in place and turned it on. Blessed cold air!I quickly put Kibble and water in there and tossed in the cat.My phone rang, the repairman had arrived and he came in and began to fiddle with the thermostat.Instead of going up in the attic, he went to the outside portion of the HVAC and then I heard the AC click[...]