Sunday, July 6, 2014

Demorest, Georgia fireworks brought to you by United Community Bank, July 4, 2014

Other than a click here, and a click there, it has been 2 years since I broke out my camera gear for an "event." Even after retirement, it still seems like work. Still, I could not take "just one photo," hence my small presentation of the 4th in small-town America. Thank you, United Community Bank for the firework display.

Lesson to newbie photographers: Location is the most important thing when shooting fireworks, at least when shooting for a newspaper. Knowing the location of the launching of the fireworks is equally important in determining where you set up your gear. Photo editors do not want to see explosions in the sky. They want people, foregrounds and backgrounds. I did not do my homework when scouting for a location and ended up on a dark hill with a rooftop below me. Great for viewing, but lousy for shooting. I left my strobes at home, purposely, and was not able to pop people into the frames. I had my 200 2.8 Nikon on a tripod but was too close, and so ended up shooting with 2 other hand-held cameras. Thank goodness there was no photo editor at the end of this shoot, nor any deadline. The beauty of retirement. If I shoot the fireworks next year, I will be more respectful of the location rule.

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Demorest, Georgia, home of Piedmont College



My normal photo essay would have included a ton of festival photos. This young gent sums up the 4th perfectly.



A few snaps at Piedmont College






When was the last time you bought 2 drinks for a dollar?


A few fireworks









  













Trivia: Ever wonder why there are no true "blue" fireworks (except in photoshop)? Because they are hard to make and crazy expensive. Most fireworks are primarily white, orange, and yellow, with a few violets, mauves, and greens thrown in for effect. You seldom see the "blues," even in New York or D.C. shows. When you see a lot of blue fireworks you know a city or country has paid dearly for them. Keep your eyes peeled on the 'round the world New Year's Eve fireworks. You are bound to see some affluent country strut the blues. I love 'em.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

52nd annual Mountain Laurel Festival in Clarkesville, GA - May 17th, 2014

"A flower's appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect." ~ Terri Guillemets

I went from February to August to June and now I am back, or up, depending on your following of my blog, into May. All this cold weather is making me dream of warmer days, or hallucinate. A few days ago I was walking around in a tee and shorts. Today, I am bundled up like it was Christmas - even wearing my Christmas sweater, not the ugly one, the gift one.

While cleaning files, I ran up on this photo of the Mountain Laurel Festival, and thought, "Wow! Pretty soon our yard, mostly filled with mountain laurel, will be ablaze in pink and white. And with the Mountain Laurel Festival just around the corner, it must be almost spring!"

I did not take a lot of photos at the festival, but I had a great time enjoying my first trip back in 10 years.

Happy Almost Spring!

No, those are not Mountain Laurels in the photo.


Now, what is wrong with the below photo?


I saw the goof in this photo before I took it, but decided not to move the plastic cup on the railing. Doesn't take much to mess up a good photo.  However, if I had been taking this for the newspaper, I would have had 2 choices: 1. Wait until someone moved the cup, not an option when on a deadline. 2. Shoot the photo as it now appears. Why? News photographers are not supposed to tamper with photos. Remember the award winning AP photographer who took a combat photo and photo-shopped another cameraman's photo out of the photo?  He lost his job.

BTW, I attended my first Taste of Clarkesville event this past Fall. I took no photos, but I was impressed with the event. I think this September (moving right along with those months, aren't I? Might as well keep my Christmas sweater nearby) will be their 5th year. Mark your calendars for September 27, 2014, and come on an empty stomach. Most likely, I will be camera-free again this year; I will need both hands to shovel all that food into my mouth.

Update: No, no, no...I have no more photos from last year. And no, I will not be taking photos this year - well, perhaps 1 or 2, for me. Habersham County is awash in photographers; they have you covered.  And yes, our yard is now full of blooming mountain laurel. No, I have not taken any photos.

Habersham County, Georgia Big Red Apple

“What goes up must come down.” ~ Isaac Newton

I have the Roku streaming player. Last weekend, I was marathoning House of Cards. After seeing the South Carolina peach episode - yes, it does like a you-know-what, I was thankful that my county has a Big Red Apple as its fruit mascot. By the way, Newton was wrong. This apple won't be coming down.


Vote Charles Otto Maryland House of Delegates, District 38A, 2014

 “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” ~ Spencer Johnson, writer



Those who know me, know I have never openly promoted a candidate. During my long newspaper career, I have been paid to photograph candidates, asked to photograph candidates, photographed candidates because someone high-up expected it of me, and photographed candidates because they were in my line of sight. This post will be a first, in that I am asking everyone  to vote for Incumbent Charles Otto, Maryland House of Delegates, District 38A in 2014.

 
Since I still own a home in this district, it is in my best interests to persuade you to vote for the person who I believe will be the best candidate. Delegate Otto has served our area well. He succeeded Delegate Page Elmore, a man I admired and respected, and one whom I know we all miss. Thanks to the blessings of his constituents, Delegate Elmore's wife, Dr. Carolyn Elmore, proudly carried on his duties for several months after his passing. Dr. Elmore also supported Delegate Otto in his first bid for delegate, and continues to support him in his re-election. That is a good enough reason for me to support Delegate Otto for a second-term, though I have many valid reasons to believe that he is the best candidate.

Since I am now registered to vote in Georgia, I can no longer vote in Maryland, so if you know someone who is not registered to vote, get them signed up, and tell them to vote for Otto, Likewise, if you have someone who is registered to vote but never goes to the polls.

Somerset County and Wicomico made a wise choice in the last election.  I feel confident they will do the same this election year. No doubt, Delegate Otto's opponent will outspend and overdo in the social-media department. I believe that the voters of Somerset and Wicimoco are smart enough to know that social media, money, and a flurry of fancy signs, make for a great circus-like campaign, but they can never, ever replace hard work and dedication. This November, which is not really that far away, remember the legacy that the Elmore's left us, and know in good faith, that their work will continue with the re-election of Delegate Charles J. Otto.


File photo of Dr. Carolyn Elmore with Delegate Charles Otto.




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Is it summer yet?

With my snow photos only a few posts back, I was yearning for a summer photo to help shake off the last of the ice crystals. I think this one does it well, along with the quote:

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” ~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting




I have no idea who these people are. They had set up next to me at the beach, and while I was sleeping, they had dug a hole to China. Since I was off the newspaper clock, I pulled out my iPhone, and requested a photo. They tried to pose, but after a few simple "just keep doing what you were doing," instructions I snapped this. Like I have always said, in perfect light, an iPhone works beautifully. In crappy light, I would not  give you 2 cents for it. Happy I will be when the day comes that I don't have to lug 3 cameras and half a dozen lenses around. Let's step up the camera technology, Apple!


What do you miss about your old town?

I was recently asked that question. Crisfield, Maryland? Anyone who has moved away will tell you, "Not a darn thing."  10 cars = traffic jam, there is nothing to do except look forward to the 3 yearly events, the bugs will eat you alive, the heat is oppressive, there is no "art-scene,"  and sooner or later a well-intentioned hurricane is going to take out the whole place. FEMA rates back up that statement. Besides, a town without an art scene has no soul.

Still, I have a home in Crisfield, and I have to say, it is nice to leave my small, but larger than Crisfield hometown in Georgia and battle traffic for 10 hours to enjoy the emptiness of Crisfield. It is good dry-cleaning for the brain, but a real creativity-drainer after a few weeks. If you are looking to move to the area, Princess Anne is a quaint town on the move. It is small but has amenities. Pocomoke is also a nice place that is moving forward.

So back to the question: what do I miss about Crisfield?  Nothing.

"Oh, you gotta miss something?"

I do. And here it is:








There is nothing like taking a 2 minute drive down to the docks to get fresh oysters and crabs right off the boats. I do miss that.