Tag Archives: photography

A Touch of Spring

Springtime at South Mountains State Park

Here in the Piedmont of NC spring has been springing for several weeks, and we are almost into early summer.  The dogwood have been out for a week and the hardwoods are unfurling their new leaves.

Springtime at South Mountains State Park

Several weeks ago Kathy & I visited South Mountains State Park for a little hiking and sightseeing.  The park is west of Charlotte, about halfway to the “real” mountains, and a slightly higher elevation, so spring was a couple of weeks behind us here.

Springtime at South Mountains State Park

One thing I love about spring is looking through the woods and seeing just the hint of green.  I think that “Spring Green” is a shade of color unique to new growth leaves, and to me it speaks as much about the seasons as the fall colors do about fall.  Coupled with redbud and the occasional other early bloomers, they make for a hopeful sight after the gray of winter.

Springtime at South Mountains State Park

These photos won’t do much to show off my nature photography skills, but they do a reasonable job of showing the spring that we saw as we explored the park.

Springtime at South Mountains State Park

Lightroom Update

Hennepin Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis Minnesota

I don’t usually get too excited about software, but the most recent update to Lightroom has me pretty intrigued.  Most of the changes were cosmetic in nature, related to the layout of certain menu items.  But Adobe has introduced some new and improved Develop profiles that I really like.  I’ve never been able to come up with black & white conversions that I was consistently happy with, but some of the new profiles are pretty sweet.  I might even give Monte a run for his black & white money!  The color profiles are pretty nice too.  I’m still working and fiddling with them, but I think I may have found some new tools!

Means of Expression

Bus station in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

It always interests me to see how people tend to refer to their equipment in more specific terms the newer or more expensive it is. I was reading a recent blog post that was commenting on the age-old (at least 10 years!) argument about whether phones were “real” cameras. Never mind the argument (which I think is silly), but the writer stated that “there are significant differences between my iPhone 8’s camera and my OM-D E-M5 Mark II, not to mention some newer full-frame cameras.” Well, no sheet, Sherlock!

The thought that went through my mind when I read that sentence was that, if he were shooting with a 3-generations old Android phone (like me) or a hopelessly obsolete mirrorless camera (like me) he might not have been so quick to mention his gear. Is that what is referred to as “humblebrag? As in, “I had a hard time finding a suitable parking place for my Porsche?” Anyway, my weird thought twists on this Saturday morning.

I hope everyone has enjoyable holiday week/weekend, whichever holiday (if any) they choose to be observing.

Bus station in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina

Galley Tour on Celebrity Summit

Galley tour on Celebrity Summit

Another highlight of our recent cruise and part of our chef tour was a tour of the galley.  We have done galley tours before on numerous cruises, but ordinarily they are held in the morning, and the most exciting thing you see is someone making gravy!  For this tour we were taken through the galley during dinner service, and it was quite an experience!

Chef Stephen on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit

It’s been a long time since I worked in any kind of restaurant environment, and I’m not sure I actually qualify to say that I worked in any kind of restaurant!  But the things we found most impressive were how clean and organized things were, and how friendly everyone was, especially while they were busy.  I took a lot of photos on this tour, and these are just a few, to give you a “taste” of the experience!

Escalator from the dining room to the galley
Executive Chef Kuldeep Singh on Celebrity Summit
Dessert station!
Dessert station!
Dessert station!
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit
Galley tour on Celebrity Summit

An Unexpected Visit to San Juan

This Way!

Kathy & I recently returned from a cruise to the Caribbean.  We’re getting pretty good at the cruise thing – this was our 23rd cruise – but we’re still practicing!

An Address I Could Live With!

This cruise was on Celebrity Summit.  Celebrity has become our favorite cruise line, mostly because they just know how to do good food and good service.  While all of the lines are good, we’ve come to really like Celebrity.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

Summit is one of Celebrity’s older ships, but we chose it because it is one of their smallest, at just 2,000 passengers.  The ship we were on last year was over 4,000 passengers, while we saw a ship this time that was over 6,000!  While I would love to experience one of those ships, that’s just a shipload of too many people!

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

This cruise was supposed to stop at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, but Punta Cana doesn’t have a  dock for the cruise ships so it is one where they need to take passengers ashore using tenders.  The seas were too rough there for tendering, so we ended up in San Juan, PR instead.  While we looked forward to Punta Cana, we love San Juan and were not at all disappointed to end up there.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit
Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

Kathy & I spent our time in port walking around Old San Juan.  We had lunch (and Pina Coladas!) at a nice restaurant that claims to be the birthplace of the drink.  More to come on that, but for now, here are a few random photos from our time walking the streets of the old city.

Random street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico during our cruise on Celebrity Summit

A Few More

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

Nothing to say today, important or otherwise.  I just processed a few more photos from the same folder as the last post and thought I would share.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.  Staying warm where it’s cold and dry where it’s wet. 😉

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

Cultural Awareness (or Lack Thereof)

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

One of the many advantages of not being a television watcher is that I don’t have to put up with all the commercials and mindless programming, including the so-called news.  One of the disadvantages of not being a television watcher is that I miss out on a lot of the sayings and expressions that come from both the commercials and the programs themselves.

Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

Case in point – last week I sent an email to a co-worker about something good that had happened, and he replied, “dilly dilly.”  I was puzzled but figured if he wasn’t making some obscure reference to my name that it was probably something I missed from television.  I get pretty good at recognizing things like that. 😉

Charlotte Transit Lynx Light Rail at the Seventh Street Station in Charlotte, North Carolina

Just today I came across an article about a guy with Charlotte roots who had found recent fame by being the “dilly dilly” guy, and it turns out he is the actor that plays the king in a series of Budweiser commercials where he replies “dilly dilly” whenever someone brings him beer.  Little did I know, but “dilly dilly” is this year’s version of “WHASSSUP?” 🙂

The things I miss.  Sigh….

Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina
Views of uptown Charlotte around the Imaginon Children’s Library in Charlotte, North Carolina

The photos – by the way – are more from 2012.  I took this during an outing with a digital point & shoot class I was teaching.  Although it appears I “cheated” and was using my then-new Canon 5D Mark III. 😉

Views of uptown Charlotte from the Seventh Street Station parking garage, Charlotte, North Carolina

Seventeen for Seventeen

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

I haven’t typically jumped on the “Best of….” bandwagon, but as my buddy Paul says, “My blog, my rules!”  Or something to that effect. 😉

I picked these photos as much for the quality of the memory as for the quality of the photograph, but criterias is criterias, right? Many if not most have been posted previously, but again….  Your money back if not completely satisfied!

We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves for 2018, so stay tuned! 🙂

Shoreline near the Tarbat Ness Lighthouse on the Dornock Firth near Wilkhaven, Scotland
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle

View from the A87 on the Trotternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Royal Cottage on the shore of Loch Katrine, Scotland
View across the Cromartie Firth on the A9 north of Inverness
View from the A87 on the Trotternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Nature cruise around the harbor in St. Augustine Florida
Waynesville, North Carolina
The Hotel 1829 in St Thomas, USVI
Morning on Pantego Creek, Belhaven North Carolina
Not a bad view to wake up to. View from our villa at Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Sunset at the Sunset Gazebo. Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia performing at the Mountain Street Dance in downtown Waynesville NC
Random street scene in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aboard Norwegian Epic on our cruise from Tortola back to Port Canaveral

Clutter Update

Nickel & Nickel Winery in Rutherford, near Napa, California

Back in February 2016 I wrote this post titled Storage and Clutter, about my quest to delete files and free up space on my hard drives.  At that point I was through 2008 and had deleted 23,000 files worth 236GB.  I’ve working slowly but steadily on that project and today I finished 2012.  At this point I have jettisoned 56,000 files and reclaimed about 478 GB.  Not a bad effort so far, and the farther I go the more confident I become in my previous editing.  I’ll need to go a little further with my more recent years because I’m not sure I’ve been doing as good a job lately.  We’ll see!

Fisher Vineyards near Santa Rosa, California

These photos are from our 2012 cruise to Alaska from San Francisco, hence the diverse geography. 🙂  They are previously unprocessed files that I discovered while I was reviewing photos, but are not ones that had been scheduled for deletion. 😉

The Golden Gate Bridge viewed from our harbor tour aboard Blue & Gold Fleet
A visit to the town of Napa, California
Ketchikan, Alaska
Aboard the White Pass & Yukon Railway in Skagway, Alaska
Whale watching cruise in Auke Bay near Juneau Alaska with Harv & Marv’s Outback Alaska aboard the M/V “Alaskan” with Captain Shawn
Whale watching cruise in Auke Bay near Juneau Alaska with Harv & Marv’s Outback Alaska aboard the M/V “Alaskan” with Captain Shawn

Tourists in Our Own Town

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte NC

As much as Kathy & I love to travel, we often talk about the fact that there are a lot of interesting things to do right here in Charlotte.  Things that people come from all over the country – and even the world – to experience, and we have never been.  So a few weeks ago we decided to try something new – to be tourists in our own town and start checking out some of the things we take for granted.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte NC
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte NC
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte NC

After a nice breakfast we headed to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art for an exhibit of photography that includes work by Paul Strand and  of contemporary Mexican photographers.  The office where I work is directly across the street from the Bechtler, and our bank gives us free admission once a month, but we had never been!

Hilton Hotel in Charlotte, NC
Rental bikes in Charlotte, NC

Next we rode the light rail out to visit Doc Porter’s Distillery, where we took a tour and sampled their products.  This little distillery is cranking out bourbon, rye whisky, rum, gin, vodka and soon, malt whisky.  Nice people and a good story, and well worth the effort to get there.

Doc Porter’s Distillery in Charlotte, NC
Doc Porter’s Distillery in Charlotte, NC

So a day of photography and booze – how hard is that?!