Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"The B & B Talk Show"

Sandy was doing some VHS archeology today - she wants to take our 25 years of family videos and transfer them to DVD - a great idea.

I picked up one of the ancient tapes and suddenly there was our son Ben and his friend-from-birth and next-door-neighbor Bryan, ten years ago at age 11.

Trained by me from a young age to be a wise-guy, Ben and Brian were performing their long-running "B & B Talk Show." They were two talented kids even back then. Bryan was already a pretty good pianist, and Ben was learning a lot from him.

Most of the "show" was just what you'd expect from two kids this age, a lot of lame jokes and shennanigans - probably not of much interest to anyone but me, my family, and Bryan's family.

One thing I noticed is that Ben was already working on his "Hey Kids!" expression (see the fourth photo below.)

At one point, the video jumped ahead four years to Ben & Bryan doing a 15-year-old's version of B & B Talk Show. By now, Bryan was an accomplished keyboardist, guitarist, and drummer. Ben had also become a darn good guitarist and was getting up to speed on drums as well.

Suddenly, as if in a time warp, the scene before me was once again Ben and Bryan at age 11, brandishing "swords" and nunchucks (I think Sandy had transferred 8mm video to VHS and happened to get some segments out of order.)

To see what Ben looks like today (or at least a few months ago,) see this post.

Meanwhile, maybe I can prevail on these two clowns to do an updated B & B Talk Show for YouTube.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Spur-Thigh Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) Maryland Zoo in BaltimoreAnother "Wild Kingdom" photo shot during a recent trip to the Marlyand Zoo in Baltimore.

This is an especially nice-looking Spur-Thigh Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), probably weighing over 200 pounds (they can grow to 240 lb, according to the Zoo.)

Ol' Spur-Thigh's usual stomping grounds are the southern fringes of North Africa, a band that goes all the way across the continent.

Taken with a Canon Digital Rebel (D300) Taken with a Canon Digital Rebel (D300) mounting a Sigma 70-300mm Macro II zoom lens racked all the way out to 300mm.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Brockville Farm

Old Barn - Brockville, OntarioA rusty wheel from an ancient farm implement guards the door of a long-unused barn in Brockville, Ontario.

Taken last week while visiting my wife's cousins in rural Brockville, an area full of beautiful farms south of Ottawa.

For this photo, before snapping the exposure, I envisioned that the textures, shapes, and shadows suggested a black-and-white treatment. Shot with a Canon Digital Rebel and Canon EF-S 18-55mm zoom. Back in the electronic darkroom, I applied a gradient mask in photoshop to produce the B&W version.

The small photo at right doesn't quite show off the texture, so be sure to click on it to see the larger version

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pour Les Oisseaux

Gull's lookin' at youI don't know what it is lately, but my best photos over the last few weeks have been for the birds. Well, of birds, that is.

I met this handsome fellow on the deck of the ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE the other week. We were returning home after having seen the Rain concert in Atlantic City the night before. Atlantic City, in our humble opinion, is dumpy and depressing, but the ride down the Jersey Shore to Cape May the next morning was anything but - one handsome beach town after the other.

Taken with a Canon Digital Rebel (D300) mounting a Sigma 70-300mm Macro II zoom lens.

Friday, August 10, 2007


StormHere's a storm drain manhole cover on East Pratt Street that I must have walked by hundreds of times on my way to work. One day recently, I did a double-take when I realized that it was full of blossoms that had fallen from the tree above it.

I thought this was something photographically worthwhile, and I took a few shots with the Canon A640 I carry in my backpack. After getting back home and editing the image in Photoshop, I really liked it, but I wasn't sure it would appeal to anyone else.

At times like that, I often do a sanity-check with our son Ben, so I emailed him a copy. Here's his reply:

I love this storm image and I’ll tell you why. Because the word storm carries with it a feeling and meaning of volatility. But then wrapped around it and even sometimes covering it up are these beautiful flowers of nature. This shows both extreme ends of nature. It also represents that maybe the storm was what caused the beautiful flowers to fall, yet they are still beautiful afterwards.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Puttin' on the Schvitz

Shadow Bike Boy - Baltimore, MDWelcome to August in Baltimore!

It's's humid...I'm talkin' serious schvizten here.

The other day, I stopped thinking about the weatherly misery just long enough to catch some boys just ahead of me, crossing a bricked patch of street adjacent to my Light Rail stop.

Out of the camera, the image had the boys almost, but not quite, in silhouette. Using the Levels layer in Photoshop Elements 4, I darkened the shadows further. Then I slid the midtone control quite a ways to the right (dark) side. This darkened the image overall and made the bricks more prominent, but it also surprised me by resulting in a sepia-like tone.

I had planned to add a gradient layer to convert the image to B&W, but at this point, I decided to leave well enough alone.

Meanwhile, we only had a temperature-humidity index of 100F today, down from a "feels like" 110F yesterday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rain - The Beatles Experience

It's Real Love

Rain: The Beatles Experience - A Hard Day's NightYes, we did see the Beatles, live, last Saturday night in Atlantic City! Or about as close as it's possible to do so since August 29, 1966.

These four American lads sing, play, and even move like the real thing. Actually, without trying to be heretical, in many ways, experiencing Rain is better than the experience you would have had at an actual Beatles concert in the '60s.

At their last live concert at Candlestick Park in '66, the Beatles played for all of 33 minutes. They had only released Rubber Soul that March and were in the middle of their Revolver project; over 100 songs, including some of their very best, had yet to be written. And had you been there, you wouldn't have heard them anyway, what with those puny amps and all the screaming girls.

On the other hand, at Saturday night's Rain concert, they played for 1-1/2 hours. The songs were a smorgesbord, sampling every era from the Sullivan show to Abbey Road, complete with three costume changes. You could hear each note, and each note was perfect.

I can't say enough about Rain. If you are a Beatles fan, you will definitely find it worthwhile to see them.

As for my photo for this post - well, stage photography certainly is not my forté. I just set my Canon A620 to ISO 400, pointed, and hoped for the best.

On the other hand, you can see some great stage photography by young Torontonian Carrie Musgrave at You can pick out some concert photos by scanning the archive list, but it will be more than worth your while to take a half-hour or so and enjoy her entire portfolio.