About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Monday, January 30, 2012

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I photographed these two boys at least 20 years ago. They were at a cattle auction in Dekalb Junction, a hamlet in St. Lawrence County, NY.

I took the photo with a Minolta X700 35mm camera on Kodak Tri-X film. I used a 400mm lens. Later that same day I photographed them again inside the auction house amid a group of other farmers who were buying, selling, bidding. When I come across that photo I will add it here.

This past Sturday evening I played guitar during the cocktail hour befor the North Country Arts Council's membership dinner. It started out well, but I became distracted and had to abandon a couple of pieces I would have liked to play. One of those was Larry Beekman's arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison / The Beatles. I started to play it, couldn't get through the intro, fumbled around for a few seconds and said, "To Hell with it." I then jumped into Mason Williams hit Classical Gas. I pulled that one off wonderfully.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

The following is a video of me playing Larry Beekman's arrangement. There are a couple of things troublesome about this video. The biggest one is that the audio is out of sych with the picture.

I made this video with a Nikon D7000 camera. It was my first try at using the HD video function. The audio was captured with the camera's built in microphone. So I am not happy with the overall result. I eventually discovered that I must convert the Quicktime video file to an AVI file which corrects the out of synch audio track. Don't ask me why this problem and work around solution exists. Maybe Nikon has corrected it by now. Maybe that's just the way it is. I really do not know. But after this test I use an external mic or my Zoom H2 digital recorder to capture the audio.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fernando Sor Guitar Study #5

It is 6:00am here in Chaumont, NY. The Sun is out, the temperature is 36 degrees F, the barometric pressure is 29.99 and falling. I guess that spells clouds and rain for the near future.

This is a photo I took at least 20 years ago. I shot it with a Minolta x700 35mm camera with Kodak Tri-X film. I was sitting at a red light at the foot of State St. in Watertown and snapped it from the drivers window. The light changed and I drove off. The man never knew I took his picture. I find that interesting in more ways than one.

More and more lately I feel like devoting most of my time and energy to music and the guitar. It is something I feel I have not mastered. There are obstacles I need to overcome. Among them are improving sight reading music. Performing in recital or concert situations where the audience is close and attentive and hanging on every note that I play. Feeling and playing confidently in those situations requires a different kind of practice. I'm guessing it can only be achieved by getting out "there" and doing it.

I also am struggling to make a decision to dismantle my black & white darkroom. Again, it is because I think I would rather devote my time to music. I certainly will never give up photography, just let certain parts of it go. At least for a while. I have not processed any black & white film or made any prints in 36 months. These are just a couple of the many things I am wrestling with.

Gary Walts plays Fernando Sor (study #5 from Andres Segovia edition).

I made this video one afternoon in April while i was busy doing Spring cleaning in the yard at my home. Often times I keep a guitar near by while working so as to grab a few minutes of practice when I take a break from the chores. Thus it is that I am wearing some shabby work clothes. There is some wind noise, some birds squawking and the sound of kids playing in the school yard behind the house. Hope you enjoy it anyway.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday The 13th and Snow

Today is Friday the 13th. We had rather heavy rain during the night that has since turned to snow. I estimate about 9 inches has piled up here in Chaumont, NY. The photos posted here were taken by me today. They are views of the side yard of my home in that village.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Madison St., Chaumont, N.Y. 13622

I took a walk to the post office and this late afternoon view of Madison St. in Chaumont, NY, was presented to me on the way home. Once again it's snap, snap, snap. You must never leave the house with out a camera, especially if you are going to be walking. With camera in hand you will be prepared to grab those shots as you encounter them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Caught My Eye

I was sitting in a bank parking lot in Watertown NY and this exterior view of an office in the building caught my eye. Snap, snap!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trouble Sleeping

I went to bed at a decent hour, 10:00PM, thought I was tired. Three hours later I am still wide awake. So I did a lttle web surfing, checked my e-mail, and now feel genuinely sleepy. Good night.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Basketball With Nikon D7000 & SB-800 Speedlights

Here are a couple of photos I made recently at a basketball game. The pictures were made witrh a Nikon D7000 camera and 2 Nikon SB-800 speedlight flash units. The SB-800's were on stands in an upper balcony pointed downward at the gym floor. One on each side of one end of the court. I had them set to manual mode at 1/8th power. ISO set at 1000, zoomed the flash head to the 85mm setting. I used a Quantum wireless radio controller to fire the flashes.

I then set the camera manually to also pick up enough ambient light that I would be able to salvage any shot that was good, but happened to be made in between the flash cycles. I found this set up to be more than adequate. The 1/8th power setting enabled the flash units to fire 3 or 4 times in quck succession and create acceptable exposures.