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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dressing In Layers For Winter Warmth Outdoors

Winter is now well upon us here in Northern N.Y. Yesterday it was a mere 7 degrees F. Last night was windy and began to snow. This morning there was a good 12 to 18 inches of snow with drifts over 2 feet. Blowing and drifting snow can create some unusual shapes and patterns that no person could duplicate. The picture presented here was of a snow formation in a kitchen window of my home in Chaumont, NY. What is interesting is that somehow the wind managed to blow minute bits of snow between the storm wind and the screen, causing it to pile up in the form you see in the photo. The base of the storm window, where it meets the sill, has two small weep holes. They permit moisture from condensation to exit. As best as I can figure, the wind blew the minute, icy snow particles through these weep holes.
Snow formation in my kitchen window, Chaumont, N.Y.   photo by Gary Walts
Today's high temperature reached 23F. I was supposed to teach guitar today, but one by one my students called to say they would not be there, so I had the day off. At 1:00 I went out and shoveled the driveway & sidewalk. I did some other puttering around, brought in dome firewood from the wood pile, walked to the store and the like. All told I spent a solid four hours out doors. I never felt cold. The key thing to staying warm outside in Winter is to wear layers. I was wearing a turtle neck shirt. Over that a flannel shirt. Then a fleece vest. On top of all that I was wearing a long sleeved fleece with a zippered turtle neck. Then I had on Winter boots and a knit hat, a toque. In my opinion a toque is an essential Winter garment. The next is a turtle neck or any other zippered garment that comes up around the neck like a turtle neck. I usually do not wear long underwear until the temperature starts getting near zero. I have also found that with a good pair of Winter boots I never need more than one pair of socks. In fact, I believe that most people wearing more than one pair of socks have cold feet. I believe it is because the socks are too small and doubling them compresses them, defeating the insulating value of the layers. That effect is compounded by cramming their double socked feet into their normal shoes or boots, compressing everything even more. On occasion I wear two pair of socks, but that is rare. 99.5% of the time it is just one. When I do wear a second pair they are made of wool and are much larger than my everyday socks. I have small feet. For most of my adut life I have worn a size 8 1/2 to 9 shoe. The width of the shoe dictates whether it's the 8.5 or the nine. Anyhow, my Winter boots are a size 10. This gives my single, or double socked feet plenty of room. No restrictions. My feet stay warm. So, to stay comfortable outdoors for extended perionds dress in thre to five layers on your upper body. My lower body gets by with two to three layers. That would be regular underwear briefs and pants, or long underwear and pants. For athird layer it would be roomy overalls or extra large jeans, or snow pants. For my feet it is a good Winter boot with one or two pair of socks. If I have the maximum number of layers as out lined above, I can spend a good four hours in 20 below zero weather comfortably.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

It is Christmas Eve, 2012 and I have linked to a video of me playing It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. This is a Christmas song composed by Richard S. Willis (February 10, 1819 – May 10, 1900) The arrangement I am playing is by John Fahey (February 28, 1939 – February 22, 2001) I kept it short, no repeats. We had some family over for a couple of hours this evening, tomorrow we go to The Better half's daughter's house for Christmas dinner. Hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Bishops Wife starring Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young

I just finished watching the 1947 film The Bishops Wife. It starred Cary Grant, (one of my all time favorite actors), Loretta Young and David Niven. It is a Christmas movie and so good that it brought tears to my eyes. Not that it's a sad movie, but it touched me on a spiritual level. The basic plot: Cary Grant plays an Angel who visits a Bishop (David Niven), who has become a bit misguided and neglectful of his marriage because of his desire to build a new cathedral. It is an overall good movie. I am inclined to give it a 4 stars. It probably is more widely regarded as 3 stars, a solid three stars. The movie is based on the 1928 book by Robert Nathan. I see that it's available through Amazon.Com 
Our 2012 Christmas Tree at our home in Chaumont, NY. 

I am so pissed off!!! I spent an hour writing more for this blog entry and it vanished. I clicked save, I clicked update, I clicked publish. Where the hell is my work?? nd this, just before bedtime. I was talking about this Christmas season being the bets one I've had in years. I finally am not afraid to spend some money. I talked about some of my co-workers who facing a job loss in January. I talked about how savvy I am with paying down my debts with 0% credit card offers. About how it snowed the past two days. I simply cannot re-write it. I have had so much to share on this blog and day after day goes by and I cannot seem to get to it. When I finally do, wham! Good night.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 21rts Wedding is End of the World for the Bride Groom

I went to bed at 10:00pm lasst night. Awoke at 3:00am. Dozed back off, got up at 5:00. Went downstairs & turned on the Christmas Tree lights. Made the coffee. Got a pretty good hour & half of  guitar practice. At 7:00 I went to my mother's house and took her to the cardiologist office for a check up. At 9:00 we were out of there. Met my daughter and we had breakfast at Frieda's on Court St.
From there we parted ways. I went to JC Penny's at the salmon Run Mall. I purchased a nice Arrow brand shirt for $17.00, a new suit coat  for $40.00, and a good looking, wool , wither jacket for $52.00 These items were for me, not Christmas presents. All of the items were on sale. Supposedly the original prices were $40.00 for the shirt, $70.00 for the suit coat, and $80.00 for the winter jacket.

Next I went to Wal-Mart for a couple of Christmas gifts. Then I went to the Sportsman's Barber shop on state St. and got a $10.00 hair cut. I gave the girl that cut my hair a $5.00 tip. From there I went across the street to Musicology. It was now 1:30PM. I had guitar students come in for lessons until 6:00. I then went home, had a nice, light dinner with the better half: Baked chicken thighs and a salad. From 8:00 to 11:00 we watched a couple of old moves on TCM. I forget thye title of the first one, but the second one was a Bob Hope movie titled The Lemon Drop Kid. That movie introduced the now classic Christmas son Silver Bells. Now it is 11:25 and I am dog tired and heading to bed. Tomorow is  Dec. 21st, the last day of the World according to the Mayan Calendar. I am playing guitar at a wedding at 4:00 on that day. I don't know if the world will come to an end for most of us, but I suppose the world as he knows it will indeed come to an end for the groom. Good night everyone. Sweet dreams and soon Christmas will be upon us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Photography Lesson: Foreground and Background

When I take photographs I am always paying attention to the relationship of the foreground to the background. I photograph a lot of events such as weddings, fund raisers, business grand openings, art show openings and more. Photos of those event usually involve people. Whom ever is the main subject in a given situation is usually in the foreground. I focus on that subject and as I begin to take snaps I keep an eye on the folks in the background. I try to capture a moment when the body language of the subject and that of the background people comes together in an interesting fashion. Wide angle lenses are best for this. They provide more depth of field and a more readable background when the depth of field is shallow.
The singer in the foreground is the main subject. I kept an eye on the background people so as to capture a moment in which the body language of each individual added something to the overall interest and composition of the photo.  photo by Gary Walts
I probably snapped a dozen or so photos of the trio in the above photo. I was keeping a close eye on the relationship of each person to the other and settled on this photo as the best. When I photograph events I am always working to capture moments. Photos such as these are not accidents. They are the result of a deliberate attempt to capture such moments by watching what is going on around me. These principals apply to family photos and events also.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

63 Degrees Today in Chaumont, N.Y.

DJ at a wedding I photographed as he waited for the bridal party to arrive.
It was a beautiful day in Northern NY today. The high hit 63 degrees. The Better half & I went to Sonny's Greenhouses in the Town of Pamelia and bought a Christmas tree. It's a Douglas Fir, 6 foot tall, cost $35.00 On the way home we visited my mother at her home in the hamlet of Calcium. We ate lunch today at TGI Fridays. She had a Reuben sandwhich, I had a spicy hamburger. The sauce was intense, made with beer. Quite good. We also shared a half order of potato skins. I thought they were rather bland. We had a coupon for $8.00 off so our tab added up to $21.09, so, we left the $8.00 for a tip. (So it was $29.09 for the whole thing). Any how, we were back home with the tree at 2:300, set it up and got it decorated. I also managed to get in some good guitar practice. Overall it was one of those good days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Parade in Clayton, New York 13624

The Bach & Co. parade float in the 50th annual Christmas Parade, Clayton, NY.
The village of Clayton NY is located on the St Lawrence River. The population in 2009 was 1,978.  Last night I went to Clayton and snapped the following photos of their 50th annual Christmas Parade. For a small village they put on a really good parade.
This parade entry pays tribute to nThe Griswold Christmas Tree from the Chevy Chase movie Christmas Vacation.

The Clayton Dive Club's float.