25th Anniversary Cruise

Cruise Sunset

For our 25 Anniversary we wanted to do something special. We had talked about going to New York and catching a a play, or perhaps doing something else. Eventually, we decided to do a cruise to the Bahamas. It was somewhat last minute, but we were able to book a cruise on Royal Caribbean leaving from Port Canaveral with the perfect itinerary. We would leave on our anniversary, December 27th, and would return in time to get home before the madness of New Year’s. We had considered seeing in the new year on a ship, but combined with our trip to see family in Florida, it would be a bit too much.

I’ve been on lots of boats, but we’ve never taken a cruise. Truth be told, we have been avoiding it. We like to control our own destinies, and big cruise ships seemed like large crowded vessels that would send my agoraphobia into overtime. So, a shorter three night tour seemed like a good way to get my feet wet, so to speak.

Our itinerary would take us from Port Canaveral to Nassau, where we would spend a day. We would then travel to Coco Cay (actually, Little Stirrup Key, but Royal Caribbean renamed it when they bought the island), then we would return. We booked three excursions – a glass bottom boat ride in Nassau, kayaking in Coco Cay, and an Eco Boat Tour, also on Coco Cay.

This was our first tour, but I’m resisting the urge to document every detail, as I normally do here. Lots people of been on cruises, so I won’t belabor the point. However, I will start right off by annoying people with a vacation slide show:

Continue reading “25th Anniversary Cruise”

A Taylor-Wright Christmas

Wright Family Christmas 2013-8

Christmas was a whirlwind. With Thanksgiving so late, it came and went faster than I could imagine. Last year was marked by stress and serious illness. This year, we had much to celebrate.

A Taylor Family Christmas

First up was the gathering with my family on Sunday evening. The Taylor Clan gathered at the family home in Gray Court, and most of us were able to be there. At least all of my siblings were there…

Taylor Family Christmas 2013-029 Continue reading “A Taylor-Wright Christmas”

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Original Illustration by Phillip Light
Click image for website and more in this series

I clearly remember the first time I heard this song. I was about six years old, and we had just gotten the Goodyear album “The Great Songs of Christmas” volume 6. The album had recordings of Christmas music from many popular artists, but the one that impressed me most was Andy William’s rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I’d never heard it before, and fell in love with the song. I vaguely remember singing it all the time.

According to that most trusted of online resources, Wikipedia, the song was written in 1962 by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne as a plea for peace right after the Cuban Missle Crisis. The Harry Simeone Chorale first recorded the song, but it really took off with a Bing Crosby recording in 1963. Continue reading “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

The Christmas War

I’m not talking about the idiocy stirred up by Faux News to generate ratings. I’m talking about a truly disturbing problem. However, this problem is somewhat related to whether one says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” No, I’m wondering which side of the Pond has it correct? Is it “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas,” as … Continue reading The Christmas War

A Modest Fee

Every now and then someone DOESN’T outright steal my photograph, and actually asks permission for use. Yesterday I received such a request. The message said that the photo (shown above) would appear on the cover of the regional version of Yellowbook, an off-brand version of The Yellow Pages™. Initially I was quite flattered, but I … Continue reading A Modest Fee

Upstate Christmas Light Spectacular

Herbaclaus Lights

Laura and I love Christmas lights. Each year we go on several expeditions around our area to seek out those over-the-top displays. This year, though, with the help of social media and one particular website, we were able to streamline our search, making our light treks more efficient.

First Outing – from Fountain Inn Northward

I’ve already documented our trek to Pacolet and the lights we found there and along the way. Over the weekend we headed down to Fountain Inn to see their lights. One neighborhood always puts out luminarias and has a series of elegant displays. Unfortunately, we were prevented from entering the neighborhood by a local policewoman. She said that only residents were being allowed in. If we wanted to see the lights, we would have to buy tickets to ride through on a horse-drawn carriage. We decided to skip.

Fortunately, there were lots of nice lights along Main Street north of town. We enjoyed these as we drove from Fountain Inn on up toward Simpsonville. Here we found a couple of good displays. Down in the Powderhorn neighborhood there was one house decorated from top to bottom. Just north of Powderhorn is the neighborhood of Poinsettia. With a name like that, you know that they have to do something for Christmas. There were quite a few elegant displays, and a few excessive light displays.

From Simpsonville we continued north, then turned onto Highway 14. Just across from the Heritage Lakes subdivision there was a small neighborhood that also had some great lights. All in all it was a good outing. We had seen some good lights, but we wanted more. That required a bit of planning. Continue reading “Upstate Christmas Light Spectacular”

Time Lapse Workshop

Time Lapse Workshop
Jack Daniels Davis leads the Time Lapse Workshop

This past Sunday the Upstate Photography Meetup held a workshop on time lapse photography. I had not been to many of the group’s gatherings lately, but since this is one of my interests, I decided to attend.

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve done quite a few experiments with time-lapse already. However, I wanted to get some more ideas. I had some specific thing that I wanted to see discussed, assuming the workshop format would allow for such things. These questions were as follows:

  1. How do you handle changing lighting conditions throughout the course of a time-lapse – for example, while shooting a sunrise or sunset?
  2. What inexpensive techniques for panning are available, apart from purchasing a motorized dolly system?

Apart from that, I wasn’t sure what to expect. 23 photographers had signed up for the workshop, which was going to be led by Jack Daniels Davis. Jack had divided the attendees into five groups based on the type of cameras they had. That way each group would be working with similar hardware. At least, that was the theory. The event was taking place at Jade Castle Studio, a new endeavor on Augusta Street that hopes to become a hub for artists. Continue reading “Time Lapse Workshop”

Quick Trip to Townville and Environs

Townville Sofa with Texture
Porch Sofa in Townville, SC

Wednesday morning was a portentous day for my friend Ken. He was closing on his house, taking the dive into home ownership. I accompanied Ken to his closing, and helped celebrate with a toast at his abode.

Ken at his new home

Both of us had most of the day open, so we grabbed cameras, grabbed a quick lunch (at an excellent sandwich shop in Clemson, I might add), then headed out to explore. Continue reading “Quick Trip to Townville and Environs”

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