Month: July 2016

Capturing nature – one picture at a time

I would like to consider myself an amateur photographer. I’ve been taking pictures with a SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera since my first Pentax that my parents and I split the cost on in 1984 for a photography class in 8th Grade. Since that time, I’ve loved to take pictures.

I “went digital” in 2004 and never went back to film, which in a way was a shame. In 2007, I purchased a Canon Rebel XTi DSLR (Digital SLR) camera. I still use it to this day. I will probably upgrade it before September (when a certain four day wall to wall concert called ProgPower USA takes place).

Today I dug it out for the first time in a while. Most of the time I’m satisfied with the pictures my cell phone (current weapon of choice is a Samsung Galaxy S7). But today I was in the quest to take pictures of hummingbirds that come to our feeder in the back yard.

I already shared a few of these to my Facebook page, but here’s one I really liked. It’s a little dark IMG_9976(underexposed) but I left it that way because of the effect.


I’m tired, Boss..mostly I’m tired of people being ugly to each other.

i'm tired boss

(Part 1 of 2. I’ll probably post Part 2 later this week.)

In the wake of mass shootings, bombings and a general distrust and hatred for one another, how on Earth explain such things to a four year old child?

I am the “Grumpers” (step grandfather) for a four year old “cute redhead” as I call her. I don’t have any direct DNA relationship with her, but I treat her as if she were my own flesh and blood. Maybe even more so. Even though she has her moments where she can be a whirling dervish, most of the time she is the sweetest and nicest person you would ever meet.

Which leads me to the question – Why on Earth did we get so violent? Were we born this way? I highly doubt it. I think hatred is a learned trait, not something that we inherit. So what happened between birth and living in today’s messed up mixed up world?

Children have a hard time comprehending things outside of their small paradigm. New things need to be brought into their consciousness slowly. They need to process it. Then they can form an opinion on it. I guess that by the time we’re adults, we pretty much have mastered that process. But for a four year old? Good luck with that!

It seems each and every day there is something bad going on in the world. Most of it involves the death of people. Wars, protests, mass shootings – you name it. The availability of round-the-clock news doesn’t help either. Thank you Ted Turner and the Internet for that.

But more importantly – how do we explain these bad events to our young children? I am not sure that there is a right way to do so. I guess the best thing to do is to say that in a world of wonderful people, there are some people that are not so nice. The number of people who want to do the right thing far outnumber those who want to do bad things. Or at least that’s what I hope.

One of the things that we can do is to show them that even in a bad situation, there are good people. There is a famous quote attributed to late Fred Rogers (of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame) that said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” I think that speaks volumes.fred rogers helpers

We need to show our children that not everybody is bad. We need to show them that even in our upside down world that they should not become part of the problem, rather be part of the solution.

What can be done about the problems? That’s for another topic. But for now, we need to ensure that the next generation doesn’t fall down the same path as the current one.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – December 2015

Back in December 2015, I was able to see not only the “East Coast” troupe, but also the “West Coast” troupe as well.

I will post another article soon that compares and contrasts the two traveling troupes, but here’s a picture of Al Pitrelli from the show that I saw in San Diego in December 2015.