Flowers #1369B, 1371B, 1387B, 1376B, 1388B, 1379D & 1390B

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June 29, 2013

Having just purchased my first digital camera, a Canon EOS 60D SLR, on the first of the month, I definitely have made up for lost time by shooting slightly less than 3,500 photos during the past three weeks.  With the exception of one photo of a rabbit darting from my garden, every single shot was of a flower.  Before the camera was delivered by my UPS driver, I decided to pick up several digital photography for dummies books at my local library, to learn not only how to operate this computer with a lens, but to learn the jargon as well.  I have taken so many photos of flowers this month that an allergy rash has broken out over my left, non-camera-focusing eye.

This past Sunday, while watching golf on television, I was reading one of the dummies books, this one about macro photography.  Owning three macro lens (a 50mm, 100mm and a 70-160mm zoom) and two extension tubes (one a 50mm, the other a 25mm).  Up until Sunday, I thought I had done a good job shooting extreme close-ups of flowers.  That all changed when I read that I was not using these lens and tubes to their fullest magnification, that being 1:1, which is considered life-size.  The only reason why I finally bought a digital camera, other than lack of money is that I recently learned there was an adapter that would allow me to use all my old Canon FD lens.  Replacing them would cost a small fortune.

When I read for 1:1 magnification, I needed to use the 50mm extension tube on the 50mm macro lens, I quickly grabbed both and the camera to check out this revelation.  Once it had stopped raining, I immediately went outside with my new toy and see how this configuration looked.  Looking at these seven photographs posted, one word comes to mind, stunning!  No, I am not patting myself on the back as a photographer, as all credit must be given to the Man above who created such beauty!  I just took the pictures.

Steven H. Spring

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Flowers #687B, 682B, 683B, 685B, 680C & 681B

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While out walking around town a couple of weeks ago without my camera, these yellow Columbines caught my eye.  I should have immediately gone back with the camera, but quickly forgot about them.  Then, maybe a week later, after getting my first digital camera, replacing my Canon A-1 that I purchased in 1980, I was on my way to another yard to shoot some pictures when I saw these unique, exotic looking flowers still in bloom.  As they were growing beside the steps to the front porch, I went up and knocked to request permission to take a few photos.  If I have never been to a person’s yard to shoot their flowers, I like to get permission to do so.  However, on this day, no one was home.  However, on my way down the steps, I quickly raised the camera and shot a dozen photos.  Once back home, while reviewing what I had taken that afternoon (isn’t digital great?), I was amazed by what I had photographed.

Columbines, whose scientific name is Aquilegia, which is derived from the Latin word aquila which translates as eagle, is so named because the spurred shape of the plant’s sepals on many of the sixty to seventy species of the flower resemble an eagle’s talons.  This easy to grow, hardy perennial blooms from late spring through early summer.  Though not particularly a long-lived plant, most die off after only two or three years.  However, the plant does grow easily from seed, and if seed pods are allowed to develop annually will reseed themselves.  The long spurs of the flower produces a nectar that is a favored by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Native to Asia, the plant is now found growing in the wild in meadows, woodlands and at higher altitudes throughout North America and Europe.  Columbines, which come in many colors ranging from red, pink and white to purple and blue, are propagated by seed, growing to a height of fifteen to twenty inches.  The plant will grow in full sun, however it prefers partial shade and a moist, rich, well-drained soil.  Having a long taproot, which allows it to survive periods of drought, this same taproot does make transplanting the plant somewhat difficult.  Columbines, the state flower of Colorado (Rocky Mountain Columbine), were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment and are said to be very sweet.  However, the seeds and root of the plant are very poisonous and if consumed can be fatal.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Is The Nickname Redskins Any Less Offensive Than Blackskins?

After reading recent comments made by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the racist team nickname of the Washington Redskins, I just had to write him to express my opinion regarding this sensitive issue.  Mr. Goodell, citing both the origins and popularity of the name, opined that the nickname Redskins represents a “unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

During the past fifteen years, I have written numerous letters regarding this issue, from football and baseball team owners to the NAACP, including Washington owner Daniel Snyder ten years ago when he purchased the team.   Tradition is one thing, however, it is long past time for the nation’s professional sporting teams to end this bigotry, following the lead of our colleges and universities.  Below is a copy of my letter to the commissioner.

June 18, 2013

Mr. Roger Goodell
Commissioner
The National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10054

Dear Commissioner Goodell,

I was greatly disappointed to recently read that you are defending the use of a racial slur for a team nickname, that being the Washington Redskins.  Over the years, I have written often regarding this sensitive issue, and will post a copy of this letter onto my blog as well.  What would public opinion be if a team were named the Blackskins?  The outcry would be immeasurable, and justifiably so.  Is it any less offensive for a team to be nicknamed the Redskins?  I do not believe so.

I wrote team owner Daniel Snyder in October of 2003 when U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly overturned a ruling rescinding the Washington Redskins trademark, finding there was not enough evidence to conclude that the name is reproachful to the indigenous people of this country.  As a white man, I am very much offended by the use of names and symbols of Native Americans in sports.  I am terribly offended by the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, Chief Wahoo, which portrays Native Americans in much the same manner as Black Sambo did African-Americans in the first half of the twentieth century.  I find nothing offensive about the use of the word Indians as a nickname, however, not being Native American, I do not know if they find its use odious.

It was reported that you cite the origins of the name and polling for your stand.  Just because Washington has used this insulting name for eighty years does not justify its use.  Regarding your polling, whom actually did you poll, white male football fans?  Did you poll Native Americans for their opinion?  To really determine how offensive the term Redskins is, I suggest you limiting your polling to Native Americans.  I always find it somewhat comical whenever I hear someone say they do not find a particular racial slur offensive, however it is not them who are being offended.  A great many white Southerners find nothing offensive with the Dixie flag, however to the vast majority of African-Americans, this flag is a symbol of bigotry and slavery.

Colleges and universities began removing racial slurs from their team nicknames several decades ago.  It is long past time for the National Football League and Major League Baseball to do the same.  I urge you to do the right thing and correct this injustice.

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring

C.: TalkingLoudAndSayingNothingParts3And4.WordPress.com
Mr. Daniel Snyder

Flowers #731C, 724C, 740B, 744D, 731B, 743B, 732B, 742B, 735C, 739B & 730B

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When is a weed a flower?  While walking through a field of knee-high weeds behind my apartment complex this past Wednesday afternoon to go to the dollar store to get a bag of Cherry Sours candy, one very colorful weed caught my eye.  On the way back home, I picked several blooms to take home to photograph.

I placed the weed among some snow on the mountain and a hosta to shoot.  These eleven photographs are the result.  If anyone can identify this plant/weed, please let me know via a comment.

When is a weed a flower?  When it is as gorgeous and unique as this weed is!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #515D, 488D, 522B, 485B, 519D & 480B

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June 8, 2013

I have finally modernize.  Although coming to the party somewhat late, I just replaced my old, reliable single lens reflex Canon A-1 that I bought in 1980 with their digital EOS 60D.  In addition to reading the owner’s manual, I also picked up four different digital photography for dummies books from my local library.  However, as I had recently opined to my niece that the best way to learn photography is to shoot lots of pictures, I took my own advice and shot more than three hundred photos in the first four days that I have owned the camera, even though it rained all day long on one of the days.  I will also admit that it took me nearly half an hour just to figure out how to set the date and time.  This statistic made me a bit queasy over how hard it was going to be learning such a complicated instrument.  Both an online camera store salesman and a highly artistic Navy brother told me that what I had bought was a computer with a lens.  With my A-1, all I needed to worry about was setting the aperture and shutter speed all the while making sure the manual focus lens was indeed in focus.  Nothing complicated about that.

The great thing about digital cameras is that you immediately see the results of your work versus taking a roll of film to a camera store and waiting for it to be developed.  The other terrific thing about digital is that shooting lots of photos is very cheap when compared to developing film.  Last night, I read in the manual how to delete bad pictures from the memory card and spent about ten minutes reviewing three hundred photos to see which ones I wanted to delete.  Of the three hundred, I deleted approximately fifty.  Half of those were due to over or under exposure and the other half were out of focus.  I have taken so many photographs in the past four days that I have pain from carpel tunnel in my camera hold hand up through the muscles in my upper arm and shoulder.  However, that’s a small price to pay for my art.

Owning seven lens, and being on a very tight budget, I chose not to buy any new lens, but bought an adapter that allows me to use my FD lens on the digital camera.  Having an available adapter was the main selling point in buying a new camera.  However, the adapter has its limitations in that I believe the aperture must be set manually.  This is something that I haven’t yet quite figured out as up to now I keep the aperture on automatic and make adjusts to either the shutter speed or ISO.  Because the camera does not recognize the adapter, it does not show what the aperture setting is.

For those of you who have never taken a close-up photograph of a flower, it is somewhat difficult to do.  You are always at the mercy of Mother Nature as just the slightest breeze will cause a flower to sway back and forth or an always moving cloud will block out the sun just as you’re getting ready to snap the shutter.  These six photographs were among the first one hundred and fifty pictures I snapped with my new camera.  There is still much to learn before I feel as comfortable shooting a photograph with the EOS 60D as I am with my thirty-three year old A-1.

One thing I do not like about my new camera, and it is not the camera but my photo editing software, however when mating a photograph for posting online, I assume that the digital photos are much larger than the scans of my 4×6 prints and thus the software I use does not allow me to make the outer-most mat any larger than that shown in these pictures.  Other than that, I am loving my new toy!

Calla lilies, whose scientific name is Zantedeschia Aethiopica, are not true lilies, but a member of the Arum family.  This lily is considered a perennial plant in the hardiness zones of eight and higher while an annual in zones seven and lower.  In cooler zones, the bulbs need to be dug up or they will die if the ground freezes.  A native in the marshlands of southern Africa, its preferred habitation is in streams and ponds or along their banks.  Callas grow two to three feet tall, having large clumps of broad, arrow shaped brown leaves growing up to eighteen inches long.  The plant’s leaves can also be speckled with white spots.  The flowers of this plant, which twist and curl into a funnel shape ending in a point, come in pink, yellow, orange, blue, red, dark maroon and even black, flowering from late spring until late summer.

Calla Lilies, also called Trumpet Lilies or Lily Of The Nile, like the bright morning sun and late afternoon shade, particularly in hot summer locales.  In cooler climates, Callas like full sun.  The plant grows best in moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil and especially love a sandy soil.  All parts of the plant are poisonous and may be fatal if eaten.  These plants grow just as well in containers.  If grown in a pot in cooler climates, bring the plant indoors during the winter and keep in a well-lit area.  With enough sunlight, Callas will even bloom indoors during the winter months.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Thin Lizzy #41B

Thin Lizzy #41B

In response to one person’s comments made in regard to my recent post, “100 Reasons Why Stevie Ray Vaughan Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,” in which they mentioned that Dublin, Ireland rock band Thin Lizzy was fronted by a black man, I decided not only to re-post the two photos of bassist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott but also several more of the band.  Since that first posting, I have also learned how to mat and frame my photographs in which to post online, which gives them added pizzazz.  The mention of race was brought up not only by this individual but by several others in which they seem to think I implied that black musicians have no place in the rock hall, which cannot be further from the truth.  My only criteria for being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, other than being an influential artist or band, is that the performer play or have played rock and roll music, which to me isn’t too much to ask.

Thin Lizzy, which was founded in 1969 and whose heyday was the mid 1970s through the early 1980s, was fronted by the charismatic Lynott, who passed away on January 4, 1986.  The group’s biggest hits were Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town, which were all over the radio airwaves in 1976, both of which were from their album Jailbreak from that same year.  Having stopped listening to the radio around 1980, I am told that these two songs are still in rotation on classic rock radio stations.

The other thing that stood out about the multiracial band was that its members were both Catholic and Protestant at a time in which the two religions were engaged in a militant struggle known as The Troubles that consumed not only Northern Ireland but Ireland and England as well.  Though The Troubles officially ended with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement on Good Friday, April 10, 1998 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, sporadic violence still continues.

After the death of Lynott, due to complications arising from years of drug abuse, various incarnations of the band have existed.  In June of 2012, members announced that they were planning to enter the studio to record its first album of new material since 1983’s Thunder And Lightning, but out of respect to their fallen leader, changed their minds and released the album All Hell Breaks Loose under the moniker Black Star Riders just last month. However, Thin Lizzy as a band still continues to play live shows to this day.

This photo was shot at a November 15, 1980 show at the Agora in Columbus, Ohio, USA in support of their 1980 album Chinatown.  The price of the ticket was $7.00.  The band’s lineup at this show was; Phil Lynott: Bass & Vocals, Scott Gorham: Guitar & Vocals, Snowy White: Guitar & Vocals, Brian Downey: Drums and Darren Wharton: Keyboards.  To see eleven additional photos of the band from this same show, please see my other post titled Thin Lizzy (with the accompanying photograph numbers).  This photo was posted separate as to post it in a larger format versus the standard size of slideshow photographs.

Steven H. Spring

Thin Lizzy #51B, 19B, 123B, 111B, 69B, 93C, 154C, 139B, 81B, 56B & 11C

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In response to one person’s comments made in regard to my recent post, “100 Reasons Why Stevie Ray Vaughan Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,” in which they mentioned that Dublin, Ireland rock band Thin Lizzy was fronted by a black man, I decided not only to re-post the two photos of bassist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott but also several more of the band.  Since that first posting, I have also learned how to mat and frame my photographs in which to post online, which gives them added pizzazz.  The mention of race was brought up not only by this individual but by several others in which they seem to think I implied that black musicians have no place in the rock hall, which cannot be further from the truth.  My only criteria for being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, other than being an influential artist or band, is that the performer play or have played rock and roll music, which to me isn’t too much to ask.

Thin Lizzy, which was founded in 1969 and whose heyday was the mid 1970s through the early 1980s, was fronted by the charismatic Lynott, who passed away on January 4, 1986.  The group’s biggest hits were Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town, which were all over the radio airwaves in 1976, both of which were from their album Jailbreak from that same year.  Having stopped listening to the radio around 1980, I am told these two songs are still in rotation on classic rock radio stations.

The other thing that stood out about the multiracial band was that its members were both Catholic and Protestant at a time in which the two religions were engaged in a militant struggle known as The Troubles that consumed not only Northern Ireland but Ireland and England as well.  Though The Troubles officially ended with the signing of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement on Good Friday, April 10, 1998 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, sporadic violence still continues.

After the death of Lynott, due to complications arising from years of drug abuse, various incarnations of the band have existed.  In June of 2012, members announced that they were planning to enter into the studio to record its first album of new material since 1983’s Thunder And Lightning, but out of respect to their fallen leader, changed their minds and released the album All Hell Breaks Loose under the moniker Black Star Riders just last month.  However, Thin Lizzy as a band still continues to play live shows to this day.

These photos were shot at a November 15, 1980 show at the Agora in Columbus, Ohio, USA in support of their 1980 album Chinatown.  The price of the ticket was $7.00.  The band’s lineup at this show was; Phil Lynott: Bass & Vocals, Scott Gorham: Guitar & Vocals, Snowy White: Guitar & Vocals, Brian Downey: Drums and Darren Wharton: Keyboards.  To see what is my favorite photo of the band from this same show, please see my other post titled Thin Lizzy #41B.  That photo was posted separate from these as to post it in a larger format versus the standard size of these slideshow photographs.

Steven H. Spring