Sunday, May 28, 2006
I was fortunate enough to have a very nice article written about me in our newspaper! You can read the whole thing here if you'd like. Update A couple of weeks later a local frame shop (The Great Frame Up) that had framed a lot of art for me wrote me a note and said they'd like to frame this article for me, for free! What a nice surprise!
Saturday, May 20, 2006
For the past month or so I've been taking pictures at our local dog park, then cleaning them up with the excellent (and free!) Picasa program, then printing the best pictures and giving them to the dog's owners. It's been a great way to meet new people at the park and everyone has been very happy with the pictures, which in turn makes me feel talented, so everybody wins :)
If you've got a good digital camera and some skills and time on your hands I'd urge you to do this for your friends at the park. You can see more of my pictures at my flickr photo stream.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
I took these pictures during rehearsal last night, partly because I wanted to test out a new lens I'd bought. It's a Canon fixed 50mm, f1.8 and I'm very glad I bought it. I was able to take these shots at 1/50th to 1/90th of a second in available light, and when I tried switching back to my 28-105mm zoom lens I got readings of between 1/5th and 1/20th of second, which is unsuitable for handheld shooting. The only trouble came when I needed to take flash pictures of a group larger than three or four people; I had to stand so far back with the fixed 50mm view that the flash didn't reach them properly and the shot was quite dark. But for available light, the "nifty fifty" is a winner. And it's only around $70-$80.
And I'm back! It's been a hectic few months when I didn't really feel like writing much, but I've had so many interesting experiences lately that I couldn't stay away.
I'll start with the snappy picture on the right. You can see I'm playing the trumpet again; I joined a community band in the area called the Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches, a very nice and talented group of musicians. I'm standing next to Maestro Loras Schissel, a guest conductor who visited us for our Memorial Day concert, and in just two rehearsals really fine-tuned our playing.
He told me that because he has such a short time to rehearse a band he'll try and keep the band playing, while calling out his instructions over the top of the sound, like a record producer making adjustments in a studio. He's a world-renowned expert on the music of John Phillip Sousa, the"March King", and corrected a lot of common mistakes we made with the music.
The best part, though, was the two concerts we played, where all the pieces were preceded with a story about the music, or the composer, or getting the audience to sing along, or getting audience members who had served in the armed forces to stand up and be recgonized when the tune of their branch was played during our "Armed Forces Salute". I don't think there was a dull moment in the whole program, and we got 3 standing ovations before we'd even reached the finale and encores! It was a very rousing and emotional night, so thank you Loras, George and Jim for putting together such a fine program.