A vintage find, delaying photo heavy posts, honoring Ansel Adams

As someone who loves photography, I also have a casual interest in vintage cameras. I don’t have a collection of them, but always wished I could find some small camera from the 1950s. During a recent visit with my best friend, I spotted an object I hadn’t seen at her apartment before. Her husband’s friend had left an old model of a brand I’d never heard of in the world of capturing images on film. Check out this Yashica.

The difference between using camera models of past decades and those of today is interesting to me. That, along with the popularity of smartphone photography, allowing easy sharing on many apps featuring visual content. I post mobile snapshots onto Facebook, Instagram, Swarm, Twitter, Tumblr and occasionally, Foodspotting. Although I have a Canon Rebel, I’ve been taking a lot more photos on my iPhone in the past couple of years because of such apps. I wonder how long it’ll be before I have to upgrade my phone, which would mean more advanced camera power for iPhoneography. The overall visual art of photography has evolved so much in terms of what we use to capture what we see.

Just as it has with being a shutterbug, old and new has had an impact on my blogging habits as well. I’d been working on drafts for several posts about some local events and trips when I encountered a setback. My computer browser began to have update reminders and some websites didn’t work as easily, which led to recently posting via mobile blogging. Certainly a bit of an adjustment, going from an old way to new. It also reminds me of using a film camera, scanning photographic work and saving it onto a desktop computer. Blogging would’ve been a bit slower, but I love the creative processes of writing and photography.

Anyway, the photos I chose for each post are all ready to go, saved from phone to computer. However, the slightly out-of-date browser prevented me from using my blogging platform on my computer, the usual way I blog. With these blog post drafts being so photo heavy, I decided to delay publishing them because most images are buried way back in my phone’s album. One post is about a quick trip to Ridley Creek State Park in Pennsylvania and I’d rather choose them from a larger screen, making sure I’m uploading the right ones. Another post is on a local car show and at least a few photos are only on my computer at this point. Both are subjects I enjoy blogging about and they can be transition posts as spring gets closer. It’ll be time to take in more of local area parks and any events to which they play host within surrounding nature.

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” – Ansel Adams

Happy Birthday to a favorite legendary photographer; I’ve always admired his black and white images of nature.

Posted in Cameras, Facebook, Foodspotting, Instagram, Mobile Apps, Nature, Pennsylvania, Photography, Smart Phone, Social Media, Travel, Tumblr, Twitter, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding a new favorite in Bahama Breeze

Every so often when getting together with my best friend, we decide to have lunch or dinner at a restaurant near the King of Prussia Mall. We favored going to one place until I found it had shut its doors at a particular location. Up to that point, it had been part of the plan on a fun November day of checking out a car show, grabbing a bite to eat and catching a new movie. I actually just learned of that restaurant site’s closure the day before meeting with my friend. We were surprised as it was such a fun place to go; waitstaff always friendly, food so delicious and overall great atmosphere. For those reasons, I’d still stop at other locations in my area.

Looking for another restaurant, we agreed on Bahama Breeze; I had already been there once before, yet my friend hadn’t. She was sold on it. Plus, its location in the same parking area as the theater we’d be going to later added extra convenience.

By the time we arrived at the Caribbean-inspired restaurant, my phone battery was too low for any food and beverage photos. However, we loved the place and I knew we’d be back, making it a new favorite for lunch or dinner to complete a girls’ day out. Mouthwatering pics to share on Instagram (or on foodie app Foodspotting) would have to be delayed for another time.

It wasn’t until early January that my best friend and I returned to Bahama Breeze, joined also by several other friends. This time, it was for my belated birthday party and despite the icy cold start to 2018, island flavor and atmosphere helped us forget about winter’s chill. How can you not feel like you’re relaxing on the sands of a tropical island beach, when sipping a cool beverage out of a pineapple?

Over drinks and appetizers, my friends and I shared remember-whens from high school as well as catching each other up on anything new. The laughter-filled chit chat fit well with the casual atmosphere around us. It was as though we were all vacationing in the Caribbean and hanging out at a beachfront bar. That’s another element I enjoy about this dining establishment; if you’re looking for laid-back vibes while savoring great food, give it a go!

I’ve never been one to munch on onion rings, but the ones served at Bahama Breeze are addictive! They’re a generous size and coconut adds to the yum factor of this shareable snack, which comes with a zesty dipping sauce. Photo to be added later.

For my main dish, I ordered what I had on my previous visit, the grilled salmon with mixed greens on a tostada. This is such a colorful seafood meal and features a delicious blend of flavors. A filling portion of salmon lies in its bed of mixed greens with corn, black bean salsa and avocado slices. Underneath it all is a layer of melted cheese covering a tortilla.

We almost had a unanimous round of dessert orders for the chocolate island. It’s easy to see why. Doesn’t this look amazing? If I knew how to make such a heavenly confection, it would entice me to take a bite all too often!

I’ve been to Bahama Breeze three times now and in each case, both greeters and waitstaff alike were friendly. The menu, which includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, can be difficult to choose from – but only due to so many tempting items! Whether you love seafood, steak, burgers, salads, there is something to delight anyone’s taste buds. Now, with spring just around the corner, I’m looking forward to a return visit of tropical eats on a warm and sunny day.

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About to ring in 2018

Well, I’m having a quiet end to one year and into a new one this time. It’s been a while posting, due to some software updates on my iPhone affecting laptop browser use on some websites until that is current. So, at the moment I’m mobile blogging on my phone for the first time; out with the old, in with the new!

Although I don’t have party plans tonight, I’m looking forward to a belated birthday that some friends are celebrating with me soon. We’re dining at a restaurant up in the King of Prussia, Pa. area. Among those going is my best friend, who is buying me something at the mall up there. Later, she and I are planning to hang out for a while to catch up with each other. I can’t wait to see my friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since a reunion in late September 2016.

I’ll write about the restaurant experience a day or two afterward. Until then, I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year’s Eve going to what I hope will be an amazing 2018!

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Remembering a young life

I’m still working on saving photos onto my computer from my recent car show outing at Rose Tree Park. Both those on my phone and many others on that of my best friend. In the meantime, I’m sharing this one as the message displayed caught my eye.

A number of years back on Nov. 9, a boy in my neighborhood had been killed in a high-speed car crash. He was only 14. I still remember being woken up the next morning by my mom, who told me the sad news. Moments from the days that followed also stayed with me. For my friends and I, all a couple of years younger than the boy, it was the first time we’d experienced a tragic loss.

My best friend and I had a scare along the Blue Route, Rte. 476, on the way back to dropping her off this past saturday. As I drove north from Radnor, Pa., to the Plymouth Road exit, an SUV suddenly swerved wildly and too closely behind us. The driver came from the left and must have realized that he or she almost missed an exit. It scared us because I thought if that driver had hit us, my car could’ve spun out in front of the lanes of 60+ mph traffic to my left. My best friend, who I’ve known since high school, a few years after the 14-year-old boy died, had been scared by such a close call. She thought we could’ve died, given the high-speed traffic and nobody having much time to react and avoid us. Only a few days before another anniversary since that young boy died, I couldn’t help but think about it, but didn’t bring it up. After all, I still had to get back on that highway in a little while. I was glad for southbound exits I was familiar with taking, rather than going the whole length until it merges with I-95.

The scary close call didn’t lead to any road rage incident and I never saw where that SUV ended up. Simply coming across as almost missing an exit, I thought that driver should’ve been in the right lane much sooner. You never know if there’s going to be a heavier crowd of cars up ahead. Of course, I’ll never know if it was also a case of the SUV driver not being familiar with the Blue Route or even certain stretches of that highway.

As an extra precaution, I stayed for a little while at my best friend’s place to charge up my phone. I left in good timing because it began to rain shortly after exiting the highway at Radnor and following Lancaster Avenue a short distance. Most of my drive was still ahead of me, parts of which were curvy with slight hills and dips, along with the possibility of deer in the area. But I just took it extra slow and glad that no other cars were near me until getting onto the next main road. Drive safe, everyone.

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A favorite among cool cars displayed at Rose Tree Park

A car show to salute the troops displayed a wide variety of rides, from antique to classic and newer models, at Rose Tree Park in Pennsylvania. It was a great way to pay tribute to those who have served and are currently serving in the military. One particular Camaro on display was painted with a collage representing all of our armed forces. I’ll be posting photos of it, among many more in a follow-up post about the event once I save them to my computer. Until then, here is a definite favorite set of wheels.

My best friend attended the car show with me and before spotting the patriotic Camaro, my phone battery drained too low. So, using her phone, I captured photos of that car and a lot of others we admired this past saturday. It may take a while to get most of those images from her phone to my computer, readying them for my follow-up post. Next time I meet up with her, I’ll pick and choose a few favorites that can be texted to me.

 

We live a good distance apart and with schedules not always allowing, this was the first time my best friend and I checked out a car show together. She was in awe of the ’50s models such as the Chevy Bel Air, classic Mustangs and Challengers, as well as several hotrods painted with flames. Now, we’re both looking forward to spring car shows in the area.

Posted in Antique Cars, Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Classic Cars, Military, Patriotic, Pennsylvania, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A concert of nostalgia, great entertainment and peace

As another travel experience to blog about, I’m going to start posting my thoughts on both music festivals and major concerts. I haven’t written about too many of these events in my blogging pursuits. But in some cases, getting to these events may take going a bit far from home and would be part of visiting a destination…sometimes, one that is new to me.

I’m not far at all from the sporting / concert arena scene of Philadelphia, though. My most recent drive up to that area was to see the Total Package Tour, headlined by my generation’s boy band New Kids on the Block, with guests Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul at Wells Fargo Center. I hadn’t seen the Philly a cappella group or choreographer / dancer / singer / “American Idol” judge before. But years back, I saw NKOTB at Valley Forge Music Fair with opening acts including Tommy Page (R.I.P.) and Tiffany. Finding out they had a new tour with a local concert date, I had to see them again for the nostalgia of it. It brought back memories of that craze among so many teen girls, include my friends and I. Not to mention all of the fan merchandise…I had tons of it. Two girls in my neighborhood had crushes on Jonathan Knight, another liked Joe McIntyre and Donnie Wahlberg was the favorite of another girl. A few others outside of my immediate circle of friends had Danny Wood pins on their jackets. My favorite was Jordan Knight…his eyes, smile and voice made me melt!

While meeting up recently with a high school friend for lunch, the familiar beat of “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)” could be heard in the restaurant. I didn’t know this particular friend when NKOTB first became popular, so it got us talking about which guy we liked the most (she was a Joe McIntyre fan) and if we’d seen them in those early days.

Moments from before the show made me think about how these events bring strangers together. We could all relate to that fandom of performers we’re going to see and even to fond memories recalled by enjoying the same songs. A few people in line near me were excited about particular favorite songs and one woman danced while singing out, “Still sounds good,” a new NKOTB song. When I heard the first two lines of that song via iTunes, I was hooked, loving the mix of nostalgic references throughout the lyrics.

A Wahlburger’s truck was in the parking lot near the side of the venue where I waited and in the distance, enthusiastic screams could be heard. Everyone around me looked toward the lot in hopes to see of the night’s performers.

Doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and once inside, I decided to purchase concert souvenirs – a black shirt with the song title “One More Night” in red lettering, an NKOTB tour book and keychain. As I waited in line, I spotted an elderly woman wearing a shirt that read, “I love Donnie,” a red heart shape in place of the word “love.” A younger fan had on a shirt with the phrase, “If lost please return to…,” but I didn’t catch which name revealed her favorite.

Boyz II Men kicked off the show with the energetic “Motownphilly,” followed by more classics to which the crowd song along. They also performed a great rendition of The Guess Who’s classic rock song, “American Woman.” At some point during their segment of the concert, one of the Boyz shared the news of being honored in Philly with a city street renamed for them. Boyz II Men Blvd was now a part of their hometown and it had just happened earlier that same day. I actually didn’t know about it until that moment in the show, so it was one of the unexpected cool moments from catching this tour.

Paula Abdul began her set list with “The Way That You Love Me,” one I hadn’t heard in a long time. She performed many of her dance hit tunes, leaving “Straight Up” until near the end of her show. But before that number, she talked about back when trying out to be a cheerleader, as well as early inspirations which drew her to dancing. My favorites of the songs she performed included “Straight Up,” because back in high school, I totally experienced that sense of, boy, just tell me how you feel? Another one she sang that I’ve always loved was the song “Rush Rush,” partly for the video’s “Rebel Without A Cause” theme. That, as well as the way I felt about that same crush when this romantic ballad first began to play on the radio and TV.

NKOTB made a dramatic entrance, coming up out of the stage on a platform section and into layers of fog effects. It was unbelievable, the big moment, getting to see my favorite boy band again after all these years! They kicked off their show with a new song, “One More Night,” Jordan stepping out from the group as the fog slowly dissipated.

Whenever they sang songs from their “Hangin’ Tough” album, it took me back to those early days of the New Kids craze. Not only that, but memories of seeing them in concert came to mind. I remember standing along a fence with so many other fans, waiting to catch a glimpse of Jordan, Donnie, Joe, Jonathan and Danny as they emerged from a tour bus. Screams erupted all around as they came into view and then it was time to head into the concert hall.

But it wasn’t only the favorite tunes from those days I was excited to see performed this time. As songs from “Thankful” became available to buy, I bought them on iTunes and played each one over and over. I love the reminiscent vibe of “Still Sounds Good” because anyone could relate to it, thinking back to whatever pop culture moments they grew up with and enjoyed. “One More Night” and “Heartbeat,” romantic in their own way, could make any fan swoon upon hearing lyrics sung by their favorite New Kid member. “Hard (Not Luvin’ U)” brought Jordan out front and center stage, driving the audience wild as he performed a sexy dance.

Other songs on the set list included “Dirty Dancing,” from another album over the years, catchy with its references to the movie of the same name. “Remix (I Like The)” is full of cool beats to gets fans dancing. “Step By Step,” going way back again with this one, was my favorite hit from the same-titled album. Another swoon-inducing performance, also from their early years, was “I’ll Be Loving You Forever,” Jordan singing lead and hitting all those high notes.

A couple of sweet moments happened during NKOTB’s time on stage. Donnie brought a young girl up on stage. They were too far for me to get a good photo, so I captured the image via a large screen. Part of the girl’s face was partially whited out in my photo from the lighting, but okay enough to show her excitement to be onstage. Then he brought another young girl up to join him moments later. I couldn’t quite make out the words on her shirt. Donnie read to the crowd, “My first concert.” They had been my first concert, too. One lucky woman was serenaded with “Happy Birthday!”

Showing his humorous side, Donnie made a few jokes when an image of their first album cover showed on a large stage screen and another time when getting ready to sing a song called, “Dirty Dawg.” As they performed it, scenes from the video played and I hadn’t seen it before. So, after the concert, I looked it up on YouTube – loved the way Jordan sang it, his expressions, as well as his street style from that time. He reminded me of my high school crush, who had a smoldering expression, along with the similar way he dressed. Not just in that video, but in general as well.

Donnie brought Boyz II Men back up onstage with their sound of Philly, through an encore of “Motownphilly.” He also recognized their Boyz II Men Blvd honor, holding up the sign while he and fellow NKOTB members shared the stage. It was such a great moment of celebrating my nearest major city, along with its art and entertainment brought to the world.

Near the end of the concert, NKOTB performed Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” which sounded awesome back-to-back with “Games.” With the crowd pumped, Donnie and fellow New Kids led everyone to get their peace signs up as an inspiring and powerful message. It was one of coming to the show, having no fear in doing so and made me think of how so much has changed in the world since last seeing NKOTB. Back then, we didn’t have to worry about and couldn’t even imagine tragedies such as the terror attack at Ariana Grande’s show in Manchester, England…or anywhere else we go for fun and entertainment. Peace signs filled the audience in the spirit of fighting fear.

Overall, it was amazing to see my favorite boy band again and with a wide range of spectacular effects. Along with their earlier hits, I’ve got new favorites among their latest album, others over the years…from which they had a great mix for the audience to enjoy. They didn’t have Jordan Knight’s solo songs on the set list, but I love the work he’s done on his own, as well as collaborations with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. My favorite Nick & Knight song is “Drive My Car.” I loved also getting to see live performances by artists who took me back to my high school years with their songs. Next time, I hope one or more of my friends can join me and maybe we’ll be down in the pit area by the stage. It was one night full of nostalgia, much like NKOTB’s new song “Still Sounds Good.” Below are more favorite photos of moments I captured during the show.

With the Total Package Tour over now, I already can’t wait to catch NKOTB when a concert date brings them my town again!

Posted in Concerts, Entertainment, Music, Nostalgia, Philadelphia, Pop Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mystery of Amelia Earhart

Amelia-Earhart-Plane

Amelia-Earhart-Facts

This famous mystery has always held my interest. Amelia Earhart was definitely a pioneer in aviation and the bravery she had for her flight goals inspired me. Not to be a pilot myself. That was never a path for me, career-wise or as a hobby. It was all about travel and seeing the world, going on adventures all over the globe. For the longest time, I hadn’t taken to the air to visit distance places. Despite some fear of flying, I always wanted to experience what’s out there in other cultures. I wanted to be brave and go see many countries. Because of my interest in travel, I always felt like it was a key element that would allow me to live life to the fullest. That’s part of why pioneering adventurers always capture my attention. They’re brave in doing what they have to do in pursuing something amazing. In Earhart’s case, it’s also the factor of her disappearance as a story that had the world wondering for so long about her fate.

Now, with the recent news of a photo possible showing Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan, I had watch the History Channel program to follow up. I was particularly impressed by the means of analyzing faces and bodies by features, shape and size to identify the two believed to be the famous aviators. In determining who the figures could be, the man showing how to analyze photos used different ways to do so based on various elements – their poses, what was visible, etc. Such a close match for both Earhart and Noonan fascinated me. I’m not a photography expert in terms of examining images for signs of authenticity or being doctored. But to me, it had to be the real deal. One thing’s for sure. the dock scene photo stirred the imagination, bringing a decades-long mystery back into the spotlight of breaking news. What could we find out about other puzzling stories in history?

It all makes me wish I were a world adventurer, one like Josh Gates of the Travel Channel, seeking out more details to stories that have stirred our minds. I love the amazing places he goes to on his show, “Expedition Unknown,” as well as how in awe he is of being where legends of the past have walked. Maybe one of these days, I’ll do the same as a traveler curious about destinations that make visitors ponder the past.

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