Category Archives: Videos

Video – Marching Band

It has been quite some time since I have bored ya with a marching band video – heehee – well no good thing lasts forever!!

I attended a high school football game last Friday in Cooper City, a small city (pop. 35,000) immediately north of Pembroke Pines.  As in most games I attend, I made a video of the halftime show as well as several plays, and also take still photos.

The marching band was making its first home game performance of the season, so they were not quite as sharp as they will be later in the season.

This band is one of the better ones in South Florida.  In fact they have been invited to march in the News Years Parade in London, England on New Years Day 1918 – quite an honor!

Here is a YouTube video produced by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper covering the visit of Lord Robert Davis, Deputy Mayor of the City of Westminster, of Greater London, who made the formal invitation.




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Hands and CookooBird Bikers

Ye Gods – no post since September!  Well, as the old saying goes:  “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  In truth, it also flies when one is not having fun!  So I’ve discovered.

True, I have been busy with my Camera Club activities, my new social life, and entertaining visitors.  But, despite good intentions to get back to posting, it seemed that whenever I got some leisure time I would either be too lazy to post or use the time to catch up on my reading.

And I have just now discovered that WordPress changed the posting process – rather confusing, but I shall soldier on!

I intend to write in the future about some of the things that have happened since my last post but this post relates to the weird title above.

First – Hands

The theme for my Camera Club’s January competition was hands.  Actual judging will take place tomorrow, January 20.  I was not very enthused about this theme but I suppose it helps one to improve one’s skills trying different things.  I took many photos of hands – both mine and those of others – and finally settled on entering the following two in the competition.  Frankly, I’m not very enthused about them.

The first photo is of my own hand.  I placed a black foam board against the back of a dining room chair for the background and set my camera up on a tripod a foot in front of the chair.  Then, after I set the camera aperture, ISO and shutter speed to fit the lighting and depth of field I wanted, I set the timer to 10 seconds; leaned way over so that my hand would be approximately where I intended it to be when the photo was taken; pressed the shutter button half-way to set the focus on where my hand was; pressed the shutter button fully to start the 10 seconds; rushed behind the chair and and posed my hand holding two dice in front of the foam board – and waited for the shutter to snap the photo.

It took a few tries before I was satisfied with the following:

Baby Needa a New Pair of Shoes

The second photo I chose was of two elderly ladies’ hands.  I enhanced the photo in Photoshop by posterizing – a process that thickens edges and overall adds emphasis to almost every feature.


Second, Cookoobird Bikers:

I couldn’t think of an appropriate word to describe a group of more than a hundred crazy bikers, who for the 2nd year in a row on Martin Luther King’s Birthday (National Holiday) staged a foolish and dangerous demonstration to encourage people to put down their guns and get on their bikes.  Nice thought, I suppose; it certainly is a good thing to discourage violence – – but I’ll let this video I made from part of a local newscast show what craziness was going on in South Florida yesterday.

A wee bit of the top of the TV screen unfortunately doesn’t show in the video because I had my camcorder on the kitchen table in my breakfast nook aimed at my little kitchen TV and didn’t realize it wasn’t quite high enough to capture the entire screen.

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A Few Videos

I took my annual trip to Myrtle Beach in May, arriving on Saturday, May 9th just as Tropical Storm Ana was passing by out to sea heading for a landfall a little further north near Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was one nasty day – very windy, and rainy, very chilly for May.  Needless to say, we spent the first day inside.  I took this video from our balcony with my smart phone.

The weather quickly warmed up midday on Sunday and the rest of the week it was delightful.  Every morning we took long walks on the beach – two miles north to a fishing pier and back every other day and on alternate days to and beyond another fishing pier to the south about 1.2 miles away.  We were fortunate that the tide was out each morning.  At high tide the very wide beach completely disappeared. Strolling on the beach was impossible as is demonstrated in this video.

On Monday the 11th of May I drove to St. Petersburg with my nephew to attend the opening baseball game of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Park.  While we and over 30,000 others were patiently awaiting the gates to open the team mascot, cheerleaders and break dancers performed accompanied by music played so loud that I was seriously concerned about damage to my hearing.  The break dancers were very entertaining.  I wanted to capture them on video but there were too many people in front of me.  Later when we got inside, though, I was able to make this short video of  some of them performing for people entering the stadium.

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In Which I Rail on my $#^*# Unipod – And Videos, Too

I was so excited and happy when I bought my unipod so I could make videos safely with my camcorder attached to my windshield.  Previously, I had been steering with one hand and holding the camcorder in the other – neither a wise nor a safe thing to do, especially while driving at 80 mph (approx. 130 kph).  I made this post including a photo of it when I bought it.

I have to admit that it had performed quite well for a long time – but during the past half-year or so it has been misbehaving – sorely testing my normally mild nature!  It seems that it no longer wants to stay in a fixed position aimed forward.  Instead it insists on gradually leaning forward and down, resulting in a gradual but increasing view of my car’s hood (bonnet).  Grrrr….  No matter how tightly I adjust it the adjustment doesn’t last.  Maybe the set screw has worn down.  And most of the time I am unaware of how badly it has drooped until it becomes obvious that it is aiming down. So, my videos have really suffered.

I guess it is time to consider replacement.

These two videos show how bad the problem has become.  In the first, taken shortly after I had arrived on the island of Key West, heading towards my motel, I didn’t notice that the camcorder had leaned so far until I was stopped for a red light just before making a turn towards the motel.  As much as 15% of the screen view was taken up by the car’s hood.

Here is a pretty poor video taken on Key West’s famous old town main shopping street – Duval Street.  The unipod was definitely misbehaving throughout. Two things of interest in the video are: First – the strange license number of the Chevy truck from Canada that I followed early on.  I can’t imagine why anyone would pay extra to have it. – and Second – near the end of the video I was following three bicyclists, two of which in blue polo shirts being police.  In front of them was another truck.  We stopped for a red light and the police rode around the front of the truck, making a right turn.  Immediately, upon them passing, the truck proceeded to cross the intersection while the light was still red.

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Still Kickin’

Tempus Fugits , that’s for sure!  It is exactly 2 months since my last post.  Time seems to be going by faster when I’m busy – and I’ve been busy.  This month alone my calendar shows twelve days with some appointment, meeting or activity.  It used to be rare that there would be more than three or four.  I sometimes think I’d like to return to my former sedentary, insect-like, hermit life so time would slow down again.  But that is not going to happen – I’m having too much fun living rather than just existing.

On the 13th of this month I had another birthday – such event no longer a joyful occasion.  I now have accumulated a number of years on this planet equal to the number of trombones that led the “Big Parade’ in The Music Man!  It is so hard for me to believe and accept that I am so ancient when I still feel so good physically and my mind appears to be functioning as well as ever.  But, the calendar does not lie!

I can vividly recall wondering if I would ever be able to accept the concept of years in the 1950’s, because as far back as I could remember the years were always in the 1940’s.  It seemed so alien to me.  I can remember reading George Orwell’s “1984” when 1984 was far off in the future!  Now that ‘far future’ year is 30 years in the past!

Anyway, I took a weekend trip to Key West from the 12th to the 14th – just to get away and to avoid brooding over the March of Time!  The last time I visited Key West was 1967!  Yikes!  So long ago I can hardly believe there were automobiles back then – but obviously there were, ‘cuz I sure didn’t walk 170 miles!

For those not familiar with the Florida Keys or Key West I’ve borrowed the following from a Wikipedia article:

The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida, forming the southernmost portion of the continental United States. They begin at the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern part of Key West is just 90 miles (140 km) from Cuba.

—- The total land area is 137.3 square miles (356 km2). As of the 2000 census the population was 79,535, with an average density of 579.27 per square mile (223.66/km2), although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys.”

The map below shows the distance I drove – from Pembroke Pines (in the upper right) to Key West (in the lower left).  I would guess that the distance form Key LArgo, the first large island on US Route 1 off the mainland to Key West is about 115 miles – – many, many tiny islands connected by bridges.  The longest bridge is approximately seven miles long – noted on the map.

Florida Keys

I made this video of the Seven Mile Bridge while heading back home on the 14th.  It is a weird feeling driving along on this two lane highway, knowing that for many hundreds of miles on both the right and left there is nothing but water!

I spent the weekend strolling around on the beaches, fishing piers and the quaint neighborhoods.  I also drove through most of Duval Street, the main shopping street which runs  from the  southernmost point of the island – also the southernmost point of the continental United States north about a mile to the northern end of the island.  I had my video camera going while driving through this famous street and then returning to my motel.   That was an interesting experience.  The traffic was so heavy and slow that I think I could have walked the length faster.  I’ll include that video in my next post.


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The Excuse – Busy, Busy, Busy – plus Videos

My life has changed dramatically since I moved to my Condo.  I am very, very busy and it has been hard to find time to post.  That’s my excuse for being absent for over a month.

Shortly after moving in in late May I joined the village Camera Club, and being involved with the activities of the club and socializing with the members have kept me quite busy since.  In just a few months I have met, worked with and socialized with more people than I had  in the almost quarter century I had lived in my former house.  For years I had been somewhat of a recluse and now I am becoming a social animal again – and I am liking it!

Early on I became a member of the club’s program committee which sets the agendas for the weekly meetings, including themed competitions and presentations on photographic techniques and using digital camera features.  We also scout out and organize field trips to nearby attractions for members to take  photographs .

And Ta Da! I have recently been elected to the position of club Treasurer.  That is fun, but it is time consuming.  I’d like to claim I have been given this honor (?) in recognition of my outstanding accounting and management experience.  Truth be told, though, the outgoing Treasurer felt she could no longer handle the job and they couldn’t find another sucker to do it!   😉  Thus, nominated, and unopposed, I was elected unanimously!!!

I have found time, though, to attend four Friday night high school football games, taking some photos and making videos of some game play and marching band shows.  Unfortunately, every game I’ve attended so far has been a total mismatch.  The closest game score was 27 -6.  The other three game scores were 63 – 6,  69 – 0, and 42 – 2.  In the latter three games it was the home schools’ teams that endured the shellacking!  At least their marching bands performed well.

I made this video of the Pembroke Pines Charter High School’s marching band playing in the stands during the first quarter when there was no score and the visiting team had not yet begun to score at will.  The video is a bit shaky, especially at the beginning.  I saved it because I was surprised and pleased that these high school youngsters played a 1940’s swing tune – “Sing, Sing, Sing” – and appeared to be enjoying it.   I can’t say that  music from the big band era is a big favorite of mine,  but it does bring back memories and it is nice to see that  these kids are being exposed to music other than military marches and rock tunes.

At another game, as I was leaving my car in the parking lot I noticed a huge black cloud directly above the stadium, and decided it might be a good idea to take my umbrella from the back seat.  It was a wise decision.  I had no sooner gotten to my spot in the stands when the deluge began.  It was a half hour before the game was scheduled to start so there weren’t many people there – but those few hurriedly rushed  to cover  below the stands, leaving just me and two or three other umbrella wielders still seated.  Although the rain was very heavy it was falling straight down so I remained completely dry, feeling quite smug and pleased with myself for my foresight.

Soon, however, I discovered that there was one important thing that I had failed to consider.  The metal benches were grooved, and while I was feeling nice and dry under the umbrella’s protection, my bottom was soon soaked – like I was sitting in a puddle!  The rain lasted only about ten minutes – my soaked bottom lasted for the remainder of the game – rather uncomfortable, I must say!

Only a few people had returned to the stands when the marching band marched into the stadium in their fancy uniforms and soon suffered the same fate as I had.  Their uniform slacks were black, however, so when they performed their on field halftime show their wet rear ends were not noticeable.

I don’t know why, but Hollywood Hills High School, the ‘home’ school for this game plays all its ‘home’ games at other neutral school stadiums even though they have an on campus stadium.  So, their band always has to warm up in the stands rather than it its band room as other schools’ bands are able to do before their home games.  This is a short video of the band starting their warm ups up in the stands right after getting their bottoms soaked.  You can see how wet the benches are.


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Picture/Video Post – April 24, 2014

In less than a month now I will be in my new digs – still lots of preparations for the purchase and sale, and also I’ll be spending some time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – busy, busy times!

Still, I have been finding time for my walks and taking videos and photos.

Purple Flowers Beautiful purple flowers by the entrance to Brian Piccolo Park where I took my walk this evening.

Townhouses on LakeI passed by this little lake and townhouse development on the way home.

New SunflowerI believe this is a baby sunflower.

Fallen NestThis nest with two baby birds was blown out of a tree in my back yard last week.  For the three days that the babies stayed alive the parents continued to feed them and to  dive bomb any person or creature that ventured into the area.  Sadly, Nature is cruel – the babies didn’t make it – there were only a few feathers and some tiny bones next to the nest on the fourth day.


The other day a Mama duck and her many tiny charges came into my back yard headed for the lake.  But at the shoreline mama duck realized that the water level was so low (It’s near the end of the dry season) that the little ones couldn’t get into the water.  So she turned them around and headed back out of the yard.  I grabbed my camera to video their departure. But apparently some people have been feeding them and the little ones headed right towards me for their expected treats.  When they realized that they were not going to get anything, they left.

Here’s an example of the kinds of strong winds we get in the springtime – the kind that blows nests out of trees.




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