Monday, October 11, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Veteran Memorial Dedication Phoenix, Arizona

I'm proud to say I was there for the dedication of this Memorial to the fallen Sailors, Marines and Soldiers of that campaign.  This memorial  has the names of the fallen from Arizona. This monument is dedicated to all services including Coast Guard and National Guard troops.
There is one panel on the memorial free of names. One knows that this panel will not remain free of names of those who have fallen for our country.
It was a good experience to attend with the Patriot Guard Riders who were requested to be there by the Gold Star Family Members that attended the dedication.

This Mission Complete Pin of the Patriot Guard Riders  was put into the time capsule of the memorial.  All the members of the Guard Riders touched this before it was handed over.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Work in progress Vest

I've been doing some modifications to the new vest. I found a place that makes patches and have added some custom made work onto the back of the vest. I've also put some of the pins on the front of the vest.
This is the latest version of the back of my vest. At the bottom right you can see a large red and yellow patch on which are the names of my ANGLICO Marines KIA during my tour. At the very bottom you see a patch with the name of Li'l Bamboo which was my nickname, or at least the one I choose to keep using. I had two other nicknames while serving, Hippy Doc and Butcher. I didn't know about hippies at the time and well Butcher just didn't seem to fit in my minds eye. Also I just had to add something German to the vest so the top left is a patch that says Ja Und. Sort of a sarcastic Yes And answer to a question.

This is the front of my vest with unit patches for 7th COMM and 1st ANGLICO. Other patches are of the 1st Marine Division, my rank and rating Hospitalman 3rd Class, a copy of my dog tags, a Fleet Marine Force badge (silver thing over the 1st Marine Patch).
I think this will be all that is on here for a while. I have added some beads in the colors of the Vietnam Service Medal and the colors of the German flag. As I can't hang those beads horizontally it looks like the Belgian colors instead.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Vet Vest

Here is the front of my new vest. Proudly displaying my unit patches, 7th COMM which was my parent outfit during my entire tour although I spent actually very little time with them. I spent five months in a reactionary platoon in defense of the Chu Lai Airstrip.  Along with bunker watch this unit set up ambushes at night and we also got to ride shotgun on convoys delivering Av. Gas, usually two tankers and three trucks of 8" and 155mm ammunition to Quang Ngai.  Our small convoy consisted of the five mentioned trucks with two additional deuce and a half's with about twenty Marines each and two communication jeeps.

1st ANGLICO Sub Unit 1 is a group I spent nearly six months with. I was attached to a detachment of Marines attached to the 2nd ROKMC, Blue Dragon Brigade Chung Jung. I was in the 1st Marine Division. The rank Patch of Hospitalman 3rd Class was actually on one of my uniforms.

Here is the back of my vest. I have added to it since this photo but you get the idea that I am a Vietnam Vet. I have added a custom made patch with the names of the Marines that fell during my tour with  1st ANGLICO Sub Unit 1.

Vet Vest

I've been wanting to get a leather vest for a long time and I finally managed to get one. Funny thing is that right after I got it I found a place that has patches and makes custom patches. I had them make me one to honor those guys that didn't make it during my tour. It cost about $14 to have made.
So now I have these guys on my back so everyone can see. My Marines I can now share with others who they were.
Semper Fi
Fair winds and following seas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Fourth of July

So we were out enjoying the fireworks display. I used the Sunrise Sunset app for the iPod to get the time of sunset down and ended up missing the first part of the display.
I am fortunate that I have a good place to photograph fireworks. I use a house that has a widow walk and it is on a hillside the fireworks display is close by on another hillside so I have a pretty much unobstructed view of the fireworks.
I don't have, yet, a cable release for the new camera so that is in the works sometime in the near future. I had to resort to a 2 second time delay on the shutter and I got some very nice shots. I used a Tamron 18-250 lens to capture these shots. I shot some photos at f-5.6 and the majority of the rest at f-22 to get multiple explosions on the same frame. My exposure time was around 30 seconds.
I decided that I'd play with the zoom just to see what happens during the long exposure times and this is one of the photos that I ended up capturing that I really liked. I really like the blue color. Just seems like a great big blue jelly fish. I also played around with getting really zoomed in on the bursts and I really like this shot. Hope you all had a good fourth. Take care be well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Canon 5d mk II Camera Sweet

I got the new Canon 5D mk II home.  I just bought the body and equipped it with a battery grip.  I also bought a second battery for the grip.  I've already got some good glass to use on it.  Though not all of my lenses will work on the full frame body.  Darn.

I can only get 130 or so photos on a 4 gig card. That's wild. Anxious to see the results from the camera.

Take care be well.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 Phoenix National Cemetery

Me, My Brother and Pa

Patriot Guard Riders

We visited my ma on Memorial Day. It was good to see so many caring people there. Sad to visit my ma. This is my family. We are all vets. My Pa, is one of those that served in the Army, Army Air Corps and then the Air Force, My brother is a Marine. Me I was a Navy FMF Corpsman that spent most of my active duty with the Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1st ANGLICO Sub Unit 1 attached to the 2nd Korean Marines Blue Dragon Brigade in Quang Ngai Provence RVN.
Semper Fi
Fair winds and following seas.
Thank you.

Shutter failed Canon 40D

Yes, right in the middle of a photo shoot I got an Error 99 message on my Canon 40D LED screen. Yup that's a bad one.  It means the shutter failed. S o now it is in the shop being repaired.  Feel like a I'm going through withdrawals without my camera. I decided to break out the big guys so I took the Toyo-View 4x5 and the Mamiya out to do some photos. Funny thing about being really careful when you go back to film. I took several photos with the Mamiya using the close up attachment. I saw some really nice plants with nice lighting so I took photos. Now I have a frame with several exposures on it. Should be interesting to see if nothing comes out.
It was interesting getting out there again with film. I did some experimenting with PW's and the 4x5 and got that up and working now I just have to get some really nice photos with it.
Just for fun I got me a Lumix DMC-ZS7 P&S with GPS so I can track where I'm taking photos. I've also ordered me a back up that should be here sometime today. Can't wait.

Just for grins here are a few photos taken with my new Lumix DMC-ZS7.

The macro works really great.  Here are some photos taken with it.

Remember the worst photo ever is the one not taken.

Take care be well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

St Michael's Church Munich

The coffin of Ludwig II
Sometimes you just have to take the time and look around. I've been in München for nearly two months now and almost daily walk from Staccus/Karlstor to Marienplatz and each and every time I do I walk past this building that is being cleaned up. Here in Germany they put up a big picture of the building in front of a building that is being renovated or cleaned.

This is a big year for Bavaria as it is the 200th anniversary of the marriage of Franz Joseph and Maria Teressa more commonly known as Oktoberfest to the rest of the world. It is also putting on the Passion Play in Oberamergau so there are some things going on that is making the town put on its best face. So looking for things to do my sister said that she wanted to visit the tomb of Ludwig II king of Bavaria. He is best known for his Neu Schwanstein castle. Never heard of it? If you've ever been to Disneyland then you know it as the white castle with its tall peaks and turrets.

Alter of St Michael's Church
So here we are daily walking by this building and thinking that it was something else entirely. As it turns out I did some research on the internet and asked a few friends here and was told where Ludwig II was interned. So it turns out that this is St. Michael's Church in the heart of the pedestrian way between Staccus and Marienplatz. The church is in need of getting its pipe organ repaired. It is a beautiful church and if the sun is out you should be able to get some very nice photos of it. There was very little sun out when I visited here so I bumped my point and shoot up to 3200 ISO and it worked fine.

It will cost you 2 Euro per person to enter the burial chamber but worth the trip. Lots and lots of history there in the basement of the church. We were lucky enough to hear the organ being played and I took a video of it but it is to big to put on here. It is beautiful sounding and it is in need of repair as you can hear a few sour notes as it is being played. It should be very beautiful when it is repaired.
So take the time to look around, be curious. I had the fortune to be able to spend some time here. Slow down, look around. Sometimes it is better to take your time and see things than to race through and glimpse at a bunch of stuff snapping photos as you go buy. Try some different angles with some of the things you see. I did with this statue here going for an almost portrait look instead of a static statue. This figure was next to an alter so I was pretty close to the floor and zoomed past the alter so it wouldn't show. I still had the camera set to 3200 ISO so this is what came out of the camera.
Had my sister not been interested in seeing this I would have missed it all together. I have missed it the last four times I was here. It was worth the time and effort to find it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Churches München

If you like visiting churches then when you are in München and you find yourself around Marienplatz looking at the Glöckenspiel then you are within walking distance of several very beautiful churches. Frauenkirche is to the left of the old courthouse, the building with the Glöckenspeil, it is just a couple of minute walk to get there. Alte Peter is to the right and just to the right of the bank which is visible while you are in Marienplatz. The pedestrian zone ends and there is a street to the south Alte Peter is just around the corner. If you find Alte Peter then you will also discover that there is a Deutsche Museum shop directly across the street from it. Trust me you'll feel much lighter when you leave that store!!
This is the alter of Alte Peter. If you are interested you can also pay to climb up the tower of Alte Peter and have a wonderful view of München.

This little church is St. Kajetan Theatinerkirche which is just a little way down from the Residenz and a nice church to visit. It is across from Feldherrenhalle.

There is also a church inside the Residenz that is being restored and I took this shot of the stairwell just because I thought it was interesting.

Vantage points München

I've been to München several times in the course of several years and several times since I've been here this time. It is amazing the discoveries one can make by either looking up or down. I found this vantage point to get this photo of the Glöckenspiel on the new town hall by accident. I've known for years that there is a restaurant where you can visit and see the Glöckenspiel from the same height just about instead of being with the masses on the ground below.
This vantage point discovery and several other accidental discoveries made for a very good day in München. One of the few days since I've been here that there has been some sun. Okay well it is behind the clouds but it was possible to see some blue sky for a change.

This was obviously not taken at 11 or 12 which are the two times a day when the Glöckenspiel actually plays. Just so you know also it plays for about 15 or so minutes so when the rooster crows the show is over. Also the Bavarian Knight always wins the joust! It is after all Bavaria. If you take the street to the right of the new courthouse and turn left and walk about ten or fifteen minutes you will end up at the Residenz, which has some fabulous things to see along with a very nice museum. If you take the same street and go to the right you will find Alte Peter a very beautiful church. If you walk along either street past Alte Peter you will end up in the Viktualin Market. Food Market where you can see and taste many different kinds of foods and colors. Watch out for the pigeons they aren't to afraid of people. Here is also a manhole cover that I discovered by looking down. I love the work put into it.

Theresienwiese, München

This wonderfully bland scene is where the famous Oktoberfest is celebrated every year. This year will be the 200th Anniversary of the marriage of Franz Joseph to Maria Theresa. The original celebration was a horse racing event. It eventually turned into the celebration it is today. Upwards of up to a half million people are on this field every night during, some of them actually sober! Just clarify things Oktoberfest is held the last two week ends of September and the first weekend of Oktober. If the Monday following the last weekend happens to be on the 3rd then Oktoberfest is extended that day because in Germany it is a holiday.
This is the statue of Bavaria. In front of her during Oktoberfest is part of the midway full of rides and vendors selling their wares. During the summer months it is possible to climb to the head of Bavaria and observe the Theresienwiese.
A thing that most people don't know is that all the buildings for the celebration are only up during Oktoberfest. The field is otherwise empty as it is a park and an emergency exit site for the U-Bahn below.

This is the statue of Bavaria

 Just had to have a photo of me in front of Bavaria. Someday I'll take a photo from her head if I'm lucky enough to be here when she's open. Someday.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hard Rock Cafe, München

Here is the bar of the Hard Rock Cafe in München Germany. Pretty easy to find if you are in the Marienplatz Square walk south past the white building, Old Rathaus, turn left and walk up one block, turn right and at the first street turn left again and you'll be in souvenir alley. You will find the Hard Rock Cafe at the end of the block and the Höfbrau Haus directly across the street. You'll find there are souvenir stores for the München football teams and the Höfbrau Haus. You can eat and drink at both the Cafe and Höfbrau haus. I was here last in 2003 with my family. Funny thing is that we had a waiter from America and this visit I had again the same waiter. It was a sort of slow day so he was able to chat for a little while.

In the Hard Rock Cafe it is possible to get drinks with ice. Ice cubes are not normally served with drinks in Germany. If you ask for a drink with ice you server will give you a strange look because in German 'ice' means usually Italian Ice Cream. Ice cubes look like dice and in German what we call ice is icewürfel roughly translated it means ice dice. Just so you know. You can get a pretty much American Hamburger there also if that would be your choice.
We had a good time visiting with our neighbors and revisiting with our waiter. He was surprised that I remembered him after seven years.  I was surprised also because usually I don't remember things like that.

This is the stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, München. Thank goodness for table top tripods.

Alte Pinakotek Art Museum München

This is Alte Pinakotek as seen from the street in front. Amazing that such a simple looking building could house some of the best paintings from the world's best painters. We were fortunate enough to be there as there was a special display of Peter Paul Rubens paintings in one of the halls. Quite fantastic to sit on one of the many padded ottoman style seats and just gaze at the paintings. Time just flies by and before you know it you've been there several hours.

This is Madam Pompadour shown in all glory. An unusual portrait to show herself as a highly educated and wealthy woman at this period of time. It is quite an interesting painting and one can spend several hours looking at it. One cannot visit this art museum in an hour or even a day. The thing is there are three of these museums within several blocks of each other. It is simply amazing, one can walk here in less that a quarter of an hour from the south exit of the München Hauptbahnhof and the history you pass along the way is absolutely incredible.

This little Madonna painting was one by none other than Leonardo de Vinci. You can get within a few inches of these paintings. Most of them are covered by protective glass now. I was in München in 1982 and this museum was closed because some one came inside and threw battery acid on many of the paintings. They were taking steps to insure that the act would not be repeated.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Andechs Kloister Herrshing

Alter detail
Went yesterday on a little walk to Andechs Kloister I had heard about this a long time ago and I thought it would be a good time to visit. It is around the area of Herrishing in Bavaria. It was a little cold and as I'm sort of new to traveling by train anywhere this was a learning experience for me. I got on the right train and ended up two stops short of where I wanted to get, so now I've learned that I need to check and make sure I'm on the right train. I was able to wait for another train to take me the rest of the way to Herrshing but had I been on the right train I would have gotten there sooner. The other thing is that if your stop is between the last stop listed on the train then you can get on that one and make it to your stop, you just have to make sure it stops where you want to get off.

Alter of Church
The walk to Andechs was a bit farther than I had expected turns out to be about an eight mile or so trip there and back again. You can take a bus but I was under the impression that it wasn't that far away. Silly me. The weather was in the zero to minus Celsius range so at times it wasn't a pleasant walk but it was a good walk. On the way there we missed a sign on the foot path and ended up on the street, which because of the snow made life a little scary as there was no where to go once the cars were coming except into the snow. The roads here are very narrow so they aren't very far away and when the speed limit is 80kph that's kind of quick to have cars going by you about two feet away on snow covered roads and uneven sides covered with snow.

We managed to find the foot path on the way back and it appears it could be very scenic in the summer time but in the winter time there were many foot falls and you are in the middle of a pretty big forest most of the time so it proved to be interesting. Luckily for me there were already some footprints going my way and I followed those back to civilization.
I would recommend the bus or if you have a car drive there. I had planned on sampling the beer but the hour plus walk in minus Celsius temps didn't make it seem like a good idea.
You must visit the church, it is one of the most impressive churches I've visited in Germany this time or ever. Yes, it is that nice, not Cathedral quality but very close to it. There is the beer garden and food to sample too. After we walked all the distance I don't ever feel like eating so I guess I'll just have to plan to go back some time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

München and snowing

So we arrived here in München and then it started snowing. I wonder what that means? It was snowing when we left Rothenburg and now it is snowing here. The weather says its going to be cold as in the minus teens Celsius and snow until Sunday. Oh joy. I'll just have to visit museums for a couple of days I guess.
I'll be posting more photos later. I'm taking a day to do some things so that I will be better organized for the remainder of the time here. Be well take care.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back in München

Just in case you might be wondering how cold it was in Rothenburg then here is a little idea. This was on a shed just across the driveway of our front door. It was a bad idea to check it every day but it became an obsession.
We have left Rothenburg and are now back in München. It was snowing when we arrived in Rothenburg and snowing when we left and now it is snowing here in München. I think maybe it is trying to follow us around.
I have again web access. The place I was using in Rothenburg decided to go on vacation until March so I had to wait to get back on line. I'm here for a few days and hope to be taking more photos.
Here is just a little sampling of how cold it was in Rothenburg. This was on a sidewalk on the way to Rödertor on the south side of Rothenburg. Yes that is ice around that plant.
This just seemed to scream take my picture. So I did. Sort of like a dream of Christmas past and now over and done.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter storm Daisy

So how bad is Winter Storm Daisy here in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Well this is a photo of an impression of the front end of a car. I know maybe it isn't much to those back east but from an Arizona/Cali guy this is quite different. It is interesting to see, not much fun to get out in. I'm getting really reacquainted with hot potato soup here in the afternoons. It sort of helps to take the chill off. Oh yeah that and a little schnapps really helps too.

This are a set of steps leading to the wall around Rothenburg. You can walk most of the wall or near it. It is interesting to walk around and see what is happening. Naturally there are signs all over the place that you are responsible if you fall and get hurt.

If you have never been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber than you wouldn't know what this is but if you have been then this is what the front of Kathi Wohlfahrt looked like on Sunday. Just a little snow piled up in front. If you've never been here then just make sure that you have plenty left on your credit card. It is a wonderful place to part with your money. Lots of Christmas stuff to see and take home with you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

St. Jakob's Church

This is called the Heiligblut Alter. The holy blood alter as it is believed to contain three drops of blood from Jesus in a Crucifix higher up in the carving. This carving was started in 1496 and completed in 1501.  The figures are life size.  Tilman Riemenschneider is the person who carved the figures.

St. Jakob's Church will be celebrating its 700 anniversary in 2011 and is currently undergoing renovations to its exterior and some of the interior. I've been there twice since I've gotten here and I believe I'll be there a couple more times before I leave. It is a great place to take photographs.
This is called the High Alter and it is very large and wonderfully done.

 This is the alter of the coronation of the Virgin Mary done by a student of Tilman Riemenschneider that carved the Blood Alter.

 If you get the opportunity to visit here then you should take a couple hours to walk around.  If you get the chance to take a tour then I would highly recommend that you do that also.  There is just so much information that you find out about the church while you are on tour.

Be well travel safe.

We're in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Here is a little building that I really like the looks of ever since the first time I ever saw it. It is called Plönlein or little market. It has been drawn and painted and photographed by many people. We are having a good time exploring the town despite the few snow flurries and apparent terrible weather in Europe.

This is me standing in the doorway of my bedroom. As you can tell you can't be to tall otherwise you'll hit your head. Not really a problem though because there is about a five or six inch drop as you step into the room. I have to be careful at night.

This is called Burgtor and it is really very nice. It leads into a very nice park which overlooks the Tauber River.