My old neighbor and friend, who passed away last December, who used to give me lots of advice on woodworking and lend me his tools, was a serious photographer in retirement. His goal was to take a photo of every bird in North America. His widow emailed me to go to Paul Bannick’s talk at Pima College on Saturday. Paul had been a friend of my neighbor. So I did. Now I have to go out and buy $2000 worth of camera equipment (or at least read the manual for my old Canon point-and-shoot).
Marvelous two-hour talk about photographing birds. I am an inveterate note-taker, so I have two pages of notes. First find the birds: study their life history, where they are, why they are there, what are they eating, and so on. Preset your shutter speed depending on their behavior. Use aperture priority to isolate subject. Good art – remove everything except what is essential. Focus on the bird’s eye. Which is the best lens for the money? (300mm f/4 telephoto fixed lens for Canon SLR cameras) See dpreview.com and compare lenses, not cameras. Shoot raw. (I know that my brother does. When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.1) Shoot in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light. Then he got into histograms and lost me.
It was sponsored by the Tucson Audubon Society. About sixty people attended. I have to add that I had been in the Audubon Society in elementary school, until I found out that John James Audubon killed the birds before he painted them. I quit and have not joined since.
Audubon, who was born April 26, 1785, first rose to fame through the 435 magnificent paintings he created for his landmark work, “Birds of America,” which detailed more than 700 bird species and was first published as a series on a subscription basis between 1827 and 1838…
He shot and killed every bird he painted. Audubon was a noted hunter and taxidermist, and much of the money he made during his lifetime was from selling animal skins, a practice that in part helped to fund the printing of “Birds of America.” But don’t assume that he took pleasure from killing the birds he painted: “The moment a bird was dead,” he said, “no matter how beautiful it had been in life, the pleasure of possession became blunted for me…”2
I just reread all of my birthday cards and noted that four of the fourteen mentioned some aspect of aging:
- Is this the birthday when you start asking yourself life’s big questions? Like, “Why did I come into this room? I knew a minute ago…”
- Woo-Hoo! I remembered my password!
- A woman opening a box with “My keys!!! My glasses! How did you know?!” Hope you get everything you’ve been looking for and more!
- OMG I thought I was having a hot flash. Thank God it was only your candles.
Trump University agrees to settle lawsuit for $25 million, NY AG announces
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to settle lawsuits relating to his Trump University series of real estate seminars for $25 million, the New York Attorney General’s office said on Friday.
The suits alleged that the seminars failed to deliver the education it promised. The deal settles two class-action lawsuits in California and a civil suit filed by Schneiderman.
“Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “I am pleased that under the terms of this settlement, every victim will receive restitution and that Donald Trump will pay up to $1 million in penalties to the State of New York for violating state education laws…”
— The Associated Press, NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.3
Many of you will know of the rap musical, Hamilton: An American Musical… a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics, and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, achieved both critical acclaim [winning the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album] and box office success.4 I will note that it is the most expensive Broadway show ever, with the average ticket now going for $1200, and has been sold out for months, through January 2017. Well, Mike Pence went to the show and the actor who plays Burr (and who is black and gay, in fact, all of the characters are historical figures who were all known to have been white, but they are played by actors of many races and ethnicities, notably black, Latino and Asian5) had a closing plea for him. This is from the New York Times and contains a video.
“Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical about colonial rebels shaping the future of an unformed country, took an even more political turn at the end of its performance on Friday night.
With Vice President-elect Mike Pence attending the show, the cast used the opportunity to make a statement emphasizing the need for the new administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, a Republican, to work on behalf of all Americans…
As the play ended, the actor who played Vice President Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon, acknowledged that Mr. Pence was in the audience, thanked him for attending and added, “We hope you will hear us out.” “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”6