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DEJA VU

It might seem like yesterday, but Déjà Vu was released 40 years ago this week. It topped the US Billboard pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock. This was the first album by CSN (David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash) that included Neil Young. Stills estimates that the album took six months and 800 hours of studio time to record with multi-layered tracks and lots of overdubs in the mix. Wally Heider’s Studios in San Francisco and Los Angeles were both employed. Continue reading “”

PORSCHE 911 GT3 R HYBRID

The Porsche GT3 R Hybrid race car debuted at the Geneva Motor Show today. This unveiling occurs 110 years after Ferdinand Porsche developed the world’s first hybrid automobile, the Lohner-Porsche. Porsche engineers decided to expand on previous designs by creating a very modern high-tech hybrid. Instead of batteries, braking energy is stored in a flywheel generator that can spin up to 40,000 rpm. Power from the generator is available for six to eight seconds following each charge, much like last year’s Formula One race cars. Continue reading “”

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LEICA’S NEW S2

I’ve been a fan of Leica cameras since I bought a used Leicaflex SL back in 1979. Since then I’ve come to value their mechanical precision, durability and astounding image contrast and shadow quality. M2s, M3s, M4s, M6s, Leicaflexes, R4s, R6s and R8s have passed through my hands over the years.

With each succeeding model, the innovations have impressed just as much as the consistent “look” provided by the superb German optics. Leica has just introduced a brand new Leica S-system that combines 35mm handling with a medium format digital sensor. The first of these S2 cameras and lenses are just now being delivered, and I hope to test one soon. Continue reading “”

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VAN MORRISON : MOONDANCE

“Van the Man” released his third solo album, Moondance forty years ago. After the unstructured recording of his previous landmark album, Astral Weeks, Morrison decided to try his hand at producing his own album using similar techniques. He moved to a home on a mountain top in upstate New York near the village of Woodstock with his wife, Janet Planet. There he enlisted the help of several nearby musicians. Continue reading “”

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SPRINGTIME IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Yoshino cherry trees will be blooming next month in the nation’s capital. March 27 – April 11 marks the National Cherry Blossom Festival this year. That’s when the banks of the Potomac River and the open National Mall will likely be exploding in fragrant color. The weather will also be more hospitable by then with temperatures in the low 60’s. With so many large parks, the city is ideal for walking tours so bring your camera! Continue reading “”

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SINATRA : NICE N’ EASY

After a few days away, it’s nice to come back to my blog with some classic music. “Ol’ Blues Eyes” was never in better form than on this 1960 chart-topping album. In The Wee Small Hours or Watertown might appeal more to the “sad” Frank fan, but with spring just around the corner I’m in the mood for this collection of breezy mid-tempo numbers and ballads. Continue reading “”

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DRIVING AND 911 DYNAMICS

If you are a Porsche 911 fan and own one of these cars, you may be itching to make some mods or have already done so. The usual intent is to make the car go or look faster. If it’s go faster you are after, money may be better spent on learning from a professional in a safe environment. As a nationally certified Porsche Club of America driving instructor, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best drivers in the business, and I continue to do so.

One of the key basic lessons taught is that traction is dependent on weight of the car, where that weight is located, center of gravity, grip (tire size, type and stagger) and the smooth application of steering, throttle and brakes. Being smooth is key and takes seat time to perfect. Continue reading “”

DRAMATIC AMERICA’S CUP COVERAGE

If you are a sailing fan, or even if you are just into technical innovation and design, be sure and check out the full race coverage and live streaming at the link below. Two groundbreaking 90 ft. racing sailboats – a catamaran from Switzerland with a traditional mainsail and jib v.s. a revolutionary USA trimaran with Star Wars technology and an enormous wing sail – duke it out on the high seas near Valencia, Spain. Continue reading “”

HOUSTON’S FOTOFEST

Next month I’ll be traveling to one of my favorite big cities: Houston, Texas. The purpose of my visit is to promote my forthcoming book, Imagine A Nation: In Search of America. I’ll be meeting with publishers and gallery owners in preparation for 2012, my hoped for publication date. The venue is the famous FotoFest, a biennial photographic community gathering which this year features contemporary U.S. photography. I’m really excited by all the possibilities that lay in store and the people I will be meeting. In my spare time I’ll be sure and take in some ribs and architectural photography!

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Continue reading “”

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SHARING THE MUSIC

Last night I hosted a listening session for a few of my music-loving friends. I’ve known these guys for several years so it’s always a welcome ritual to share some vibes with like-minded spirits. The purpose of this semi-annual gathering is to exchange ideas about meaningful music, the photo industry, recent travels, and maybe a car story or two. We generally talk a bit, share some pizza, then go down to the listening room and play some tunes. It’s usually just CDs, but occasionally we spin some SACDs and vinyl. Continue reading “”

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DAVE ECK’S GT BADGED PORSCHE

The current news stand issue of Excellence, the magazine about Porsche, contains one of my articles on the classic 1972 911 sports car. This particular white coupe was transformed from an ‘80’s Miami Vice bling machine into a sleeper of an award winning hot rod by Californian Dave Eck and his host of friends.

The great part about this car is that you could conceivably walk right past it without a second look. It doesn’t have any racing stripes or body decals. Heck, it doesn’t even have big fog lamps mounted on the hood. Instead it features vintage looking later model wheels and a plain old gas tank. Continue reading “”

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MARDI GRAS IN NEW ORLEANS

February 16th is the date for Mardi Gras this year, and New Orleans is one of the best places in the US for celebrating Fat Tuesday (the French translation for this carnival). If you didn’t get enough of rich foods and libations this past holiday season, here’s one last chance for hedonism before confessing your sins and going on a diet. Continue reading “”

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MARVIN GAYE : WHAT’S GOING ON

Forty years ago Marvin Gaye released his 10th album, That’s the Way Love Is. Two months later, in March of 1970, Marvin Gaye fell into a deep depression following the death of his singing partner and fellow Motown artist Tammi Terrell, who had a malignant brain tumor. By June he gathered enough courage to record the soulful yet politically charged single titled ”What’s Going On”. Continue reading “”

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EXPLORING THE FLORIDA KEYS

This time of year my mind begins to wander to warmer climates like southern Florida. Places like Key Largo and Key West recall memories of Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet. The word “Key” comes from the Spanish “Cayo” meaning small island. And true to its origin, this tiny string of islands connected by bridges separates the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico.

January and February are the best times to visit the Keys – hurricane season and the holidays are over, but spring break has not yet started. It’s quiet and temperatures are cool: mid 70’s during the day and 60’s at night. There are many unique plants and animals here, and the tropical climate ensures that something is blooming all year round. Continue reading “”