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My National Camera Day story June 29, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography.
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Another day, another social media holiday. Today is #NationalCameraDay.

That was how my proposed Facebook status update started. It snowballed into a multi-paragraph history of cameras I’ve used. Below is that history.

I’ve been using cameras regularly for 22 years as of next month. That was when I got a Kodak Funsaver disposable 35mm camera. I used a few more of those before getting a Minolta point-and-shoot camera and 35mm rolls to go with it. Like the disposables, it didn’t have a zoom, but I didn’t care. Three years later, forgetting to bring that camera on a trip to Florida led to purchasing an Olympus camera with a zoom. I alternated between the two cameras for a few more years. Then, another instance of forgetting to bring either camera led to purchasing a Nikon camera, which also had a zoom. A handful of times at the turn of the century, I used my dad’s Canon Rebel G SLR, mostly at sporting events, including two Mets games.

By the fall of 2004, I was ready to switch full time to digital. I had Fujifilm DX-10 and Largan Chameleon Mega digital cameras, but used them sparingly while sticking with 35mm. For the full-time switch, I bought an Olympus C-765. To save space on the 256 MB xD card I bought for it, I only took pictures at the 1280 x 960 resolution. The maximum resolution was 2288 x 1712. In hindsight, my space-saving decision was a mistake. By today’s standards, 1280 x 960 is microscopic.

For Christmas in 2007, I received another digital camera to replace the C-765: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8. With a 4 GB SD card, I shot at nearly double the resolution of the C-765: 2048 x 1536. The max resolution is 3072 x 2304, but once again, I settled for less. The Lumix got me through another 4 1/2 years, which included an upgrade to a 32 GB SDHC card.

By May 2012, I craved a DSLR camera, which my jazz fan friends were using to photograph concerts. So, I took a big step and purchased a Nikon D3100 with a kit 18-55mm lens, and a 32 GB SDXC card to go with it. For six months, I alternated between that and the Lumix, which could zoom farther than the lens I had with the D3100. Finally, after my birthday, I bought a 55-300mm lens. After that, I gave the Lumix to my girlfriend. The D3100’s max resolution was 4608 x 3072, but I settled for less (3456 x 2304) a third time, except for pictures of the moon or passing planes. That practice continued when I swapped cameras with my dad 11 months later. I ended up with a D5100. The medium resolution was a little higher than the D3100: 3696 x 2448. The D5100 got me through another 2 1/2 years. I would eventually opt to shoot at max resolution (4928 x 3264).

Last November, I bought my latest camera: a Nikon D5500 with a kit 18-140mm lens. The max resolution on the D5500 is all the way at 6000 x 4000, and it records 60p video. The previous cameras only shot 30p. I kept the D5100 and 18-55mm lens as spares, but they’ve only been used once. I gave them to my mom to take pictures at a retirement party earlier this month. At some point, I plan on buying a second D5500 body and dedicate the 18-140mm lens to one and the 55-300mm lens to the other.

That’s my story. And you didn’t need to click on “See More” to see all of it. Happy National Camera Day!


Dharma 2.0 recap June 25, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal.
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A new era began last night at Suite 1828 in Merrick. Drummer John Favicchia upgraded his band from Dharma All Stars to Dharma 2.0.


The set now features mainstream covers while retaining Dharma classics, as you’ll notice in the set list.

I was last at the Suite last January for Dharma 1.0. I had planned on returning two months later, but came down with bronchitis and had to stay home. I felt redeemed last night.

I sat in a chair in front of the stage. Behind me, a packed house gathered. We were all in for a wild set.

Dharma 2.0 is led by John Fav on drums:

Tim Regusis on keyboard:

Benny Reid on tenor sax:

…and alto sax:

Brandon Dove on guitar:

…and Thomas Velsor on bass:

Apocalypso (Dave Weckl cover)
2. Spies (Coldplay cover)
3. Coincidence
4. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett cover)
5. In My Place (Coldplay cover)
6. Kukuc

Here are various shots of each band member, starting with John Favicchia:













Tim Regusis:



Benny Reid:



Brandon Dove:



Thomas Velsor:



Wide shots:



The last note of the set:


Until the next show, I’ll leave you with a pair of group pictures taken by me…

…and mutual friend Jeff Krasner: