Custom Coffee Mugs

Custom coffee mugs are now available from my website. Did you know that you can have a coffee mug with most any of my images on it? Simply go to my website choose your favorite photos. The mugs come in two sizes, your choice of 11oz or 15oz. Each coffee mug is custom manufactured using your selected image, shipped from the production facility within 1-2 days, and delivered to you with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you have seen a photo here on my blog and do not see it on the website just ask me! Here are just a few examples:

coffee mug coffee mug coffee mug

Posted in art and entertainment

National D-Day Memorial

The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia — the community suffering the highest per capita D-Day losses in the nation. The Memorial honors the Allied forces that participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II.

With its stylized English Garden, haunting invasion tableau, and striking Victory Plaza, the Memorial stands as a powerful permanent tribute to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of D-Day participants. The Memorial is encompassed by the names of the 4,413 Allied soldiers who died in the invasion, the most complete list of its kind anywhere in the world.

Visitors can expect both an educational experience as well as an emotional one, as they walk the grounds at the Memorial and leave with a clear understanding of the scale and sacrifices made during the largest amphibious landing the world has ever seen. On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft supported the invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in France. The D-Day cost was high with more than 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded as the march across Europe to defeat Hitler began.

The Memorial is supported by contributions to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization.

Some photos I took while there are below:

National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial National D-Day Memorial

Posted in photography

Super Moon

Step outside on December 14, and take a look at the moon. Not only will the moon be full, but on that day, the moon will be at its closest point to our planet as it orbits Earth. This makes the December full moon a supermoon.

The term supermoon has entered popular consciousness in recent years. Originally a term from modern astrology for a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, supermoon now refers more broadly to a full moon that is closer to Earth than average. But why is the moon closer to Earth at some times but not others?

Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!

This coincidence happens three times in 2016. On October 16 and December 14, the moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.

The full moon of November 14 was not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: it’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower. Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five to ten fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks. Oh well, at least the moon will be remarkable.

How remarkable?

A supermoon, or perigee full moon can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon. However it’s not always easy to tell the difference. A 30% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds or the competing glare of urban lights. Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full moon looks much like any other.

Low-hanging moons, on the other hand, can create what’s called a “moon illusion.” When the moon is near the horizon it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects. The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.

A supermoon is undeniably beautiful as we saw on October 16 and this week November 14. We can see that beauty again on December 14: mark your calendar and enjoy the super moonlight.

super moon above princess super moon over crazy sister marina

Posted in art and entertainment, marshwalk, murrells inlet, Night photography, outdoor, South Carolina

10 Essential Wildlife Photography Tips

It’s hard not to enjoy the beauty of nature and wildlife. Even animals that are fairly common in your area can be fun to watch and great subjects for wildlife photos. Of course, the problem with photographing wildlife is if you’ve never done it before, it can be difficult to know where to start. After all, it’s the basic fundamentals that will help you build a solid foundation for wildlife photography success.

Steve Perry is a long-time wildlife photographer, and he offers up 10 essential wildlife photography tips in the short video below. Each tip addresses the basics of photographing wildlife such that when you have an opportunity to capture an image of a wild animal, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to do so. Have a look, and learn what you can do to be a more successful wildlife photographer.


Posted in art and entertainment

Happy Halloween

Evolving from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, modern Halloween has become less about literal ghosts and ghouls and more about costumes and candy. The Celts used the day to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, and also believed that this transition between the seasons was a bridge to the world of the dead.  Over the millennia the holiday transitioned from a somber pagan ritual to a day of merriment, costumes, parades and sweet treats for children and adults.

Halloween is one of those days that has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Back when I was growing up it was just a day where you could dress up as something you were not, preferably something scary (whatever that meant) and parade around the neighborhood soliciting sweet treats. It was FUN! None of us were worshiping some pagan diety nor were we bowing down to the golden calf or anything similar. Oh, some of the “scary” images included symbols of witches and tombstones and black cats etc but we all knew that witches were not real and everyone ends up with a tombstone and black cats are just as cuddly as calicoes. It was FUN! We seem to be living in an age where the fun is being taken out of everything.

The other day I was thinking about Halloween and crated these two graphics. If they offend you, too bad. They are designed for your enjoyment.

halloween halloween

Posted in halloween

My Home Murrells Inlet

This is a repeat from a post from 3 years ago. I thought some newcomers might enjoy it and others would enjoy it again.

Murrells Inlet

Murrells Inlet is my home! Everybody likes to brag about their home, and guess what — Murrells Inlet is legendary!   It’s the place where hushpuppies were invented, where Blackbeard and other pirates of the high seas stashed their ill-gotten booty. It’s the place where local and visitor alike have reported the chance meeting with one of the Inlet’s local ghosts.   History in our community began writing itself long before this area was officially named Murrells Inlet by the post office in 1913. The origin of this name remains a mystery with theories resting in passed-down legends of pirates and fishermen and incomplete records of landowners, plats and maps. 

By the 1700s, scores of pirates had taken to the high seas to intercept cargo vessels and make off with the goods.  The South Carolina coastal waters were especially productive for pirates. The coves and inlets along Murrells Inlet provided great hiding places for those marauders.

Pirates who became local legends include Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard because of his coal-black beard, and Drunken Jack, who was left behind on an island with a huge stash of stolen rum (and died with a smile on his face).

Our history includes Native American tribes, 16th century Spanish explorers and English colonists.  By the 1800s successful rice plantations were producing almost 47 million pounds of rice and were more successful than the tobacco  and cotton plantations of the Southeast.

People who summered in Murrells Inlet in the 1800s generally traveled by steamboat docking at the Wachesaw River Landing.  The river steamboats were known for excellent food. Many of the steamboats’ cooks settled in Murrells Inlet, giving the area a reputation for savory cuisine long ago.

Yep – Murrells Inlet is where I call home! If you have not ever been here, you owe it to yourself to visit at least once. Put us on your “bucket list”!

Click on any image for larger view.


GardenCity-Seen-across-Murrells-Inlet-web DSCF0014 Kathy2-web EgretOnFence-web

Posted in murrells inlet, Waccamaw River

Smallest Drawbridge

Somerset Bridge is a small bridge in Bermuda. Connecting Somerset Island with the mainland in the western parish of Sandys, Somerset Bridge is reputedly the smallest working drawbridge in the world.

The original bridge was built in 1620, and much of its structure remains, although the bridge was largely rebuilt in the mid 20th century. The original bridge was cranked open by hand, whereas the current bridge consists of two cantilevered half-spans, separated by an 18-inch (46 cm) gap bridged by a thick timber panel. The entire width of the drawbridge measures 32 inches. The panel is removed whenever a yacht wishes to pass beneath the bridge, allowing the unstayed mast to pass through the gap. A captain must wait for a passer-by to assist in opening the drawbridge.

On a series of Bermudian dollar banknotes issued from 2009, the bridge is featured on the reverse of the pink five dollar note, along with Horseshoe Bay and opposite an Atlantic blue marlin.

Nearby buildings often take their name from the bridge, such as a post office a park and, until October 2008, a sports club.

This image was shot during our visit to Bermuda May 2014.

Smallest Drawbridge

Worlds Smallest Drawbridge

Posted in photography

Creamed Chipped Beef

OK, this is not my normal blog post but I ran across this on and felt the need to share this recipe for Creamed Chipped Beef.

Creamed Chipped Beef is a classic American dish that originated around WWII. It was (and is) an easy recipe to make, consisting of only five ingredients, and it was perfect for the times because it called for dried beef, so soldiers didn’t have to worry about it spoiling. In the Navy we called it “S*&% on a Shingle”

Dried beef is not the same thing as beef jerky or beef that’s been left to dry out; it’s a type of meat that looks like salami, but needs a little TLC to get it tasting as good as possible. That’s where the sauce in this recipe comes in. The chipped beef is cooked in a sauce that’s similar to béchamel and they each get something from the other–the salty meat flavors the sauce and the sauce gives moisture and creaminess to the meat. The perfect relationship. Creamed chipped beef is an American classic, and absolutely worth making from scratch!

Creamed Chipped Beef

Creamed Chipped Beef

Serves 4-6


  • 1 (5 oz.) jar dried chipped beef
  • 3 1/2 cups half-and-half (or milk or cream)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Tear chipped beef into small pieces and add it to the butter.
  3. Cook beef for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to curl. The meat will release some of its salt as it cooks.
  4. Gradually add flour to the pan, stirring until a thick paste forms.
  5. Pour in half-and-half and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until thick and creamy.
  6. Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Toast 4-6 pieces of bread and set aside.
  8. Once desired thickness is reached, bring sauce back up to a boil and whisk vigorously for 1 minute.
  9. Taste and season with pepper (salt is probably unnecessary) and place a combination of beef and sauce over toast.
  10. Serve immediately and enjoy.


Posted in Food Tagged |

Oahu – the last stop

Our final stop on this fantastic adventure was the island of Oahu. Both of us had been there before; Liz for a brief visit and I was stationed there ’73-’76.  The Solstice docked early in the morning and our flight outbound was not until later in the evening. We decided to sign up for a tourist trap bus tour of southeast Oahu.

From the Hawaiian monarchy to the attack on Pearl Harbor, an exploration of Oahu’s history reflects the key influences that have impacted all of Hawaii. In 1795, King Kamehameha I led his forces in the legendary Battle of Nuuanu near the scenic precipices of the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. This pivotal battle resulted in the conquering of Oahu and the eventual unification of the Hawaiian Islands under one rule in 1810.

Seven Hawaiian monarchs followed after Kamehameha the Great. King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) permanently established the Hawaiian Kingdom’s government on Oahu. King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) and his wife Emma’s summer retreat, the Queen Emma Summer Palace, can still be visited in Honolulu’s Nuuanu Valley today. King Kalakaua, also known as the Merrie Monarch, built the majestic Iolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu. Queen Liliuokalani was Hawaii’s last reigning monarch after American colonists overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a controversial coup in 1893. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.

The 1800’s were a time of great change for Hawaii. Christian missionaries became influential after King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) ended the traditional kapu (taboo) system. Many of the historic churches on Oahu are reminders of Christianity’s influence, such as Kawaiahao Church in downtown Honolulu, which was a place of worship for Hawaiian kings and alii (royalty). Soon, new commerce emerging from whaling, sugar and pineapple industries resulted in an influx of western settlers.

As agriculture boomed in the late 19th century, plantation owners found themselves in the midst of a labor shortage. Immigrants from Japan, China, Korea, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Russia and the Philippines arrived to work in the plantations. Today, this mix of ethnicities is the source of Hawaii’s multicultural population. Visitors can step backward in time to explore this era at Waipahu’s Plantation Village. You can also still see the smoke stack of the old Waialua Sugar Mill as you drive toward historic Haleiwa town.

In the early 1900’s, agriculture began to wane and Hawaii’s visitor industry began to grow. In 1901, the Moana Hotel opened on the beach in Waikiki. Today the Westin Moana Surfrider is Hawaii’s oldest resort still in operation. The Halekulani Hotel opened in 1917 as a cottage colony and was rebuilt as a luxury hotel in the 1970s. The Aloha Tower opened in 1926, and was the tallest building in Hawaii for four decades. In 1927 the iconic Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened and was nicknamed the “Pink Palace.”

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor pushing America into World War II. The surprise attack was aimed at the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Corps and Marine Air Forces. The attack damaged or destroyed 12 American warships, destroyed 188 aircraft and resulted in the deaths of 2,403 American servicemen and 68 civilians.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. Completed in 1969, the Hawaii State Capitol is located in Downtown Honolulu, behind Iolani Palace.

From the largest museum in the state, Bishop Museum, to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, Oahu is home to numerous landmarks and significant points of interest that shed light on the fascinating facets of Hawaii’s past.

Rabbit Island away from Oahu

Rabbit Island

Waimanalo Bay Beach not like Oahu

Waimanalo Bay Beach

Waimanalo Bay Beach

Waimanalo Bay Beach


Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Kaluahole Channel

Kaluahole Channel

Halona Cove

Halona Cove

nuuanu pali pass

nuuanu pali pass


Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Free Range Chicken

Posted in Hawaii, lighthouse, photography, travel

Bora Bora and Maui

I am combining our stops to Bora Bora and Maui because our stop in Bora Bora shoud be called Poura Poura! It rained hard all day long. We did take a tender from the ship to shore but quickly saw that we would soon resemble drowned rats if we stayed. We got underway early that evening and after five sea days arrived in Maui!

The last time I had been to Maui was in 1975 and I was looking forward to going up to the Haleakala crater.  The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawai’iloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. According to that legend, Hawai’iloa named the island of Maui after his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Maui. The earlier name of Maui was Ihikapalaumaewa. The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large isthmus between its northwestern and southeastern volcanoes and the numerous large valleys carved into both mountains.

Haleakala Observatory is one of the most important observing sites in the world. Lying above the tropical inversion layer it experiences superb seeing conditions and dominant clear skies. The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has managed this site for over 4 decades as a location for conducting dedicated astrophysical experiments. In most cases these are programs that could not be conducted anywhere else on Earth.

The Silversword is an exceptionally rare and endangered plant native only to the island of Maui and the Big Island of Hawai’i (all other occurences being introductions). Silversword is itself a very unusual plant. A very striking silvery-light-green color, this almost metallic looking plant consists of very dense rosettes of yucca type leaves that radiate out from a base. The leaves are thick and taper to a point at the ends. These rosettes can range in size from a few inches for babies to three or four feet for mature healthy adults.

However, what is really strange about Silversword is how it flowers. Silversword will live for 40 to 50 years before flowering once and only once. When it is time to flower the leaves seem to invert and bend upwards and out of the center rises a huge 4 to 6 foot stalk from which radiates hundreds of drooping yellow flowers. The entire result is something that resembles a narrow 6-foot tall mushroom – a very impressive sight. Once the plant has flowered a single time, the entire plant dies.

We left Maui late evening and set sail for Honolulu where our cruise ended. Stay tuned!



Park Sign

Park Sign

Silver Sword

Silver Sword

Silver Sword

Silver Sword






Haleakala Crater


Haleakala Crater


Haleakala Crater

Posted in art and entertainment, Cruise, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Maui