#r2bcheerful53 – Something nice to study

I don’t know about you, but I love learning new things, even as I get older. There’s something fulfilling about adding to my knowledge and skill set and it keeps my mind and body healthy.

Although I am quite happy using the laptop to scour the web for useful pieces of information I must admit that I do love a good, old-fashioned book to leaf through once in a while. There’s something fundamental about the tactile nature of the interaction and also the randomness of flicking through the pages of textbooks, or browsing whole collections in a library, or (even better) a secondhand bookstore with the added element of surprise around every corner…

As far as I am concerned having something nice to study is a great reason to be cheerful!

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~Richard

#r2bcheerful8 – Jump back in the alley

This may seem an odd reason to be cheerful but I have had a few years to think about this and here’s my theory: When Ian and the Blockheads were writing the song back in Italy following the cancelled gig they were probably bouncing ideas off each other. The fourth reason to be cheerful they chose was the phrase “good golly Miss Molly” from the Little Richard song of the same name. It seems quite logical to me that “jump back in the alley” is another reference to Little Richard’s song, “Long Tall Sally”. In this case the phrase could mean listening to the song, or perhaps the fun that Uncle John is having in the original song!

Either way, they are both a good reason to be cheerful!

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~Richard

#r2bcheerful25 – No Electric Shocks

My understanding is this phrase was the inspiration for Ian writing Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3). During a tour in Italy in 1979 one of the band’s roadies, Charley, was nearly electrocuted during a soundcheck at one of the venues because of poor electrical wiring at the gig. Thankfully, he survived but the show was cancelled and this song was written in the hotel that same evening.

Anyhow, we all know that although essential for modern living, electricity is dangerous unless treated with respect.

This sign is from an old disused rail bridge near to my home, and warns of the dangers. Not having an electric shock is always a reason to be cheerful!

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~Richard

#r2bcheerful28 – A Little Drop of Claret

At the end of the day, or perhaps with an appropriate lunch or dinner, a little drop of claret goes down well. Claret, of course, in the quintessentially British term for red wines produced in the Bordeaux region of France, using a blend of grapes from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and rarely Carménère. The term is believed to derive from the French word “clairet” which was a dark rosé imported into Britain from the 12th century until the 18th century. Claret now really means a dry, dark red Bordeaux and is generally associated with the English upper class.

So, in Ian’s lyrics he was probably referring to the ability to get hold of “a little drop of claret” as something of a treat for most people and therefore a true “Reason to be Cheerful

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I also thought it would be fun to use one of our Tipsy Wine Glasses for today’s image, a recent xmas gift from our friends in California.

Cheers!

~Richard

#r2bcheerful33 – Sitting on a Potty

I know we don’t want to get all lavatorial here, but there is something a little bit comforting about sitting on the potty, don’t you think? And as for using the rare Meyer Sniffen Co. Vortex Special from the 1920s, well – job well done, so to speak! And certainly a Reason to be Cheerful!

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~Richard

#r2bcheerful27 – The Smile of a Parrot

I started this 66-image Reasons to be Cheerful challenge off in 2016 with no time limit. However, I intend to see how many I can complete this year starting with this shot I took of a parrot at the Ardastra zoological gardens in the Bahamas. I have no doubt that this parrot is smiling and it’s certainly a reason to be cheerful!

170107_r2bcheerful27-smileofaparrot

~Richard

Dogwood 52: final day

Using a little bit of deviousness and “artistic license” I have managed to complete the #dogwood52 challenge today. I started 07-Jan-2016 and finished 06-Jan-2016, exactly one year!

I was really struggling with the backlit portrait for week 46 but following our first snowfall of the year last night and a beautifully bright morning with a clear sky I decided to combine this with the week 52 self portrait. To be honest this was more difficult that I thought, too! Using a selfie stick and my iPhone 6S I thought it would be an easy shot but of course the flash (for fill) doesn’t work on the front camera, so I had to adopt the old trial-and-error approach to getting the shot!

So, here’s the summary of the final assignments:

WEEK 46: Portrait: Backlit – The sun makes a great back light, as well as a flash. Don’t forget the fill light. A flash or reflector can be used to fill in the subject.

WEEK 52: Portrait: Another Self Portrait – For your final challenge, we end where we started. Take one last self-portrait, and be amazed at how far you have come in a year.

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Overall, this has been an interesting challenge. It spurred me on during the year, and also became a real challenge later on. I think it has pushed me to think more creatively and I am pleased to have completed the task, even though I really pushed the interpretation of a few of the assignments 😉

Next stop – to figure out how to complete my own Reasons to be Cheerful Challenge, although that’s really more of a long term project…

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 45

WEEK 45: Artistic: Nostalgic – Use nostalgic as your inspiration this week. Long for the moments we want recapture. The good times.

There’s something nostalgic about certain foods, or at least there is to me. Whenever we cook lamb at home I am transported to the ramshackle old farmhouse that my grandfather lived in, or to be more specific to the blue-painted kitchen where he was roasting lamb chops and the adjoining walk-through pantry where he used to hang the turkeys (or capons) at Christmas.

There is also a nostalgia associated with old buildings, so for this week I combined the themes and came up with an artistic shot of the sign above the old disused Mom’s Diner in Woodbridge, New Jersey. I stumbled across this old dining car earlier in the year and did a bit of research afterwards. It’s not in a good state now, but was a classic American dining car – all shiny steel and red leatherette seats. I can almost see Al Delvecchio standing behind the counter listening to Arthur Fonzarelli in his leather jacket. You cannot get much more nostalgic than that!

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~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 43

WEEK 43: Portrait: The Elderly – Tell the story of an elderly person through the power of your camera. Capture the lines of their life.

OK, I’m really stretching it for this one.

As I am not a Garry Winogrand style photographer and I do not relish sticking my lens in people’s faces, nor do I feel confident in snapping away at crowds, in the style of Martin Parr, I thought I’d need to very creative here. In the end I opted to use a photograph of the “old man of the woods,” or the Sumatran Orangutan, taken at Philly Zoo a few weeks back.

Sugiwara (Sugi) was 21 years old on New Year’s Eve 2016,  which makes him middle-aged for an orangutan, rather than elderly, but I still think I meet the challenge due to the nickname for these wonderful primates and also because it shows him in a calm contemplative moment.

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~Richard

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