Saturday, July 4, 2015

What really happened today back in 1776?

The Declaration of Independence

We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. As a nation we think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. But July 4, 1776 wasn't the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).  It also wasn't the day we started the American Revolution (that was back in April 1775).  And it wasn't the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776).  Nor was it the date the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that took until November 1776).

What did happen on July 4, 1776?

To be honest it was bureaucratic thing that happened it was on this famous date that the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They'd been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.  They affixed this date to the document and July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.

The Decleration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

Friday, July 3, 2015

Put your war face on...

It may come as a little or no surprise that I photograph the JROTC Raiders team through-out the year.  What can I say I have a camera, I'm there with Marty and I think it's just plain old fun.  I am also very impressed with the JROTC program and how it is operated.  When I was younger the JROTC programs were just starting to make their way into the area and as I was considering a career in the military I would have likely been a member.

However the school I attended did not have a unit yet.  This required me to seek elsewhere and I ended up in a very similar program, the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.  I was in the program until I aged out and moved to the Senior member ranks where I remained until I stated working full time and was unable to fulfill my duties due to time constraints.

For the JROTC unit the rockstars are the members of the Raider team.  They complete on obstacle course, physical fitness challenges, 3k run's, logistics relays and much much more.  The photograph above was taken at once such event and as you can see it was muddy!  These guys/gals do it all and they don't stop for the weather unless it becomes a safety issue.  I've stood in the down pouring rain photographing them as they ran a 3k.

In my Civil Air Patrol unit the rock-stars was the search and rescue team and before you ask yes I was on the team and at one point I was the team commander.  I was a lot of things back then.  Coming up in that program I was a cadet, then as I rose in rank I became the First Sargent for the unit then later an officer and much later the Unit Commander.  I manged to reach the rank of Lt. Col before I turned senior member, I missed my Spaatz award by a handful of point on the multiple choice exam.  As a Cadet I also served on the Search Team and the Color Guard and later became the commander of both.  When Iw as to old for the Cadet program I transferred to the Senior Ranks and served as the Aerospace Education Officer, the Search and Rescue Team Senior Member Commander and later left the local squadron to join the Wing Command Staff in West Virginia as the Historian and the Assistant Public Affairs Officer.  Where I won a number of regional awards.  Most of these things I have never shared with Marty, he only knows that I was in the Civil Air Patrol.  I'm proud of what he is doing in the JROTC and honored that they allow me to follow them around and document what they do.

I guess in a way I'm still serving as a Public Affairs Officer of sorts just no title and no uniform this time around.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Photography Quote #2

Alfred Eisenstaedt (December 6, 1898 – August 23, 1995) was a German-born American photographer and photojournalist. One of the most prolific photographers of the twentieth century, he began his career in pre-World War II Germany, and after moving to the U.S., achieved prominence as a staff photographer for Life Magazine which featured more than 90 of his pictures on its covers with over 2,500 photo stories published.

Among his most famous cover photographs was the V-J Day celebration in New York City of "an exuberant American sailor kissing a nurse in a dancelike dip [that] summed up the euphoria many Americans felt as the war came to a close." Eisenstaedt was "renowned for his ability to capture memorable images of important people in the news, including statesmen, movie stars and artists" and for his candid photographs, taken with a small 35mm Leica camera and typically with only natural lighting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lost Mine of Phandelver Starter Box Adventure Part 7 (DnD Next, 5e)

A new group starting an adventure using the starter box for Dungeons and Dragons 5e. It gets bumpy.  Everyone is relatively new to 5e and Roll20 so they stumble and bumble their way through some parts, but that is what DnD is all about.

D&D FREE Basic Rules­cRules.pdf
 FREE Roll20 Mapping Software -

 Maps -

 Solucian - Dungeon Master - Stream @Solucian87 - Twitter _solucian_ - Instagram /Solucian - Facebook -

 Greg - Oxnard - Blog and Podcast for all things nerd @LetsUsNerd - Twitter @trulyghjr - Personal Twitter

 Joel - Kosef - Stream @Robut - Twitter

 Leezer - Immerias

 Jack - Big Draz

Big Thanks to Dave over at Table Topping for the macro vids and ideas. Twitch.Tv/table_topping - Stream
@table_topping - Twitter
 /TableTopping - Facebook

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ultimate Travel Photography Tips

As you know I tend to get around the local area quite a bit and I do a lot of things that I don't even think about to make my life easier.  For example I pack light and I have also found a number of ways to help me out with the camera.  From a custom camera strap made of para-cord to making sure I wear cargo shorts or shorts with deep pockets.  All of these are simple easy things to make travel better.

However I ran across a video this morning that gave some awesome tips for travel.  Two that really grabbed my attention were the ones when he made his camera look like crap and when he used the tripod to dangle his camera below a bridge.

Which ones were your favorites or do you have some of your own to share?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Adventure awaits you...!

Your party is now approaching the Village of Hommlet, having ridden up from lands of the Southern Coast. You are poorly mounted, badly equipped, and have no large sums of cash. In fact, all you have is what you wear and what you ride, plus the few coins that are hidden in purses and pockets. What you do possess in quantity, though, is daring and desire to become wealthy and famous. Thus your group comes to Hommlet to learn. Is this indeed a place for adventurers to seek their fortunes? You all hope, of course, to gain riches and make names for yourselves. The outcome of this is uncertain, but your skill and daring, along with a good measure of luck, will be the main ingredients of what follows, be it for weal or woe.

The small community at the crossroads is a completely unknown quantity. What is there? Who will be encountered? Where should you go? These are your first explorations and encounters, so chance may dictate as much as  intelligence. Will outsiders be shunned? Are the reports true — is the whole community engaged in evil practices? Are the folk here bumpkins, easily duped? Does a curse lay upon those who dare to venture into the lands which were once the Temple's? All of these questions will soon be answered.

The dusty, rutted road is lined with closely-grown hedges of brambles and shrubs. Here and there it cuts through a copse or crosses a rivulet. To either hand, forest and meadow have given way to field and orchard. A small herd of kine graze nearby, and a distant hill is dotted with the wand stone chimneys with thin plumes of blue smoke rising from them. A road angles west into the hill country, and to either side of the road ahead are barns and buildings — Hommlet

The adventure begins...this August!    If you are interested in joining send a message to me using the form below:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Perfect Inspiration: Episode 51 - Finding Your Photographic "Signature" with Karen Hutton

The wonderful Karen Hutton shares her thoughts and philosophy around the importance of creating your own signature style.

I know at times it may seem like I just randomly grab stuff from youtube and stick it on the blog for your consideration.  The truth is I think about the stuff I post.  The video you just watched was choosen because right now I need some inspiration.  If you look at my site you will see I shoot sports...lots of sports and lots of youth sports.  The thing is though I never wanted to be a sports photographer.

For me right now I'm looking ahead and behind and realizing I'm not where I want to be photographically speaking.  I need some inspiration and as such I turned to the web to help find me some.  In the digging I found the video above.  I enjoyed it because of how she walked you through the alterations she made to the image to complete it.  It showcased how she put herself into the image as well as how what you see in your mind is so important.