Monday, July 23, 2012

Fireworks and the beautiful city of Charleston

My girlfriend, her daughter and I went downtown for the fireworks display over the harbor on the Fourth of July. I snapped a few pics from the Charleston Maritime Center. The above photo was posted on The Post and Courier's Facebook page and received 168 "likes." Not that anyone is counting.

It turned out that our location offered a nice view of the fireworks and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. But the bursts were still sort of low in the sky.

It was the first time I photographed fireworks anywhere but on the beach. A cityscape was a nice change.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doing what I could with what I had

Before I got my cameras back, I still chased clouds. On this day, I drove over some of the islands near Charleston -- James, Johns and Wadmalaw -- and down Maybank Highway (above) to get ahead of a thunderstorm. I took shots with my iPhone.

The storm was uneventful. It died out before I could get any decent photos. It dropped hail and blew down trees at one point, but I never saw any of that.

At the end of Maybank Highway on Wadmalaw Island, I saw some low scud clouds over Bohicket Creek.

Scuds look dramatic at times because the droop like crazy, but they're harmless.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back in action with a mild lightning storm

In my first photo excursion with my new old camera equipment, I went to the shore of Charleston Harbor and watched a storm move through. I used a small tripod (since my heavy-duty one remains missing), so it shook in the wind.

The storm was severe and impressive at one point. The National Weather Service issued a warning well ahead of the system. Seen above, a Coast Guard boat scrambles as dark clouds approach.

A gust front moved over the Ravenel Bridge, but the storm split apart. It remained strong to the east and west. But in the middle, where I was, hardly anything was brewing.

With dark clouds overhead, a sailing vessel makes its way toward the dock.

The boat, under power of a motor, docked near my location at the South Carolina Aquarium.

Lightning illuminated the sky, but the bolts were mainly confined to the east and west. Occasionally, one would crawl through the clouds over me, but I caught nothing impressive on camera.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I got some stuff back

Some of the camera equipment on the floor of the pawn shop.

Palmetto Pawn on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. They buy gold! And my stolen camera equipment. (And here's an update: I must thank them for doing so!)

 Thank God for stupid criminals.

A detective called me last month and said a man had sold some of my and my employer's camera equipment to a North Charleston pawn shop.

He got a whopping $300 for nearly $10,000 worth of photographic tools.

Fortunately, the police were on the ball and monitoring inventory lists that pawn shops are required to turn over. Investigators matched up the serial numbers of my missing equipment.

I got it back; the pawn shop was out $300.

Unfortunately, some things -- some important things -- remain missing.

Among the missing items are my two most expensive lenses, a 105mm Nikkor macro I've used to shoot insects and a 150-500mm Sigma I've snapped wildlife with.

My Manfrotto tripod is still out there, too, so my nighttime lightning-chasing adventures are still on hold.

The only damage was to the shotgun mic on my Canon video camera. It was broken off, likely because the thief had never touched one in his life and had no clue how to remove it.

But I must be thankful for what I've got: real cameras. I hated having nothing.

The man (suspected of being) responsible is another story.

The suspect.
For this 24-year-old from North Charleston, it wasn't his first rodeo.

(Note: I'm omitting his name from this post on the off chance that he Googles himself. He hasn't been arrested -- yet. You can find his name in some of the following links, though.)

He has a lengthy criminal history.

He was in the news in 2008, when officials at Charleston County's jail accidentally released him. He was facing burglary, weapons and drug charges at the time of that snafu.

He again made headlines last fall, when he bailed from a stolen SUV and ran from the police. In the stolen vehicle, officers found a toddler holding a pellet pistol and saying "gun, gun."

His most recent conviction was in 2010, for burglary. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. All 10, of course, were suspended, and he was given three years of probation in lieu of hard time.

So, when someone broke into my vehicle, he was on probation for burglary. Go figure.

Last I checked, detectives in North Charleston likely will arrest him on a charge of selling stolen property. The burglary occurred in the separate city of Charleston, where a detective was less certain about charging him.

A chance still exists that he has my other stuff or that it'll show up elsewhere, but I won't get my hopes up.

Though if any of the stupidity he has exhibited in the past is an indicator, it's not entirely out of the question.

Update since I wrote this: He was arrested in late June in Berkeley County on unrelated burglary and larceny charges, then released from jail on bail.