Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber.
Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet.
Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little.
I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.
May there be peace on Earth and goodwill towards all men and women, of all faiths, all genders, all orientations, all economic strata, and all philosophies.It's a solitary world we inhabit. It;s time we began thinking like adults.
May we find a way to stop ourselves from blaming others for our own frustrations, to stop demonizing those who disagree, and find a way for all people to rise together.
Happy Holidays to each and every person who comes here, and may the world find itself a little way back down the path back to sanity in the coming year.
It's Friday yet again, and that means it's time for the Friday martini!
This week a bit different, however. This little gem will be included in the book, but here's a preview.
Most drinkers, those who drink for enjoyment and not for sport, are specific when it comes to how they like their preferred beverage. I have a friend who demands his Rob Roy be served very specifically. When I'm drinking a martini on my own I will make my preferences known. (When shooting entries for CHASING MARTINIS I will basically see what the bartender recommends and drink it their way...)
This last week I was at lunch with two close friends who told me a brilliant anecdote regarding one of my favorite actors, Cary Grant, and the ever-fascinating Howard Hughes. My friend is essentially unimpeachable when it comes to Mr. Grant, so I regard this as a true story.
As you might know, at one point Howard Hughes was involved in filmmaking and, like many filmmakers, would often pre-screen his films. It is a chance for a director to gauge the audience response to specific scenes, after which he would return to the studio and edit appropriately.
On one occasion Cary Grant was with him. This is the story:
Many years ago, in the heyday of Hollywood, Howard Hughes and Cary Grant developed a "bromance" that extended to a mutual appreciation for a well-made martini. Grant, of course, was well known for his love of the drink, being quite specific in his criticism of anything less than a perfect martini.
One evening they found themselves at the State Theater in Long Beach after a prescreening of one of Hughes' upcoming films. After the show they searched around for a place to get a drink, settling upon the Saratoga Bar on Pine Avenue, named for the Navy's aircraft carrier which used to homeport at Long Beach Naval Station in the post-war years.
Downtown Long Beach, at the time, was a rough around the edges Navy town, and the Saratoga Bar was very much in keeping with that setting. Hughes and Grant entered and sat down at the bar. Only a couple of other patrons were in the room. Grant, iwth his mellifluous British accent, ordered a martini.
The bartender, given more towards serving beer, rum, scotch and bourbon, scoffed and asked in a disbelieving voice "What is a martini?".
According to the legend, Hughes offered to demonstrate and slid a hundred dollar bill across the bar. The bartender pocketed the bill and stepped aside as Hughes mixed up the first attempt at the drink. Hughes, naturally, was no bartender and despite having consumed many martinis over the years wasn't quite sure what proportion the ingredients should be, nor was he terribly sure of the mixing process (this was a bar that probably didn't have a shaker...). In essence, he was making it up as he went along. Trial and error.
Grant tasted it and made a frown. Not yet. Hughes tried it himself and was similarly unimpressed. So he tried again. The second round, of course, was to neither of their satisfaction. Nor was the third...
And so it went for some time until both Hughes and Grant were completely plastered, at which point the car was summoned and they headed back to Hollywood to sleep off their martini-making evening. My friend isn't sure if they ever got it right -- Grant was too far gone to know whether the last few hit the mark. As far as he knew, none of them was any better than just half-assed.
Years later Cary Grant related the story to my friend, labeling it the Making of the Half-Assed Martini.
And while it's a true story, I prefer calling it a Legend.
BTW - In researching a photo of Mr Grant I ran across this page. You might enjoy.
This week ends up being all about signs, which is fun I guess. I didn't start it with a theme,
the theme just sort of happened.
This sign hangs on a door at the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. As you can see at some point they apparently sealed the door and moved the entrance.
What I can't understand is why they wouldn't simply cover the word entrance instead of installing a boxed sign below it that contradicts it. Build the box over the word entrance and nobody's the wiser.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, we used to ask other people to take our pictures.
No selfie-stick required, and you got to meet someone along the way.
It's true. I was there.
After a day out on the Na Pali Coast, snorkeling and seeing the sights, our boat headed back to shore, but not without resting a few moments as the sun set into the Pacific in a truly spectacular sunset. This couple, like others on this trip, were our short-term traveling companions on an adventure.
Stylized version of a photo I took while wandering around the Loire region of France, a few miles outside of Tours. I was photographing a vineyard alongside a country road when I realized I was being watched.
I cropped down the original shot of the vines and bumped up the cat's silhouette, overlaying it all with a light Dry Brush filter to give the image a more artistic, filtered Impressionist touch.
Miami Beach, where the measure of a man can be determined by his tan lines.
A place to see and be scene, utterly unique amongst American beach locales. Models, actors, business people, and locals who just want to have a good time. The jet set and the working class, all milling and trying to out Miami each other.
At the Tides you can see them all. Grab a mojito and pull up a chair.