Shiva Vishnu Temple Over The Years by Harold Brown

I have taken a lot of pictures at the Temple located in Parma, Ohio and it has changed quite a bit over the years. I though I would post a few of the pictures I have taken showing the changes that I have captured.

Shiva Vishnu Temple

This is a picture from October 2009

Bless Gerta's Car

April 2010, the extension has been completed but the third dome has not been added yet.

Shiva Vishnu Temple
Shiva Vishnu Temple

The above pictures from January 2012 and January 2013 show the new addition added to the temple now including the new dome.

Canopy Entrance

Construction of the new canopy

Shiva Vishnu Temple

Canopy Entrance
Shiva Vishnu Temple

Diwali October 2016


Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians by Harold Brown

I had not been to a baseball game in several years and decided to head up to Cleveland to Progressive Field to take in an Indians vs Minnesota Twins game. I debated on taking my Nikon D7100 or Sony NEX-6 but had just gotten the new Samsung S7 phone and decide to try out the S7's camera. Our tickets were along the first base line and just three rows back from the field. The camera shots ranged from evening, twilight, sunset and night so I was able to take in a full range of lighting conditions. As a plus the Cleveland Indias won the game so how could it get any better? Enjoy the pictures below which also include panoramas that were done by stitching individual photos and not the panorama features of the camera phone.

Overall I really like the new Samsung S7 and its camera. The phone has really come a long way and the camera does an impressive job with lowlight photographs. I will leave all of the technical reviews of the camera to the experts, but I will say that I find the camera perfect for these types of events and capturing the fun and excitement of the game.


Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians
Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians
Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians
At the Ball Game
Sunset at Progressive Field

Loving my new iMac 27 5K Computer by Harold Brown

Well it has been over a month since I started using Apple computers again and I have to say that while there is a bit of a learning curve related to the file system, I am enjoying my 20 second boot ups and fast response in Photoshop and Lightroom. The Apple SSD is very fast. The 5K monitor is fantastic and my G-Tech Studio 6TB Thunderbolt drive is fast. I also purchased the Apple Trackpad 2 and use it along with the Mouse.

Just from observations I would say that the iMac software makes better use of the installed memory (24gig). I am sure there are some specific applications that use memory better than others, but I seldom saw my Windows 10 machine use more than 12 of the 32 gig available. I see the iMac using 16 and 17 quite frequently while using Lightroom and Photoshop (the same apps I used on Windows). The 5K screen really helps deliver accurate colors and reading text is very easy on the eyes.

I also purchased an iPad Pro for my wife's birthday. She has been using it to create greeting cards and wireless printing of pictures to her Canon Printer.  The iPad Pro is a much better experience than the iPad Air based on it's real estate alone, and for Valentines Day I bought her the Apple Pencil which she likes as well.

1937 Chevy Pick-Up Truck

Here is a picture of a custom 1937 Chevy Pickup truck I took in August 2007 using a Sony DSC-H5 digital camera. I used Lightroom to bring out the color of the truck and emphasize it through a vignette. When doing "extra" more heavy duty editing on a picture I do hear the fan speedup from time to time, but normally the iMac is very quiet on everyday tasks like surfing the web and reading emails.


Switching Back To Apple by Harold Brown

In 1977 I purchased my first computer which was an Apple II. It had two floppy drives and a Paper Tiger printer and for the time that was something. I eventually bought a PC computer and have been using Windows right up to my current desktop using Windows 10. Along the way I converted a Dell all-in-one to Ubuntu when the hard drive crashed and had several other makes and brands always running Windows. Most of the time when my system crashed it was almost always Windows doing flaking things and almost always related to the registry. I hate that registry and the problems it caused me. Which brings me to September 2015 when my computer started locking-up and having 100% disk utilization. It eventually started working after 2 weeks of effort then suddenly again the problems came back and now I see my system locking up when I play a video or do anything that places a small load onto the computer. I investigated the issue and read what each person said "worked for them" some of which seemed like nonsense, but I tried. I quickly realized that most of the info was not really of any value and was mostly speculation and in no way could solve the problem I was seeing. Since I do a lot of photography and some video editing I need a machine with a bit more kick to it. I was thinking about buying an Apple 3 years ago but decided to stay with Windows because of the investments I have in Windows applications. This past Monday I decided enough is enough and today I went to the Apple store and spent 4 hours researching what I should buy. I almost never trust anyone at any store to give me the proper advice or think through what I need. I make those decisions on my own based on research. The 5K iMac 27" screen is beautiful and a great deal since a 5K monitor alone would be $2,000 for something equivalent to the iMac. This makes the 5K iMac a great value for the $ spent. For video editing I decided on a 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, and for a graphics card an AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory. Nothing beats speed, a faster CPU and software that takes advantage of the GPU make a big difference. Right now I am leaning towards 512GB Flash Storage since it is always faster than a HDD. Since Apple charges quite a bit more for their memory I am planning on buying after market memory, I will probably run 16mb. I have over 800GB of pictures and videos so I will need to keep those on external storage. I still need to research what external drive would be best.


27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

  • 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
  • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB
  • 512GB Flash Storage
  • AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory
  • Magic Mouse 2
  • Magic Keyboard
iMac 27" with 5K Display

iMac 27" with 5K Display

I have been buying iPhones since version 3 and have 2 iPads as well, so the switch to iMac seems like the final step in bringing everything together. Now all I have to do is make the purchase and start the work of transferring and building out the machine. Man I hate reloading my computer with all the software and data. However, I started with Apple and no doubt will end with Apple.

Once I get the new machine built out I will be able to start working on my photo editing again. I want to get started editing my photos and video from my two months in India.

India Travel Tips by Harold Brown

My last post for 2015 and first post for 2016 is about travel to India. This post is more about what to look out for so the trip you plan goes better. You can find a lot of travel tips about India on the internet, make sure that you take a look at a few of them. There are so many things to watch for that no one can really describe them all. If you know someone in India they may be able to help you have a better experience. If you don't know Hindi you won't hear the dealing or things said about you and it  may appear as normal conversation. If you can find a good tour guide that is paid well you will have better success.

Lets get on with the tips, comments and observations.

  1. Begging - The children knocking on your car window holding a baby are most likely not poor and/or will not see any of the money you hand them. Begging is a chosen profession and you will see the beggars in tourist areas. They will be any place where there is a higher chance of a foreigner feeling sorry for them or wanting to save the world one person at a time. Begging is a good paying job and doesn't require hard work, just perseverance and some dirty clothes. 
  2. Government Shops - You will hear this a lot, basically a fixed price market where there is no need for dealing. Everyone pays the same price. The Taxi driver may tell you this is the place to go. He may also use the words wholesale, don't believe that. Our experience was that we saw items that the asking price was higher than the asking price at a non government shop. The word "saw" implies a written price, but you will seldom see a written price, it is always verbal. How these workers manage to remember the prices of hundreds and hundreds of items is beyond me and most likely changed based on who walks in the door. The taxi driver will make sure he walks with you into the shop, that means he gets money if you buy. This isn't to say that you cannot get a fair deal there, it just seems very suspicious to me. If you are good at bargaining you might do better elsewhere, we certainly did.
  3. Taxi Drivers - Make sure you arrange a taxi through the hotel or a responsible/safe source and that will solve the bigger problems you could run into. That won't stop the trickery, lies or foolishness, for that you have to take control. Don't talk much to the driver other than specific things you need from him like what is that building, take me to a specific address, take me back to the hotel. It is good to have pictures and written addresses. Anyplace the taxi driver suggests outside of main tourist attractions is somewhere he has the chance to make commission and it does not matter to him whether the place is good or bad. Most likely it is varying degrees of bad. Don't let the driver do any dealing for you to get you a better price, a guide, etc. They have contacts at all of the tourist sites that they can work with to get some of your cash. Many of the taxi drivers will tell you the traffic is too bad to go someplace, but they have an alternate place to go. Don't listen to that stuff. Stick to your plan.
  4. Take medicine with you on your trip. If you eat anywhere outside your hotel the chances of your getting diarrhea or food poisoning are very high. You need to be careful, and by the way see my rule about never going anyplace the taxi driver recommends, especially a restaurant. Go to your doctor and get a couple of doses of an antibiotic for each person traveling. The doctor will be able to recommend something for you. You will be thankful you did. Also important are antacids, aspirin, NyQuil, DayQuil (tablets), etc.
  5. You are not at home - Be aware of your environment and don't do foolish things like flashing money, talking openly in front of the taxi driver about money, politics or other personal matters. I really have a thing about the taxi drivers don't I. If you are female be careful about traveling extremely late by yourself.
  6. Public Toilets - Not even an option unless you are in a more upscale shop, hotel, office building
  7. Water - Never ever, ever drink anything other than bottled or canned drinks and no ice. Regardless of what hotel you stay in. Always be sure the water bottle has not been opened and refilled. A friend traveling to Mexico a few years back saw the water bottles being filled when he took a walk that landed him in the back of the hotel. Waiters that present the bottle with their hands covering the cap are up to no good.

India has a tremendous history, great places to see and I really like visiting and taking pictures (I have over 7,000 pictures of India), but it is is also surrounded in poverty. The very poor living in tents live outside the houses of the very rich. I have never seen the poorest of the poor on the streets begging, they are poor but still manage to survive on the smallest amounts of money. Don't litter which was started in the US over 40 years ago basically doesn't exist in India. There is an effort and plan in place and some people really care and many do not. As in the US it will take time but it certainly isn't going to happen anytime soon. In some areas of India it can be described as somewhere between "The Best Marigold Hotel" and "Slumdog Millionaire". A great experience surround with some harsh doses of reality. There is a lot more than can be said but I prefer to show India more than talk about it. 

Feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences or travel tips. Get out and see the world and how about starting with a stay in one of the palaces in Jaipur. We enjoyed our stay in the Raj Palace.

India has a problem with excessive amounts of litter everywhere you go

Woman with a piece of wood

Jaipur is a very popular tourist location


Hawa Mahal, is a palace in Jaipur, India, it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.

Marine Drive Mumbai

Mumbai Taxi - Make sure your taxi has a working meter and remember the taxi plate number

Westin Hotel Mindspace by Harold Brown

We have stayed twice at the Westin Hotel Mindspace in Hi-Tech City, Hyderabad. The Westin is a 5 star hotel and a great place to stay while visiting Hyderabad. The hotel was only open for one month when we first stayed there in January 2010. India film stars stay at the hotel, there are 4 restaurants, spa, lounge, and the internet access is great. Here are a few pictures of the Westin Mindspace that I have taken during our visits. 

The Westin Mindspace
The Westin Mindspace

Looking east toward the Westin and the outdoor pool

Westin Hotel Pool
Executive Chef Rakesh Singh
Chef Mukesh
Seasonal Tastes Restaurant

Westin Mindspace Room 1714

Chef Srikanth


Time to Capture More of India by Harold Brown

It was almost 6 years since we had last traveled to India and although we have enough pictures from the original trip to still last the next couple of years I wanted to get out onto the streets more this time around. This time we spent all our time in Hyderabad and saw more of the city and surrounding area. 

First stop on the way was Washington Dulles and Emirates Airlines. The gate was right next to South African Airways and my wife was tempted to trade-in her ticket to head home and visit her family in Joburg. 

Geeta stands under the South African Flag in Dulles Airport

Dulles A Gates

Flying Emirates Boeing 777-300 to Dubai and then onto Hyderabad

I watched "Mission Impossible Rogue Nation" and "Spy" on the way to India

Just like last time we were flying during warnings of terrorist attacks, this time we left just after the attacks on Paris. 

14 minutes away from the Dubai International Airport

Geeta at Dubai International Airport

Geeta at Dubai International Airport

Washington Dulles




1967 Ford Mustang Fastback by Harold Brown

A few pictures I took in 2011 of a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback at the Brunswick Car Show

1967 Ford Mustang
1967 Ford Mustang
1967 Ford Mustang
1967 Ford Mustang

I enjoy going to a few car shows every year and taking in the views of the old pony cars and remembering a time when they were new on the road.


Old Stone Joe on R539 in Mpumalanga, South Africa by Harold Brown

On our way to Kruger National Park from Johannesburg we came across "Old Joe" on R539. I have blogged about this before but I thought it was worth talking about again. Old Joe is actually a giant rock dug up by a road crew in the 1920s. It is named after Joe Barbas who was the supervisor of the road crew that built the road. The road crew recognized that the rock looked like a man and it was placed as a mile marker along the road. Over the years the tradition of painting the rock started and now tourists stop and checkout Old Joe when driving to Sabie and/or Kruger Park. In 2009 it was a safe place to stop by to take pictures, if you are headed on safari and near the area stop by and see how Old Joe is painted today.

"Old Joe" Painted Rock Statue

Old Joe is one of those rare finds while traveling that many people will drive by without realizing what they are missing. Old Joe has decades of tradition, don't miss it.

Joe Barbas "Old Joe"
"Old Joe" Painted Rock Statue

Cartoonists/painters are sent to repaint Old Joe from time to time so his appearance is ever changing. These pictures were taken in March of 2009 while on our way to Kruger Park.

Near Old Joe on R539

Building Our Patio by Harold Brown

Just over a year after building our sun room we decided to finish the area below it with a basic concrete square block paver. The area had always been troublesome and we tried a few things over the years but decided to go with the pavers. Once we did that we were able to do some finish mulch work that that was desperately needed. While we were at it we finished the white stain and added a second and in some cases a third coat of stain to the the steps and landing of the sun room. There is always next year to finish up the backyard and we have been thinking about trimming down the two big maples. A little bit each year. Here are a few pictures of the patio before and after.

July 18, 2004
September 19, 2004
August 14, 2015 - Before
Adding sand to build up the area
Start laying out the Concrete Stone
New Patio
Finshing Touches
Almost done
Done for the season