Up in the Air

Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness — a weekly offering of monochrome images submitted by multiple photographers — has a theme for the first week of each month. For the first Thursday of December (MM 4-31), it’s “Up in the Air.” 

Note: because of the time differential, Monochrome Madness comes out on Wednesday here on in the US. If you plan to contribute — and I urge you to — makes sure you send your contribution no later than Tuesday.

This merits serious consideration since for the past few months the contributions have been outstanding. I mean, they’ve always had a high-quality index but, lately, the submissions have been especially interesting. Mind you, it’s not a competition, and you don’t win anything. It’s just an opportunity to showcase your work at a site that gets a lot of views. Still, I’ve been guilty of occasionally sending something in at the last minute without giving it much thought. Now, I give it some thought.

Anyway, the above shot came to mind . . . I mean, the Moon often seem as if it’s up in the air. That particular shot is from THIS post that shows the moon setting on . . . er . . . behind Pikes Peak. 

But, I think that doesn’t show much imagination and I thus embarked on a long journey to find an appropriate candidate. 

So, here’s the disclaimer for this post . . . lots of photos, including multiple versions of the same photos. Yes, I know; I overdo everything. Bore people to tears, I do. It’s why so few people bother with these posts. Also, the attention span of most people is measured in microseconds . . . but also, boring stuff attracts no one. 

If you want to take the poll, go all the way down to the bottom, just before the gallery. If you are just interested in the photos, go to the bottom and look at the gallery. You can also just go to the SmugMug album HERE. There be no words there, just photos. 

Otherwise, read on. 

So . . . up in the air . . . well, obviously, birds. 

Again, perhaps worthy of being called “decent shots” but it don’t make the spirit soar with them. I have other birds, of course. All sorts of birds. I could go with hummingbirds but they deserve color (except HERE). Hawks seem to show well both in color and B&W . . . 

But, that’s already been shown in B&W. Here are some shots that have not — per my faulty recollection — previously been presented in B&W.

Now, it could just be me, but I’ve shot so many hawks that . . . what? . . . no, no; I mean “shot” as in “photographed!” Sheesh!  Anyway, I have so many photos of hawks that they don’t impress me much anymore (not really, but please go along with the narrative).

I have interesting shots of pelicans I could have used (see THIS gallery) but opted against it. 

Planes, on the other hand, are both up in the air and still impress me. The thing is, do I have interesting shots of planes that do well in B&W?

Well, the above shot is not bad, but not much drama there. This next shot boasts a flare of the canopy of one of the planes; is that enough of a hook?

Interesting sure, but I’m looking for a hook; something to capture the interest of people jaded by the daily exposure to gazillions of images. Does this have a hook?

I mean, it’s neat and all, what with it looking like I was up there with them, but does it have a hook?

Hook . . . I know just the shot, and what will be the first candidate for the “Up in the Air” theme. 

Candidate No. 1

I know; it don’t look like much. That’s because WordPress sucks at rendering photos. Click on it or check it out in the gallery for a better rendering. 

I almost went with this shot from THIS post . . . sort of highlighting the irony of a plane grounded but up in the air. 

For that matter, and in that same vein, I could have chosen any of the shots from THIS post, but I thought I should use shots that I’d not used before. 

OK, with one candidate under my belt, I feel like I’m on a roll . . . but here’s where it gets boring. I decided the remainder of the candidates will come from the 2005 Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off (hot air balloons, that is). 

It’s boring because for each photo I have at least two versions and sometimes three. Here we go . . . 

That’s not a bad rendering, but I like this one a bit better (I’m showing both because tastes vary) . . . 

Yes, the arrangement is intentional. Anyway, as nice as that shot is, let’s keep going. 

Hmm . . . I like the lighting of the balloons in the first one, but prefer the drama of the sky in the second one. I suppose I could go back and combine the two, but let’s go to the next candidate. 

Another intentional shot; the little balloon, the big balloon, and Pikes Peak in the background. What’s not to like? Well, the sky, for one. I much prefer this next one that I will call Candidate No. 2.

Candidate No. 2

OK, we’re on a roll here. Let me bring out the next contestant. 

Let me tell you, I don’t often toot my own horn — I don’t even have a horn and the only tooting I’m capable of is discouraged around these parts — but I like this composition. Let me try a different treatment . . .  

Man, oh man, that’s a tough call. So much so that I won’t make it, at least not yet. Let’s, instead, go on to the next offering. 

I like this . . . I think it captures the theme of “up in the air”. Let me see how it looks with different processing. 

I think I prefer the first one but you know what bothers me? A couple of balloons overlap. I take back the fake horn tooting I did earlier. I should have noticed that. 

Holy crap on a cracker! Did I take that? That’s got to be Candidate . . . what? The other one? You mean this one?

Candidate No. 3

Hmm . . . I see what you mean; you lose a bit of drama in the sky, but the main subject — the balloon — grabs center stage. OK, I agree; this is Candidate No. 3.

Wait for just a second, Bob; just how many candidates are we going for here? What do you mean “we don’t know”? 

Sure, sure, we’ll wing it . . . 

Hey, I like that. I mean, I don’t particularly like (or hate) ReMax, but I do like the balloon. Can you bring out the leaves a bit more and darken the sky to showcase the balloon?

You know what would look even better? Bringing in elements of water and mountain; perhaps Cheyenne Mountain. I mean, what better candidate as we wait to see if we’ll be entering a nuclear war. BTW, did you know that today was the first test of the Nuclear Attack Warning siren here in Hawaiʻi? It gives us a 15 minutes warning to “take shelter.” They have a Guide and everything. 

In case you’re wondering, the advice is to shelter-in-place if you’re indoors. Given the 15 minute warning, you’ll have just enough time to kiss your ass goodbye. If you are that flexible, that is. 

Anyway . . . 

That looks decent . . . can you lighten it up a bit? We’ll then call that Candidate No. 4.

Candidate No. 4

Second warning: from here on, photos have three versions each. Like this:

That’s the problem with B&W photos . . . you have a lot of latitude with processes and you can either mute or magnify features and drama and other words I can’t think of right now. Looking at those, I would nix the third and could go either way with the first two, but probably the first better exemplifies the theme (the second one draws the eye down to the ground features). 

This next set offers a different challenge and the composition has me go with the third version.

I’m holding off on picking the next candidate(s) because I . . . well, I just am; I ain’t got to explain, do I? Good. Here’s the next set. 

As far as photos go, I’d pick number three, but as far as the theme goes, I once again have to go with the first one because it shows off the two items that are up in the air (the balloons). 

Now it gets more difficult because the background is the mountains and not the sky. 

Tough choice, but I’m going with the third version for the best balance of lighting and details. 

Here, the second is the one I would pick. Why? Well, because I’ve been picking either the first or the third one, and I don’t want to be slapped with a discrimination suit by the collective group of seconds. 

Screw the seconds and their discrimination suit! It’s the third version, most definitively. 

The second one, for sure. What? Lawsuit? What lawsuit? . . . oh, that lawsuit; that had nothing to do with my choice; the second version is the better version.  

Well, of course, it’s the second version! Not even close!

Uncanny! It’s the second version again! Go figure!

Ah . . . I mean . . . really, it’s the second one. Look, it’s not like I’m arranging these so that the second one is always the better one. No sir; strictly random how I pick them one at a time. 

Incredible! What an amazing coincidence! it’s the second version, again! 

You won’t believe this, but it’s the second vers . . . what do you mean I’m “disqualified”? Do you know who you’re talking to? I own this blog and . . . hey, hands off the t-shirt! Hey, I’m not done here . . . 

Dear readers, due to unfortunate circumstances, a number of the submitted entries have been disqualified from contention. The original choices remain and you are now asked to vote for one of those. Here they are again as a reminder. 

Wait, the judges have picked one more candidate from the last batch; here it is, Candidate No. 5.

Candidate No. 5

And now, for the poll . . . wait! Apparently, the birds demand representation as the only ones who are airborne without a mechanical or manmade aid. And the choice is . . . 

Candidate No. 6

OK . . . anyone else? No? To the poll, then. 

Here’s a gallery reminding the readers of the candidates:

Because of the irregularities with this process, one of the options is to choose your own. Just leave your preference in the comments below. 

I will send my entry in on Monday, so you have until then to vote. If you really like a given photo, get your friends to vote for it . . . if they agree with you, otherwise they can vote for whichever one they want and you go find a new friend . . . and get him (or her, or they) to vote. 

And, here’s the gallery of all the photos, numbered for your convenience (hover the pointer on a photo or enter the gallery to see the numbers) and presented in random order so as to not bore people more than they are:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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