The “X” stories voting block has a little over twelve hours to go before it closes . . .

. . . and you know what that means. Yup . . . another reminder post, although I got to tell you, you ain’t got much time left.

But, if you plan on making the effort and squeak in just under the deadline, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge X-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.

So, wildflowers . . .

Believe it or not, those are wildflowers . . . insomuch as they grew in a wild place. But, between me and you, I think these are remnants of cultivated flowers (probably Dianthus barbatus) that might have gone wild.

With the “X” stories voting block on its last three days — and this being (Saint) Valentine’s Day — I can think of no better romantic activity than spending quality time with one’s loved one and reading the short stories.

And then, in addition to voting for your favorite — and if you feel like it — forwarding it to couples you might know who need a boost in their relationship’s romance quotient.  Of course, you should encourage them to read all the stories for maximum romantic effect.

No matter how one comes to the stories, if you’ve read them and voted, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge X-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.

So, it’s Valentine’s Day, or Saint Valentine’s Day. Truthfully, we don’t celebrate it per see (one could argue every day is Valentine’s Day . . . as evidenced by the open box of chocolates usually on the counter). But, for them who only celebrate their relationships on special occasions, here be some flowers.

The flower photos in this post are some of my earliest digital photography efforts (from 2003).

I had three previous posts alerting readers to the December 21, 2020, Saturn and Jupiter Great Conjunction (LINK, LINK, LINK) . . . and I’m a bit behind in documenting the actual event.

This will be a “longish” post taking us From December 10th to December 21st. There will be another post documenting the days after the 21st’s closest (visual) approach of the two gas giants. But for now, let’s proceed.

This post documents days in which I was able to photograph the planets in reasonably clear skies — six days, starting with December 10th and ending with December 21st.

December 10, 2020, 17:10 — Marion, Illinois
Nikon D7500, Nikon AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm 1:4.5-5.6D
Photo: 80mm 3 sec. f/7.1 ISO 500

Impressive, no? That’s what happens when you forget to change camera settings . . . but, luckily, I shoot RAW, so I can salvage something from that.

The “X” stories voting block is chugging along and nearing the halfway mark. This is the second reminder and . . .

. . . crap! Is this Super Bowl weekend? Lemme check . . . yup! That means I’m wasting my time posting this. No, wait . . . I’ll work under the assumption that football fans are not big readers during football season (and likely during the rest of the year), so they weren’t going to see this post anyway, what with cheering various criminals and thugs as if they were heroes.

But, for the reading public, no matter how you come to the stories, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge X-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.

So, fox . . . .

There’s a fox in our neighborhood that seems interested in approaching people, even when they are walking large dogs. I don’t know if it’s an idiot, young and immature, or all three. Two days ago, it was in my yard. I snapped a few photos (143) and recorded one video.

The “X” stories voting block went live a few days ago . . . and this is the first reminder to potential readers and voters (hence the title).

As usual, if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — forward it to friends and family (and also ask them to read the other stories in case they don’t agree with your opinion).

No matter how you come to the stories, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge X-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.

So, deer . . . .

These photos are as fresh as they could be, literally just harvested from my camera, and captured during an impromptu drive through the nearby refuge.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

I have a feeling traffic will be heavy for this post . . . and that — having come here with different expectations — most will quickly leave.

That’s right . . . this post is about female birds. Wait, let me be clearer; non-human birds.

Click for larger view
Click for larger view

So, Project FeederWatch<<link — by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology — has been running weekly contests (and I’ve missed a number of weeks). This week, it’s “Fantastic Females; Celebrating the muted tones of female birds”. Anyone wanting to see the current submissions can click this LINK.

Now, I’m always reluctant to enter contests (although I’ve entered a few<<link — warning: there are nine pages of posts), and I’ll tell you why.

For them wondering about the title, “I wave at you<<link and “I wave at you two<<link are previous posts exploring/offering wave photos (and, if interested, one of those explores my legs). This short post continues the titles (with fewer photos, and no legs … maybe).

No processing (Adobe Color instead of Camera Neutral)

So, that’s right out of the camera, except I turned on Adobe Color as opposed to my usual Camera Neutral. Camera Neutral has a vapid appearance with hardly any saturation or contrast (what I usually start with when I post-process).

Side Note: for them wondering whatever happened to Falkor (LINK), as you can see, he finally got rid of his aversion to water and is now body-surfing in Hawaiʻi.

Anyway, this post was born from my desire to try a few different processing options . . . and the fact I like waves.

Note: If you are using the WordPress App in Android and reading this with the Reader in Dark Mode, you won’t see much of the post because of a bug in the behavior of the app.

The “W” stories voting block is about 20 hours from closing. As usually happens late in the voting block, we have fairly significant movement by one of the stories.  If you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — now is the time to nudge friends and family into reading it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you) and to cast their votes.

No matter how you come to them or who you vote for, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, snow on Mauna Kae (the Big Island of Hawaiʻi) . . .

Composite of six photos taken in portrait mode.

That shot was taken from Highway 19 just north of the Kawaihae port while heading up to Waimea.

Note: If you are using the WordPress App in Android and reading this with the Reader in Dark Mode, you won’t see much of the post because of a bug in the behavior of the app.

The “W” stories voting block has a little over 48 hours before it ends and the results recorded in the annals of insignificant history.  If you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — now is the time to nudge friends and family into reading it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you) and to cast their votes.

No matter how you come to them or who you vote for, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, photos . . .

These were shot in Central Illinois last July. They are dead now.

The “W” stories are jockeying for the top spot with just six days — or five days , depending on how one counts them — before the voting closes.

We often have a rash of last-minute votes, so it’s still anyone’s guess which story will win the round. Reader’s choices have surprised me a number of times before, and also how narrow the margins of victories have been in many recent rounds. It bolsters the argument that in these voting rounds, a single vote — and sometimes one more — determines the outcome, so consider participating.

If you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, gourds . . .

These were all photographed on the Note 8 at an orchard in Michigan during our September visit with friends and family.

The “W” stories voting block has entered the doldrums . . . still, we got us a decent number of votes and — with nine days remaining — I’m expecting a few more votes before the round closes.

One thing I would ask of readers . . . if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — get friends and family to read it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you).

On the other hand, I get how annoying it could be, so if you don’t want to bother your friends, then don’t worry about it . . . BUT . . . if you have an enemy you wish to annoy, then sent them the voting link. If they’re not too bright, you can word it like a chain letter; you know the kind . . . “bad luck will befall your ass if you don’t read and vote and get at least ten others to also read and vote!”

No matter how you come to them, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, more bird photos . . .

These are presented in chronological order and all from the end of 2018 . . . so, two from the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and two from Long Beach.

The “W” stories voting block is off and running . . . I believe this will be another block where people may find it difficult to find a favorite to vote for. And, I mean that in a good way.

One thing I would ask of readers . . . if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — get friends and family to read it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you).

Not that I had a lot of followers (finger-counters had no need for more than one hand), but I’m no longer on either Twitter or Facebook, so it would be nice if word-of-mouth played a bigger role in getting people to read and vote.

On the other hand, I get how annoying it could be, so if you don’t want to bother your friends, then don’t worry about it . . . BUT . . . if you have an enemy you wish to annoy, then sent them the voting link. If they’re not too bright, you can word it like a chain letter; you know the kind . . . “bad luck will befall your ass if you don’t read and vote and get at least ten others to also read and vote!”

No matter how you come to them, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, bird photos . . . .

I’m going back to October of last year for these. A dreary but not cold day, I sat outside with a cup of coffee, a camera, a phone, and a view of foraging birds.

I had two posts alerting readers to the Saturn and Jupiter Great Conjunction of 2020 (LINK and LINK), but I realize many people were not able to see it because of weather (or other reasons).

I figure I would do a couple of posts sharing the photos I took of the event as luck smiled upon me and I was able to shoot a number of nights, including the night of the closest approach (December 21st). The two previous posts shared some of the photos, but these posts will go into a bit more depth.

We begin a month prior to the event. November 18th, to be precise, and to be even more precise, November 18, 2020, at 6:15:58 pm (18:15:58) local time (Central/Chicago time).

November 18, 2020, 18:15:58 — Marion, Illinois
Nikon D7500, Sigma DC EX HSM 17-50mm 1:2.8
Photo: 50mm 1.3 sec. f/5.6 ISO 100

I’m including the shooting data as much for me as for anyone else.  The photo was taken from my driveway and the garage lights are illuminating the neighbor’s trees.

I’m I was on a 186-day streak . . . meaning I’d posted at least one post per day for 186 days. It’s not my longest effort, but it’s still significant.

Again, a lot of the posts had to do with The Alphabet Challenge. Still, 2020 saw me put up 414 posts . . . which had an average of 7 comments per post (2,809 total comments, although at least half of those are mine since I answer every comment).

I’ll explain the monochrome part in a moment.