In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence. Today, two galleries associated with weather events. Specifically, winter weather events.

Before we go on, the post associated with the first gallery can be found HERE.

We begin with a blizzard from February 2015 . . .

“It looks serious . . . do you miss blizzards?”

Warning; this post has photos but also talks about photography stuff. If you just like the photos, just ignore the words.

As I mentioned in the first post (HERE), this year the hummers were late in coming to our yard. Since then, we’ve had a bit of a puzzler . . . we had a few rushes where the feeders were going empty fast enough that I added more feeders (up to 11 now), and then we had lulls where I had to throw away old sugar water and replace it with fresh because they weren’t drinking it fast enough.

That cycle has repeated through most of June. It could be because they are nesting and raising broods, but I don’t recall previous years being like this.

So, this post has photos from a gloomy and dark day . . . perfect opportunity for me to play with the latest version of Lightroom’s masking feature. For them not familiar with the parlance, masking refers to selectively working on specific portions of a photo. Using masking, you could brighten (dodging) one area of a photo while darkening (burning) a different area of the same photo.

I seldom engage in dodging and burning. I usually do global adjustments to bring out details from underexposed and overexposed areas, and to balance tones and colors. However, having been reminded real photographers (Ansel Adams, oneowner) make extensive use of masking, dodging, and burning, I decided to play with these photos as a way to learn the new tools.

Here’s what the original of the above photo looks like (Shutter speed 1/2000 at f/9.0, and ISO 1100 with a zoom of 300mm or 450mm equivalent).

Assuming everyone has read the three stories titled Cold Heart, this is where you get to vote for your favorite. If you’ve not read the stories, links are provided below.

This is the fourth round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: readers voted for their favorite title out of a list we provided, and we each wrote a story using the winning title.

The winning title for Round 4 was Cold Heart. For them interested, the Round 4 Title voting results are found HERE.

As a reminder, the writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same thing goes if you find yourself not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This is the fourth round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: readers voted for their favorite title out of a list we provided, and we each wrote a story using the winning title.

The winning title for Round 4 was Cold Heart. For them interested, the Round 4 Title voting results are found HERE.

The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same thing goes if you find yourself not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This, then, is Perry’s submission.

Oh, before we begin, I solicited blurbs from each writer. Here’s Perry’s:

A kid named Emmerson Doodle came into the world in the usual way. But there was nothing usual about Emmerson — for starters, he was blue. Having been deprived of oxygen in the womb, Emmerson adapted and even thrived. As we find out, oxygen is poison to magic, stunting one’s magical Talents. Emmerson soon finds himself in perilous situations where his magical Talent is needed to save himself and his “girlfriend” Sofi. Spoiler alert: a fictional pigeon is killed in the telling of this story.

This is the fourth round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: readers voted for their favorite title out of a list we provided, and we each wrote a story using the winning title.

The winning title for Round 4 was Cold Heart. For them interested, the Round 4 Title voting results are found HERE.

The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same thing goes if you find yourself not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This, then, is Gary’s submission.

Oh, before we begin, I solicited blurbs from each writer. Here’s Gary’s:

Ripped from the tabloid headlines, this is a ‘what if?’ story that combines the talents of modern-day actors with the masters of great literature. Written in true Vonnegut fashion, this story will turn Hollywood upside down and put classic literature back in the bonfire.

This is the fourth round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: readers voted for their favorite title out of a list we provided, and we each wrote a story using the winning title.

The winning title for Round 4 was Cold Heart. For them interested, the Round 4 Title voting results are found HERE.

The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same thing goes if you find yourself not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This, then, is my submission. I wrote this yesterday, having wasted the allotted three weeks watching various anime offerings.

Oh, before we begin, I solicited blurbs from each writer. Here’s mine:

Is isekai tensei in your future? What is isekai tensei? Is it better than heaven? Well, I think so, but make sure you take control.

The background for these posts can be found in THIS post.

In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence.

Today, I offer yet more galleries from The Big Island. The first is about us just going for a stroll and me having a camera with me . . . what are the odds of that!? Before we go on, the post associated with the first gallery can be found HERE.

We begin with ‘helmet urchins‘ which are sometimes referred to as ‘shingle urchins’ . . .

“Are those real? They look like armored cars.”

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

I was going to include this in the previous post but decided it merited its own post. What is a Mississippi Kite, you ask?

As shot, at 300mm zoom (450mm eqv.)

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

Again, you won’t see the above at 100% size unless you go to SmugMug and zoom in.

Anyway, I was sitting watching birds when I noticed a speck in the sky. Normally, I can tell what it is by the way it flies (various birds) or soars (raptors or vultures). This one looked odd.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and you can see the bird a tad larger . . .

roughly a 100% crop of the above

. . . . I wasn’t happy with either the processing or size of the 100% crop, so I ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

Regardless, the photos will be fairly large close-ups of the birds. And, what better way to begin than with a Bald Eagle?

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

The above shot was taken from the car. Even at 300mm zoom (450 effective), the bird is fairly small. I can crop the image and it’s still small.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and it’ll be a tad larger . . . but, I also ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

This year, they were late. Rather, I didn’t see any at my feeders until late May, and didn’t photograph any until June 1st, well after the Migration Map showed them all the way into Canada. These next two photos are the first of the season.

The photos aren’t great, but they’re shared on the strength of them being the first two photos of the 2022 season. Don’t worry, I have better photos . . . but the ones below are just mediocre.