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.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

That coyote was photographed at Little Big Horn — yes, that Little Big Horn — with my Nikon D100 and Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.

Because the Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories voting round is off to a very slow start, I decided I’d do a few more reminders. I suppose it’s to be expected, what with the Big Scary Day approaching . . . and just a few days before that, Halloween.   

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 despite all that’s probably occupying your mind. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I redid the voting post so that it looks more like what it used to look like. Perhaps that was the problem and not the possibility we might suck as writers.

And now, a horse . . .

That’s a photo captured on the first day I owned my Nikon D200.

Anyway, in case no one noticed, the fonts in the blog are different. Until last week, the Adobe toolkit was available to us bloggers . . . specifically, we could set what fonts to use on the title of the blog (above the header photo), what fonts to use for the menu and post titles, and what font to use for the body of the post. Now . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “R” Stories voting round continues on its two-week journey.

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 R-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on October 20th.

I’m still using the Classic Block (in the Block Editor environment) and I’m having no issues with it. Yes, there are a few things different, but if I can adapt to having Trump as President . . . let’s just say this is trivial in comparison.

So, a few photos . . .

A little bit of background as to why I snapped this photo (in addition to, you know, swans).

The “K” stories voting window will close sometime Tuesday (14 days window). You can wait until then, but to be safe and ensure your vote is counted, you should probably vote for your favorite “Alphabet Challenge K-Stories” HERE<<<This Is A Link by the end of tomorrow (Monday).

Clicking on the above link will take you to the post with the poll where you can cast your vote. The post also contains links to the individual stories. After voting, readers can — if so moved — spread the news about the story to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . Doe and Fawn . . . we’ve had a doe and fan hanging around the yard last week. We saw them a number of times and I was lucky to see them out my office window.

Unfortunately, I’m shooting with them in the shade and through a window and screen. Still, with a little manipulation, the photos are passable.

Honest, given all that’s happening, it feels weird asking people to read and vote for one of the “Alphabet Challenge I-Stories” HERE.

That post has links to the individual stories and the poll where readers can click a box to indicate their appreciation for their favorite. And, after voting, readers can spread the news about the story to friends and family. Maybe.

I say ‘maybe’ because of all the stuff occupying people’s minds. Economy, riots, injustice, unemployment, pandemic, the breakdown of checks and balances in government, the threat of civil war, the imposition of religion by the government, and buffoons who want nothing more than for all of this to blow up and become chaos . . . how am I supposed to write fiction against this backdrop?

I mean, if someone six years ago would have described to me these conditions (including the fact we have an immature, semi-illiterate, and childish occupant in the Oval Office), I would have advised them that, as fiction, it was just too far-fetched . . . and yet, here we are.

Anyway, babies and teens  . . . .

I know, I know . . . the less-than-twenty-out-of-sixteen-hundred-plus-subscribers who were going to vote already did so. But, just in case a few more readers stagger in here . . .

. . . there’s only another week before the “C” stories voting closes. I suspect most people who had any intention of reading them have already done so, but just in case, you can vote for them HERE as well as find links to the stories so that — you know — you can read them before you vote.

Right, done with that.

I’ve mentioned before that sitting in a car with the engine running seems to play tricks on the Nikon Cameras VR feature. Pretty much every time I’ve attempted snapping photos with the engine running, even if I don’t lean on anything in the car (other than, you know, having my gluteus maximus planted on the seat) the photos come out blurry. I’ve done tests with the car running and the car not running, and it’s a real thing.

I mean the camera messing up is a real thing, not my ass . . . although, my ass is also a real thing but not relevant to this discussion.

Click for a larger version.

If you haven’t yet done so — and if so inclined — please take a few minutes (about 15-20 minutes) and read the three stories in THIS POST and then, if feeling charitable, please cast your vote for one of them (the survey is after the stories).

Also, if you’re associated with the publishing industry (editor, published author, agent, etc.) and would like to volunteer as a judge to help us confer our Professional Recognition Award, please drop me a line or leave a comment. Thank you.

This is the last appeal, I promise, and here we go with more of my old photos reprocessed with Topaz Sharpen AI, Adjust AI, and Skylum Aurora HDR 2019.

This next photo was an interesting sight to behold . . . these Texas Longhorns were being unloaded from a carrier and released onto a grazing field. I missed capturing the part where they ran through the gate and dispersed onto the field; they seem happy to fatten up for the sake of future hamburgers. 

This guy kept circling above them, probably hoping for one of them to suffer a heart attack or accidentally — and fatally — stab a companion with them long and deadly looking horns . . .

If you haven’t yet done so — and if so inclined — please take a few minutes (about 15-20 minutes) and read the three stories in THIS post and then, if feeling charitable, please cast your vote for one of them (the survey is after the stories).

Also, if you are associated with the publishing industry (editor, published author, agent, etc.) and would like to volunteer as a judge to help us confer our Professional Recognition Award, please drop me a line or leave a comment. Thank you.

I’m sounding like a one-trick pony . . .

But with less hair and no tail.

The thing is, I got to looking at my old photos and got hooked on reprocessing them with Topaz Sharpen AI, Adjust AI, and Skylum Aurora HDR 2019. So, here are a few more . . .

I don’t mind rainy days . . . provided I’m inside, all comfy and dry. That said, today, a rainy and wet day, I went and sat outside where I could enjoy the gentle rain that thoroughly soaked everything. Of course, I was under my covered patio, on a comfortable chair, drinking my coffee. Got me a few decent photos, too.

After a while, I went back in . . . but I must have been a good role model because when I happened to glance out a little while later . . .

You can see its coat is still wet in places but it must have been there for a bit because it isn’t soaked. That photo was taken about three hours ago and the fox is still there . . . and, yes, I snapped a few photos.

We were gone from August 30th to September 16th and — as mentioned in THIS post — of the 8,859 photos I shot, 4,273 were shot with the Nikon P900. In fact, up to the very last, I had considered not even bringing my D7000 and associated lenses. 

I compromised by bringing only a couple of the lenses. I did use the D7000 and the individual lenses mostly to compare their photos to those of the P900. I’ll explore those comparisons in future posts about the trip, but this post is about photos that while taken on my way to, or while in, Alaska, are not necessarily tied to the Alaska experience. 

All of the photos on this post are from the P900 (116 photos in all) and they are presented as a service to those who might — as I am — increasingly consider using “less capable” equipment than the prosumer offerings out there. 

Each section will have its own gallery so as to “split up” the onslaught of visual goodness. It should go without mention — but it won’t — this is not a short post. 

Let’s get to it.

This is the fourth of three posts documenting separate visits to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Yes, I’m channeling Douglas Adams. Anyway, this being the fourth visit to the zoo, I concentrated even more on getting shots offering new perspectives on the animals and the place. That said, some of these are a tad repetitive insomuch that the animals are pretty much the same as they were on my previous visits. Boring, really.

 

These photos were taken with the Nikon D7000. If you want to see the full-size versions, they will be in THIS SmugMug Gallery. Visit the SmugMug gallery is to see all 154 photos in the series. For them not wanting to read my ramblings, there’s also a gallery at the bottom of the post.

We begin with us finally riding the chairlift that takes you . . . uh, I don’t remember where it takes you. I think there’s a small display at the top of the ride, but the attraction is the ride itself, or at least it was for me.

Here we go . . . 

This is the third of three posts documenting three separate visits to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The purpose of these posts is twofold; first, these photos were taken before I had this blog and hence have not been properly documented for posterity, and second, perhaps one can see the progression of my photographic skills, such as they are. 

These photos were taken with the Nikon D200. If you want to see the full-size versions, they will be in THIS SmugMug Gallery. Visit the SmugMug gallery is to see all 77 photos in the series. For them not wanting to read my ramblings, there’s also a gallery at the bottom of the post.

First, let me dispell fears of me repeating what I did in the first two posts . . . I will not indulge in incredibly clever storylines where animals display both a facility with the spoken language and cognitive abilities clearly above their station. 

Second, there is no “second” . . . I just like starting sentences with “First”. 

Here we go . . .