After a small surge, The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories polling has again lagged. We’re now hoping for the usual late-voting surge, but I fear all the talk of voting may have put some people off.

You see, it might be they assume this has to do with some election or other. I wouldn’t know much about that, but I thought it best to change vote/voting to poll/polling . . . although that too can have negative associations.

Still, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who would like to express an opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

OK, there be no photos on this blog post . . . only screen captures.

Let me explain . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories voting has picked up a bit, which was nice to see. Interestingly, all the votes have come from the US. Frankly, I’m surprised the rest of the world is letting the US show them up like that. But, I suppose it’s still fairly early in the round and people from other countries may be more deliberate in their . . . er . . . deliberations.

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, no matter your country of origin, 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 suppose I owe a photo . . .

Open country, shrubs and big skySo, the Block Editor (ptui!) . . . First, let me say it’s a powerful editing tool . . . for them who have a need for it. Having used it for this past week or so, I . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “R” Stories voting round is off to a slow start, and that’s understandable . . . to everyone but us writers.

OK, that’s a joke. I shouldn’t have to explain that, but these days it’s best to make things perfectly clear; I’m kidding.

I know our regular readers likely will get around to reading and voting, and we writers want you to know we are thankful for each and every one of you. Oh, yeah . . . also the irregular readers who stop by and contribute to the voting.

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.

Believe it or not, I’m using the Classic Block editor as opposed to the Classic Editor to compose this post.

Wanna know why? Because in the course of writing the guide to the Classic Block, I got used to it and it’s not functionally different from the Classic Editor (except for how I insert photos).

Speaking of photos . . .

Seagull walking along the beachYes, that’s a seagull out for a stroll on a Michigan beach (that’s Lake Michigan in the background).

My third reminder for readers  — if they are so inclined and have not already done so — to vote. In this case, vote for one of the Christmas Short Story Challenge submissions. The poll is at the end of that post and we hope to surpass the ten total votes we had for the previous challenge.

Continuing where the last post left off, here are more photos from September of this year when I watched clouds morph into interesting patterns as a front passed over the area.

The workflow for the processing of the images includes a combination of DxO PhotoLab and the Nik Collection with the occasional tweak in Lightroom.

My second reminder for readers  — if they are so inclined and have not already done so — to vote. In this case, vote for one of the Christmas Short Story Challenge submissions. The poll is at the end of that post and we hope to surpass the ten total votes we had for the previous challenge.

Continuing where the last post left off, here are more photos from September of this year when I watched clouds morph into interesting patterns as a front passed over the area.

The workflow for the processing of the images includes a combination of DxO PhotoLab and the Nik Collection with the occasional tweak in Lightroom.

Yes, another series of posts reminding readers to — if they are so inclined — vote. In this case, vote for one of the Christmas Short Story Challenge submissions. The poll is at the end of that post and we hope to surpass the ten total votes we had for the previous challenge.

OK, on to clouds in the sky . . . some might remember THIS post where I showed a few photos I snapped as I watched interesting cloud formations pass over me. That post was my first foray into the Luminar 3 software. I’ve since upgraded to Luminar 4 . . . but that’s not what I used for the photos below.

Nothing against Luminar 4; I just felt like playing with DxO PhotoLab and the Nik Collection. Well, one thing . . . Luminar 4 loads really slow and then, when working with it, one isn’t sure if it’s doing something or if it went to sleep. I like the output from the program but it needs to address some bugs, preferably sooner rather than later.

Anyway, the following images are a combination of DxO PhotoLab and the Nik Collection processing with the occasional tweak in Lightroom.

Twenty-three visitors viewed the 1500 words challenge post but only two voted. I mean, I get it; it was a holiday. An eating holiday, at that. In retrospect, that wasn’t what one might call good timing. Same for today; people immersed in a spending frenzy aren’t likely to spend their break reading stories and pondering on the relative merits of the narratives before casting a vote.

Still, them Readers Awards won’t mean much if there are no actual readers voting. So, if you can muster the physical and mental energy for it, please read the short stories and cast your vote before noon, December 4th. 

At 1,500 words, reading each story should take no more than seven minutes to read and I realize that’s a huge time commitment in these days of near-instant gratification.

And that’s enough of that . . .

Today’s post is about an old hawk. Not age-wise old; photo old, as in 2012. This was a rare capture for me; a hawk who dropped from above onto a random spot in the snow. I missed the actual moment, but I have the aftermath . . .

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

For a SmugMug slideshow click HERE. Note: this is what I recommend. 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 near the top-left side 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 as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

I’ve resolved to be more proactive in my Black & Gray & White conversions. Meaning, no taking canned settings; instead, I will move sliders and stuff with the goal to improve what is usually an already decent conversion. 

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

For a SmugMug slideshow click HERE. 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 near the top-left side 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 as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

I’ve always been partial to ornamental grasses . . . and I now have a couple of large clumps in my back yard. Obviously, I’ve taken a fair number of photos since I’ve moved here.

For them not interested in reading, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.  
For a slideshow click HERE. 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 as this will pause the slideshow.
If you want the full experience, keep reading

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I never know how to introduce these posts. One could well argue that the point of these posts, the purpose for their existence, is to show off a few photos.

On the other hand, given their quality, one could rightly assume the photos are but sacrificial offerings to the brilliant musings therein . . . you know, if only these were brilliant musings.

Right . . . that sets up the first topic: Photography.

Eight years ago, November 30th, my back yard in Monument, Colorado . . . 

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Yes, some of you have seen these photos before . . . but not with these treatments. 

Click on the photos to see a larger version in a new tab or window. Click HERE for the SmugMug Gallery.

This will be a shorter post than most. Ain’t gotz an abundance of words this evening.

Here’s another treatment of the above . . . 

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So, that was 2008 . . . this is the same day — today —2016. 

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I wasn’t feeling 100% this afternoon, so we skipped the gym. Went to sit along a popular shoreline.

Talent

I read an article that had me thinking about Talent. I mostly agree with the writer about the many misconceptions of talent. I’m often told . . . er . . . sometimes told . . . oh, OK, a couple of people have told me I have talent in something or other. 

I know I don’t, and I point that out. But, if it’s not talent, what is it? In the article I link above, the author points to putting the time and effort into doing something. I think that’s only part of the equation. I think the other part is having the interest in doing that something. More than interest, even, is passion. Many people want to do stuff but say they don’t have the ‘talent’ for it. What they mean is they don’t have enough interest and passion in that something to put in the time to actually do it. 

Goddess of Creativity

Photography  and writing are two things I showcase in this blog and both have, for many years now, taken up a lot of my time. It’s then not surprising that things I produce in both those areas are sometimes favorably perceived.