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

When you click the links, 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 of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. 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.

Them who might have noticed me not doing much online these past four days probably knew I was traveling. Them who didn’t notice me not doing much online these past four days probably don’t read my blog.

Well, I was traveling, and when I travel, I travel with my photography equipment (plus the phone camera).

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

When you click the links, 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 of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. 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.

What’s interesting about this series of photos is this . . . they were shot through a heavy plate glass door and a double-pane glass portion of a screen door. I’m amazed at how well they turned out.

I’m kind of in a hurry and it’s late, so I’ll keep this short. Wait . . . it’s earlier than I normally go to sleep, but we’re traveling tomorrow and that means getting up about six hours from now. Hence, if I want a minimum of five hours of sleep, I need to keep this short.

Seventy. This post has seventy photos presented either singly or in small galleries. At the end of the post, there’s a gallery of all the photos . . . that’s for them who just want to see the photos and have no interest in my words. Well, other than the words in this opening paragraph.

This photo is for mvschulze — that’s the current look of the trimmed River Birch. We’ll see how it’ll look in the summer.

For them not interested in reading my words but interested in the full-size versions of the photos, you can see the bird photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery and the plant and miscellaneous photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery. 

When you click the links, 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 of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).
3) If you click on the photo, it will zoom to full-size (1:1 view). Depending on the size and details of the photo, it might take a few seconds.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Common Grackle <<link

May 2nd, and like the mythical creator, I decided to rest (‘been painting and rearranging the garage, caulking, doing trim, and, in general, acting like I want to do stuff around the house as opposed to just vegetate and eat anything but vegetables).

For me, resting occasionally means sitting outside with my camera, my coffee, and my non-vegetable snacks. Specifically — on that day of rest — I aimed to catch me photos of birds and especially, birds in flight.

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

When you click the links, 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 of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. 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.

Ok, so that photo is not the same as the previous post since I didn’t have any garden statues in that post. By the way, that’s a Note 20 photo. I’m getting a bit more time with the phone . . . er . . . camera in the phone and getting better at capturing stuff with satisfactory quality.

So, let’s do a proper continuation of the photos in the last post . . . we begin with the great egret . . . that’s its name, not a statement of its bird qualities.

I’m still busy, but I took the time to output a few photos; a sample of Note 20 photos and D7500 captures.

Let’s begin with some flowers from the memorial we had for Pops . . .

Nothing fantastic, but I was happy with these photos pretty much as they came right out of the Note 20 Ultra (I added the dark framing and a minor auto-tweak in Lightroom that barely touched the photos).

I’ve not been very active either writing or reading blogs . . . here’s a bit about why.

First — sadly — Lawrence S. Ford passed away in mid-March (Lawrence Ford Obituary). He was Melisa’s dad and he passed away from complications from an unavoidable surgery. He was 96, and had been declining in health for a number of months before.

Aside from being with him for his last few days,  Melisa and her siblings were — and still are — involved in finalizing his affairs after his passing.

We held a memorial in early April, for which I made one of the boards recounting parts of his early life and the parts of his life he shared with us.

I’ve been kind of busy and neglecting the blog, so I thought I should do a quick post just to let people know that — you know — I’m still alive.

I’ve been working on processing the next installment of the 2017 Alaska Cruise, but it’s been slow going because of the whole busy thing. Being short on time, it’s not ready.

So, how about a quick post listing my ten favorite Alphabet Challenge short stories? And, just to be clear, I mean the favorite of my stories (yes, I have an ego). I’ll push the Broxon Twins to do likewise for their stories, but they don’t do my bidding (a sad thing that).

But first, a picture . . .

Readers may have a favorite story, favorite multiple stories, or favorite writer of The Alphabet Challenge.  This post is for them readers.

Also, for new subscribers (the rare ones who aren’t subscribing just to sell me something), this is a convenient post should they be moved to read all the offerings.

Not only that, new subscribers who read the stories can still vote even though it won’t change the results of the challenge. But, it may give the individual writers a bit of a boost knowing they reached a few more readers.

If you are new to the blog and just discovered the Alphabet Challenge, and if you intend to read and vote, THIS<<link search gets you to the voting posts. Each of those posts has links to the individual stories for that round and a poll where you can vote for one of that round’s stories.

If you only want to read — and want links to — the individual stories grouped by writer, keep reading.

What can I say about seventy-eight stories written by three guys in fourteen-and-a-half months? Well, let me speak about what it’s like to commit to writing two short stories a month for thirteen months . . . besides how easily it turns into fourteen months and change.

Most stories came in at around three thousand words, and some people — people who have not tried writing — might look at that and say something like “Three thousand words in two weeks? No problemo!

Let me tell you that despite our talent as writers, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ideas are easy, but the devil is in the execution. What seems like a brilliant jewel in the perfect environment of one’s mind can suddenly take the form of cheap colored plastic once transferred as words onto digital paper.

Ideas are mainly visual, and the ability to transfer ideas from one’s mind to another person’s mind via words is why good writers make a living at it.

To be clear, we’re doing this for free and none of us make a living from writing. That said, I’ll go out on a limb and say that we can rightly be proud of much of what we wrote. Throughout the challenge, we’ve gotten enough compliments about our efforts so that I feel justified in saying it’s not just our vanity and egos speaking.

I asked Perry and Gary to pen their thoughts about this effort, so here are their thoughta about the challenge.

The polls for the”Z” Stories are now closed . . . and the Alphabet Challenge has ended. Hard to believe it began last January 22nd . . . 443 days from the start date to the end date. Or 1 year, 2 months, 18 days. Or 14 months, 17 days.

Want more numbers? . . . 10,632 hours, or 637,920 minutes, or 38,275,200 seconds (assuming whole days). Rounding down, it was 63 weeks, which means we averaged a story roughly every 2.5 weeks. I’m talking stories that ran anywhere from 2,000 to as much as 6,000 words (I think one was 8,000 words).

I know, I know . . . you want to know the results of the voting. You can check them HERE<<link, but since few people click on links, here are the results.

Here’s a photo before I continue . . .

It’s Devils Tower treated to Topaz Impression 2.0 and framed using Topaz Studio 1.0. (If you want to see a post about it, click this LINK).

Readers are doing a decent job of trying to make the “Z” stories voting block the one with the most votes ever. It’s also nice getting feedback letting us know this is one of the best batches of stories yet. I mean, we always try doing our best, but it’s nice to read we’re ending the Alphabet Challenge on a high.

And you, yes, YOU, can help smash all previous voting records! Helping doesn’t mean just reading and voting for the stories, but also going the extra mile and urging friends and family to read and vote (presuming you have friends and family who like to read). This being the last group of stories, it’s not like they have to commit to much, especially since there’s only one day left.

That said, only read and vote if you have the time and inclination. Life can throw loops at people and if something keeps you from these stories, that’s perfectly fine.

But if you’ve been a reader of our offerings and someone who votes — even if only occasionally — know that you have the writer’s unending gratitude.

The links to this last trio of stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge Z-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) tomorrow Thursday, April 8th, 2021.

Since I don’t want to keep you long, just a few photo offerings . . . 

Some sights from our 2015 travels to Yellowstone NP.

The “Z” stories voting block is progressing at a decent clip . . . but it could do much better. Unfortunately, this is the last chance for the voting to smash previous records. That’s right . . . it’s now or never.

And you, yes, YOU, can be a part of it and help us reach that goal! I don’t mean just reading and voting for the stories, but also pushing them onto friends and family (presuming you have friends and family who like to read). I mean, it’s not that much of a commitment (for them or you) since this is the last group of stories. Still, I get people may be busy hiding or hunting eggs and stuff, so do if you can, but don’t feel bad if you can’t (or, don’t want to).

Just know that if you’ve been a loyal reader of our offerings and someone who votes, you have the writer’s unending gratitude.

The links to this last trio of stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge Z-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Thursday, April 8th, 2021. That means you have less than five days left.

For many people I know, today is kind of special. Whatever celebration you might be having — even if it’s just to enjoy being alive — I hope it is a grand day.

. . . I should probably express that more often since it’s my desire for readers and non-readers alike regardless of which day it is.

But, seeing as today is a holiday for some, I thought I would do a quick reminder post, and what better way to do “quick” than take previous photos and artsify them? That’s right; there is no better way. 

All of the photos are treated with Topaz Restyle, Topaz Impression, and framed using Topaz Studio.