I hate bugging people, but The Alphabet Challenge “O” Stories voting still lags the voting for the last round . . . not by a little, either.

But, I get it . . . two conventions, hurricanes, fires . . . four concurrent disasters are maybe too much to handle and still have time to read. It takes someone with a lot of grit and fortitude to make time to read the stories.  

If you are one such reader, and if you’ve not already done so — please read the stories and then cast a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge O-Stories” are HERE.<<link

Let me begin the main body of the post with a type of bug I don’t see as much as I did last year . . .

It could be there are just as many around as last year and I’m not out there as much because of the oppressive heat and humidity.

On my previous bug post HERE <<<this is a link I mentioned I used to photograph bugs . . . and if one wants a bit of proof, I have a SmugMug Folder <<<this is a link dedicated just to bugs.

Side note: some might wonder why I started adding “<<<this is a link” after links. Well, it turns out that if you read these posts on a phone — and depending on the browser — you might not see the underline signifying a link. Of course, the capitalized word should be a big hint, but some links are tied words in a sentence. I figure pointing to the link will increase the chance that someone who might be interested will recognize it as such.

Anyway, while not bad, I wasn’t super-thrilled with those photos. That’s why I went out a week later and snapped additional shots with more care and purpose.

For them not interested in reading, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.  These are added to the D7500 camera Gallery since they are taken exclusively with that camera.

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 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. Also, if you see stuff crossed out (like this) it’s editing after I published the post and any new words are in gray. Part of my educational outreach effort.

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Phoenix Cardinal?

Yup . . . 

Rising from the ashes, lo and behold . . . a Cardinal.

For them not interested in reading, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.  

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 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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For them not interested in reading, you can go directly to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.  

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 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.

Bee playing Hide-n-Seek

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I used to do monthly calendars, but they were a lot of work and few people bothered downloading them. At the beginning of 2016, I switched to doing a yearly calendar . . . which I did not do for 2017.

The calendars I did were neat prism yearly calendar generated using one of the free actions PanosFX offers to subscribers and people who register at his site. It lets someone, let’s say me, create a prism yearly calendar. Like, for instance, these.

20151231_195556-01 20151231_194924-01

Each three-sided calendars can be customized with any set of three photos. You can change the colors (I left them as they are), the language (I left them in English), and choose whether you want the week to start on Sunday or Monday (I left it on Sunday).

Now, the above photos are the ones I had done for 2016. I show them so I can give people an idea of what they look like (I don’t currently have a color printer hence why the old photos), but I’m doing new calendars for 2018. Panos made a few improvements and I decided to dump a bunch of calendars here. If you want to download the action and make your own calendar (you need Photoshop or Elements), click HERE. All you have to do is register and you get any of the free actions (high quality and fun to use).

Occasionally, when I have photos posing a processing challenge, I resort to using DxO OpticsPro 11. The program is excellent at post-processing photos, but I seldom use it because it is more time consuming than other software I have. In part, this is because DxO is a subtle and sensitive manipulator of RAW images. It’s what makes it such a capable post-processor. 

20160716_DSC7322_1_DIGI

The above is the as-shot RAW file from my July 16th foray into capturing some of the sights and scenes of Saddle Road. Before I talk about Saddle Road, let me point out the difficulty of the above shot. Sunny sky, bright clouds, backlit subject in the shade, and lava. 

I typically spot-meter the bright portion but do so close to the darker area. I do that because it’s easier to bring out detail from underexposed areas than coax any details from blown-out highlights. Lighting the underexposed areas usually produces artifacts (noise) that while controllable, degrades the details of the photos. DxO does a great job of bringing out the details and managing the noise. It almost makes me look like a capable photographer.

The following is the end result after processing the original with DxO, adding the frame (dark line) using OnOne, and gently tweaking the final product using lightroom.

20160716_DSC7322_1_DxO-Processed_DIGI

All of the photos in this post were processed with DxO before anything else was done to them, like, for instance, stitching them into panoramas using Photoshop. It’s not that all the photos required it, but since I was doing a number of them in DxO, I did them all. 

As usual, you can click on individual photos and a larger version will open up in a new tab or window. To see the original size photo, go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE. Be aware that while I usually post photos in the order they were taken, some of these are out of order to fit the narrative and for clarity. 

So, here we go . . . Saddle Road.