I assume it’s near useless doing a reminder for this blog when two idiots are duking it out on the world stage. But, The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories polling is still lagging with only six more days to do. We’re now hoping for the usual late-voting surge, but I fear most of the people will be all voted-out by the time they return from pissing on the opposition while ignoring the piece of crap that is their choice. 

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’s only one photo in this blog post . . . and this is it:

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 . . .

In THIS<<link post I briefly explained why I don’t follow opinion blogs.

. . . but mentioned  I follow many some photo blogs. Two such blogs are lightscatter<<link and 2clicksaway<<link, both run by oneowner, a. k. a. Ken Bello<<link.

I follow them because they offer ideas for subjects and composition and because of the often interesting post-processing and treatments of the photos. One recent post<<link had me attempt to duplicate one of his compositions . . .

OK, so I wasn’t overly successful.

We love going on road trips.

 . . . but COVID-19 has put a damper on the spur-of-the-moment-hop-in-the-car-with-a-bunch-of-coffee-and-snacks-and-head-out drives.

Now, we need to consider stops as necessary dangers because of idiots er, stupid er, ignorant er, irresponsible er, careless people who take no precautions when it comes to both their safety and those of others. Ergo, QED, summa cum laude, dominus Nabisco, we have a limit on both the distance and time of our drives.

A surprising feature has popped up in our planning . . . we look for Wal-Marts along our routes and at our destinations. That’s because Wal-Mart makes an effort to clean their bathrooms regularly . . . unlike gas stations. Rest areas are out of the question because, despite semi-regular maintenance, they are . . . ah . . . questionable even in the best of times.

. . . my experience points to people be having no regard for basic courtesy and hygiene when traveling.

Last week, while looking at the map of the area, I noticed that a little over an hour away from us, is Chester, Illinois. “What’s there?” you ask. Well, we get to see the Mississippi River. Did I snap a photo of it? Nope. There wasn’t anything interesting about it. Just water. No barges, no riverboats, no canoes . . . just water.

There was this . . .

Them be somewhat suspect representations of Lewis and Clark. <<<This is a link You see, they stopped here during their travels. Well, a nearby island, but close enough.

Let’s take a closer look . . .

. . . one giant ego boost for the writers asking you to vote for your favorite”D” story HERE. If you’ve yet to read them, links to the stories are included in that post.

Some people have apologized for not having time to read them. I want to stress no one should feel pressured to read these stories. If interested, if you have the time, and if you find them entertaining, welcome onboard. If any of them things are untrue, don’t force yourself.

For one thing, it’ll predispose you to hate the stories. For another, this challenge is meant to be a fun and friendly competition between one good writer and two brothers, and we’ll do this whether two or two-hundred people read the stories.

I jest about the good writer bit, but since it’s my blog — and they don’t read this blog — I can say anything I want here.

Anyway, remember this from yesterday?

. . . but you can help them by voting for your favorite”D” story HERE. If you’ve yet to read them, links to the stories are included in that post.

Some people have apologized for not having time to read them. I want to stress no one should feel pressured to read these stories. If interested, if you have the time, and if you find them entertaining, welcome onboard. If any of them things are untrue, don’t force yourself.

For one thing, it’ll predispose you to hate the stories. For another, this challenge is meant to be a fun and friendly competition between one good writer and two brothers, and we’ll do this whether two or two-hundred people read the stories.

I jest about the good writer bit, but since it’s my blog — and they don’t read this blog — I can say anything I want here.

Anyway, another photo from last week . . .

Processed in Lightroom and Nik Collection and Topaz Sharpen AI — click for a larger version.

. . . vote for your favorite”D” story HERE. I mean, sure; you need to read them first, but if you do, then voting is a no-brainer. After all, this isn’t anything like the presidential elections where you have to choose between “nope!” and “noper!” . . . or, maybe it is, but in this case, you have the choice of voting not to vote!

Anyway, another photo from last week . . .

Processed in Lightroom and Nik Collection and Topaz Sharpen AI — click for a larger version.

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 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. BTW, you can click on photos for a larger version.

Forrest Gump got tired of running somewhere below this spot. He turned around and went home.

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 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. BTW, you can click on photos for a larger version.

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 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. BTW, you can click on photos for a larger version.

So, with the short story challenge deadline looming large, I should be hunched over my keyboard, pounding on said keys, and crafting a wondrous tale . . . but, instead, I got photos of my first hawk since moving back to the mainland.

Folks, I’m out of practice, I tell you what, and not happy about it. I mean, I had sufficient shutter speed, pretty good lighting, and I wasn’t that far away. I didn’t control my aperture but that’s not normally a problem.

The one thing I did wrong was shoot from a running (but parked) car, leaning over the passenger seat as I twisted my torso to level the camera at the bird. I mean, it was wrong only insofar as it’s not an ideal way to shoot. But, had I gotten out of the car, I’d have missed the hawk because it didn’t linger long once I stopped.

Here are my first two shots as they came out of the camera, unedited and uncropped.

Not overly happy with the exposure and the in-camera processing but since it’s a RAW file, I’m OK with it because . . .

A not-so-quick post . . .

Original as output from camera

Those are leaves just under the water surface (some are poking through the surface).

I picked a photo at random from a group of similar shots. I had planned on a quick post, but . . .

For them not interested in reading, you can explore 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 at the bottom-top 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.

Yellowstone June 2015