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.

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 top-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.

So, a few days ago I posted this preview photo:

Here’s how that shot came to be.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories voting will close at noon on Sunday, August 16th. I mean, it sure sounds like you have a lot of time left to read for about 30 minutes, then ponder about which story merits your vote, and then vote . . . BUT! . . . we live in a time where our sense of time is distorted by extraordinary events. If you haven’t acted, and if you don’t act now, it’ll be Monday before you know it.

I mean, it’s Monday now . . . I mean next Monday.

Of course, you have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

So, vultures . . . specifically, Black Vultures<<link (as opposed to Turkey Vultures<<link)  . . .

I plan a post specific to these vultures and the photo ops they gave me, but I thought I would preview a few of the photos.

The above is in B&W, but here’s the color version . . . except there isn’t much color.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories voting has entered the doldrums period. Yup, during every round, there’s a point where voting stalls and the poll languishes in solitude with nary a click to keep it company.

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Here are a few photos more photos from Hawaiʻi . . .

That’s another photo from The Big Island. Specifically, a view of the water from Aliʻi Drive. Even more specifically, taken while we sat in the car during one of the many backups one has to contend with when traveling Aliʻi Drive. That’s where all the shops are, the tourists are, and the main road for accessing the shore in Kailua Kona.

If you’re going to be stuck in traffic, there could be much worse places.

Unlike real lobbyists, I got nothing to bribe . . . er . . . offer in exchange for visitors reading the Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories.

As such, you have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Oh, here are a few “all over the place” photos before you go reading the stories . . .

It looks like Florida to me . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories are sitting there, looking pretty and waiting for readers (and voters). You could be a reader (if you’ve not already read the stories) and you could be a voter (if you’ve not already voted). And, guess what? Unlike the US elections, you don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils . . . you have three evils to choose from!

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Oh, here are a few photos before you go reading the stories . . .

That’s another photo from The Big Island. Specifically, an ocean-side memorial to a surfer.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories are active and the stories are fiercely battling for supremacy . . . sort-of.

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Oh, here are a few photos before you go reading the stories . . .

That’s an offering to Pele<<link in front of a steam vent on the rim of the caldera at the Hawaiʻian Volcano National Park. The photo was taken after most of the activity had subsided . . . so, obviously, the offering worked.

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 . . .

The “K” stories voting period is at the halfway mark and it’s still going pretty slow. It’d be nice of people gave them a read (there’s at least one good one, I’d wager), and if you’ve read them, please vote for your favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge K-Stories” HERE.<<<This Is A Link

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 — and some say “should” — spread the news about the stories to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . the Round 2 “what’s that?” reveal . . .

“What’s that?” — No. 1
“What’s that?” — No. 1

Yes, it’s a mushroom.

If you need a break from stuff, maybe the “K” stories are just what you need. Go ahead; give them a read (there’s at least one good one, I’d wager), and if you’ve read them, please vote for your favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge K-Stories” HERE.<<<This Is A Link

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 — and some say “should” — spread the news about the stories to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . another “what’s that?” It seems the first one was enjoyed by many some, so I thought I’d do a Round 2. Here’s the first offering:

“What’s that?” — No. 1

As before, leave a guess in the comments if you think you know (and feel like sharing).

Edited to add: if you want to play, guess before reading the comments (meaning, no peeking).

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  . . . .

If you’re not anxious to exercise your right to go out in public, I have a suggestion:  read the “I” Stories submissions. After, if receptive to the idea, the writers hope you’ll make the effort and vote for your favorite 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.

So, birds . . .