#45 Spooky

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man a camera and Nik software and he will quit fishing and play around with images all afternoon.  


#44 Speed

Imagine this: two shad are swimming in the shallow water of the big pond they call a lake in Florida arguing about what is the fastest thing in the world.  One shad insists that the fastest thing is the bass and the other is adamant that the alligator gar is faster.  Sort of like my mullet buddies used to argue over Firebird versus Camaro after several beers, or I should say "POS Camaro" which must be the official long-form model name, since my son always includes the POS designation when referring to the one he had back in his pre-Mustang un-evolved state.  

But back to the shad and their world....   As their argument gets more heated and the bass becomes "the POS bass" as they both are about to blow a gill arguing about something neither one knows anything about and then suddenly...BA-BAAM!   Some alien creature attacks from above the liquid atmosphere, narrowly avoiding the two tall walking sticks that moved into the neighborhood an hour or so ago.  Death in an instant to the shad yelling the loudest and least aware of his circumstances.

So the moral of the story is....um....ok, there isn't one.  Shad can't talk - I just made it up so I could use the photo and egrets strike really fast when they are fishing so it was close enough for this theme.

For the curious, the shutter speed is 1/1600 of a second and a middle range aperture to get a sharp image - this one is f8.   I focus-lock on the point where the birds legs meet the surface - that is the plane where the head is going to hit the water when the bird is perpendicular - the strike is too fast for my camera's focus tracking to keep up reliably.  Set for continuous shooting and hope for a good splash pattern going in and a shiny shad in the beak coming out.   No birds on sticks.  


#43 A Single Tree

Unless you are used to having acid flashbacks, you probably have noticed that something is a little bit off in this photo.  The sky is all orange and blotchy looking and the water by the shore of the point is almost washed out it is so bright.  The tree looks ok - pretty sharp and defined.

The photo is actually upside down and that is the reflection of the tree on our point in the lake - the orange tint is from the tanic acid of the tamarack swamps that feed the lake.  Those are rocks on the bottom, about 4 feet at the deepest in this picture.  The water is clear and clean, just tinted the color of root beer.  Makes for good waterfall shots.  


#42 Silhouette

Great Blue Heron taking flight at sunrise.

#41 Shades of Grey

This anhinga was drying its wings at the highest point overlooking the lake he had just come out of.  I thought the photo was more interesting in black and white than in color, since it is all about the pose and not so much the plumage.


#39 - Rainy Day

No, this a not another Nick Nolte mug shot, it is a Great Blue Heron giving himself a shake.  Even the sleek GBH has trouble staying coiffed in the Florida humidity on a rainy day.   


#38 Powerful

Nothing says Easter like School Bus figure eight racing at DeSoto Speedway in Flur-da.  You got your drag strip during the day and races on the track at night.   Whether you are at the drags or the figure eight track, Lynyrd Skynyrd is constantly blaring from the speakers at bleachers full of mullets, beer guts. cut-off denim shirts, plumber butts, rebel flag tattoos and both hands gripping 40's like the bucket of them under them cowboy boots is the last stash on earth.

And that's the women.  They all looked pretty powerful to me - and probably packin' too.  Their guys were really skinny with greasy hair and bad complexions, like the shirtless ones with red hair on Cops who disturb the peace in the tailer park and smoke menthols and get all up in the officers' face until they are shoved into the back seat of the squad car - "em ah bee-'n detay-unned?"   "Yezzur; that be affirmative rah-chur."  You don't have to talk like that to live here, but it helps.    

Last year the winner of the warmup race before the school bus grand finale thanked his mom and dad for letting him stay up late, and his teacher for not giving them homework over Easter break.  He thanked the Lord and Dominos Pizza, for no particular reason other than he hoped that Jesus would hear about it and make a meat lovers show up at his house like "that thing he did with the fish sticks."
Best winner circle speech ever.    


#37 Part of a Whole

I've never been much of a car guy, but I do love the lines, colors, and signature design touches of the automobiles made in the 1950s and 1960's and even into the 1970's.  Today's cars all look the same to me - black, white, or silver with nearly identical aerodynamic body styling that I can't tell apart without seeing the badge or logo.   Not so with the old beasts - one glimpse at these taillights and you knew immediately it was a Ford Fairlane 500 and with that color it was somebody from out of town.  Probably a '59, somebody will know.  


#36 Out Of Focus

When you wear glasses, you start and end every day out of focus, and you learn to put them in the same place every night so you can find them the next morning.  Over the years my glasses have adorned the right hand side of the sinks of hundreds of  hotel rooms in 13 countries and more than a dozen homes and apartments.   This is how the world looks a moment before my first Moment of Clarity of the day.


#35 On The River

I grew up in Ironwood, Michigan and our summer cottage is on Pine Lake in Oma Township, Wisconsin, out of which the Montreal River flows.  That is Michigan on the left and Wisconsin on the right and Heaven in between.  We are called Yoopers - those of us from Michigan's Upper Peninsula - and if you are one or know one, then you understand that still waters run deep AND know how to get down.  So this shot of the Montreal getting down about 5 meters is for all my Yooper buds wherever we are - black rocks matter.      

#34 OMG

Don't shoot the messenger - I just do what I am told and this week it was go take an OMG shot.  And don't get all proud about it - you said OMG or a snicker to that effect.   A common term for the cormorant is a shag, so if there is someone you want out of your hair just tell them you were looking at pooping shag photos today and that should do the trick.  You're welcome.        


#33 Old Timer

There's actually quite a few old timers in this photo - the car and all the guys looking at it.

And here is another rendition with just the two old timers.   Leave a comment and tell me which you prefer.


#32 Nighttime

I'm not an expert, but I do like to shoot long exposure shots at night.  ISO 100 and f22 on a Minolta 20mm wide prime lens will get the starburst effect from streetlights, and 8-15 seconds on a tripod will do a pretty good job on the streaking headlights, so we just need a variable ND filter to get the rest of the image exposed properly.  Manual focus on infinity, and exp comp at -1 stop keeps the highlights from blowing out.  And then find somewhere interesting to shoot - this is Rocky Point in Tampa.  

#31 Neon

Anybody can take good looking photos on a cruise ship - the crafts are gorgeous.  The trick is getting several thousand passengers and crew to stand out of your way while you are shooting.  


#30 Mouthwatering

Let's not overthink this - you got your mouth and you got your water, so mouthwatering.  Done.   There is no need to go all crazy and start writing about shit that happened when we were children until we have a feeling - not every single week.   What are you laughing it?  Guys have feelings - pissed off, hungry to name a just a few.  Humid.  Or fishing - there's another good one.    


#28 - Mirrored Image and #29 Moody

I'm going to kill two birds with one photo this time.   Well ok, this is not technically a mirrored image because the side of the car is not a mirror.  But I think it is a spectacular image anyway....no, no I don't.  It's crap.  It's grainy and over-processed, and the colors are not balanced right, and I didn't crop out the corners correctly.  You are right, I should have never tried to bend the rules, and everything I do is crap, so I might as well throw the stupid camera into the ocean - maybe then you would all be happy.  (see what I did there, pretending to be all moody and stuff?)   


#27 - Memories

I don't know anybody whose dad didn't have a coffee can full of old screws; and I don't know any guy who isn't keeping the tradition alive.  We keep them forever, not because we really need the screws - moms keep organized little plastic boxes of carefully sorted hardware for when we actually do something - but because every time we pour half the can out on a table in the garage and start sifting through them, we remember our dads doing the same thing in the basement or in the shed at the lake or out in the garage back home.  

We save the old tools too - wooden handled screwdrivers with split handles and hand drills and chisels and things; not half as good with them as our fathers, but we use them just to remember the times our dads spend teaching us how to do things we would need to do for ourselves and for others when we become men and it would our turn to be fathers to our children.  Our wives try and throw old things out, but we don't let them.  It isn't about the useless stuff that is is in the can or the toolbox, it is the memories and the words that come out when we pour that can of old screws out on the table like our dads used to do and start sifting through them.   

Even as old farts, we need to think of our dads every so often to be reminded of what is is that we need to do to be men - good men.     There isn't anybody else to tell us; nobody else knows.   


#26 Mealtime

No, this is not our dining room - the colors are all wrong.   And it has a few more columns, and the ceilings are about 40 feet taller, and of course the chandelier is about ten times bigger, and it seats a few hundred more people on three levels.   It is the main dining room on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Navigator Of The Seas, which has water glasses just like ours.  So we have that going for us.  


#25 Low Key

The term "Low Key" in photography refers to a style of image that uses dark tones and bright highlights to illuminate part of a subject to achieve a dramatic effect with shadows or dark spaces in the image.  Normally, you don't want the sun behind a darker bird like a brown pelican, but I decided to roll with it and do this in Low Key black and white and it reminded me of the portly shadow of Alfred Hitchcock at the start of his old TV show.    Now try and get that intro music out of your head....da DUM...da da da da dum da dahhh...da DUM...da da da da dum da dahhh.   Yeah, I know, been humming it all day; sorry to do it to you.     

#24 Loud Noises

Well, I decided to put a couple of pelican photos in the challenge blog and why not - they are fun to shoot...er...photograph, and they can fit all sorts of themes.   Take this week's theme of loud noises for example - the brown pelicans fly over the water looking for fish swimming near the surface and when they find one, they dive for dinner with a loud splash.  Most of the time, that sound tells me I missed a shot, but sometimes I catch them in the act.        


#23 - Letters

This peaceful sunset is brought to you by the letter H.

#22 Laundry

There are a lot of of things to take photos of in the Caribbean - beautiful beaches, cruise ships, flowers, birds, colonial ruins, sunsets, waterfalls, and...laundry?   Yeah - laundry.  It's not going into the South Florida Museum or anything, but it's got  some dramatic sky in the background, complimentary blue colors going on with the blue jeans and yellow house, little it of movement, some intrigue with that open window.  Not a snapshot, not art; not bad.     

#21 Industrial

When the weather gets cold in Florida, you still can't see your breath, but you can at least see large plumes of water vapor coming out of the TECO power plant near Apollo Beach, which means there will be hundreds of manatees up in warm water where plant's cooling water is discharged.  Some people complain about the weather and others take photos of manatees.    


#20 - In The Park

These two ladies were taking a little rest after lunch in a park on St. Kitts.  

#19 Homemade

I can't say for sure, but this trap appears to be homemade.   There were two of them laying near each other and they were anywhere close to being identical, so if they were made in a factory, it is the worst one in the world.  


#17 Gate /#18 Hidden From View

This locked gate kept many out of a cemetery on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts.  But a nice young lady in a school uniform showed me where there was another entrance that was not locked.

And when I went into the church I found another nice lady who told me that a few people climb up the 80 stairs to the top of the bell tower to take photographs overlooking the whole city.   So she unlocked the door for me and I began to climb.  Before threw open the trap door to go out on to the very top. I took this shot in the darkness and discovered the bell and some nice colors in the bell chamber.  30 seconds at f22 with an ND filter and ISO f22.   


A2 - Christmastime

Joanne absolutely loves Christmas; it's her favorite holiday.  The bins full of decorations came down out of the attic and storage closets right after Halloween and the Christmas music has been on non-stop for a couple of weeks now already.  I just try to stay out of the way as much as possible.    


#16 - Frame Within A Frame

The texture of the palm tree makes a nice natural frame for this little gecko who was kind enough to pose for me.   


#15 Faces In Everyday Places

I've been dreading this theme since I saw it on the list.   My everyday place is at home, and while some people have a knack for for capturing a person's expressions and emotions with the camera, I am not one of them - when I shoot someone, they look like they have been shot.  I suppose I should get out there and practice, but I am content to let sleeping dogs lie.....  


#14 Enclosed

One evening in September, many of us regulars at the Pine Lake Lodge in Oma Township, Wisconsin watched in awe as the earth's shadow enclosed the "blood moon" in rare and spectacular fashion.  This was hardly the first time that familiar objects have faded from sharp bright focus to dark shadowy shape over the course of a few hours with friends at the Lodge - if you catch my drift - but it was without a doubt the most memorable.  


#13 Downtown in B&W

It takes 26 hours to drive from our home in Florida to our summer cottage in northern Wisconsin, and we always just blow right by the cities that dot the route.   So coming back south this year, I pulled off to see what was happening in downtown at 9:00 in Paducah, Kentucky on a Friday night and discovered...nothing...nothing is happening in downtown Paducah at nine...not a thing...nothing at all...nothing.  I had to shoot it at an angle it to make it remotely interesting.  It doesn't get any better in color.  Nothing.     



#12 Diamonds

Ok, this one is a bit of a stretch, but that metal tread is called Diamond Plate, and so the judges have ruled that I can use this majorly doctored up photo of an Arizona fire truck for this week's theme.  Joanne was naturally hoping we would need something new to photograph.....


#11 - Descending

Cloudland Canyon state park in Georgia has some serious descent - 900 feet of vertical drop from the canyon rim to the floor, with steep switchback trails and over 450 stairs.  Here is the view from the top of the canyon rim, the first of many waterfalls, cascades, rapids, and drop pools on the way to the bottom.....

...And here is the last drop on the bottom of the canyon floor where the water turns from a tumbling noisy bounce to a strong smooth current.....

....and here is me  2/3 of the way back up taking a breather.  I lied and told the kids climbing by like little spider monkeys that I didn't want to stop but our 52-week challenge was to take a selfie sitting down at an interesting place each week, so dang, but duty calls, you know.  Had to take a bout 20 shots with the 10 second delay timer to...um...you know....get a good one.....for the club.   Yeah, that's the ticket; I had to stop for the club.  Not because I was sucking wind or feeling the bursitis all the way into my hair or anything.      


#10 Dawn's Light

The basic difference between irritating fog and fascinating fog when the sun comes up is whether or not you have your camera with you as it is burning off.  

#9 Complimentary Colors

The color wheel shows the complimentary colors of the blue shades to be the oranges, yellows, and golds. Now, where have we seen that recently?


#8 Common Cliche Phrase

The phrase that came to mind is old saw "that's water under the bridge".  I just happened to have a recent photo from the under the bridge below the Kentucky Dam, and sure enough, there is water under it.  I guess that's how it got to be a cliche.    


#7 Circle Within A Square

Well, technically, it is two circles within two squares within two more circles within a curvelinear trapezoid within a triangle within an arc within another circle with heavy oxidation throughout.   But who's counting?


#6 Celebration

I don't know what horses do to celebrate, but it's a safe bet that this handsome devil's owner is over at the beer tent pretending to be surprised that he won a ribbon again this year.  


#5 Bird's Eye View

From the bird's eye view, the lake and surrounding shore below must look like a buffet table - walleye, crappie, musky, bass, rock bass, duck, loon, goose, muskrat, otter, chipmunk, red squirrel, garter snake, and fox have a far less favorable opinion of bald eagles than humans do.  This guy is about to ruin some little critter's day.  


#4 Biggest Fear

No, I am not afraid of the rip tide.   Not scared of falling on the rocks and splitting my head open, either.  And I don't worry about being buried alive in a mud slide if those clay banks cut loose, or crushed like a grape if a tree gives way above me.   Is that a tornado coming over the hill?  Bring it.  No, my biggest fear is that little girl in the orange jacket; strangers terrify me - check that, people terrify me.  Seriously...been that way since I was younger than her.  That's why you almost never see them in my photos.      


#3 Before And After

The dividing line is Labor Day.  After Labor Day the days are sunny and warm, the nights are cool and quiet, the fireplaces are lit, the fleece is on, the bugs are dead, the kids are in school, the geese are starting to arrive from Canada, and the jet skis have gone back to Illinois. The golf clubs are back in the basement and the shotguns are in the trucks; the dogs get birdy at the sight of camo pants, and football is on TV five nights a week.  If this was not God's plan He would not have given us flat screen TV's and bars with 20 of them.     Before Labor Day, the leaves are all green and boring and just background for photos of something else; but after Labor Day, they are the main event.   This guy couldn't wait any longer and neither could I.         


#2 -- A Worm's View

This defiant little bastard in the bubble insert is the Charlie Sheen of worms - while the sensible and responsible worms turned in for the night at a decent hour and were deep underground working to aerate the earth before breakfast, he was still out carousing when the sun came up.   Got himself picked up by strangers who promised a party by the lake, thrown in a tupperware with a dozen other worm burnouts shaking from dirt withdrawal, stuck with a barbed hook, nearly drowned, and barely escaped the gulping lunge of this deadly rock bass.  And he learned nothing - still smirking and arrogant, taunting the fish and mugging for the camera.   SMDH.    


#1 Part of Me

This photo can be interpreted many ways:  our place at Pine Lake has been part of me for half a century, that Fuji camera is an extension of me these days, the shadow in the water is reflecting a few body parts of me trying to get a good shot of this little frog.  Part of me wants to take his picture and part of me wants to use him for bass bait - I suppose that caption could have worked in a pinch, but since I photobombed my own shoot, I think I am going with the reflection/shadow for the first photo of the new challenge year.  


#52 A Winter Landscape

Made it!  My post for the last theme of the year's weekly photo challenge was taken right before Christmas near Wausau, Wisconsin on the weekend of my nephew's wedding.  It is not unusual to find a rusty old truck in a field in northern Wisconsin - a photographer's paradise in that respect - but it is very rare to find almost no snow on the ground in late December.  Ordinarily this would have been a good choice for a theme entitled: "windshield and mirrors and some junk in the back".