#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".

#51 When The Wind Blows

Seems like an odd place for a nest - on top of the fire tower in Oma Township.  And if you head back there on the four-wheeler on a normal summer day and wait for a shot of mom returning to her chicks, the deer flies will eat you alive, even if you have marinated in DEET.   But when the wind blows hard from the North, the swarming flies stay in the brush and when she does come back to see why her babies are squawking about the guy with the camera down there, she hovers for almost 5 seconds over them on the gale before going back for groceries at Pine Lake.


#50 Urban Scenery

Don't expect a fresh one - the cottage is a 20 minute ATV ride to the nearest "urb", and there isn't a traffic light in the whole county (true fact).   But through the miracles of digital storage on the trusty old Mac Book Pro, I retrieved an image of this mural painted on the side of an old brick building in New London, Minnesota.  It is a neat little village of artists and shops in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason - so naturally we stopped.

#49 Two of Us

I didn't have a good selection for this theme and time is running short for this year's photo challenge, but I was out in the kayak this week when the Kardashians here showed up for a photo op - only two of them now that daddy turned himself into a swan and got his own show.  Ok, that was mean; I apologize to the loons.


#48 Sun Flare

There are a million photographs sunrises on the beach, or maybe over a city skyline, but not too many from the empty rooftop of the parking garage at an Indian casino.   Had to go all the way to northern Minnesota to find one with no cars on it...


#47 - Summer Fun

Roaming the backroads of Minnesota, we came upon a little village with some artisans' shops and a mill    pond - below the dam were thousands of little fish in the clear water.   These kids did not catch any with their bare hands, but they had fun trying and cooled off on a warm summer day.


#46 - Still Life

Yes, of course I know what "still life" means - some bowl of fruit on a table or a vase full of flowers with a 4 pane window in the background. I don't have any of those shots, but I have this guy.  He doesn't lurk in the reeds like the other great egrets in the neighborhood;  he lives the still life (see what I did there) out in the open and will wait up to half an hour without moving for his dinner to come.    


#A5 - Reflections

I was excited to go to Edmonton, Alberta last week for convocation at my alma mater, Athabasca University, where I got to watch for the first time as my own students received their MBA degrees and set out to go leave their mark in the world.  Since it is only dark for a couple of hours this time of year, I found time to sneak away for a stroll around the city with my camera and found some weirdly interesting things to shoot, like this reflection of a construction crane in the windows of a nearby building.


#44 Someone Working

At first glance, you might think I had to travel deep into the wilds of Africa or Central America to capture this barefoot guy working a muddy river with his cast net and dodging crocodiles.  But then you notice that Titleist over there to the left laying in the fairway….  


#43 Solitary

I pick up phones and hear my history
I think of all the calls I missed
I try to number those who love me 
And find exactly what the trouble is

   - Pete Townshend  "Is It In My Head"


#42 Skyline Panorama

You might recognize the bridge from San Diego over to Coronado Island - shot at twilight from a workboat pier that nobody seems to know about.  Great place to shoot the bridge, boats moored, city skyline, and sea lions resting on the docks at night.


#41 Single Color in Black and White

The sun was at a bad angle and the full color shot of this spoonbill taking flight was not very good, but desaturating everything but the pink gave it enough interest to kept it out of the trash bin and into the phblog this week.  


#39 - Shot Through The Glass

This bird kept fluttering around on the hedge outside my office window, and I remembered this theme was coming up, so I shot the first photo through the glass - you can see the reflections from the fabric of a chair.   She would fly over from a nearby palm tree and make a big fuss, then fly back - over and over for about 20 minutes.   At first I thought she was seeing her own reflection, but then I looked down and noticed what it was that kept her coming back over by the window, and I took photo #2.    


#38 Selfie

Well….um…..ok…it is possible that I might have accidentally Photoshopped this image…maybe.


#37 - Rows and Rows

I have no idea what you call those bumps on a lizards' skin, but this sleeping giant has rows and rows and rows of them.  


#36 Right Place / Right Time

I only had one afternoon to run out to the zoo in San Diego, and the reports were that the baby gorilla had been staying indoors mostly, but right as I was walking by on the way to the aviary, momma and kiddo popped out for a little bite to eat and a few minutes in the sun before going back inside.  


#35 Rocky Waterscape

I might not be a great photographer, but I know how to read; there's your rocks, there's your water, and there's your 'scape.  Low tide at daybreak out at the Sunshine Skyway bridge.  


#34 Patterns

While I don't like rattlesnakes any more than the next guy, I have to admit that the patterns of their scales are beautiful and fascinating - through the glass of a terrarium, that is.  


#33: Paths to Trails

When I saw this trail in the sand I thought of comedian Richard Pryor, who was married several times and joked about it in his comedy act.  "I don't care that women leave me", he quipped, "what pisses me off is that they always tell me why."  


A4 - Night Shot

There are no lights on the pier where I took this photo of the San Diego skyline, so I thought the barking in the dark was dogs guarding the fishing boats.  After 15 seconds of exposure, the LCD display revealed the the culprits - sea lions down on the slips below.   


#31 Panning

I must confess that I thought panning was the same as panorama, and a few weeks ago I took some nice panoramas for this week.  Luckily, I overheard to members talking about panning shots at our photo club meeting last month and saved myself some embarrassment.


#30 One Step At A Time

I watched this guy fishing at low tide; he would take one step at a time, stirring up murk to make the little fish scoot out the way. When he saw one dart he would take a running leap over to where they had gone, parachute down from above to stab at his dinner.  Half a dozen tries and he never got a fish.  Meanwhile, it was lunch at Gecko's (Bradenton reference) for the seagull, who was sleeping on the ledge when the lizard walked right into him - didn't have to take a single step.



#29 On Two Wheels

Laura swears up and down she rides her bike every day...I don't believe her.  


#28 Natural Beauty

This is the hardest theme of the whole year for me, because since I began to take photographs I now see beauty everywhere.  It is impossible to pick a favorite shooting target between a Florida sunset or a Michigan waterfall or Wisconsin's fall color explosion or whatever random gorgeous thing God puts in front of the lens for me every day.  But I started out with flowers and I keep coming back to flowers, so I guess I will use my recent flower photo and be grateful it was not buried under a humungous snow drift in front of a bank thermometer that reads some hideous below-zero temperature somewhere you have to start your car five minutes before you get in to melt the windshield frost.