#20 - Negative Space

The hills give it away - this photo was taken in northern Wisconsin where we have plenty of space, not in Florida, where they call in a silver alert if you stand in the middle of the road to take a photo. Nobody stuck in stop-and-go traffic on I-75 with the other last minute Christmas shoppers, arriving snowbirds, and first wave of visiting relatives would call this much space "negative" - more like heaven on earth.  Merry Christmas!    


#18 Movie Title

"Splash!" was - I guess - a movie from the 80's about a regular mermaid, and it is being remade - I guess- with Channing Tatum as a guy mermaid.  I didn't see the first one and have no interest in seeing the remake, but I had this photo with a splash and I have no idea if that is a boy duck or girl duck doing the splashing, so....close enough.  


#17 Missing/Misplaced

"Ok, so I think we are ready to put the guard rail up in this little open section here.  Do you have the hole locations marked, Jesus?   Jesus?   Did you hear me?  What are you....oh, shit."


#16 - Macro/closeup

I picked up photography a few years ago and started out with a super-zoom bridge camera and discovered i like taking close-up images of flowers with it.  When I joined LWRDPC I learned how to take photos of other things, but I still like flower closeups that fill the frame, too.  Being too cheap to buy an expensive macro lens for my full-frame Sony,  I pull out the old Canon super-zoom and bang away with the lens extended out to to 1200 mm equivalent.  Not macro; make-do.


#15 - Looking Up

 I was looking up as I took this photo of the window washers looking up at the lifeboats.  One of those things should count for this theme.    

#14 - Line From A Song

"Take these broken wings and learn to fly".   I didn't really like that song much, but the lyric pops into my head very often when I see the Great Blue Heron lift off.  They have an orange patch on their elbows that look at first like glance like a broken wing with dried blood.  This guy just got done eating a very large bass and it must have weighed him down - he struggled to gain altitude, but it gave me a nice series of reflection shots. 


#12 - Hair

Don't you just hate it when some guy has a ridiculous comb over and the wind blows it off the side of his head?  Yeah, well YOU tell him he looks like a dork; I'm not going to tell him!

#11 - Four

What a stupid idea for a theme - anybody can go take a picture of a Ford, the dang things are everywhere.  Mustangs, Focuses (or is it Foci?), Fusion, and of course F150 pickups.  Just walk outside, wait a few minutes and somebody will come driving by in a Ford.  So I decided to be bold and suffer for my art - jump out in front of a Ford truck and get the grill right before it runs me over. Here it is bearing down on me the moment before impact, pretty steady under the circumstances, eh?  ....what's that you say....the theme was four, not Ford...like f-o-u-r?   Dang,  I could have just shot the coffee table and counted the legs.  Never mind...

#10 Cozy, Comfortable

This little guy was cozy and comfortable in a sunny side bank of the 4th tee at Stoneybrook Golf Course.  Wasn't bothered by the golfers teeing off about 20 feet from his spot in the grass and they did not seem to notice him either.  


#8 Break The Rule of Thirds

Here's the other rule of thirds: as soon as the third one craps out, we shoot up the pile of them.  Admit it - you have wanted to put a few rounds into your laptop more than a few times, especially when it locks up at the most inopportune moment and hours of work go down the drain.  And yes, it was tons of fun.


#7 Bent and Twisted

This old ore car at the Quincy mine was once straight, square, plumb, and stout.  A few decades of work and then a few more put out to pasture (literally) have left it bent and twisted, rusted and rotting; ignored and alone with its memories of the days when it carried a whole region's prosperity on its axles.  Unlike the rest of us bent and twisted relics, it can't go to Florida before the snow comes, so the moral of the story is its better to be an old man that an ore car.   Or something.   


#6 Bright Lights

To see an aurora in summer, you need a combination of solar winds, no moon, clear skies, location, and luck. Two hours of sitting on the shore catching some faint glow on the horizon was rewarded with a bright flare and a shooting star going through the big dipper.  And then it was over - just like the big finish of fireworks when they save the best for last.


#5 Artistic

I actually was an art major in college...until I ran out of classes that started after 10:00 AM.  Then I switched to psychology but did not finish that either - abnormal psych started at 8:00 AM, and some days the previous night's abnormalities weren't even over with by then.  We had a meeting in which it was decided that it would best for everybody if I would complete my undergraduate studies "at any institution other than this one",  so don't get your hopes up, ok? 

I took this photo of a flowering weed at the edge of a beaver pond the other day and ran it though an infrared filter to give it some artsy fartsy pretensions.   Damn thing thinks it is one of the Queen's roses now, but it is more interesting this way.  


#4 Architectural Details

Every day thousands of people come and go through the main entrance of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  The weight of their troubles literally makes most of them look down as they enter, and no one can fault them for not stepping up on the bench and peering over the wall to see if there is anything worth seeing on the other side.  Turns out there is.


#3 Aged To Perfection

Well, ok, maybe just aged.....

#2 Abstract

the lily pads and reeds in a back bay where the bass hang out.

#1 - A Fairy Tale

Everyone remembers the story of the tortoise and the hare.   The moral of the original story is that slow and steady wins the race.  But not if you never get off the stupid log to begin with.  

If you just sit there like a dork taking selfies in the marsh, the hare wins the race and gets the princess and the Corvette and you end up working night security at the mall.   The end.  


#49 Tiny World

It may not be Downton Abbey, but our lake house in Northern Wisconsin is a Memory Mansion - a miner's house we moved to the lake more than 50 years ago and turned into a rustic cottage with donated materials and workmanship that looks like a dad was teaching three young boys some basic carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and electrical work.  Four generations of Nerenz and Wray hand-me-downs furnish the place going back to gaslamps that were unneeded when electricity came to Minneapolis, and each one has a story to tell and a reason for being where it is in the house.

Except for these tiny mice - nobody knows where then came from, why they are here, or who put them in the window frame.   Everybody assumed somebody else wanted them there and so they stayed out of respect for whatever the deep meaning was.  After about 30 years we finally figured out it wasn't any of us, but we decided that might be the best story of them all, and so they stay put.  


#46 Tell A Story

I was driving by this abandoned building on the way to the airport and stopped by to get some photos of its rustic exterior.  The door was jimmied off the hinges, so I walked in and was surprised to see school desks, tables, wood stove, pool table, refrigerator, piano, light fixtures, blackboards, and the tattered remains of the curtains still inside 68 years after it closed.  If those walls could talk, what a story they could tell.....


#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.