Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge (February 2015): Winter

So after blogging 23 times in January, I've fallen into my same old habit again, as this is only my fourth post of the month.  And the first three were written in the first two weeks of the month.  So much for good intentions.

P.J.'s Photo blogging challenge for this month was winter.  Quite a few people have participated this month as I note 11 other links, plus P.J.'s own contribution to the challenge.  I guess I'll be lucky number 13.

As always, winter in Southern California means something different than the rest of the country.  Snow, maybe at higher elevations, but nothing here.  We got a couple of days of rain in February, the latest being yesterday.  It's been cold all day today, but nothing like people back east have been having.  50 degrees here would probably be a nice spring day back east.

With the nice weather, I don't have a bunch of "wintery" shots to show you.  I went on a couple of nice hikes this month while out geocaching.  Found some interesting abandoned buildings while out on the hike and so I thought I'd show you those.

Usually, when I write this particular blog piece, I write about individual photos, but this time, I may just keep a string of consciousness going on this one as most of the shots are very similar.   The first two shots were taken while I went on a hike out in the desert north of where I live.  These are included in here, mainly because both of them were accepted into the Project Weather Flickr page.  Project Weather is linked up with the Yahoo Weather App.  The photos that are accepted into Project Weather are then featured on the Yahoo Weather App.  The first one is linked to Wilsona, CA, which means the next time it's cloudy in Wilsona, my shot could shoe up in someone's feed who happens to be looking at the weather in Wilsona.  I currently have 29 of my shots in Project Weather.  I see mine occasionally show up when I look at the weather for my local area since most of the shots were taken around here.  I do have some that show up in other areas, particularly Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  The nice thing is if someone sees the shot, they can click on a small link at the bottom of the shot and the app will take the user back to my Flickr page.  A little exposure never hurt anyone I guess.

Last weekend, the weather was cool, but there wasn't a threat of rain, so I went out geocaching again.  I picked an area that looked fairly isolated, someplace that I hadn't been to before.  What that usually means is there quite a few caches I haven't found.  At one point, while searching out sites on Google maps, I spotted this area that was a paved road that turned into a dirt road.  I could have driven to every one of these caches along this road, but chose to walk to them.  Just seemed like it would be a waste of gas and a waste of a fairly nice cool day to spend the entire time in the car.  I've been doing that a lot the last couple of months.  I don't get as many caches, but I've been really enjoying the times out that I have been caching and that's what it's really all about in my opinion.

I found the sign intriguing and pretty typical of rural signs in California, perhaps elsewhere as well.  They all seem to end up as targets by gun enthusiasts.  Not sure why that has to happen, but it just seems like it happens more frequently than not.  The cache, which was found at the base of that broken structure in the lower left hand corner of the photo was one of the ones that needed help as it was broken.  I did not have an extra container with me, otherwise I might have exchanged it out.  I did the best I could to keep it dry from the rain, but hopefully, the cache owner will remedy the situation so the cache continues to be viable.

While hiking along that same road, I came upon some sunflowers in full bloom.  Although it's technically winter out here, earlier in the month we were getting temperatures in the 80s.  The flowers in the desert and other rural areas started blooming all over the place.  This particular bloom had been picked by someone several days before I happened along the same area.  It was pretty much withered up at this point, but I thought it made for an interesting photo.  I've done that a couple of times, trying to make dead things look interesting.  I think I succeeded with this one.

Finally, the last shot of my winter theme goes back to the first weekend in the month when I took the top two shots.  I was about halfway done with my hike when I came upon this abandoned building and so I stopped to take some shots as it was a natural stopping point.

I ended up posting a full black and white version of this shot for the Sharpshooters International Photography Club weekly photo album on Facebook this past week.  Someone said it probably would look even better with some selective coloring of the American Flag that was attached to the side of the building, so I decided to try it that way too.  Interestingly, the flag was almost brand new, so someone had just attached it recently to the corner of the building.  After looking at the two images, I think I like this one even better than the original.

And so there you have it, five photos depicting winter.  Probably not the winter you have, but it's my winter and what I experienced this month.  Please stop my P.J.'s page and view his shots and interpretation of winter from the state of New York.  At the bottom is a link to other blogger's post on the same challenge.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

An Affair to Remember

28 years ago today I made the smartest decision I've ever made in my life.  I asked my girlfriend to marry me, and amazingly, with all she knew about me, she said yes.

For whatever reason, I am amazingly blessed to have a wife who puts up with all my foibles.  She said to me this morning that she wondered why I put up with her, but I actually think it's the other way around.  I know myself all too well, and I don't think I'd like to live with me for very long, yet she's done it now for 27+ years.  That's pretty remarkable.

During that time, we've lived in an apartment, and purchased three different houses, always upsizing to go along with our expanding family.  Interestingly, our first house was a brand new house and the other two houses we've owned since then have been increasingly older.  

Our three children have gone to school here in town, graduated.  Two of them have graduated from college and have full time jobs in Northern California.  Our youngest is still in college taking some very interesting classes, some of which I would have avoided when I was in college, but would love to take today.

Early last year, I took a series of photos entitled "Grow Old with Me."  All of the photos feature my wife's left hand, for obvious reasons.  This particular shot was taken on Valentine's Day last year.  Grow Old with Me my Love.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hey Butthead

Today's prompt for blogging today was: "Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!" After looking at some of the photos I took on Saturday, this particular quote from the movie Back to the Future, stood out above all the others in that movie.

Unfortunately, the desert has become for many people a dumping ground, a place to throw their unwanted crap so they can avoid paying a fee to legally dump it in a landfill.  There are few times when I'm hiking and geocaching out in the desert when I can walk more than a tenth of a mile and not see some kind of refuse strewn out there.  

Granted, there was nothing that could be done for this one as this was a permanent structure, but if you could have seen the inside.  This particular house will not surprise me in the least if sometime in the future it becomes part of an arsonist's ritual.  Looking through this window, there was probably close to a foot of debris inside.  I went around to the right of this shot and looked in another window and there was even more stuff in there, perfect kindling.

And if it were to happen, the house would go up and not much else.  But on my hike Saturday, I also passed several other abandoned houses, plus a jacuzzi.  Broken, with the insulation hanging out, someone didn't want it anymore, so instead of taking it to a landfill where it could have been disposed of properly, the owner decided to take it out and dump it in the desert.

And it goes on and on.  I saw at least four chairs, two mattresses and one couch out there as well.  It's interesting in a morbid sort of way too as things tend to clump together, as if they migrate to like minded junk.  The chairs were all in one spot, the television and computer monitors were in a different spot out there.  Oh, and let's not forget the entire load of about 25 or 30 used diapers I came upon.

And unfortunately, the title character of this blog piece just won't get it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Race the Clock

I saw this prompt today and thought, "That's what my life feels like right now."  I feel like I'm in a race and I'm getting close to the finish line.  The good thing is, I know why I feel that way and it's just something that's going to happen.

Our second yearbook deadline comes next Monday.  Because we have next Monday off, it literally is a race the clock, because that means everything is due this Friday.  Are we there yet?  Nope.  Will we be there by Friday?  God, I hope so.

If everything comes off according to plan, this should be a well received yearbook.  Being it's my first yearbook as an advisor, I have nothing to compare it to, but I'm hoping the staff can pull it all together in the next 48 hours or so, so we'll be able to say we raced the clock and won.

The photo is one that I took 3 and a half years ago at a cross country meet where my youngest was competing.  It was very overcast that day, so I was able to experiment with some long shutter speeds in the low light conditions.  This shot was one of the better ones.