Friday, May 30, 2014

Photo Blogging Challenge (May 2014): Fun

Well, once again, it's time for the monthly photo blogging challenge set up by P.J.  This month's challenge appeared to be fairly easy, with the theme being "Fun," but for a variety of reasons, I didn't get my camera out as much this month and so it was a little more difficult.  I did, however, come up with five shots that I think convey the theme of fun, although they might not be fun for everyone.

So, without further ado, here's my list of "fun" shots.

1.  Farmer's market
We have a farmer's market that is in downtown Claremont every Sunday morning until around 1 in the afternoon.  Lots of fruits, vegetables are offered for sale. The crowds make for some nice people shots and some very colorful fruits and vegetable shots.  I've been coming down about once a month to get some new photos.  It's a fun excursion just to people watch.

2.  Games of chance
Our church has an annual fiesta every Mother's Day weekend.  It's the big money maker for the church and there is a lot of activity going on on all three days of the fiesta.  There are lots of games of chance that, obviously, is rigged in favor of the game establishment in order to make money for the establishment as well as the church.

I watched these carny workers use all kinds of lines to get people to try their luck at these games.  I think the older people understand that the payment you give to them is for the fun of the competition, much like gambling in Lost Wages, Nevada.  It's fun and if you win, that's a bonus, but if you expect to go in there and win, you will be sadly separated from your money.

Younger people don't seem to understand that and are constantly at these games with the hope of winning something.  I know, when I was younger, I had the same kinds of feelings.  I had this one game figured out.  Shuffleboard bowling.  Knock over 6 pins with three metal pucks.  Easy, just get the puck in between two pins three times in a row and you're a winner.  Guess what?  I never won.  But it was still fun.

3.  Jack
This is our dog Jack.  Jack will be ten at the beginning of December.  He's been featured on this blog many times in the past.  I think Jack is very photogenic under the right conditions and light. I really wanted to post this in B&W, because I think his gray hair looks really good with some nice contrast going on, but it just didn't work very well for this shot.

Jack came into our life in February 2005, just before my daughter turned 15.  I went down to a dog groomer's place because my wife said there was a dog there that we might like.  We'd lost our two dogs the succeeding year in a span of just over 3 months.  They had been 13 and 17, so we knew they didn't have much, but to have both of them go in a matter of months was tough.  I didn't want another dog and my wife knew this so she sent me down to reject the dog.  Yeah, right.  Jack stood on the counter, put his paws on my chest and he already knew I was done.  My wife was surprised, but thrilled and immediately fell in love with this small ball of fur the minute he walked over and settled into her lap on the floor of the kitchen.

Jack has been a fun addition to our household and it won't be quite the same when he crosses over the Rainbow Bridge.  Let's hope that doesn't happen for a long time.

4. Boomerang
The end of the year trip for our 8th graders involves a trip to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.  Knott's started out as a small "ghost town" complete with shops and Cordelia Knott's chicken dinner restaurant.  

Eventually, if they were going to compete and be relevant in Southern California, they had to expand to include something a little bit wilder than the Calico Mine Train.  They added a log flume ride.  The first corkscrew roller coaster was built here.  They still don't get nearly as many people as nearby Disneyland does, but they pull in their share of money.

These roller coasters are the really fun part of the park.  They have several that are really good.  Ghostrider is one of the best wooden roller coasters I've ever been on.  Xcelerator shoots you out of the station until you hit a top speed of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds.  205 feet straight up, then up and over and 205 feet straight down.  Then there's Silver Bullet.  Six inversions, while dangling underneath the track.  Boomerang takes you up an incline, then lets you go where you run through two Cobra rolls, then a large loop.  You then get to do them again, backwards.

As I've aged I've noticed, that my body doesn't like what these rides do to it.  It's not nearly as fun as it used to be.  I used to love wooden roller coasters, but about four years ago, Ghostrider banged me around so much that I felt like I'd been in a prize fight after riding it.  This month, I rode Silver Bullet.  I've always enjoyed that ride because it was so smooth.  This time, however, I felt like I'd been squeezed too tightly and I just had to sit down afterwards.  Took about an hour and a half before I felt normal again.  I think I shall leave this type of fun to the younger set from now on and just enjoy the photo opportunities the rides give me.

5.  Take me out to the ballgame.
This past weekend, I went and visited my daughter up in the San José area in Northern California.  Saturday, we decided to watch the San Francisco Giants play ball against the Minnesota Twins. 

Baseball is one of the few games that I think is much better to attend live than to watch on television.  I don't think TV does justice to the American Pastime and I'd much rather go to a game, no matter the weather, than sit at home and watch the same game.  It's so much better live.

AT&T Park is the 7th major league stadium I've been at to see a major league game.  The obvious two are Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium since I grew up in Southern California following both teams, although truth be told, I'm an Angel fan before I'm a Dodger fan.  I've also attended games at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, plus Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.  The Giants play at AT&T now and Jack Murphy Stadium is only used for football games as it's home to the Chargers.  The other two stadiums I've been to don't even exist anymore:  Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia and the Kingdome in Seattle.

Anyway, this game was a close 2-1 affair, with the home team winning.  My middle son was also up visiting, so he also came to the game.  3/5ths of the family was there to enjoy some baseball fun.

That's another month of photo blogging.  I hope you enjoyed this month's installment.  As always, please feel free to comment as I won't bite.  Please stop by P.J.'s to see how other bloggers interpreted Fun.

Now that I'm out of school again, hopefully, I'll pick this back up and not post just monthly updates.  My calendar is pretty booked with all kinds of stuff, but I still should have time to do some blogging over the next couple of months.

Until then.  Happy Trails.


  1. Hi Paul - I really enjoyed reading what you wrote about each of the photographs you selected for this month's post. Hopefully, you'll manage to find the time for more writing over the summer. The vibrant colours in the images are fun for the eyes, too.

    I can really relate to your comment about amusement park rides. I think it's something about how quickly your inner ear can go back to equilibrium or something. We haven't been to Disney or Knott's for probably 10 years, but I remember like it was yesterday when I got off the Matterhorn ride and had to sit down for about 10 minutes before my sense of balance settled down enough that I could walk properly!!

    1. I went on the Matterhorn in February and found it quite jarring and bumpy, not nearly as smooth as I remember it in the past. It's either that, or my rear seat padding is thinning out.

      Silver Bullet is one of those rides that has a really tight spiral at the end and it just drains the blood from your head. Lots of Positive G forces going on there and it just didn't feel very comfortable afterwards.

  2. You are an AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER. These pictures are unbelievable... they should be in a magazine. The black and whilte one is so personal, even though they were in public. It is a wonderful moment in time captured in a split second. And the roller coaster... I WANT TO GO ON THAT!!!!

    1. Thank you so very much Katherine. I give a lot of credit to doing a two year 365 project a couple of years ago. I took photos for 730 consecutive days. I look back over those two years and there's not too many that I'd want to see the light of day today, but they've helped me grow as a photographer.

  3. The photos are fantastic and the stories to go with them make it all even better. Your dog story hits close to home. I have fond memories of Knotts Berry Farm even though I haven;t been there since the late 70s. I bet it's changed a little.

    1. Thanks Mike. If you haven't been since the late 70s to Knott's, you wouldn't recognize the place today.

  4. I truly need to hit up a farmer's market for photos. For some reason, though, I always feel weird taking photos at these. I can't figure out why, either. The photo ops are tremendous.

    Anyway, good work on this theme. Love the roller coaster one. I want to get to an amusement park this year to take some photos. I've debated going to Cedar Point in Ohio if I can talk a couple of friends into the road trip. Talk about fun!

    Though not a Giants fan, I would love to see a game there. Looked like you went on a chilly day/night. I'd still love to see a game in Dodger Stadium, too.

    1. I'm an Angel fan from day one. Dodger fan from day two. Giants - ugh. Although, will all my love of the Dodgers and Angels, my daughter decided to get engaged to a diehard Giants fan and has become one herself. Oy. Where did I go wrong there?