Thursday, October 30, 2014

Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2014) - Photographer's Choice

So this month, PJ, in his infinite wisdom decided to have the challenge be a photographer's choice.  Now he's gone and done it.  I can post anything I want this month and don't have to worry about whether it's following the them or not.  Or at least I don't have to try and justify whether it's following the theme or not.  Yeah, like I do that anyway.

Usually what happens is I take photos with little regard for the theme (sorry PJ).  Well, I take that back.  I'll usually have the theme in the back of my mind and if something comes to mind, I'll take a photo in that direction, but I've found in the past that when I force myself a certain way into photography, I tend to get stuck.  So in the long run, it's easier to just take photos and see if any fit the theme.  Very rarely do I not get five that fit the theme.

With this month being photographer's choice, I just decided to pick, what I consider, my five best shots.  And so, without a whole lot of extra fanfare, I give you my five shots for this month's theme.

1.  76 trombones
Nope, there weren't 76 trombones in this parade, nor were there 110 cornets either, but this is our town's intermediate school marching band walking down our city streets the last weekend of October during the annual Village Venture Arts and Crafts Faire.  The band usually leads the Halloween parade that opens up the day-long event.  I was standing on the curb and saw the trombones coming and took several shots, hoping to get a good one.  Because of the angle, I actually got a bonus selfie out of the deal as well.

2.  The Skeleton family
At the Village Venture, there are always a lot of people dressed up for Halloween and it's a great spot for people watching.  Anyone who's followed this blog for any length of time knows that I enjoy street photography and an event like this is right up my alley.  I spotted this entire family of skeletons hanging out after the parade and just couldn't resist taking a shot.  I have several other street shots that aren't quite as good as this one, but I may post a couple more on my Flickerstream sometime later on.  This one just worked really well.

3.  Black and White Sunflower
I took this shot in the middle of the month down near the downtown area of Anaheim, just north of Disneyland.  I had met a very good friend for lunch and before and afterwards, we'd walked around the area geocaching.

While walking toward where we were going to eat lunch, we ended up in this city garden.  The entire area is undergoing some urban renewal and this particular garden was nearing peak fall harvest.  My sunflowers tend to blossom out in July, but this one was in full bloom in the middle of October, suggesting that it had been planted later in the year.

It was about a day after I took this shot that I had been challenged on Facebook by another geocaching friend of mine to a five day B&W challenge where I was supposed to post five B&W photos over five successive days.  The nice part of that kind of challenge is I didn't have to take them five days in a row.  This particular shot  ended up being day four or five of my challenge.  

Although I like color, especially when I'm taking flower shots I decided to process this one in black and white.  There was such a riot of color in the shot, the yellow sunflower, the green of the rest of the plant and the plant behind it, the purple flowers on the left hand side and the deep blue of the sky accentuated by the white clouds that I felt the color would actually district from the beauty of the flower.

4.  Butterfly
Another one of my favorite subjects to photograph are butterflies.  I haven't seen a whole lot of butterflies this season, so I haven't been able to post many butterfly shots, so I was rather fortunate when this one started sipping nectar on flowers that I happened to be walking by on my way home from somewhere.

It was also fortunate, because I had my zoom lens on at the time, so it was easier to get this guy in the shot without having to tromp through someone's plants, something that I wouldn't do anyway.  I ended up with a couple dozen shots or so, of which this one ended up being the best of the bunch.

This is a gulf fritilary.  We have plants on which they thrive growing in planter boxes next to a parking structure in the downtown area.  Last summer I'd go down there quite often to get shots, but this year, I never made it down for various reasons.  I don't know whether this one is from that area and was straying a little far from its home base or whether it was just out enjoying the nectar that its neighborhood had to offer, but whatever the reason, it gave me a pretty good shot.

5.  The owl
Last, but certainly not least, is this photo of an owl that I took at the Village Venture.  I posted a couple of shots of this owl and this one was by far and away the best one I took.  Something about the shot just screamed that I needed to process it in black and white.

This particular owl was being displayed as part of an educational program.  The birds are rehabilitated after being found injured by Wild Wings of California, a local organization based in nearby San Dimas.  The particular owl couldn't be released back into the wild because of the damage that had been done.

It had been found lying on the ground.  I didn't hear what caused the initial injury, but while it had been lying on the ground, several ground crawling insects had crawled into its ears and laid eggs.  The hatched larva caused significant damage to its ears that its hearing was very much impaired.  An owl relies on its hearing almost as much as its eyesight and with almost 50% of its hunting prowess impaired, it wouldn't have fared well in the wild, so it has become one of Wild Wings educational pieces.

And there you have it. My five selections for this month's photographer's choice blogging theme.  Please stop by PJ's blog to see what the other bloggers in this challenge posted.  I think you'll enjoy the photography.


  1. Well, this was right up your alley! I really like the perspective on the trombone shot and the owl is absolutely stunning. I captured (what I thought were) some good butterfly shots at the beginning of the month. The little fliers are all but gone now. Great shots this month!

  2. Your Black and white is so crisp. Nice look and great photos.

  3. Nice collection of pics. Is that owl staring at me?

  4. Your photos blow me away every-single-time. They are CRAZY GOOD. I think my favorite is the skeleton family as far as WHAT is in the picture. When one of my boys was a teeny I put a black skeleton outfit on him... that was perfect for Halloween - so your picture brought me back quite a few years. All your pictures are fantastic... but as far as a favorite I can't decide between the owl or the sunflower. WOW!

  5. That sunflower shot in black and white is fantastic. So sharp, great framing and it just ... even without color ... pops. Well done. I really like that trombone image, too. And the Owl is awesome, especially as close in as you are. Nice work this month, Paul.

  6. Paul, great collection of photographs this month. I appreciate the effort you also put into your commentary, especially around why you made certain choices for processing and some of the factual details re: the butterfly and the rescued owl. And while the skeleton family is great, as a lifelong musician I have a closer personal connection to the photograph of the trombone. The contrasting colours and your reflection in the bell are the icing on the cake, IMO. Really enjoyed the viewing. Thanks.