June 2014 Challenge - Technology, Nature, Big Smile, Architecture

July 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Here we are again, enjoying what we like about the summer months - the great outdoors, the food, the gallivanting - and complaining about what we don't like - the miserable heat, the extra yard work, the event overload.   Thankfully, we live in a country that has seasonal variety, unlike our equator-hugging neighbors.  This gives us that much more opportunity to vary our photos throughout the year as well.


The June Challenge was a big mix of themes again: Technology - Nature - Big Smile - and Architecture.   Pretty fun and easy subjects to capture wherever you live. 





Yours truly purposely headed to Hwy 49 Saturday after working four hours - just to get some architecture shots.  Not the wisest decision, since I was dead tired when we got home and pretty good for little to nothing on Sunday.  However, there was the added bonus of a few 'Technology' pictures, like this one shot on Hwy 88 between Lockeford and Clements.  I didn't remember seeing this tower before - at least not jam-packed with communication gear, so I pulled over and zoomed in.  Nikon D5100, 55-300mm, f13, 1/500, ISO 400.  Paint Daubs filter.




So this was new technology, but there is also 'old' technology to consider, like this at-one-time-state-of-the-art fuse box, sans box.   This was taken in a little town called Plymouth, north of Sutter Creek, Amador City and Dry Town.   Boasting the Fly-on-the-Wall Restaurant, a Fairgrounds, and the huge 49er Trailer Camp, there are a number of old buildings on their main drag worth seeing. 

Admittedly, there's nothing artsy or clever about this photo.  But it is a one-of-a-kind artifact worth highlighting, IMHO.  Little wonder these old relic buildings were prone to going up in flames.





You can't go wrong when 'Nature' is a challenge subject.  From your backyard to the horizon and beyond, we're surrounded by the glory of natural beauty (and the not-so-beautiful).   I'm fascinated by singular character of oak trees and like to preserve their personalities for viewing (I almost said, 'on film').   The oaks around our area have long been cut down and removed by farmers and city developers, but there ARE a few original, undisturbed groves left in the San Joaquin Valley, like Oak Grove Regional Park here in Stockton and Cosumnes River Wildlife Preserve about 20 minutes north of us. 

I recently made a pre-sunrise trip to the Preserve and found a number trees worth capturing, including this one.  Tripod, Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm, f10, 1/400, ISO 400.  It was wonderfully cool and quiet, the moon setting, clouds forming in the west, and a golden sun creeping above the horizon.  No mountain lions or park rangers to scare me off, thankfully.





Our Hwy 49 trip is the perfect way to go back in the time machine 150 years or more.  Much of the architecture of that era is preserved in storefronts.  I'm pretty sure the homes aren't that old, though - maybe 100 years or so.   Erected in 1912, the Placerville courthouse isn't as ornate as its ancestors, but still carries its stately head high.   I converted this from color to black and white to emphasize the architectural lines without any color distraction.





Unfortunately, this blog site downsizes the pictures, so you don't get to see them at their original sizes (if they're larger than 1200px wide).  Bigger is better when it comes to photography.  It irks me to see people using their cell phones to cruise the Internet and Facebook looking at great photos.  They might enlarge them on their little screen, but they only see a portion of the picture then.  The bigger the computer monitor, the greater the impact of just about any capture. 

Next are more architecture views from Sutter Creek.  You can see the whole set here:  http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p188471343












And the last photo from yours truly was taken in Weberstown Mall parking lot here in Stockton when we were on our way to a sushi restaurant.  I pulled out my Canon SD980 point and shoot when I saw some clouds over the Sears store building and had to get the shot. 









Next up is Mr. Don - our inimitable Norwegian paparazzo, who will explain the methods of his madness for this month's Challenge.  Don loves technology and has an eye for what makes things tick (or not). He says, "Since I'm old school, I went with old technology....the wheel and the pay telephone. Actually, I guess the wheel is timeless." 










The iconic Acorn Building in downtown Paso Robles can probably boast of being the most popularly posed edifice in town.  It calls us back to a time when life was much different (I won't go into detail).   Don says, "In the architecture category, I chose a couple of Paso landmarks.  If you study the Acorn Building, you may notice it's not a straight forward shot.  It's a reflection in a window across Park Street."  By "study' he means look closely at the backward running clock and signage.  Thanks for cluing us in on this, O Great One.  Don converted this to black and white, which you'll rarely see of this tower - unless you're looking at a really old postcard from the 19th century!







The next architecture photo is a great late afternoon photo of Don's alma mater -- the International Oooniversity of Odd Fellows.  Note the nice light and depiction of ornamental accents you'd see in a building this old.  This kind of intricacy is pretty much anathematized in our day (note all of the newer establishments in Paso Robles).  But maybe we'll see the pendulum swing in the future.






Now it's time for another Nature theme rendition, and Mr. Dahl asked his pet lizard to pose for us.  Of course, he couldn't refuse because he's a . . . . . you guessed it . . . . a yellow-belly!   Actually, it's a blue-belly, a western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis). 





Don's final picture fits the Big Smile theme in the monthly challenge.  This photo lets you get a glimmer of what happens in the creative mind  --- mayhem and magic, all mixed together.   He says, "The braces came off last week.  It's amazing what a good orthodontist can do.   Everything was shot with the D300 except for the pay phone.  That was with the Coolpix.  The smile shot required learning layers in Elements 11."  Great work, Donnie.








Be sure to think about taking some 4th of July celebration photos for this month's new theme:  Celebrations.  Fireworks, picnics, birthdays, anniversaries, retirement, wedding - whatever fits the bill. 

Theme #2 will be:  Selfie.  Take a self-portrait that will have people guessing about who you really are.  It doesn't have to be the traditional Facebook foto - try something unique, creative, even scary. 

Theme #3 will be:  Hot, Hot, Hot.  Lots of leeway here, so have some fun with it.

Theme #4 will be:  Water.  Cold, hot, running, frozen, colored, dripping, flowing - just make sure it's H2O and capture it for our viewing pleasure.


Remember, the only huge rule when sending me your pictures is:  No .jpg file sizes over 1MB.  The lesser rules are:  black and white is okay,  photo manipulation in your favorite software is okay, nudity is not okay, photos must be taken in the month of July, and have fun.

Also, it's great if you send a blurb about your picture: where you took it, time of day, what suffering you endured to get it, or camera settings (last on totem pole).


Happy shooting, fellow fotogs. 



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