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February Challenge - Five Themes

March 02, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

February's Challenge Themes included, "Hands," "Artwork," Family Pet," "Something That Makes You Smile," and "Nature." This gave everyone a wide range of subjects to capture, so February was an 'easy' month in that respect.

The January Challenge 'Sign' theme proved to be a big success - colorful and creative. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Since Barb and I were on vacation for a week, I didn't think too much about the February Challenge themes. Shooting in Yosemite and around Paso Robles, I figured the 'Nature' theme would be covered. But I wasn't zeroing in on anything specifically, like 'Hands' or 'Artwork.' For those of you who did, my congratulations for going that extra step thinking about a theme.


Don writes: "Hey, Dave. Okay, I'm late with my assignment. Please don't grade me as harshly as Mrs. Bradshaw." A few of us old timers had Deanna Bradshaw for English in high school for a short time. Her husband was going to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, while she secured a teaching position in Paso Robles. She had beautiful, glaring dark eyes, short dark hair and a thick Texas accent. But she threw a hard curve when it came to grading. Poor Don must have got knocked out by one (or more) of her pitches.

Here's an action shot of a pair of lesser yellowlegs taken at Guadalupe Dunes State Park. Good composition and shutter speed.



Don's second photo is the proverbial Family Pet portrait. Note that the photographer is trying to hold and shoot this with his LEFT hand, no small feat of dexterity and balance. This must be one of those 'Something That Makes You Smile' pictures.



Don's third shot was taken on Adelaida Road west of Paso Robles. We were out there shooting together, so I also zoomed in on these Red Maids. Very small, but very pretty wildflowers. Note the clover leaves on the far left and right to put the flowers in perspective. Good composition - nothing in the center to stop your eyes from roving around the picture. All of Don's photos were taken with his Nikon D300 and 18-200mm lens.




Linda also submitted three pictures and says, "First picture . . . family pet. Taken from outside the house. Should have cleaned the window, LOL . . . she hears us coming home and peeks out the window when we drive up. Never had a cat do that before." Good centered portrait composition, and the underexposure adds a bit of mystery to the mental machinations of cats.



"Second picture . . . nature that made me smile . . . the violets cover half the back yard!" Good composition for a 1x1 photo. A bit overexposed causing the color to bleach out a little. But many folks like the look.



"Third picture . . . my hubby woke up with a dream that his hair was short and curly and rainbow colored. When I got to work that morning there was a new wig on display. :)" Good story, Linda. Just wish you would have bought (borrowed) the wig and had Kerry pose for us! Wow! 





Ginnie's subjects varied between a beautiful sunset in Paso Robles and a boisterous turkey.



Her second picture must be in the 'Family Pet' category. Wonder where this big bird sleeps at night.



Ginnie's last photo is one that 'Makes You Smile.' Her son, John, is always willing to model for the camera. Note the subject here is John's shades. The overexposure adds to the abstract element of the shot. Ginnie's reflection is part of the story, too. Ginnie's camera of choice for these was her Canon PowerShot S3 IS.




Our final submissions from Dave round out this month's photos.

The Skinners and Dahls spent a few days in beautiful Yosemite Valley, so Dave and Don had a blast scouting for opportunities to get some good shots. Rain, snow and sun - all played a role while we were there, making any shooting an adventure - especially when sliding on the ice while carrying your expensive gear. Don went down once on the road at the base of Yosemite Falls, but was able to hold his camera high as he was landing on his backside. Poor guy. Dave didn't get to see this mishap, unfortunately - would have made a great 'Things That Make You Smile' shot.

This first photo was taken after Tuesday night's snowfall - the top of Half Dome in the mist. Cold, dreary and foreboding. If you see only a thumbnail of this picture, it looks like an eye. Pretty interesting. Taken from Cook's Meadow with a Nikon D5100 and 55-300mm zoom lens.




Dave's second picture makes him smile as Barbara is bundled during the snowfall at Yosemite Village. We're walking to the Adam Ansel Gallery with Don and Janet. Photo is taken with a Canon PowerShot 980 IS, thus the blown-out sky.



Lastly, we have Dave's rendition of the cottonwood trees in Ahwahnee Meadow. This is the magical photo that has been taken scores of times by photogs from around the world. These trees stand out from the evergreens behind them and can be captured at any season with excellent results. My favorite is right after a snowfall. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot dumped the night before, so the trees don't stand out as they might have. Taken with the Nikon D5100 and 55-300mm zoom.

The main purpose of the Yosemite trip was to get pictures of Horsetail Fall at sunset, when its mist turns to a golden glow on the side of El Capitan. We were clouded out for that shot, unfortunately. Had we been able to stay one more night, we would have got it. Oh, well, just another reason to go back next February!




Thanks to all submitters. March is before us now, and we look forward to its challenges with the strength God gives to those in need. Many of us face health problems, financial woes and uncertainty. In these times we need to depend more on the One who knows our every need and is there to weather any storm if we trust in Him during the worst times along with the best.

The tougher Challenge for March: "The Green in Your World" and "Your Hobby". As the weeds resurrect and spring arrives, March is the perfect month to get your green on. You can include other colors, but green must be primary. And it doesn't have to be flora. Green paint, buildings, signs, faces - be creative! And pictures of one of your hobbies will tell us more about you. Try not to take a picture of a camera. That's too easy. No 'Photography is My Hobby' pictures, please! We want to see you playing bridge, surfing the Internet, shopping, and adding to your tiddlywink collection.

And until we meet again - happy shooting to all.



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