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November 17, 2011

Running From Dog

Our cat Jack has the run of the yards and cul-de-sac and enjoys wandering around his little neighborhood territory. This meandering has its limits, specifically those residential backyards that board their burglar deterrent canines.

But last night's calm ended when the next door neighbor's dog jumped up on the gate door hard enough to open it. He didn't hesitate to target Jack and chased him over our fence with a crashing thud and clawing scramble that sounded like serious business to us in the house.

Barb ran outside, screaming at the poor mutt of a culprit, chasing him to the street and promptly heading next door to inform the folks of the heinous crime. Liz ran to the backyard and found Jack ready to jump the back fence, cowering in fear.

It was a born again experience for the old boy.

November 2, 2011

Your Best Shot

Seasonal changes marked October with early rainstorms and shades of fall on the hillsides. The photo challenge was the most painless so far, but may not have been the best choice for stretching your creative muscles to the max. November's assignment: A window light portrait. Don't use a flash, just available light. If you want to fill any shadows, you can use a reflector. You can shoot any number of people (or pets), just make sure that your MAIN light is from a window. And this doesn't have to be a formal portrait: any candid will do, whether in private or public. Color or black and white will work, too. Humorous or serious, whatever.

The first in this series was taken by Cooper Guffey in Paso Robles and submitted by his grandmother, Ginnie. He had Addie pose for him and did a great job in the composition department! Bravo, Cooper. Keep shooting.

Bruce in Oregon found some colorful fare at the pumpkin patch. His grandson, Jacoby, had a great time, but Bruce didn't seem too thrilled. Hey, Bruce, at our age, pumpkins are just big orange squashes that are better off left in the field.

Don also found a pumpkin patch, but he didn't say which one, and didn't say whether he took anyone with him. Probably on Hwy 46 somewhere, just him and his Harley.

Ginnie says this about her Zinfandels entry: "Our little harvest was on the 23rd. We only got about 1/2 of the usual crop due to spring frost and summer rains which made the vines susceptible to mildew. So now fermentation is underway complete with a horde of fruit flies."

Ginnie's art group has been traveling to different places to paint on Fridays: "Last Friday's subject for the Friday paint-out was Atascadero Lake. Lots of honking and quaking there. Brought back old memories of Marty's duck that was released there." Ginnie, it looks like the leaves are just starting to turn there.

I'm trying to remember Marty's duck, but don't even have a foggy recollection. Most of us have other memories of Atascadero Lake -- good and bad -- and very bad!

Megen's entry is unusually weird looking - for a pumpkin. She says, "The cerebral pumpkin...who says Halloween is a brainless holiday???" Thanks, Meg, for shooting outside the box.

Here's another one of Megen's best pictures of October, even though she didn't formally enter it for the challenge. These expressions are priceless! Thanks.

Yours truly also has a couple of shots to share which you most likely seen already on my website. Our vacation to Paso in early October was a wonderful time -- seeing family, friends and favorite spots around the area. I planned to take sunset pictures at Spooner's Cove weeks before coming down, so that's where Barb and I headed the first night of our trip. The sunset was literally shocking to my senses as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the clouds lit up like cotton candy. This photo doesn't tell the emotional story, but is only a taste of awesome power of visual beauty that only reality can relish. I used a tripod and shot on manual exposure.

After leaving Paso, we drove to Yosemite, hoping to get a 'moonshot' at sunset at the Tunnel View. It was just rising while the sun was setting. God had other plans and it was raining when we drove in. But the pictures taken in the rain and mist gave the trees, mountains and rock faces a sense of rarity that I like more than the proverbial postcard Yosemite Valley photos. And sometimes it's just fun to get out in a drenched meadow, trying to keep your camera and lens dry and grabbing something you'll never see again!

Thanks to everyone who participated this month. I'm looking forward to November's portraits. Remember, the same old rules apply each month. Keep shooting. Keep smiling.