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January 31, 2012

Winter Challenge

Well, everyone had two full months to think about, plan and work on their December/January photos with the 'winter' theme. So much of our outdoor landscape turns to a dismally dull display of dead leaves, naked branches and yellow-brown grasses, that we might miss those opportunities to capture the unique shapes, colors and weather that are part of winter's beauty.

Linda didn't have to brave the outdoors weather to find something to remind us of winter. Her 'candle and tree' photo emphasizes the warmth of home and the celebration of Christmas using a powerful minimalist style of photography.

Girl, I hope you live close to the nearest fire station!

Old Davy's backyard sunset shot is nothing nothing to brag about compositionally. But the cloud color was amazing (in real life - hard to translate it perfectly to the screen). Wish I had been out on Woodbridge Road taking sandhill crane silhouette at the time, but that wasn't going to happen. I used manual exposure and underexposed so the sky colors weren't blown out.

These spent cattails are still standing after 7 months after their prime at the Cosumnes River Wildlife Preserve, just north of us. Most of the others I saw had fallen over. I was shooting for a balanced composition here, using the oak reflection as added interest. I strengthened the contrast and blacks in post-processing and bumped up the red and yellow to give it an old Kodachrome look and feel.

Don's morning light photos highlighted dripping ice on a few plants. I'm pretty sure Don used his 60mm Nikkor macro lens that does a superb job when getting really close up and personal. The star-like patterns of the reflected sunlight are caused when the aperture is very small.

This thirsty orange-crowned warbler was caught while drinking at Ginnie's fountain. She has the luxury of being able to take pictures like this from inside her house, which is a plus when it's sometimes 18 degrees in Paso Robles!

And here's picture of a recent Paso Robles sunset in all its glory. Wow!

Thanks again to everyone who sent in their winter photos. Remember, I'm only posting two of those you sent, so please forgive me if you don't see your favorite of the bunch. It's hard to choose from all those sent to me.

Next month's theme - that's February - will be "Doors and Windows." Thanks to Ginnie for suggesting it. I don't think anyone will be at a loss for subjects on this one. Again: Your pictures must be taken in February. Black and white or color is okay. Post-processing to the max (artsy) is okay. People and animals in the shot are okay, as long as the theme is apparent. Keep the .jpg file under 400kb if possible.

Have a good time and be creative.

January 15, 2012

Color Blind

I grew up in a virtually color-blind town in California. Racial slurs weren't part of my vocabulary in school or any other place for that matter. And I didn't hear friends or family using them, either.

One of the black families in our school had six children. Their father was the pastor of the New Light Missionary Baptist Church. All four boys were outstanding students and athletes, each representing their classes as Student Body Presidents.

John Parish, who filled the President's office during our senior year in high school, was elected Governor of Boy's State in Sacramento, then went on to Boy's Nation at the Capitol. This first picture shows a Kiwanis member speaking to the group while in Washington, D.C.. Note the two empty chairs by John. The story goes that John was so discriminated against by two boy members from southern states, they refused to sit by him during one of the meal times. This picture symbolizes that hatret. I still remember John's tears as he related some of the pain he experienced when he got back and addressed one of the classes we were in together. Pretty sad - to go so far away from home as a hero just to be treated like dirt.

I don't have firsthand knowledge of this incident, but it seems plausible after discovering this picture of the two empty chairs. What do you think?