Palm Trees and Sunrises

Sunrise with contrails – a Radiance filter
Sunrise with a filter called Cave Dweller
Sunrise with a Cartoon filter
Sunrise with HDR, Contrast and Dehaze filters
Palm fronds – an impasto filter

All filters are available in a program called Topaz Studio.

This post was for the old WordPress.com photo Challenge Lines.

Utah – Balance Rock: WordPress.com Upsets the Balance

As of the end of this month (and 2,000 Daily Prompts, 380 Photo Challenges, 260 Community Pools, and 100 First Fridays later), we will no longer publish new posts, prompts, or challenges on this site.
– Ben Huberman, WordPress.com The Daily Post –

As you can see from the announcement above, WordPress Prompts and Photo Challenges will soon be a thing of the past. It isn’t the first time that WordPress has suddenly discontinued a feature that many bloggers faithfully use and enjoy.

I’ve been submitting photos to the Photo Challenges for almost 8 years. Polite words can’t express my disappointment that they have decided to terminate access to our community of photographers.

As a replacement, WordPress suggests that bloggers try this: post a photo (any topic you feel like) and tag it with ‘photo challenge’. Then, open your WordPress Reader and type ‘photo challenge’ in the search bar…  Really – you think that makes it a challenge? Nope –  it’s just a bunch of posts with photos.

WordPress, you remind me of this rock (Balance Rock) in Arches National Park in Utah. The disconnect between your head and our body is quite obvious. It isn’t good for the balance of either of us…

As for Photo Challenges, I’m using that tag on this photo. If this was a real photo challenge, what would you suggest as a theme?

Where is the Letter ‘F’?- Alberta, BC, Florida

Can you find the shape of the Letter ‘F’ or ‘f’ in the photos below?

British Columbia
Courthouse, Nelson, British Columbia
stile
Ceramic fence stile
Disney World
Epcot Japan, Disney World
Alberta Canada
Wooden fence

The letter ‘F’ is used as an abbreviation for:
Fahrenheit
False
Failing Grade
Female

Did you find a ‘F’ or ‘f’ in each of the photos? I’ve posted the answers at Photos Containing the Letter ‘F’.

Arizona, BC, Germany – Looking at Bridges

Old Town Hall
Bamberg Germany, Old Town Hall

Bamberg is an beautiful example of an early medieval town in central Europe. It has a large number of surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings. It is crisscrossed by many rivers, winding canals, and bridges. Some of the bridges are old and famous and some, like this one, are more modern, but don’t detract from the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

Deception Pass State Park; Oak Harbor, Washington USA
Deception Pass Bridge, Washington

Deception Pass Bridge is the common name for two, two-lane bridges that connect Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island in the U.S. state of Washington. Pass Island lies between the two bridges.

 

Arizona, USA
New Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River, AZ

Navajo Bridge – The original Navajo Bridge was completed and opened to traffic in January 1929. Prior to the building of the bridge, the only way to cross the Colorado River and its formidable gorge was at Lee’s Ferry a short distance upstream. Construction on a new, wider bridge began in May of 1993. The old bridge became a walking bridge.

Arizona, Washington, and Germany – An Artistic Look at Bridges

‘Post processing’ or photo editing can not only slightly improve a photo, it can extensively alter it! Here are a few ‘before’ and ‘after’ examples I applied to photos of Bridges.

Bamberg is an beautiful example of an early medieval town in central Europe. It has a large number of surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings. It is crisscrossed by many rivers, winding canals, and bridges. Some of the bridges are old and famous and some, like this one, are more modern, but don’t detract from the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

After: FotoSketcher Watercolor filter

In keeping with the feel of an ancient European City, I used a Watercolor filter.

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Before: Deception Pass Bridge, Washington

Deception Pass Bridge is the common name for two, two-lane bridges that connect Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island in the U.S. state of Washington. Pass Island lies between the two bridges.

After: FotoSketcher Emergence Filter

I used a filter called Emergence, which is really a series of triangles. I like the way they highlighted the red rose hips.

_________________________________

Navajo Bridge – The original Navajo Bridge was completed and opened to traffic in January 1929. Prior to the building of the bridge, the only way to cross the Colorado River and its formidable gorge was at Lee’s Ferry a short distance upstream. Construction on a new, wider bridge began in May of 1993. The old bridge became a walking bridge.

After: Pencil Sketch filter

I used a Pencil Sketch Filter – just because…

_________________________________

Have you experimented with using filters on your photos? Which program do you use?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Bridge.

7th Anniversay – The Political Temper Tantrum

November marked my 7th Anniversary of blogging. Celebrating this milestone by writing this post turned out to be very hard. I’m mesmerized by the American election, and can’t seem to move on until I’ve digested what happened!

I’m not an American, but I have strong ties to both my American friends and a community in Arizona (where I spend the winter.) Then there is the not insignificant influence that the United States has on my country, Canada.  Research associate Simon Palamar  explained this relationship by saying “We’re sleeping next to an elephant, so when they shift in bed, we feel it.”

If I had been an American voter, and a Republican, I don’t know if I could have voted for Donald Trump. Of course, the same thing can be said about the Democrats and Clinton. Neither candidate seemed particularly worthy if you believed everything the media reported.

The QuipperyWatching the election night coverage on three different stations felt a bit like an indoctrination into why I should have got a college education (so I would know how to vote for the right party.) After the election, there were violent protests; the accusations that all Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic bigots; the demand for the immediate suspension of the Electoral College, petitions to secede from the Union, etc. It reminded me of a small child throwing a temper tantrum, not a free society where one side might be unpopular with the other side, but that’s okay.

Would the words have been softer or the backlash less if the Democrats had won? No one can say for sure, though I’m sure there are media pundits who can generate a few thousand words to convince their faithful.

I can finish this post now because of hope. I hope people will start to question the value and veracity of all media. I hope people will look at the world through a lens of optimism instead of the lens of fear. I hope people will remember that a democracy is a political system of free and fair elections, and it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want all of the time. I hope Americans will give their President-Elect a fair chance.

Last, but not least, I hope people will be more tolerant. There is more than one religion, more than one political party, more than one way to think about just about anything, more than one way to do just about anything.

Trump is what happens when you spent the last 7 Thanksgiving dinners lecturing your angry uncle from your Vox index cards.
– Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, November 13, 2016 –

What makes your way always right, and the other person’s way always wrong?

Hawaii – Over the Top Writing Makes me do Just the Opposite

You’ve probably seen some of these ‘over the top’ words in Post Titles on the internet. They are supposed to be so enticing that you will click through to read the story. Here are some of the most common superlatives:

Utterly Strangest
Outrageous
Amazing
Groundbreaking Truth
Astonishing
Incredible Bombshell
Awesomely Stunning
Unbelievable (or You Won’t Believe Your Eyes)
Insanely Gorgeous
Impossible
Absolutely Unbeatable
You’ll Never Guess
Ridiculous
or Jaw Dropping

for stories, that will

Blow you away
Be to Die For
Take Your Breath Away
Change Your World
Freak You Out

because

well, OMG – This is Genius!!!

This style of writing has just the opposite effect on me – I simply refuse to click through to read it.

Just this once, though, I’m going to use words from the list above to describe my photos for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge (which is Opposites.) These photos were taken on a trip to the Hawaiian Islands.
ocean rocks trees

OMG! The scenery was to die for! My jaw dropped as I watched the waves crash onto the rocks. Bombshell – that soft looking water can crush the hard looking rock into sand!

cooled flow plants

I was freaked out by how this once hot flowing magma could become, like, just the opposite – cold and hard! Unbelievable!

The Quippery
That ends my attempt at this writing ‘style’ – would you add any words or phrases to the list above?

When All the Presidential Candidates Stink – Call Canada!

What could be worse for a creaky, cancerous political system than what the Democratic and Republican parties are brewing up? Nothing really. This is as bad as it gets…
First: Do I even bother to vote?
For those who do cast a ballot, there is the even sadder choice: Which candidate do I loathe the least?
– Ron Fournier, The Atlantic –

The QuipperyThe ‘Any One But’ vote – in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll on American voter preferences, nearly half (47 percent) of those who said they’d support Trump said it was because they don’t want Hillary Clinton to win. Nearly half (46 percent) of those who said they’d vote for Clinton said it was because they don’t want Trump to win.

Maybe this will be the year that the American people decide neither of these candidates is fit to be President. There are several alternatives! Here is the link to the My Time to Vote Website. It lists Third Party, Unaffiliated, Write-In and Independent Candidates (in addition to Republican and Democratic Party Candidates other than Clinton and Trump.)

There are hundreds of names listed there, and there is no reason why the list couldn’t provide the American public with a viable  alternative to a simple anti-vote. Of course, SKYWALKER, ANAKIN; GOAT, ANUS THE or THE CLOWN, BIPPY are also on these lists, but really, could any of them be worse than the current front runners?

Another option – you can look to Canada for a new alternative for good government! We offer you – The Canada Party!

Why is The Canada Party such a great choice?

Consider this: “Canadians often point out that while the American constitution promises “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the constitution of Canada–written in the 1860s in England–sets a more modest goal: “Peace, order, and good government.” – Robert Fulford –

If you doubt our abilities to govern, consider the fact that we’ve already moved massive numbers of vocal, though unqualified, candidates into your country. You thought our Canada Goose contingents were just seasonal visitors, but you are now starting to realize they have no plans to leave and they are the masters of ‘friendly fire’ when they have a convention in one of your local parks. If we can be so effective with geese, think what we could do with people!

So, what’s it going to be, America? Are you going to stand up for your country and say “Enough is enough” – or will you just bitch your way through another four years with a President who is either the master of reality television or a woman who displays a determined adherence to political deception?

Idaho and Utah – Driving By the Numbers

Our trip home from Arizona to Alberta took 5 days (April 29 to May 3, 2016) to cover a distance of 2600 km (1650 miles).

Arches National Park Utah
This year we drove Sadie, a 2002 SL500 convertible that gets 10 L/100 km (28 mpg) and loves to gallop along at 129 km/h (80 mph) on the I-15.

Your car knows

One of our fuel stops was in Monticello, Utah – elevation 2,155 m (7070 ft) where Sadie dined on 91 octane. I bought 1 bar of dark chocolate fuel for myself – our glove compartment had 0 gloves and 0 candy bars.

 

M129E1

804 km (500 miles) later, we were in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We stopped at the Army Surplus Warehouse (after Sadie got some more gas, and I refilled the glove compartment with chocolate.) There are many interesting things for sale there, including an M129 leaflet dispenser that is 2.28 metres (7.5 ft long) and 40 cm (16 inches) in diameter. Its empty weight is about 52 kilograms (115 pounds) and when loaded with leaflets it weighs about 100 kilograms (225 pounds).

This leaflet bomb is apparently left over from the Vietnam War.

Leaflet propaganda is still being used, with one of the more recent examples being in Syria (population 18.5 million people) where the military hoped to deter possible ISIS recruits from joining in 2015.

Iraq was another conflict were PSYOPS (Psychological Operations) leaflets were used. About 19 million were dropped in Iraq prior to ground combat. 31 million were dropped during the fighting. Also, the U.S. bombarded Iraqis with e-mails and cell phone calls.

We probably get upwards of 5 phone calls a day from Telemarketers based in the United States. (Canada’s National Do Not Call List is very effective, and we are thankful for that!) Can you imagine what it would be like to be bombarded with leaflets, emails AND phone calls?!

This week I looked for Quotations about Numbers and found:

Managers and supervisors with large numbers of people under them – each with his own ideas – must sometimes feel like Charles DeGaulle, who once lamented, “Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 265 kinds of cheese.
– Author Unknown –

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7.00 in dog money.
– Joe Weinstein –

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Numbers