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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (December 2017): Holly Jolly

I don't think I've ever gotten one of these done this early. The link up has not even been posted but here I am. We are headed out on New Year's Eve so I figured I better get it while the getting is good.

Without further ado, here are my five that are more Jolly than Holly.

The first of the month brought the annual Waco Wonderland celebration. It was well attended this year. Plenty of vendors as well.

A new Star Wars always makes me jolly. John and I took in a late night show early on to avoid the spoilers.
👍👍 #starwarsthelastjedi

William received his Eagle rank in a Court of Honor held this month. We are now a two Eagle family and proud of both of them.

Winner of the ABC TV's Great Christmas Light Fight. This lady is over 70 and sets all this up herself. Trained as an electrician too to wire it all safely. It started many years ago because her daughter was in the hospital at Christmas and she wanted to see the tree. They live just across the street from the hospital. It grew from there. I hope the $50,000 in prize money helps pay her electric bill a little.

Christmas Day finally came once again. These four just keep growing. It's bittersweet to think that 2018 will be the year Evan and John head off to college and leave their nests behind.

Here is where I'd normally put a link back but like I said, I'm early! So go look at a lil hoohaa blog take a look at some of the other challenges he's putting up while you are there. And if you like taking photos or want to take more photos, think about joining in on this one in 2018! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (November 2017): Blue

November has come and gone. One more month in 2017. This year seems to have flown by. Our challenge this month was Blue. Let's get to it.

Veterans Day falls in November. Waco has a pretty big parade. I try to get out to watch it every year.VeteransDay2017_1060725

This year, we let John take the day off school and drive his Pawpaw in the parade. John is in a Jeep club and his grandfather served aboard the USS Harder submarine. They both love a good parade.

As the days get shorter, we have a hard time finding activities to keep the scouts busy. We are fortunate to have a pretty good sized kitchen at our charter organization so we let the guys work on some cooking skills.

A friend is starting a historical walking tour in town and we had the privilege of serving as Guinea pigs for her first run. It was a really nice day for a walk. 

The walk included information about our ALICO building. It has an interesting past. But you dont have to take my word for it! ALICO history

I think those are all fairly representative of Blue. Let's see what December brings.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2017): Photographer’s Choice

Oh man, October was a busy month. And I had so many photos to choose from that I almost didn't want to stick with my plan. We had our county fair, we had the State Fair of Texas, we backpacked, we worked on Eagle projects, my youngest passed his Eagle Board of Review, I went to Chicago and saw things and ate things, went on a walk around here and learned stuff about my town I didn't know. And then there was Hallowe'en. So let me get this out of the way, head over to my Flickr stream for October and peruse my other photos, if you will. I was pleased with many.

On to this Photographer's choice. I decided to highlight some of my Hallowe'en creeps using long exposure and light painting of sorts. Some of these, I handheld a speedlite and manually fired the flash, multiple times on occasion, others I used my phone or another flashlight to play with the lighting. I'll try to recall which method I did on each one.

This one was my phone flashlight held underneath the chin. I had some ambient light on this one, it was only a .6 second exposure, f5.3 and ISO 400. I decided to close down the lens on subsequent ones to give me more DOF.

This guy is all iPhone flashlight. I learned that you have to make sure the screen is turned off when using your phone in this way. The ghostly streaks are the front of my phone as I am running around painting my fisherman. In the end, I liked the ghosts so I left them. He is a 10 sec. exposure at f14. I stuck with ISO 400 on all of these, I think 

As with the fisherman, my oldest, John, designed this setup. He likes Hallowe'en as much as I. I had quite a bit of ambient light coming from behind on this one from a floodlight on the house. I manually triggered my handheld speedlite, first from the right hand side of the grave marker, then two or three times from the left hand side of the ghoul. 4 sec at f14. 

This one was tricky. I had made several attempts using a handheld speedlite but was always unhappy. I couldn't keep the flash off the background. What I ended up with was a solar spotlight from the yard. I held my hand over it in such a way to make a slash. I kept the slash over her face for about 60% of the exposure then moved it across her forearm to highlight the snake. 10 sec at f14

With this little banjo player, he was picking up some of the glow of the jack o' lantern but not enough to fully light him. Jack was overpowering so I put him on a dimmer and dropped his intensity by about 50%. With my handheld speedlight, I decided to key the banjo skeleton from the left and let the punkin fill in the rest. 4 sec at f14.

There are my five. I took a few more like these for my daily shots. I like experimenting with light manipulation. Digital photography certainly makes it much easier. Take a look at PJs blog for some more submissions. Come back next month for a new set with a new theme. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (September 2017): Selfie

I'm not a huge selfie fan. I have always preferred to be behind the lens but here we go.

Long time followers of a lil hoohaa know that I kind of like Halloween. When September rolls around, we keep an eye open at that empty spot at the mall that Spirit occupies this time of year. 


Waiting for lunch I noticed my shadow. This is my typical selfie.

I will admit I like playing with snapchat filters. Usually for my own amusement.
Just out for a night ride. #phonehome

My scouts led the McGregor Founder's Day Parade again this year.

We finished up September with a 15-mile backpacking trip. I didn't realize we were going to get all 15 miles in one day. This is the end of a very long day.

There's my five. I apologize for not being very active lately. We've been busier than normal at home and at work. I'm trying to keep my photos up though and I'm looking at yours just not getting around to meaningful commentary or any for that matter. I'll try to do better.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (August 2017): Summer

Summer went by way too fast. We made the most of it, however. Backpacking, kayaking, hiking were all on the menu early on. As summer wound down, we made a quick trip to the islands for an under water adventure.

We were able to make 10 dives over the week. We saw lots of marine life: nurse sharks, eagle rays, sting rays, moray eels, and turtles, both hawksbills and a couple of big loggerheads like this one. He's about 5 ft from nose to tail.

But all good things end. John was wrapping up a sunset paddle as the sun sets on his last summer living at home.

Our flight home wasn't until after lunch, so Will squeezed one more paddle in before loading up for home.

And just like that, we are back and they are back to school. Will starts his sophomore year and John starts his senior year. Time flies.

And a bonus pic of the solar eclipse we experienced here. We were in the 75% zone so this was as total as we got. This was through an IR filter.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (July 2017): Point of View

Crap! I have 11 hours to put together this post. I have been on vacation and away from my computer so let's see if we can get this point of view started!

After fireworks, I noticed the bridge all lit up, since I had my tripod with me I decided to take a bit of a long exposure.

I was able to help some old friends out on a short film they were producing. We had planned on driving through this old railroad tunnel but a gate has recently gone up. No worries, the UAV provided the Point of View necessary.

My 12 of 12 this month was all about Point of View, down in this case.

I got a new GoPro to replace my waterlogged one. Testing it out from the pool.

And the reason I'm so late and needed the new camera: I've spent the last 10 days on Grand Cayman and under the sea. This is a still taken from a video and then edited some so it's lost some sharpness. Eels are cool! Link to the video is here, the eel shows up around the one minute mark.
Moray eel. #latergram #underthesea

No time for chit chat, I need to get this posted!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (June 2017): Different lens/camera

I haven't used this mirrorless Lumix in quite a while. Lately, the iPhone has been my main camera with my old 5DMkII when I remember to bring a "real" camera. I bought the Lumix in 2014 for our first trip to Philmont Scout Ranch. It is WAY lighter than the 5D. Last time I brought all sorts of solar recharging goodness that never worked right and weighed a ton. This year, I ordered three more batteries, charged all five fully and didn't get through three in the 12 days. My iPhone was still used quite a bit, just more easily accessible but these were all taken with the Lumix. I carried a long lens with me as well and never pulled it out of the bag. I hate when I carry things for 12 days and 60 miles and then never use them. Anyway, here's a selection, you can see all my photos as well as those of my crew mates over at flickr in my Philmont album.

This first one is at the opening chapel. Philmont holds several chapel services every night, they have a separate chapel available for many different religions. This was from the Protestant chapel. The only rain we got for 12 days was during the chapel service. This was just after the rains.
This was taken at Crater Lake, the Tooth of Time is seen in the background. We came through here in 2014 but didn't get to stay. I was glad we had an overnight here this year. The staff put on an excellent campfire show.
The first staff camp we visited that I hadn't at least been to before was Black Mountain. Here the boys did blacksmithing and got to shoot black powder rifles. Here is Will at the forge. 

Here we are at Cimmarroncito Resevoir with Cathedral Rock next to it.

In 2014, John was just 13 and out of the 8th grade, that is the minimum age for a Philmont trek. He always said he looked terrified in our photos at the top of the Tooth of Time so he wanted a photo that showed more confidence this time. I'd say this does it. You can't get any higher on the Tooth!

This trip was very special in that both of my boys were able to participate this year. It was also special because it could really be my last trek to Philmont. Crews are 12 people max and I need to make sure other folks have the opportunity to participate. We did around 90 miles last time and stayed primarily at trail camps. The 60-ish miles and more staff camps was a completely different experience and I might have enjoyed it a bit more. I know I liked the part where we did 5-7 mile days instead of 10-12 mile days. 

If you liked these and want more, or didn't like then and want different, head over to a lil hoohaa and check out the rest of the participants. And join us next month, won't you?

Friday, June 02, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (May 2017): Look up

Look up! and May is gone. Look up! and we are almost half way through 2017 already. Look up and see some interesting things.

These guys have mad a complete mess of my patio. They just had their second go around so hopefull they will be flying away soon.

If you look up, you may see me passing over.
I'll be right back.

It's not me, is it you? I looked up and waved.
Look up!

Look up and see some interesting cloud patterns.
Look up!

Look up 'cause the trees have snakes, y'all!

And another month is complete. Thanks for looking. I look forward to seeing what June brings.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (April 2017): Color

Color/Colour - That is the theme for April. We were blessed with a good mix of rain and sun this early part of the year so we have some color to share.

This little guy is cute but he/she sure makes a mess. A mud wren or swallow of some kind. Nasty nest in the house and poop everywhere. I'm going to have to figure out a way to keep them away from the house next year.

Again, the weather has been great but so much has been going on that we haven't had much camping opportunity. The council put on a camporee at a local college and that got some of our newer guys out to at least get a starter course in setting up camp and cooking. The morning started early!

After a ton of work, I finally got the pool looking good and then my rock guys came back to work on the patio and it's cloudy once again due to rock dust. But at least I have evidence...
Water selfie.

I found these pretty little buttercups out on a walk.

Hello, Mr. Tree Frog. We have a ton of these guys around the house. Makes for quite the chorus in the evening and through the night. Also gives our hawk a bit of a snack. :o
Frog 🐸

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (March 2017): Four

I'm late so please excuse my lack of verbosity, I just want to get this submitted. March was a busy month but all of them seem so these days.

March is my mother-in-law's birthday month. She was extremely sick last year at her birthday so we are happy to have her celebrate another.

The early part of our spring break was spent backpacking. It was supposed to be several days but the rain wouldn't let us get out to the park. Lost Maples SNA is gorgeous, especially in the fall when the leaves change. 

Four cooks prepping dinner.

Our back half of spring break took us to Steamboat Springs. Our skiing was well documented as you can tell.

Finally, March brings out our wildflowers and our Texas favorite, bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis. And also brings our annual bluebonnet photos.

I'll try to do better in April. Thanks for visiting.