Getting High in Black and White – Bird Weekly Photo Challenge #40

The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge Week #40 by Lisa Coleman is all about birds in black & white, sepia, monotone or you can add a bit of selective color. Your choice of birds this week. She aligned this with Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week in case you wanted to add any flying birds to this challenge. Cee’s theme is Anything in Fight. Thanks again to Cee Neuner for the lovely featured blogger award for last week. It’s such an honor. Also, Terri with Sunday Stills offered a theme of Best Black and White Photos on 3/14 and her challenge runs until Saturday if you want to link to her challenge as well.

I am following suit with Lisa and linking this to all three photo challenges.

Since I am still a total neophyte with birds, some of you will have to help me with bird names. I found the Australian birds listed on Wikipedia complete with pictures. Wow! There is another site for North American birds as well, but I don’t even know where to start.

Birds on Watson Lake Peavine Trail

These beauties currently live on Watson Lake on Peavine Trail in Prescott, AZ. There are lots of happy ducks scooting across the water, but these don’t look like ducks. I love the shadow of the bigger bird onto the smaller bird’s side. I didn’t notice it in the color shot, so that was a beg advantage.

Australian plumed whistling duck in Melbourne, AU park.
Maybe plumed whistling duck

Speaking of ducks, this Australian quacker has a lot to say to Carol and me about our photographic etiquette. Apparently, we forgot to ask him to sign a media release. He has kind eyes, though, and that tells the rest of the story. He was happy to sign for a fee, just a little bite of quacker, I mean cracker. Don’t tell other birders, though. (PS, birders, don’t worry, this story is almost 100% fiction. No birds were fed).

White cockatoo in Melbourne
Australian White Cockatoo also known as Umbrella Cockatoo, yes?

These birds love to pose. It’s like they know how beautiful they are. It does help to have a camera with a zoom lens, however.

My Reading List

These participants in Lisa’s challenge finished before I did. I’m sorry I missed others who are flying in on the red eye. 🙂

Here are some of Cee’s friends. I may not get to all of you this week, but I’ve got your number.

Terri’s participants.

I’ll be hosting Sunday Stills for two weeks, March 28 – Respect Your Cat and April 4 – Volunteering. I hope you’ll join me.

Bitmoji Essential B & W

Have a great week!

#CBWC #Sunday Stills: What’s in Our Italian-American Kitchen?

One great thing I love about Terri Webster Schrandt is that she makes her Sunday Stills challenges so sharable. For her Sunday Stills Black and White Challenge today, I’m using Cee’s Thursday Black and White Challenge topic of Kitchen.

SS Logo
Sunday Stills Logo
Cee’s Black and White Challenge

I looked in my archives, Cee. I really did. What I found was that I didn’t have much to share. Even stretching to outside of the kitchen – you know all the meals that most people remember to take pictures of before they take a bite? I can’t even do that well. I’m always hungry and I forget.

While I worked, I rarely ate at home. There wasn’t time and I was often on the road. After I retired, I began cooking more, but we still both loved to go out to eat.

After COVID 19, we changed like everyone else in the world. We stayed home and had fun cooking.

Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.

Laura Esquivel

Even though I learned to enjoy cooking, I don’t take pictures of my mess. I’m still in too big of a hurry to eat!

After seeing Cee’s still life of her cat and food stuff, I thought, “What about all the stuff that goes into making original authentic Italian pasta sauce?”

Vince came in to help me set up for still life pictures, and I hope you enjoy the gathering of ingredients to make sauce as “Dad” (Vince’s) made it.

Dad’s Pasta Sauce

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers.

Laurie Colwin
First you make the meatballs.
  • 1.5 pounds of hamburger
  • 1 C Panko Italian Bread Crumbs
  • salt and pepper a dash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder if you don’t use real onions in the sauce.
  • 1/4 tsp dry mint leaves (that’s the secret).

Roll the meat into balls and cook them over a very low heat until they are evenly browned.

Cut the Spicy Italian sausage to make sure the juices come out and flavor the sauce. Brown the sausage slightly. Dice up about 1/2 onion and brown the bits lightly in either oil or butter.

While that cooks, make the sauce.

  • 4 cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans water
  • 2-4 cans tomato paste (missing because I’m out of it.)
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil (also missing from the picture)
  • 1 tbs dry oregano
  • browned onions
  • sausage
  • meatballs

Cook covered for about 2 hours or longer if you want thicker sauce. Uncovering thickens the sauce as well. Dad cooked his all day. Vince’s sister Cindy makes her sauce with 4 cans of water then cooks it forever. It is still thinner than mine, but that is what Dad did. (I cheat.)

Olive oil is essential for every Italian meal. In this case we put some in the water to boil the pasta so it doesn’t stick.

Don’t Forget the Red Wine

I come from a non-drinking family, but most Italians enjoy their wine. We have discovered Robert Mondavi’s Cabernet Sauvignon Bourbon Barrel Aged. The bourbon barrels take out the nasty bite that I don’t like in most red wines. Our neighbor has an app that rates wines and the highest she’d ever seen was a 3.7. This one rated 4.1.

That’s it for my kitchen pictures. Thanks for your help in arranging things, Vince. If you want to join the challenge fun, click the links at the top of the page.

Part of Entering Challenges Is Visiting

My Reading List from Cee’s Blog

Bigger than a Bread Box.

My Reading List from Terri’s Blog

Reminder

Frank from Beach Walk Reflections will host this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge in which you use quotes to tell your story. Topic: Spring. Be sure to leave a pingback either in his comments or in your post connecting back to his blog. We will be sure to visit you.

How to #Square Up and Clear Up Sunday’s Still’s Preoccupation with Fog and Clouds

Heads Up

These bloggers are incorruptible, so I’m going to face their preoocupations head on and give them something to chat up. I’m happy #Hobbyblogging!

First the Fog

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now!

 Elisabeth Elliot

Searching through my archives sent me back to December 11, 2012 a few minutes after 8:00 am to find these extreme foggy day photos. Sometimes you have to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery. In this case there wasn’t any, so I enjoyed that, too.

All of these photos fit into Terri’s Sunday Stills theme and they are all squared up, so Becky B will have to bat her eyes to try to clear them up. Warning: There is nothing wrong with your eye sight.

I think this shot also applies to Cee’s CBWC – Vanishing Point, too except that you have to imagine that the point vanishes somewhere out there in the wild gray yonder. I can sort of see it. Can you?

All the rest of the foggy day pictures are from the same day. I liked these pictures because in the fog the cultivated field looked like a very choppy sea or river to me. I walked on the “water” to get a better picture. It crunched beneath my feet. If only someone had been with me to capture the moment. What a loss!

As the sun started to break through the fog, you could begin to see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. There’s Sawtooth!

Of course you see it, don’t you?

It wasn’t long, as I waited, and the sun came out a little more leaving streaks of fog like layers of sandstone. The ground lost it’s choppy water look. Nobody would have believed me anyway.

You never realized how thick your fog was until it lifted.

 J.R. Ward

Now the Clouds

“Ever changing clouds paint portraits on the sky, and each person sees a different image.”

 Rhonda Savage Thompson

In the mile-high city of Prescott, AZ, we live in the clouds rather than under them. They are not painting a picture today as they do in other seasons. They are full of snow. Especially today. The Weather Bureau calls it a “Winter Weather Alert!” I call it a blizzard. Listen to the euphonious video Vince just took of the wind. Imagine flying in these clouds!

Just two of us
In the blizzard
Blanketed with cold
Giant clumps of snow 
blown off hairy pine limbs
Drop in the path of no return.
Stay inside!

Marsha Ingrao

I chose this picture for CBWC. Again the vanishing point is imaginary. The horizontal one cut off by the building, and the vertical one cut off by the square up. The sidewalk that was cleared three hours ago now is covered with about four to six inches deep.

I put on Vince’s boots and stomped out about five steps to look down the vanishing point. Wow. These clouds have been super busy.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

This is all exciting the second time out this year. Vince and I feel like kids again. This morning we were living in the clouds. This afternoon, the clouds tried to blast a hole into our home. It clogged up the satellite dish and iced up my window so I can no longer see the snow as it falls.

As soon as the snow clears, I’m getting my own boots. I ordered electric socks to wear under them yesterday after talking to a young neighbor. Then I can take you on a walk the next time it snows.

Attention Photographers

A hobby blogging friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com).  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!

Announcements

  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you and so would I.
  • Welcome Restless Jo as the newest Featured Blogger on the Challenge Host Interview Series coming up tomorrow.
  • Wednesday the #WQWWC is back at Always Write. Looking for quotes and responses about trustworthiness.

See you on some of your favorite challenges. What are your favorite challenges?

#CBWC: Fences from “Sea to Shining Sea”

This week Cee challenges photographers to take or make black and white pictures of fences. It just so happens, that thanks to Cee’s former challenges, I love photographing fences.

Out of 2,100+ photos that answered to the category of fences on my phone, I picked three that I thought would make good black and white photos.

The first one was obviously taken in Arizona, not so obviously in the Coconino National Forest on April 18, 2017. Cameras are slightly misleading, but oh so helpful in trying to find information. This picture was not taken in the heart of the Coconino National Forest, but you’re headed that way when you arrive at the Son Silver West Art Gallery.

The date tells me I was in Sedona with my husband. Sedona is one of those unique cities that lies in two counties, Coconino and Yavapai.

We love to shop when we travel – not necessarily to buy, but to see what’s there. Along Highway 179 on the way to the National Forest is an amazing tourist shop where you can buy any number of decorative items, mostly yard art.

The next photo from Son Silver West would also work well for Cee’s Fun Foto – Catching People Unaware or last week’s B & W Challenge Candid Shots. Maybe she was imitating the iconic Kokopelli dancer above. She needs a flute.

A symbol of fertility, joy, feast, and long life, he (Kokopelli) is also a minstrel, a spirit of music, a storyteller, a rainmaker, a healer, a teacher, a joker-magician, a seducer. Kokopelli possesses the wisdom of age.

Harpo/Harris

You might want to visit or just browse their website. Here is their contact information.

Son Silver West
1476 Hwy 179 Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-3580
Fax: (928) 282-5497
Email: Sales@sonsilverwest.com

Son Silver West

If you have been to Universal City in Orlando, FL, then this fence should look familiar to you. Being the shallow person I am, I liked the curly cues.

The last fence is in Woodlake. Don’t ask me why I only took part of the fence. I think I was trying to keep my shadow out of the picture. Doesn’t this fence have lovely shadows?

So that I don’t bore you with the 2,100 more pictures I took over the years, I’ll stop processing fences and half-fences and wish you all the very best New Year.

What are your favorite challenges, hobby bloggers? As always, I’m thankful to Cee for her consistency in hosting challenges. I love them all.

If you know someone who hosts a photo or writing challenge and wants an interview about their challenge on my blog, Always Write, please contact me.

Our next Always Write Challenge, Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, #WQWWC, will be hosted by one of my first blogging friends when I started in 2012, Autumn Jade on her blog, A Day in the Brine, with a topic of New Beginnings.

#CBWC Close-ups at the Beach

A quick swipe of a hue/saturation level in Photoshop turns a color photo into a black and white one. Cee Neuner give us an opportunity to give our close-up pictures another shot at stardom in her black and white challenge.

You can see the tracker on the back of this mama monk seal lounging on the beach at Poipu in Kauai, HI.

This Avila Beach, California beach comber looked almost as big as the monk seal. Very friendly, he and his owner allowed me to get closer than I expected.

I love all his wrinkles including those lines on his tongue.

The other Avila Beach-lover that surprised me by letting me get so close for a picture was my husband. This is one of my favorite pictures because of the little spots of light on his hand.

To join Cee’s Black and White Challenge click here.