Meeting a blogger, and showing off the countryside, traveling with a friend – two of my favorite things to do. Taking pictures, it doesn’t get much better.
#Sunday Stills: Theme Yellow
Exploring Sunny California
Meeting up with my blogging friend, Terri W. Schrandt made my week. We had such a great time hiking through the foothills in the Sierra Nevadas as we drove a short way into the Sequoia National Park.
What a joy it was to finally meet my blogger friend Terri. We don’t live too far apart now, but we are both moving in opposite directions, so I was super happy to spend a few hours with her.
The overwhelming impression you get from this picture is not yellow, but the golden hour sun warmed our skin and made our hair sparkle with yellow and strawberry highlights.
You can see the double/quadruple double yellow line in this shot, so you know that I stopped in the middle of the highway as the bear lumbered across. The car behind me didn’t honk and probably had his camera out and ready to go faster than I could find my phone and snap the picture.
The bear headed into the grass that nearly matched the color of the yellow lines. You can see a much better shot of the bear on Terri’s Sunday Stills post today.
Scouting the Housing Market in Prescott, Arizona
A mere two or three days before my friend Terri came to visit, I was gallivanting around Arizona, a mere nine hours and forty-one minutes away from home. My husband sent me on a house hunting trip, and my friend Patty Decker agreed to go with me.
Yellow must be the newest color in new housing. My friend Patti and I saw this stunning home called the Marigold in Prescott Valley in a development called Proghorn Ranch. We both wanted to unpack our bags and stay. The skies were clear and blue instead of dusty and the bathroom was golden.
In monsoon season it rains and cools off twenty or more degrees in the Arizona Desert. After a brief downpour, we enjoyed a relaxing yellow walk around the most artistic shopping mall in the country.
I thought these Javelinas on Parade display were cute, brightly painted pig statues, but no, they are not even related to the pig family. The Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) or collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that have short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose.
They look cute in the statues, but so do raccoons. So even though they are classified as herbivores, I don’t think I’d want to run into one in the middle of the night.
Back Home in Safe, Sunny California
As these two yellow squash grew together, Terri slept peacefully in the cabana in the back yard. I had no clue that our tiny dog would incite the wrath of a mother raccoon when she went out at 3:30 in the morning. Terri woke and thought a band of coyotes were howling in the nearby foothills surrounding our house, but it was me screaming at the raccoon.
I overcame my yellow-squashy tendencies and rescued my dog with my coyote yelps and a swift kick to the raccoon’s mid-section. She then got off the top of my dog and stood up and started to lunge at me. I jumped back but not quite fast enough. She snagged me once with either teeth or claws, I couldn’t tell which. There was a yellow stripe going up my back. I was sure she was going to attack me again as we faced off, but she scurried away
My husband woke up when my poor dog screeched her way to the bedroom telling him how scared she had been. I zipped off to the hospital to get the necessary rabies and tetanus shots.
How many pictures do you have that sit unused and unseen in your files? Hundreds, thousands? Be creative and put them to use where you and others can enjoy them time and again.
Allow me to introduce you to my friend Terri. When I started this series on hosting challenges, the intent was to focus just on writing challenges. However, many bloggers do some of their best writing in response to photo challenges.
If you host a writing or photo challenge, please contact me. I’d love to set up an interview/guest post with you.
Please, give Terri a huge Always Write welcome with tons of comments and likes. Don’t forget to participate in her challenge, Sunday Stills.
Guest Post by Terri Webster Schrandt, Second Wind Leisure Perspective
My Blogging Journey
I began blogging consistently in Fall 2014, as I neared retirement from my 32 years with a public parks and recreation organization. Like any blogger, I wanted to write interesting content and meet other bloggers. As I neared retirement, I thought I would start a consulting business and blogging seemed like a good fit for promoting it. Once I went back to university lecturing, teaching 15 units a year, I found I lacked the time to sustain a side business.
I blog on the WordPress hosted platform which sponsored several blogging how-to’s and challenges. Some readers may remember the Blogging University which taught new bloggers about the basics of blogging (Blogging 101) and Photography 101. In 2014, not only did I meet and follow new bloggers, but I also grew a set of followers as a result of the community that developed around the challenges.
It was during this time I realized I had a knack for photography and used my background in art and journalism to write posts about recreation and leisure using my original images.
I learned quickly that including an image with a blog post created visual interest and attracted more readers. Over time I was inspired to write my first short book Better Blogging with Photography which continues to sell worldwide on Amazon.
Like any blogger, I wanted to write interesting content and meet other bloggers.
What prompted you to begin to host a photo challenge?
Challenges bring new readers, interest, and engagement to any blog. Challenges fit well within the framework of hobby blogging.
I always enjoyed the WordPress Weekly photo challenge early on in my blogging journey and I discovered other challenges and participated in link parties. This was during the time I was building my readership and meeting new bloggers. I enjoyed the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge, but the original host announced he was through with blogging and called it quits.
My own blog morphed into photography with emphasis on fitness, leisure, and recreation. After a lengthy blogging break in early 2018, I woke up one night with the idea that I could reinstate and host Sunday Stills myself. The timing was rather interesting. I jumped back in with Sunday Stills in May 2018 just as WordPress announced the end of its ridiculously popular weekly photo challenge.
What is your purpose in hosting the challenge? How does it help photographers?
The purpose is simple: to inspire others to create images related to a weekly theme. I am challenged, too, as I select each month’s themes in advance. Many photo challenges out there are very specific to photography techniques and their hosts are not only a wealth of information about photography techniques, but accomplished photographers in their own right.
Photobloggers help each other in this way by sharing techniques, ideas and continuing support and enthusiasm for each other’s work.
One photographer in northern California went so far as to recommend a camera to me. For that I am eternally grateful for his advice and support.
I also believe that images help create the idea for the story when inspiration is lacking.
Bloggers are not limited to posting only on Sundays, as they have all week to share their own post and images.
How much time does it take to create a blogging challenge?
It can take 5-10 hours a week. Just creating my own post and prepping my images for publication often takes me 3-5 hours. Being that this has a weekly theme, I first decide on each month’s set of themes. I publish this on my Sunday Stills page so the planners of the blogosphere can plan their images and posts in advance. Of course, I must find my own images for each theme, post-edit them, and write a post that not only showcases my images but provides examples for other participants. I comment and share each post on Twitter and Facebook when possible. Bloggers are not limited to posting only on Sundays, as they have all week to share their own post and images. Some of the time spent is checking daily for new pingbacks and approve, comment and share.
What steps do you take to get your challenge ready?
At the end of each month, I choose themes and post them one month advance on my Photography page. I choose photos that highlight the theme while writing a title and post that is general but inspiring to other bloggers.
How do you follow up with your participants? I post every Sunday at 7:00 am Pacific Time and bloggers read and many link to the challenge. I approve links, read and comment on each post and share on social media.
How did you attract people to participate?
I have a good following and many folks seem to enjoy my photography. Sunday Stills had been popular, and many were excited to see it come back. As I join other challenges, other bloggers find my blog and participate in my challenge.
Is your challenge like a club where you put a widget on your website or embed something on your post?
Not really, but I have a Sunday Stills image widget on my sidebar where bloggers can click to the page for more information.
Do you determine winners? If so, how?
No, everyone is a winner! I share posts of new bloggers in the first day of the month’s post with links to their blogs.
I also grew a set of followers as a result of the community that developed around the challenges.
Do you post or promote the results or links anywhere?
I share Sunday Stills posts to my Facebook Page or Twitter, sometimes on Pinterest. When I began Sunday Stills, I hosted a link-up on INLinkz for a few months. Not as many linked to it, so I stopped after a few months.
Terri is a writer, self-published author and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching various courses in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!
Her active lifestyle involves stand-up paddling, camping, hiking, reading, writing, gardening, walking the dogs, traveling, and photography.
Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about leisure, fitness and photography.
I added five of my favorite images that represent milestones on my photography journey and some good luck!
This one titled Autumn in Quincy, taken with a point-and-shoot digital camera in 2010, was the first image where I received many compliments and suggestions for entering it into contests.
I captured the plumeria with my galaxy edge mobile phone. It was the first plumeria I grew in 2019.
The sunflower with the bee was also captured with the same mobile phone in 2019, truly a lucky shot!
The windsurfer and my dog Brodie were taken in July 2017, with my Lumix FZ300, my beloved bridge camera with a long travel lens. Both represent action shots that were taken in major zoom mode but details still stood up to the wind and action.
Thank you so much, for participating in this series on writing and photo challenges, Terri. It was great having you here.
Everyone has a picture of the sky. What do you do with them besides keep them in a file? Here’s an idea – share them in a photo challenge.
This week Terry Webster Schrandt chose #sky as her theme for #Sunday Stills today, July 12, 2020.
Apple says I have 11, 744 pictures with sky in them. Murky, dusty, dull gray, hailing, rain, foggy skies, sunrises, sunsets, one-sixteenth of a pixel or a whole photo. The photo app did not differentiate between skies. It’s up to me (a human) to choose. Yay! I feel so validated!
If you go to Fresno, California, you must stop at the Underground Gardens. One talented man dug his amazing underground home and garden from hardpan. This is one view in a central area of the home. It’s not covered. Rain comes in, but it soaks into the hard ground and doesn’t enter the living area of the underground home.
They don’t give tours in the winter. It’s a cool 55 degrees in the middle of 108 summer temperatures, so it makes a great respite from the heat.
I seldom fly in a prop plane, but for a while we had service from Visalia, CA to Ontario, CA. It took about an hour to fly the distance which was much more comfortable and less expensive than a four-hour drive through Los Angeles traffic. Little did I expect this beautiful view.
This picture doesn’t even look like it has a real sky. Traveling from Visalia to the Central Valley Coast, you transverse a rolling desert with lines and lines of cars all going or coming back from the coast. One either side of the two-lane highway you could be in the middle of nowhere. Only one truck driving on a side road marred this view. Most of the time the sky is a cloudless dusty blue but this was one day in a million.
I hope you enjoyed my Sunday Stills. Watch for Terri’s interview coming on Tuesday as #3 in the series on Challenges.
The online dictionary gives two definitions of perspective and lists 14 synonyms. The first definition pertains to art and the second to attitude. Telling the story of perspective in Sunday Stills, one synonym at a time.
The Woodlake Rose Garden sits at the bottom of a levee around Bravo Lake. From this position on the floor of the garden, you see there are thousands of roses, but the colors in the back blur to pinpoints against the green.
#2 Vantage Point
This is one of my favorite pictures with the Double Delight Floribunda in the foreground forcing the rest of the garden to blend into the backdrop of Sierra foothills .
From the stance of standing on the levee, you can see the clusters of pink floribundas in the foreground and Miller Brown Park in the background. From this perspective you see one lone rose which shows that the rose bush was not well-pruned.
Stand in the same position as the picture above, but slant your camera to the right and you pick up a different color scheme of roses. You have pulled away from your close up perspective, so that the viewers attention focuses on the striking brown foothills against the blue sky rather than the single rose. Even though the color is not as rich as the picture above, the slant makes a more interesting picture.
#5 View (the art)
This view is almost identical to the last two pictures, but you have turned to the right again eliminating the path and presenting only an undefined sea of color and no bridge or open space in the park.
From this angle, you see the white roses reaching toward the sky, with sunlight exposing their delicate veins. Like the first picture, you are among the roses, but your lower stance highlights their beauty.
#7 Frame of Reference
In this picture you see four distinct frames of reference, the reporter on the left, Chuck House, the Kiwanian who came up with a brilliant plan to help the city take care of the garden, Laura, the Master Gardener on the right and her husband, Bill who was along for the joy of seeing the flowers. Chuck, the former nursery owner, gave them a lesson in rose history as they search for a name and frame of reference for each flower.
In this picture high school students learned the Master Gardeners’ approach to pruning roses. They are putting in community service hours by doing much needed winter pruning.
#9 Frame of Mind
Usually these guys sit on the bench in the Rose Garden and drink alcohol. When we come to work in the garden, they hop up, pick up whatever tools we bring, and get to work cleaning up their “front yard.” They work harder and faster than anyone. Most of them are field workers by trade, and know what they are doing. They ask for nothing in return and are grateful that we are helping to keep their space clean and beautiful. We give them what we bring for the students, water and snacks.
#10 Way of Looking/Thinking
This broken valve could be a problem or an opportunity. One Kiwanian in our group looks at this broken sprinkler as an opportunity. We have an opportunity to make sure the roses get the water they need during the hot, dry Central California summer. Sprinklers break constantly. The City of Woodlake staff can’t keep up with them all.
Before we started helping, some in the city would have preferred to pave the Rose Garden because it was such a headache. When the water leaks, the public complains because their water is restricted, so water leaks have to be taken care of promptly. It would have been much easier for the city to turn off the water and let the roses wither. So fixing this sprinkler provides Kiwanians an opportunity to preserve the rosy treasure.
Sally Pace is the hardest worker on the planet. She weighs all of 90 pounds and gladly hoists a 30-pound backpack sprayer to make sure that weeds are sprayed with both pre-emergent and weed-killer.
Before Kiwanis pitched in to help in the Rose Garden, the Johnson grass was taller than Sally. Now we can keep it under control with much fewer chemicals and back-breaking hoeing. She also fixes the water lines, brings the snacks, water, garden equipment, and tells the students their tasks during work days.
And she prunes.
Visitors come to the Rose Garden from all over Tulare County, but few come with the outlook of these wonderful women. Each time Linda Tan comes, she brings more and more friends. Today they deadheaded hundreds of roses after they walked around the lake. They have no self-interest other than helping us out.
#13 Point of View
From the point of view of the City of Woodlake, this system of collaboration works well. Everyone pitches in and they work harder and put more man power into the Garden each week. We enjoy an excellent relationship with the City and Operations Managers, both Woodlake High School graduates.
For a bee, roses are the nectar of life. Attracted to their beautiful colors they scramble to suck up as much sweet rose juice as they can. Since the planet’s ecosystem depends on bees for fertilization, we have come the full circle with this point.
#15 View (the attitude)
In my view, Woodlake Rose Garden would not be possible without the vision and hard work of Manuel Jimenez, his wife Olga, and non-profit organization, Woodlake Pride Coalition. They dedicated their lives to making Woodlake a place of pride, and turned dry ground into a beautiful oasis. They created a botanical garden of exotic species of fruits, vegetables, and flowers for everyone to enjoy.