Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Scapes

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A cross between two worlds, something for you and me
You have the winding dirt road with the coming or going steamer
And the electric waterfall with the reflective waters and trees
These two pictures were taken from the same locale
And combine three of the main elements: earth, wind, and water
The landscape and seascape pictured here are beautiful
But there is one scape that I believe trumps them all, is the most unrestricted
I call it the dreamscape, a place where my memories collide,
Forming the most interesting scenarios, being able to travel far and wide
My photo journey continues to be one of learning
And next year is going to be the year I start turning
2014 was an eye opener, cutting away from old habits,
2015 will be the year to hone my craft and hop along to perfection like the furry white rabbits


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Photo 101: Day 15 – Landscape

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Roadside Sky

As the car was speeding by on the highway, I took some pictures of this amazing night sky. The right side of the picture has motion blur from the car moving fast and incorporates the element of speed into this otherwise restful scene. This was featured in Solitude.

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Silver Lake – Pinckney, Michigan

This would have been good for “Solitude” as well. There is something special about those two picnic tables touching and the tree to their left adds a nice simplistic touch. The single person swimming in the gigantic lake makes the environment look way superior in comparison.
mysterylakeSilver Lake again, or what I call “Mystery Lake” since there are rarely any people swimming in it and it looks so dazzling in the evening. I captured the rippling of the vast water that looks like a sheet of glass. Again, the three people near the shore makes the natural environment much bigger and humans smaller in relation.
0218 Rolling Clouds & Tromped SnowThis winter scene, taken in January, is probably one of the finest photos I have taken in some recent time. It didn’t start out in this breathtaking format though. I had to edit it in CorelDraw, adjusting the contrast to give it that “rich” look, and adding in a snowflake filter. It incorporates a disturbance to loneliness with the snow that has been tromped through by me.
#photo101

WPC: Less is More

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“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.”

– Linda Breen Pierce, 1947

These pictures are part of my 365 day photo project on Flickr, a project that has refined and strengthened my skills considerably and made me look at photography as more than simply snapping pictures and posting them online. Along with participating in Photography 101 and these weekly picture challenges, I never look at picture taking the same again. When I think of minimalistic photography, I think of taking as much away from the picture that is unneeded, and making one part of the picture, whether it be the subject or part of the subject, the hero. This definitely wasn’t easy and it’s fair to say I still consider myself an amateur photographer who is trying to climb a ladder and find creative inspiration anywhere he looks.


 Photo Challenge for Week of November 7: Minimalist

Photo 101: Day 3 – Water

The third day of this fun course centering around the basics of photography asked me to interpret water. I chose one of the most beautiful places to take pictures of hydrogen and oxygen, the Cascades in my hometown.
9103625320_2d38ef6ae7_oThe blue phase of the electric waterfall was captured with fine detail. My hand was steady with this shot, making sure the water streaming down was not blurred. I framed this shot by stepping back a few paces, getting all three levels of the falls and the water rushing down below. I can still hear the beautiful sound of the water churning, splashing down in tidal waves on all three levels.

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The yellow phase is a little more up close and personal. I see what looks like lacy curtains in the solid looking water. It reminds me of lemon flavored popsicles for some reason, maybe because this shot looks so delicious I can almost taste it.
9101395753_d0d8f308ac_oThis shot, strategically captured from the side, incorporates elements of the evening sky with black smoky clouds floating by, the blinding bright light looking like the entrance to some higher world, and the lowly flowers in the turrets.
9101395765_c6ffdbcaf0_oAhhh, now we have arrived in a hellish land, an oblivion. The mad, ferocious red and orange of this timely phase baths everything in a hot glow as if it’s a furnace. The water looks strikingly like hot magma, boiling, bubbling, flaring up as the stream splashes down. The fountain in the top right corner shooting red water high into the sky adds to this hellish scene.
9103625188_7052f63a67_oAnd now things cool down to an icy chill with the soothing dark blue phase of the Cascades. The white meshing with the chilling blue in the second level is so frozen looking, I literally feel ice forming in my veins.
9103625204_00d1df2073_oI captured everything in perspective with this wide angle shot, getting the rippling of the glistening pool with the luminescent green reflected on its surface.

#photo101

A Chicago Story

Today I visited Chicago,
If only for the briefest moment
A glorious day of sightseeing
As grand as I have always known it

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One of the busiest spots on Earth
Its global commerce alongside Wall Street
A city that continues to grow
With no sign of defeat

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The metropolis by the lake
Where work is never done
Often called the Windy City
Because Chicagoans like to have all the fun

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The Great Chicago Fire
Some say it was O’Leary’s cow
A blazing inferno swept through the streets
Forever a reminder of the then and now

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The turmoil did not last long
For out of the ashes came a melodious song
The world’s fair bringing citizens together again
Celebrating Columbus’ successful mission
And America’s first breathes, how zen

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Chicagoland
The City in a Garden
Urbs in Horto
The landscape sculpted so beautifully
The parks and ports fit for show

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Music and art here is alive and well
From the blues, soul, jazz, and gospel
To the offbeat and unmellow
Classical monuments from the idealist alike
Art crafted so intuitively
It’s like they always knew who was right

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New York is the Big Apple
Chi-town, the Big Onion
Named for the tear jerking Allium

That is ever so abundant

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Exceptional dining is the way
Renowned by many far and wide
Its deep dish pizza, so delicious
Feeding the plenty one slice at a time

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With gusts of force, the Hawk swoops down
On those cold chilly mornings
From the waters of Lake Michigan
Neighbors across the shore peacefully snoring

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The night Chicago died
Capone and his mob ruled the streets
People thought it was done for
But Chicago got right back on its feet

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A ruthless draught forever engulfs the Cubs
While on the South side
The black and white cladden
Always have some bad blood

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Jordan and the Bulls
Dominated the hardwood
Knocking down opponents left and right
Paying off as we thought it should

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The Blackhawks
Part of the Original Six
Have fared well in their own right
Adding yet another Lord Stanley to their immense mix

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Chicago is my kind of town
The place I yearn to be
A bustling concrete jungle
That has such rich history
I wish to visit here again someday
To see more of this amazing place
And maybe even get to live here
And revel in its power and grace


Daily Prompt 11/2/14

WPC: April Sky of Dreams

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Oh, what a sight, the April sky of my dreams, found while walking home one evening.

Those clouds are like dark smoke, fluffy, roaring, billowing out with the fierceness of giants. The streak of light pierces the evening sky, creating an electric connection between two cloud nodes, as if it communicating back and forth.

But what became most surprising is when I stared at this long enough and the image of a demon god monster suddenly formed, holding the “lightning bolt” in a smoky grey hand, a scowl expression on his frowning face. An eye and a crown shaped head can easily be seen. The god, who might actually be Zeus, also seems to be sporting a large beard. It looks like he’s prodding the cloud below. And now I have just made out the image of a cannonball or bowling ball being lifted over the right shoulder of “Zeus” with a muscular arm and he apparently wanting to throw it – or it might be a large dark fist being raised in fury. His formless, ghostly body also materializes in the open space of the sky and it looks like he’s floating on his side through the channel. Now it is quite apparent: a thunderous god is in the clouds with his magic bolt or wand of lightning; I cannot look at this picture without seeing it now.

Fiery orange, somber blue, wispy white, smog grey, amber yellow, all sifting together harmoniously to create this unimaginable scene.

At the fiery core of the masterpiece is what looks like a volcano about to erupt. The eye of the storm. The sun simmering down on a calm April evening.

This shot is absolutely beautiful. There is so much vibrant color, the rich shades of grey and deep blue tinged cumulus’ are marvelous.

I cannot stop looking at the sky god, it is so amazingly clear now…it’s head is now fully shaped. I move in closer and wow – there’s an ear as well.


Photo Challenge for Week of October 10: Dreamy

WPC: Fountains of Hope

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Walking up the winding stone staircase besides the rapid, color-changing, hypno-inducing waterfalls of the Cascades, I point and clicked pictures of this castle-like structure, its sheer beauty eminent, memorializing the reds, greens, blues, and occasional darkness between the color transitioning streams. When I reached the balcony at hill’s crest, I paused and looked down upon the gleaming, sparkling tri-levels of water in the night and saw most of the metropolis countryside spill out before me; the ponds, lakes, hills, and trees merely spooky silhouettes of their selves. Then, sizing up my distance, angles, and lighting, I snapped a couple shots of the water jets spewing colorful streams high into the cool air. The one pictured above, captured in its blue phase, luminescing magnificently against the pitch black canvas, an aura of shimmering electric light emitting from its misty origins, with an ethereal beauty of celestial skies; its twin brother mimics in the background, creating a positively enthralling light show; alternating between various bright, uplifting hues and the dark swallowing jaws of dusk.

The water’s equal – a gentle sound, so smooth, relaxing, rushing out of the jets and cascading back into the still pool, calming and inducing a feeling of hope inside me. The serenity of peace and tranquility beside the stone wall. A star-spangled banner resting windless high above yonder. Forgetting about my worries, self-doubts for just a moment, instead reflecting on the time I have right now to enjoy life as it is. The faint sound of a 70s classic humming at ground level reaches my ears. I am here. I am now.


Photo Challenge for Week of September 26: Nighttime.