Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Store Front Signs

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I went for minimalist on the signage with a heavier concentration on the texture of the bricks along with the shape of the arched windows. If you look in the windows, you can see more signs for actual deals offered by the store, but that is secondary to the composition.

Here is the original picture taken with my iPhone in color:


Here is my first attempt at conversion to Black and White that relies more on the painting of walkways and parking areas for directing the eye:

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I like both of the B&W shots but chose the close up for my featured image.


Thursday Doors – June 30, 2016

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon at the Childress Winery established in 2004 by the famous NASCAR race driver Richard Childress. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase some wonderful doors from a beautiful facility. So let’s start with the doors at the main entrance:


You can see a family crest carved into the center of each door panel, and at the bottom of the crest is the word “CHILDRESS”. The wine barrels at each side of the door are  perfect reminders of the function of the building as seen below:


If you are standing in the portico of the front door and look to the left, you see a beautiful covered walkway:


Inside is a beautiful lobby with a fountain in the center, a wine tasting room/store to the left and a large banquet hall to the right. That means that you have more beautiful doors to both the left and the right:


When you walk around the building to the left, you get a good view of the pavilion just completed at the winery. It is used for functions like weddings and also is the location where the winery provides music for its patrons every Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the summer season. This particular day they had a piano player/singer providing the entertainment.


Behind the main building is a gazebo and a beautiful pond with a fountain spraying up from the middle:


Here are a couple of shots taken from inside of the pavilion:


And, of course, there are the beautifully tended rows of grape vines and a couple of pictures of the actual grapes:


I hope you enjoyed this tour, brought to you by Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors Challenge.

Night scenes of a sleepless city – Echoes of my neighbourhood 25

I joined the Echos of My Neighborhood challenge last week and got a wonderful mention from the moderator. Here is this weeks post if you wish to join.

a cooking pot and twisted tales

On Thursday’s, I share pictures about ‘Echos of my Neighbourhood.

I would like to invite you to participate. The challenge is quite simple and you can find out more about it through this link.

This week, I bring you some bits of night life in my neighbourhood.

I don’t exaggerate when I tell you that this city is sleepless and as the weather heats up more and more, night business grows longer into the night and runs quite efficiently. The entire place glows with light therefore belies the true sense of the lateness.

I went to a Ramadan night market exhibition and up till 1 am, people were trooping in and out of the venue.

For a Middle Eastern city, it’s quite safe and people are comfortable to mill around that late.

On our e-travel on Echoes, Lady Lee brought us a smile and took us to Wales on caravan…

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Tour Guides with Tourists

The easiest way to spot a Tourist is to look for a group of people with cameras surrounding a tour guide. This is the tour guide for our cruise excursion in Valencia, Spain. He is explaining the function of this room, which happens to be the Silk Market in the heart of Old Town Valencia.


Here is the outside of the building with the silk market:


Now here is a picture of our tour guide with tourists in Cartegena, Spain followed by a picture without anyone present.


I usually like to take a picture at the beginning of an excursion that identifies the location. It makes it much easier when reviewing the photographs years later.

Our next stop was in Malaga, so here is a group of tourists following the guide down a narrow alley followed by a picture of a church that was at the end of the alley:


Here are some tourists resting after a great deal of climbing around the terrain on the Rock of Gibraltar. You can see the lime green tour group sticker on the woman in the middle of the picture, and a nice picture of my wife in sun glasses on the right.


Finally, I went back in my archives to 2008 and pulled out a picture taken during our rafting trip down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. I love pictures with beautiful mountains in the background.




A Beautiful Bass

Opening Line


It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

It was supposed to be slow, it was over too fast.

The tug on the line, the reel spinning out,

The bass was insistent, to put up a bout.


I reeled in the line, the pull bent the rod,

The fish breached the water, and gave us a nod,

Shaking and splashing, not liking the hook,

It wanted its freedom, said those eyes with a look.


The net dipped under the beautiful bass,

And out of the water, he came with a splash.

A kilo of fish makes a fine meal for two,

You know it is fresh, it was just caught by you.


The rod and the reel will come out next week,

The fish will be hungry, and swimming so deep,

We’ll do it again, the first tasted so good,

It’s back to the lake by the beautiful wood.




Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks – Indoor or Outdoor

For today’s challenge, I thought I would share a few pictures of Yellowstone National Park where you can ONLY walk on the ‘walk’ or you can get into big trouble. Here is the featured image once again, showing the beginning of the walk out to one of the geysers:


Along side of this raised walking area, it is not necessarily safe to walk.


Farther along on the walk:


And more:


And the destination at the end of the walk:


And on the walk back:


Don’t step off of the walk. It could be very dangerous.



Water – A Big Part of the Story

I very excited for this opportunity to announce the relaunch of the eBook version of

Nu Book 1 – The Esss Advance

under Kindle Direct Publishing. And, since Water plays a big part in the story, I want to share with you a chapter of the book centered around water. Stay tuned for my promotion on Amazon sometime within the next week. The book will be available for free for three days and I will be running a contest for three signed copies of the book. Maybe the number three has some significance.

Here is what the new cover looks like on Amazon:


Now for a chapter from the book that centers around water:

Chapter 67 – Fishing Interrupted

Jimmy had been fishing since sunrise without too much success. His boat was anchored off the south side of Inner Island just east of the much bigger Wright Island in Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior. His family had come camping on Wright Island every summer for many years, and what Jimmy enjoyed most was getting away from his younger siblings on his morning fishing trips. Every once in a while, he even brought home enough fish to feed the entire family!

The sound started as a background rumble, not dissimilar to distant thunder. Jimmy scanned the horizon looking for any ominous black clouds that might be approaching, but the sky was clear blue in every direction with high cirrus clouds dancing around the horizon to the south. So where was the thunder coming from?

That’s when Jimmy spotted it. Coming in low over the lake was some type of large aircraft of a kind he had never seen before. The craft’s exterior was a grayish-green color, not unlike brackish swamp water he had seen on many of his hikes in the park. The shape was like a large cylinder floating on its side about fifty feet above the lake as it approached Wright Island. Many small jets streamed out from under the cylinder and roiled up the water directly beneath it. That’s where the thunderous noise was coming from.

Just as the craft reached the edge of the island, its nose pivoted upward, and the tail spread out like flower petals opening to the sun. Then it settled down right in the middle of Dog Harbor. As soon as it came to rest, the noise subsided, and Jimmy decided he better not stay in the open like a deer caught in headlights. He reeled in his line, raised his anchor, and began rowing for the small opening between Inner Island and Wright Island.

When he was just out of sight, he pulled the boat up onto a pebbly beach on Wright Island and worked his way around the island perimeter until he could just see the legs of the craft through the trees.

“Man, that thing is huge!” he exclaimed.

Standing on its six legs, it was as high as a forty-story office building. The top had to be at least 150 feet in diameter. With the legs spread out, the craft almost filled the entire harbor.

As Jimmy stood there behind a tree watching, he heard a winching noise coming from under the main body of the craft between its legs. As he watched, the craft lowered a small object into the water on what appeared to be a cable much too thin to carry the object’s obvious weight. When the object touched the water, the cable detached and retracted. Then the small object propelled itself between two of the legs, headed out of the harbor, into the lake. Maybe it wasn’t so small, Jimmy thought. Compared to the main ship, it was tiny, but it had to be twice the size of his rowboat.

The watercraft only went about half a mile out into the lake before it stopped for about a minute, and then turned around and headed back. Once inside the legs of the aircraft, the cable extended back down to water level, attached itself to the craft, and then retracted once again, carrying the small boat all the way back up into the ship’s underbelly.

With almost no warning, three fighter jets overflew the strange ship. Because the jets were flying faster than the speed of sound, the wash of noise came only after they had passed. Close to the ground where Jimmy was, the noise was almost deafening. But that was nothing compared to the noise when the greenish behemoth awoke with a roar and lifted vertically out of the bay. Water and steam sprayed in every direction as the six legs cleared the water, spewing some kind of propellant from their tips. The craft accelerated into the heavens before the jet fighters could execute a turn and make a second pass.

It was a good thing Jimmy had been standing behind a large tree. It saved his life as hot gases mixed with mud, water, and steam passed on either side of him, igniting the tree’s upper branches. As soon as the stream of hot gases subsided, Jimmy ran back past his boat and jumped directly into Malone Bay, keeping his whole body under the water until he was at least fifty yards out. The cold water felt good on the burns he had suffered on the left side of his face and his left shoulder. He had not pulled back quite fast enough to escape all injury, but at least he would not burn to death from the fires started all around Dog Harbor.