Category Archives: Still Life

Audubon and Guthrie County Auxiliary Images: Vol 3

This is the final collection of images of the trip I took to Audubon and Guthrie Counties with my Mom to harvest their town signs. All of these pictures are taken in either Audubon or Gray.


Audubon County - Audubon
Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Audubon

Audubon County - Gray
Gray

Audubon County - Gray

Audubon County - Gray

Audubon County - Gray

I know that this is the second straight day with a mention or a picture of testicles. I don’t think there will be 3 days in a row tomorrow.

Audubon and Guthrie County Auxiliary Images: Vol 2

Here is the second collection of auxiliary images I took while harvesting the town signs of Audubon and Guthrie County with my Mom. The thing is that none of these pictures were taken in Guthrie County and the biggest chunk of them was taken in Shelby County. That is #roadtriplife.


Audubon County
Brayton

Audubon County

Audubon County

Audubon County
Exira

Audubon County

Audubon County - Exira
I would love to see the size of the fire truck that came out that door.

Shelby County - Elk Horn
Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Shelby County - Elk Horn

Audubon County - Kimballton
Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

Audubon County - Kimballton

There is one more collection of photos from this road trip out there.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is WORDS:


WEEK 299 - WORDS
WORDS

But what is a WORDS image? I know many of you didn’t come here fore reading! Top to bottom, left to right… a group of words together is called a sentence. Take Tylenol for any headaches… Midol for any cramps.

But one of the greatest comedies of all-time aside, WORDS are merely collections of letters. You can find WORDS all over the place. Books. Signs. Advertising. Newspapers. Magazines. All over the place. You are literally (used correctly) looking at WORDS right now!

Happy photo harvesting!

My (Sad) Photo Contest History – 2

When we left off, I had just won 1st Place in Black and White and 3rd Place in Color at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but had been completely rejected by the Iowa State Fair for the 4th year in a row.

Whatever I was selling, the judges were not buying. I was despondent, but not discouraged because I knew I had entered some great photos, but they were not what the judges were looking for that year.

2011 comes around. I decided to retire from the Boone County Fair Photo Contest and to start a new way of picking pictures for the Pufferbilly Days. I also had what was probably the peak of my photo contest career at the Iowa State Fair. I got all 4 pictures exhibited. This is extremely hard to do. Thousands of people enter the contest every year. Only 5 of us got all 4 pictures exhibited. You can do the math. It is a big deal.

These are the pictures that were exhibited:


2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - I Recommend Pleasant

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon
2nd Place Class 25

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Must Be Truth

2011 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Drenched in Loneliness
Honorable Mention Class 13

For the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest it was the second year of letting other people select my entrants. Dawn, Derrick, Jen, Scott, Russell, and Rebecca chose my entries. Dawn’s choice got 2nd Place in Black and White:


2011 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Radiant Beams
2nd Place – Black and White

I was pretty excited for 2012. I thought I had cracked the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Code, but there is no code. Some years the judge like you. Some years they don’t. In 2012, they like one of my pictures:


2012 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Truth Perception

That year, I decided to retire from the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Then shortly after that, I decided to retire from Photo Contests altogether.

But in 2017, the itch came back. I decided to put on a Washington Wizards Jersey and come out of retirement. Hard. I decided to enter all 3 contests again. I got all Blue Ribbons at the Boone County Fair:


2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

2017 Boone County Fair

I got one picture selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2017 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Little Apple

I had the following people select my entries for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest: Jim Robbins (yeah that is a long story), Micky, Michelle, Amber, Laura, and Dawn. However, none of the pictures earned a ribbon.

In 2018, my Boone County Fair entries were determined by popular vote:


2018 Boone County Fair
Red

2018 Boone County Fair
Purple

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

2018 Boone County Fair
Blue

I had two pictures selected for display at the Iowa State Fair:


2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Peep

2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon - Christmas Eve Morn

My Pufferbilly Days entries were also selected by popular vote that year:


2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - INRI
1st Place Photoshop

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Freedom Flight
1st Place Photojournalism

2018 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Abandoned (Mill Creek)
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County

2019 would also be a successful year. I moved to having individuals select my Boone County Fair entrants. Shannon, Michelle, and Logan selected my entries.


2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Red

2019 Boone County Fair
Blue

2019 Boone County Fair
Purple

I had one picture selected for exhibition at the Iowa State Fair and it earned a ribbon:


2019 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Entry - Green Little Vaulter
Honorable Mention Class 18

My Pufferbilly Day entries were once again selected by popular vote:


2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Hocks
1st Place Nature

2019 Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - Drops
1st Place Photoshop

In 2020 the pandemic hit and all photo contests were cancelled. Which was sad and I think it was avoidable because in a digital age, I think they could have found a way. For example the Iowa State Fair still held its Fine Arts competition.

Which brings us to 2021. I’m currently working on my next embarrassing failure at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. However, I am not going to enter the Boone County Fair this year. There is a reason for this decision. A very good reason. However, I’m not going to share the reason until it becomes official or it falls through. Things seem to fall through quite often these days. No decision has been made on Pufferbilly Days yet, but Pufferbilly Days has been moved to early August this year. I’m not crazy about the decision, but I’ll give it a chance.

If you want to peruse all 153 Photo Contest entrants in this long weird journey, click on the link below:

Photo Contests

You can see them all from the out of focus to the award winners. The good, the bad, and the moldy jam equivalent.

Wide Angling

This is a collection of some more of the first pictures I took with the Tamron wide angle lens. some are at the courthouse. Some around the high bridges. Some around the Kate Shelley Museum:


Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

Wide Angling

I do love that wide angle zoom lens!

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is LIGHT:


WEEK 296 - LIGHT
LIGHT

A LIGHT image is pretty simple. It is merely a picture where LIGHT plays a major compositional element. A wise person might argue that any picture they take is a LIGHT picture because all photography really is, is the capturing of LIGHT. But warning, when you take a picture of LIGHT, don’t face your camera straight towards a bright LIGHT.. You will surely damage it. The camera. The LIGHT will be just fine.

Think about the following song lyric when you are contemplating your LIGHT image:

I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light
-Hank Williams

Happy photo harvesting!

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

I should point out that I messed up the coding in yesterday’s post. You should go to that post again to see the corrections in the code that allow you to see Kim’s and Shannon’s submissions.

My Christmas present to my self was a Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 lens. I was going to do a whole thing on it, but I have owned if for going on 5 months now and I think it is just time to share the first few pictures I took with it.

Rather than going into any of those technical details, here is a description from the Lensbaby website:

A manual focus portrait lens from Lensbaby that’s dreamy and delicate — or tack sharp and subtly vintage at 85mm.

Create soulful portraits with our Velvet 85 art lens. Compose impressionistic masterpieces with a velvety glow at bright apertures, straight out of camera. Use darker apertures to bypass glow and make images with a crisp, film-like aesthetic.

Building on the strengths of our bestselling Velvet 56 lens, Velvet 85 combines lustrous skin tones with the added compression and buttery smooth bokeh found in the best 85mm portrait lenses. Use its macro capabilities to capture significant details with new life.

The Velvet 85 design features a solid heft and smooth, dampened manual focus.

Here are the first few pictures I took with it:


Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8

I actually have two other lenses I purchased around the same time. Those lenses are more practical, but I’ll discuss them at some point in the future.

WPC – WEEK 294 – TRAVEL

There was a decent amount of submissions for TRAVEL. It looks like several people left their house this weekend and had TRAVEL adventures.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - JODIE CUE
Jodie Cue

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - JODIE CUE
Jodie Cue

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - JODIE CUE
Jodie Cue

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEL 294 - TRAVEL - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEL 294 - TRAVEL - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEL 294 - TRAVEL - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 294 - TRAVEL - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 295 - FACE
FACE

FACE! Another great theme for Year 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

A FACE image is pretty simple. It is merely a picture where a FACE is a major compositional element. Everybody has access to a FACE. Almost everybody either has a FACE or knows somebody that has a FACE. But not just humans have a FACE. Animals have a FACE. Clocks have a FACE. Even cliffs have a FACE.

Think about the following quote when you are contemplating your FACE image:

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
-Victor Hugo

Meditate on this quote and I have no doubt your submission will be one that is ready to FACE the world.

RULES

The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing our idea of FACE in this place that sometimes doesn’t know which way to FACE next Monday.

WPC – WEEK 293 – HANDS

There was a decent amount of submissions for HANDS. Including, what I believe to be the first ever submission by Amy Peterson. Very excited to have Amy as a future contributor and I expect big things from here in the future.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 293 - HANDS - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 293 - HANDS - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 293 - HANDS - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 293 - HANDS - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 293 - HANDS - AMY PETERSON
Amy Peterson

WEEK 293 - HANDS - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 293 - HANDS - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 293 - HANDS - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 293 - HANDS - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 294 - TRAVEL
TRAVEL

TRAVEL! Another great theme for Year 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

A TRAVEL image is pretty simple. It is merely a picture that involves TRAVEL. It could be the result of TRAVEL. You could TRAVEL somewhere and then take a picture of something. You could take a picture of things that are involved in TRAVEL. You could take a picture of things that are involved in preparing for TRAVEL. The possibilities are endless.

Think about the following quote while you are contemplating your TRAVEL image:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust

Meditate on this quote and I have no doubt your submission will help others see the world with new eyes.

RULES

The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing our idea of TRAVEL in this place that only needs you to travel through cyberspace next Monday.

WPC – WEEK 285 – LINES

74 straight weeks of double digit submission and we did it before I even got out of bed on Monday morning! LINES seemed to be a popular theme! I mean, who doesn’t like LINES?

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 285 - LINES - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 285 - LINES - AARON BARNETT
Aaron Barnett

WEEK 285 - LINES - BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth

WEEK 285 - LINES - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff
“Lines in the ceiling, floor, and walls. Plus the lines for Covid vaccine. Got mom vaccinated; well organized and looking like they are starting to hit their stride. Lots vaccinated this weekend.”

WEEK 285 - LINES - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt

WEEK 285 - LINES - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 285 - LINES - SUSANNA FUNK
Susanna Funk
“The Manitou Incline has 2,000 feet of stairs which are actually lines! And my hamstrings felt every one of them.”

WEEK 285 - LINES - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 285 - LINES - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 285 - LINES - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 285 - LINES - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 285 - LINES - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 285 - LINES - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 285 - LINES - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 285 - LINES - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 285 - LINES - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard

WEEK 285 - LINES - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 285 - LINES - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 286 - PLAY
PLAY

PLAY! Another great theme for Year 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

A PLAY image is simply an image where the composition includes either something that is PLAYed or somebody PLAYing. There are all types of things that can be PLAYed. Games to musical instruments to sports to people.

Of course, PLAY has multiple meanings. A PLAY can be words on a piece of paper that tell a story or a PLAY can be acting out those words on a stage. It is more than just humans that PLAY. Animals also PLAY.

Think about the following old proverb when you are considering your PLAY interpretation:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

Meditation on these words will no doubt lead to a fascinating PLAY image.

Then send me your submission(s) by 11 AM CST next Monday. The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing our idea of PLAY in this place that is little more than a little PLAYed out next Monday.

A Pandemic Menagerie

This is a clearinghouse post. Grouping together some small collections of photos that might not be large enough to stand on their own. Plus getting multiple folders “finished off” and filed away to their forever homes.

These pictures aren’t pandemic related, but they did occur in a pandemic. Like every picture I take these days. Some were taken at the Ames Farmers Market. Some in my yard. Some on the backroads of Boone County.


Eggcited
This sculpture is called Eggcited. Eggcited! Get it?

Eggcited
Despite the awful name, I love it so!

Bittersweet
From my yard.
Bittersweet

Bittersweet

Halloween 2021
My socially distanced trick-or-treat setup for Halloween.

Halloween 2021

Liberal Values

Nope!
One of the small joys of the pandemic was stopping to photograph this sign and meeting the woman who put it up. She went to school with my Dad and we got to talk about him for a bit.

Early Voting
Self-portrait after voting on the first day of early voting.

Early Voting

Early Voting

Shrooms
My mouth is watering…

Train Art
One of the reasons I like living in a town with a railroad (besides the obvious economic impact) is that it is…

Train Art
Like having a new art museum in town every single day. While Boone has an Art Commission (despite the fact that there are a ton of local artists)…

Train Art
there is a decided lack of public art in town. A mural of a train. A statue of Teddy Roosevelt. A local guy that paints his snow banks…

Train Art
That is really it. Although I will point out that Boone does a decent job with the performing arts. It just isn’t the same. So thank you Union Pacific!

Good to get all that cleaned out. We’re getting close to my having my backlog cleaned out. It will be interesting what this space will look like when that happens.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SYMMETRY & PATTERNS:


WEEK 284 - SYMMETRY & PATTERNS
SYMMERY & PATTERNS

I can’t help but think of Shannon when I think of the theme of SYMMETRY & PATTERNS. Back in the day, we would occasionally go to art shows and fairs together. It often ended up being a painful and frustrating experience because the art booths that she would like to stop and look at were the art that actually hurt my soul (at least a little bit) to look at. It was all symmetrical lines and shapes. I always thought, “if this is the kind of art she likes and she likes my photography, what does that say about my photography? Is it this awful and boring?”

On the other side of the coin, she also hated most of the art I liked. Considered it to be derivative of the illustrations one sees in children’s books. Whatever.

I’m not saying you should tap into your inner Shannon when making your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS picture, but it might not hurt. I’m not saying your picture should be boring and uninteresting. I borderline enjoy the theme reveal picture of the bathroom floor in front of my toilet*. I am saying that you should find a pattern and/or a subject that has symmetry. While this isn’t my favorite theme, I do look forward to seeing your interpretations. I bet Shannon will be counting down the days.

When thinking about creating your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image, think on the following quote from noted Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki:

Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

Meditate on these words and you will no doubt, make a completely almost interesting SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image.

Happy photo harvesting!