Showing Photos Past the End of the Challenges

St. Paul

Between 2011 and 2018 provided daily prompts, to help bloggers think of new posts while joining in together to write on the same theme.  As well, there were weekly photo challenges, challenges getting bloggers showing photos.  It was helpful to have this focus, for bloggers on joining in the same pursuit.


When the photo challenges ended on May 30, it left a void!  I was undecided what to do, as I was running this blog both as a little hobby while tying it to the work I do for Maple Lawn Cemetery (often in stages of development).


I live in a small town, which means there is some concern about being creative without seeming odd.  Quora has been helpful in ascertaining how to make a decision to continue.  An established author on Quora – Jennifer Marshburn – suggested that I keep dabbling in photos if it has been established there is a potential to do this.


It is like starting from scratch, but that’s not a problem.  I am sure it will be similarly examined to how it has been when I was working inside the structure of the prompt challenges.


I have thought that I could include photos I’ve shot myself, and also present stock photos, to draw parallels between what I think is right for this, and what a professional photographer might have thought of and made available.  I know stock photos seem artificial, but I enjoy selecting photos as much as taking them.


The blog I have may or may not be effective, but it’s been a curiosity so far.  Occasionally I worked on the challenges from the last few years, and I was surprised, like everybody else, when they finished this very spring.


If something happens where I am no longer useful, I change, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I usually explain that my blog is nominally tied to the business because a small business rightfully should have a blog.  That being said, I am “on the fence” in case an unforeseen problem arises that means that I have to abandon what I have been doing.  I shouldn’t think so.


In any case, I appreciate the feedback I get from visitors.


The photo I am featuring today is of one downtown bus route, where the bus heads to the campus and to the biggest shopping mall in town.  When I was younger, the odd time I would be there at these places, but no longer.

St. Paul
The way back from the busiest places

It’s all changed so much!  The offices of the local newspaper are across the street from where I stood.


I am optimistic I will have more ideas.


It was Father’s Day I took a picture of my parents, and maybe my ability is better suited to photos of locations rather than of people.  I will remember I have to watch what I photograph, and where I go.


If I think to take photos at the cemetery where I work, I will include some of those as well.  We are on Facebook at


Occasionally I add my photos to the Facebook page for the business and I occasionally post links to sites I feel could be of interest.


© 2018
Photographer: José Martín

I suspect the result I get will be determined by the quality of the content I post on Facebook and to the blog.  Both will remain a dedicated hobby, I think.


It is a work-in-progress.


I am grateful, it bears saying again, for responses I receive, so to speak, the gift of a visit.  This is what sparks interest in writing a blog.  Have fun and thanks!


Today is World Rainforest Day.

Solitude I Can Justify


Not to be idle, and also to say farewell to 2017 and to welcome 2018, I am doing the free WordPress course, ten days long, called Developing Your Eye, to help me get a little better as a photographer. Honestly, I am a week late, but there has been holiday fun, the intense winter weather, and other reasons to procrastinate.

To complete the exercise for Day Six of the course, I took to the idea of solitude. How I thought to illustrate solitude is to show the vantage point of a walking trail up the street from where I live, between an elementary school where some of my education took place when I was little, and a gospel chapel on the other side of the trail.

A gospel chapel the last day of the year

While I don’t attend the chapel, this point of origin symbolizes for me the distance between my home now, to the road to where my parents live, and where I spent my teenage years and most of my twenties. Down the street I live alone. The solitude is having left where I resided in my younger years.

On the path beside the gospel chapel

In 1978 DC Comics gave us the big screen adaptation of the Superman comic starring the late Christopher Reeves–I realize the film belongs to a generation older than mine. Superman, reflecting on his power, travels north to his Fortress of Solitude to find answers about his fate and his obligation as a hero.

The silver screen images of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude became so iconic that even in the present Henry Cavill version of the Superman saga the recreated Fortress of Solitude in his films strongly resembles the design of the 1978 film with Christopher Reeve. The nineteen seventies Fortress of Solitude has been translated to the current Superman films with a similar design that remembers Superman on film in the seventies and eighties.

Why does the caped superhero require solitude? Solitude can permit a person to approach life with his own direction, unimpeded by the feedback of others.

The town here is small but it is a city–it is never that lonesome. There is contact with people each and every day.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t cultivate an attitude of preserving solitude, and I imagine it shows in the style of the blog I write and in the appearance of the photos I take. I imagine many humans likewise treasure their solitude, particularly in that as adults there are so many demands and requirements for living in a Western culture that we have little choice but to conform.

When there is an opportunity for solitude, in contrast to what we are tasked with doing in the course of day-to-day work, solitude becomes extremely valuable, at least in small measures. In other words, silence is golden.

I realize it is ironic I am writing that when blogging can be seen as a search for a community (and WordPress is an inclusive community). Blogging is a given in this day and age–if you have even a basic amount of computer literacy, it is not surprising if you are blogging.

If you are doing business, and you personally have some computer literacy or otherwise a member of your team is computer-literate, you should have a blog. Even as I assert my blog is not making me money, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to pursue it. I suppose I am trying to have my cake and eat it, too, but I have the solitude that I think makes me truer and I am likewise active at participating in the Internet, which is millions and millions of others.

I don’t think foregoing solitude is the answer, but I respect those people for whom blogging is not just satisfying as an opportunity to make discoveries, but who profit financially by being business-savvy with the blogging that they do.

You can find my church at

New Horizon: 2017 and the quest for skyward glory


This week’s WordPress photo challenge asked participants to explore New Year’s Resolutions.  With the change happening with the momentum of a mountain avalanche, it must be with sails set we investigate the future.  There’s never been better opportunities to get in the game.  Whatever our potential, it is the ponderous acumen to get in alongside our peers and our mentors, that we stake our individual claims in 2017.  However and whatever we understand it to be, the glory of a better tomorrow will take hold in our respective imaginings if we understand that we have our grip on what’s tremendous in the mindset of our personal crux.  We have everything to do and, for all intents and purposes, one year to do it in.
Star Wars reigns in this day and age, if you are of a heart that’s dear to the galactic battles originally envisioned by George Lucas.  Once more the call comes down to vanquish Darth Vader and the Empire.  If you have been enthralled by the science fiction opus all along, you will want to summon your reserves of imagination in order to once more seize the day with Star Wars Rogue One, giving wind to flights of fancy which will carry you into the year 2017.  The future looks brighter if you are of a mind to embrace the science fiction of Star Wars.  It’s never been a better time to do so.
The other force for good is social. Social and branding on social is triumphantly becoming ever the more expansive as we come to a better understand of ourselves as a people joined collectively by the best intelligence on social and by the propulsion of travelling impossible distances as we brand ourselves online.  It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that everything we represent in ourselves to our peers becomes as fantasy meets reality as content and social continue to evolve in 2017.
Times will always have their share of troubles and there will always be gaps in our freedoms.  Turning our attention to the Internet and also outer space means that we will avail ourselves of woe and of turbulence to come out the other side running.  Thanks to technology and to the creative spirit that beats in the heart of mankind we have this year, 2017, in which to make it a go.  If you think you see the spirit of what I’m decreeing, given that the WordPress photo challenge this week asks us to reflect, by all means, please “like” and/or “follow” and comment.  Thank you for reading, and Happy New Year.  Good luck in the year 2017.

Fog, and For the Future



Cryptic sounds on the radio showed up the road as much as our lights

Descriptions of the future, or mystery put into words and music

Fog on the land, a shroud in my mind and in the detail of what was to come

Never would the spreading mist clear; it was a dark path to never


Scratchy noise in the music descending as though I needed to be humble

It seemed there was enough to go around, and shadows stayed at bay

It might have been as light shining down on me, and so much the merrier

The night ate my karma, never realized.  Don’t play music in the fog

DSCF8566 - Copy (2)

For the Future


To spite the spirit of the masses as I understood them

Over the shoulder was propped a pack with my book

Perhaps it will serve, no mere dumb thing’a rhythm

That I would trade for a mere gift of thy look

Whether quietly I might prefer to be

To another cold night lonely but free

If my rapt mind could so easy be shook

It might be best that my attention took

To when again I had returned home

The book shelved in its place, the pithier tome

With that volume resting, I know time will allow

That other version of me, that persona does take its bow

It is true the stage is dark

I will think again before I try this lark

Where Would I Be if not for Love?

Stultified, Edwin felt like time was collapsing, the atmosphere in the den of his house where he was sprawled on the couch turning his vision into mist, alone again. Outside the house it was winter. In the house it was some relief from the icy elements but seldom these days did Edwin feel much pleasure from anything, warm or cold.

It played tricks on him, this feeling. The map of blue and other primary and secondary colors denoting nations of the world, hanging on his wall was like an invitation to go everywhere. Faced with so many choices, he could not begin with one. He was compelled to stay put.

He wasn’t altogether familiar with tastes of the world; he had his own, marked by the company of the television, and sometimes it was questions that flitted through his mind about where in the world he might instead like to be, but more and more seldom were questions such as that one occurring to him. He felt constrained by the reality. It was no good trying to get around it.

Like a boy in school he looked at the map on the wall, and felt no inspiration from gazing at it. Perhaps it should have been something else, a movie poster perhaps. His mind was comfortable with that. A film starring him, it might have been of interest, not unlike those he saw from time to time, on the television set which was something of a friend to he.

A fancy in his mind spread its tendrils over his consciousness, idle daydreaming as he fell into sleep which cast its blessing as sleep does for a man. His mind freed from burden, Edwin was somewhere else now, a traveler, although not with much inkling of knowledge. He was in this realm of the fantastic somewhere else entirely, and it became as real as things had been, and it wouldn’t be for long.

He dreamt he was in an airport terminal, in a tidy departure lounge, early for the flight he was boarding, and made to wait accordingly. Everyone knows they ask you to be early for those occasions. His luggage had been checked into the baggage claim and he idly leafed through a business magazine, his carry-on on the empty seat next to where he was staying put. There wasn’t much that was captivating news of economic successes, but it didn’t seem as though anyone would be ready company.

Until a very fair sight began to illuminate his vision. She drifted into the lounge where Edwin was waiting for his flight, a hell of a sight as far as he was concerned, medium height and cast with locks of brunette beauty to her shoulder, the pale features of her face framed nicely that way and her apparel clearly modest but flattering, from head to toe. A vest, a blouse, a skirt, stockings and heels, all picture-perfect as far as he was concerned. Garments colored blue and purple, that bouncy hair was somewhere between fine art and a chalk drawing, diagrammed. His attention was no longer on the article he had been half-heartedly reading about what it takes to be productive and successful. His attention was on her.

How to get her attention? he was wondering. True, they were alone, but an awkward introduction would leave him nowhere. She seemed to be preoccupied with the monitor of incoming and outgoing flights, a reasonable concern given that she was likely going to be a passenger on the same flight as him. He wasn’t thinking about whether she knew when the flight was scheduled to leave. He was thinking about how to make an introduction.

Thirty second rule, he was unconsciously reflecting, thirty seconds to make a good first impression. That was beginning now, and he had scant few seconds to leave an impression on her, that he wasn’t another dull passenger trying to make it out, with enough means that a trip was practical for him but wasn’t in season and therefore less expensive than it would have been in the peak months. He knew striking out badly that way would cost him, both embarrassment and general subdual of his shot at completely enjoying his trip, compared with how it would go if she took to him.

“Going to Highston?” he said, trying to radiate confidence speaking to her. Going to Highston? his unconscious echoed. Hadn’t he just resolved not to say something like that? He knew that of the possible things she might say, very few of them resulted in him making a friend in her. He resolved to hold himself in check, to feel optimistic that of what she might say in reply, whatever she was about to speak might lead to cordial. He felt a tad foolish that he didn’t have something more interesting to say, but wondered if he could steer the conversation in the direction he wanted notwithstanding.

“Oh, absolutely,” she said enthusiastically, which came as a great relief to him. “I just love it when the tourists have gone for the winter months and it’s beautiful there and not too crowded. I’m Carmen. What’s your name?”

“Edwin,” he told her, amazing that such a basic approach returned such a friendly exchange. She was charming, he could tell. How did this opportunity happen to him? he asked himself. Sure beat the business magazine.

“Traveling alone, are you?” Carmen asked him. This was too good to be true. Both Edwin and Carmen were early, so Edwin was already calculating that there was a major possibility that more passengers would show up in the departure lounge, which could easily spoil the moment if he didn’t maneuver his end of the conversation so that he could get to know her.

“Yeah, business class as usual,” he said, trying to move from introductory remarks to chit chat if he could manage not to seem like a total clod. “For a flight this short, I always go business class.” That was a little better, it occurred to him. They were starting to share airline tips now, which was good if there was any hope for turning this conversation into je ne sais quoi. He didn’t always feel this nervous around a woman, but something about her had him a bit tongue-tied and oddly determined to try getting his foot in the door. “I have to tell you, I don’t really know why I’m doing this, but is there any chance you’re in row N on this flight? That’s where I’m sitting.” He felt apprehension at what he was saying. Was he in grade school? Could the pretty lady sit next to him on the airplane? He tried to disguise the ineptitude he was beginning to fear he was projecting.

“Oh? My boarding pass is in my handbag,” Carmen told him. “Here, let me get it out so I can tell you.” She began to dig in the elegant handbag which was on her arm. He watched the objects she was handling. Tissue, he noted, sunglasses… There it was in her hand, boarding pass. “Where does it say it?”

“Right there at the top,” Edwin said, more and more charmed by everything Carmen did. “What does it say?”

“Would you believe it? I’m in row N, too,” she said, obviously wowed.

“You know what I think,” Edwin said to her, “something tells me there’s never been a better time to fly to Highston.”

“I’m not at all surprised,” Carmen had to say.

Such a painful moment to awake, but that is how it sometimes is when a dream dissipates leaving behind a rude awakening. Edwin saw the asymmetrical russet shape on his map of the world on the wall of his den, but he wasn’t crisscrossing it on an airliner and he wasn’t in such good company anymore. Don’t you hate it when something good turns out only to be a dream? Wouldn’t you just like to go back to sleep?