Monthly Archives: February 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

The photo challenge issued this week by the Daily Post stems from last week’s instructional post regarding three-picture stories. In short, the idea is to capture a scene from three different vantage points, giving the audience a broad overview, then a closer look at some relationship within the scene, before homing in on a more intimate perspective on a key element. I’ve pulled three photographs that I took of Daibutsu, the Great Buddha, in Kamakura, Japan. Click on any image below to view it full-sized.



Why didn’t you just say ‘eulogy’?

panegyric def

I’ve never heard this word pass a human’s lips until Monday night. I think I’ve seen it written, once, years ago, in some mediocre novel that had long since lost my attention due to the author’s vain attempts to make it more literary than it had any right to be by using impossibly stuffy, archaic language. I was tired of having to use context clues (and too lazy to use a dictionary) to figure out all the unfamiliar words in his mind-numbingly boring dialogue, so I just skipped right over “panegyric.”

I should have put forth more effort.

I heard “panegyric” spoken aloud for the first time Monday night. Unfortunately, it was spoken in the final round of a grown-up spelling bee in which two teammates and I were participating for charity. None of the three of us had ever heard the word. No wonder, looking at its rate of usage since 1800.

panegyric use

I don’t think the emcee had heard it either, seeing as he pronounced it three different ways in the fifteen seconds we had to write it down. None of his pronunciations brought to mind that mystery word I had skipped so long ago. So we made our best guess p-a-n-a-g-e-r-i-c. And were promptly eliminated.

The knockout word...panegyric.

Only one team knew how to spell panegyric…and it wasn’t mine!

Although we lost the spelling bee, I like to think that we served a higher purpose, helping panegyric step out of the shadow of its better-known synonym, eulogy, at least for a few days. Usage will subside again to pre-bee levels once the Caffeinated Hyphens quit bragging about their win and the Spellcasters and They’re Highnesses finish lamenting their elimination.

panegyric use over time


eulogy use


Posted by on February 26, 2014 in How It Is, Observations, On Me


Travel theme: Work

As I mentioned before, I’m not all that comfortable photographing people…I feel like I’m invading their privacy… so the pictures I’ve gathered for Ailsa‘s chosen theme of work were taken rather surreptitiously. Because I try to snap the shutter before I’m noticed, my people shots usually lack composition, don’t take advantage of available lighting, and often show blurry evidence of my rush to lower the lens. You’ll be able to find more professional-looking work photos by heading over to Where’s my backpack?


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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Challenges, Photography



Unknown toll


Photo copyright by David Stewart

The wild clanging of the heavy iron bell that normally summons the kids to dinner wakes me, a sound not indigenous to this late hour. Pulse pounding, bare feet slapping worn oak, I grapple with the shackles of a sinuous cotton gown in my mad scramble to the back door. I pull aside the curtain as lightning splits the sky, illuminating a monster that should not exist outside of nightmares. Hail begins to strafe the roof as I whirl to rouse my sleeping family, my frantic cries a whisper against the train-like roar outside. “Get to the cellar! Twister!”
One hundred words in response to David Stewart‘s photo, selected this week by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, the leader of the pack at Friday Fictioneers. You can check out other submissions by clicking the little blue guy below.


Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Challenges, Fiction



Three-picture stories

Today’s prompt over at The Daily Post is photography-oriented, and totally captured my interest because it finally gives a name (and a sense of legitimacy) to something I already do. The topic is three-picture stories, and Daily Post contributor Michelle W. explains it like this:


In simple and completely unhelpful terms, it’s a story told through three related images. (You’re welcome.)

Not just any three images, though — three related images designed to create a more complete sense of your subject than a single picture. Together, they capture both visuals and feel:


This is the big picture — where are we? For this shot, step back from the subject and put it in context. Think wide-angle.


This shot starts to get at what it’s like to be in the place you’re shooting by showing subjects interacting. Often, this means people connecting with one another — talking, involved in an activity together, or just looking at the same thing — but it doesn’t need to be. Inanimate items and scenery elements can interact, too (as we’ll see below).


The third image completes the scene by zeroing in on a detail, something you might not notice (or even be able to see) in the broader photos.

I do this. All. The. Time. Only I wasn’t doing it intentionally or even consciously. It’s only when I go back and look through the hundreds of photos I’ve taken when the hubby and I’ve been someplace cool like the Grand Canyon, or Uluwatu Temple in Bali, or the local fish pond that I notice my focus has gradually shifted from sweeping views to intimate details. I’ll share one example that happened completely by accident (click on any photo to see the full-size version).

In the coming weeks, I’ll post more three-picture stories from my archives. But I’ll also concentrate on intentionally capturing new stories, paying attention to the composition and interactions within each photo. I love photography with a purpose!


Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Photography, The Daily Post Prompt



The Jewel of the Fair


Photo copyright  Janet M. Webb

“This line is endless. The kids are antsy. I can just take them down to the Sandwich Gardens. I’ll grade some papers while they eat, then we’ll meet you under the 7-Up clock in a few hours.”

“No, George, you didn’t come all the way to the World’s Fair to work. The line’s moving…we’re almost in. When else will we see Spain for twenty-five cents? We’ll eat paella inside…and Life mentioned some fruity wine punch. Look, kids! Flamenco dancers! George, what are they saying?”

“¡Felicidades! You are our three-millionth visitor! ¡Bienvenidos! Please, be our guest at the Jewel of the Fair!”


Rochelle’s creative use of historical fiction for many of the Friday Fictioneers photo prompts has inspired me to explore that genre for my response to Janet‘s photo this week. It is widely accepted that sangria was introduced in the US at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Lines to enter the Spanish Pavilion were often so extensive that ticket sales had to be suspended until the Pavilion had emptied–was it Goya or sangria the people were after? Pavilion organizers celebrated visits by countless dignitaries and celebrities, and also made quite a fuss over milestone visitors like George K. Bird, a Massachusetts teacher who’d come to the Fair with his wife and four children.


Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Challenges, Fiction, Uncategorized



No man’s ice princess

I can no longer endure your winter.
My passion does not thaw your frosty countenance, nor melt your frigid demeanor.
Lest your chill numb my soul, I must flee to seek my spring.


This week’s Trifextra challenge asked for a 33-word love gone wrong story, told without using any of the words you’d expect to find in a heartbreak tale: love, sad, tears, wept, heart, or pain. I found my inspiration for this little story on today’s afternoon run, when I spied some very cool frost crystals pushing their way through the clay at the side of the road–they looked to me like the bars of an icy prison.


Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Challenges, Fiction