From natural fiber old fishing nets to the sunset for the Half and Half photo challenge

I’ve learned a lot more about photography since joining the WordPress Photo Challenges.  I’m starting to take more detailed photos, which is  interesting and a lot of fun.

This week’s challenge theme from Ben Huberman is Half and Half and asked participants to share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.

I like this photo of an old natural fiber fishing net draped over a fence…

Half old natural fiber fishing net

The lichen growing on the net added even more interest to the netting pattern.

Before the invention of nylon fish nets, this type of netting would just decompose in the ocean if lost at sea.  Unfortunately, that is not the case with today’s synthetic fishing materials, which adds to the big problem of marine trash in our oceans.

This photo of a new lock / old lock fits the theme…

New and old half and half

And this brightly painted fence and creeping plants…

Half Fench

Black bird on a roof…

Top half bird 1

And half and half themed photo of the ever-present and invasive iceplants in front of Coast Indian Paintbrush flowers (at least that is what I think these red flowers are)…P1210744

Silhouette of the top of a young Monterey Bay cypress pine tree at sunset…

Cypress silhouette over dunes

And my last half / half photo entry is of the sun setting behind the sand dunes.

Sunset over dunes

To take part in this week’s challenge and to see submissions for this photo challenge theme, click here.

July 4th red, white and blue symbolism for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge

The theme for this week’s photo challenge is symbol.  From host Jen H:

Symbolism is uniquely human. We use symbols to represent intangible things like our beliefs and emotions, and to convert the abstract into something understandable. We may also use symbols to simplify and convey information.

Photography is often the same; an image illustrates a single moment in time, or captures an object in perpetuity. Much like symbols, photographs, too, may conjure vivid memories and mean a wide range of things to different people.

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Last Saturday was the American July 4th Independence Day holiday.  I think the colors of the American flag is a strong symbol and recognized globally. It seems a good topic for this photo challenge theme!

These photos are from a July 4th community park celebration, where many people from all ages showed their patriotism and creativity, decked out with the red, white and blue colors of the American flag.

From socks to hats, the red, white and blue colors were everywhere.  Even pets had scarves with the colors or carried flags for their owners.

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If you live in the U.S., did you attend a similar community celebration?

If you live outside the U.S., are there similar activities that inspire people to dress patriotically, or creatively express your nation’s flag colors?

What is “Shark Week” anyway?

In case you missed it, 2015 Shark Week officially started last Sunday, July 5th.

The week-long programming event was started by Discovery Channel in July, 1988.  The intention then was to raise awareness and respect for sharks, though now, it seems to make even more people afraid of sharks…and definitely continues to raise Discovery Channel’s ratings.

Shark Week is now broadcast in 72 countries and is the longest-running programming event in cable T.V. history.

I am one of those people who have a fear of sharks (isn’t everyone afraid of sharks???).  Through my blog, I’ve learned a lot more about them, and now I do have respect for these ancient creatures.

For Shark Week, I am posting links to my blog’s shark-related posts, just in case you don’t watch much T.V. and want to learn more about sharks.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, contributed by Sean Van Sommeran

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, contributed by Sean Van Sommeran

My first post was about a 4,000 lb “great white” shark tagged off Ano Nuevo Island (county of Santa Cruz, California) in the 1990’s and caught by accident in the Sea of Cortez, Baja area of Mexico in 2012.

Sharks have low reproduction rates, and because they are terrific at foraging and as predators in our oceans, the low reproduction rate worked just fine for them.  That is.. until the introduction of modern fishing methods.  Today, many shark species are considered threatened or endangered, and some sharks in the U.S. are regionally extinct.  More here… 

Shark photo from U.S. - NOAA website

Shark photo from U.S. – NOAA website

And if you have ever wondered what the chances are of getting hit by lightning vs. being attacked by a shark on U.S. coastlines, there is a blog post with state-by-state details, from 50 years of data.  Excerpt:

Over the last few years, there have been shark attacks off a California state-run beach near where we live.  The most recent attack involved a 27-year-old surfer, in October of last year. Thankfully, the attacks were not fatal.

Of course if you stay out of the water, your shark attack chances are zero.  But for those who love spending time and activities in the ocean, and have a  fear of sharks, this post lists statistics and information that should allay your shark attack fears.  More here

And the rest of my shark-related post are:

Shark image Pacific from NOAA

Did you know…. fossil records show that the ancestors of modern sharks swam in our oceans over 400 million years ago?  That makes them older than dinosaurs!  Sharks have changed very little over time.

Door photographs for the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

While not particularly pretty, I like this door to California’s first brick house because the structure still exist — still standing, and I like the contrast of the fading white paint and the red-orange hued bricks.  It is located in downtown Monterey, and part of the State Park buildings in “oldtown”Door at First Brick House California 1

You will find many interesting doors and doorways in the historic, downtown Monterey area.  Here are a few…

Door related details are also fun to photograph…

A few door photographs in the little town of Moss Landing, California (the red doors to the Old Post Office, door to a railroad car, parked at the Haute Enchilada restaurant and art gallery, and an antique store, with details in the following gballery).

And broken down or missing doors, at the barracks of the old Fort Ord military base in the Monterey bay…  These buildings will soon be demolished to make way for new housing developments and shopping / office / university buildings.

A favorite door related photo are the banners above the entrance to the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory.

Entrance to Moss Landing Marine Laboratory

A great reminder for all of us, to take time each day for the things we love to do… whatever doorway we enter or leave from.

Note: You can see more photos from the open house post at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory here, including  their “internet famous” blob fish.


Posted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme “Door”

NPR Report on Salinas Valley “Bag Salad” Waste

Americans throw out a lot of perfectly good food — about $1,600 for a typical family per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

On a local level, many of us have heard of grocery stores throwing out food because it is nearing the “sell by” date… but we don’t often hear about the waste generated by food manufacturers.

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Salinas Valley, California Farm Fields

Monterey County is the top producer of salad greens in the U.S. The bag salad was invented here, and many people now opt to buy these plastic bag salad mixes instead of a head of lettuce.  It’s convenient, and perfect for our busy lifestyles.

It is understandable that farms can produce a surplus of food, and that sometimes, the excess bagged salad greens nearing the “sell by” date (if they cannot or do not donate to local food banks) must be sent to the municipal dump.

And just how much goes to the dump is the focus of National Public Radio’s (NPR) Allison Aubrey’s report on the Salinas Valley and the bags of salad greens that do end up in the dump.

I’ve included this NPR report on food waste to my earlier post on Iceberg lettuce and posting here.

NPR Image Report on Food Waste

Photo by Allison Aubrey via NPR’s Food News Program “The Salt”

You can listen to the audio of the report below.

Note:  If the audio does not play, you can link to the text version of Allison Aubrey’s report on food waste and the “Landfill of Lettuce” here (What happens to salad past its prime).

I am surprised to learn how much garbage we are adding to our waste stream through this industry.

P1220136In light of the technology we have these days, it is disturbing that we have this much waste.  Even more disturbing is the precious water wasted to grow food that is not eaten (especially that we are in our 4th year of drought), the addition of more garbage (that should be composted) to our landfills, and subsequent (and unnecessary) release of more methane gas to our atmosphere.

Hopefully, this industry is creating systems that minimizes this food waste.  Reports like this one certainly help to highlight these problems.

Have you heard of similar food waste stories, whether through local grocery stores or food manufacturers near where you live?  Do you know what they are doing about it or have suggestions?

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Field of greens, Monterey County, California

Food Waste Investigation CartoonRelated: