Kiawah in Silhouette – Weekly Photo Challenge

The dance between darkness and light will always remain.

C. JoyBell C

PALMETTO SUNSET

PALMETTO SUNSET

This week our challenge is “silhouette”, admittedly not one of my favorite forms of art. If I hadn’t skipped last week’s challenge due to a hectic travel schedule, I’d have seriously considered skipping this one. Then again, isn’t that what a challenge is all about – stretching to do something outside of your comfort zone? So here’s an attempt to deliver on the silhouette challenge with some shots of our lovely barrier island. The opening capture features South Carolina’s state tree, the palmetto. I shot it on Kiawah’s famous Ocean Course; well-known to golfers everywhere :-). And yes, the sky really was that color.

GAZEBO

GAZEBO

“The dark does not weep for itself because there is no light.”

Libba Bray

The second shot was made with a view from the Ocean Course toward a small gazebo overlooking the sea. In both this shot and the last, our brilliant island sunsets offered me a perfect opportunity to feature the drama between darkness and light.

QUIET MOMENT

QUIET MOMENT

 “If we are unwilling to be aware of the dark, we cannot see the light.”

John Cowan

The capture above features a romantic couple taking in the view from a bicycle path that runs 10 miles, to and from the furthest ends of the island. The vistas along the way are spectacular, especially as the sun casts its final rays across our beautiful salt marshes.

MORNING FOG

MORNING FOG

“Darkness is your candle…..you must have shadow and light source both.”

Rumi

Finally, not all silhouettes feature bright sunlight. Here, a small bird swims in silhouette surrounded by the peaceful quiet of a foggy morning on one of Kiawah’s many lagoons. For me, this final image is more compelling because of its simplicity. As always though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, fellow beholder, are you a fan of bright and colorful, or do you prefer muted and monochromatic? Isn’t it nice that nature gives us such lovely choices?!

To see the silhouettes that captured the imagination of some other bloggers  click here.

China’s Geometry – Weekly Photo Challenge: ZigZag

“A zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.”

Tahir Shah

CHINA'S GREAT WALL

CHINA’S GREAT WALL

In response to this week’s challenge “zigzag”, I’m opening with the ultimate example, China’s Great Wall. The wall zigs and zags as far as the eye can see through some of the world’s most mountainous and remote terrain.  It makes one wonder at the amount of effort that must have gone into its design and construction. The wall was one of many zigzagging examples on our journey throughout the country this past fall. Here then, a few of my other favorites.

RICE FIELDS, LONGSHENGRICE FIELDS, LONGSHENG

RICE FIELDS, LONGSHENG

“How many twists can a tongue twister twist around the twisting tongue.”

G.K.Griswold

The rice fields of Longsheng offered many samples of roads and plateaus zigzagging their way about. I chose this shot particularly because it gives one an idea of the scale of the fields compared to the the road twisting through their base.

OLD TOWN SHANGRI-LA

OLD TOWN SHANGRI-LA

 “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Henry David Thoreau

Above, a look at the zigzagging path that runs through old town Shangri-La. Actually I should say “ran”.  Sadly the town was virtually destroyed soon after our visit by a massive fire that burned for 10 hours and destroyed more than 250 homes and businesses.

Below, an amazing vista seen from the incredibly crooked, narrow, and (I thought) dangerous road we traveled from Tiger Leaping Gorge to the lovely farmlands of Shangri-La.

THE VALLEY BELOW, YUNNAN

THE VALLEY BELOW, YUNNAN

 “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

Edward Abbey

Finally, an “up close and personal” look at the long day of a dedicated farmer working the zigzag paths of China’s verdant fields. I must admit I enjoyed the rudimentary scarecrow almost as much as the farmer himself :-)

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY

 “Crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end.

Jean Paul

Wishing everyone the pleasure of discovering new paths, be they straight, crooked or even zigzagged.

Glacier National Park – Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

John Steinbeck

MOUNTAINSCAPE

GLACIER PARK MOUNTAINSCAPE

Those of us on Kiawah recognize that for most of the country summer means relaxing and enjoying your own backyard. Here, where the temperature and humidity can be sweltering, summer means it’s time to travel. While it is actually Kiawah’s most popular season, for those of us born and raised in the northeast, summer on Kiawah can be a bit too warm for our blood :-). So in response to Krista’s Summer Lovin’ challenge, I’ve chosen to feature our recent trip to beautiful Glacier National Park.

ROWBOATS AT REST

ROWBOATS AT REST

“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

Dodie Smith

In July we had a lovely time visiting friends in cooler climes, including Michigan, Oregon and Montana – where we were a mere half-hour’s drive from the park. We spent a long and wonderful day there with our friends, driving the Going-To-The-Sun Road with stops along the way for photography and hiking. We entered the park at its west end , making our first stop at Lake McDonald where I captured the photo above. It was early morning and a beautiful layer of mist was still rising from the extraordinarily calm waters. The serenity of the moment was wonderful as we had the lake all to ourselves – who knows where the rest of the usual tourist crowd was that morning!

MOUNTAIN STREAM

MOUNTAIN STREAM

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

 Charles Bowden

Our timing was perfect. The famous G-T-T-S Road had opened just a week earlier, as the snow plows had finally cleared away the year’s final snowfall. Because the snow was so heavy and so late, we were treated to many rushing streams and waterfalls along the way. I was lusting for my tripod which was doing me absolutely no good sitting in my closet at home :-(

RUSHING WATERS

RUSHING WATERS

“I love how summer just wraps it’s arms around you like a warm blanket.”

Kellie Elmore

It seemed to me that the more harsh the winter, the more vibrant the spring – especially the flowers. We found many scenes where colorful blooms were everywhere, oftentimes pushing up within inches of the snow, which remained on the ground everywhere we looked.

MOUNTAIN WILDFLOWERS

MOUNTAIN WILDFLOWERS

 “Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”

Susan Polis Schutz

Lest I give you the wrong impression, it was NOT cool in Montana, in fact most days the temperatures were in the high 80s and low 90s.  There was virtually no humidity however so the air was crisp and clear and we never really broke a sweat.  In the park it was even cooler and we had tons of fun hiking through the snow in short sleeves and a sun hat :-). The obligatory snowballs were thrown several times but fortunately there were no serious hits.

TAKING IN THE SIGHTS

SOAKING IN THE SIGHTS

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

William Shakespeare

The thing about Glacier National Park is that the views and vistas never stop coming. They are literally around every curve and corner. It was all I could do to stay in the car rather than get out and walk the 50-mile road so as not to miss any of it! My friends, especially the one driving, were incredibly tolerant – even pre-planning the route with stops that would take best advantage of the photography opportunities. The shot above captures a scene we found at the end of one of our hikes (which  I think was St. Mary Lake, but there are some 700 miles of park trails so I could definitely be wrong!). The couple in the shot are enjoying a well-earned rest after a long, sunny hike. The cool breeze coming off of the crystal clear water was a wonderful respite for us all.

FIRE

AFTER THE FIRE

“The summer demands and takes away too much.”

John Ashbery

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the horrific wildfires that have plagued the west over the past few years, and Glacier is no exception.  Here I’ve included a shot of a forest decimated by fire. In 2003, 136,000 acres were destroyed by fire, fully 13% of the entire 1,000,000 acre park. Current thinking is that fires which occur naturally should be allowed to burn, as they clear the dead trees and branches that would be kindling for much larger fires if left in place. Apparently, fires serve as nature’s reset button as new growth springs up in the paths of their destruction.

GLACIERS AT GLACIER

GLACIERS AT GLACIER

“Rejoice as summer should…chase away sorrows by living.”

Melissa Marr

Then of course there is the disappearance of the very glaciers for which the park is named. Of the 150 glaciers known to have existed 150 years ago, only 37 remained as of a 2010 park study. Scientists have predicted that all of the remaining glaciers will have disappeared by the year 2030.

TAKE HEED!

TAKE HEED!

“Summer softens lines that winter cruelly shows.”

John Geddes

Finally, a word about danger. Most of the serious photographers I know are continually on the lookout for that one “magic” shot. We make a point of searching for things that a casual observer might miss. Oftentimes we put ourselves in precarious positions, especially around water, to capture what we see. The week after our visit, a 33-year-old woman slipped and fell into the water while photographing the 30′ high upper falls at Lake McDonald. She was swept 1/2 mile down to the lake. She was rescued there but died later that day. So although I laughed when I saw this sign at the time, clearly the message is not to be taken lightly. Let us all remember not to take unreasonable risks in our quest for excellence – and above all, to stop shooting long enough to absorb the beauty that surrounds us. Life is short, live every moment!

Welcome to Whitefish – Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

“All masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow.”

Billy Graham

 

The Big Picture: Whitefish MT

The Big Picture: Whitefish MT

Those who follow Travels and Trifles know I’ve been away for a bit, most recently spending time with friends out west. In response to this week’s challenge, I’ve taken a bit of a figurative approach, featuring a building mural in downtown Whitefish, Montana.  Is it actually a “container”? Well it certainly contains many things, including a few individual containers which I’ll feature. But more importantly, it contains the vision of the artist – looking back at what Whitefish might have been in the not-too-far-distant past. Sadly, the mural is due to be destroyed soon, as the space is cleared to make way for some new construction. All the better then, to feature it before it is lost forever!

BOY WITH A BIN

BOY WITH A BIN

“The deep layers of art contain the soul of the artist.”

Vladimir Kandelaki

 First then, the portrait of a young boy next to, what else, a bin/container :-) What do you suppose he is so engrossed in reading? The day’s headlines, the latest sports, or perhaps an ad for the latest example of automotive excellence?  Let your imagination take you wherever the artist hopes you’ll go!

DOG AND BOTTLES

DOG AND BOTTLES

“All literature and popular art contain themes that resonate with the audience.”

Daniel Lambert

Above, the artist shows us his vision of an ever-faithful bloodhound. Is it coincidence that he’s positioned in front of the window with, yes, a pair of bottles/containers? Maybe yes, maybe no – but his position certainly reinforces my “containers” case, don’t you think?

GIRL AT THE GAS PUMP

GIRL AT THE GAS PUMP

 “The ideal space contains elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”

Luis Barragan

I loved the details that the artist brought to his or her mural. Here we see a young woman standing between what we can assume is her car and the antique gas pump.  Notice the fellow lurking behind the door, which is painted with the name and number of a sign company. Can we assume someone from the company painted the mural? I choose to leave that to our imagination as well :-)

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

 “The artist is a container for emotions that come from all over the place.

Pable Picasso

 Finally, the artist offers us a small peek into the room behind the curtains. What do you suppose is contained in the dark of the room beyond? I’m thinking it’s a warm, welcoming cafe with hot coffee, friendly locals and smiling, efficient waitresses – after all, that’s what WE found in Whitefish!

Want to see some other containers? Click here.

 

Before the Blue Angels – Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

“The sky is the limit only for those who aren’t afraid to fly!”

Bob Bello

BLUE SKY AND BIPLANE

BLUE SKY AND BIPLANE

Over the 4th of July holiday, my husband and I were guests of good friends in Traverse City Michigan. On Saturday we were treated to something that was a first for me – an airshow. Now I must admit, if you’d asked me to list the top 10 things on my “must see” list, an airshow would not have made the cut :-) Having seen one though, I am happy to report that the event was terrific. Shown above, a relic from the past, a biplane, which thrilled the crowd with loops, curls, dives and upside down flying that made us wonder how the pilot stayed conscious.

THREE RELICS

THREE RELICS

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward”

Leonardo da Vinci

Somewhat more contemporary but still in the relic category, three early vintage planes added color and interest to the day with their precision flying and seeming ability to float on the clouds. While they and the biplane were fun and entertaining, the biggest surprise for me was the incredible flying of the famous Blue Angels.

THE BLUE ANGELS

THE BLUE ANGELS

“The secret of flight is this — you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.”

Michael Cunningham

We waited anxiously for their appearance, searching the sky for a sign that they were near. As it turned out, we need not have worried, as their arrival was announced by the incredible roar of their engines.  The speed at which they can fly (up to 1400 mph, climbing 30,000 feet per minute) is stunning, and the tricks they do are incredible. In the maneuver shown below (admittedly not the best photograph, but you get the idea!) two pilots approach each other from opposite directions and as they meet in mid-air both do a flip-over so that they are flying back-to-back before their high-speed separation.

YIKES

YIKES

 “Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”

Amelia Earhart

There were quite a few times when the pilots, flying amazingly close to each other (as close as 18 inches apart in their most famous diamond formation) were flying upside down or sideways. The photo below shows one plane upside down next to another right-side-up. I got dizzy just watching!

Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy

 “Flying is like throwing your soul into the heavens and racing to catch it as it falls.”

Linda Howard

The jets fly as high as 15,000 feet and as low as 50.  Our show took place over Lake Michigan and it felt like the planes might have singed the hair on some of the boaters over whom them passed at their lowest points!  I found it most interesting that the pilots do not wear special gear, rather they control G-forces by using muscle contractions.

IN FORMATION

IN FORMATION

 

“Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.”

William Kerchner

So take my advice and if you ever have an opportunity to attend an airshow, do it :-) It may be the most amazing combination of artistry, daring, power and thrill as you’re ever likely to see.

To see some of the relics others chose to highlight, click here.

Cows in the Country – Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

“The cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.”

Wendelin Van Draanen

CONTRASTED CALF

CONTRASTED CALF

This week my husband and I spent several days in Asheville with good friends at their home in the mountains of North Carolina. On Saturday we took a fun hike which eventually led to a beautiful open meadow – whereupon we came across a herd of cows. I’m not sure who was more surprised, the cows or the hikers :-), but they proved to be perfect subjects for this week’s photo challenge “Contrast”.  Do you suppose the little fellow above will someday deliver milk in chocolate or vanilla?!  And what about the sweet-faced, big-eared baby below?

NUMBER 5

NUMBER 5

“When I encounter a sunrise, a painting, a woman, or an idea that makes my heart bound like a young calf, then I know I am standing in front of happiness.”

Nikos Kazantzakis

Contrast can be seen in many ways – some much more serious than others. But for this week’s challenge I’ve taken a literal and somewhat light-hearted approach. Below, a contrast in both size and age.

NURSING CALF

NURSING CALF

 “As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.

Joan Gussow

We saw several calves nursing, and were surprised at how large some of them were.  I suggested that they were obviously La Leche cows :-). Here, a stark contrast in color as well as size.

LA LECHE COWS

LA LECHE COWS

The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk.

Ogden Nash

The smallest calves we saw were these young siblings happily playing in a field of flowers.  How sweet of them to stop and pose for me, their caramel-colored coats contrasting nicely with the yellow buds.

CALVES AND FLOWERS

CALVES AND FLOWERS

 “Now I’ve a sheep and a cow, everyone bids me good morrow.”

Benjamin Franklin

There were other examples of contrast in our hike, not the least of which was the contrast between the bright green of the leaves against the dark of the forest we’d just exited – or the golden grasses contrasting that same bright green.

LEAVES AND TREES

LEAVES AND TREES

GOLDEN GRASSES

GOLDEN GRASSES

 “Contrasting color is the best means of capturing and incorporating the dramatic effects of light”

Desmond O’Hagan

But as unexpected as it was to come upon the cows, the shot below captures the biggest surprise of the day. Of course we all wondered what had happened to the owner. Had he walked away bare-footed? Surely not if the cows were anywhere nearby, as the evidence of their very efficient digestive systems was everywhere; just waiting for one misstep to ruin the day!!

WELL-WORN

WELL-WORN

 “Unmitigated seriousness is always out of place in human affairs.”

George Santayana

 

Care to check out some other bloggers’ contrasts? Click here.

cropped-2012-08-03-at-21-50-18.jpg

BRIDGES BETWEEN – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”

Rumi

RAILROAD BRIDGE, ALASKA

RAILROAD BRIDGE, ALASKA

This week our challenge is “between”, which I’ve chosen to illustrate using a few of the beautiful bridges I’ve seen in my travels. According to the MacMillan Dictionary, a bridge forms a “connection between one group and another, or between one situation and another.”

I captured the bridge above from a train while traveling to Denali National Park in Alaska.  If you look closely you can gauge the size of the vista based on the tiny people in boats rafting the waters.

ONE LANE BRIDGE, PATAGONIA

ONE LANE BRIDGE, PATAGONIA

This bridge, and the one below are both from our travels through Patagonia. The first gives new meaning to the term “one lane road” while the second shows just how beautifully a bridge can span the incredibly azure waters.

LONG ROAD TO A SMALL HOUSE, PATAGONIA

LONG ROAD TO A SMALL HOUSE, PATAGONIA

 “Action is the bridge between your dreams and reality.”

Apoorve Dubey

Not to be outdone, the U.S. has its share of beautiful bridges. The first capture below is from our west coast travels two years ago; the second from last year’s visit to the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

MOONLIT IN MENDOCINO

MOONLIT IN MENDOCINO

 “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”

Jim Rohn

BETWEEN THE ROCKS, SEDONA, ARIZONA

BETWEEN THE ROCKS, SEDONA, ARIZONA

 “Bridge the gap between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.”

Earl Nightingale

To see what some other bloggers saw “between” click here.