Lens-Artists Challenge #152 – Shade and Shadows

Within the Shadows

“Our job is to record this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”

Edward Abbey

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to feature shade and shadows – often a photographer’s nightmare but now and then, a dream. I’ve opened with a favorite image, taken in San Francisco under one of their many beautiful bridges. I loved the somewhat sinister feel of the man surrounded by the bridge’s shadows.

Don’t Fence Me In

“In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”

August Sander

I thought the shadows of the lovely scrolled fence above were actually prettier than the fence itself. Here in Charleston we see beautifully decorative iron work quite often because of the expertise of local legend Philip Simmons. However, I actually captured the fence above at the Mount of Beatitudes during our visit to Israel.

On the other hand, the window below IS located in downtown Charleston at our historic City Hall. I captured the image from the inside looking out on a bright, sunny day.

shadow, ironwork, window

Though a Glass Darkly

“The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.”

Jay Kristoff

Sometimes an object’s shadow is very easily identified, as in the following two images. The extra appendage on the airplane’s shadow is a float which allows water landings.

airplane, shadow

Fly-By

“Shadows can invite us to imagine what is hidden.”

Michale Kenna

Yet another mode of transportation in which you’ll sometimes find us is featured in the image below. This one is an unusual selfie during which I was using a cart to photograph a golf event here on Kiawah.

golf cart, shadow

Beside the Bunker

“The organization of light and shadow effects produce a new enrichment of vision.”

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

As the appearance of the moon signals the end of day, I thought it only appropriate to end my post this week with its light surrounded by shadows.

moon, shadows

Shadows on the Moon

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject, that is the essence of expression and art through photography.”

Scott Bourne

We look forward to seeing your shades and shadows as well. Be sure to link your response to Ann-Christine’s post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. We thank you as always for your creative and colorful responses to Patti’s challenge last week, and hope to see you next week as Amy leads the challenge. In the meanwhile, please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the week ahead.

Lens-Artists Challenge #151 – From Large to Small

beijing, rooftops, China
UP ON THE ROOF, BEIJING, CHINA

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”

Wassily Kandinsky

This week Patti has given us a double challenge – first to choose a color and second to show images that range in size from large to small. After much thought I decided on orange, and have opened with a large example of rooftops from Beijing’s Forbidden City.

flowers, red rocks, colorado
NATURAL ORANGE, COLORADO

Orange is the happiest color.”

Frank Sinatra

My second image above shows a beautiful garden of orange and yellow flowers fronting some of the huge orange-red rocks of Colorado. Although the image presents it as a beautiful natural landscape, in fact just beyond the tallest flowers is a treacherously difficult golf fairway which has gobbled up many a ball from golfers such as yours truly.

THREE, MONKS, ORANGE, BLACK UMBRELLAS
THREE MONKS

“When life gives you lemons….they could really be oranges.”

Ellen DeGeneres

Moving on to slightly smaller examples of orange, I’ve included a personal favorite image above. I captured these three monks sauntering along a dirt road in Cambodia using umbrellas as protection from the bright sun. I’ve posted this photograph more than once, and have a framed version of it that a friend painted from my image hanging in my home.

chihuly, glass, art, seattle
CHIHULY EXHIBIT, SEATTLE

“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable – each segment distinct.”

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The image above was part of a Chihuly art exhibit we saw while visiting Seattle, Washington. His glass artwork is all incredible, but I especially loved the way this piece was displayed in a glass structure through which one could see downtown Seattle. Each piece was unique and the fact that it was orange and yellow helped me to decide on that color for this week’s challenge – as did the following image of a performance artist posing in front of a fun piece of local wall art. Two VERY different, medium-sized approaches to art.

performance artist, colorful
THE EYES HAVE IT

“Be patient. Everything has its time. You can’t make an orange mature right away because you are hungry.”

Bangambiki Habyarimana

The images that follow are examples of small touches of orange – and of course they’re among my favorite subjects – the winged residents of Kiawah. The first image is very special to me. For 20 years here on Kiawah I’ve searched high and low for a painted bunting. It’s a tiny, very colorful bird, seen primarily in the spring. I finally saw, and photographed my first-ever last week on a neighbor’s bird bath. Can you believe those colors?! I was much more excited than most people would have been, especially considering I’m not really a birder, but this little one has been on my “must see” list for a very long time! Notice the band on his right leg, which tells us it’s not his first visit to Kiawah.

Painted Bunting, colorful, bird
THE ELUSIVE PAINTED BUNTING

“Orange is life. It’s unexpected but beautiful.”

Aly Martinez

Birds aren’t the only winged creatures on Kiawah, nor are they the smallest. Here’s yet another beautiful, small example of orange on the wing.

gulf fritillary, butterfly, orange, green leaves, spots
GULF FRITILLARY AT WORK

Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness.”

Tae Yun Kim

Finally, although breaking the rules a bit and going back to a large splash of orange, I thought it only appropriate to finish with a natural orange flourish – a beautiful sunset reflected on one of Kiawah’s many lagoons.

sunset, Kiawah Island
SUNSET, KIAWAH ISLAND

“The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset – the color that gives you hope that the sun will set only to rise again.”

Ram Charan

Once I decided on my color for this week it seems I found it everywhere! My task then became finding small, medium and large examples. I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices and will have fun putting together your own responses to Patti’s challenge. Be sure to link them to her original post here, and to add the Lens-Artists Tag.

I’ll close with a sincere thank you for your responses to Dianne’s Let’s Get Wild challenge last week. It was great to see nature unspoiled in so many beautiful places and we very much appreciate Dianne’s having taken the helm. We look forward to seeing your choices for this week and as always wish everyone a safe and wonderful week ahead.

Lens-Artists Challenge #150 – LET’S GET WILD

patagonia, mountains, Torres del Paine
TORRES DEL PAINE, PATAGONIA

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

John Muir

This week our guest host Dianne has asked us to share some examples of the wild places we’ve seen, “Mother Nature untouched and untrammelled”. I’ve opened above and below with some majestic mountain views of Patagonia. There, some of the most beautiful, rugged mountains in the world can be see in both Chile and Argentina. My header this week is also from that trip, a vista of the Andes that illustrates the immensity of the mountain peaks when compared with the structures below.

Laguna de los Tres, Patagonia, snow, El Chalten
LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, PATAGONIA

“The breathtaking view at the mountaintop is compensation for all of the breath lost whilst sweating towards it.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

While in Patagonia a good friend and I hiked to the famous Laguna de los Tres, seen above. The hike is steep and difficult, made more so by a sudden, frightening storm as we reached the lake. Protected from a fierce wind by a huge boulder, we jumped up, took a quick photograph or two (one of which is seen above) and hurried to descend before being caught by the storm. It one of my favorite memories of any of our amazing journeys.

CHEETAH, animal, sunset
MAJESTIC

“Sometimes you just have to find the majesty in yourself and other things to truly appreciate life.”

Imania Margria

Another treasured memory is pictured above. During one of our African safaris, we came upon this gorgeous cheetah at sunset, posing perfectly as we headed back to our lodgings. I cannot think of a better “wild” example than the incredible untouched beauty of Africa and the glorious creatures who roam freely there.

SPIRIT ISLAND, LAKE MALIGNE, JASPER NATIONAL PARK, CANADIAN ROCKY MOUNTAINS

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”

Ralph W. Sockman

A bit closer to home, the image above captures Spirit Island, a tiny piece of land on Lake Maligne, nestled in the middle of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. The lake is typically a bright azure blue, but on this day the clouds surrounded us, offering a more ominous perspective. Although I have several images of the scene at its azure-best, it’s the moody image that captured my imagination.

fallen sequoia roots
A FALLEN GIANT

Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things.”

Vera Nazarian

I’ve included the image of my 6’2″ / 2 meter husband standing among the roots of a fallen giant Redwood tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park. Although it may be considered less “wild” than some of my other images this week, it is a reminder of a place where the most incredibly majestic giants grow and thrive. Many are over 1,000 years old and grow as tall as 360 feet / 110 meters and as wide as 15 feet / 4.5 meters at their base. There is an air of absolute magic when walking among them, and the profound quiet brings with it an amazing sense of peace.

MOUNTAINS AND GLACIER, ALASKA

“Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.”

Halldór Laxness

We’ve been fortunate to see several glaciers in our travels, including Argentina’s Perito Merino, the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies, some of the 20+ remaining glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park, and several glaciers while on a small-boat cruise along Alaska’s Inside Passage which included Glacier Bay National Park. Searching the web identifies countless articles related to climate change’s effect on receding glaciers and melting sea ice resulting in today’s rising seas. It seems we are finally beginning to understand the issue although it remains to be seen how much will be done to address the problems we ourselves have created.

sunset, whale, glacier bay, ocean
SUNSET, GLACIER BAY, ALASKA

“…you never truly win a conservation battle – you just win the right to fight another day. Like an alcoholic, the environment is never saved. It always needs saving.”

Joshua Horwitz

During our Alaska visit we enjoyed the mountain vistas of Denali in the National Park, were enchanted by the antics of the salmon-fishing grizzly bears of Brooks Falls, and saw countless numbers of whales, especially on Glacier Bay. Adventuring out on a rubber raft late one evening, a whale breached so close to us we were truly frightened by the rocking of the boat and the sudden appearance of such a behemoth! Once we got over the shock we were thrilled to have been so close to such a magnificent creature. Sunsets on the bay are quite late and more beautiful than any I’ve seen before or since. They frequently included whale tails and flippers such as the one above .

THE WILD WEST – SOMEWHERE IN UTAH

“Every time I see something about the Wild West, I’m reminded that our version of history may not be what really happened.”

James McBride

I’ll close with a less dramatic scene from a road trip to visit the glorious national parks of the U.S. West. It was somewhere in Utah, between Bryce and Zion, that we came upon this scene. It reminded me of countless TV movies I’d seen growing up that featured cowboys and cattle and dry, dusty gulches filled with tumbleweed and the occasional set of cattle horns. 😊 There are vast areas which look exactly as pictured in those movies, and I couldn’t resist a stop now and then to capture some of them. They may not be quite as “wild” as glaciers or a herd of elephants crossing the savannah, but they too remain among the places still available to those of us seeking nature unaffected by the intervention of mankind.

Sincere thanks to Dianne for hosting this week’s challenge. Be sure to visit her post here, where she shares some incredible examples of nature’s best work. Also, thanks to those who responded to last week’s Blue and Green challenge – as always, your creative and interesting posts were terrific, covered a wide breadth of subjects, and were very much enjoyed by all of us. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti brings us “From Large to Small”. She’ll ask us to choose a color and share images of items from large to small that feature it. Sounds like fun! Until then, as always please stay safe and enjoy the week ahead. For those who recognize it, please take a moment to remember the real meaning behind Memorial Day.

Lens-Artists Challenge #149 – Cool Colors – Blue and Green

hot air balloon, blue, green
FLOATING AWWAY

“True voyagers are those who leave just to be leaving; hearts light like balloons.”

Charles Baudelaire

This week we are returning to the color wheel and its cooler members, which include blue (primary) green (secondary) and blue-green or blue-violet aka purple (tertiary). A visit to the web on the subject will take you deep into the emotions said to result from exposure to these and other colors. For this week’s purposes, let’s simply explore the many ways the cooler colors appear in our world.

metal frog, statue, violin
FROG-OLINIST

“Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”

Bianca Frazier

There are times when blue and green colors are used just for fun, as in the two images above. I captured the opening image one chilly, pre-dawn Oregon morning as a major balloon festival was getting underway. Shown in my second image, the smiling frog greets visitors arriving at the gates to Magnolia Gardens’ Audubon Swamp. Both images speak to me of fun and creativity.

grasses, nature, abstract

“Get close to grass and you’ll see a star.”

Dejan Stojanovic

Leaving behind “just for fun”, we move on to the blues and greens found in nature. Complimenting each other perfectly, this was the area where I found the greatest frequency of the two colors together. My image above presents it in an abstract way via a vertical pan of the spring marsh grasses. Below, we see it in a more classic landscape of sky, trees and water.

reflection of sky in water, blue and green, nature
REFLECTIONS

“The gods preferr their libations diluted with rainwater and mixed with freshly cut grass.

Thomm Quackenbush

Beyond nature’s more typical examples, the image that follows resulted from a bit of serendipity, capturing a somewhat unique combination of the colors.

dragonfly, eyes, leaf
BIG-EYED BUG

“Despite its dark veins, the transparency of dragonfly’s wings assures me of a pure, innocent world.”

Munia Khan

Moving on from nature, there are also beautiful combinations of blue and green in art and architecture. A stunning example is seen below in the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem. The rock over which the shrine is built is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque
DOME OF THE ROCK, JERUSALEM

“Love is your religion; the whole world is your temple.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

In addition to Israel, my quest for combinations of blue and green took me on a bit of a world tour – some examples are shown below:

ANCIENT BLUE AND GREEN CEILING, BEIJING, CHINA

“Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars.”

Colton Dixon
arizona, cacti, art
ARIZONA STREET CORNER ART, USA

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pable Picasso
LOVELY LAMPOST, LA BOCA, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

“There’s nothing more lovely than your lamplight, seen from a dark street…”

John Geddes

Last week we greatly enjoyed the fun we had with your responses to Ann-Christine’s Spots and Dots challenge. We hope you also enjoy this week’s Cool Colors and will join us with your own examples. Please remember to link your response to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally, next week we’re excited to announce that our challenge will be hosted by Dianne Millard of Rambling Ranger. Be sure to check out her beautiful blog and watch for her post next week. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #148 – Spots & Dots

COLORFUL, SHED, WALL ART
HOT PINK DOTS IN AN OVERGROWN SPOT

“A photograph is a universe of dots….It peels back the shadows and redeems the dazed and rumbling past.”

Don DeLillo

This week Ann-Christine threw me into a bit of a loop thinking about spots and dots. I decided to reach into the archives to see what I could find to fit her challenge. My opener above is from nearby Asheville, NC, which has a fun and funky area filled with amazing wall art. I loved the bright pink dots that brightened up the front of the otherwise dilapidated and deserted house.

peacock, blue, green
SHOWING OFF DOTS IN ALL THE RIGHT SPOTS

“A kiss, when all is said, what is it?….’Tis a secret told to the mouth instead of to the ear.”

Edmond Rostand

I couldn’t think of a better example of dots than the proud peacock in my image above. I’ve shown hm before in my posts about Magnolia Gardens, where he lives and prances about, proudly showing off his beautiful colors.

leopard cub
CAN YOU SPOT THE DOTS ON THE LEOPARD CUB?

“Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path.”

Steve Jobs

I have many favorite images from our African safaris, and those shown below contain a myriad of dots in multiple spots. I chose to feature the not-so-little leopard cub above because really, what could be more adorable?! He looks like you could reach out and cuddle him, but his mom – very nearby and watching closely – might not appreciate it.

(L to R below: Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill aka banana bird, cheetah, guinea hen. giraffe, cheetah, hyena)

ANIMALS OF AFRICA
SPOTS AND DOTS OF AFRICA

“Life is the night sky. All the dots of stars are happiness”

Richard L. Ratliff

Butterflies are everywhere during spring on Kiawah, but the zebra longwing shown below is a bit more rare. I came upon this one with its red and white dots and yellowish stripes, on Kiawah’s Ocean Course. Not far from my home, the course will host next week’s PGA golf event and its 10,000 attendees (including yours truly). I’m thinking the butterflies may choose to go into hiding until the coast is clear 😊.

BUTTERFLY, FLOWERS
A BUTTERFLY FLUTTERS BY

“Purpose is the thread that connects the dots to everything you do that leads you to an extraordinary life.”

Oprah Winfrey

I captured the rainy-day image below while visiting family in New York. They have a wonderful view of the nearby hills and mountains but on the day of this rainstorm the clouds obscured most all of the normally-beautiful scene. The rainy, foggy vista however, had a beauty all its own.

WINDOW, RAINDROPS
RAINDROPS ARE FALLING ON MY WINDOW

“The impulse to connect the dots – and to share what you’ve connected – is the urge that makes you an artist.”

Amanda Palmer


Finally, I’ll close with the little one below in her pink polka dot blouse and her very chic outfit. Tell me she doesn’t look like a break dancer just about to open her show!

POLKA DOTS AND STRIPES

“Somebody can paint with a fine brush like Monet, or somebody can splatter it up there like Kandinsky or Pollock and say ‘yep, that’s art.’ That’s OK.”

Patrick Wilson

Sincere thanks to all who responded to last week’s garden challenge. You presented us with an amazing array of gardens around the world and reminded us of the joy that gardens bring – whether our own, our neighbors’ or those that are world-renowned. This week we look forward to seeing your spots and dots. Please remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. I’ll be back right here on Travels and Trifles to host next week’s challenge. In the meanwhile, as always please remember to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #147 – Gardens

WELCOME GARDEN, KIAWAH ISLAND

All gardening is landscape painting.

William Kent

This week Amy has asked us to focus on gardens. As she notes, they come in all shapes and sizes, and whether in our own backyard, in far-away places, or anywhere in-between, we all enjoy their beauty. I’ve opened this week with an image of a small garden that greets residents and visitors upon arrival on Kiawah. While not always quite so lush, there are well-tended flowers of some variety in every season. This month the island is anticipating 10,000 visitors who will attend the 103rd PGA Championship on Kiawah’s Ocean Course beginning May 17th.

THE RED BRIDGE, MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

Alfred Austin

Amy also mentions the importance within Japanese gardens of red bridges. Here in the lowcountry of South Carolina, the iconic Magnolia Gardens, which I’ve often featured here on Travels and Trifles, includes the beautiful red bridge in the image above. I was fortunate that another visitor allowed me to photograph her adorable daughter alone on the bridge.

live oak tree, Magnolia Gardens
LEANING LIVE OAK, MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit..”

Nelson Henderson

Gardens are much more than flowers. In my image above, a glorious oak tree reaches out over the Ashley River adding to the charm of Magnolia’s gardens. Its Audubon Swamp, where cypress and tupelo trees grow directly within the water, also add to its unique beauty .

ALLIGATOR, TURTLE, MAGNOLIA GARDENS
LAZY DAY AT MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“We can plant to suit the needs of the birds and other wildlife that find a haven on our home ground, to do so is a moral dictate, not a personal whim.”

Allen Lacy

Gardens also invite visitors of the non-human variety 😊. My example above is yet another scene from Magnolia. Alligators and turtles are but two of the many creatures frequently seen throughout the property. On a given spring day the combination of colorful flowers, interesting creatures and nesting birds by the hundreds draws professional photographers and their students from all corners of the country.

flowers, bee, iris, cone flower, wisteria
BEVY OF BEAUTIES

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Of course a garden post would not be complete without flowers, so I’ve featured three of my favorites above. The center image is from a friend’s garden on which she and her husband spend countless hours each spring with glorious results. The two end images are from my visits to Magnolia Gardens. Whether your own, a friend’s, a stranger’s or a masterpiece like Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens, there is much to love about gardens – even if, like me, you barely know a flower from a weed.

Sincere thanks to all who responded to last week’s Focus on the Details challenge. We enjoyed every detail you offered and hope those of you who chose to show floral and garden details have more to share for this week’s challenge. Please be sure to link your response to Amy’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you in our reader. Wishing all the moms a Happy Mothers’ Day filled with love and beauty.

Lens-Artists Challenge #146 – Focus on the Details

ANHINGA LOVEBIRDS

“Leaving out of question the deliberately posed or arranged photograph, it is usually some incidental detail that heightens the effect of a picture”

Bill Brandt

It seems of late it is the birdlife of Kiawah that has been the most frequent draw for my lens. At the risk of boring those who follow me, I’m responding to Patti’s “Focus on the Details” challenge with one more post featuring our avian community. As Mr. Brandt posits above, it truly is the special, incidental detail that draws us in. In my opening example the nesting anhinga couple drew me in with their blue-rimmed eyes and seemingly smiling beaks. The colorful eyes are a characteristic of their breeding plumage.

GREAT BLUE HERON, BREEDING PLUMAGE, KIAWAH
LITTLE BLUE HERON

“Despite all the pictures in the world, there’s so much that’s unseen—people, landscapes, entire regions, small gestures, overlooked details.”

Kay Grannan

I must admit the bird shown above had me stumped. I’ve seen many a great blue heron but had never seen one with such a blue beak. After research, I learned the bird is a LITTLE blue heron, and that the turquoise beak (along with the rust-colored neck) is a characteristic of their breeding plumage. In this image I was drawn to the detail of both the beak and the vertical white feather of the bird’s head.

anhinga, Kiawah, bird
POISED FOR FLIGHT

“Every stone, every little perfection, or dilapidation, the most minute detail, which, on an ordinary drawing, would merit no special attention, becomes, on a photograph, worthy of careful study.”

Francis Frith

The anhinga above was not especially fond of my presence, and was more than ready to take off if I’d gotten one step closer. Since our goal as a photographer is to leave nature undisturbed, I backed off immediately after capturing this one. The moment I did so, the bird returned to his normal “at ease” posture. I loved his “crewcut” hairdo 😊and the flight-ready position of his wings.

Glossy Ibis, bird, kiawah, nature
STAR OF THE SHOW

“I find it strangely beautiful that the camera with its inherent clarity of object and detail can produce images that in spite of themselves offer possibilities to be more than they are.”

Joel Meyerowitz

I’ve chosen to save my favorite image of the week for last – a beautifully-colored Glossy Ibis. I captured all of this week’s images in an outing my husband and I made specifically to look for this bird. While typically nondescript, when in his breeding plumage he is quite spectacular. His head and neck are a rusty red, while his tail feathers are a shiny green and blue – almost metallic in appearance. His long beak is accentuated by white stripes which complete his distinctive appearance. In 20+ years here on Kiawah I’d never seen one and was thrilled to find him not far from my home. Now I’m on the lookout for his even more rare cousin, the white-faced ibis which has pink eyes and red legs during breeding season. A friend and fellow-photographer captured one earlier this week and after submitting it to the Department of Nature Resources was told it was only the second time one had been seen in South Carolina. Let the quest begin!

In closing, one more thank you to Priscilla for her “Getting to Know You” challenge, and to those of you who responded. It gave all of us some new insight into our community and the things that are most important to all of us. Next week we’ll have a slight change to our normal schedule and Amy will lead our challenge on her Share and Connect site. In the meanwhile we look forward to seeing the details you choose for this week. Please remember to include a link to Patti’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Happy May everyone!

Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You

egrets, marsh, Kiawah Island
GOLDEN GRASSES, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them.”

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

This week our guest host Priscilla has invited us to illustrate a relationship with “a person, place, culture or object that has captured our attention, won our affection, and taught us a thing or two.” Many years ago when I told a friend in New Jersey that we were building a home on Kiawah’s marsh, he asked why anyone would want to live “on a swamp”. With a smile at the memory, I’d like to answer his question by inviting you to get to know one of my favorite places in the world, the lowcountry marsh of Kiawah Island.

MARSH, SUMMER, KIAWAH
THE ARRIVAL OF SPRING

“…to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”

Rachel Carson

I have seen the marsh in all kinds of weather, at all times of day, and in every season. While I love the sea on which our island rests, to me it falls short of the beauty and variety of our salt marsh. Its colors change with the seasons, delivering magnificent sunrises and sunsets throughout the year. Its “pluff mud”, seen at low tide, is cultivated as an amazing balm for the skin. At high tide it can resemble a massive body of water with the occasional tree poking through.

marshland, deer, Seabrook Island
ENJOYING THE MARSH

The marsh holds melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.”

William Beebe

The marsh performs vital functions for our coastal world. It filters unwanted chemicals to improve water quality and provides an important habitat for organisms that feed our beautiful birds. It is home to fish, shrimp, crabs, turtles, otters, snails and many other creatures, and offers safe breeding grounds and nutrients for our winged residents. Often, the sight of fishermen casting nets to capture bait fish is a reminder of nostalgic days gone by.

MARSH, WOODSTORKS, KIAWAH
WOODSTORKS, LOW TIDE

“…you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”

Pat Conroy

The grasses of the marsh perfectly illustrate our changing seasons. A bright, verdant green announces the arrival of spring which deepens as the grasses grow longer in the heat of summer. The beautiful gold tones of autumn turn a sleepy beige as winter’s chill sets in. Marsh tides deliver ever-changing scenery which at their height fill the many creeks and streams until the grasses are nearly hidden. Low tides create a feeding ground for our many aquatic birds along with an opportunity for local photographers. Cloud formations reflect on the marsh waters below, which serve as both respite and meal ticket for our local river dolphins. It is an ever-changing miracle of nature that offers not only beauty but also a playground for boaters, fishermen, crabbers, kayakers and paddle boarders.

MARSH, KIAWAH, CLOUDS
I’VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW

“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free. Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea.

Sidney Lanier

I could go on forever about the beauty of our marshes, and their importance to our island and its wild inhabitants. Instead, I’ll share a few more images before closing, in the hopes that you might find it as beautiful as I do. What better way to celebrate the importance of this natural wonder than the week of Earth Day?!

King Tide, Kiawah Island, Marsh
KING TIDES
MARSH, GOLDEN GRASS, SKY, KIAWAH ISLAND
GOLDEN SUNLIGHT
MARSH, EGRET, KIAWAH ISLAND
FEEDING TIME
KIAWAH ISLAND, MARSH, SUNSET
MARSH SUNSET

“We need the tonic of the wilderness, to wade sometimes in the marsh where the bitten and the meadow hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snips; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.”

Henry David Thoreau

Special thanks to Priscilla for joining us as Guest Host, and for a beautiful challenge which offered me a chance to share one of my favorite places. We look forward to getting to better know the people, places and/or things that are most special to you. Please remember to link your response to Priscilla’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule with Patti leading the challenge on her Pilotfish blog inviting you to “Focus on the Details”. Until then, please continue to stay safe and be kind.

Note: With the exception of my third image in neighboring Seabrook Island, all of this week’s images were captured on Kiawah Island

Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

owl
WHOOOO ARE YOU DOWN THERE ???

“Birds are magical. Their flight alone can arouse a clever thought.”

Michael Bassey

Flying…how often have you thought about how amazing it would be to simply stretch your arms and soar? When you think about it, the number of flying “objects” is quite large. Yes, of course the birds. But beyond them, butterflies, bees and other insects, airplanes, balloons, bubbles, kites….well, you get the idea. So this week, although I’m focused on some of the beautiful birds of Kiawah, please feel free to be creative and choose whichever flying objects catch your imagination and your lens.

Roseate spoonbills, pink, birds
PARTNERS IN PINK

“The biggest favor you can do to yourself is fly freely like birds.”

Kuldeep Gera

Kiawah is home to an incredible abundance of birdlife. I captured the barred owl in my opening image two weeks ago very close to my home. As the old poem says, “A wise old owl sat on an oak”, and indeed he did. Roseate spoonbills such as those just above spend weeks here in the spring but leave to have their chicks in Florida. They return and can be seen here well into autumn. Their distinctive pink coloring and spoon-shaped bills are obvious elements of their name.

EAGLET
BIG BABIES

“What joy can compare with that of a bird that has just learned she can fly?”

Marty Rubin

A few weeks ago I posted an image of the eaglets above with one of their parents on the nest. On a return visit, big brother was apparently either teaching the next-born how to fly – or he was letting the little guy know who was really boss. We were fortunate to have four active eagle nests on the island this year and all of them had eaglets that successfully fledged. Does that mean next year we’ll have eight?!

HERON CHICK
HERON CHICK

“You are the only one that knows how high or how far you can fly.”

Theodore Volgoff

I’ve often posted images of the beautiful blue herons that are frequently seen around our lagoons and ponds.This is the first time however that I’ve shared an image of a juvenile such as the one above. It’s hard to believe his rather unimpressive brown feathers will soon become a beautiful blue-grey, and his little wings will expand to over 6 feet across.

Hooded merganser, pair, ducks
BRIGHT EYED

“A bird seldom depends on the strength of the breeze for its flight. It relies solely on its own wings to soar higher.”

Anurag Anand

The image above is one of my archived favorites. We’d had a “fish kill” here on Kiawah, which sometimes happens when the water in our more shallow lagoons gets too warm. I was shooting with a friend who’d shared her 600mm lens that fit my camera as well. Fortunately I was using a tripod that day as I could not have handheld something that heavy.

hummingbird
FROZEN IN MOTION

If you never dream of flying, then you’ll never wake up with wings.”

Natalie Kendall

Finally, I’ll admit the little hummingbird above is not a Kiawah Resident. I spent hours at my brother’s home in Colorado trying to capture these incredible creatures as they lined up for their turn at the feeder. Their speed and agility was amazing, although I was surprised by their aggressiveness toward each other. I could have watched them for days – and in fact, I did!

Thank you as always for your responses to last week’s Colorful April challenge – you shared some amazing examples of spring’s (as well as a few of autumn’s) incredible beauty. We very much appreciate your creativity and continued support of our challenge. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this week’s Taking Flight challenge – please remember to link to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. Last but definitely not least, we hope you’ll join us next week when we welcome our Guest Host, Priscilla of Scillagrace . Be sure to check out her ever-thoughtful and interesting blog.

Lens-Artists Challenge #143 – Colorful April

spring, flowers, path, color, Middleton Plantation
SPRINGTIME SCENE, MIDDLETON PLANTATION

“See with a different eye, visualize with a colorful mind, manifest your thoughts with the energy within.”

Michael Bassey Johnson

Well it is’s official, spring has definitely sprung here in the southern U.S. Earlier this week a friend and I drove to nearby Middleton Plantation to see whether the azaleas had begun to bloom. As you can see in the image above, they had more than just begun 😊. It was a glorious, sunny spring day with flowers at every turn. A photographer’s dream, we did our best to take full advantage of it.

Middleton Plantation, bridge, water, landscape
GLORIOUS NATURE

“Did I live the spring I’d sought? It’s true in joy, I walked along, took part in dance, and sang the song.”

Roman Payne

The earth was awash in glorious color from every direction. As Amy so rightly noted, the verdant greens seemed to predominate every scene, but the reds, pinks, whites and yellows found ways to make themselves known just the same. No matter the color, the many ponds throughout the venue reflected them all equally.

Japanese Maple, red, landscape, Middleton Plantation
ALMOST JAPANESE

“Have the Japanese, from generations spent in one-story paper houses, learned an alphabet of beauty in nature, that we, in our houses of brick and stone, have shut out?”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I chose a quote about Japanese art because the image above, and the view it captured, reminded me of something one might see on a Japanese scroll. I also believe the red tree in the foreground is a Japanese maple. I made a point of keeping the image soft, especially in its background – thinking a Japanese artist might depict it that way.

SPRING, MIDDLETON PLANTATION, SPANISH MOSS, TREE, SPRING
PERFECT PLACE TO PONDER

“If you never go out on that limb, you’re missing a hell of a view.”

Jodi Picoult

The image above features one of many gorgeous live oaks which grace the property. Most are hundreds of years old, and are symbiotically decorated with patches of spanish moss. There are benches throughout the property should one wish to sit and ponder nature’s gifts. For us, knowing there was another beautiful vista around every corner, we chose to keep moving and shooting.

A DIFFERENT ANGLE

“A flower does not use words to announce its arrival to the world; it just blooms.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

There were so many beautiful blossoms throughout the plantation, it would be impossible to portray them all. I chose instead to include a small sampling. On the left, a pink camellia. These are the first blossoms of spring and are about finished blooming. On the right – a pink azalea just entering its prime. Finally, from the back, a white flower which unfortunately I didn’t recognize – anyone??

spanish moss, spring, Middleton Plantation, spring
MOSTLY MOSS

“More delicately, more intricately fashioned than any grasses of the field, more subtle in texture than any seaweed of the sea…There is a religious reticence in the nature of moss.”

John Cowper Powys

Middleton is a National Historic Landmark spanning 110 acres along the Ashley River. Like most southern plantations, it prospered from the use of slaves. A 10-year Middleton research project has worked to identify the names and stories of some 2,800 slaves who worked the plantation until 1865. They have created an exhibit, a book and a documentary film to “explore the lives, families and contributions of seven generations of enslaved people.” While we cannot undo the wrongs of the past, at the very least we can learn from them as well as acknowledge and give names to those whose labor created the beauty we enjoy today.

As always, we thank those of you who joined us for last week’s “You Pick It” challenge. What a diverse set of images and subjects you presented! I’ll be back right here on Travels and Trifles to host next week’s challenge. In the meanwhile we look forward to seeing your colorful images of April. Please remember to use our Lens-Artists tag and to link to Amy’s original post here.