Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

mountain, Alaska, purple
Purple Mountain Majesty, Denali National Park, Alaska

“I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is stay close to home.”

Annie Leibovitz

Like many of us, I find myself energized and excited by the photographic opportunities I find while traveling – especially to foreign countries where so many things are so different from my usual environment. On the other hand, there is much to love here in my own country. This week, let’s give that some extra thought. If a foreigner were to spend a week or a month traveling your home country with you, where would you take them? What sights would you tell them to be sure to see? Where have you found some of your own favorite images? What is it you truly love about where you live, or places you’ve seen in your home country? For example, my image above shows a beautiful Alaskan mountain vista – which couldn’t be more different than my home here in the warmth of South Carolina’s “Lowcountry”.

Oregon, ocean, rocks, coast
From Sea To Shining Sea, Bandon, Oregon

“There’s still an epic story to be told which exists wherever humans have made their homes.”

Jem Southam

Here in the U.S. we are surrounded by four major bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Pacific Ocean in the west, The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Each of these is unique and offers different coastlines and creatures. I’ve featured a favorite image from a visit to Oregon’s rocky coastline above, which those who follow me know is completely different from the many mages I’ve posted from my eastern coastline here on Kiawah Island.

mountains, Zion, National Park
Zion National Park, Utah

“Adventure is not only measured in kilometers.”

Willie Ronis

One of the things I most love about the U.S. is our network of National Parks. There are 423 National Parks across the country comprising some 84 million acres. 63 carry the name “National Park” while the remainder are places like National Historic Sites, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, etc. The landscapes are simply breathtaking. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many, including Zion (shown above), Bryce, Denali, Katmai, Glacier, Yosemite, Virgin Islands, Grand Teton, Crater Lake, The Grand Canyon, Acadia, Yellowstone, Redwood, and Sequoia. Others, including Great Smoky Mountains and Joshua Tree, are still on my bucket list. I would encourage anyone visiting the U.S., especially nature lovers and photographers, to see as many as possible.

Maine, harbor, small town
Anytown USA, Maine

“There are things you experience growing up in a small town that create memories that last a lifetime.”

Carlos Wallace

While most visitors enjoy the excitement of big cities like New York or San Francisco (which have MUCH to offer), there is a wonderful community of small towns throughout the U.S., each with their own special highlights. Above I’ve featured a small town in Maine in the northeastern US. There you find communities that have been built around the remarkable fishing opportunites of the Atlantic Ocean, including lobster (for which they are best known).

9-11, cross, NYC
9/11 Commemorative Cross, NYC

Speaking of NYC, the image above and the two that follow were recently captured there. They represent three of my favorite things about the U.S. First, that the country was founded based on personal freedoms, including religion, which remains an important element of our national identity. Second, despite our many differences, when challenged we do manage to come together in support of the nation and of each other. Third, no matter how big the city or how dense the population, there are open areas for relaxation and enjoyment of nature’s many gifts.

flags, police, parade
Patriotism, NYC

“Someday, I hope that we will all be patriots of our planet and not just of our respective nations.”

Zoe Weil
Central park, NYC, water, bridge, boats
Central Park, NYC

“…air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

Sylvia Plath

I’ll close with three final images that address our country’s respect for nature. The first was captured during a visit to Yellowstone National Park where the geysers and the animals that roam the park are magnificent. The second is from a beautiful vineyard in Washington State, and the third is my husband, who at 6’2″ is dwarfed by the towering specimens of ancient trees in Sequoia National Park.

yellowstone, buffalo
Yellowstone National Park

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”

Albert Einstein

Vineyard in Bloom, Washington State

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Towering Trees

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir

Sincere thanks for your patience as I meandered through some of my favorite places and things here in the U.S. We’re looking forward to seeing your own favorites wherever you live, or wherever you’re from, or both! Please remember to link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Thanks also to Jude for Guest Hosting last week’s Textures Challenge. Both her challenge and your responses were original, well composed and beautifully photographed. We very much appreciate your support. Our next challenge, DIAGONALS will be hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog so be sure to check in next Saturday at noon EST. Until then as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.


Lens-Artists Challenge #226 – Textures

leaves, snow, brown, black
Summertime in the Mountains

“I am convinced that abstract form, imagery, color, texture and material convey a meaning equal to or greater than words.”

Katherine McCoy

This week our Guest Host, Jude, has asked us to visualize texture – a subject near and dear to the hearts of photographers. In response, I found myself drawn to the many types of textures offered by nature. My opening image was captured this past June as my husband and I spent a week in the North Carolina mountains. Although the weather was absolutely perfect, some of the areas were so high that there were dustings of ice visible in the early mornings. Nearby (shown below), an example of some of the mossy magic to be found in the mountain forests. Can’t you just imaging one of the Hobbit’s elves emerging just after you’d passed by?!

moss, tree,
Mossy Magic

“There is something magical about photography.”

Harry Gruyzert

Speaking of magic, there are moments here on Kiawah that are nothing short of magical. My brother was visiting earlier this month and we went to the Ocean Course one evening for dinner. I had to tone down the colors of the iPhone image that follows because the sunset was so spectacular it would be hard to believe I hadn’t doctored it. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sweetgrass this year has been incredible – more colorful and longer-lasting than we’ve ever seen it. All of the elements combined that evening to add beautiful textures to the scene, but the sweetgrass color and texture are what to me make it special.

sweetgrass, sunset, Ocean Course, Kiawah
Sweetgrass at Sunset

“After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still and a quiet descends…A sense of magic prevails.”

John Sexton

Back on the beach textures are apparent everywhere we look. The other day while walking with my husband he drew my attention to a perfectly shaped starfish nestled into the sand. Although we see them sometimes they’re actually not very common here. I captured it with my iPhone along with the little sculpture created by Mother Nature and now adorning my desk. Although small in size there must be 20 shells all adhering to the larger shell at the base. A wonderful find!

starfish, seashells, sculpture, Kiawah
Gifts from the Sea

“Photography is about searching, finding and reacting.”

Jesse Marlow

Of course there are many other examples of wonderful textures outside of those offered by Mother Nature. In a recent post I shared an image of a horse peeking out of his stall at the barn. Here is that door when closed, showing us the textures Father Time will create given the opportunity.

barn, door, paint, worn
Age = Texture

“…I am not lonely. Shifting light, textures, shades; these are my companions.”

Steve Coleman

Finally, one more example of texture outside of Mother Nature’s offerings. When I saw the subject for this week’s challenge, my mind’s eye immediately went to an image I’ve posted before. As a former knitter, I do love the textures in this one.

knitting, hand
Knit One, Purl One

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone to having abundance in your life.”

Wayne Dyer

Sincere thanks to Jude for hosting our challenge this week. Please click here to see and link to her beautiful original post. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Anne for her uber-fun Wildlife Close To Home challenge last week. What an array of marvelous creatures you all shared with us! Finally, I’ll be your host here on Travels and Trifles for next week’s challenge. Until then please stay safe and be kind, and my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it. In fact, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday it’s a great opportunity to think about the many things for which we are, or should be thankful!

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #225 – Wildlife Close To Home

bobcat, spots
Kiawah Bobcat

“We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.” 

Steve Irwin

This week Anne has given us a challenge near and dear to my heart. As a true lover of nature and her many creatures both large and small, our safari in Africa is at the very top of my list of travel memories. Seeing creatures in their natural habitat shows us the world as it was meant to be. On Kiawah we are fortunate that there is a high level of focus on / appreciation of / habitat preservation for our local wildlife. Our deer population is primarily controlled by the bobcats who roam the island. They are elusive creatures but are occasionally seen crossing the roads or raising their kittens in the high grasses that surround us. If we’re really lucky we see them hunting small prey along the grassy edges as shown above.

deer, fawn, wildlife
Kiawah’s Deer

“Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.”

Alice Walker

Our wildlife is a bit less skittish around humans than in many other places. Deer, for example, will allow us to get quite close. The image on the far right above is actually a deer licking salt from my leg on a hot summer day. I’d stopped my bike to capture an image of her fawn and unfortunately was using my zoom lens so I was unable to get a better image of the doe. I was a quite startled by the whole thing, but I did at least manage to document the incident 😊.

strand feeding, stranding, dolphins, Kiawah
Kiawah’s Dolphins Strand Feeding

“Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”

Mila Kundera

We are fortunate to be among the very few places where dolphin strand-feeding occurs. Basically the dolphins form “teams” that gather to push baitfish onto the shore at very high speed. Once there they (along with the opportunistic pelicans that follow them) feast on the unlucky fish. It’s a recognized illustration of animal intelligence and learned behaviors which we are only now beginning to understand. National Geographic spent months here on Kiawah filming the behavior for their Predator series a few years back.

birds, collage, Kiawah, egret, heron, eagle, owl, roseate spoonbill, hooded merganser, pelicans
Birds of Kiawah Island (Some of them anyway!)

“Without birds, where would we have learned that there can be song in the heart?”

Hal Borland

I’ve featured many of the birds of Kiawah through the years and will admit that before moving here I hadn’t given birds much thought. Kiawah’s bird species number over 300 strong. We are a stopover point for the amazing red knot species whose annual migration covers 18,000 miles. Last year we had 6 bald eagle nests on our 10 mile island as well as owls, osprey and multiple species of hawks. Shorebirds like skimmers, seagulls, brown pelicans, sanderlings, willets and piping plovers nest and roost along our beaches. Along our wetlands herons, egrets, ducks and kingfishers as well as many others thrive. Our most recent inhabitants are the beautiful pink roseate spoonbills which it seems are moving to our area due to climate change.

Big Ole Boy – Gator Alert!

“Every once in a while an alligator has a lightbulb moment and decides to take a stroll and see the world a bit.”

Maureen Johnson

I had to laugh at the quote beneath my alligator image above because especially during mating season we often see them crossing our streets or strolling along the paths of our golf courses. For the most part however, they stick to their normal habitat which is in and around our lagoons and ponds. Although they appear placid they can be dangerous and there are signs everywhere warning visitors to keep their distance. Often we see them sharing a spot in the sunlight beside egrets, cormorants and herons, neither bothering the other – unless or until the gator decides it’s mealtime. Then we see nothing but the feathers that were lost in the frenzy. They’ll eat most anything, including full-sized deer which they drown before eating. Residents know to keep their distance but we occasionally need to warn inquisitive tourists. They can grow quite large, are very fast, and should never be considered friendly.

squirrels, tree
Too Close For Comfort

“Making a difference to the welfare of Animals doesn’t require a massive effort; it requires small actions that can make a significant impact.”

Paul Oxton

I’ve often thought about how humans have defined other creatures throughout the years. Why are bobcats and eagles seen as beautiful and worthy of admiration, while squirrels and crows are seen as pests and treated with disdain? How have we come to love dogs and cats yet we treat coyotes and wolves as demons worthy of eradication? I’l admit despite my respect for wildlife I don’t tolerate creatures like marsh rats, mice, or armadillos. I love and have many photographs of butterflies but insects like ants and the dreaded “palmetto bugs” make my skin crawl! And yes, occasionally I do eat meat. We humans are a fickle species, aren’t we?!

butterfly, flower, colorful
A Butterfly Flutters By

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

Thanks to Anne for the opportunity to explore one of my favorite subjects. I look forward to seeing what other creatures our followers around the world choose to highlight. Please remember to link your response to Anne’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Thanks to Sofia for last-week’s exposure challenge, and to those of you who responded with so many different approaches. It was great fun seeing how creative and diverse your results were from adjusting exposures in such a wide variety of applications. Finally, we are excited that next week our challenge will be Guest-Hosted by Jude, aka HeyJude of Cornwall in Colours and hope you’ll join us for that. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #224 – Exposure

horse, window, barn
A Horse is a Horse Of Course, Of Course

“Exposure in photography = Salt in food.”

Lakshman Iyer

This week Sofia has given us an opportunity to work with photographic exposure. While I often adjust exposure in the field, more often I use exposure to adjust my images in post-processing for artistic effect. For me “correct” exposure creates an accurate portrayal of what was seen in the field, as above. (As an aside, correctly exposing my opening image was a challenge because of the stark contrast between the dark horse, the barn interior and the brilliant sunshine outside of the barn at high noon.) In the edited image below, I’ve adjusted the exposure to create something a bit more artistic by over-exposing it in post-processing.

horse, over processed, white, artistic
Artistically Over-exposed Horse – Still a Horse!

“Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images.”

Minor White

Sometimes exposure adjustment can be used to isolate a subject. For example, beautiful blossoms can often be surrounded by distracting clutter like multi-colored leaves or things like homes, weeds, trees or sidewalks. Magnolias such as the one below are particularly difficult to isolate.

magnolia, flower, white, leaves
Magnolia, Surrounded

“Crystallize in your own mind at the time of exposure just what you are trying to say, to mentally trim the scene down to your subject.”

Leendert Drukker

I loved both the Drukker quote above and the Karsh quote that follows the image below. What, really, did I want the photograph to say? That a magnolia’s purity is beyond compare, that its lovely petals are naturally symmetrical, and that its beauty comes from its simplicity. To me, the original image cannot compare with the one below, on which I’ve dropped the background exposure to clear out the clutter that surrounded it. This is something much easier to do in post than in the field.

magnolia, white, contrast, isolation
Purity Personified, Magnolia

“It should be the aim of every photographer to make a single exposure that shows everything about the subject.”

Yousuf Karsh

Sometimes an exposure ‘tweak’ can improve our results when photographing people by eliminating distractions and softening the skin. The image below, from last summer’s family reunion, captures one of my favorite little people, my great-niece. The differences between the two images are subtle but I think make a nice improvement. What do you think?

child, comparison
Here’s Looking At YOU Kid

“A camera exposes more than just a image. It also exposes the photographer.

Steve Coleman

Finally, during a visit to North Carolina this summer my husband and I came upon a trio of turtles sunning themselves on a rock. Once again I felt that the messy waters that surrounded them added too much clutter. Adjusting the exposure in camera either made the water too bright or the subject too dark. Hence, my choice to work toward an artistic impression using post-processing exposure adjustment. Here are the original and the edited images.

turtles, three
Three Turtles – Original

“Photography can light up darkness and expose ignorance.”

Lewis Wickes Hines
Turtles, water, Three
Three Turtles – Edited

“The world is one huge canvas, find your location and expose your film passionately!”

Steve Denby

Thanks to Sofia for the opportunity to explore how exposure can be used to create images that reflect our vision. We look forward to seeing your examples. Be sure to link your response to Sofia’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John for his inspirational Flights of Fancy challenge. We were amazed at the creativity and originality of all of the responses. Finally, be sure to visit us next week when Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed will host our next challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #223 – Flights of Fancy

horse, chicken, goat, grazing
Old MacDonald Had A Farm – E-I-E-I O

Farming is a profession of hope.”

Brian Brett

Well I must admit that John knocked me for a loop this week with his Flights of Fancy challenge. I thought long and hard but came up empty. That is, until it occurred to me that children’s songs and poems are all about fanciful things – and I was off to have some fun with John’s theme. My opener (along with this week’s header), represents what one might find on “Old MacDonald’s” farm – on the assumption he actually had one 😊. At night, after putting his farm critters in their stalls perhaps he sang his children to sleep with the lovely …..

night, stars, twinkle
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

Sarah Williams

Many nursery rhymes, children’s stories and songs are widely known around the world. Some of today’s features will be more familiar to those in the U.S. (Although Twinkle Twinkle above was originally written in England.) But one I’m guessing very few of you will recognize is my children’s story Al E. Gator Moves To Kiawah. Click on the link and hit Preview for a look at my published children’s book.

alligator, teeth, smile, book
Al E. Gator

“You know you’re old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.”

Phyllis Diller

The next image is one that I suspect most all of us could guess, especially since its fleece is white as snow. Yep, it’s everyone’s favorite, Mary’s Little Lamb.

sheep, lambs, fleece
Mary Had A Little Lamb Its Fleece Was White As Snow

“Mary had a little lamb its fleece electrostatic. And everywhere Mary went the lights became erratic.”

David Foster Wallace

Once I got started I enjoyed skipping down Memory Lane to revisit some childhood favorites. I’ll be interested to hear from our international followers about which of these stories, songs and nursery rhymes are popular in other places and whether they’re exactly the same or a bit different. For example…

pink, sparkle, flower petals, shoe
One Two, Buckle My Shoe, Three, Four, Shut The Door

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

Marilyn Monroe

How many generations of children have enjoyed, learned and sung along with the verses of these children’s standards? But what about spoken lyrics? Who knows this one?

owl, bird
The Wise Old Owl

“A wise old owl sat in an oak; the more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke the more he heard; why can’t we be like that old bird?”

Unattributed, first published in 1875

Or how about this one? I’ve probably recited it a hundred times with our granddaughter, nieces, nephews and the children of our friends. Funny when you think of it, it’s kind of a creepy subject but put it into a rhyme with a tickle at the end and voila, it’s guaranteed to generate giggles and smiles.

spider, web
The Itsy, Bitsy Spider Climbed Up The Water Spout

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself….and spiders!”

Darynda Jones

I’ll close with a favorite which I think should be known to most everyone — or maybe not. Can you guess it?

boat, lake, dock, mountains
Row, Row, Row Your Boat Gently Down the Stream

“Little boats should keep near shore.”

Benjamin Franklin

OK you’re right, it’s not really a stream and it has a motor but you get the idea 😊. Thanks to those who hung in there with me for this one. Please let me know which of these examples, well-known here in the U.S., are recognized around the world – and whether perhaps your version is a bit different. Thanks also to those who joined us for Amy’s Mountains Are Calling challenge last week. We very much enjoyed your amazing collections of magnificent peaks from around the world!

Hopefully John will forgive me for stretching the meaning of his challenge a bit; we look forward to seeing how you interpret his fanciful theme. Be sure to link to his original here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Next week’s challenge “Exposure” will be led by Sofia on her Photographias site so be sure to check it out. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #222 – The Mountains are Calling

Torres del Paine, mountains, Patagonia
Torres del Paine, Patagonia

“Some see mountains as obstacles. Others as a canvas.”

Richard Paul Evans

This week Amy has challenged us to go to the mountains, and so we shall. Because we live at sea level it’s obviously a trip to the archives for me. I’ve opened with the most impressive mountains I’ve ever seen, those of Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. Breathtaking in their size and splendor, they are among my most vivid memories. Seen above, the glorious Torres, and below Mt. Fitzroy towering above Laguna de los Tres. Shared with a good friend, I count this as the most invigorating and beautiful climb I’ve ever done.

Patagonia, Chile, Argentina, lake, snow, mountains
Mt. Fitzroy and Laguna de los Tres

“Only mountains can feel the frozen warmth of the sun through snow’s gentle caress on their peaks.”

Munia Khan

In a single day, one can see spring, summer, autumn and winter in the world’s mountains. Exhibit A, all three of today’s opening images can be experienced in a single day in Patagonia.

flowers, mountains, Patagonia, lake, snow
Nature’s Bounty, Patagonia

“The climb speaks to our character, but the view, I think, to our souls.”

Lori Lansens

From South America we travel approximately 11,400 miles (18, 400 km) to China where of course the most famous (and world’s highest) mountain range is the Himalayan. While I’ve not been there, I have visited several other Chinese mountains, all beautiful and all very impressive. My favorite, of course, is home to China’s Great Wall, the Jundu Mountains.

The Great Wall of China, Jundu Mountains

“The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.” 

Paulo Cuehlo

I have been fortunate to have seen the three places in the world at the top of my wish list – The Great Wall, the wilds of Africa, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. All three vastly exceeded even my wildest dreams. But some less-famous wonders have also made their way into my fondest memories, including a slow cruise among China’s Karst Mountains in Guilin.

Guilin, Karsts, boats, haze
Hazy Day Among the Karsts of Guilin, China

May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

Edward Abbey

Sadly my journeys to some of the magnificent mountains of Europe and Australia preceded my use of digital photography and are consigned to my photo albums and scrapbooks. But having included some of the world’s far-away mountains, It’s only fair that I share some of the more impressive mountains here in the U.S. I’ve begun with the Alaska Range, home of Denali which rises 18,000 feet (5,500 meters). It is the highest mountain in North America and third highest in the world.

alaska, mountain, snow
The Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska

“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

David McCullough Jr.

Perhaps the best known mountains in the U.S. are the Rockies. While there are amazing vistas of the Rockies throughout the western U.S., perhaps the most magnificent are in Montana’s Glacier National Park, which shares its borders with Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. The following two images are from our visits to Glacier NP.

Rocky Mountains, vista, mountains, Glacier NP
Rocky Mountain Vista, Glacier NP, Montana, U.S.

“Sometimes in life, we don’t get to choose the mountain; it chooses us.” 

Neal McCoy
Glacier NP, clouds, flowers, mountains, vista
Above the Clouds, Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.

“Mountains are the beginning and end of all natural scenery.”

John Ruskin

I’ll close this week’s post with an image that speaks to nature’s beauty as seen among the red rocks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. There is much joy to be found in our world despite its challenges, especially when seen from within nature’s bounty. Photography helps to remind us of that which awaits those fortunate enough to seek its peace.

flowers, red rocks, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Nature’s Gifts, Rocky Mountains, Colorada, U.S.

“Always be thankful for the little things… even the smallest mountains can hide the most breathtaking views.” 

Nyki Mack

Sincere thanks to Amy for the opportunity to stroll down Memory Lane. Living in the Low Country it is sometimes easy to forget the glory to be found among the world’s magnificent mountains. We look forward to seeing the peaks you’ve captured both near and far. Please remember to link to Amy’s beautiful original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Thanks also for the many beautiful responses to Ann-Christine’s Flower challenge last week. What an amazing array of blossoms you shared. Many of them were flowers I was seeing for the first time. Wishing everyone a great week ahead. As always, please be sure to stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #221 – Favorite Flowers

flower, bud
About To Bloom

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Henri Matisse

This week Ann-Christine has gifted us with an opportunity to share some of our favorite flower images. I am the first to admit that unlike Ann-Christine, I know almost nothing about flowers other than that I love them as they bud, bloom and even as they die. They share our love of the sun and teach us the joy of turning our faces toward the rain. I may not know their names but I love the lessons they teach us and the beauty they so generously provide.

flower, butterfly, orange

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.”

Ecouchard Le Brun

Some of today’s images are from the archives others are more recent, most haven’t been previously posted. My only criteria was to include flower images that I love for one reason or another, including exhibit A, above. The blossom may have lost its luster but still it provides sustenance and a place for butterflies to rest while passing by. Or below, a blossom captured in a friend’s garden a while back. I thought it was so unique and richly-colored that it deserved a place in today’s challenge response.

flower, purple
Pretty in Purple

“I must have flowers, always and always.”

Claude Monet

The next image is rather simple but that’s one of the reasons I like it. Captured recently here on Kiawah, I call it a trumpet flower because that’s what it reminds me of. I believe the actual name is Crossvine but I like my suggestion better 😊.

crossvine, trumpet-shaped
Trumpet-like Crossvine Blossoms

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

yearOscar Wilde

I created the collage that follows for an earlier post and hope those who may remember it will forgive me for the repeat. With the exception of the sunflower image (although they are plentiful here in season) all of the images were photographed here on Kiawah at various times of the year. I couldn’t resist including it for this week’s challenge.

collage, flowers, colorful, Kiawah
A Plethora of Posies

If bees only gathered nectar from perfect flowers, they wouldn’t be able to make even a single drop of honey.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

I chose to treat the field of flowers below with a touch of Topaz Impressions to give it a sense of motion. Its naturally bright colors would be a welcome gift on any given day.

impression, orange, green, flowers, field
Colorful Impression

“Without a voice the flowers speak.”

Bert McCoy

I’m adding a few more favorites despite the length of my post, but I promise to stop eventually. Perhaps this is a challenge we need to think about repeating – just sayin’. First up, three beautiful pink cactus flowers blooming in California.

cactus, flower, pink
Blooming Cactus

“Flowers whisper ‘Beauty!’ to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall.”

Dr. SunWolf

Next, a touch of gold along with some tiny visitors.

golden, yellow, flowers, bugs
Mining for gold

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.”

Edwin Curran

Last but never least, a lovely rose captured earlier this week on one of my local walks.

rose, flower, pink, yellow
A Rose by Any Other Name

“It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Flowers are just the most marvelous way to appreciate the beauty of the world around us – every now and then they simply cannot be resisted! We are very much looking forward to seeing your favorites this week. Be sure to link back to Ann-Christine’s amazing original here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Thanks to Patti for last week’s One Photo Three Ways challenge. We especially enjoyed the variety and creativity of your responses. Amy will lead us next week on her Share and Connect site so be sure to check it out. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Note: Today’s header features local flowers from left to right: iris, sweetgrass, wisteria, magnolia

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #220 – One Subject Three Ways

moon, clouds, sea grass, ocean, Kiawah
Morning Moon, Kiawah Island

“Be the moon in somebody’s night.”

Yasmin Mogahed

It’s often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This week Patti’s “One Subject Three Ways” gives us an opportunity to explore the ways we see and capture our subjects, portraying scenes in multiple ways, visualizing them from different perspectives – or as Patti says, “working the shot”. I’ve chosen to open with Kiawah beachscape featuring a full moon, about to disappear during sunrise on my recent turtle hatchling expedition. Although we failed to find turtles, we did have a beautiful moonset/sunrise, of which I took full photographic advantage 😊. The image above and the two below show the moon captured horizontally, then edited using Nik Silver Efex Pro and finally as captured vertically in camera.

moon, clouds, sea grass, ocean, Kiawah
Morning Moon, Kiawah Island, Nik Silver Efex
moon, clouds, sea grass, ocean, Kiawah
Morning Moon, Kiawah Island, Vertical

The next set of images captures a dramatically cloudy sky on Kiawah’s beach in late September. The different interpretations are the scene as originally captured horizontally, then vertically, and a third version edited with Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Kiawah, ocean, beach, clouds
Cloudy Day on Kiawah

“No dark cloud can forever prevent the sun from shining!”

Mehmet Murat ildan
Kiawah, ocean, beach, clouds
Cloudy Day, Vertical
Kiawah, ocean, beach, clouds
Cloudy Day, Nik Silver Efex Pro

Finally, I’ve included three versions of an image I captured last week during a neighborhood walk. I came upon these simple little buds after photographing butterflies nearby. The three images include the original, a version edited with Topaz Impressions and finally a Topaz Texture Effects version.

flowers, pink, wild
Wildflowers, Kiawah Island

“Be a wildflower amongst cut flowers”

Dahi Tamara Koch
flowers, pink, wild
Wildflowers, Topaz Impressions
flowers, wild, wildflower
Wildflowers, Topaz Texture Effects

I very much enjoyed Patti’s challenge this week, which is a great reminder to stop, to really “see” a scene, visualizing it from multiple perspectives. It also reminded me that working with textures and impressions in post-processing can result in something entirely different. We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to Patti’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Sincere thanks to those who joined us for last week’s Treasure Hunt. I was amazed at how many rose to the occasion with images for all of the items, often taking advantage of the “extra credit” options. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine leads us on her beautiful Leya blog. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #219 – Treasure Hunt

child, colorful, beach, bucket
Searching for Treasure

“Riches you hold in your hands are inferior to treasures you store in your heart.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

As we announced last week, this week’s challenge is a Treasure Hunt (see the end of this post for a list of the treasure items). I’ve opened with my CHILD image – which also looks a bit like a hunt for treasures on a somewhat smaller scale 😊.

umbrellas, art
Marching Umbrellas

“The mind is like an umbrella. Its most useful when open.”

Walter Gropius

The image above is my UMBRELLA image, although it’s a bit of a “double-dip” because it was a FUN FIND on the side of a building during a walk we took while visiting Tel Aviv. I loved the sign, especially the colored raindrops on the marching men.

pagoda, reflection, musicians
Evening Reflection with Music

“Time and reflection change the sight little by little ’til we come to understand.”

Paul Cezanne

I love a beautiful REFLECTION and have captured many through the years, but I think the image I’ve chosen above is my favorite. It was a beautiful evening as my husband and I strolled by, totally unplanned, to see and hear a choir performing at twilight on a lake near our hotel in Shangri-La. Sometimes the best memories are created from totally unplanned events.

moon, moonlight, ocean
Full Moon, Kiawah Island

“We all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun.”

John Lennon

Not unlike reflections and probably like most photographers, I have many images of THE MOON and THE SUN. I’ve included one of each above and below. Sadly I couldn’t find any with both in one image. The moonlight in the image above is shining on the distant light of a shrimpboat. The sun in the image below was captured during a sunrise shoot on the water. It was a glorious morning and an amazing day so a very fond memory.

sunrise, birds, marsh, low country
Here Comes the Sun

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

Roman Payne

Next, two images featuring CLOUDS – one on a lovely day with beautiful sunlight highlighting the landscape, the second on a stormy day with a double-dip that includes UMBRELLAS. As an aside, my header this week includes clouds with visible rain – extra credit 😊.

clouds, sunlight, landscape

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.”

Joni Mitchell
clouds, umbrellas, storm

“Clouds add character to the heavens.”

Dahi Tamara Koch,

Below, a rather unique TRUCK, carrying delicious libations from a California vineyard (yep, extra credit again 😊).

truck, old, wine barrels, vineyard
Not Quite Retired

“They can put people on the moon but they can’t make a quiet truck!”


Next, a good friend’s beautiful, beloved PET who recently passed over the rainbow bridge.

dog, pet, animal

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

Martin Buber

Here in the Southeastern US we’re headed into AUTUMN. Unlike our northern neighbors we do not lose most of our plants and leaves, nor do we get the brilliant colors of their fall season. But we have our beautiful purple sweetgrass and the changing colors of our marsh grasses to usher us into our temperate winters.

autumn, golden, grasses, marsh, Kiawah
Autumn Grasses, Kiawah Island

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery

Finally, some FUN FINDS from my many walks both near and far.

Teddy bears, suitcase
Triple Teddies
flowers, water droplets
In The Pink And A Drink, Last Week’s Walk
multi-color, singers, statues
Quiet Choir

“The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy life.”


Thanks so much for hanging in there with me! As the challenge host I wanted to include images for all of the treasure objects. Rest assured you can do one, many or all of the objects in the treasure hunt, which are listed below. Please remember to link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Sincere thanks to Donna of Wind Kisses for guest hosting last week. Her beautiful post was inspiring for all of us, and your responses were truly wonderful. We hope you enjoy this week’s Treasure Hunt. Once again here is the list of items:

  • A pet or pets (yours or someone else’s)
  • The moon or the sun (extra credit for both in one image)
  • Clouds (extra credit if you also include rain or snow)
  • A reflection
  • A child (extra credit if with other family members)
  • An umbrella (extra credit if you include a person using it)
  • A truck (extra credit if you include the driver or what the truck is hauling)
  • Autumn foliage (extra credit if it’s something that only blooms in the fall)
  • Something fun you found on a walk

We look forward to seeing your treasures. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #218 – Over The Hill

bridge, beach, wood, hill
Over the Hill

“When you help someone up a hill you find yourself closer to the top.”

Brownie Wise

The Lens-Artists team is excited to welcome Donna of Wind Kisses as this week’s Guest Host. Her challenge “Over The Hill” gives me an opportunity to feature one of my favorite things, my neighborhood walk. As a beach community we have very few hills; the image above is the slight hill I use to reach our beach at the point closest to my home. The rest of today’s images were all made during my walks over that hill this week.

Sunrise, Kiawah Island

“Every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written.”

Juansen Dizon

As I’ve said more than once, I’m not much for seeing the sunrise. But this week I joined two friends at sunrise to see if we might catch some endangered loggerhead sea turtles hatchlng. We accompanied the leader of the island’s Turtle Patrol and learned quite a bit about what has been an incredibly successful program (for more info about our turtles click here). It was a glorious morning but alas, no turtles this time. The image below includes( from the left) two Turtle Patrol volunteers excavating a nest and removing/counting unhatched eggs, Kiawah’s Turtle Patrol Leader showing an unhatched egg, a hatchling (from a previous outing) on its way from a nest to the sea. The mothers crawl onto the beach overnight and lay up to 5 nests, each with hundreds of eggs. During 2022 Kiawah has had close to 500 nests. Sadly, only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will live to adulthood.

turtle, nesting, egg
Loggerhead Patrol

“Take a walk with a turtle and behold the world in pause.”

Bruce Feller

I came across a beautiful piece of driftwood buried deep in the sand on my first walk and was amazed at its size – quite unusual for us. By my next walk the driftwood was gone, carried away by the tides. I suspect although fortunately we were not hit by her, the ocean swells were more aggressive due to Hurricane Fiona, which may have contributed both to its arrival and its disappearance.

driftwood, beach, Kiawah
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

“Maybe trees do have souls.”

Michael Christie

Although Kiawah is a haven for birds throughout the year, on one of my walks there were more seagulls than I’ve ever seen. In the image below it appears that both the fisherman and the gulls were hoping for a successful catch 😊. Check out the number of birds further along the beach to the left of the fisherman!

birds, fisherman, ocean, beach
Awaiting Results

“If I have all of the gear but I can’t bait the hook, the fish have nothing to worry about.”

Craig D. Lounsbrough

There is always something worthy of note on my walks to and from the beach. In the image below I came across dozens of butterflies feasting on some of the plants managed by Kiawah’s landscaping team. They do an amazing job keeping the island verdant for our residents, visitors and abundant wildlife.

butterflies, flowers, blue and green
Two on One

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The image below is one of the first I see on my way to the beach, and one of the last as I return home. Although I’m sure Mr. Nietzsche is correct about great thoughts, I’ll admit I’d not consider any of my thoughts “truly great”. That said, IMHO there are few things as rewarding as a simple walk – either alone or with other like-minded companions. My walks bring me peace, an appreciation of nature’s beauty, and time to reflect on life’s blessings and challenges (helping us to climb life’s many hills as it were 😊).

reflection, palmettos, sky, blue and green, lagoon, pond
To and Fro

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.


Sincere thanks (and Happy Birthday wishes) to Donna for joining us this week and for her very interesting challenge. (As an aside Donna, you are definitely NOT over the hill!!) We look forward to seeing your responses. Please be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link your posts to her beautiful original here. Thanks also to those who joined us last week for our Opposites challenge. The creativity and originality of your responses was terrific! I’ll be leading the challenge again next week with a Treasure Hunt. To give you a head start, here’s the list of any or all of the items you’ll be invited to include:

  • A pet or pets (yours or someone else’s)
  • The moon or the sun (extra credit for both in one image)
  • Clouds (extra credit if you also include rain or snow)
  • A reflection
  • A child (extra credit if with other family members)
  • An umbrella (extra credit if you include a person using it)
  • A truck (extra credit if you include the driver or what the truck is hauling)
  • Autumn foliage (extra credit if it’s something that only blooms in the fall)
  • Something fun you found on a walk

Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.