Lens-Artists Challenge #235 – Monochrome Shadows & Reflections

shadows, man, B&W, Bridge
Into The Shadows

“When Small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.”

Lin Yutang

This week Patti has given us a double (or even triple) challenge – shadows/reflections/monochrome. She does a terrific job of explaining our options in her original post. I’ve taken her quite literally and have done some experimenting with a number of my images this week. However, my opener is an all-time favorite which I suppose many of you have seen before. I captured the man in the shadows standing under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The dichotomy was stunning as I’d just left the brilliant sunshine where I’d been photographing some rare whales that came in to feed in the waters below. I wanted some images of the bridge’s structure and when I walked a bit closer I was drawn to the shadows first, only to come upon the man completely by chance. We all have our favorites in our portfolio of images, but this one always makes my top 5. I thought it perfect for this week’s challenge as it is only truly effective in B&W which of course adds to its mystery and “film noir” feel.

shadow, golf cart, bunker
Guess What!

“Without the past to cast its long shadow, might you see the future more clearly?”

Diane Setterfield

Well, I suppose from the sublime to the ridiculous as they say! I was on an assignment photographing a golf tournament and saw myself within the shadow of my golf cart and thought it made a fun image. Note the rake in the upper left corner, which tells you the shadow is within a bunker while fortunately for them, the golfers were not!

But enough of life in the shadows – let’s see some reflections! Below you’ll recognize one of my favorite spots on Kiawah, a reflection you’ve seen on my blog more than once in all kinds of weather and various times of day. However I believe this is the first time I’ve tried it in monochrome. I love the many usual colors of the scene, typically stunning blues and greens, often with pink sweetgrasses blowing in the wind, once in a great while with the whites of ice or snow. I must admit after adjusting the scene to a rich sepia, I rather liked the result. What do you think?

reflection, sepia, palmettos, pond, Kiawah
Reflecting On One Of My Favorite Spots

 “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” 

Ernest Holmes

On the other side of the world, an image that once again featured rich, beautiful colors as well as a wonderful sunset. Captured during our visit to China, I’ll admit I prefer the original, but I also liked this interpretation. To me it seems rather like a sketch the architect might have made as he or she was designing the original scene. My choice of blue further reinforced my thoughts of a pen and ink drawing.

blue, sketch, pagoda, China
Pagoda Sketch in Inky Blue

“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 bitterest.”


Back on Kiawah, another image I’ve posted previously comes to mind when considering reflections, especially in monochrome. The scene was very cluttered with leaves and branches and chaotic greens and browns. Removing the colors and choosing the purity of white for me made this a more interesting image.

high key, plants, water, kiawah
High Key Interpretation

“Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours.”

Jane Austen

The quote above mentions “solitary hours” which brought to mind the image below. Like the one above, for me this scene is more compelling in monochrome than in its original color version.

heron, alone

“Being solitary isn’t a disease that needs a cure.”

Natasha Pulley

I’ll close this week with an image I enjoyed in color for the vibrance of the subjects, but I also liked this new version, which feels a bit like a vintage postcard to me.

sailboats, vintage, monochrome
All Aboard

“You don’t command wind in the direction it blows, but you command a ship in the direction it sails.”

Mashona Dhliwayo

A big thanks to Patti for her interesting challenge this week, which had me revisiting a few of my favorites as well as creating some new versions. Be sure to visit her beautiful original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag in your response to help us find you. Thanks also to Donna for her wonderful Messages challenge last week, and to all of those who joined us with so many terrific responses. Amy will lead us next week so be sure to visit her Share and Connect site then. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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


Lens-Artists Challenge #234 – Messages

birds, spring, egret, anhinga
“Tis The Season

“Life is an ever-evolving cycle that fosters continuous growth through each season of action.”

Jeffrey G. Duarte

This week we welcome our newest team member Donna, who has challenged us to share some Messages. As she notes in her beautiful post, they are truly all around us, some more obvious than others. I’ve opened with two examples of our avian friends here on Kiawah – on the left a pair of anhingas and on the right a beautiful egret. In both cases the birds are exhibiting messages that they are hoping to mate. The anhingas develop a greenish-blue area around their eyes while the egret is showing off both its green eye coloring and its beautiful feathers in an attempt to attract a partner. These changes are seasonal and are a message to residents that springtime has arrived once again.

storm, weather, rainbow, clouds
Before and After

“Thunderstorms are as much our friends as the sunshine.”

Criss Jami

Mother Nature is a master at sending messages. In the images above we see two of them. The first, from a visit to Scotland, the gathering clouds offer a clear message that a storm is coming – bringing with it a deluge of rain and strong winds. On the right, a stunning Kiawah rainbow signifies the end of a storm as a whistle delivers the message to return to play. The flags at half-mast signify the death of a person of note.

sea turtle, birth, eggs
Last One Out

“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never see what lies ahead.”

Gusteau, Ratatouille 

Above, another of Mother Nature’s messages – this time about the cycle of life. A newborn sea turtle has emerged from its nest, as have all of its siblings whose eggs have been left behind. In late spring, the massive mothers lumber onto our beach to dig their nests and lay their eggs, which hatch some two months later. Those that survive, as few as 1 in 1,000, will live some 50+ years and upon reaching adulthood will return to the same beach each year to deliver their own hatchlings and continue the cycle of life..


“If this ring could talk, it would have more stories to tell you than even me.”

Mukta Singh-Zocchi,

There are many inanimate objects that deliver a message, perhaps none as clearly as a ring. Because of the rings in the image above we know the man on the left is proud of his alma mater, and because of the ring above the held hands we know the couple is about to be wed. The wedding ring will signify the couple’s love for and commitment to one another. The round shape of the rings is meant to signify the eternity of their commitment.

Some messages are even more obvious, for example those in the following two images.

alligator, sign
Trust the Sign!

“Do not curse the alligator before crossing the river.”

Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
Tree, giant, redwoods
No Kidding!

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” 

Herman Hesse

Some messages have become ubiquitous, as shown in the image that follows. On the left, a sign in China and on the right from Jordan. People the world over know exactly what awaits them when they see the bright red sign for McDonalds. Kudos to the company for the consistency of their message – we know exactly what we will get should we choose to eat there. While I’m not especially surprised by their prevalence here in the U.S., I’ll admit I was a bit stunned to see them elsewhere.

McDonald's, China, Jordan

“Here, there and everywhere.”

Paul McCartney

I’ll close with a final image from our visit to Scotland (as you can surely guess). There the kilts carry a message of belonging – of Scottish heritage and of Scottish pride. They are still worn for special occasions, or these days for most any reason at all.

tartan, kilt, clansmen
Members of the Clan

“Ancestors unite the clan, and heaven unites nature.”

I Ching

A warm welcome to Donna along with sincere thanks for her challenge . Please be sure to link your response to her original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also to Anne for last week’s One-Lens Walk challenge. It was so interesting to see the lenses each of us is using and why. We very much appreciate your creative responses. Finally, please be sure to join Patti next week for our next challenge “Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome” on her wonderful Pilotfish blog. Until then, as always please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the ride.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #233 – A One Lens Walk

sweetgrass, frozen, grasses, Kiawah

Frost, like the crystallized dreams of autumn, began to coat the clearing with its sugar glaze.”

Victoria Logue

This week Anne challenges us to “take a walk”, and to do so with only one lens. Coincidentally, that is exactly what I did about two weeks ago. As I’ve often said, I am NOT a morning person. However, I’d arranged to walk our beach with a good friend and the tide charts favored an early morning outing. I decided to walk to our meeting place and as I did I was treated to one of the most beautiful morning spectacles I’ve seen in a very long time.

“It was like traveling through a stage setting, the air clear and tingling, the light sparkling off bushes laced with frost.”

Robert Specht

As our followers may recognize, I’ve often featured Kiawah’s beautiful sweetgrass, especially as it turns a lovely pink color during the fall. On my walk that morning, there had been a frost the previous night, highly unusual for us here in the south, and the sweetgrass plants were dazzling with diamond-like droplets. My opening image is a scene I’ve featured often, usually with pink grasses or with glorious reflections, but this day was quite something else again!

droplets, sweetgrass, branch
Magic Wand

“I’m pretty lost in becoming all this frost. Strung-out like a string of pearls.”

Ashly Lorenzana

So….what lens DID I use? Actually, it was my IPhone 13 Pro Max, shooting for the most part in portrait mode. I’d had no intention of doing a photo shoot and really wished I’d had my DSLR for some f/2.8 shooting but honestly the IPhone gave me nearly the same capability. It was harder to isolate the branches from the backgrounds but I was happy to have had it because the beauty around me was simply exquisite. Of course that’s one of our favorite things about smartphones – always there when you need them!

droplets, sweetgrass
Diagonals and Droplets

“Despite the heart numbing frost, my soul is blooming like spring.”

Debasish Mridha

A few more images from that beautiful morning, all captured with my trusty IPhone companion:

frost, droplets, sweetgrass
Dazzling Drops

“Winter teetered on the verge of succumbing to the returning sun. “

leaves, red

“In every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.”

Amit Ray
red, berries

“The winter is kind and leaves red berries on the boughs for hungry sparrows…”

John Geddes

Finally, I’ll close with a rather sad ending. Just before arriving to meet my friend, I came across this definitive statement about the end of the holiday season. Carelessly tossed aside into the woods, I knew eventually poor Santa would magically return to Kiawah the following year. But honestly, who does that?!

santa, balloon, holiday
Sad Santa

“It ends when you’re ready for a new beginning.”

Adrienne Posey

With that, I’ll say thank you to Anne for the opportunity to share the capabilities of the iPhone’s portrait mode, and the beauty to be found following a freak freeze in the southern US. We look forward to seeing where you walk and which lens you choose for the exercise. Be sure to link your responses to Anne’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Sofia for last week’s exploration of the way our world has evolved through the years. We enjoyed the variety of examples you chose to share, proving it is indeed a wonderful world.

Next week’s challenge will be Donna’s first opportunity to lead us as a team member. We look forward to seeing what she comes up with and know it will be wonderful. Be sure to visit and follow her beautiful Wind Kisses blog. Until then, as always please stay safe, be kind and enjoy the journey.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #232 – The Evolution of Things

Nikon FM, Photography, camera, lens
And So It Begins

“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.”

Bruno Barbe

This week Sofia challenges us with presenting an evolution – defined as “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form“. While one can think of hundreds of things we’ve seen evolve in our lifetimes, few have evolved more than technology. In fact, if not for technology we wouldn’t have blogging, would we?!

Having spent my entire career in technology, I have experienced first-hand the wonders (and the challenges) it offers. Taking advantage of its leaps and bounds, photography equipment and editing software both offer wonderful examples of progress. From my first camera, my beloved Nikon FM shown above, to today’s iPhones, there is no longer any reason anyone interested cannot learn to make memorable images.

antiques, historic, iPhones, apple
IPhone Antiques

“Although the technology made everything easy, good images still depend on the creative eye.”

Lakshman Iyer

Apple’s IPhone offers an excellent example of a remarkable evolution since its introduction 15 years ago. Along with many other improvements, the quality of the images (and videos) it can produce today is simply remarkable. From a 2 MP, stills-only camera and a max 16 GB of storage, today’s iPhones deliver up to 128 GB of storage and a dual-camera system with both optical and digital zoom, image stabilization and HD video recording. The image quality competes easily with many of the cameras available today, and offers an advantage they do not – ubiquity! How many times when out and about have you wanted to make an image but had no camera? I’m guessing you used your omnipresent cellphone without a second thought!

Iphone, 12 Pro Max
IPhone 12 Pro Max

“Everybody now has a camera, often as part of our phone, and most of these cameras require little to no technical training.” 

Michael Kenna

Beyond the capabilities of our cameras and phones, once an image has been made there are an incredible number of software products which allow us to alter them in multiple ways. From simple cropping or straightening to combining layers, adding or deleting elements, softening reality, replacing skies…….I could go on and on.

While traditional photographers see images as art, there is an entire world filled with cellphone users who love memorializing the important moments in their lives. Children and grandchildren will have thousands of images to pour over in their later years, iconic buildings and landscapes will be captured during millions of journeys, and Mother Nature’s finery (and treachery) will be available for all to see whenever and wherever we want. There are also dozens of cellphone apps, often designed simply to make photography fun, and many outlets for sharing such as Facebook and Instagram.

flower, dew, droplets

A good eye can edit before the shutter opens.”

Craig Coverdale

I’ll close my post with an example that illustrates some of today’s thoughts. On the left of the side-by-side images above I’ve positioned an unedited iPhone image captured last month. On the right i’ve removed the cluttered background using the tap-and-lift technique Donna describes here. From there I’ve used some readily-available editing tools as an example of the artistic freedom that offers both opportunity and challenge for today’s photographers.

Blushing Flower, Topaz Textures
Dark and Stormy, Nik Silver Efex Pro
Abstract, Topaz Impressions

“Artistry is important.”

Sarah Kay

Technology has in some ways made our lives easier, and in others, more complex. When it comes to photography, technology gives us the ability to capture what we see, which is of course critically important. But it is the seeing that defines us as artists. A palette filled with all of the colors in the world is nothing without the hand of the artist who visualizes and then creates a masterpiece. Our cameras offer us the technical ability to create art, but our eyes, heart and vision are what brings it to life. Here’s to a New Year filled with creativity, challenge, and at least occasional satisfaction with a job well done.

Sincere thanks to Sofia for this week’s challenge, which I’ll admit required a bit more thought than usual. Be sure to link your responses to her original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John for his Favorite Images of 2022 last week. It was so much fun seeing the images everyone chose and understanding why they chose them. Finally, be sure to join us next week when Anne leads our challenge on her beautiful Slow Shutter Speed blog. Until then, remember to stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

Lens-Artists Challenge #231 – Favorite Images of 2022

clouds, Kiawah, sky
Cloudy Skies, Kiawah Island

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Nothing offers a greater opportunity for optimism than the annual turning of the calendar page. Somehow we enter each New Year expecting that it will be an improvement over the last. In our home that’s a pretty safe bet since my husband closed out 2022 with a nasty case of Covid. But on a happier note, this week John opens 2023 asking for our Favorite 2022 Images. Always a challenge, it forces us to choose images that truly spoke to us, or perhaps more importantly, to our followers.

I’ve opened with some favorite Kiawah scenes, including the skyscape above. It was captured from our beach looking back toward one of the beachfront cottages. Below I’ve featured two beautiful but elusive birds, an owl and a painted bunting, both photographed on Kiawah during 2022.

Backyard Birds

“There is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar, but it represents a clean break, a new hope, and a blank canvas.”

Jason Soroski

There is a special sense of serenity in the natural beauty that surrounds us on our little island. The rhythmic music of the ocean, massive oaks with their gracefully swaying Spanish Moss, towering pines reaching toward the sky, creatures both winged and four-legged – we are blessed with nature’s gifts at every turn. They can be found not only in the places one might expect, but also in the little things easily walked past. Exhibits A and B below, the tiny buds of natural ground cover on an approach to the beach and my personal favorite, a simple overhang of leaves in the nearby woods.

ground cover, buds, plants
Simple Beauty

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

Vern McLellan
red, leaves, flowers, forest
Forest Finery

“A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish….”

C.J. Cherryh

Despite the beauty that surrounds us, my husband and I have always loved traveling, so undeterred by Covid restrictions we managed to take some short trips in 2022. Our two weeks in North Carolina’s mountains were a nice break from summer’s heat, and our visits with family in NYC were wonderful as always. Those visits resulted in the two images below – a true study in the city’s contrasts.

colorful, World Trade Center, art
Colors of the WTC

“The New Year brings fresh beginnings…Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.”

Peggy Toney Horton
graves, NYC, high rises
Then and Now, NYC

“It’s not tearing a leaf off a calendar which will make you a better or a worse man but the attitude that you have from dusk till dawn every day.”

Indeewara Jayawardane

Of course while in New York we made a trip to the nearby countryside where practice makes perfect 😊.

silhouette, Elisabeth, horseback
Horse and Rider – A Silhouette

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Next, an ode to the beautiful, ephemeral magnolia – first with a piece of art I created and hung in our home, followed by several captures from nearby Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens, a magical world of natural beauty.

magnolias, wall art, B&W, tryptic
Magnolias As Art

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Altshuler
Red, Fence, Iron, leaves, berries
Garden Gate, Magnolia Gardens, Charleston SC

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. “

Sarah Ban Breathnach
birds, egret, fish, anhinga, marsh hen
Birds of Magnolia Gardens

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. “

Oprah Winfrey
gator, takeoff, humor
Flying Alligator – Magnolia Gardens

“New year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? …The choice is ours.”

Alex Morritt

I thought about ending my post with the alligator image above, which reminds us to find reasons to smile in everyday life. 😊. Instead though, Im finishing with a favorite Kiawah sunset, signifying the close of 2022 and our hopes for 2023.

sunset, sweetgrass, nature, Kiawah Island Ocean Course
The End and The Beginning

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Life is filled with moments of joy, pain, disappointment, opportunity and growth. May we learn from our mistakes, accept our imperfections and look forward to each new day as a chance to be better than the day before.

Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to enjoy a retrospective of our 2022 images. As always, we look forward to seeing your choices. Be sure to link them to John’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to our Last Chance post of 2022, especially those who thanked us for continuing to publish the challenge. It is your appreciation and amazing responses that keep us going. Finally, Sofia will lead us next week so be sure to visit her beautiful Photographias blog next Saturday at noon EST.

My best wishes to all for a marvelous 2023 – remember to stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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

Merry Christmas

Lens-Artists Challenge #230 – Last Chance

beach, boardwalk
Pam’s Kiawah View

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Each week the Lens-Artists Challenge presents us with an opportunity to include images on a specific subject. But what about the images that are among our favorites but have not fit any of the categories? This year we’re giving you an opportunity to include images on any and all subjects that are personal favorites – BUT, they must have been created in 2022 AND must not have been previously published in response to a Lens-Artists Challenge! It’s an opportunity not only to revisit 2022’s images, but also to take a stroll down memory lane for some of the year’s highlights. (special thanks to Amy for the idea!) For example, I’ve opened with an image made during a walk with a very good friend who sadly for us left Kiawah to move closer to family. She and her husband are sorely missed but of course are still in our hearts.

sweetgrass, Kiawah, Ocean Course
Sweetgrass in Bloom

“Every year, Every day, Every moment Begin again.”

Shellen Lubin

Those who follow me know how much I love our annual sweetgrass bloom, when the fragile green becomes a brilliant rosy pink. I made the image above in September at the entrance to Kiawah’s Ocean Course but it never quite fit this year’s challenges. Also on the subject of blooms, the grouping below includes several I’d seen in this year’s travels but hadn’t used for any of our challenges. On the left a cactus and a wildflower from our visit to North Carolina this past summer, and on the right a floral display on which I loved the sign during a visit to NYC earlier this year.

Favorite Blooms

“This year will become next year if you’re not careful!”

Anthony T. Hincks

While in NYC I always like to head out for a short photography walk with i-phone in hand, to explore nearby neighborhoods. I made both of the following images that way. We were in NYC twice in 2022 and the reflection images that follow were from each of those visits.

high rise, reflection, NYC
Reflections, NYC

“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.”

Jonathan Huie

As reflections go, NYC because of its many high-rises is filled with them. While we do not have high-rises here on Kiawah, we do have more than our fair share of reflections. The image below captures one of my favorites, which I pass every time I walk to the beach. It is beautiful any time of day, especially when the sweetgrass is in bloom. On this day however, it was the deep blue of the sky reflected along with the palmettos in the pond below that drew my eye.

reflection, kiawah, blue, green, palmettos
Double Vision, Kiawah Island

“I heard someone say, “It’s December! Maybe 2022 saved the best for last.” 

Steve Maraboli

I’ve posted a few times about my good friend and her 2 beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs. Sadly this past year both Mozart and Geneve journeyed over the rainbow bridge. Never one to dwell on sorrow, my friend has a new light in her life, mini-bernedoodle Nellie, shown below with Geneve before she passed. I consider it a privilege to be asked to photograph loved-ones and was happy to capture this image as the new “baby” worked to get the attention of her “big sister”.

dogs, bernese mountain dog, big and small, puppy
New Kid In Town

“The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.”

Josiyah Martin

Of course, we cannot close out a “favorites” post without at least one butterfly! This year I posted several but somehow this one was lost in the shuffle. This is its opportunity to shine 😊.

butterfly, flowers, colorful

“Life is such that beginnings and endings are neither. “

Craig D. Lounsbrough

I’ll end this set of favorites with an image from a visit early in 2022 to nearby Magnolia Gardens. I’ve added a touch of impressionist blur to soften it. To me it speaks of peace and serenity, which I wish for all of us as we journey toward the year ahead.

forest, trees. impression
Forest Primeval

“Treat every day like it’s a new year because it is.”

TemitOpe Ibrahim

As always, we thank you for your beautiful responses to Ann-Christine’s Perfect Patterns challenge last week. We hope you’ll join us this week with your previously-unused favorites of 2022. Please remember to link them to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

And now for some news! It gives us great pleasure to announce that Donna Holland of Wind Kisses will be joining the Lens-Artists team beginning in the New Year. Donna has been a loyal follower of our challenge, has previously Guest-Hosted, and consistently delivers thoughtful and beautifully illustrated posts. Be sure to follow her at her site, windkisses.com. We are also announcing that the Lens-Artists Challenge will be on hiatus for the remainder of 2022. We look forward to rejoining everyone when John leads our Challenge on Saturday, January 7. In the meanwhile we send thanks to all of our followers and participants as well as warmest holiday greetings to all who celebrate, and our best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #229 – Perfect Patterns

beach, kiawah, patterns, light
Beach Bumps

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

Rachel Carson

For Ann-Christine’s Perfect Patterns challenge this week, I’ve decided to stay close to home. All of todays images were made during my most recent walks to Kiawah’s beautiful beach and back. The opening image highlights the patterns that often appear in the sand, especially after windy days with active waves. While it represents a relatively frequent beach scene, the image below is more unusual. This week Kiawah is hosting its annual marathon (the 44th) which draws runners from all over the world. It is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon and because the route is so flat, it is popular with runners hoping to race there as well. The image focuses on the winners’ podium and for some reason really made me smile. I’ve run the race several times but those days are definitely behind me 😊.

podium, patriotic, Kiawah, marathon
Marathon Day, Kiawah Island

“Don’t race to be the first in life, watch and learn from those who race to be the first and be better then them.”

Md Arifuzziman

Also related to the race, the image below shows an arrangement of bicycles set up for those who will use them to follow the racers. Often they’re used by families and/or friends of the runners who ride to follow their progress. I’d assume some of the runners also use them when the race ends as traffic to and from the venue is restricted and very crowded. Most residents, including yours truly, stay off the roads on race day!

bicycle, bike, pattern
Bike Brigade

“There is beauty in silence and there is silence in beauty and you can find both in a bicycle!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

The bicycles and podium were an unusual feature of my everyday walks that were a fun addition for this week’s challenge. Much more typical, a few natural wonders – each with its own perfect pattern:

leaves, patterns, red
Ruby Reds

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.”

Bill Blass

pattern, plant, green
Natural Magic

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature 

Rachel Carson
pinecone, pattern, nature
Perfect Pinecones

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”

Helen Keller
fronds, fern,green, plant, nature, pattern
Fabulous Ferns

“Only spread a fern frond over a man’s head and worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in.”

John Muir

Ann-Christine’s challenge and her beautiful post brought to mind many other images from my archives – vineyards, zebras, fences, NYC’s high rises, just to name a few. But I decided instead to challenge myself by using only recent images highlighting my local neighborhood. I realize how important fresh air and Mother Nature’s gifts are to me, and wanted to share some of them with you. All of this week’s images were captured with my I-phone 12 Pro Max. I thank Ann-Christine for the opportunity and recommend you visit her beautiful post here. We hope you’ll join us this week with some of your own perfect (or imperfect) patterns. Be sure to link your response to Ann-Christine’s challenge, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

We thank you for your as always creative responses to Patti’s Diagonals challenge last week. Who knew there could be so many of them in so many places, put to such good use?! Thanks to Patti for reminding us of their importance. I’ll be leading the challenge next week here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind. For those who celebrate, wishing you a joyous holiday season.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #228 – Diagonals

Longsheng, light, hillside, worker
Rice Fields Study, Longsheng, China

“A farm at first light is more beautiful than gold, or a ship’s sails in the mist. Many ordinary things are far more beautiful.”

George Webbe Dasent

This week Patti invites us to show the effect of using diagonals in our images (reminding me as a Harry Potter fan of Diagon Alley). As she describes in her beautiful post, we can use diagonals to direct the viewer’s eyes to the most important areas of the scenes we capture. I’ve opened with two archive images from our visit to China. Above, the diagonal leads from the bottom left up the “steps” of the rice field to a lone worker surveying the crops. The light that afternoon was incredible, adding to the impact of the lone figure standing in the sun.

Below, I’ve included a classic example of The Great Wall. We see diagonals in the wall’s path leading to a lookout station, then continuing on for thousands of miles. The path’s design was probably based on the terrain, but I prefer to think there was a visual design aspect as well 😊.

The Great Wall, China, leading lines, diagonal
Double Diagonals, The Great Wall of China

“Brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.”

Randy Pausch

The Great Wall offers thousands of opportunities for capturing leading lines. So too the vast network of roads and walking paths that surround us in our everyday lives. Below, several examples of leading diagonal lines. First up, a road through the mountains that divide the U.S and Canada near Glacier National Park:

road, leading line, mountains, trees, scenic
A Beautiful Ride, Montana

“The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip.”

Jon Bon Jovi

Even farther afield, a path leading to Lake Pehoe and from the lake to the beautiful Torres del Paine, all in Chilean Patagonia:

Lake Pekoe, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, road, diagonals, leading lines
Lake Pehoe, Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia

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

Henry David Thoreau

Next, our own lovely Kiawah Beach and my personal boardwalk approach 😊. Notice the well-defined rainstorm directly across from the beachwalkers.

beach, boardwalk, storm, Kiawah
Approachin’ The Ocean, Kiawah

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, my husband and my brother walking a wooden path through the trees leading to a beach in Bethany, Delaware.

boardwalk, buddies, trees
Beach-Bound Buddies

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

Anatole France

Finally, some diagonal examples from Mother Nature herself. I promise I did not arrange the starfish mosaic on the left of the grouping. They were arranged exactly as shown following a recent storm.

nature, leading lines, diagonal,
Nature’s Diagonals

“I see my path but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”

Rosalia de Castro

Once I started looking for images to include in this week’s challenge, I found WAY too many examples, so I thank Patti for the opportunity to explore them, and for her reminder of their importance when visualizing our captures. We look forward to seeing your favorites as well. Please remember to link to Patti’s beautiful original here and to use the Lens Artists Tag. Thanks also to all of those who responded to last week’s Home Sweet Home challenge. It was a wonderful reminder of the marvels to be found everywhere in our world. For me it was also a reminder of the vast difference between the world we see as as tourists and that which can be seen through the eyes of those who know the local secrets!

Next week’s challenge will be hosted by Ann-Christine on her beautiful Leya blog so be sure to tune in for that next Saturday. In the meanwhile, enjoy the holiday season but as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

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.