Lens-Artists Challenge #54 – Detail

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd



With sincere thanks to those who helped us to close out the first year of the Lens-Artists challenge with such terrific, thoughtful and much-appreciated congratulatory posts, we’re ready to move forward with Year Two. For our opening challenge, Patti has chosen Detail as our subject. Those who follow me know I’m enamored with the amazing birdlife here on our barrier island. As such I’ve decided to focus on some of the details of these beautiful creatures, especially the enchanting Great Egrets. In my opening image I’ve featured one of these graceful birds seemingly ballet dancing on top of the water. I loved the way the tiptoe balance illustrated such amazing grace.

Egret with wings spread


“If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.”

Kyo Maclear

Above, I’ve captured an egret at water’s edge as he/she demonstrates a wing maneuver to balance a landing. I find the egrets continually on the move – flying, fishing, feeding chicks, building nests or protecting territory. One need only sit quietly on the edge of any of our many lagoons and before long there will be an egret or heron landing nearby.

egret landin in bushes


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

Marty Rubin

In addition to their forays for food in the lagoons, large flocks of our egrets are often seen in and around the plentiful greenery throughout the island. There are two important details in the image above. Both the bright green surrounding the bird’s eye and the long feathers around the tail tell us that this is a bird in breeding plumage, probably looking to attract a mate. Interestingly, outside of their breeding season, many male birds are sterile.



“I want to paint the way a bird sings.”

Claude Monet

Finally, an image of a Snowy Egret – similar to the Great Egret but a bit smaller. More importantly, this bird is distinguished by its bright yellow eyes and feet. In the image above, the detail I loved was the bit of feather on the beak. Clearly he’s been preening to make himself more attractive to the females in the area (OK I made that up but it COULD be true!).

To our participants; we are most grateful for your support and encouragement, and look forward to another year of challenges. Be sure to check out Patti’s DETAIL challenge this week, and to stay tuned for our next challenge at Ann-Christine’s Leya blog. Finally, to help us all find you, please TAG your post with our Lens-Artists tag, and if you’re looking for information on how to join us, click here .




Lens-Artists Challenge #53 – Your Choice

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.”

Jim Henson

Elephants holding trunks


Today is a very special day for us here at Lens-Artists – the one year anniversary of our Challenge. While we were all initially saddened by the discontinuation of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, for us it became an opportunity to expand our blogging horizons and to create some amazing new friendships.

Heron Chicks


“I am glad you are here with me.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

On our end, we have transitioned from four independent photography bloggers to a tightly-knit team that supports, encourages and helps each other as we develop and create our weekly challenges. We’ve also been fortunate to have expanded our follower base thanks to bloggers like you who support and inspire us.

3 young children


“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

As a result, our challenge has become near and dear to each of our hearts. We’ve gone well beyond being individual members of a team and have become four good friends.  We are tremendously thankful to you for your appreciation of our efforts; and for making us smile or feel touched by your responses.  As our thank you for your support and encouragement, we’re suggesting that you respond to today’s challenge with any subject that’s near and dear to YOUR hearts, as we’ve done with our images today. If you’d prefer some guidance, choose any of the four subjects we’ve selected this week (Friendship, Imagination, Connected or A Country that’s special to you).

Two older chinese women


“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

Maya Angelou

Each of us has included several captures that are special to us in some way. Mine are from some of my favorite places (Africa, China, Israel and Jordan) as well as my home in Lowcountry South Carolina.  They recognize the value and importance of friendship – which for me has been the biggest surprise and the most important byproduct of hosting the Lens-Artist challenge. 

3 Jordanians in keffiyehs


“By chance we met, by choice we become friends”


Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for making this such a terrific experience. If you have a subject that you feel might inspire us, please feel free to suggest it – we’d love to hear from you.  Should you be new to our challenge and interested in joining us, please click here and be sure to include the Lens-Artists TAG so we can all find you. Happy Blogging to all of our loyal followers and friends, and Happy Anniversary to us! 

Three Israeli soldier at gelato bar


“There is no gift like friendship.”

Rudyard Kipling


Each week on Lens-Artists, we highlight several responses from among our followers. This special week we’d like to thank ALL of our followers for their thoughtful, funny, often-feisty and always wonderful posts. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and will continue to join us as we move into year two of the Lens-Artists Challenge.

See you next week when Patti resumes our normal schedule at her Pilotfish blog.


Lens-Artists Challenge #52 – Serenity

“To taste life, so true and real. Sweet serenity.”

Jonathan Lamas

large tree, Frenchman's bay


This past week my husband and I traveled to Bar Harbor, Maine for a family wedding. The weather forecast was awful but happily for the most part, wrong. Skies cleared and the sun broke through just in time for the outside service. As we moved indoors for the reception the skies darkened once again and rain fell hard on the area we’d left just a few minutes earlier. 

porch over Frenchman's Bay, Bar Harbor


“Don’t underestimate the power of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself to deliver peace and serenity.”

Charles Glassman

As I wandered around the beautiful nooks and crannies of Bar Harbor, I saw many classic New England homes fronting beautiful Frenchman Bay. Most had large porches and beautiful gardens. I found myself smiling at the thought that the gardeners’ work might last longer than the number of days residents enjoy the results before winter’s cold returns. On the other hand, the serenity one must feel sitting on the bay-front porch as the flowers bloom behind must surely be well worth the effort.

coastal SC from airplane wing


“You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind. “

Henry David Thoreau

Serenity is defined as being calm, peaceful. Flying in a small commercial airplane would not seem a reasonable place to find it, but for me a return to the lush greenery and meandering waters of the low country always brings with it a sense of peace and comfort.  I captured the iPhone image above as we flew over the rivers and creeks surrounding Charleston on the approach to our local airport. 

adirondack chairs overlooking Cougar golf course


“Nature is never other than serene, even in a thunderstorm.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Once back home, we enjoyed a visit to the most recent neighborhood addition, the new clubhouse and revitalized landscapes of Cougar Point. It was a beautiful, yes serene, evening if a bit warm compared to the dry, cooler air of the northeast. 😊

field of daisies


“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and elevates it.”

Washington Irving

I think Washington Irving had it right in his quote above.  Personally I find nature and its scenery of all kinds helps me to achieve serenity in this crazy world. What about you? What is it that helps you to find serenity in the face of growing chaos? We look forward to seeing your responses – remember to link them here and to include the Lens-Artists tag to appear in our WP Reader section.

PLEASE NOTE: We are hosting a special Lens-Artists post at noon EST next Saturday, July 6th, to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of our Lens-Artists challenge.  Please be sure to check on posts from Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and me as we publish special posts to mark the occasion. We look forward to seeing you then.


Last week Amy invited us to share some of the UNIQUE aspects of our world and your responses definitely rose to the challenge.


Irene of Heaven’s Sunshine shared thoughts on her 40th anniversary celebration

Izzy of Isadora’s Art and Photography shared an artist’s version of the Tree of Life

Nurul from Stories of a Wanderer shared a story of Prison Island – which never had a prison!


New to Lens-Artists? Click here to learn how to join us. And thanks as always to those of you who continue to support and encourage us.







Lens-Artists Challenge #51 – UNIQUE

“It never fails to amaze me how the most ordinary day can be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.”

Jodi Picoult

deer in forest


This week Amy invites us to talk about uniqueness. You may be thinking, what’s so unique about a deer?  Here on our little island one of the most unique (and special) things is the frequency with which one can encounter some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. Exhibit A of course, the sweet face of the little deer peering at me one day last week from the woods that border my running path.  



“Extraordinary magic is woven through ordinary life. Look around!”

Amy Leigh Mercree

Speaking of encounters, perhaps a bit less beautiful (except maybe to another alligator) but equally extraordinary, the fearsome fellow above was just on the other side of my running path the same day I encountered the deer.  They’re amazing creatures really – relatively unchanged from prehistoric times although happily somewhat smaller. This fellow was probably 5 or 6 feet long and couldn’t have cared less about the presence of yours truly and my trusty Fuji.  Look closely at his neck just behind his head and you’ll see a metal tag, which is part of a study currently underway on the health and habits of these amazing reptiles.



“Every snowflake is unique, yet they are each perfect.”

Donald L. Hicks

Another example of the unique nature of our island is the welcome presence of our wild bobcats. I captured this image some time ago on the famed Ocean Course – known to golfers worldwide. Our bobcats are well-studied and fervently protected. They are our primary means of controlling the deer population on the island, as well as the pesky marsh rats that lurk in our dense grasses. One never knows when a bobcat will appear, so it’s best to be camera-ready at all times. Although they are typically deeply hidden in the marsh grasses, they can also be found crossing our boardwalks and roads to travel throughout the island.

tryptic of bobcat, turtle, dolphin on kiawah


“Uniqueness is the highest gift of existence.”

Amit Ray

Above, a tryptic of some of the other iconic creatures we see here on Kiawah. First, our dolphins – caught in the act of strand feeding. This is a unique behavior practiced by the dolphins of coastal South Carolina. They form teams to herd baitfish (typically mullet) onto the beach. They follow the fish out of the water and feast on them, leaving many to be devoured by watching seagulls. This amazing act of nature has been studied and filmed by National Geographic as evidence of the dolphins’ ability to communicate, work as a team and teach their young.  Next to the dolphins is a newly-hatched loggerhead turtle. Here on our protected barrier island, 300+ pound mother turtles crawl onto the beach in the dead of night to dig nests and lay eggs. The hatchlings emerge some 2-3 months later, usually right around dawn, and make their way to the ocean water beyond. Happily, this season there are already some 300 nests, promising a record year for these special creatures. My image was captured just as a nest’s last hatchling crawled to the ocean one pre-dawn morning. Last but not least, one of our iconic bobcats crossing a boardwalk between the Ocean Course and the marsh beyond.

roseate spoonbills in a pond


“It’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

Darren Hardy

I’ve posted quite a few images of our beautiful birds of late but honestly I never tire of seeing and shooting them. I was driving home from the golf course one day and happily had my camera and a long lens in my car. Fortunately no one was tailgating me because when I spotted these colorful creatures sharing a shallow pond I slammed on my brakes and yanked my car to the side of the road as fast as you can say Roseate Spoonbill!


Cute little puppy


“Each creature is a unique piece of art to be respected and believed in.”

Sameh Elsayed

OK, I’ll admit it, the adorable creature above is NOT one that is found in the wild here on Kiawah.  Last month I donated my time to photograph a charity tennis event to which one of the contestants brought this little cutie. I’d never seen one like it, and have since forgotten what breed it is, but I couldn’t resist including it as a truly unique creature. Feel free to respond with the name of the breed if you know it!

We look forward to seeing what’s unique about your world in your responses this week, and hope to see you next week right here on Travels and Trifles.








Lens-Artists Challenge #50 – Trees

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

Nelson Henderson

2 egret juveniles


I’m stretching a bit to respond to Ann-Christine’s TREES challenge this week. Having spent some time shooting a copse of trees where a number of beautiful birds have decided to locate their rookery, I’m focused on the birds within the trees rather than the trees themselves. But after all, where would the birds (or for that matter we) be without the trees in the first place?!



“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heavens.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Although a good friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with the birds, we are hopeful they will move on before they’ve destroyed the lovely trees they inhabit. Their chicks are no longer little – in fact the best way to identify a juvenile is to watch them being fed by their avian parents (see below). They’re testing their wings by flapping and jumping around but are not quite ready to fly. We laughed out loud at some of their antics.

egret parent feeding juveniles


“We can learn a lot from trees. They’re always grounded but never stop reaching heavenward.”

Everett Mamor

We were impressed by the number of birds and how closely they’d located their nests. Cormorants were next to anhingas, herons were nesting on the same branches as egrets -a truly integrated neighborhood! There was an amazing cacophony of sound as the chicks called to their parents and to each other across the entire rookery.

anhinga chicks and parent


“The story of the tree is written on every leaf.”

Marty Rubin

As we made our way around the rookery we marveled at how clever the birds had been in choosing their location. They’d built their nests deep in the greenery of a set of trees surrounded on one side by water and on the other by an impenetrable growth of bramble bushes. There was no way to capture them other than with a long lens. Even at 200mm, my images this week required cropping to show the details of the rookery’s inhabitants.

Egrets in the trees


“There’s nothing more beautiful than watching trees getting dressed up for Spring and Summer.”

Charmaine J Fordy

The rookery is located smack in the middle of an area between the third and fourth holes of one of our local golf courses. Many a ball has been lost to the pond fronting the rookery, which is also a popular areas for juvenile gators and their watchful parents. Needless to say, only a fool would try to retrieve a ball there.



“Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

John Muir

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with the nesting birds and their homes in the greenery.  Let’s hope the area is still green when they decide it’s time to move along to their next location😊. Wherever they end up, we’ll do our best to find them. Their last rookery was only a few blocks away and was equally protected by water and densely stickered bushes – I expect nothing different next year. 

flying egret with branch


“A forest bird never wants a cage.”

Henrik Ibsen

Hopefully Ann-Christine will forgive my “tweak” of her Trees challenge. How about you? Are you focused on the trees themselves or the wildlife that inhabits them? We look forward to seeing your interpretation whatever way you decided to go. If you’re new to our challenge, click here for instructions on joining the fun – and don’t forget your Lens-Artists tag.  We hope to see you next week when Amy shares her take on the next Lens-Artists challenge.




Lens-Artists Challenge #49 – Favorite Things

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”

Jonathan Swift

impressionist art - roseate spoonbills


This week we’ve been challenged to share some of our favorite things. There isn’t enough room in all of WordPress for me to cover all of my favorite things, so instead I’ve focused on only one – creating impressionist art from some of my images.  Above, three beautiful little spoonbills are being observed by a long egret.  Do you suppose he/she was wondering where they got those amazing pink coats? Or is he just glad he has a normal beak? 



“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”

Helen Keller

On a bike ride along one of our local golf courses last week I came across a group of landscapers working in our marsh of newly summer-green hues. I had only my iPhone but with a few swipes of an impressionist brush I was perfectly happy with the resulting image. Proving once again that the best camera is the one you have with you.



“Your heart is able to see things that your eyes aren’t able to.”

Kholoud Yasser

I recently did a post in B&W highlighting this year’s incredible magnolia blossoms. Above, I’ve treated a close-up image with an impressionist brush followed by a touch of texture. I liked the way the background of blue sky became more prominent, as did the yellow center.

Charleston SC pineapple fountain impressionist


“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”

Abhishek Kumar

The iconic Charleston Pineapple fountain above has been featured more than once on my blog, including a post about old-world Charleston here.  As proof that the way an image is treated by the artist can significantly change the way it is perceived by the viewer – I’d say that the last term one might use to describe this week’s image is “old-world”!  Although personally I’d be more inclined to hang the old-world version on a wall, I suspect there might be others who would prefer something more like this one. Beauty, as always, being in the eye of the beholder.



“I know that this world is a world of Imagination and Vision.”

William Blake

I’ll close with an image of two adorable little fawns I spotted (pun intended) last week. I was actually a bit too far away and they were too skittish for a good capture. Using textures and an impressionist tweak, the image becomes something rather dream-like versus a realistic portrait.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on Patti’s Favorite Things challenge.  Coincidentally in addition to the impressionist editing, all of my subjects are among my favorite things as well 🙂. For the traditionalists among us, I promise to return to more realistic images next week when Ann-Christine presents us with our next opportunity. Until then wishing everyone a great week ahead.


Looking for instructions on how to join the Lens-Artists Challenge? Click here. Be sure to Tag your post ” Lens-Artists ” to appear in our WP reader section.











Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”

Edward Abbey

Leopard in the wild


Way back in 1963, Maurice Sendak published Where The Wild Things Are to rave reviews. Since then, children everywhere have been entertained by its wonderful story and colorful pictures. For me though, “Wild Things” will forever bring to my mind our incredible African safari.

Male lion in the wild


“Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery.”

Lois Crisler

Although we visited Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as far back as 2006, (time DOES fly doesn’t it?!), I remember every moment as if it were yesterday.  Just last week, as often happens, I was asked which of our many adventures was my favorite. My answer never varies. I’ve loved every one of our journeys but Africa will always be at the top of my list. Happily, that conversation was my inspiration for this week’s challenge.



“In the wilderness is the salvation of the world.”

Henry David Thoreau

There is no way to describe the emotion of seeing Africa’s creatures in their natural environment.  It is truly life-changing.  I struggle with the concept of zoos after seeing animals roaming free, but I know many of us would never see them if not in captivity.  Still it challenges me to justify our right to confine them.  We can only hope that the zoos’ visitors learn to respect and appreciate them, and to join the many who work to save them and the environments on which they, and we, depend. 



“The wilderness is a place of an encounter with the creator.”

Laila Gifty Akita

I have no such challenge when it comes to Wild Game Trophy hunting. Many years ago I attended a party at the home of a friend of a friend. He was a hunter and had hung dozens of heads of these beautiful creatures on his walls as well as used their fur as rugs on his floor.  I’m sure there are many who feel such practices are reasonable, but I am not among them. Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the very real emotions of our four-legged brethren. Science has proven that their methods of communication, although different than ours, are every bit as effective and at times even more sophisticated. If only we could learn to speak their language we might learn how better to co-exist on our shared planet.

cheetah in hunting position


“Wilderness touches the heart, mind and soul of each individual in a way known only to himself.”

Michael Frome

I recently read that Botswana, which for many years disallowed elephant hunting, has passed a law allowing it on a limited basis. Although it makes me tremendously sad, there is some justification for their decision.  Back when we visited, our guide told us Botswana was having a terrible time managing the growth of the herds. They had become so large they were destroying their own habitat more quickly than it could be replenished.  One wonders though – obviously huge herds survived in times past without human intervention.  Survival of the fittest is more than just a phrase – it is a valid description of the evolution of many species, including, one would assume, elephants.

sable in motion in the wild


“The wilderness needs your whole attention.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Although perhaps not as attention-getting as the big cats or elephants, many dozens of other animals in the wild are equally awe-inspiring to those of us who love nature. Take for example the sable antelope above. It was a privilege to see them on the run through the African plains. Although they are threatened by lions and other predators, they use their long horns for defense and typically emerge victorious. Prized by hunters for its beautiful coat and incredible horns, the primary threat to this species is its status as a wild game trophy.  Their numbers have also diminished due to the use of insect control chemicals. Because their grazing areas are typically conducive to farming, several conservation programs now focus on providing financial incentives to farmers who adhere to conservation criteria.



“There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild.”

Boyd Norton

Thanks to improved post-processing software I was able to rescue the images above and below from my 2006 “rejects” bin. Together the images, along with the Norton quote, speak volumes about the beauty of the earth’s natural wilderness and its inhabitants. Perhaps we could all benefit from a better understanding of our place on the planet and the amazing creatures with whom we share it.



“There are places which exist in this world beyond the reach of imagination.

Daniel J. Rice

There are many ways one might choose to interpret this week’s “wild” challenge – of course wild animals, but also wildflowers, the wild blue yonder, wild about “fill in the blank”, the wild, wild west….I could go on and on.  Instead I’ll turn it over to you to show us YOUR perspective on what wild means to you.  

Speaking of your perspectives, last week Amy challenged us to show the 5 elements as defined in ancient China and you replied with a wonderful assortment of responses…


  • Sofia showed us the importance of considering the 5 elements together here
  • Viveka took us around the world with her elements here
  • Mike offered us a musical memory here

We look forward to seeing your responses to this week’s challenge. For information on joining the challenge click here. Remember to link your post here and to tag it Lens-Artists to help us find you in the WP Reader section. Be sure to tune in to Patti’s Pilotfish blog for next week’s challenge.











Lens-Artists Challenge #47 – Elements

“A great silent space holds all of nature in its embrace. It also holds you.”

Eckhart Tolle

Scottsdale water fountain with metal umbrellas


“If precious metals had been abundant, they would not have been precious.”

Harry Hazlitt

This week Amy has asked us to explore the fundamental elements of existence defined by ancient Chinese culture – wood, metal, fire, water and earth. Today’s science has identified somewhat more significant elements – such as the atom for example – but those might be a bit more difficult to photograph 🙂.  So in response to Amy’s challenge, the image above features a double hit including both metal and water.  I came across the “sculpture/Fountain/Water Distribution System” during a recent visit to Scottsdale, Arizona.  While there I also captured the wood  image below as I was hiking to photograph their glorious superbloom. I loved that the fallen cactus had become a vessel around which the blossoms were thriving – a testament to nature’s resilience.

fallen cactus, flowers


“Wood is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

As for water, I was surprised to come across these beautiful spoonbills last week foraging in a nearby marsh. Typically they”d have left our area by now. They serve as a gentle reminder of the dependence of all living things on the availability of fresh water. As Sylvia Earle said “No water, no life.”

3 roseate spoonbills in water


“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

Benjamin Franklin

I’ve previously shared several images of the beautiful rose walls of Petra in Jordan. Perhaps more amazing than the walls themselves is the glow of the canyons as they are kissed by the rays of the sun. To my eye it seems they are as if on fire as the shadows and sunlight dance across the rocky chasms. (See what I did there? 🙂)



“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

Marlee Matlin

The candles below are a more literal portrayal of the fire element captured during our visit to Israel this past fall.  Pausing in the quiet of a church vestry one can often feel the emotions of the remembrance of loved ones lost. As we here in the U.S. celebrate Memorial Day, let it serve as a reminder of the true spirit of the day – to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and the families they’ve left behind.

burning candles


“The most tangible of all visible mysteries – fire.”

Leigh Hunt 

Thanks to Amy for her very unique challenge. To view her post, click here. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you, and hopefully tune in next week for Challenge #48 right here on Travels and Trifles. Have a great week everyone.


NOTE: Thanks to Allan G. Smorra of Ohm Sweet Ohm, I was prompted to further explore the art installation in my opening image. If you’re interested, you can read more about “Copper Falls” here.






Lens-Artists Challenge #46 – Delicate

“After the storm her beauty blooms… her roots deep in her southern soil.”

Nancy B. Brewer

magnolia, B&W


Here in South Carolina we are well into spring. Birds are nesting, their chicks crying aloud for the next meal. Mating alligators bellow their intentions for all the world to hear, adorable spotted fawns are being closely watched by nearby attentive does. Perhaps most impressive,  our native flowers are bursting through winter’s chill, reaching out toward the warm southern sun.

B&W Magnolia


“Fragrant o’er all the western groves; The tall magnolia towers unshaded.”

Maria Brooks

This year the many flowering magnolia trees are clustered with more blossoms than I’ve ever seen. They began early, budding at the end of April and the first of May. The blooms are large, and the creamiest of white. Surrounded by verdant green leaves and adorned with red and yellow center seedpods, they are well known for their glorious fragrance.



“Majestic flower! How purely beautiful Thou art.”

C.P. Cranch

This week I set out on my bicycle for a magnolia expedition throughout our beautiful island. (I also did manage to catch 2 sweet little fawns and some colorful roseate spoonbills but will save them for another time 😊). I’ve chosen some of my favorite images and presented them in black & white to remove any elements of distraction from the purity of the delicate blossoms. The trees are very tall so the challenge is in capturing blooms at a reasonable height, open to the light and at a peak stage of growth. 



“And while thy breeze floats o’er thee, matchless flower, I breathe the perfume, delicate and strong.”

C.P. Cranch

While putting this post together I learned that the magnolia is one of the oldest-living flowering plants. Fossilized remains go back as far as 20 million years, and possibly as far as 100 million. They pre-dated bees and are believed to have developed as beetle pollinators.  Magnolias were considered a symbol of purity in ancient China and are also used in traditional Asian medicine. Several perfume fragrances feature magnolia as a primary scent.



“Magnolia…C’est la fleur qui promèsse La perpetuité de la jeunesse.” 

Marela Stancu *

To me the purity of these stunning blossoms were a perfect match for Ann-Christine’s Delicate challenge. To see the challenge in its entirety, click here. We look forward to seeing your interpretations.To see others’ responses, be sure to visit the Lens-Artists TAG in the WordPress reader.



  •  Translation: Magnolia…it’s the flower that promises the perpetuity of youth.








Lens-Artists Challenge #45 Street Art

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

street art, hummingbirds

“Rebirth” by Nicole Punsler

This week Patti has invited us to share some examples of street art.  I must admit I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to showcase some street murals I photographed while in California visiting friends this spring. My opening images were part of a gloriously colorful mural – one of several located in Indio, California. More well-known for its Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio is home to several of these works of art painted on concrete buildings throughout the downtown area. Click on the images for a slightly larger view. 

street art, indio

Old Indio by Bijan Masoumpanah

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

Camille Pissarro

In 1996, this relatively small town just outside of Palm Springs initiated a mural project. Business owners were asked to support artists’ murals depicting the city’s historical, artistic and cultural legacy. Online maps were created and made available for the various murals, which can be explored on foot or by car. It’s a great example of the mutual benefit to businesses and artists when the two work together in support of each other.



“If you don’t want a generation of robots, fund the arts!”
Cath Crowley


When you think about it, 20+ years is a long time for building murals to exist. Exposed to the elements day in and day out, the murals remain beautifully detailed if somewhat faded (much like the times they represent). Despite Southern California’s harsh sun along with desert wind and sudden rainstorms, they do a wonderful job of artistic storytelling for all to see.



“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

Nina Simone

The murals are much, much larger than I’ve been able to include here, covering entire walls of large buildings.  You can see them in their entirety on a video posted here. Although all of the murals were terrific (including my header, which captures “Moving Toward the Future” by David Oceloti Garcia), two of my personal favorites were my opening image and the much quieter one that follows. This mural (of which I’ve included only a small piece) was the most damaged by the elements. The white spots are all areas where the paint had peeled off. Despite its aging, the mural had a lovely nostalgic feel. For me it seemed what a ride through the countryside might have looked like in times gone by – perhaps even here in South Carolina.

mural-History of the Date Industry in the Coachella Valley


“Inspiration surrounds us, the creation is our responsibility as artists.”

Lyn Crain

Special thanks to my good friend Sharon who knew how much I’d enjoy photographing the murals and took the time to explore the area for and with me. For another, very different look at a street art installation combined with performance art , visit my previous post here.

Thanks also to all who participated in our exploration of Harmony last week and to those who continue to support our challenge each week.  For more information on how to join us, click here. As always, remember to TAG your post with our Lens-Artists tag. We look forward to seeing the street art you’ve discovered – whether painted, sculpted, carved or created in ways we’ve not thought about before. 😊