“Light is to the photographer what words are to the writer; color and paint to the painter; wood, metal, stone, or clay to the sculptor.”
This week Amy has hit the proverbial nail on the head – light, at least to a photographer, is magic. Especially when traveling, it can be difficult to choose the times during which we’ll be able to shoot, but we can always find a way to capitalize on the light that’s available. In my opening image of one of Petra’s amazing rock-carved masterpieces, I was able to capture the soft, late-day light just as the shadows were beginning to creep in. Note the tiny people in the image to get an idea of the structure’s massive size – which amazingly dates back to 400 BC. Tragically 11 people were killed when a massive flash flood hit Petra just 5 days after our visit. Thousands of tourists were evacuated and the site is temporarily closed for cleanup – timing, as always, is everything.
“Every photo tells a story, but remember this, there was a storyteller behind the lens.”
On the other hand, in the image above a bedouin camel-herder leads three of his charges in the mid-day sun of Wadi Rum. Notice the shadows of the subjects directly beneath them. In this case, although I’d have preferred softer light, I felt that the subjects carried enough of a message that I was willing to overlook the harsh mid-day conditions. Sometimes the story can be as important as the timing.
“In nature, light creates the color. In a picture, color creates the light.”
In the image above, it was the mid-day sun passing through an awning – nearly the exact blue of the sky – that drew my attention. The dome in the background for me added an element of spirituality and mysticism. Perhaps the combination of the elements meant more to me having just learned the importance of the color blue to those who study Kabbalah.
“Photography is being able to grasp those instants which pass with the ticking of a clock, never to be duplicated.”
“I believe in the photographer’s magic – the ability to stir the soul with light, and shape, and colour.”
In Israel’s Negev Desert, night falls quickly and the cool light of blue hour is softened by the warm hues of the desert rock. Here, a massive crater was formed by the action of the sea rather than by volcano or meteor. Rocks at the crater’s bottom have been dated as old as 200 million years. 25 miles long and over 1600 feet deep, it is an amazing example of nature’s incredible power.
“To learn the magic of light, get up before sunrise….. and watch.”
Finally, I’ll close with a capture of sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. I was drawn to the scene in part because the moon still clung to its place in the sky despite a push from the sun to claim it. Having heard so many stories about Galilee growing up a Christian, I found it particularly meaningful and surprisingly beautiful.
Thanks to Amy for giving us an opportunity to explore the many forms of light – which color our world and enrich our lives. Be sure to visit her original post here, and remember to tag any responding posts with the Lens-Artists tag.
All images captured with Fuji x-T2, 18-55mm
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
This week my husband and I in the midst of a trip to Israel. Ann-Christine’s blending in/standing out challenge comes as we are experiencing an incredible blending of many different cultures, nationalities and religions all around us. For example, above we see three young Israeli soldiers having a break at a gelato counter. How strange for us to see their machine guns casually draped over their shoulders as they decide which flavors they’ll choose. It seems quite foreign to us, yet there are young soldiers everywhere blending into street scenes wherever we look.
“Different is good. But different is hard. Believe me, I know.”
In Israel, one sees an amazing array of unique costumes signifying different religions and sects. The three young men above represent an Orthodox Jewish sect known for their black hats, black coats and long payot curls. Although their dress causes us to assume theirs is a serious conversation, for all we know they may just as easily have been discussing the Red Sox victory over the Dodgers to clinch the US World Series 😊
“Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.”
I was surprised to see as many Christian sects represented in Israel as Jewish and Muslim. The Franciscans, such as the two shown above, are quite prevalent. They are responsible for many of the Christian churches and historic sites visited by pilgrims from countries all around the world. Again, their robes lead us to believe theirs is a serious conversation, but the bright blue sneakers seem to tell a different story!
“Things look different depending on your perspective.”
Speaking of blue, I was drawn to the headwear of this beautiful young girl in one of the alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City. While its distinct shape told me she is of a different culture than most of the young people I know, she is as intently focused on her cellphone as any other young person might be. While there would surely be differences, clearly there are also areas of commonality among the world’s many cultures.
“Differences were meant by God not to divide but to enrich.”
Finally, a silhouette of a man in religious garb moving into the light from the darkness of an alley. To me he represents everything that is important about humankind. His garb shows his beliefs, which make him different. But his journey from darkness to light is the same for us all. Whatever our beliefs, we all face challenges, striving to be our best selves as we move through our lives. Let us focus on those things that unite us while appreciating the differences that make us unique.
On a personal note, I would like to add my voice to those who have expressed support for the victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue attack. There is no place in this world for such hatred, nor for anti-semitism of any form. Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” At the very least we must speak out against such acts of cowardice.
Note: All images captured with Fuji X-T2, 18-35mm f/2.8 lens
“It’s more fun when you’re not the only one having it.”
This week Patti has invited us to have some fun and I’m all for that! I chose my opening image because I can only imagine the artist created it just for fun. I’m open to anyone who can venture a guess as to what it’s all about! I captured it in a small park in NYC this past weekend.
“Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun.”
Several years ago while visiting Alaska, I came across this fellow who had been caught on the wrong side of the river where he AND the bears were fishing. Needless to say, had the standoff ended the bear would definitely have had the upper hand. Fortunately he was a young juvenile and was merely curious rather than hungry 😀.
“Fun is good.”
One day I looked out of my kitchen window and saw a bright yellow golf ball firmly lodged in a palmetto. I found myself wondering just how bad the golfer must have been, as the tree is nowhere near the route to the green. I suspect he wasn’t having as much fun as he’d have liked, at least on that hole 😀.
“There is no fun in having nothing to do. The fun is in having lots to do and not doing it!”
Finally, an image I made quite some time ago. We often see dolphin swimming, feeding and even jumping in our marsh and rivers, but this one seemed to actually be dancing on his tail. In all of the many times I’ve seen them, this was the only instance in which I’d ever experienced this behavior. Clearly he was simply having fun.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s fun challenge, and a big thanks to Patti for the opportunity to smile at some fond memories!
Remember to tag your posts Lens-artists in order to appear in our reader section, and of course stay tuned for Ann-Christine’s challenge next Saturday. As for me, I’m traveling for the next several weeks but will do my best to be in touch on the upcoming challenges.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Back on Lens-Artists Challenge #11, Amy was focused on “Small is Beautiful”. This week I’d like to submit that Big can be Beautiful too! Exhibit A – the gorgeous hawk in my opening image. He visited a large tree next to my home earlier this year and posed nicely until I could get a shot without too many leaves in the way.
“Life is one big road with lots of signs.”
Speaking of posing, this beautiful peacock was giving us quite a show. I must admit I’d never seen a peacock fly, nor sit in a tree. Typically they’re on the ground strutting their stuff. This male showed us that peacock flight capabilities are actually quite good 😀. Well excuse us for wondering!
“Big results require big ambitions.”
Now there are those I’m sure who would say an alligator is not necessarily beautiful, but I would beg to differ. They are amazing creatures, built of strong armor and blessed with big, beautiful teeth – the better to eat you with if you are a small animal or an unsuspecting bird. Here on Kiawah, we don’t bother them and they don’t bother us. But a big lens and a bit of distance are very good things where gators are concerned.
“Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.”
I’ll close with an image from this past week. A friend and I were shooting a very large flock of seabirds when they all decided to leave en masse. The tiny little sandpipers looked a bit lost among the large numbers of much bigger skimmers and gulls, but they seemed to hold their own quite nicely. But the MOST fun thing about the shoot was that I was sharing it with a good friend I’d previously known only through blogging. We had a great time connecting in real life vs virtually, and our husbands very much enjoyed the connection too. Whew!!
I look forward to seeing your Big Shots (pun intended) this week. Do remember to tag your posts Lens-Artists so that we can all see them in the WP Reader. Be sure to check in with Patti of Pilotfish next Saturday for Challenge #17.
For more information about our challenges click here.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?
Amy’s CHANGING challenge last week drew many interesting and creative responses.
Anvica’s Gallery showed us some very creative editing in her Out of Bounds post
Sue (Mac’s Girl) shared an amazing look at how times have changed in her Sign of the Times post about vintage advertisements
“Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn; like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.”
Amy’s challenge this week speaks to those of us who enjoy working with some of the many tools available for editing images. Simple edits in programs like Lightroom or Google Photos, or Apps like Snapseed or Diptic give even beginning photographers the ability to morph their photos into something a bit more artistic.
“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty; that’s the way new leaves grow.”
Editing resources become even more accessible with the abundance of tutorials and videos available on the web. With a few clicks one can find “How-to’s” on just about any product – from the simplest to the most complex. For those who prefer learning the old-fashioned way there are books both in hard copy and online to foster self-teaching. Sadly from the moment they’re published it seems the products they address have been changed or updated and further study is required.
“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”
As a former user of Apple’s Aperture software I’ve experienced the pain of transitioning from one product to another. As such I try to use only tools offered by companies whose editing products are their primary business. While there is no guarantee, my hope is that companies like Adobe (providers of Lightroom and Photoshop) or Topaz Labs can be trusted to continue evolving their products as time goes on. Of course those of us who use and love the Nik products have learned that such is not always the case.
“Change is not a four letter word…but often your reaction to it is.”
For this week’s images, I used Lightroom to make a few minor edits, followed by Topaz Impressions and Topaz Texture Effects to create a more painterly effect. Those who follow me know I am a fan of impressionist painting and I’ve included some images in the past using textures and impressions to create an image quite different from the one with which I started. All of the Topaz tools used in today’s post are part of their “Studio” product which is available at no charge for the basic package.
“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.”
As I’ve mentioned previously, autumn here on Kiawah does not deliver the glorious colors of the northeastern US. Using software tools on the two previous images I’ve turned summer-day images into something a bit more like our fall. I added some reds to the grasses and trees, some gold and brown to the marsh and some color to the skies. While nothing like the reds and golds of a Vermont mountain scene in October, to me they speak to the changes we will soon see here in the southeast.
“No one can change a person, but a person can be the reason someone changes.”
Shannon L. Alder
Finally, my personal favorite – an image of my nephew and his son, my great-nephew. I just loved the way they are in lock-step with each other. The little one is the image of his dad, making it really fun to watch him grow into the person he will some day be. As Shannon Alder says in the quote above, my nephew’s wife and son are a big part of the reason he has grown into the loving, responsible, mature man he has become.
Sincere thanks to Amy for giving us the opportunity to “paint” outside the box. For the purists among us, I promise to return to realistic SOOC or slightly tweaked images next week. Also, for those who are interested, I’ve included the original images in their unaltered state below.
Be sure to check out Amy’s post here. Should you decide to join us, remember to tag your post Lens-Artists to have it appear in our reader section for the week.
“Through the window, I saw the beautiful world outside.”
Taking today’s opening quote literally, I’ve chosen to open my response to Ann-Christine’s windows challenge with a look through my own kitchen window. As a nature lover I am happy to be surrounded by palmettos, oaks, and a lovely little lagoon, which draws beautiful birds and our neighborhood alligator. It does my soul good to enjoy the peace and quiet, surrounded by the morning sunlight before I set out for the day’s activities.
“Drive nature out of the door and it will fly in at the window.”
I made the preceding image of a beautiful oak tree reflected in a very wide window not far from my home on Kiawah. In this case nature truly is flying in at the window 😊. At the opposite end of the spectrum however, the view in the image below is from a high-rise apartment in New York City. I was enchanted by the raindrops that remained after a fierce storm as well as the incredible light it had created. It was a wonderful lesson on the beauty of nature in the very heart of a bustling city.
“Photography is both mirror and window, connecting subject and viewer through the heart, eyes and mind of the photographer.”
Proving that nature is not the only beautiful thing seen in a window, I captured the image below in the middle of downtown Lexington, Kentucky. I was drawn to the dichotomy of the classic statehouse architecture reflected in the contemporary windows of the building across the street.
“If the house of the world is dark, love will find a way to create windows.”
From the archives, below I’ve included an image from quite some time ago – the cupola of St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. I’d thought about posting it for Patti’s “look up” challenge last week but chose to go in a different direction. I was glad it fit this week’s windows challenge. Imagine the job of cleaning those beauties!
“I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world.”
Finally, speaking of window cleaning, I captured my final image in Beijing, China. The window washers were working on the Olympic Village’s Aquatic Center which has since been transformed into a recreational water park. I had to smile at the tiny size of their squeegees versus the enormity of the structure. Not a job for the faint of heart!
“My favorite journey is looking out the window.”
Thanks to Ann-Christine for her fun challenge this week. Be sure to catch challenge # 15 at Amy’s ShareandConnect site next week, and remember to please include a TAG with your post to have it appear in the Lens-Artists reader section.
“Look up from what you’re doing and see what a beautiful world you’re in.”
This week Patti invites us to look up, giving us the opportunity to rise above the maelstrom of the daily news for at least a few moments. I’ve opened with an image of storm clouds gathering above our Arthur Ravenel Bridge which connects the city of Charleston to the northern suburbs. Completed in 2005, it’s a relatively new addition to the greater Charleston area that can be seen from most anywhere, including Kiawah. Its beautifully designed span draws the eye and greatly enhances our skyline.
“Keep looking up, that’s the secret of life.”
Charleston was one of the first places in the world to offer religious tolerance, and is known as the Holy City because of its many churches (400+). As a classic example, above we see the steeple of Saint Philip’s Church. It has persevered through war and a major fire as well as natural events including earthquakes, hurricanes and even a tornado. A much-loved site for tourists and Charlestonians alike, it was built to stick out into the street. According to local legend its protrusion was designed to force people to slow down and think about living a good life.
“When you look up, you go up.”
Charlestonians are proud of their many beautiful gardens which thrive in our hot, humid climate (although as a transplanted northerner I find it a bit on the warm side 😉 ). Many of the city’s historic homes are enhanced by the placement of lovely flower boxes which are continually refreshed and add color to the city’s palette. Known for its southern hospitality, Charleston has received numerous awards including best city in the US by Travel and Leisure readers for the past 6 years in a row.
“Become the person your younger self would want to look up to”
Perhaps another reason for her popularity, Charleston has become quite a “foodie” city, drawing gourmands from around the country to sample her many restaurants. Southern specialties such as grits, biscuits and fried chicken are readily available as are the bounties of the nearby sea – especially the delicious shrimp caught just off our shores. The sign in the image above is painted high overhead, on the side wall of a local favorite.
“Looking up at the sky was the best idea I had all day.”
Finally, I’ll close with an image I captured last autumn, as we are still enjoying summer-like temps here in the Charleston area. Despite an occasional complaint about the lack of local fall colors, every once in a while one can look up to see a tree that offers a bit of autumn’s magic. That combined with the beautiful purples of our sweetgrass is just enough for me!
Be sure to visit Patti’s post here, or for more information about joining our challenge click here. Tune in next week to see our next challenge presented by Ann-Christine at https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com
“Relax, breathe deep and trust the path you’re on.”
Having recently spent many hours glued to the weather channel tracking the path of Hurricane Florence, it seemed appropriate that this week’s challenge should be Path. Your path may be literal, such as I’ve illustrated in today’s images, or figurative, giving us a glimpse into the direction in which your life is moving.
“If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your path.”
Personally, my life’s path has been nearly as unpredictable as that of Hurricane Florence – a perfect example of the old adage “Man plans, God laughs.” Rather than bore you with details, I’ll simply say that early on I was taught that if we work hard and do our best, things will work out in the end. Somehow, though not necessarily according to plan 😊, for me they always have.
“If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.”
Certainly, luck has a great deal to do with it. I was fortunate to have been born into a supportive family in a stable country during a time of peace and prosperity. I never worried where my next meal might come from nor whether I might become a victim of the ravages of war or the whims of a ruling despot. The choices along my path seem far less challenging when viewed from a global perspective.
“The presence of a path doesn’t necessarily mean the existence of a destination.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough
As another stroke of pure luck, my degree in languages was a primary target for recruiters in the technology business before there was any such thing as a computer science major. Who’d have thought that someone who once said “no one will ever buy a computer in a retail store” (yep, that was me, DUH) would end up with a career in computers and networking. Go figure.
“There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.”
Finally, a long term North-easterner, I would never have imagined living in the south. My husband and I have now been here for 20 years. I’ve learned to love hot, humid summers (he hasn’t), fried chicken, and sand in my shoes. Along with the things I love I’ve learned to anticipate, follow, and despise tropical storms. My heart goes out to those affected by Hurricane Florence – may their paths lead to recovery very soon.
Like many others I’m sure, my path thus far has been filled with twists and turns I’d never have anticipated. Fortunately, along the way I’ve learned to roll with the punches and so far it’s been a wonderful ride. Here’s to wherever our paths lead next 😀.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?
There were many terrific responses to Amy’s “Small Is Beautiful” challenge last week, thanks to all who participated!
To learn more about how to participate in our challenge, click here. Be sure to link to this post and to TAG YOUR POST LENS-ARTISTS. Finally, tune in next Saturday when Patti of Pilotfish will host our next challenge.
“Even the smallest blessing on earth is enough reason to be thankful for your life.”
Well as most of you know, this was quite a week here in the southeastern US. Hurricane Florence unleashed her fury on our friends in North Carolina and for most of the week threatened us here in South Carolina. Thankfully, our island was spared and our week brought nothing more than a bit of rain and some wind – and of course quite a bit of angst.
“The smallest of action is better than the greatest of intentions.”
Mohammed Imran Uddin
As our fears were stoked by the weather forecasters and the continuously shifting hurricane models, my husband and I decided to “shelter in place” with a wait-and-see attitude. Ready to leave at a moment’s notice in response to our governor’s mandatory evacuation notice, we and many of our neighbors were fortunate that our decision turned out to be a good one as the storm never really impacted us. One thing it did do, however, was cause me to get out on a regular basis to check nature’s reaction to the atmospheric conditions. All of today’s images as well as my header were created as the threat of the storm hung over our heads.
“Big is only an accumulation of many smalls.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
Apparently the kayakers in the capture above had also decided to await the storm’s arrival while enjoying some of the glorious colors it created in our waters and across our skies. The light this week was quite glorious – almost as if nature was giving us a gift before bringing on the impending havoc.
“An oak tree is just a small nut that persevered against the taunts of doubt and fear.”
As our waterways rose, high tide created beautiful scenes such as those above and below. Puffy clouds were reflected on unusually blue waters, and small blades of marsh grass replete with tiny snails poked through. River dolphins meandered through the streams, no doubt feeding on the bait fish which seemed as confused as we were.
“It’s the little things that make big things happen.”
Anthony T. Hincks
The light was simply amazing, painting the grasses in shades of green and gold under colorful skies. Riding my bike was a bit more challenging than usual in view of the stronger winds, but the vistas made it very much worth the effort. Happily my X-T2 is light enough to accompany me as I ride about. Interestingly, at one point I stopped to shoot a mama deer and her fawn. As I sat motionless on my bike, the mama came right up to me and began licking the salt from my legs. Perhaps the storm threat had made her a bit more daring than usual!
“A house is never small or empty when filled with love.”
Finally, a small roseate spoonbill seems to have lost its way and been adopted by a flock of egrets. I made this capture early today as the birds feasted on the bait fish exposed in our lowered lagoons. This particular pond is directly behind my home, and although we’re often visited by egrets and herons, and occasionally hawks and eagles, it’s the first time I’ve seen a spoonbill on it. He looks a bit envious of his larger brethren, don’t you think? 🙃.
Our thoughts are very much with our neighbors to the north as they continue to experience heavy rainfall and probable continued flooding. Here’s hoping Florence picks up her pace and heads off into the sunset soon.
“Fences are made for those who cannot fly.”
Ann-Christine has challenged us this week to focus on fences. It’s funny how often we photographers are drawn to them. Something about the symmetry seems to call to us. This evening as my husband and I ventured out to observe an unusually high tide, I was drawn to a brightly sunlit cloud hovering over Kiawah’s marsh. I remembered Ann-Christine’s challenge and included the fenced path crossing the waters that border the entrance to our island. It was a beautiful evening for photography – or for just about anything else, including boating, paddle boarding and kayaking – all of which were in process as we walked past. But I’ll save those images for another day 😊
“Love your neighbor as yourself but don’t take down your fence.”
In the image above I’ve captured a bold white fence in the rain on a dreary day at the beach. The sun returned before long but I enjoyed the opportunity to create something a bit different with this one in the meanwhile. The dreary day capture was made during a visit this summer to a more northern beach for some family fun – we don’t get many of these here under the “Kiawah bubble” (She says as Hurricane Florence lurks nearby!)
“Fear is the highest fence.”
Later that same day once the rain cleared and the the sun returned I was fortunate to capture the quiet AFTER the storm but BEFORE the arrival of the many visitors one would typically find there. I wondered why the lifeguard stand was fenced in – perhaps to keep the lifeguards separated from the bikini-clad teens who might otherwise distract them from their duties???
“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Back home, I was drawn to this brave little squirrel on my own fence who had absolutely no fear of my lens. I captured quite a few images of his antics but for some reason his awkward pose in this shot is the one that gave me the biggest smile. To me he looks as if he’s about to charge past the starting line in a road race!😊
“Most folks are like a barb-wire fence. They have their good points.”
Texas Bix Bender
Also in our neighborhood, a beautiful pastoral fence bordering a walking path and some glorious live oaks. This is a path that connects our island with our next door neighbor, Seabrook Island. The path borders a beautiful field typically filled with several horses stabled there. Oftentimes there are bicyclists or walkers enjoying the warm breezes as they head to and fro.
“If the grass on the other side is greener, try watering your side.”
Ernie J. Zelinski
Finally, a beautiful little fence bordered with wildflowers that I captured during a visit to my brother’s home in Colorado. It amazes me as I travel how very different each place may be, yet there is beauty to be found everywhere. Photography helps me to seek and recognize the beauty in our world – and what a wonderful gift that is.
Thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s challenge, and to all of our participants for their responses. For more information on how to join the challenges, click here. Most importantly, remember to TAG your post ” Lens-Artists ” to appear in our reader section.