“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.
“We can’t act until we know who we are and what we believe.”
This week Patti has invited us to think about action – often a challenge for those who’ve not experimented with it. While I might not attempt a race car or a rocket launch 😀 I’ve had some success with the Blue Angels in flight, which was great fun. I’m also happy shooting the actions of many of nature’s creatures, some of which I’ve chosen for today’s response.
I’m the first to admit that in addition to skill with the camera, it’s also important to get lucky. Such was the case in the photo-set above. The egret’s timing was perfect as it successfully speared a small fish; mine was pretty good too considering the speed of the attack. More importantly, I was lucky to have followed a successful hunt considering the number of times the birds miss!
“A dream without an action is like a fish without gills. It can’t survive.”
In the set above we see an obvious infringement on the territory of some brightly-colored carp. Do you suppose his intentions are simply to share the waters, or perhaps he is lonely and looking for a friend. Then again he may be thinking about his next meal – although some of those carp look like they might not go down without a fight! In any case the waters are so clear we can see our feathered friend paddling below the surface as the fish swim lazily by.
“Your actions today define tomorrow.”
Lailah Gifty Akita
In the images above I’ve shared some of Kiawah’s most iconic beach creatures in action. The left side of the set shows a bicyclist observing our river dolphins in the midst of strand-feeding. This behavior is unique to South Carolina and northern Georgia. The dolphin hunt in teams to herd baitfish onto the shore where both they and the most clever birds feast upon them. On the right, a newly-hatched loggerhead turtle struggles to make its way to the ocean, leaving a trail of flipper prints in its wake. Sadly, despite extensive conservation efforts, only 1 in 100 will make it to adulthood. Not surprisingly, since 1978 they have been on the endangered species list.
“Dream a little harder; now act with wonder.”
One of my most treasured memories is the African safari we were fortunate to make several years ago. I’ve combined two of Africa’s majestic creatures in their most fearsome postures. On the left, the mighty elephant. For the most part the many elephants we saw were gentle, loving and/or playful, but this particular bull was a bit off-put by our jeep and decided to let us know he was not happy. His display included swaying, flapping his ears and lowering his trunk, all classic signs of aggression. Let’s just say we didn’t hang around to see what would happen next! On the right two male wildebeests are having a go at each other, perhaps competing for leadership of the herd or for the attention of a nearby female. Happily, in this case we were not the objects of their ire.
“Action is the bridge between thought and reality.”
Among nature’s most amazing creatures, the Great Horned Owl is a study of poetry in motion. They are fierce and agile birds with incredibly strong talons, allowing them to deal effectively with prey of much larger size. They’ve adapted to most of the environments in North America as well as other areas throughout the world.
“Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.”
Finally, a view of the motion of Kiawah’s ocean – which seems only appropriate as we turn the calendar page to September, and head from summer into fall. Those of us fortunate enough to be residents bid farewell to the island’s summer visitors and along with our beloved sea birds can once again enjoy the peace and quiet of our beautiful beach.
“Fill the canvas of life with the colors of peace, bliss, beauty and love.”
This week I’ve decided it’s time to lighten up and introduce some fun and frivolity to our challenge. To that end, I’ve opened with a capture from the archives that makes me smile every time I look at it. Yes the wall is amazing but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the tiny little car parked in front 😊.
“Do what makes you happy; don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.”
Peggy Toney Horton
This summer during our visit to the Hudson Valley we enjoyed exploring some of the many wonderful art exhibits, including Omi International in Ghent, NY. There I found myself wondering about the sculpture I captured in the image above. I was drawn to the bold colors but admit I thought perhaps the artist might be somewhat indecisive 🙃
“If you’re to choose to paint your life today… What will it be? Remember, you’re the artist, not the canvas.”
Speaking of art, the image above is a photograph of a canvas that drew our attention in one of many galleries. In fact, because we were both drawn to it, it now hangs on our kitchen wall. My husband and I try to add a unique item from each of our journeys. Sometimes large other times small, our choices become a unique part of our home as well as reminders of some of our fondest memories.
“Colours are nature gone wild.”
Of course I must close with proof that Mother Nature herself is perhaps the most colorful artist of all. Exhibit A: the amazing little oystercatchers above with their bright orange beaks and matching eyes. Or better yet, the glorious colors of the roseate spoonbill shown below. Interestingly, I’ve seen several spoonbills here on Kiawah (a sure sign of climate change as they were typically seen only in Florida) but this week was the first time I’ve ever seen one in flight.
To some, each day brings a struggle to see beyond the darkness. For the rest of us, it is important to find moments of joy. We are surrounded by all of the colors of the rainbow, but it’s up to us to recognize and appreciate them. Remember, gratitude is recognized as one of the most important elements of a balanced, contented life.
So go ahead – find some colorful captures to make us smile. Link your post to this one and BE SURE TO TAG IT LENS-ARTISTS TO APPEAR IN OUR READER SECTION. Stay tuned for Patti’s post next Saturday and if you need information on how to participate in the challenge, click here.
Have you seen these?
Last week Amy challenged us to find some of life’s everyday moments. Check out some of the responses:
Tish Farrell shared an incredible set of moments from her adventures in Africa
A warm welcome to Mukhamani who joined our challenge for the first time.
Sylvia created her new blog Mycolorfulexpressions specifically to join our challenge. Welcome Sylvia!
“Life is the opportunity to create moments of wonder.”
This week Amy has asked us to examine some of life’s everyday moments. It occurred to me that for the most part my images that fit the theme have been made during my travels. For some reason, life’s little moments seem much more interesting when they happen in another country – such as my capture of the bartender in Scotland shown above. Somehow I can’t imagine myself photographing a bartender here in my own neighborhood.
“A moment in time has multiple moments.”
Proving myself wrong, the capture above was made as my husband and I were seated in a nearby restaurant. I loved the color of the yellow chairs, and thought the woman on the cellphone added an interesting element to the scene. Like the bartender before her, and the images that follow, I’ve used an impressionist’s brush to turn ordinary moments into something a bit more artistic.
“Here’s to the moments when you realize the simple things are wonderful enough.”
I loved the touch of pink being sported by the florist in the image above. Her everyday moments are surrounded by beautiful blooms and wafts of floral fragrance – what a lovely way to make a living!
“Truth is, moments come to an end. That’s how memories are created.”
Tyconis D. Allison Ty
Also featuring the color pink, in the image above I was drawn to a moment of peaceful pause for the woman of (as we say here in the states) “a certain age”. Her cane told me she struggled a bit with walking, but she seemed perfectly content while enjoying a bit of lunch on her wooden seat.
“No moment is too small to claim. Strung together, moments fashion a life.”
Speaking of lunch, what it is that’s so mesmerizing about a chef at work? For him, this is an everyday moment; for us it’s the precursor to enjoying a delicious meal. His smallest movements seem timed to a rhythm only he can hear.
“In the difficult moments believe in yourself.”
To me this gentleman’s simple act of reading a newspaper was enhanced by the silver urn beside, and the beautifully carved screen behind him. Engrossed in the story on the page, I was drawn to his debonair appearance – and to his total lack of interest in the intrusion of my lens 😊.
“Moments give birth to new memories”
I’ve chosen to close with an image that spoke to me of simple pleasures – fresh pastry, a bicycle ride to a country store, and some re-purposed milk jugs. As you might have guessed, the image is from a visit to the French countryside. A single moment within a fond memory. What could be better than that?
My thought when putting together my response to Amy’s challenge was that ordinary moments caught by my lens might just as easily have been captured by an artist’s brush. My love of impressionism pushed me to see the moments a bit more as a painter might have. To see how others interpreted the challenge, visit our Lens-Artists reader section, or click on Amy’s challenge here.
“Leave behind on the fabric of this planet a pattern of yourself.”
This week Ann-Christine has challenged us to find patterns; man-made or natural, home or away. As one who loves the patterns often found in the sand of our beautiful beach, I’ve chosen to share a few of my recent favorites.
“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, light and darkness which it provides.”
Sometimes the patterns are created by the wind, other times by the waves, and sometimes, as in the capture below, by the beautiful creatures who frequent our shores.
“Art is pattern informed by sensibility.”
Mother Nature gifts us with patterns everywhere. Her delicate footprints can often be found alongside our own at ocean’s edge. Happily, our avian neighbors seem to enjoy them as much as we do.
“We artists have been affected by patterns in nature since day one.”
Thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s interesting challenge. For more information on how to participate, click here. Remember to tag your post “Lens-Artists” to make sure it appears in our reader section.