Lens-Artists Challenge #200 – Every Little Thing

bee, purple, flowers
Buzzzz

“Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.”

Christy Lefteri

This week Amy asks us to focus on the little things – important in life as well as in photography. I’ll admit I don’t do much work with macro, and I don’t own a macro lens. Now and then, however, I enjoy doing a bit of close-up work using my zoom lens – and of course there is always the crop tool. Both my opening image and the one that follows were captured earlier this week as spring dazzles us with her most beautiful colors on Kiawah.

foxgloves, purple, spots, flowers, spring
Frilly Foxgloves

“Be like a flower; turn your face to the sun.”

Robin Craig Clark

I have no doubt we will see some marvelous flowers and insects in response to this week’s challenge. My image below may be a bit unique as it captures the tiny snails that cluster on our marsh grasses during low tide. One has to look hard to see them, and also needs to know where to look!

marsh, grasses, snails
Snails A-plenty

“Snail is frail but does not fail to assail every nail on its trail.”

Vincent Okay Nwachukw

Another image from last week’s zoom outing was the capture below. I loved the colorful patterns on the big leaves. I’ve actually desaturated this one a bit as it was hard to believe the depth of its reds and greens.

Caladium, Elephant Ears, red, veins
Colorful Caladium aka Elephant Ears

“Between my heart and your heart, there is a vein. Maybe a bridge.”

Emmanuelle Soni-Dessaigne

And now, as they say, a few captures from the archives:

First, some sprightly little dragon/damselfliesalways a challenge to capture 😊

dragonflies and damselflies
Dragon – or are they Damsel – flies

Next, a newly-hatched egret awaiting the arrival of some siblings

egret hatchling, nest, eggs
Waiting for Nest-mates

And last but never least, a beautiful butterfly who found a flower with complimentary colors.

butterfly, flower, orange
Orange Times Two

“Little things teach us big things”

Mehmet Murat ildan

Thanks to Amy for her fun challenge – how nice to be able to use some of my captures of spring’s loveliest subjects. Be sure to link your responses to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John and to those who responded to his creative Mechanical/Industrial challenge last week.

Ann-Christine will take the lead next week. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #199 – Mechanical/Industrial

industrial, old, dilapidated, Michelin
Industrial Demise

“Prune the dilapidated buildings so that a city flourishes.

Khang Kijarro Nguyen

This week John’s challenge has given me an opportunity to showcase a place that played a role in some of my long bygone days. Unlike John, I’m not as focused (pun intended) on industrial or mechanical images, but like many photographers I do love places that have seen better days.

factory, dilapidated
Disrepair

“The industrial model is gone. People are more than machines.”

Richie Norton

In the town where I grew up there were Michelin baseball fields and Michelin playgrounds, but it never occurred to me until much later that they were named after the old, run-down factory with which they co-existed. The factory, it turns out, had a long and interesting history, having been built in the 1700s and owned by many companies until finally being used by Michelin Tire beginning in 1907.

Michelin factory, Milltown
Nature Taking Over

“The mind is the laboratory where products, both fake and genuine are manufactured.”

Israelmore Ayivor

At its heyday the factory covered 21 acres, housed 14 buildings, over 475,000 square feet, and had a workforce of more than 2,000 people. Cited for environmental hazards it was finally razed (for the most part) in 2016. The iconic smokestack and water tower featured in my opening image were retained as an important element of the town’s history.

water, hydration
Obsolete

“Industry is not the mark of progress – compassion, reason and self-reliance are.”

Abhijit Naskar,

My response this week features an unhappy ending to what was once a vibrant industrial center. Hazardous waste created a situation which prevented others from investing in the site, such that it simply deteriorated until deconstruction was the only solution. Gone are the Michelin farm that was used to feed employees, the medical and recreation centers, and a bowling alley built for their entertainment. The 53 Michelin homes built to house employees have been continually updated and are an integral part of the town.

brick, crumbling, vines
Tattered Trellis

“Despite all our amazing ability, ingenuity, technology and industry humans are the one species who have not mastered the art of simplicity.

Rasheed Ogunlaru

There is an aura of wistful charm associated with days gone by, such that we sometimes forget their difficulties. I for one am happy to live with today’s creature comforts but find myself wondering how future generations will regard them and us. Let’s hope we’re remembered as the generation that worked to clean up polluted waters, save the forests and purify the air, rather than the one that destroyed them all.

Sincere thanks to those who responded to Patti’s Light and Shadow challenge with so many beautiful images. Thanks also to John for his intriguing challenge – please remember to link your responses to his original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Amy will be our host next week on her Share and Connect blog – until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #198 – Light and Shadow

Whales, fountain, lights
Whales’ Tails

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject – that is the essence of expression and art through photography.”

Scott Bourne

This week Patti challenges us to explore the mysteries of light and shadow. Photographers are always looking for just the right light and when it happens it’s a bit of magic. Shadow can be thought of as the absence of light, or perhaps a different quality of light. In today’s opening image I’ve featured a fountain I saw outside a hotel that shows an effective use of artificial light and shadow to highlight whale tails – a major draw for tourists in the area.

shadow, bridge, solitary man
Solitary

“I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself – mysterious and ever changing light with its accompanying shadows rich and full of mystery.”

Edward Steichen

The image above is one of my favorites which I’ve posted before. I was with friends shooting whales in San Francisco Bay and on the walk back to our car I took a side path to shoot the bridge. As I pointed my lens into the structure I happened across a man walking under it and quickly grabbed the shot. I loved the dramatic shadows and the solitary man who added a touch of mystery to the image.

lightning, clouds
Nature’s Light Show

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”

August Sander

Never one to be outdone, Mother Nature shows us the power of her own artistry – lightning – breaking through the clouds and illuminating the late day shadows. These days photographers use sophisticated timers to photograph lightning but my image above was the result of pure patience and a once more, a bit of luck.

boat, night, city lights, color
Phantom Ship

“The organization of light and shadow effects produce a new enrichment of vision.”

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Again highlighting artificial light, I’ve included the image above of a ship as it passed the bright lights of Hong Kong. I loved the way the motion of the ship moving past the city turned it into something of a phantom.

Red roofs, tile rooms, evening light, artificial light
Lights On

“Photography is a literature of light.”

Moses Oliver

My image above is an example of the “blue hour”, a special time of the evening when the light has not quite fully faded – rather the opposite end of the “golden hour” spectrum in the morning. I loved the combination of the blue hour sky, the early-on yellow lights within the homes and the red tile roofs of Dubrovnik. The image was captured from my hotel window early one evening during our visit.

mountains, B&W, Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Torres del Paine, Patagonia

“Our job is to record this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”

Edward Abbey

I loved Edward Abbey’s quote above as I believe it truly describes the magic of photography. I’m closing today’s post with two images that are reminders some personal magic moments. Above, a favorite image of Patagonia’s majestic Torres del Paine. I felt B&W better conveyed the power of these glorious peaks. At the opposite end of the spectrum, my image below shows a simple moment of humanity – a worker taking a much-needed rest during our visit to Vietnam. In both cases, light and shadow are at play in creating a memorable moment.

Moment of Rest

Sincere thanks to Patti for the opportunity to explore the magic of light and shadow. We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to my Rule of Thirds challenge last week. It was terrific seeing your thoughts and images that both followed and broke the “rule”. We hope you’ll be with us next week when Ann-Christine leads our challenge. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

egret, breeding plumage
Beautiful Breeding Plumage

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pablo Picasso

This week our challenge is focused on one of the most well-known and widely-used “rules” of photography, the Rule of Thirds. I’ve used quotation marks because as shown in Picasso’s quote above, and as we all know, rules are made to be broken. So what is the rule and when does it make sense to ignore it?!

Wise Old Owl

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

Dalai Lama XIV

For those who would like to study the concept further, there are many online descriptions and examples. Adobe offers an excellent summary here. Basically, the rule is a compositional guideline that encourages placement of your primary subject on at least part of three equal rows and three equal columns as illustrated below.

Rule of thirds
 grid
Rule of Thirds Grid

Many of today’s cameras can superimpose the grid on your screen as you compose a shot. The idea is to place your subject on one (or more) of the grid lines, or even better on the dots, theoretically making the image more pleasing to the eye. Typically the right vertical line is the most popular, as used in my opening image. The owl above, on the other hand, is on the left side. Obviously since he was facing right that composition made more sense. Also, it’s important to compose birds with an area of open space in front, visually implying they could fly away at a given moment.

Bagpiper, scotland
Bagpiper Two Ways

“Any fool can make a rule And any fool will mind it.”

Henry David Thoreau

As many great minds (including several quoted in today’s post) have allowed, often times it is appropriate to break the rule. The two images above offer a clear example. On the left the bagpiper is indeed positioned on the left side grid line, but he’s rather lost in the distraction of the bricks behind and the window ledge above. Also, he’s about to move out of the image rather than into it. On the right, using a vertical composition he is directly in the center and the viewer’s attention will be on him, his instrument and his colorful costume, rather than on his surroundings. Often it helps to shoot the same subject multiple ways to zero in on your favorite version.

Royal Golf Hotel, rainbow
After The Rain

“Look, that’s why there’s rules, understand? So that you think before you break ’em.”

Terry Pratchett

Another approach to composing is a “Z” configuration structuring your image so that the viewer’s eye is moving from left to right – as most of our viewers typically read. In the image above, my goal was to highlight the rainbow, by first presenting the hotel and only then moving to the beauty of the rainbow as the eye travels across the scene.

Great Wall, China
China’s Great Wall

“I didn’t write the rules, why should i follow them?”

W. Eugene Smith

A logical use of the Z format is shown in my Great Wall image above. I don’t use the format often but this one is among my favorite images – I use it as my screensaver and as the centerpiece of my office wall grid of travel images.

Star, floor tile
Star of the Show

“Rules are a great way to get ideas. All you have to do is break them.”

Jack Foster

On the other hand, there are times when no distractions will do and we choose to compose our images such that the subject completely fills the frame. In the image above the star, embedded in an otherwise brown and boring floor, in my mind deserved to stand alone. Clearly, the rule of thirds would have been the wrong approach for this one.

Finally, as noted in the Adobe article (and who better to make this suggestion?!) one can always alter the placement of a subject in post-processing. Both of Adobe’s flagship products, Photoshop and Lightroom, offer a superimposed grid over an image when cropping. So what do you think – were you familiar with the rule? Do you find it helpful while shooting, in post-processing; neither or both? This week we hope you’ll share some rule-of-thirds examples and explain how and why you chose to compose them. Be sure to link to my original, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Sincere thanks to John for last week’s invitation to share some humorous moments, and to those of you who responded with images that gave us so many reasons to smile. Patti will lead our challenge next week with a Light and Shadow challenge. Until then as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #196 – Humor

shoes, corn on the cob
Just Plain Weird

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

William Arthur Ward

This week our Guest Host, John Holmes aka JohnRH of John’s Space has offered us an opportunity to leave our worries behind and share images designed to make us smile. I’m the first to admit I don’t often make funny images but far be it from me to miss such an opportunity! My opening set includes a tree made entirely of shoes, and a phone booth (remember those?!) within a giant corn cob. Really?!?!? As an aside, those who know me may remember that my image of the shoe tree was published in the venerable New York Times in a special segment on “Why People Travel”, quite an exciting moment for yours truly.

frog, goat, humor
Nature’s Sense of Humor

“Humor is just another defense against the universe.” 

Mel Brooks

Mother Nature also seems to have a sense of humor. The little frog on the left seemed less than happy to have his picture taken and it appears, at least to me, that he’s using his middle finger in a rather rude indication of it. The little goat on the right obviously wished there were some mountains for him to climb but had to settle for a small barrel instead. He seems to have accomplished his “king of the hill” goal.

humor, people, cheerleader
Humorous Humans

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”

Langston Hughes

People can be funny too – often times by accident 😊. In the image on the left, my husband and I were protecting ourselves from an onslaught of biting black flies in the Australian outback. On the right, clearly the baby in the background was beyond shocked when the cheerleader in front of him established her position. I’ve often wished I’d known her name as I’d love to have shared this one!

signs, humor
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

“If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.”

Jennifer Jones

Finally, a number of signs I’ve captured along my travels which have given me a smile, and hopefully will do the same for you. By way of explanation, the little dog is reminding other dogs to keep the lawn clean, and the red, white and blue sign was a bumper sticker I saw before our last presidential election. Hopefully the owner still has it for next time.

Thanks to Anne and to all of those who responded to last week’s Colorful Expressions challenge. What an amazing variety of hues you shared – and all so beautiful. Thanks also to John for giving us a chance this week to be light-hearted despite the sadness of our daily news. We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to his original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #195 – Colorful Expressions

bird, orange, yellow, colorful, Toucan
Colorful Toucan

“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.”

Vincent Van Gogh

This week Anne invites us to explore color and the way it influences our images. Vibrant colors like those of the toucan above and the artistic glass below drew my attention despite the fact that I’m not much of a fan of either yellow or orange. Still, I couldn’t resist their bursts of color.

yellow, orange, glass
Orange You Glad Dale Chihuly Loves Glass?!

“Orange is an underrated color, it’s the second most underrated color after yellow.”

Michel Gondry

Blues and greens, on the other hand, are among my favorite colors. In studies of the emotional impact of colors it’s been said that green is the color of nature and growth (or on the other hand envy and greediness), while blue denotes calmness and stability. Nature, growth and calmness – no wonder I’m drawn to them!

green, red, plant,
Sumptuous Succulent

“Green calm below, blue quietness above.”

John Greenleaf Whittier

Whatever their meaning, I loved nature’s color combinations of green and red in the plant above, and the green and blue of the peacock feathers below.

Peacock, green, blue, feathers
Pretty as a Peacock

“Earth – a tiny blue and green oasis of life in a cold universe'”

David Suzuki

Sometimes it’s the combination of multiple colors that catch the eye and draw the lens, for example the three brightly-colored images that follow:

colors, umbrellas, colorful
Let It Rain
hummingbird, wall art, colorful
Blue Bird of Happiness??
boat, Chihuly, Glass, colorful
Another Chihuly – Having a Ball

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”

Claude Monet

At other times, it’s monochrome subjects that draw the eye – such as the two images that follow:

Red, color
From NYC’s Oculus – Just Red
sea turtle sign
Sign on Kiawah’s Beach – Lights Out After 9 pm

“There are only 3 colors, 10 digits and 7 notes. It’s what we do with them that’s important.”

John Rohn

I hope you enjoy this week’s play-date with color as much as I have. Sincere thanks to Anne for the gift of a smile as I created this one. Please remember to link your responses to Anne’s original here and to use the Lens-Artists tag. Thanks also to Sofia and to all those who responded to her bokeh challenge last week. It was great to see the results from those who were familiar with the technique as well as those who put it into practice for the first time.

We’re excited to announce that next week’s Guest Host will be none other than JohnRH of John’s Space. Take a moment to visit his ever-interesting blog to be sure you don’t miss his post. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #194 – Bokeh

red, leaves, bokeh, flowers, iPhone
iPhone Magic

“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important and….if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”

Anonymous

This week Sofia’s Bokeh challenge pushed me to try some new techniques that I learned in a recent class on iPhone photography. Both my opening image and the one below were captured using my iPhone 12 Pro Max and are un-edited except for conversion to 4×6 format and framing. It also drew me to some of my favorite images from the past, which are included later in my post.

flower, pink, bokeh, iPhone
Springtime Magic

“You are the conductor – your orchestra are shapes, textures, stories, objects, patterns, emotions, design, moments, depth, focus, rhythm, shades, color, movement and light.”

Steve Coleman

Both of the images were made during a simple walk around my neighborhood. I thank Sofia for pushing me out the door to practice both the class lessons and the simple act of observation, which is often lost in the minutia of everyday life. And now, as promised, a few of my favorite bokeh examples from the archives.

monkey, bokeh, eyes, catchlight
Funky Monkey, Botswana

“Photographs help us to remember….and even more importantly they help us to decide what is worth remembering.”

John Rosenthal

The image above is among my favorites because it illustrates several key elements of photography. The monkey is making an interesting gesture, his eyes have a lovely catchlight that includes me in it, and the subject is in clear focus with – per today’s challenge – a background of lovely, soft bokeh. Most importantly, it is a reminder for me of the incredible joy I experienced while amongst the wild animals of Botswana in their natural habitat.

I’ve included a gallery of some other favorite images which illustrate the power of bokeh in drawing the viewer’s attention to a subject. They follow no rhyme nor reason, but are simply some of my favorites.

“Reduce, simplify, and focus on what is absolutely essential by eliminating everything else.”

Greg McKeown

A soft, creamy bokeh is yet another tool we can use to lend emphasis to our subjects. I would add one comment – while we can achieve it with any camera or lens (iPhones included) in my experience the better the lens the better the bokeh, or at least the easier it is to achieve. I’ll admit to missing my Nikon equipment when it comes to bokeh.

Thanks to Sofia for her focus on this important technique – we look forward to seeing your own examples. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link your responses to Sofia’s original here. Thanks also to John for his Birthday challenge last week (and of course a belated Happy Birthday to him!). We enjoyed your many interpretations and the creativity of those who chose not to include the images of family and friends who, like mine, prefer to stay out of the spotlight. We hope you’ll join us next week when Anne will lead the challenge on her Slow Shutter Speed Blog. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #193 – Birthdays

lifeguard stand, beach, fence, flags
WHO’S ON GUARD ??

“Life is a collage of events, really.”

Mohanial

This week John has asked us to feature a special birthday event (or several of them). I’m fortunate that my everyday life is something I celebrate, and because birthdays aren’t high on my list of favorite things, this one was extra challenging for me. My family and I do share one very special annual event each year however – our “Family Beach Week”, hence my focus for this week. Hopefully John will excuse the fact that it’s not truly a birthday event.

beach, sand, umbrellas, summer
BUSY DAY AT THE BEACH

“It’s the little things that make happy moments, not grand events.”

Sharon Draper

I come from a large family which when assembled includes nearly 30 people including my siblings, their spouses and their children and grandchildren. We are located across the country and each year it becomes a bit more difficult to bring everyone together. That said, our annual “beach week” typically ends up with 25 or more of us, so clearly it’s a priority event for all.

hat, stripes
LEFT BEHIND

“We should count our blessings more than our happenings.”

Ana Claudia Antunes

Each year my husband and I make a 2-day drive north to share a week of fun and chaos with family members. My husband was shell-shocked the first few years, as he comes from a much smaller family, but he’s long-since become as crazy as the rest of us 😊.

crab, red, cartoon
HAPPY CRAB

“The event is not over until everyone is tired of talking about it.”

Mason Cooley

We share meals (including an annual hardshell crab fest), music (including a naming competition),an annual T-Shirt commemorating the event (Happy Crab above was our featured Tee one year), sand sculpting, games and camaraderie as we get to know the newest family members and update ourselves on each others’ lives. The challenge of our “commute” becomes more difficult with each passing year, but we ever-more-clearly recognize the importance of reconnecting in-person with those we love.

rain, beach
INTO EACH LIFE A LITTLE RAIN MUST FALL

“Life’s journey is one big path with a series of events.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

As shown above, it’s not always sunny and warm, and a few times it’s been beastly hot and is always crowded. It’s not the beach or the weather we seek however, rather it’s the time spent with loved ones from near and far. Making the extra effort to share one small set of treasured moments each year has become, for us, a very special event.

stormy sky, beach, clouds
A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS

“Mile by mile one hits the milestone.”

Amit Kalantri

At the end of our return drive, brutal as usual, my husband and I swear we’ll never make the trip again. Yet here we are with our 2022 lodgings booked and our sights set on seeing everyone again this summer. A combination of Covid and our growing families has meant the end of our annual Christmas gathering and we are determined not to let the same thing happen to Family Beach Week.

Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to reminisce about our special event. Now back to you – are you featuring a birthday, another celebration, or some event that’s special only to you? Whatever you choose, please remember to link your response to John’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also to Amy for last week’s Earth Story challenge. We saw earth from top to bottom, from sea to shore and from the mountains to the prairies. It was a marvelous display of Mother Earth’s many gifts as well as a number of reminders to protect her more fervently that we historically have.

As always, we thank you for joining us and hope you’ll be with us again this week and next, when Sofia leads our challenge on her Photographias blog. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #192 – Earth Story

flowers, bridge, lake, landscape
Lovely Landscape

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ah, Mother Earth….this week we’ve been challenged to focus on her beauty, her strength, and perhaps her vulnerabilities. As I mentioned last week, I spent a beautiful spring day at Magnolia Gardens in nearby Charleston. I’ve decided to highlight some of Mother Earth’s most beautiful elements in some additional images from that day. My opening capture shows a wider landscape that includes the little white bridge shown in the background of an image last week.

trees, magnolia leaves
A Poem Lovely As A Tree

“I think that I shall never see, a poem, lovely as a tree.”

Joyce Kilmer

Although her namesake magnolias are not yet blooming, the image above shows the ancient trees that will be dressed in beautiful blossoms beginning in late April or early May. Each of the large, deep green clusters of leaves house a bud which will burst forth with an amazing fragrance when the time comes.

water, light, clouds, trees
Light of Day

“O sunlight, the most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

Roman Payne

Mother Earth often gifts us with amazing light, if only we are open to it. The image above highlights one of those moments from our excursion on the river. The day started with a misty drizzle and ended in brilliant sunshine. In between, moments like the one captured above showed just how lovely the transition can be.

birds, light, water, grasses
Just Passing By

“When the sun of compassion arises, darkness evaporates and the singing birds come from nowhere.”

Amit Ray

Mother Earth delivers not only beautiful light but also nourishing waters in which many creatures thrive. Each spring flowers bloom, grasses green and many of earth’s creatures give birth to yet another generation. Mother Earth’s gardens offer them respite and safety as they nest, give birth, and nurture their young.

tree, water, flowers, pink
Symbiotic

“Symbiotic relationships in nature teach us cooperation and show that we are all connected.”

Sanchita Pandey

I loved the way the ancient tree shown above seems to be leaning down to allow the flowers a safe environment in which to grow. I felt there was a whisper of some other creature in its trunk and limbs – perhaps an elephant or a giant bird about to launch. Do you see something else hiding in its form?

tree, heart
At The Heart of It

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” 

Rainer Maria Rilke

I’ve chosen to close with an image that looked to me like the tree was offering us its heart – and after all, isn’t that what Mother Earth offers us every day? Mountains to climb, oceans to cross, food to eat, light to warm us and darkness to soothe us as another day comes to a close. There is beauty everywhere, it is up to us keep our eyes open to it. I expect this week’s challenge will show us how very aware we should be of earth’s many blessings. Let us remember too that our role is to protect her for future generations, especially as we become ever more cognizant of her vulnerabilities and our historic disregard for her needs.

Thanks to all of those who responded to Ann-Christine’s Curves challenge last week. Your responses illustrated how very prevalent curves are – from nature to architecture to food and to art, you showed us that they are everywhere! This week we look forward to seeing your focus on Mother Earth. Please remember to link to Amy’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally, be sure to check out Journeys with Johnbo next Saturday, when John will lead us in his challenge “Birthdays”. He’ll invite us to share images that highlight what we find special about birthdays, anniversaries and/or other special events. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge – click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #191 – Curves

red, berries, fence, rust
Curve and Berries

“Magic lives in curves, not angles.”

Mason Cooley

This week for the first time in what seems like forever, a friend and I went on a photography expedition to nearby Magnolia Gardens. I’ve not been motivated at all since Covid began, so by now my only choice was to push myself out the door, like it or not. Ann-Christine’s challenge for the week, Curves, was very much on my mind as I enjoyed the incredible beauty of springtime in Charleston.

flower, pink, curves, spring
Counting Curves

“Light is my inspiration. It caresses the essential superlative curves and lines.”

Ruth Bernhard

All of today’s images (and way too many more) are from our day in the gardens. Spring was fully in bloom, especially with azaleas and camellias. A very light, misty rain which stopped just before our arrival had left its mark on the blossoms, making them even more appealing to the eye and the lens.

pink, buds, bridge, bokeh, azalea
By the Bridge

“Curve: the loveliest distance between two points.”

Mae West

My friend, who owns an amazing camera and several wonderful lenses, had decided to challenge herself to use only her new iPhone 13 pro max. We were amazed at the quality of her results with the flowers and landscapes. A capability for shooting at a distance and capturing motion on the other hand showed the strengths of a “real” camera. We both agreed some further study on how to use the iPhone for best results is in order.

fish, water, cormorant, fishing
Capturing A Capture

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

Phyllis Diller

The gardens offer much more than flowers. We decided to take advantage of a small boat ride through the waters of what once was a major rice plantation. In addition to several huge gators and some beautiful birds, we came upon the cheeky cormorant above with its soon-to-be lunch and watched as it struggled, successfully, to swallow its prey.

egret, curves, display, nesting
Egret Display

“Always see your mistakes as a learning curve.”

Auliq Ice

Rather than blather on, I’ll include a few more of my favorite images from the day – illustrating the wealth of subject matter available throughout the gardens. If ever you’re in our area, this is one place I would tell you is not to be missed!

water, garden, statue, vista
Garden Vista With Reflected Curve
bridge, garden, azaleas
Curved Bridge to Beauty
Wisteria, branch, flowers
Graceful Wisteria Curve
azalea, rain drops, pink, flower
Azalea After the Rain
Great Blue Heron, water
Great Blue Heron’s Curves

Yes, I got a bit carried away but hopefully you’ll forgive my enthusiasm for a beautiful day spent in a wonderful place with a good friend. It’s been much too long since I dusted off my camera and spent time in the field enjoying both the process and joy of photography.

Sincere thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s Close and Closer challenge. It was great fun seeing so many excellent examples of the power of closing in on a subject. Thanks also to Ann-Christine for this week’s thoughtful and timely challenge. Be sure to link your response to her original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Until next week, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

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