CHICKS IN MOTION – WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

“Progress and motion are not synonymous.”

Tim Fargo

(7 Photos)

HOT CHICKS

HOT CHICKS

Those who follow me know I have missed very few Weekly Challenges. Last week, however, I was away for a family event in beautiful Charlottesville, VA during which I was the “designated” photographic chronicler of events. It was great fun, but definitely diverted me from my usual activities. My apologies to those who commented on my last post, as I never did get to either responding or return visits. I’m finally just about caught up with all of the things I didn’t do while I was away, and Jen’s challenge is on my list.

My niece was enchanted by these two runaway chickens during our outing so I’ve chosen to feature them in the midst of their forward motion.

RETRO CHICKS

RETRO CHICKS

“Unlike clocks, hours have no reverse motion.”

Anonymous

Most of my photography was events-oriented during the week, so I thought it might be interesting to feature some “before and after” images of the few of the nature shots I took.  Above, I chose a texture that gave the chicks a bit of a retro feel. What do you think?

COLOR IN BLOOM

COLORFUL BLOOM

“Life is in infinite motion. At the same time it is motionless.”

Debasish Mridha

Across the street from the home in which we stayed, there was a beautiful garden with the most amazing tulips in full bloom. The shot above captures some of their glorious color as originally shot.  Below, two different versions of the same bloom.

BOLD TULIP

BOLD TULIP

“Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.”

Anais Nin

After seeing the results of the slightly bolder version, I stepped a bit further outside the box, and came up with this impression.

TULIP IN BLACK

TULIP IN BLACK

“Never confuse motion with action.”

Ernest Hemingway

The tulips were resting against a time-worn fence which is the scene that first caught my eye. So speaking of outside the box, how about this edit? Must admit I may have gone a bit overboard with this one 😊

BLUE TULIPS

BLUE TULIPS

“Our nature consists in motion; complete rest is death.”

Blaise Pascal

Here’s the original of the Blue Tulips shot. I find it interesting to see how images can “feel” different as they are altered through editing, don’t you think? I’ve had some fun working with these shots, but now it’s back to reality and catching up with some far less interesting tasks.

ON THE FENCE

ON THE FENCE

“Colors answer feeling in man; shapes answer thought; and motion answers will.”

John Sterling

Motion need not be purely physical. Our minds stay fresh by learning new things and incorporating them–keeping our brains in motion as well as our bodies. For me, practicing some of the editing techniques I learned a few weeks ago is a good example of “Use it or Lose it”! To see how some other bloggers interpreted this one, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – AFLOAT

“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.”

Audre Lorde

(10 Photos)

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

This week’s “afloat” challenge gave me an opportunity to use the capture above, showing two oddly-compatible creatures basking in the sun as pollen floats by on the water below. It’s one of many from our visit this past weekend to beautiful Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC.

GARDEN GAZEBO

GARDEN GAZEBO

 “Our glories float between the earth and heaven; Like clouds which seem pavillions of the sun.”

Edward Bulwer-lytton

The gardens and swamp are simply magnificent – I try to visit them at least once each spring. This weekend the gardens were lush with azaleas and camelias, as always surrounded by ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss. The swamp was bustling with activity.  Mama egrets and herons sat atop their soon-to-hatch eggs while fathers-to-be continued to spruce up the nests.

ANHINGA PARENTS-TO-BE

ANHINGA PARENTS-TO-BE

“Style is the gossamer on which the seeds of truth float through the world.”

George Bancroft

It was a beautiful day in Charleston, full of bright sunshine and warm, soft breezes. The site, founded in 1676 on the Ashley River, is brimming both with beautiful flowers and birds, and also with history. Originally established as a rice plantation – where the riverfront location meant critical access to transportation – the plantation housed both American and British troops during the Revolutionary War.  Later, following the Civil War (which threatened to destroy the plantation) the gardens were opened to the public and happily, saved from ruin.

FLORAL REFLECTIONS

FLORAL REFLECTIONS

“The greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.”

David Hume

 As one approaches the Plantation, it’s a difficult choice whether to focus on the gardens or the swamp. For the  energetic among us, it’s possible to do both in a single day. On the garden side, we find meandering paths through incredibly glorious flowers, lovely river views and a multitude of ponds with scenic, romantic bridges. Many of the ponds are filled with beautiful, tall cypress trees showing their water-bound roots.

SUMPTUOUS SCENE

SUMPTUOUS SCENE

“Dignity does not float down from heaven…it is a reward reserved for those who labor with diligence.”

Bill Hybels

MIRRORED CYPRESS

MIRRORED CYPRESS

“Let go of the heavy pains of yesterday and you will feel lighter to float on top with your values.”

Israelmore Ayivor

Nearby but a bit further on, the swamp offers incredible opportunity for bird photography, as the egrets, herons and many other species build their nests very close to the paths which line the waters.

CHICKS IN THE MAKING

CHICKS IN THE MAKING

 “Life is a tide; float on it.”

Prem Rawat

The BEST time to visit the swamp is when the chicks are newly-hatched. The activity level increases exponentially as parents call to one another, dive for food, and feed their demanding brood.  During our visit last week we saw many nests with eggs but none of the chicks had yet emerged. I suppose that means I’ll just have to make another visit to the swamp in a few weeks!

PERCHED

NESTING

 “Watching the clouds float across the sky is by no means a waste of time.”

John Lubbock

Gardens or Swamp–such a tough choice. I’ll close with examples of each. Perhaps you’ll see why my answer is — BOTH 😊

FLOATING SWAMP TREES

AFLOAT ON GREEN WATERS

“Souls are not designed to float around in thin air.”

Alex Chiu

GARDEN GLORY

GARDEN GLORY

“Sin is a stone which does not float.”

Sri Guru Granth Sahib

With apologies for my longer-than-most post, and encouragement that if you’re ever in the area you visit this very special place, I invite you to see some other bloggers’ float posts here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – It’s a BLUR

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.”

George Bernard Shaw

(5 Images)

FOREST BLUR

FOREST BLUR

This week, the Weekly Photo Challenge and I are nicely in sync. The challenge, Blur, comes after a very interesting outing with professional photographer Denise Ippolito. Beyond sharing her wonderful images as well as her thoughts on blending art and nature, Denise spent a bit of time in the field focused on blurring techniques as well as both multiple exposures and image overlays in camera. I was happy with my results from the day, and definitely learned a few new tricks, but find I prefer the flexibility of overlay and multiple exposures in post processing. During the shoot I captured the scene above by doing a slow vertical pan which I later overlaid with an image of a French postcard. To me the opportunity for creativity was best addressed by post-processing the blurred image of the trees.

TREE

ONE TREE

“Pictures that require the most imagination and perspiration are the ones that look the easiest.”

Bob Croxford

The second shot, above, was taken the same day.  The tree in that shot was behind me, the forest from the first shot in front of me. (As always, I was following the photographer’s golden rule –  always look behind you.) It was actually a sunny, blue sky day but I loved the barren tree all alone in the field and thought it lent itself a bit better to a stark B&W image, which I then overlaid with some grunge effects.

YESTERDAY'S PASSAGE

YESTERDAY’S PASSAGE

 “The camera is an endlessly intriguing partner that challenges my imagination and knowledge.”

Ralph Auletta

Following our outing I decided to look at a few of the photos in my archives that might benefit from some blur. I especially liked the photo above, taken some time ago in Vietnam, as I felt the blurring created a feeling of age and timelessness. The shot below, created during the same journey, is from beautiful Ha Long Bay. It was among my favorites from the trip, and I felt adding an overlay gave me an interesting alternative to the original.

HA LONG HISTORY

HA LONG HISTORY

“A photographer brings your imagination to reality.”

Mark Cariaga

Finally, the capture below is from my adventure in China last year. Here I let a bit of color come through my overlay to give the shot a touch of whimsy.

WASH DAY

WASH DAY

“A good image can be created, executed, captured, recorded; but it is well before imagined by a mind.”

Lakshman Iyer

As you may have noticed, my quotes this week focus on imagination rather than specifically our challenge word, “Blur”. For me, impressionism, blur, creating art based on photography – are all examples of a photographer using imagination to create an end product that expresses an idea rather than realistic reporting. In my quest for these quotes, I came upon some thoughts from photographer Bob Croxford, who is also quoted above. I must admit they made me smile 😊

  • The best light occurs when I am stuck in the office or have left my camera at home
  • If I wait for perfect conditions someone will park a truck in the view.
  • Having walked for miles for a good picture I often find the best photo when I return is right next to my car. The only problem is that I’ve parked in the middle of the view

Hope everyone is enjoying a lovely holiday weekend. For a view of the blurs of some other bloggers, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ephemeral

The ephemeral configuration of things in the moment; we see both their beauty and their death.”

Muriel Barbery

(5 Photos)

MAGNOLIA MEMORY

MAGNOLIA MEMORY

Krista’s challenge this week “ephemeral” is serendipitous for me because of a class I attended this week on the use of textures. While I don’t expect to be using them often, I believe it’s important to work on expanding your knowledge, and that trying something new often re-energizes us in our search for a new perspective. The shot above of a single, dying magnolia was altered using a texture from Frenchkisstextures.com. I thought the texture added to the message of the original photo, speaking to the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the bloom.

CRACKLED DOGWOOD

CRACKLED DOGWOOD

 “What you see with your eyes is transient and ephemeral. What you see through your heart is everlasting and eternal.”  

Debasish Mridha

I was surprised at the cost of the textures when I visited the websites of some of the major providers. I decided to purchase a few small bundles from French Kiss which seemed the most reasonably priced, and justified my spending with some profits from print sales on my website this past month. 😊

DAISY, DAISY

DAISY, DAISY

“The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.”

Rumi

I played with several floral shots and a number of different textures. I’m really a novice at this, getting nowhere near the examples our instructor shared during the class, but I had fun creating some new versions of a few of my older prints. The shot above was my personal favorite because it feels so light and springy.

IRIS ON GREEN

SHADOWED IRIS

“Substance is enduring, form is ephemeral.”

Dee Hock

Another reason to try a few experiments, as the instructor reminded us, is because we retain knowledge more effectively if we use it soon after exposure. So what do you think? Have you tried working with textures and if so were you able to create some interesting new versions of the shots in your archives?

LOVELY LILY

LOVELY LILY

“The most ideal human passion is love, … and one of the most ephemeral.

George Santayana

If you’re in the WordPress Reader and have an extra moment, click on over to my original post. My favorite textured creation is in my header for the week. 😍  After that, to see what some other bloggers found to be ephemeral, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: FRESH and Travel Theme: SPRING

“See as a child sees. With freshness and acknowledgement of wonder.”

Minor White

(4 Photos)

AGAVE CLOSE-UP

AGAVE CLOSE-UP

Our challenge this week, as spring once again breathes new life into our longer, warmer days, is FRESH. Kiawah Spring (as highlighted by Ailsa on her challenge this week) brings nesting birds, newborn fawns, verdant green grasses and blooming blossoms. But we are right on the cusp of the season at the moment and those wonderful gifts are still a bit elusive. So this week I’ve featured instead a favorite series from last spring – a macro study of an agave plant still showing beads of water from a refreshing spring rain.

AGAVE AND FLOWERS

AGAVE AND FLOWERS

“Thy friendship makes us fresh.”

William Shakespeare

Agave are often thought to be members of the cactus family, I suppose because of their prickly edges. In fact, they are closer to their cousin, the aloe. Interestingly, while aloe is often used to treat skin irritation, the agave is known to cause it. A nasty case of dermititis can result from touching the juice of the plant, and its effects can be felt up to a year later. On the other hand, it is known to have been treasured as a food source for prehistoric tribes in the US southwest including the Hohokam and Navajo peoples.

AGAVE DRIP

AGAVE DRIP

“If art has a purpose, it is to interpret life, reproduce it in fresh visions.”

Catherine Drinker Bowen

In fact, my agave study resulted from a photo shoot with professional photographer Brenda Tharp, who inspired us take a fresh look at the beauty around us despite the rainstorm that might otherwise have spoiled our sunrise shoot. I will admit, as those who follow Travels and Trifles know, that I am not a morning person. Getting up for a sunrise shoot only to see black clouds and rain is not a combination that puts me in a happy state. But thanks to Brenda’s irrepressible good nature and excellent leadership skills, I learned the look beyond the obvious and find the gifts that the rainstorm brought to us that day.

GREEN AND YELLOW

GREEN AND YELLOW

“If you exchange one form of wisdom for another, you obtain fresh knowledge, and at the same time keep what you possessed before.”

The Talmud

Let us be thankful for the cold of winter; only because of it do we appreciate the freshness of the spring that inevitably follows.  Let us also be thankful for the rainstorms of spring, which bring the freshest of her bounty. For more interpretations of the Fresh and Spring challenges, click on the links.

The Many Great Walls of China – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Tear down….tear down the walls. Love flows freely when they fall.”

Jan Nigro

(10 Photos)

BIKE ON A WALL

BIKE ON A WALL

The first thing I thought of when I saw Cheri’s Wall challenge this week was China’s Great Wall – a fantastic highlight of our most recent adventure. Skip to the end if that’s your only interest in this one, but if you’d like to see some other “small G great” walls of China, please read on 😊

STRONG WOMEN-WEAK WALLS

STRONG WOMEN-WEAK WALLS

“The more walls you put around you, the more walls are gonna block your view.”

Jan Nigro

There are all kinds of walls – some impenetrable and some, like those above, little more than fabric. As I watched the women in the photo talking animatedly as they went about their daily chores, I assumed the walls were separating their goods but not their spirits, as they all seemed of one mind with a singular purpose – drawing both local and tourist trade to their wares.

MAN IN THE WALL

MAN IN THE WALL

“If these walls could sing they’d sing us a hundred songs.”

Bouncing Souls

Also focused on selling his wares, the image above shows a man sitting in a literal hole in the wall, watching as the world walks by. Here in the states, a “hole in the wall” is a slang term meaning a rather small, dingy place. His place may indeed have been small and somewhat dingy, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying his tobacco along with the beautiful sunny morning.

DAD AND DAUGHTER

DAD AND DAUGHTER

“These walls have stood for ages, and now time still turns its pages.”

Michael Martin Murphey

Photographers love decay and this wall certainly is that, but it has the added bonus of a doting dad and his darling daughter 😊. I loved the soft colorful element she added to the scene. I also thought the bright shaft of sunlight in the otherwise shadowed wall added still another interesting dimension.

RED DOOR

RED DOOR

“I can’t hold out forever; even walls fall down.”

Tom Petty

Speaking of decay, I couldn’t resist including the photo above, which I’ve used in a previous post. It’s one of my favorite shots from our China adventure and brings to mind a very vivid memory of our journey. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say this scene reminds me that one cannot judge a book by its cover, and that the joy of discovery offsets any trials faced during the journey.

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT

“If you live it off the wall, life ain’t so bad at all.”

Rod Templeton

In Beijing’s beautiful Summer Palace, former “vacation home” to its emperors, there are walls with windows shaped like teapots overlooking lovely lakeside vistas. Imagine the scene during a summer tropical storm and perhaps we’ve come upon the origination of the phrase “tempest in a teapot”!

Competing with such a unique and creative idea, the wall below with its flowerpot-shaped entry in  Shanghai’s Yuyuan Garden offers another interesting opportunity for wall-watchers.

GARDEN CUTOUT

GARDEN CUTOUT

“Do the walls come down when you think of me?”

Carly Simon

Lest we start to think that all of China’s walls are crumbling down, I’ve included a capture from modern-day Beijing. Below, we see two wall-washers cleaning the huge dome-like aquatics stadium from the 2008 Olympics. Look closely and you can see vistas of the city reflected in the face of the building. The Olympic Park is a very interesting stop, especially when it follows a visit to the hutongs, China’s oldest neighborhoods – the contrast is astounding.

OLYMPIC WALL WASHERS

OLYMPIC WALL WASHERS

“How I long to be a shadow on the wall, I would make no sound at all.”

Brandi Carlile

Walls in Beijing, not unlike the big cities in the U.S., provide a perfect opportunity for advertising. The Chinese go beyond simple slogans and create beautiful works of art – such as the one below – to promote their products. I believe the subject of this colorful scene was some kind of milk.

ARTISTIC ADVERT

ARTISTIC ADVERT

 “These walls have eyes, these walls have ears. They see the lies, they hide the fears.”

 The Bee Gees

Finally, in my mind the best example of a wall ever created, the magnificent Great Wall of China. For more information, and many more photos, please visit my previous Great Wall post here.

CHINA'S GREAT WALL

CHINA’S GREAT WALL

“The wall stretches endless beside you to nowhere”

David Crosby

Poets and songwriters have written of walls in thousands of compositions through the years. Each of today’s quotes is from a song about walls, symbolizing for the most part the barriers we humans build to protect ourselves from the hurt and pain found in everyday life.

 Thanks to Cheri for the interesting challenge. To see some other bloggers’ interpretations click here.

ORANGE – LAST BUT NOT LEAST; WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

“If love were a color, it’d be orange.”

Jarod Kintz

(9 Photos)

THREE MONKS WALKING

THREE MONKS WALKING

Some time back, in response to the Weekly Challenge “Yellow”, I offered some interesting factoids about the color from the book The Secret Language of Color by Joann and Arielle Eckstut. It seems only fair I should do the same for Michelle’s Orange challenge this week.  I’ve opened the post with one of my favorite captures from a trip to Southeast Asia, featuring three monks in their beautifully-colored orange robes. According to the sisters Eckstut, Buddhists chose saffron for their robes’ color, but because it runs about $5,000/pound, they used turmeric and jack fruit to create the color instead.

MONKEY MECHANIC

MONKEY MECHANIC

“If family were a fruit, it would be an orange. A circle of sections, together but separate. ”

Letty C Pogrebin

From the sublime to the ridiculous, from monk to monkey.  The happy fellow above, I suppose, assumed he could control the water flow to our hotel in Africa many years ago. I must admit I am pleased he chose something orange so that he could play in my post 😊.  Did you know that orange was the last (but not least) color named in the rainbow, and that many native cultures to this day have no word for it? Perhaps, the sisters tell us, this is because when dark it is usually identified as brown, and when light, as yellow – so it has a very narrow band but “when it’s really orange, it really shines”.

PUMPKINS APLENTY

PUMPKINS APLENTY

“The pumpkin is always oranger on the other side of the patch.”

Unknown

We find orange in so many places – flowers, fruits, vegetables – and of course the plumpest pumpkins. For centuries the color orange was called “red-yellow”;  it only got its own name when the fruit was taken from China, through Persia to Spain and finally to France, where it became an “orenge”. It is the only color that actually takes its name from an object. Interestingly, the word occurred back in the 13th century as an adjective describing the bitter taste of orange peel. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the word was used to refer to color.

SUNRISE, ACE BASIN

ORANGE SUNRISE, ACE BASIN

 “The porch light hums the sound of another orange dawn.”

Kristin Reynolds

Sunrises and sunsets – lots of oranges found in both. The sisters tell us that although yellow is the color most visible during the day, orange best captures our attention once the sun begins to rise or set. That was surely true as I captured this glorious sunrise in South Carolina’s Ace Basin. Add a touch or blue sky or sea, and orange is the most visible color. This explains why it is the color of life preservers, rafts, construction cones and crossing guards.

WALL ART

WALL ART

“Orange is the sky tonite, as sun sets in the hills.”

Moon Lion

While wandering the beautiful streets of Buenos Aires, my husband and I came upon an artist’s capture of a warm sunset painted on one of the city’s many wall murals.  In a place where art is everywhere, so too is orange. We particularly enjoyed the brilliant buildings of La Boca – an amazing environment full of many bright colors including, of course, orange.

ROUSSILLON RIDGES

ROUSSILLON RIDGES

“Orange is the unspoken promise of another brilliant day.”

Lisa J. Parker

Beyond fruits and vegetables, the earth offers us many examples of orange. We see it in the deep red, yellow and orange shades of the earth in Roussillon, France, home of one of the world’s largest ochre deposits. The colorful earth contrasts beautifully with the lush green trees and the vivid blue of the Provençal sky. You can gauge the size of these ridges by the tiny man at the very top.

We see orange too in the incredible geology of Yellowstone’s amazing geysers and hot springs, including the geometric formation below.

YELLOWSTONE GEOLOGY

YELLOWSTONE GEOLOGY

 “Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”

Wassily Kandinsky

Speaking of earth’s natural oranges, one cannot imagine a better example than the curious hoodoos of beautiful Bryce Canyon in Utah. A photographer’s paradise, I found it difficult to choose from my many favorite captures of this natural wonder. I finally decided on this one, but for more examples please visit my previous posts about the canyon by entering Bryce in the search field.

BRYCE CANYON HOODOOS

BRYCE CANYON HOODOOS

“Yellow, orange, and red suggest ideas of joy and plenty.”
Eugene Delacroix
Finally, one of nature’s finest creations, the beautiful Bird of Paradise. Found only in tropical locations (this capture is from Cape Town, South Africa), it was named because of its resemblance to the beak and plumage of a bird. Do you agree?
BIRD OF PARADISE

BIRD OF PARADISE

 “Orange is a happy day.”

Mary O’Neil

For someone who does not particularly warm to the color orange, it appears quite often in my archives. Perhaps I need to revisit my feelings about this obviously happy color! To see some others’ interpretations, look here.