Lens-Artists Challenge #37 – History

“Whoever won the war, would revise the history.”

Toba Beta

BIG GUN

BIG GUN

This week Patti has challenged us to share our perspective on a moment in history (read her challenge here). Having recently seen the WWI movie “They Shall Not Grow Old” by Peter Jackson, I thought I might focus a bit on something in the same vein which has had immense importance here in the south, the American Civil War.  The war, which lasted four years (1861-1865), resulted in over a million casualties – 3% of the total population at the time. The numbers include soldiers who were killed in battle and the many more who died due to disease (smallpox, yellow fever, dysentery and malaria were rampant in the camps) as well as over 50,000 civilians. The US National Park Service puts the number closer to 2,000,000, as the official record did not count as killed those who were seriously wounded and sent home only to die shortly afterwards.  Whatever the actual number, even the lowest estimates account for more American deaths than all other US wars combined.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Albert Einstein

Until the horrors of WWI, the American Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Because injuries to limbs most often resulted in gangrene, amputation was the treatment of choice. Many of the field medical personnel were untrained and were completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of wounded at any given time. The injured were sometimes left lying in the field of battle for several days or up to a week before being treated. Many of the combatants were friends or even relatives who fought for different sides – sometimes young teens posing as having reached the mandatory age of 18 and sometimes young girls disguised as young men.

Magnolia Cemetery, located just outside of Charleston, is a final resting place for many Civil War veterans, including hundreds of Confederate soldiers and 5 of their generals. It is incredibly rich with local history dating back to its foundation in 1850. Many of the graves of those long-ago soldiers are still carefully tended, often decorated with Confederate flags and flowers. While we may disagree with their cause, recognition of their courage and commitment is surely their due.

CONFEDERATE NOTABLE

CONFEDERATE NOTABLE

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Plato

Lieutenant George Dixon, whose grave is pictured above, is quite famous in both local and naval circles as the captain of the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine ever to sink a ship in warfare. The submarine successfully torpedoed and destroyed the Union’s USS Housatonic, but it then sank with all of its crew members aboard. Following years of searching, the sub was found intact at the bottom of Charleston Harbor in 1995 by a team led by adventurer/author Clive Cussler. Archaeologists raised the sub 5 years later, taking it to a special facility where it has been extensively researched.  Scientists speculate that the crew (whose remains were found on board) may have died of pulmonary hemorrhage (ie. ruptured lungs) from the shock waves of their successful torpedo’s explosion.

Interestingly, Lt. Dixon’s watch (found on board) stopped at exactly 8:23, the approximate time of the Hunley attack.  In addition, there had long been a southern legend that Lt. Dixon’s fiancé gave him a lucky gold piece when he left for the war, and that it had stopped a bullet to save his life when he was shot in the Battle of Shiloh. During excavation a gold coin was found on Lt. Dixon’s hip bone. It was warped by the impact of a bullet and inscribed “Shiloh, April 6, 1862, My life preserver, GED”. How cool is that? 😊

NOT FORGOTTEN

NOT FORGOTTEN

“All wars are civil wars because all men are brothers.”

Francois Fenelon

I will close with a recommendation that if you haven’t see the Jackson WWI movie you absolutely should. For a photographer, it is fascinating to see how he has transformed the original footage from WWI battles into a present-day technology movie – going so far as to hire lip readers to translate the soldiers’ conversations and coloring the uniforms exactly as they would have appeared. The movie can sometimes be difficult to watch in light of the fact that the images are real-life films that often portray the horrors of war.  But I honestly believe anyone who does see it will feel even more deeply the cruelty, inhumanity and senselessness that is war. 

Thanks to Patti for giving us an opportunity to highlight historic moments both large and small. Hope to see you next week when Ann-Christine hosts Challenge #38.

 

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Now More Than Ever. . .

I don’t ever reblog but there is a first time for everything. The idea of spreading a positive message to combat the darkness makes some sense to me. Like Many of us, my thoughts are with the peace-loving people of New Zealand tonight.

AMAGA Photography Blog

_DSC0586_DxO11FCBlog

Yesterday, forty-nine fellow inhabitants of our world were murdered while they were worshiping in Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The madness of this act is unfathomable. The fact that it happened in New Zealand is deeply saddening. New Zealand ranks number two in the Global Peace Index.

At times like this our hearts can get very dark and the darkness can be infectious. While we mourn the loss, we must not succumb to a hopeless apathy for the state of our world.

Regardless of what the media would like us to beleive, the vast majority of people in the world are good. They have their hopes and dreams. They have family and friends whom they love. They have jobs and projects and passions and beliefs and art. They are trying to live their lives as well as they can. They are the ones — and we count ourselves among…

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Lens-Artists Challenge #36 – Around the Neighborhood

“The whole world is one neighborhood.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

NATURE'S BEST, SEABROOK ISLAND

NATURE’S BEST, SEABROOK ISLAND

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all felt as FDR suggested, that the whole world is one neighborhood? Unfortunately, I’m afraid we’re not quite there yet. This week though, let’s take a step forward and celebrate the neighborhood – your own, that of a friend or loved one, or simply a place you’ve visited that had a sense of community and made you feel welcome. For my part, I’m featuring Seabrook Island, a beautiful barrier island that happens to be the closest neighbor to us here on Kiawah.

EGRETS AND FENCE

EGRETS AND FENCE

“On this shrunken globe, we can no longer live as strangers.”

Adelai Stevenson

I was invited by a good friend to spend some time on Seabrook photographing the beautiful roseate spoonbills that are roosting on one of their lagoons. While there she showed me some of her favorite spots, all of which offered glorious vistas and amazing wildlife. I got lucky while shooting the landscape above because a helicopter flew overhead, causing the egrets to fly out of their well-hidden nests. I was equally fortunate to catch the image below.

DEER ON ALERT

DEER ON ALERT

“We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

Startled by a huge splash behind me as I crossed a small bridge, I turned quickly –  just in time to see three deer bounding across the water on their way to the nearby woods. For a brief moment, the final deer froze to check me out.  In the cases of both the flying egrets and the loping deer, my shot opportunity lasted no longer than an instant. I was pleased with the performance of my Fuji X-T2 which managed to capture both incidents without any real preparation.

And now on to the original intent of the visit, the “rosies”….

PRETTY IN PINK

PRETTY IN PINK

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.”

Richard Whately

Here in South Carolina we’ve not really seen roseate spoonbills until the last few years; this is the first time I’ve seen them actually roosting locally in larger quantities. It seems they are moving north from their more-typical environment in Florida – possibly an example of the impact of climate change. Their lovely pink coloring is due to their diet, which in Florida includes pink shrimp. The shrimp in our area are either white or brown, so it will be interesting to see if the birds lose some of their coloring over time. Coordinating with their pink feathers, they also have stunning bright red eyes.

Speaking of bright red eyes, I’ve included an image below of a black-crowned night heron. These birds are quite skittish and have become adept at camouflaging themselves along the edges of lagoons and marshes. In my 20 years of southern living, I’ve never seen a night heron in flight, so I was excited to capture this image along with the spoonbills. Apparently birds visit other neighborhoods too 🙂.

HIGH-FLYING HERON

HIGH-FLYING HERON

“Being a good neighbor is an art that makes life richer.”

Gladys Tabor

Back in my own neighborhood, I made the capture below of a majestic eagle nesting here on Kiawah. I’m hoping there are some eaglets to follow soon!

ON THE NEST

ON THE NEST

“Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.”

Franklin P. Jones

Finally, a few additional images from my day of spoon-billing on Seabrook Island.

SMOOTH LANDING

SMOOTH LANDING

SIDEWAYS GLANCE

BALANCING ACT

SPOONBILL ON DISPLAY

SPOONBILL ON DISPLAY

They’re quite something to see, don’t you think? And speaking of something to see – Amy set a high bar last week with her Machu Picchu images in our Architecture challenge. Your responses showed us how beautifully varied architecture can be.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

       Su Leslie took an unusual and creative approach to the challenge here

       JohnRH gave us a tour of architecture around the world here

 

We’re looking forward to seeing what you found interesting this week in your own neighborhood or another that caught your eye and your lens.  Remember to tag your post Lens-Artists so that we can find you, and to link it here as well.  For more information about how to participate in our challenges, look here

 

Note: All images shot with Fuji X-T2, 55-200mm lens

Lens-Artists Challenge #35 – Architecture

“A person can put up any kind of wall, but love and truth always find a way around it.”

Molly Friedenfeld

PINK UMBRELLA

PINK UMBRELLA, CHINA’S GREAT WALL, BEIJING

This week Amy has shared her beautiful images of Machu Picchu and has challenged us to post our own examples of stunning architecture. I’ve been fortunate to have visited some amazing places – contemporary examples such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Sydney Opera House, or New York’s City’s Caltrava Oculus come to mind.  On the other hand although I’ve not been to Machu Picchu, I’ve seen other incredible examples of ancient architecture. Following Amy’s lead, I’ve chosen to feature some of those sites in today’s post, beginning with China’s Great Wall.  The wall is thousands of miles in length and was built from the 3rd century B.C. through the 17th century A.D.  Read more about my visit to the Great Wall here.

ANGKOR WAT

ANGKOR WAT, SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

“Sometimes our walls exist just to see who has the strength to knock them down.”

Darnell Lamont Walker

“Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park”   is the first sentence of National Geographic’s description of the temples of Angkor. I couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂. The remains of the Khmer Kingdom offer an amazing view into a civilization founded in the year 802 and lasting into the 15th century.  Radar technology has identified it as the epicenter of a sprawling city, at least as large as Berlin, completely hidden for centuries by overgrown vegetation.  Inscriptions found in the temples detail the 37 years, 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants it took to build the complex. Sadly, its decay was due to overpopulation (which defeated its advanced irrigation system) and extensive deforestation  – valuable ecological lessons for us to this day.  I’ve included many more images of the temples in a previous post here.

THE TREASURY, PETRA JORDAN

THE TREASURY, PETRA, JORDAN

“It is better to hug a tree than to bang your head against a wall.”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

High on my list of the amazing places I’ve seen are the archaeological wonders of Petra. Built by the ancient Nabataens in the 1st century B.C., it served as their capital city until it was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century A.D. The city’s structures were literally carved into beautiful rose-colored rock, leading to its nickname, The Rose City. You can get a sense of the buildings’ scale from the tiny people shown in the bottom right corner of my Treasury image above.

THE PILLARS OF ACRE

THE PILLARS OF ACRE

“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Joseph Fort Newton

Finally, I’ve included an image from the ancient city of Acre (Akko) in Israel, a UNESCO world heritage site.  Built in the early 1100s, it’s one of the many archaeological wonders we explored during our recent visit. A favorite story from our trip concerned its discovery, which happened when a woman living above the site needed a repair to her plumbing. The underground ruins (which have been beautifully restored) were found when the plumber accidentally broke through her floor (or at least that is the story we were told!)  The amount of historic architecture – going back as far as the Canaanite Gate, built in 1750 BC – combined with the archaeological digs currently underway, make the entire country a must-see for those interested in architectural archaeology.

As much of the world as I’ve been fortunate to see, there are many other places still on my bucket list, not the least of which are Machu Picchu and ancient Greece. How about you, what are the places you’ve seen or hope someday to see? If they include marvelous architecture be sure to tell us about them in your response to Amy’s challenge. Don’t forget to help us find you by tagging your responses with the Lens-Artists tag.  

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead – hope to see you right here next week for challenge #36.

Lens-Artists Challenge #34: Close-up

“Close enough is not close enough.”

Jennifer Pierre

SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS

SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to get closer, an interesting opportunity to study the intricacies of the world around us. This week’s captures were all made during last week’s photography shoot. In the image above I found myself wondering how the oyster shell ended up stuck to and surrounded by a tree branch. Never did quite figure it out 😊

STUCK IN THE MUCK

STUCK IN THE MUCK

“There’s something in the very small minutia of life that tells us something about the big, big picture.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Speaking of oyster shells, you can find them most everywhere in the marshes around Kiawah. They’re an immensely popular local delicacy that I must admit I’ve never quite warmed up to. I do however find them interesting as a subject for my lens – as evidenced by today’s images.

HICKORY DICKORY DOCK

HICKORY DICKORY DOCK

“The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite, that wherever you are you are isolated in a glowing world between the macro and the micro.”

Ansel Adams

One of the interesting places oyster shells can be found is at the foot of the stanchions that support the many docks lining our marsh creeks. I’m not sure what causes them to attach themselves there, but attach they do. In fact, many southern states now have oyster “farming” projects for waterfront dock owners.  Cultivating oysters is good not only for the palate (they are packed with vitamins and minerals) but also for the environment. Oysters filter over a gallon of water per hour, mitigating pollutants from the waters and purifying it in more ways than one.

OYSTER CLUSTER

OYSTER CLUSTER

“Feeling Small? In your very fingertip resides 10 million worlds.”

Leland Lewis

Now that you’ve learned more than you ever wanted to know about oysters, we hope you’ve found some interesting subjects for Ann-Christine’s “up close” challenge, and that you’ll join Amy next week for Challenge #35.  Remember to tag your post Lens-Artists to increase your visibility to other participants.  If you need help learning how to tag, click here.

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #33 – NATURE

“Never stop exploring… with Mother Nature by your side, the possibilities are endless.”

Cheryl Aguilar

FOGGY FOREST

BREAKING THROUGH

This week Patti has challenged us to explore Nature – one of my favorite subjects. Living here on Kiawah we are surrounded by some of Mother Nature’s most glorious work. This past week we focused on just that in a 2-day seminar/shoot with Alan Ross, former assistant to and disciple of Ansel Adams. (As I’ve mentioned before, we have an  amazing community of photographers here, and are fortunate to host wonderful speakers from time to time.) Alan was terrific, sharing interesting background on Ansel as a person and as a photographer. Through his work with Ansel he met and photographed many other famous photographers (such as Imogen Cunningham and Dorothea Lange),and he also shared several  images and personal stories about them. His educational sessions focused on visualizing and composing images with intent as well as some post-processing methods to help us fine-tune our message.

PALMETTO SUNSET

PALMETTO SUNSET

“The world is abounding with beauty.”

Tara Estacaan

One of the nice things about having been involved with such a session is that it forced us to go out in weather we might normally have avoided (our shooting session was in very foggy conditions with a bland, cloudless sky). Further, we were committed to 2 hours, which pushed us to be creative and find subjects we might otherwise have ignored. Finally, there was a cloudburst at the end of our shoot which I was fortunate to have captured.  A very short burst of sun broke through the rain and fog for just a moment – I’ve included it as my opening image. Once I’d seen the magic of the light I decided to see what would happen once the rain stopped. Sure enough, the brilliant clouds in the image above appeared for a very short time before night fell and the rain returned.

LITTLE CAT FEET

LITTLE CAT FEET

“The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn’t a mirror big enough.”

Douglas Adams

On my way to the photo shoot the scene above greeted me as I was turning out of my street. I loved the thick fog surrounding the tall palmettos and had to stop to capture it. Happily, since I was heading to the shoot, my camera was all set to go and was sitting next to me on the passenger seat. Serendipity 😊.

CLOUDS MOVING ON

CLOUDS MOVING ON

“My last word is that it all depends on what you visualize.”

Ansel Adams

Based on our week, of course I had to close with a monochrome landscape and an Ansel Adams quote. Visualization was the aspect of photography that Alan’s sessions most emphasized. He talked about giving thought to the photograph before composing it, and visualizing not only the image but also the affect we hoped it would have upon the viewer. We had two separate shoots in the same area, with 10 different photographers in each. Amazingly there were no two photos alike. This supported Alan’s view (and Ansel’s as well) that each of us has our own vision which is unique and different from others around us.  As always, it’s not what we see but how we see it.

Many thanks to Patti for her creative challenge, giving me the opportunity to explore nature’s gifts here on Kiawah. Hope to see you all next week when Ann-Christine sends the next challenge our way.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: Several of you have notified me that my comments are going to spam. I’ve reached out to Akismet, the company that manages WP spam. They were very responsive and have assured me that they’ve addressed the issue, but that it is also important when comments are incorrectly put in spam that the blogger check the NOT SPAM field. Please do check your spam each week to make sure comments are not being lost, and check the appropriate field when necessary.

AND ONE MORE THING 😊: For those of you who have enjoyed my images from our journey to Israel and Petra, I’ve  completed my Blurb book about the trip. You can see the entire book at:  A visit to the Holy Land. Just click on the book, then hit the little diagonal arrows above it to see it in 2-page, full-screen mode.

 

All photos created with Fuji X-T2

Lens-Artists Challenge #32 – Shadows

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”

Sylvia Plath

THE SHADOW KNOWS

THE SHADOW KNOWS

In 2017 I posted the image above which I captured in San Francisco’s Fort Point. It remains a personal favorite, and reminds me of a wonderful visit with good friends in that beautiful city.  I came across it while searching for something else, and it reminded me of the power of shadows in photography. So I though, why not? Let’s make this week’s challenge SHADOWS.

PALM SHADOWS

PALM SHADOWS

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Speaking of shadows then, one might assume I was here in the Charleston area when I captured the palm tree shadows above. On the contrary, I spotted the lowcountry-like scene during our journey to Israel this past fall.  I was struck with how similar it was to our local historic buildings, often times enhanced by similar shadows at the right time of day. 

TWO LAMP SHADOWS

SAME THING ONLY DIFFERENT

“The closer you get to the light, the darker the shadow becomes.”

Plato

The discovery of a scene resembling those in our own backyard brought to mind another set of similarities. Above, the left-side image  is a street lamp shadow cast on Charleston’s City Hall. On the right, I’ve contrasted it with a lamp shadow I captured in Israel’s beautiful Old City Tzfat in the Upper Galilee. 

SITTING IN THE SHADOWS

SITTING IN THE SHADOWS

“A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light.”

Terry Tempest Williams

Finally, a scene no one would ever assume is in the low country. In fact it’s one of very few spots of shade to be found in the Negev Desert of Israel. The shadow of the acacia tree provided a perfect resting spot for this young traveler as we explored the area nearby. Obviously in the right places a shadow can be a very important thing. It’s certainly important to those of us here in South Carolina when summer’s heat rolls in 😊

We look forward to seeing your shadowy responses.  Please link your posts here and remember to tag them Lens-Artists to help us all to find you. And finally, remember to tune in to Patti’s Pilotfish post next week for Challenge #33.

 

Last week Amy shared her very beautiful landscapes and challenged us to do the same.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

David shows us some beautiful use of light to illustrate a bucolic landscape at his photo blog

Henry gives us a quick tour of New Zealand’s landscapes at his Fotoeins site

Captain Jill joins us for the first time with her landscapes of Tanzania at her Journeys site

 

Wishing everyone a beautiful week ahead.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #31 – Landscapes

“How can you care about the image of a landscape, when you show by your deeds that you don’t care for the landscape itself?”

William Morris

JURASSIC VIEW

JURASSIC VIEW

As I put together my response to Amy’s landscape challenge this week, I was struck by the importance of William Morris’ quote above, written in 2003. For so long we’ve been talking about the importance of caring for Mother Earth, yet despite our efforts we continue to abuse her. Yes, we’ve made some strides. Yes, the impact of our actions is better understood. Yes, more focus has been put on preserving the world’s natural wonders. But there is much work to be done if we are to protect the marvels of our earth for future generations.

MARVELOUS MOUNTAINS

SNOWCAPPED

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi pretty much hit the nail on the head with his quote about need vs greed. Our quest for convenience has put the world’s oceans in peril due to the proliferation of plastic. Now that we are all aware of its consequences, how many of us have limited its use? The same can be said for aerosols. We are fully aware of their impact on the atmosphere but they continue to be marketed and many continue to use them despite the availability of more earth-friendly options. 

TOWARD THE VISTA

TOWARD THE VISTA

“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”

Aldo Leopold

I have been incredibly fortunate in my ability to travel and have seen many of the world’s most amazing wonders. It would be tragic if we were to destroy the beauty of our earth through carelessness and inattention. Some simple examples. If three of us are going to the same place at the same time, are we taking one car or three? If two cleaning products exist, one of which is slightly more expensive but better for the environment, which are we choosing? If water bottled in plastic is more convenient but taking our own container will help to save our oceans, will we do that? 

WALKING THE ROCKS

WALKING THE ROCKS

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”

John Keats

Happily, it seems we are making some strides in the right direction. Many communities have banned plastic straws and/or plastic bags. There is increasing focus on limiting urban sprawl and including green spaces to decrease flooding due to overdevelopment. Car pooling is being encouraged, bike paths are being built and public transportation is coming back into vogue. Trees are being planted in areas where deforestation has had negative impact. Most importantly, people are getting involved and voices are being raised. Yes, we are unhappy about the environmental controls that are being rolled back by the current administration, but do not give up. Keep raising your voice and placing your votes to express your belief in the importance of protecting our earth. Even more importantly, make sure that at least YOU are doing what you personally can to help save our embattled earth.

WATER VIEW

WATER VIEW

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

Henry David Thoreau

As you may have noticed, I’ve not identified the locations of the images in this week’s challenge response. I thought I’d add my own little challenge to Amy’s this week. So go back to the beginning of the post and see if you can guess where each of the images was captured. Then come back to the end of the post to see how well you did. NO CHEATING !  😀

Many thanks to Amy for her beautiful post and creative challenge. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find your response. And of course stay tuned next week when you’ll find Challenge #32 right here on Travels and Trifles. Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

 

Image Locations:

  1.  Zion National Park, Utah
  2. Denali National Park, Alaska
  3. Torres del Paine, Argentina
  4. Acadia National Park, Maine
  5. Kiawah Island, SC

 

 

 

Lens-artists Challenge #30 – Unexpected

“I am in love with the moon, with the light shining out of its soul.”

Sanober Khan

BLOOD MOON

BLOOD MOON

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to share something “Unexpected“. You may be thinking there is nothing at all unexpected about my opening image – everyone knew the blood moon was forecast for last week’s night sky. For me though, the capability of my Fuji X-T2 with a 55-200mm f/4 lens was totally unexpected. As I told a good friend earlier in the evening, this was to be my final test before giving up entirely on my Nikon equipment. I had very low expectations when I shot the capture above from my back porch with no tripod. I am the first to admit it does not compare with the images created by others using more sophisticated equipment and better planning. But for my purposes it did what I asked of it and more.

MARVELOUS MOONRISE

MARVELOUS MOONRISE

“Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.”

Khaled Hosseini

Earlier in the evening I’d joined a number of fellow photographers from our local photography club (this time with tripod) to capture the full moon’s rise. To a person there was a sense of awe as the massive moon rose above Kiawah’s marsh. Shutters clicked as oohs and aaahs were heard across the board. It was fun sharing the excitement with others equally enchanted by the beauty of nature’s big moment. Unfortunately, because the moonrise took place before the sunset, most of the moon’s shining moment was rather pale, and the lack of clouds made for a bit of a boring sky, but its incredible size was more than enough to offer everyone a thrill.

SHINING ON

SHINING ON

“The moon in all her immaculate purity hung in the sky.”

Shan Sa

As the evening wore on and the sun slowly sank in the opposite sky, the colors began to deepen and the full moon shone brightly, lighting the marsh with a warm, golden glow. After capturing this final image, I packed my equipment away and took a few moments to drink in the beauty of the evening. For a nature lover it simply doesn’t get much better.

Here’s to Mother Nature in all her glory – I hope you too got to enjoy the show. Thanks to Ann-Christine for her fun challenge. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag to increase your response level, and finally, please join Amy on her ShareandConnect blog next week for Challenge #31. 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #29 – Cityscapes

“The life of a city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects.”

Charles Baudelaire

GARDEN BRIDGE, SHANGHAI

GARDEN BRIDGE, SHANGHAI

This week Patti invites us to share some of our favorite cityscapes. For many of you, her subject is one that presents a marvelous opportunity to share your home city or that of your loved ones. Having been raised in a small town, and living now in an even smaller one, for me it’s a bit more challenging. I thought about some of the beautiful cities I’ve been fortunate to visit most recently – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and New York. Looking further back, I’ve visited and photographed some of the world’s great cities: in the U.S., places like LA, San Francisco and Chicago.  Farther afield I’ve visited Sydney, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Vancouver, Toronto, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, London and Rome among others. Quite a list when I think about it!

SHANGHAI BY DAY

SHANGHAI BY DAY

“A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.”

Aristotle

Why then have I chosen to highlight just one of the many cities I’ve seen? First and perhaps most importantly I’ve loved all of the cities I’ve listed. Each is amazing in its own right with its unique sights and personality. Who could visit the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, the Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House, The Empire State Building or the Golden Gate Bridge for example, and not come away in awe?  Since I cannot speak to all of the great cities I’ve seen (well I suppose I could but I’m sure I’d have lost you long before I finished), I decided to choose only one. So then the question becomes, why Shanghai?

SHANGHAI BY NIGHT

SHANGHAI BY NIGHT

“The one thing that all great cities have in common is that they are all different.”

Cate Blanchett

First and foremost, for me Shanghai was the most surprising of any I’ve visited. I expected horrific air quality but got pristine, clear skies.  I expected ancient but got an equal amount of Disney-like new (such as Pudong, the area above, built in 1990 and thereafter). I  expected purely Chinese but got an internationally-mixed population such as that of the French Concession or the ex-pat communities involved in the business of the world’s busiest container port or the thriving financial industry. Last but not least, I expected city lights but was completely bedazzled by the brilliance of the cityscape at night.

SHANGHAI PORT

SHANGHAI PORT

“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.”

Simon Van Booy

Another reason to highlight Shanghai is because it was there for the first time that I met a friend I’d known only through blogging. She was a Canadian ex-pat who had lived in China for years. We had great fun connecting and comparing experiences. Unfortunately once she returned to Canada she discontinued her blog. However  I’ve since met several others through blogging and found them all to be talented, interesting, warm and charming. I am proud to call them my friends and happy to have added a personal element to my blogging experience – proving (as usual) the benefit of stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

THE BUND, SHANGHAI

ALONG THE BUND, SHANGHAI

“A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.”

Patrick Geddes

As those who follow me know, I love to travel and experience new places. While I am primarily a nature-lover, I also enjoy visiting cities and exploring their culture, their foods, their art scenes, and of course their people. I highly recommend Shanghai for all of those things, and hope your experience there is as rewarding as mine.

SUNSET, PUDONG, SHANGHAI

LAST LIGHT, PUDONG, SHANGHAI

“Cities are like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler.”

Roman Payne

As always, timing is everything. While during our visit the air was pristine, my friend sent a photo of the city taken a week later and you literally could not see Pudong because of the dense air pollution. 

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead. Hopefully the dire weather forecast for the U.S. will fail to appear. Remember to tune in for Ann-Christine‘s Challenge #30 next week, and many thanks to Patti for this week’s fun Cityscapes.  As always, we look forward to seeing your responses.