Up Close and Personal – Weekly Photo Challenge

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

Henry Miller

(6 photos)

BUTTERFLY BREAKFAST

BUTTERFLY BREAKFAST

This week Brie Anne has challenged us to share some close-up photography. As she points out, there is no need for special equipment to create details such as those in this week’s post. Because I’ve been a bit consumed with packing for our impending move, I’ve reached into the archives to share some of my favorites close ups.

BRIGHT IN BACK

BRIGHT IN BACK

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the things I love about photography is that it causes you to stop and notice the smallest details. For example, we often pause to admire a field of beautiful sunflowers raising their heads to the sky, but how many of us have actually stopped to study the back of the flower, or the texture of the stalk?

FOR SUZIE

WINGS OF GOLD

 “The closest thing to Heaven, is having a peaceful mind, and a beautiful, pure heart.”  

Anthony Liccione

I have a good friend here on Kiawah who is obsessed with dragonflies. She’s also a photographer and has some amazing captures of these tiny, fast-moving creatures. The secret, she tells me, is to find a spot that they frequent and then sit quietly until they are used to you, at which point they’ll return to their usual routine. I find that to be true of most of nature’s creatures – and stillness is also a balm for a busy mind often cluttered with unnecessary chatter. So Suzie – this one’s for you 😊.

MORNING LIGHT

MORNING LIGHT

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

Robert Capa

Over the years I’ve shared many examples of the lowcountry’s magnificent oaks. The shot above closes in on the symbiotic relationship between the beautiful spanish moss and the intricate turns of the oak’s beautiful branches. Often the details of a scene are more compelling than the big picture.

CHICKS-TO-BE

CHICKS-TO-BE

“Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

This spring I shared many shots of baby chicks in an amazing bird rookery I was privileged to visit. The capture above is a close-up of one of the nests in which the eggs hadn’t quite hatched. I loved their soft blue color and wondered which of the mama birds might be waiting for this brood to appear.

FROND

FROND

“Keep close to nature’s heart.”

John Muir

Finally, the classic palm frond, found everywhere here in the south, and always beautiful, especially in it’s luminous center.

Interestingly, this week a study was published about the impact on city dwellers who spent 30 minutes walking in a natural setting vs indoors. Physical changes in the brain which have been proven to indicate a lessening of negativity were seen in all of the nature walkers; no change was found in the control group.  I for one am a strong believer in nature’s ability to soothe a troubled mind and deliver us back to our happier selves. So much the better if we do so with camera in hand 😊.

To close in on some other bloggers’ subjects, click here.

Half and Half – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”

Mark Twain

(4 Photos)

GOOD GRAPHICS

GOOD GRAPHICS

One of my favorite things about last fall’s China adventure was the dichotomy we found everywhere we went. Those who followed those posts know I was fascinated by ancient sites like the iconic Great Wall  and the  Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an.  But in addition to those amazing places, I also found some interesting contemporary graphics that caught my eye. For this week’s challenge “Half and Half” – which asks us to share photos that are “split in two”, I thought several of them just might fit the bill.

BLACK AND WHITE

BLACK AND WHITE

“A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.”

David Mitchell

If you’re wondering where I found them, I have no idea 😄; they were simply somewhere along the journey along with the many other wonders we experienced.  I’m normally quite traditional in my taste, and have no contemporary art in my home. But I am somehow drawn to bold graphics such as those above and below, as well as the more classic piece that closes today’s post.

TWO-TONE

TWO-TONE

“Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut at the right times.”

Patrick Rothfuss

As my followers know, I am a big fan of quotations and work hard to find wise words that work with my posts. I want to thank Juls of Les Petit Pas de Juls who, because of that, nominated me to participate in the Three Quotes Challenge. Juls is a blogger who knows well the power of just the right quote at just the right time!  So Juls, consider this my response to your invitation – although I must admit I’ve not quite followed the rules of the challenge. 😉

SHADES OF BLUE

SHADES OF BLUE

“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”

Edgar Allan Poe

Finally, because I’ve focused on art for this post, I would like to point you to Andrew Seal of The Changing Palette.  Andrew’s site is one of my favorite blogs. He’s a very talented painter – especially in his use of color and impression. Unlike those of us who highlight our thoughts with quotes, Andrew lets his art speak for itself – and quite beautifully so.

After all that, if you still have time, give a look at the other responses to this week’s challenge here.

Symbolism of the Horse – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Symbols are miracles we have recorded into language.”

S.Kelley Harrell

(5 Photos)

GRAZING

GRAZING

This week Jen has asked us to illustrate something symbolic. No doubt by clicking here for the responses of some other bloggers, you will see a wide array of choices. Personally, I’ve chosen to feature an animal whose genesis goes back even further than mankind itself, the horse.

4-LEGGED CURIOSITY

4-LEGGED CURIOSITY

“However expressive, symbols can never be the things they stand for.”

Aldous Huxley

Beyond capturing our hearts and our imagination, horses have helped shape human history. For over 3,000 years horses were key to success in warfare until they were eventually replaced by modern weaponry.  Consider the legend of the Trojan Horse, now symbolic of a secretive approach to undermining an enemy – or even a secretive program intended to destroy your computer operating system. From there through the ages to powerful images of horse-mounted cavalry, such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and the battle at Little Big Horn. WWI was effectively the last time horses were used extensively in battle. Who can forget the heartbreak of the recent movie and Broadway show War Horse which illustrated so beautifully the strength of the bond between humans and horses, and the amazing heart a horse will show in its willingness to satisfy the demands of its human counterparts.

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.”

Josephine Demott Robinson

To Native Americans the horse was a symbol of power. The more horses a tribe had, the more powerful they were deemed to be. Horses are also seen as symbolic of freedom, because riding a horse makes one feel as if any restraining bonds can be broken. In Celtic mythology, horses symbolized good luck and were harbingers of good fortune. The Chinese include the horse as one of the 12 symbols of their zodiac, and they are frequent participants in some of the most important Chinese myths and legends.

PASTORAL

PASTORAL

 The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.

Arab Proverb

Beyond the pleasures we derive from the many qualities of the horse, we are also developing an understanding of what an extremely effective therapeutic tool they are for those with physical or emotional disabilities. Successful programs are now in place throughout the U.S., reporting some wonderful results with both children and adults. It seems right somehow that the horse should be respected and appreciated for yet another contribution to the lives of its human companions.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

“A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – giving us escape from our mundane existence.”

Pam Brown

I captured these beautiful creatures last month as I was driving through Seabrook Island, which is the next-island neighbor to Kiawah.  As I was about to drive past their horse pasture, the early evening light combined with the peacefulness of the setting made me stop in my tracks. After I’d spent a few minutes just watching, several of the horses approached to check me out and within a moment or two were licking my proffered hand and allowing me to pat their heads and necks. From there, photographing them became a natural next step and once they had assured themselves my lens and I meant no harm they happily went about their evening graze as I shot to my heart’s content.

Throughout history horses have symbolized strength, loyalty, power, nobility, and freedom among other positive attributes. They have an important symbolic presence in all cultures and in all countries both ancient and current. Would that we all deserved such an impressive place in history!

Portal Perspectives: Weekly Photo Challenge – Door

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”

Emily Dickinson

(7 Photos)

SLANTED DOOR

SLANTED DOOR

Doors…..often symbolic of change or opportunity (which, after all, is supposed to knock, right?!), the lowly door has been calling to artists, photographers, authors and poets since the beginning of time. This week Cheri has challenged us to tell a story through the size, shape, color or texture of those that have caught our eye and our lens. Like Cheri, my archives are full of doors by the dozens – but my first thought was to focus on the character-rich doorways of China. My opening capture is actually the door of a houseboat which was making its lazy way down the Li River. What stories would it tell if only it could speak?

BICYCLE BELOW

BICYCLE BELOW

“Knocking on many doors is strength;
knocking on the right doors is wisdom.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

Those who have been following Travels and Trifles for a while have experienced China through my lens several times, but this week’s captures are included for the first time. The stories behind them offer an interesting opportunity for imagination – don’t you just want to close your eyes and see the lives of those inside as they were centuries ago?

WINDOW GRAPHICS

WINDOW GRAPHICS

 “The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given the door will open.”  

Rumi

It seems each of the chapters of our lives begins with opening the door to change. Think of the many  you’ve opened in your own life. Can you imagine what would have happened if you’d taken a different path? Then again, it seems each time a door is opened, another is closed. What decisions are you facing today? Will you opt to open the door if it means leaving something important behind? If only we could see the path beyond the door, as in the photo below, it would be much easier to walk through, wouldn’t it?

OPEN DOOR POLICY

OPEN DOOR POLICY

“Close some doors today. not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”

Paulo Coelho

Sometimes closing a door is as important as opening one. How many of us have found ourselves in situations long after they’re good for us? A doomed romance, a dead-end job, an unhealthy dependency – have you been there, done that? Somehow I think we all have, and yet we find it difficult to close the door on the known for fear of what awaits us in the unknown. A wise man once told me, there’s no such thing as a bad decision…..you make the decision and then you make it right. I’ve often thought about that as I’ve faced quandaries that involve opening and closing important doors in my life. Perhaps Nike says it best with their – “just do it” campaign!

RED ALL 'ROUND

RED ALL ‘ROUND

 “The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.”  

Bertolt Brecht

My husband and I are about to embark on a new chapter, and as always, the door to the unknown is unsettling.  I have always found though that each new chapter brings greater happiness, no matter how content I had been before. Does that mean I’ve been incredibly lucky, or just adaptable? A bit of both I’m sure. I must also admit that some of the doors in my life have opened with the help of a fairly big push from those who have been beside me along the path, including my always adventurous husband – for which I am very grateful.

CHRISTMAS COLORS

CHRISTMAS COLORS

“There are so many doors to open. I am impatient to begin.”

Charlie Gordan

As Charlie Gordan says, once a decision’s been made and a door’s been opened, we become impatient to begin. Just as important as moving through the door you’ve chosen though, is pausing for a moment to be sure you’ve captured the essence of the door you’re closing behind. Have you burned the good moments into your memory? Learned the lessons you’ve been taught? Mentally stored the experiences you’ve had? Only when you can answer yes should you turn out the lights, step over the threshold and move on.

DOUBLE DOORS

DOUBLE DOORS

“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”

Saul Bellow

Big or small, literal or symbolic, doors are everywhere. Be open to them, learn to see them not so much for how they look but for what lies behind or in front of them.  Make your choices wisely, but more importantly, make them and move on. Life’s waiting for you on the other side!

A happy 4th to all of my readers in the US. If you’re not out celebrating or watching fireworks, take a moment to open the doors of some other bloggers in the current weekly photo challenge.

Kiawah’s Magnificent Marsh – Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

 “What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.”  

Doug Dorst

(9 photos)

AFTER THE STORM

AFTER THE STORM

This week Brie Anne has offered us a most interesting challenge; to illustrate our personal “muse” – that to which we turn time after time for inspiration. For me, the answer is an easy one; the beautifully varied vistas of Kiawah’s marsh.  Above, in a shot taken from my back porch, I’ve captured its creeks reflecting the clouds immediately after a summer storm.

TANGERINE SUNSET

TANGERINE SUNSET

“Praised be my Lord, for our sister water.”

Francis of Assisi

One of the reasons I love the marsh is that it is ever-changing. It can be many things, depending on the season, the time of day, the weather, or the tide. Above, a second shot of the marsh during a beautiful tangerine-colored sunset. Below, on a crisp, clear, early summer’s day.

A SUMMER'S DAY

A SUMMER’S DAY

“The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.”

Raymond Carver

RAYS OF GLORY

RAYS OF GLORY

“All water is holy water.”

Rajiv Joseph

Above, yet another sunset over the marsh. In this capture the sun’s rays remind me of the spreading fingers of God on the cover of my second grade catechism 😊. Does anyone else out there remember that?!

BIRDS ON THE MARSH

BIRDS ON THE MARSH

“Water belongs to us all. Nature did not make the sun one person’s property, nor air, nor water, cool and clear.”

Michael Simpson

Beyond the beauty of the marsh itself, the presence of some of the most interesting and often beautiful creatures within its boundaries creates a powerful draw for a nature-loving photographer. Above, an ibis launches from the marsh grasses, leaving its companion behind. Below, a somewhat more dangerous resident! Although our native alligators strongly prefer fresh water, they can tolerate the brackish water of our marshes for a short while, and often show themselves as local fishermen or crabbers haul in their catches.

LURKING BELOW

LURKING BELOW

“Water’s water and that’s why it’s beautiful.”

Alberto Caeiro

Of course the favorite creature found in the creeks of our marshes is the playful bottlenose dolphin. Often times as we kayak along with the current, the dolphins will come out “spy-hopping” to see who’s entered their realm. Here in South Carolina they have been studied by as illustrious an organization as National Geographic because of their strand-feeding behavior. Working together, they push bait fish to the shore, and then push themselves out of the water to dine on their prey. Scientists are interested in the activity because it is a learned behavior that the dolphins pass on to their young. I’ve observed it several times, and am fascinated and excited every time. Below, a quick capture I shot of a marsh visitor enjoying the dolphins up close and personal, followed by a capture of dolphin strand-feeding here on Kiawah.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

“The next time you think you’re perfect, try walking on water.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour

SUCCESSFUL STRAND-FEEDING

SUCCESSFUL STRAND-FEEDING

“No water, no life. No blue, no green.”

Sylvia Earle

I’ll close with a capture of our lovely marsh as the full moon’s rise is reflected on its waters. As you can see, it has been a favorite subject throughout my time on Kiawah. Here in our backyard, we enjoy a beautiful beach, lagoons ripe with fishermen’s bounty and of course the glorious maritime forest complete with grand, moss-covered oaks . For me though, the marsh tops them all.  It grows on you like a good friend – the more time you spend with it, the better you know it. The better you know it, the more you love it.  How wonderful is that?!

MOONRISE OVER THE MARSH

MOONRISE OVER THE MARSH

 “What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.”  

Doug Dorst

To see what inspires some other bloggers, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Colors of the Rainbow

“Without the rain, there would be no rainbow…”

G. K. Chesterton

DOUBLE RAINBOW, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

DOUBLE RAINBOW, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA

This week my husband and I are “somewhere over the rainbow” enjoying Fathers’ Day with family in New York City. I’ve chosen to respond to Michelle’s challenge with a favorite double rainbow shot taken several years ago on a vacation in Prince Edward Island.  It’s a very fond memory of a beautiful moment shared with good friends.

For reasons I choose not to explain, for me the rainbow has also become a reminder of the power of spiritual connection. As our friends and neighbors in Charleston struggle to understand the tragedy in our backyard, may we find strength in that same spirituality. We can hope that like rain and rainbows, tragedy can beget change – and the lives lost will not have been in vain.

Warmest Fathers’ Day wishes to all of the dads out there. Here’s hoping you too are sharing the day with those you love.

To see more colors of the rainbow, click here.

Weekly Photo Challege – Off Season

“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

SUMMER'S END

SUMMER’S END

This week, a simple response to Krista’s “Off-Season” challenge. I captured this scene last year at the end of summer on our beautiful Kiawah beach. The fog was rolling in, a lone walker was taking advantage of the solitude, and some end-of-season shore birds dotted the landscape. The tourists had returned to their lives offshore and it was time for those of us who make our homes here to reclaim our peaceful little island. Our lovely, serene off-season is my favorite time of year.

Off-Season

SUMMER’S END-II

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

Henry David Thoreau

The second version of my off-season shot has been texturized with some effects by French Kiss. To quote Sally of Lens and Pens, which do you prefer and why? 😄. Once you’ve given me your thoughts, click here for some other bloggers’ off-season offerings