Lens-Artists Challenge #177 – Celebrating

snow, sunrise
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

“In the morning, celebrate the beauty and warmth of sun light,in the evening, celebrate the song of silence and love of night.”

Debasish Mridha

As we enter this year’s holiday season in many parts of the world, Amy has challenged us to focus our lenses on “Celebrating”. At the same time, Terri of Sunday Stills invites her followers to find images that illustrate holiday music lyrics. I couldn’t resist combining the two challenges in my response this week. I’ve opened with a snowy scene from a Thanksgiving celebration with family in Colorado. You can bet that with rare exceptions, most any image I post that includes snow was not made around my home in South Carolina 😊. On the other hand, they are forecasting a foot of snow in Hawaii this week, and it’s in the 70s in Denver – go figure!

Fire, fireplace
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

“When the night gets here, I’ll be the youngest I’ll ever be again, so I will laugh and celebrate relative youth.”

Darnell Lamont Walker

From yet another family celebration, the image above captures the fireplace of my brother and sister-in-law’s home where each year we celebrate Christmas. Since Covid began, we have missed gathering as we are a large group coming from multiple areas of the country. Now, as our family grows, it becomes ever-more difficult to gather as the little ones await the arrival of Santa in their own homes. The new plan is to gather later in the year and create our own holiday – and why not? Who says Christmas only comes once a year?!

Joy, Christmas, gifts, bow, wrapping

Joy To The World

“The flowers have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is there in the sky—celebrate it! 


I’ve included the image above from last Christmas on a previous post. To me it embodies the idea of the joy of the holidays and that of both giving and receiving gifts. Of course Christmas is about much more than gifts but you have to admit they are a fun element of the season. Truth be told, all of the boxes are actually empty, I simply use them for decoration under the tree.

Snow, lake, Patagonia, Laguna de los Tres, Mt. Fitzroy
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

“Take the time to celebrate stillness and silence and see the joy that the world can bring, simply.”

Tony Curl

Without knowing the story behind it, one would be challenged to understand why the image above represents a celebration – but indeed it does. First, it’s a celebration of friendship as the scene was the culmination of a difficult hike in Patagonia that a good friend and I made together. And second, she and I celebrated together the exhilaration of reaching the summit in a horrific windstorm that nearly did us in! So yes, to me a memorable celebration took place on this very spot.

candles, light, yellow, golden
Candles, Candles Burning Bright

“I celebrate everything. We always had a menorah and a Christmas tree – not for any reason other than we always liked celebrating things.”

Randy Rainbow

Unlike Mr. Rainbow (do you suppose that’s really his name?) my husband and I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah for more valid reasons. While we recognize the difference in the religious aspects of the two holidays, we’ve learned the importance of tradition and the joy that each of the holidays represents. I like to think of it as having the best of both worlds.

stars, light, night
Oh Holy Night, The Stars Are Brightly Shining

“Every day is a good day. There is something to learn, care and celebrate.”

Amit Ray

My thanks to Amy for the opportunity to explore and enjoy such a positive subject. We celebrate our followers and participants, all of whom help to make Lens-Artists the wonderful community that it is. We also thank you for sharing your stories in response to Ann-Christine’s One Image-One Story challenge last week – a great exercise in understanding the power of photography for presenting ideas. Please link this week’s responses to Amy’s original challenge here, and if you have an extra moment, hop over to visit Terri’s holiday lyrics post. I’ll be leading the challenge right here on Travels and Trifles next week – until then as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #176 – One Image, One Story

Kiawah, alligator, golf,
Blue Tees Anyone?

“Photography is just one tool in a storytelling kit. How an audience understands and feels a story is in your hands.”

Shannon Ghannam

This week Ann-Christine has given us a very interesting challenge – to tell a story with a single image. I couldn’t resist starting my post with an image that to me is about as obvious as can be. It’s quite an experience for visitors to our island when they come across one of our resident gators on the tee box. Imagine the stories, memories and photographs (from a distance of course) they’ll have when they get back to their everyday lives!

birds, cardinal, painted bunting, birdbath, wet
“Sorry dude, I was here first”

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.”

Lewis Wickes Hines

I watched with great amusement as the two birds in the image above negotiated their time in our neighbors’ birdbath. Clearly the large cardinal was bowing to the demands of the female painted bunting and her bathing rituals – sound familiar?!

fishing, boat, shrimper, birds
Gone Fishin’

“It’s not your story, it belongs to your subject. Never forget that.”

Edmond Terakopian

Speaking of birds, they are opportunistic creatures, following along with the local shrimp boats hoping for plenty of leftovers. Although the image above, captured just last week, tells their story, I also posted a longer story about the shrimpers and their boats some time ago here.

The Chapel at Middleton Place

“Life is about capturing the moment in its beauty and telling a story to every beautiful moment.”

Blanca Acosta

The image above is a bit less obvious in its storytelling. It captures a simple chapel, recreated from the original built in 1850 at Middleton Plantation. The chapel was used by slaves as a house of worship. We can only imagine the many prayers that were sent out from this simple room before slavery was abolished and the long road toward equality was begun.

flowers, blooming, dying
Life Goes On

“Some photographs are like a Chekhov short story or a Maupassant story. They’re a quick thing, and there’s a whole world in them. But one is unconscious of that while shooting. That’s a wonderful thing with a camera. It jumps out of you.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Finally, the story I see in my closing image relates to the passage of time, and the natural evolution which affects us all. As photographers, we find stories everywhere we look. I think Cartier-Bresson’s quote above perfectly describes the art and helps to explain why we so love it.

Here’s to Ann-Christine, who challenges us to think about the stories our images tell, and to the photographers who tell them. Please link your responses to her challenge here, and include our Lens-Artists Tag. We thank Lindy for guest hosting last week with her invitation to focus on our bliss, and as always our followers for your creative and interesting responses. Next week Amy will be leading us into the heart of the holiday season with a “Celebrating” challenge. In the meanwhile, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #175 – Follow Your Bliss

Moonrise Reflection, Kiawah Island

“Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment and creativity.”

Michael Jackson

One would think it would be simple to describe and illustrate those things that bring us bliss – defined as “perfect happiness; great joy”. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I can think of many things that bring me bliss – which as my opening quote attests, does indeed lead to wonderment and creativity. So this week, in response to Lindy’s challenge, I’ll share several of them.

Pineapple fountain, welcome, charleston, waterfront park
Welcome to Charleston – The Pineapple Fountain

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

Robert A. Heinlein

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Heinlein that before all else, the love I share with my husband, our families and our friends brings me my greatest joy. But today I’ve focused on some of the other things that bring me happiness. My opening image (as well as my closing capture) is from an evening earlier this week. The glory of nature – especially a magnificent sunset enjoyed with good friends – brings me great joy. Another source of continuing joy, shown in the second image, is our move to the south, including life in the Charleston area, and especially, on Kiawah.

live oak, sunrise, golden light
Live Oak, Sunrise

If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”

Roy T. Bennett

Being part of a community of wonderful photographers on Kiawah, and the wealth of knowledge they and our guest speakers have shared, has brought me great happiness. It is a community of generosity, where ideas and techniques are shared and growth is encouraged across the board. I love photography, which brings me joy and helps me to notice and appreciate the beauty around me. Sharing it with other, like-minded neighbors further enhances my appreciation.

flowers, trees, garden, red
Springtime, Charleston

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”


Although I’ve always loved nature, my obsession with birds has developed only since moving to Kiawah. The amazing creatures that inhabit our trees, our lagoons, our coast and our skies is beyond anything I could have imagined and brings me great joy. In the images below, 3 roseate spoonbills on the left, and on the right a flock of egrets nestled in for the night beside a lagoon.

The Birds, The Birds

“Today is your day to dance lightly with life.”

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

You might think based on the image below that I would address my love of flowers – but you’d be wrong 😊. I do love them, but they do not love me so I tend to admire them from afar or through my photography. The image represents the joy of travel. Since Covid began, my husband and I have not traveled abroad but we’ve made a few trips here in the U.S. These beautiful specimens were captured at a garden we visited during this year’s trip to California .

flowers, impression
Funky Flowers

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

Karl Barth

I’ll end as I began, with a glorious sunset here on Kiawah. It represents my love of nature, of Kiawah, of photography, of birds (yes, here flying across the water) and of the joy that comes with creating from and sharing all of those things.

sunset, Kiawah, lagoon, water
Day’s End, Kiawah Island

“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.”

Ernest Barbaric

Sincere thanks to our guest host Lindy Low LeCoq for her imaginative challenge, which gives us all an opportunity to think about the things that bring us bliss. Be sure to link your responses to her original challenge post here. Thanks too to those who joined us for last week’s Shapes and Designs challenge. What fun seeing the many varieties that are everywhere, especially within Mother Nature’s bounty. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine brings us challenge #176. Until then, wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and a continued reminder to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #174 – Shapes and Designs

starfish, seashell, Kiawah
Nature’s Design

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

Steve Coleman

This week we are invited to illustrate shapes and design – all elements we enjoyed seeing in your responses to last week’s architecture challenge. Thinking further about some of the aspects of structures that draw our eye, we are most certainly attracted by distinct shapes. Mother Nature seems to understand this perfectly. The beautiful and always identifiable shape of the starfish with its perfect 5-sided symmetry is a great example of design intricacy. I made the image above after a storm here on Kiawah, when many of such compositions were left by the wind and tides. Clearly Mother Nature was having fun with her design skills that morning.

Desert, art, Arizona, cacti
Desert Art

“For me, the meaning of design is to give soul to objects by Art. Art needs to be in every part of daily life, not only in the galleries and museums.”

Baris Gencel

Sometimes artists choose to depict Mother Nature’s art within their own works. In the example above (captured on a street corner in Arizona) the artist has designed multiple oblong screens working together to depict the beauties of the night sky of Arizona’s desert. Fortunately we were stopped at a street light on that corner so I was able to quickly compose an image on the fly.

Maine, bridge, reflection
Little House, Big Bridge

“Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment comes when ‘the picture in one glance says everything and says it in terms of design, rhythm, pattern – every element in strong relationship with all the others.”

Margaret R. Weiss

The Somesville Bridge just outside of Acadia National Park in Maine is the most photographed bridge in the state. Taking full advantage of the reflections that occur most times of day in the Somes Creek below, it presents us with several shapes and a beautiful design.

Dragon Wall, Shanghai, China

“For me, a great image involves a combination of strong content and excellent design.”

Mary Ellen Mark

In China there is an amazing dichotomy between areas like the Pudong district I featured in last week’s post, and ancient areas that house beautiful designs such as in the Dragon Wall above. Built by a son for his father in the 1500s, the walls are an important part of the Yu Gardens in old city Shanghai. Hard to believe that the ancient gardens and the futuristic Pudong district co-exist peacefully in the same city!

circles, mosque, colorful, design
Magnificent Mosque

“Basic geometric shapes communicate universal qualities common to all cultures. Practical design integrates them appropriately.”

Maggie Macnab

I cannot imagine a better example of basic geometric shapes integrating into a beautiful design than the El-Jazzar Mosque (aka the White Mosque or the Great Mosque) in the ancient city of Acra, Israel. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site , notable for its excavated crusader ruins both above and below street level.

doors, Buenos Aires, design, shape
Four Doors, Buenos Aires

“I believe in the photographer’s magic – the ability to stir the soul with shape and color.”

Amy Nasser

In Buenos Aires I was taken by the beautiful design of the four adjacent doors shown above. Each was made of the same shapes but with very slightly differing designs. Perhaps they were originally meant to be identical but over time have morphed into something unique. In either case they drew my eye with their lovely shapes and colors.

circle, square, triangle, garden. archway
Circles, Squares and Triangles

“Start looking at the world in a different way. Look at everyday objects, at their design, their shape, their individual characteristics. Think ahead and imagine their significance.

Martin Parr

Finally, in the images above and below, a visual statement on the importance of shapes in design. The image above, clearly man-made, is from a California botanical garden while below, the stunning blossom could only have been designed by Mother Nature. The third and final image illustrates how the latter, combined with the former, can create a stunning result. Clearly, the integration of shapes into design – natural, man-made, or a combination thereof – has a significant influence on the beauty of the end product.

flower, pink, circle, round
Bursting With Color And Shape

Writers of light transform shape, line, color, pattern – passionless components – into photographs that grasp, delight, repulse, or inspire. Their work bestows life

seashells, art, sculpture
Seashells as Sculpture

“For anyone who wants to become a serious and creative photographer; go to the best school of design you can get into. Go to museums. That’s what will teach you how to see, how to compose, and how to think visually.”

Bernard Wolf

Sincere thanks to those who responded to last week’s Interesting Architecture challenge – your amazing variety of examples gave us all a new appreciation for the work of architects old and new, nearby and worlds away. Thanks also to Patti for this week’s Shapes and Design challenge. Be sure to link your responses to her original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our reader. Finally, we are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest-hosted by Lindy LeCoq. Be sure to visit her blog here to catch us next week. In the meanwhile, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #173 – Interesting Architecture

architecture, modern, contemporary
Going Modern, Kiawah Island

“Photography brings the world to us: art, architecture, fashion, nature, war and far-off lands.”

Tim Mantoani

This week I started out thinking about the evolution of our little island here on Kiawah. Where once the island was restricted to classic, southern homestyles, today we have opened ourselves to more varied, often contemporary architecture. Exhibit A, the beautiful home in my image above. My opening quote then led me to expand my perspective to include architecture from “far-off lands”. So our challenge this week is to share your images of Interesting Architecture – whether in your back yard or anywhere else around the world.

Shanghai, china, architecture, contemporary
Pudong, Shanghai – China At Its Best

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness” 

Frank Gehry

When I think about architectural wonders, the first place I think of is Shanghai. We were incredibly fortunate to have visited during a crisp, sunny, beautiful week when the city was at its most beautiful. At sunset the buildings in the Pudong area were aglow and the ancient areas of the city were softly lit and equally beautiful. It was a wonderful contrast of old vs new – indeed, the timelessness Mr. Gehry himself so often achieved.

Calatrava, NYC,
The Calatrava Oculus, NYC

“A new building should deliver a feeling of hope.”

Santiago Calitrava

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Calitrava’s Oculus, a transportation hub at the heart of the World Trade Center in New York City will achieve the timelessness Mr. Gehry espouses. I can tell you that the interior is an absolute wonderland filled with light and beautiful shapes at every turn. To me, the exterior does not quite fit with its surroundings but that is only one person’s opinion.

stairway, glass, architecture, Mendoza
Looking Up, Mendoza, Argentina

“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”

Le Corbusier

In Mendoza, Argentina we visited the beautiful Archaval Ferrer winery. The only thing better than the architecture was the wine 😊 (or was it vice-versa?). At the top of their contemporary winery we climbed the beautiful stairs to reach a rooftop overlooking the vineyard. A wonderfully memorable day.

Petra, Jordan, architecture, ancient
The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

“Building becomes architecture only when the mind of man consciously takes it and tries with all his resources to make it beautiful, to put concordance, sympathy with nature, and all that into it. Then you have architecture.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

The incredible rose-red architecture of the ancient Nabateans in Petra, Jordan is absolutely unforgettable. Amazingly, the buildings were carved directly into the rock as far back as 312 BC. Not only are they huge (see the tiny people at the bottom of the image) and beautiful, but they are also surrounded by an innovative water system that allowed them to live comfortably in the middle of the desert. That the architects were able to design, and craftspersons to build such an amazing city so long ago is truly a wonder. Along with places like the Great Wall of China or Cambodia’s Angkor Wat (in this week’s header), this ancient city would rank as one of the most impressive places I’ve seen in all of my travels.

budapest, architecture, night, lights
Budapest Nightscape, Chain Bridge

“We should attempt to bring nature, houses, and human beings together in a higher unity” 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I’ll close this week’s post with day’s end in beautiful Budapest. I probably took a hundred photos of their famous Chain Bridge which spans the River Danube. Built in the mid 1800s, it is glorious at all times of day. I captured this image from our hotel room window which framed an amazing view of the river, the city, and the bridge.

We thank you for your responses to last week’s “A Day in My Week” challenge – what a terrific variety of amazing days you shared with us! We hope you’ll join us this week with some interesting architecture from around the corner or around the world. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our reader, and to link to my original. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti once again leads our challenge on her Pilotfish blog. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #172 – A Day Of My Week

Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary, New Jersey, Nature
Natural Wonders

“We need the tonic of wildness…We can never have enough of nature.”

Henry David Thoreau

Last week I mentioned that the milkweed pods in my post were from a visit to the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary in Absecon, New Jersey. As promised I’m including additional images of that beautiful place in this week’s response to Amy’s “A Day of My Week” challenge. The day in my subject week was in early October as my husband and I returned to New Jersey for a family wedding

Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary, egrets, three, New Jersey
Three Little Birds

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.”

Wallace Stegner

The refuge protects over 47,000 acres in one of the Atlantic Flyway’s most active bird flight paths. It is one of 555 refuges designed and maintained by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wildlife habitat. The vast majority of the sanctuary is salt marsh, home to the fish and other creatures that attract the birds. It also provides a natural buffer to protect nearby communities from the effects of coastal storms.

Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary, atlantic city, NJ, birds, nature
Hard to Believe

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”

Jimmy Carter

One of the amazing things about this glorious natural resource is its proximity to Atlantic City – more frequently known for its casinos, its boardwalk, and the Miss America Pageant. Having lived in New Jersey for many years, I was familiar with the state’s coastline, but had never heard of this place. I began to understand how Dorothy must have felt upon landing in Oz!

Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary, reeds, waterways, New Jersey
Regal Reeds

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”

William Shakespeare

I must give kudos to the TripAdvisor app I often use when traveling. The sanctuary came up in their “Things To Do Nearby”. I was skeptical about the possibility of a natural wonder close by, but since we had time before the wedding, we decided to give it a try. Happily I could not have been more wrong! Not only is the preserve beautiful, but it offers an 8-mile, one-way unpaved road that meanders through the wetlands and woodlands. The birds are unbothered by the cars, which travel VERY slowly with many pull-out opportunities. They paid no attention to us whatsoever.

Edwin B. Forsythe wildlife Sanctuary, flying birds, wetlands, New Jersey
Taking Flight

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” 

Rachel Carson

As I was happily photographing last week’s pods, my husband chatted with a nearby sanctuary employeey. It was this friendly and informative gentleman who pointed us toward the dirt road, which we’d otherwise have missed. I was beside myself with the nature along the road, so much so that I soon began to panic that we’d miss the wedding which was the real reason for our journey! We then became the only car driving over 5 miles-per-hour, passing several vehicles along the way. I’m sure they wondered about the idiots in the fast-moving car and why we’d bothered to visit if not to appreciate the incredible wildlife and scenery!

Atlantic City, reflection
Natural Reflection of Man’s Creation

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

Aldo Leopold

I must admit I was disappointed not to have had my Fuji gear with me once I realized the wonders that day. On the other hand, it’s true that the best camera is the one you have with you, and I was lucky to have just upgraded my i-phone. While the images are not what might have resulted from better equipment, I was happy to have at least some ability to record this incredible place.

Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Sanctuary, New Jersey, nature
The Simplicity of Nature

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy”

Isaac Newton

Sincere thanks to Amy for the opportunity to share our marvelous day amidst the wonders of nature. We look forward to seeing your choices this week. Be sure to link them to Amy’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. We thank you for sharing your wonderfully weird entries last week, and hope you’ll join us next week right here on Travels and Trifles as we explore Interesting Architecture. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #171 – Weird and Wonderful

Milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #1

“A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to find images of things that are “weird and wonderful”, rather a tall order but appropriate for the season of Halloween here in the U.S. I expect we’ll see some very interesting responses to this one 😊. Personally I chose to highlight some very weird looking plants I photographed during a recent visit to a beautiful wildlife sanctuary in southern New Jersey.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #2

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

First I must admit the last place I expected to find a glorious wildlife sanctuary was 20 minutes north of Atlantic City, N.J. , known primarily for its many casinos as well as the long-in-the-tooth Miss America Pageant. But thanks to Trip Advisor, an excellent travel companion, my husband and I found the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge when we had a few hours to spend before attending a family wedding.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #3

“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”

Jack Kornfield

More about the sanctuary in a future post, but for today I’ve focused on the first plant we came upon – the totally weird but wonderful milkweed. There was a gigantic field of them in which I clomped about to my heart’s content, shooting away with my new iPhone 12 pro max. It’s camera performed quite well, especially compared to my old iPhone 8+. I will admit though, that if I’d know we’d find a place like this one, I’d have brought my Fuji for sure! I was especially disappointed at how difficult it was to see the screen in the bright sunlight. I have a device that will correct that but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having it always on the ready?!

thistle pods
Not Milkweed but close

“Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing.”


Although I thought the plant in the image above was the same as the earlier images, obviously it is not (and just as obviously, I am NOT a gardener although I love plants of any and all kinds). I believe this one is thistle but whatever it is I loved its weed-y beauty and apparently so did the little bug in the corner 😊.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #4

“Once in a golden hour, I cast to earth a seed, And up there grew a flower, That others called a weed.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

So for those of you thinking – yes weird but where’s the wonderful, I would say this. First I think these plants are beautiful but if they don’t appeal to you, know that milkweed appeals to (and in fact is the major food source for) the declining Monarch Butterfly. Truth be told I am not sure this particular milkweed plant is one on which the butterflies feed, but since it’s a wildlife sanctuary I’m guessing it is. And wouldn’t that really be wonderful indeed?!

Sincere thanks to Patti whose Street Art challenge drew so many varied and wonderful responses. What a treat to see such beauty all over the world. Thanks as well to Ann-Christine for her Weird and Wonderful challenge which gave me an opportunity to share some of the weirdest looking plants ever – although I personally find them truly beautiful in their own weird way. I look forward to seeing your versions of weird this week – be sure to link your responses to Ann-Christine’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Amy will lead us next week so be sure to visit her Share and Connect post this time next week. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #170 – Street Art

hummingbirds, street art, wall art, colorful
The Birds, The Birds

“Street art is nothing else but urban poetry that catches someone’s eye.”

Christian Guemy

This week Patti invites us to share images of street art which appears more and more often in the most unlikely of places. I’ve seen it in multiple countries and on a myriad of platforms – railroad cars, bridges, building walls, playgrounds, you name it. It ranges from scrawled messages all the way up to the most elaborate of commissioned work. The artists have come into their own such that they no longer have to hide their identities, in fact they’ve become rather iconic as leaders of a new and exciting genre.

primary colors, street art, black woman
Strength and Beauty

“I use art to express myself and to escape from work. It is sacred.”

Guido Van Halten

I was in California when I came upon my opening image, and in the heart of NYC for the second. The first was in a quiet outskirt on the wall of a store, the second was beside the famous Calatrava Oculus. Both seemed perfectly positioned in areas that could not have been more different. I was drawn to both for the amazing use of color to draw the eye and to express emotion.

little green men, street art, musical instruments
Little Green Men

“Don’t have much to say that wouldn’t look better on a wall.”


Because I’ve focused on the most colorful of examples, my selection this week offers quite a range of locations, themes and approaches. The image above, taken in Hudson New York, was on a wall outside of a Mexican restaurant. I thought it was great fun with its green street musicians.

street art, eyes, bird, colorful, faces
The Eyes Have It

“Few people go to art expeditions. The power of Street Art is that it goes to people’s daily life to be seen.”


One of my favorite street art encounters was in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. Seen above we actually saw the piece as it was being created by a very focused painter. Obviously street art is a global phenomenon although I suppose there are places where it would not be allowed, or where it would be more controlled.

Colorful, street art, open air market
Market Day, Tel Aviv

“Street art …is so democratic. Art by anyone for anyone.”


The image above was one piece of a large street art painting in Tel Aviv, Israel. I loved the colors and what I saw as portrayal of a happy, fun day at an open-air market.

street art, street performance, vulture
Carried Away

“If our creativities are guided by public policies, we are not gonna be able to paint anything at all”


I’ve chosen a personal favorite as my closing image. Th gigantic vulture was an amazing example of street art just outside of Charleston SC. It was made even more special by the performance of a street artist, the young man shown “falling” in front of the art. There are a dozen terrific paintings in the area and he performed for our photography club one afternoon much to our delight. I combined the vulture images into a tryptic to create a feeling of his having been dropped by the bird.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection this week. I apologize that I’ve not included the names of the painters, unfortunately I don’t have them. But each of my quotes this week is from a well-known street artist which I hope makes up for that in some small way.

Many thanks to I.J. for leading us last week with his Ordinary challenge. It was great to see how each of you was able to turn everyday objects and places into something magical. We hope you’ll join us this week to celebrate the street artists and their craft. Remember to link your response to Patti’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Next week Ann-Christine will lead our challenge so be sure to stop by her blog next Saturday. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #169 – The Ordinary

flowers, hand
Given With Love

“Quit trying to find beautiful things to photograph. Find the ordinary objects that you can transform by photographing them.”

Morley Baer

This week our guest host I.J. Khanewala asks us to focus on the ordinary – and perhaps as Mr. Baer suggests – make them extraordinary. I’ve opened with a simple offering of flowers by a small child. It is the act of kindness and love one feels in the gesture that makes this an image-worthy moment.

I See the Light

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.”

Trent Parke

Sometimes as photographers we work to turn ordinary objects into art by using technique. Can you guess the subject of the image above captured with my out-of-focus lens?

shoes, red, blue, yellow, primary colors
Shiny Shoes

“If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary.”


Crocs, as they’re commonly known, are about as ordinary as a thing can be. Yet if we find them thrown together in a big pile, and we see all of the colors of the rainbow clustered together, does it not turn the ordinary into the extraordinary?!

onions, vegetables
Tears Ahead

“The most interesting photography observes what most of the world ignores and dismisses as dull or too ordinary.”

Anna Fox

I was drawn to a simple farmers market display of onions in the image above. Some might call them ordinary – I found them beautiful with their colorful jackets and blonde hair 😊

beach chairs, blue, stacked
Summer’s End

“If photography is about anything, it is the deep surprise of living in the ordinary world….By focusing on the small and the unexpected…the photographer reminds us that the actual world is full of surprise, which is precisely what most people, imprisoned in habit and devoted to the familiar, tend to forget.”

John Rosenthal

The stacked chairs in my closing image serve as a reminder that summer has ended and our many visitors have returned to their primary homes. For me it is the most beautiful of times. The weather is perfect, the beach is a solitary, peaceful haven, our birds are again comfortable that they will not be disturbed, and soon our sweetgrass will bloom in its autumn splendor.

What an interesting challenge I.J. has given us this week! I have no doubt we will see an amazing variety of images, each with their own special meaning. Be sure to link your responses to I.J.’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our reader section. Sincere appreciation to all who responded to last week’s “Seen Better Days” challenge. I believe we’ve proven beyond a doubt that photographers do indeed love to focus their lenses on the beauty to be found in old, dilapidated places and things. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti brings us challenge # 170. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

old, neglected, decayed, boat

“Pause and remember – nothing lasts forever”

Jennifer Young

This week the Lens Artists team invites you to join us in exploring places and things that have “seen better days”. Through the years I’ve learned how much we photographers love dilapidated, vintage, older things. My archives are a veritable storehouse of worn, aging items that are full of character. So this week, let’s all take the opportunity to show them off.

Don’t Fence Me In

“As you wait for better days, don’t forget to enjoy today, in case they’ve already started.”

Robert Breault

I came across the worn down fence above while exploring “downtown” Hudson, New York during a visit with family. It’s a charming small town with wonderful restaurants, interesting shops and a very special vibe. I found several examples of images that fit this week’s challenge but the simple fence was one of my favorites.

dilapidated, house, worn
Open Door Policy

“Only he who has seen better days and lives to see better days again knows their full value.”

Mark Twain

The image above features a house we came across while playing golf on a course in Maine. I couldn’t imagine how it was still standing, nor why the owners of the course hadn’t litigated to have it removed, but it sure made a terrific subject for my lens. It’s unusual for me to have a camera while golfing but for some reason that day I did. Serendipity.

castle, Scotland, worn, dilapidated

“My father Time is weak and gray, with waiting for a better day.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

In Scotland it seemed there was a castle around every corner – some maintained beautifully, others, not so much. Among the latter there were some wonderful examples that led me to think about what they must once have been. The example above had clearly seen better days, yet its stately presence had a charm all its own, making it one of those I found most memorable.

worn down, factory, decrepit
Enter At Your Own Risk

“A brave world, sir, full of religion, knavery, and change: we shall shortly see better days.”

Aphra Behn

We don’t have castles here in the U.S., but we surely have our share of factories. The one above is actually located in the town where I grew up. It was rather a fixture there for a long time. Before my family arrived the factory had fallen into disrepair and the local athletic field had been named for it. One afternoon long after I’d moved away I took my camera over while visiting family and totally enjoyed an afternoon shooting such an important part of the town’s history.

Hearts, decrepit, old, door
Heart to Heart

“Let it roll on, full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands, and better days.”

Winston Churchill

Well, I could go on and on, and I suppose I already have, but I’ll close with an image that just made me smile. I loved the texture of the wood and the rusty metal of the hearts. To me they spoke of love that lasts well beyond any earthly elements.

Sincere thanks to Amy for last week’s Autumn Colors challenge which generated so many beautiful responses. We don’t see much color here in the south so I especially enjoyed viewing the brilliant oranges, reds and yellows you presented. We hope you’ll join us this week for our “Seen Better Days” challenge. Please remember to link your responses to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally we’re excited to announce that I.J. Khanewala of Don’t Hold Your Breath will be next week’s guest host. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.