Lens-Artists Challenge #63 – Magical Mother Nature

“When Mother Nature speaks, even the Gods hold silence.”

Abhijit Naskar

KIAWAH'S BEACH BEFORE DORIAN

KIAWAH’S BEACH – BEFORE DORIAN

As most of you know, last week the coastline of the eastern US, including SC and our beloved Kiawah Island, had a very close call with Hurricane Dorian.  My husband and I chose not to evacuate, having experienced several previous storms predicted to be of similar magnitude without issue. The day before the storm was due, I set out with my Fuji for some “before” images. My opening capture was made that day, as were the bird photos below. The beach image includes our highly vulnerable dunes, which had been battered by king tides all week.

Circle, tree, birds

CIRCLE OF LIFE

“No one broods like Mother Nature”

Richelle E. Goodrich

It’s always interesting to me to watch the birds gather when storms approach. I loved the way they were perched around the circular configuration of branches above, almost like a circus trick. There seemed to be no discrimination among different species, with egrets, wood storks, ospreys, gulls and herons mixing freely.

wood storks with spread wings

BALANCING ACT

“Storms are nature’s way of evening out the odds.”

Anthony T. Hincks

I had some terrific opportunities to capture our avian friends, and will surely find ways to include some of my results in future posts. I’ve chosen only two for today, as there are other elements of this past week I wanted to share.

WEST BEACH , kiawah, Dorian storm damage

WEST BEACH, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Always respect Mother Nature.”

James Rollins

Dorian hit our coast late in the day and unleashed her wrath throughout the night and into the following afternoon. It was well beyond anything we expected or had experienced in the past. The night was so dark you literally couldn’t tell if your eyes were open or closed.  When lightening lit the sky you could see the trees blowing so furiously it was hard to understand why they weren’t simply flying out of their roots into the maelstrom.  The roar of the winds made perfectly clear what was happening during those moments when the darkness was at its deepest. 

Hurricane Dorian tree damage

HARD STOP

“Such was the hidden power of nature.”

Kenneth Eade

Once the storm quieted late the following day, I was able to walk a few blocks although the roads were still impassable with fallen trees and mountains of debris. Of the two images above, the first is at the corner of my street where it meets the main road onto the island. The second was about a half mile further onto the island, and was as far as I ventured that first day. Despite the close call, we were fortunate that none of the many trees surrounding our home were uprooted.

tree damage, Hurricane Dorian

DOWN FOR THE COUNT

“Mother nature is intentional….She will roar when she needs us to take a second look.”

Peta Kelly

On the second day my husband and I took a short ride around the island. There were quite a few huge trees that had been felled like matchsticks. The image above shows one of several that toppled across the entry to one of our golf courses. We were surprised that with so many trees down there was very little serious damage. Road crews were everywhere as were electrical repair teams. The island was without power for 3 days, some homes for a bit longer. Although we had a generator for necessities we very much missed creature comforts like hot water and our oven, and luxuries like television and a dishwasher. We used our gas stove to make coffee and boil water for dishwashing, and enjoyed several good books. Our generator kept our wireless alive, so we were able to follow storm updates on live-streaming local news. Through it all we realized how fortunate we were compared to the disaster in the Bahamas. 

KIAWAH beach

RETURN OF SUNNY SKIES

“If we’re good to Mother Nature, she will be good to us.”

Viola Shipman

After our ride, I walked up to see the impact of the storm tides on our beautiful beach. Thankfully there was little if any erosion due to the direction and timing of the winds at the hurricane’s peak. The day was one of Mother Nature’s finest, with bright sunshine, low humidity and a gentle breeze.  The shore birds had returned in abundance and were feasting on the many delectable items the storm had churned up. The tide was farther out than I’d ever seen it; the beach was virtually deserted since evacuees and visitors were not allowed on the island until the roads were clear.

Beach, starfish, seashells

STARS AND SHELLS

“No one weaves the exquisite quite like Mother Nature.”

Foster Kinn

The beach was covered with starfish and seashells which had been delivered by the unusually violent storm surf. Although one might think I’d arranged the items in the image above, I simply shot the configuration exactly as Mother Nature created it. If there was one such combination, there were literally hundreds. It’s no wonder the birds were so plentiful.

Starfish in sand

STAR OF THE SHOW

“Mother Nature is always one step ahead when it comes to beauty. She’s quite the artist.”

Giovanna Fletcher

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for the opportunity to illustrate Mother Nature’s magical ability to create, destroy and create anew. Her storms make room for new life and help us to appreciate the beauty of all that we are putting at risk. She reminds us of her power lest we forget or take undue advantage of all she has given us. I will not preach about humankind’s disregard for her gifts except to say this: take heed – during times such as the week just passed it becomes ever more apparent that zero hour is fast approaching.

Ann-Christine, Patti and I look forward to seeing what is magical in your world. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists tag, and to link your post back to Ann-Christine’s original.  Wishing everyone a wonderful week; be sure to join us next week when Amy posts Challenge #64 on her Share and Connect site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lens-Artists Challenge #62 – Silhouettes

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”

Ambrose Bierce

SHRIMPBOAT, DAWN, SUNRISE

INTO THE DAWN

Patti’s challenge this week requests that we seek silhouettes from among our images. Through the years I’ve focused my lens on several that remain among my favorites, including my opening capture. It takes me back to a pre-dawn shoot with good friends on a picture-perfect morning. As we set out on our adventure, a large shrimp boat pulled alongside our much smaller vessel and wished us a great day. As he motored past we all agreed no matter what came next, thanks to him the day was already a success.

Palmetto trees, silhouette, sunset, orange

GOODNIGHT PALMETTOS

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”

Diane Arbus

Sunrise and sunset are both great times for shooting silhouettes. In addition to a beautiful sky, it’s helpful if one has a subject with distinctive elements that will eliminate any doubt about its identity in the darkness. I captured the image above one evening as my husband and I were heading to a beachfront restaurant near our home. The palmetto, South Carolina’s state tree, can be found most anywhere on Kiawah, especially at the beach. It’s distinctive fronds make it an excellent subject for silhouettes. 

silhouette, beach, sunset, couple, love

SUNSET STROLL

“Photography is a magical kind of art that allows people to preserve time and moments.“

Sahara Sanders

The image above, which I made several years ago, helps to show the importance of the way subjects are positioned when shooting silhouettes. Space is important because details are obscured. Having the subjects’ arms and legs positioned such that light is created between them helps to provide definition in what would otherwise be an indistinguishable area of black. The young couple in the image were celebrating their engagement here on Kiawah. They’re now married and expecting their second child – my how time flies!

silhouette of CORMORANT IN FLIGHT

CORMORANT IN FLIGHT

Photographs are just light and time.”

John green

While I am fortunate that my beach location here in South Carolina lends itself to amazing sunsets and scenery, the beauty of a silhouette is that it can be created anywhere, anytime. While early morning and late evening provide excellent opportunity, mid-day shooting can also work. I created the image above in the midst of a sunny, cloudless afternoon. Shooting the bird as he crossed in front of the sun identified the unique shape of a cormorant as it soared overhead.

glacier mountain landscape, couple in silhouette

ADMIRING MOUNTAIN MAJESTY

“Nature itself creates the most beautiful pictures, I’m only choosing the perspective.”

Katja Michael

While I must admit that initially I found it annoying, it was actually somewhat serendipitous that the couple in the image above wandered into my composition . Making lemonade out of lemons, I composed around them to create a landscape/silhouette image. Although it’s not my favorite capture from our time in Glacier, it does make me laugh as I remember the (fortunately) brief interruption in my creative process 😊.

woodpecker silhouette

WOODY AT WORK

”If you want something to look interesting, don’t light all of it.”

Joe McNally

I’ll close with a favorite image I’ve posted previously. I made the capture from my kitchen one afternoon as a woodpecker was working on the trunk of a palmetto outside the window. His shape was so distinctive it cried out for treatment as a silhouette. The day was bright and conditions were awful for photography, but a quick edit in High Pass and voila, a black & white that makes me smile every time I look at it.  After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about – taking and giving pleasure from simple moments that will last much longer than our memories might otherwise retain them?

Thanks so much for supporting our challenge, and special thanks to Patti for this week’s subject. We look forward to seeing your responses – remember to tag them to appear in the Lens-Artists WP Reader section and to link them to Patti’s original post rather than in the Reader. As always, stay tuned as Ann-Christine shares next Saturday’s challenge #63 on her Leya post.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Sincere thanks to those who expressed concern for our safety during Hurricane Dorian. We decided to stay on Kiawah despite the evacuation order and were stunned by the intensity of the storm. Fortunately although there were many very large trees down and tons of debris scattered throughout the island, there was no major damage and our beach came through beautifully. I shot the image in my header yesterday on our beach during the gorgeous day after the storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #61 – Precious Pets

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

dogs

WAITING FOR A WALK

For the past few weeks our challenge has addressed a number of photography skills – framing a shot, finding different perspectives and combining multiple elements in a single image. This week, let’s relax a bit and share something just for fun – our precious pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog, beach

BEACH BEAUTY

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

Orhan Pamuk

Here in the U.S. (as well as in China and India), the most common pet is a dog. Dogs are loyal companions – sharing our moods, our homes and most importantly, our love.  The capture above features Geneve, a gorgeous Bernese Mountain dog. Despite very hot, humid conditions, she was willing to spend an hour posing on Kiawah’s beach in her naturally thick coat because her beloved human and I asked it of her. What is that phrase “no greater love”?  Interestingly, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic confirmed a long-suspected fact that dog owners are more likely to have better heart health – perhaps that explains why the U.S. celebrated International Dog Day this past week.

black cat

PRETTY KITTY

“Once a cat loves you, it loves you till the end.”

Will Advise

On the other hand, in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey the most popular pet is a cat. In my experience (and prevailing opinion), most of us are dog OR cat people but not usually both . To me, cats have always seemed a bit more aloof, except to the (typically) ONE person with whom they choose to bond. They do not come when called, do not do tricks on demand, and only eat when they are darned good and ready – not before. I suppose that simply means they are the smarter of the two species – just sayin’ 😊.

alpaca

BAD HAIR DAY

“Our pets are our family.”

Ana Monnar

Dogs and cats may be the most obvious subjects for today’s challenge, but there are a number of other, less predictable choices. Exhibit A – the alpaca above. The beloved pet of a family in upstate New York, he (or she) loves to trot down to the front-yard fence to greet passers-by. One wonders whether the family invites her to sit by the fire on a cold winter’s evening as one might a dog or cat – or if there is a cozy alpaca bed available at a pet supply store near you!

two-tone horse

PAINTED PONY

“We could all learn a thing or two from our four legged friends.”

Howard Upton

Another less-than-obvious choice might be an equine companion. Just ask Anne Leueen at Horse addict about her faithful steed Biasini. Horse and rider often times know each other as well as can be imagined, working together in a dance of stunning coordination. Love and trust between them is a critical component of their performance.

HUMMINGBIRD AND FLOWER

COLORFUL COMBO

“Pets understand humans better than humans do.”

Ruchi Prabhu

Many people have birds as pets – both large and small. Although you may not think of a hummingbird as a pet in the traditional sense, having spent several days at my brother’s home in Colorado I now have a new appreciation for these small creatures. He and his wife keep their feeder well-supplied and out of reach of other wildlife. The hummingbirds are on a constant journey back and forth between their nests and the feeder, lining up patiently for their turn. Happily I was able to capture the little beauty above snacking on an iris in an area near his home before it headed out on its winter migration – which can include up to 2000 km (1200 miles) without a break.

asian woman with ox on a leash

ODD CHOICE

“Love is love, whether it goes on two legs or four.”

Gwen Cooper

You must admit that a woman holding an ox on a leash is not something you see every day. This scene greeted me one afternoon during a visit to a very remote area of China. Do you suppose if the ox decided to take off, the thin rope the woman is holding would serve its purpose? I’m guessing probably not. I’m also guessing this will be the only “ox as pet” photo we’ll see in this week’s challenge responses.

golden retriever, aging

HALLIE – YOUNG AT HEART

“Our pets are the kids who never leave home.”

Nick Trout

I’ve closed today’s post with an image of Hallie, a beautiful Retriever with a heart of gold. She sweetly led me through the colorful marshes as her mistress and I searched for (and found) stunning vistas and roseate spoonbills on nearby Seabrook Island. Her white muzzle may indicate advancing age, but in her heart she’s still a puppy. Isn’t that one of the many things we might learn from our pets – to be forever young at heart? That along with giving love unquestioningly and enjoying the simple things – a master class in living life to the fullest. 

Patti, Ann Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing your take on pets, both expected and surprising, in your responses this week – extra credit for any images that make us smile or better yet, laugh out loud 😀. Be sure to link to this post (IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure to link to the original post, Links posted within the Reader are not working correctly) and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. For instructions on how to join us, click here– and of course be sure to visit Patti’s Pilotfish blog next week for Challenge #62.

Last week you responded to Amy’s FRAMING challenge with some terrific examples.

Have you seen these?

Beth of Wandering Dawgs showed us how landscapes can be framed in multiple ways

Debbie Whittam showed us a creatively humorous framing of a sweet little pet

Abrie of Abrie dink hardop (Abrie thinking out loud) shows us how South Africans are framing their famous Table Mountain

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #60 – Framing the Shot

” A photographer needs rectangular eyeballs and horse blinders to frame and focus the vision of what is seen.”

Roy Stryker

MOUNTAINS, HILLS, FLOWERS, RED AND ORANGE, COLORADO, ARROWHEAD

NATURE’S BOUNTY, LITTLETON, COLORADO

In this week’s challenge, Amy asks us to illustrate the concept of “framing the shot“. I believe Mr. Stryker hit the nail on the head with his quote above. A photographer views a scene in 3D and decides which pieces of it will best illustrate his or her vision when translated into a two-dimensional image. My choice in the opening scene was to use the colorful flowers to draw the viewer into the dramatic rocks of Littleton, Colorado.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, CLOUDS, MOUNTAINS, MONTANA

ABOVE THE CLOUDS, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA

“A still photograph is simply an isolated frame taken out of the infinite cinema.”

Hollis Frampton

For the last two weeks my husband and I were traveling in the Western US, leaving behind Kiawah’s summer heat and humidity. We thoroughly enjoyed the cool, dry temps of Montana and Colorado as well as the company of good friends and family. During our visit we spent a day sightseeing and photographing the glorious mountain scenery of Glacier National Park, shown above and below. Traveling up through the thick fog, we worried that the day might be a total loss – only to find ourselves completely enchanted by the gorgeous views as we rose above the clouds on the Going To The Sun Road.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA, CLOUDS, FLOWERS, MOUNTAINS

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA

“Deciding on a composition when framing a scene is an exercise in subtraction.”

Pete Bridgwood

The vistas are so incredibly vast throughout the park, it’s up to the photographer to narrow his or her focus when composing an image.  The interplay of shadows and light, the colorful flowers versus the severe grey of granite, and the puffy, light texture of the clouds all worked together to frame the scene above just as I’d envisioned it.

GLACIER, FIR TREES, MOUNTAINS, MONTANA, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

NATURE’S FINEST, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA

“One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on.  It’s on all the time.”

Annie Liebovitz

Amy mentions foliage as one of the ways photographers frame their images. The capture above is framed not only by the beautiful fir trees but also by the intersecting lines of the mountains which highlight the glacier that anchors the shot. According to Wikipedia, there were 150 glaciers in the park circa 1850. Today only 25 remain. We know that the internet can sometimes deliver inaccurate information but sadly scientists have confirmed the disappearance of glaciers worldwide. We can only hope that our belated efforts to address global warming will impact the speed with which they are melting away.

SUNSET, WHITEFISH LAKE, MONTANA, BOATS, ROCKS

FIRE IN THE SKY, WHITEFISH LAKE, MONTANA

“The magic possibility of framing a certain space and time is what brought me to photography.”

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

Our time in the west included more than mountain scenery, as shown in the image above. We enjoyed amazing sunsets as well as the many lakes and streams created by nature’s whims throughout the area. Our best efforts to spend some time boating on the lakes was thwarted by the threat of incoming storms several times, but the storms only enhanced the scenery as we sat lakeside enjoying delicious libations and interesting conversations with good friends.

BIRD, plants, flowers, balance

BIRD IN BALANCE, LITTLETON, COLORADO

“You have to decide what to keep in the frame and what to leave out.”

Richie Norton

Finally, a photographer can choose to frame a grand vista, or perhaps focus on something much less imposing but equally beautiful. I was drawn to the little yellow bird above because of the way it was perched on the color-coordinated sunflowers. To me it was irrelevant that the small scene was actually part of a much larger landscape.

One my favorite aspects of photography is the ability to choose the context that best suits one’s intention. My sincere thanks to Amy for giving us a challenge that draws attention to the importance of that concept. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses, and greatly appreciate your continued support. Remember to use the Len-Artists tag to help us find you. Stay tuned next week as we bring you challenge #61 here on Travels and Trifles.  

New to Lens-Artists? For more information on how to participate click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #59 – Angles

“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.”

Allen Klein

lamp, angles

SHINE A LIGHT

This week we’re looking at angles – both the geometric ones (such as in the light fixture above) and as the perspective from which you see something. Not gonna lie – Ann-Christine threw me for a loop with this one!

ceiling with many angles

LOOKING UP

“Perseverance and perspective until victory.”

Lincoln Diaz-Balarty

I had to look high and low (literally and figuratively) for images that fit the challenge. Both the light fixture in my opening image and the ceiling in the image above seemed to me to include as many angles as one might ever want. Both were found by the simple act of looking up.

CRUSADER CROSS

CRUSADER CROSS

“The challenge of art is always searching for something different; a new perspective.”

Lucovico Einaudi

On the other hand, I spotted the image above by looking down. I liked the angles in the cross as well as those created by the cracks in the pavement. Much as in life, different perspectives allow us to see things differently – perhaps giving us a better understanding of others’ views of the world.

gold, star, circle

SHINING STAR

“Let us pause, change perspective and see things more clearly.”

Sergio da Silva

I’ll close with an image of a golden star – which has both large and small angles set within its circular form. Perhaps the idea of our looking at a situation from every angle would help to make the world a better place. What do you think?

Thanks to Ann-Christine for pushing me to really give some thought to her challenge and its multiple meanings. We’re looking forward to seeing your interpretations as well.  Be sure to tag them Lens-Artists to appear in our WP Reader section, and stay tuned as Amy presents next week’s challenge on her Share and Connect post. Not sure how to tag? Here are some helpful instructions from our friends at WordPress: Why Tag?  and  Tag Instructions

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #58 – Something Old, Something New…..

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”

Thomas Jefferson

OLD BICYCLE AND DOORWAY, RED-STRIPED SEAT

OLD, NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE

This week Patti’s challenge comes from a popular saying that originated in Victorian England which was said to bring good luck to a bride on her wedding day. Try as I might to find a single image that combined all of the items in the wish (old, new, borrowed and blue), the closest I came was in my opening image above. Captured during our visit to China several years ago, it includes a very old wall, a blue bicycle, a snazzy new red-striped seat and I’m going to suggest its owner probably borrowed the yellow bucket behind it 😊.

OLD MAN, OLD BENCH, CHINA, STRAW HAT

RESTFUL MOMENT

“Luck has a way of evaporating when you lean on it.”

Brandon Mull

The Chinese are great believers in luck, and since I opened with a capture from our visit there I’ve chosen to stick with that journey for this week’s post . There was no shortage of things “old”, including the gentleman above, seated on an old bench in front of an old wall with it’s beautiful decorative window. 

blue sky, puffy clouds, reflections in water

OLD, NEW AND BLUE – SHANGRI LA

“I think we consider too much the luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The blue of the sky and water, as well as the old age of the buildings above are obvious. But where is the new?  Interestingly in Napa Lake near Shangri La,  each year a totally dry valley lush with greenery is home to grazing animals and rare migratory birds. As the snow in the 3 surrounding mountains begins to melt, the area fills in to create a massive (over 250 square miles) lake. The buildings are designed by farmers to house their livestock during the dry season.  So actually, both the lake and the water are brand new – literally not there at all a week before our visit. 

boy, plaid shirt, sunflower seeds

BORROWED SEAT

“Beware what you wish for, unless you have the grace to hope that your luck can be shared.”

Christopher Hitchens

I remember being struck by the scene in the image above. The combination of the giant sunflower heads, the little boy in his blue plaid shirt, (having of course borrowed a seat in the big rattan bowl), was a photographer’s dream. How nice that it also fit this week’s challenge.

two friends, sharing, blue umbrella

BORROWED AND BLUE

“Good luck and bad luck are strands of the same rope.”

Sakura Tsukuba

Speaking of borrowed, I’m suggesting that one of the women in the image above has borrowed a space under her friend’s/sister’s umbrella to avoid the light rain that was falling. Both have taken a moment to study the details of the vista below. Their blue sailor jackets and the blue umbrella were a bonus on this one.

modern skyline, shanghai

BRAVE NEW WORLD SHANGHAI

“Luck is for those with nothing else. I wish you strength and courage.”

Annette Marie

Finally, one of our biggest surprises – the ultra-modern skyline of Shanghai. The city is quite a dichotomy. The most populous city in the world, it is filled with beautiful old neighborhoods, areas of very heavy French influence, 157 city parks including a gorgeous botanical garden, and of course the newest area – Pudong. Developed in the 1990s, the Lujaizui financial district pictured above reminded me of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. Despite its reputation for pollution and smog, we were blessed with beautiful clear skies for the nearly four weeks of our China visit.

Thanks to Patti for the opportunity to revisit some very fond memories of our China travels. Hers was one of the more difficult challenges for me, pushing me to search my archives for an appropriate response. I’m especially looking forward to your responses this week as you share your own creative takes on the subject! Remember to TAG them to help us find you, and to check out Ann-Christine’s Leya post next week for our next challenge. Until then, wishing everyone a terrific week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #57 – Taking A Break

“The wise rest at least as hard as they work.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

2 hikers viewing a river

ON THE ROCKS

Here in the U.S. we are in the heart of summer, which for many of us means it’s time to take a break and relax. Children are out of school and many families are in the midst of their hard-earned vacations, or at least a relaxing stay-cation. So let’s follow their lead and respond to this week’s challenge by showing how we and/or others “Take A Break”.

KIAWAH BEACH WALKER

KIAWAH BEACH WALKER

“To be at rest is to be at peace.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

For many of us, summer vacation means a visit to the beach – beautifully illustrated last week by your responses to our seascapes/lakeshores challenge. Although that can sometimes mean fighting crowds, on Kiawah’s 10-mile beach (above) there is ample opportunity for a quiet moment of contemplation whatever the season.

couple on a bench at the ocean

BENCHED

“The first step towards true enlightenment is to lighten up on yourself.”

Bashar

There are so many ways to relax – obviously the beach is one of them. However, not every beach moment requires a chair and an umbrella 😊. In the image above, a young couple enjoys an impromptu picnic while watching the waves along the rocky Oregon coast.

Adiirondak chairs at lagoon

HAVE A SEAT

“Stop…unplug…escape…enjoy.”

Fennel Hudson

Living in a beach community doesn’t necessarily mean spending all of one’s time by the sea. The scene above is actually part of our backyard. My husband and I often relax on our back deck and watch the birds working to capture their next meal.

3-masted schooner at sea

UNDER SAIL

“Rest and repose are as much a part of life’s journeys as seeing all we came to see.”

Gina Greenlee

Nearby Charleston, SC has become a very popular vacation destination thanks to its many travel awards. In the image above, a three-masted schooner carries a number of tourists on their journey to visit Fort Sumter National Park, home of the first battle of the American Civil War. The fort is pictured off to the left of the boat.

CENTRAL PARK BOATING

CENTRAL PARK BREAK

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”

Patti Digh

City dwellers also find creative ways to take a break. Boating on one of New York City’s Central Park waterways is a great way to relax during summer in the city. Most large cities have wonderful parks, perfect for enjoying a picnic, a swim, a bike ride or a simple walk in the woods.

Artist painting trees

ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR

“In the lap of nature we always feel relaxed.”

Uruj Shahid

Not a fan of athletically-oriented activities? How about picking up a paintbrush (or a camera 🙂!) and relaxing by capturing nature’s beauty? Don’t paint? How about listening to music or reading a good book? Meditation and yoga are both suggested as ways to slow down your heartbeat and improve your well-being. Any or all of those things can feed the soul and renew the spirit.

How many ways can you think of for getting away from the daily grind and finding peace? Show us your views on “taking a break” – Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Be sure to link your post here, and to TAG it Lens-Artists to appear in our WP Reader section.

Last week we asked you to share some of your favorite seascapes and lakeshores – see Amy’s original post here . Of course you responded with some wonderfully varied and beautiful scenery. 

Have you seen these?

In her post here, Nurul shares an image of the lighthouse in Kadikoy, Turkey 

Gracy shared images of Italy’s seascapes in her first Lens-Artists response here – welcome Gracy!

Viveka shares some of her many voyages around the world in her post here.

Alexandria of Simply Sage shares her love of the sea here.

 

Be sure to join us next week for Challenge #58 on Patti’s Pilotfish blog . If you’re new to Lens-Artists and would like to join us, click here for everything you need to know 😊.

Lens-Artists Challenge #56, Seascapes

“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”

Kate Chopin

beach umbrella under clouds

PERFECTLY PLACED

This week’s challenge, Seascapes, comes at an opportune time for me. My husband and I have just returned from our annual family reunion in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Those of us in the eastern US were suffering through a serious heat wave (although I think Europe’s current wave is a bit worse) and the beach was one of the more tolerable places to be. In the image above, a small family stayed behind to watch the clouds close in as most everyone else had left for the day.

beach crowded with umbrellas

BUSY DAY AT THE BEACH

“When life gives you happiness deficiency try adding Vitamin SEA to your travels.”

Aakash Nand

My opening image notwithstanding, the beach was as crowded as any I’ve ever seen. I was only able to shoot part of the scene, but the beach umbrellas were 5 or 6 deep and literally touching each other as far as the eye could see. The sun was simply too hot even for beachgoers, and many more people ventured into the water than usual.

lighthouse on Maine coast

SHINE A LIGHT

“The serenity of the lulling ocean is a wondrous thing to behold”

Oksana Rus

Earlier this summer we attended a family wedding in Bar Harbor, Maine. There the coastline is extremely rocky, necessitating lighthouses such as the one above. 

Fog over Bar Harbon

THROUGH THE CLOUDS

“The ocean mist engulfs me, like a lifetime’s friendship honored.”

Sanober Khan

A dense fog enveloped us early one morning as cool air met summer’s warmth across the harbor. I loved the depth of color as green met blue from our window high above.

KIAWAH SUNSET

SUNSET, KIAWAH ISLAND

“I am drawn to the ocean; I find solace in its mystery.”

Joe Dunthorne

Meanwhile, back home on Kiawah the sunsets deliver far different color. It’s amazing really that despite all of today’s images having come from the Atlantic Ocean and the east coast of the US, they could not be more different – each place having a beauty all its own.

STORMY SKY, KIAWAH ISLAND

STORM COMING, KIAWAH ISLAND

“I will find comfort in the rhythm of the sea.”

Charlotte Eriksson

Sunny or stormy, morning or evening, high or low tide, rough or calm – the sea is ever-changing. It’s power is immense, its beauty unrivaled. It can calm the darkest of moods and bring peace to the most injured of hearts. Painters paint it, photographers shoot it, poets praise it. Adventurers have challenged it and sailors have joyfully ridden the wind on its waves.

PHOTOGRAPHER, KIAWAH ISLAND

GETTING THE SHOT, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Surely the sea must somehow belong to the happiness of every child.”

Iris Murdoch

Covering over 70% of our earth, the sea significantly influences our climate and the quality of our air. It is the source of half of the world’s oxygen and much of the world’s food. Let us remember to treat it with respect as we work to undo the damage we humans have done these past decades.

Many thanks to Amy for the opportunity to explore the magic of the sea. Click here to see her original challenge, and remember to tag your post Lens-Artists to help us all find you. Last but not least, remember to check back right here at Travels and Trifles next week for Challenge #57.

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #55 – DREAMY

“When dreams come true creativity becomes art.”

Martin Schuster

abstract branch photo

BRANCHING OUT

This week Ann-Christine has challenged us to portray things “dreamy”. As one who occasionally enjoys turning photographs into more abstract art, I’ve edited this week’s images using tools from Adobe’s Photoshop and Topaz Impressions. To me, the more impressionist versions create rather a dreamy portrayal of the original captures. I’ve opened with a simple cluster of branches made softer in their impressionist form.

abstract woodstock on branch

OUT ON A LIMB

“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.”

Janos Arnay

Above we see an endangered woodstork surveying the landscape as puffy clouds fill the sky. I remember exactly the moment I captured the scene, which was later used as the cover shot for a local magazine. It is fairly rare to find a lone woodstork, as these birds are typically found in communal groups. One of the things I find most interesting about them is that they are incredibly beautiful and graceful in flight as they soar silently overhead. Unfortunately, up close they are somewhat less attractive – except perhaps to another stork 😊.

egrets surrounding sweetgrass

LIGHT ON THE GRASSES

“Always dream high.”

Md. Mujib Ullah

I’ve used an unedited version of the image above in a previous post, but thought it would also make an interesting dream-like scene. Here the birds are merely a suggestion of themselves, as is the colorful pink sweetgrass. It was a moment that followed a hard rain and the birds were taking full advantage of the creatures on which they feed. Coincidentally, I was also taking full advantage – of their focus on things other than yours truly 😊.

DREAMY SUNSET

DREAMY SUNSET

“Some people dream of success, others stay awake to achieve it.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour

This week’s final image is an edited moment just after sunset on the marsh here on Kiawah. We are blessed with some amazing colors throughout the year because of the seasonal nature of the marsh. My favorite season is spring, when the grasses are a bright shade of verdant green. During the summer months the green remains but is a softer, more subdued version of itself. In the autumn the marsh begins to turn a warm, golden color with borders of beautiful pink sweetgrass. Finally, during the winter we have a more subtle beige as grasses die out and new reeds begin to push out the old. Sunsets and sunrises offer deep, rich hues as they reflect upon the waters, colored by the grasses. Mother Nature’s palette offers variety which, try as we might, few artists can match.

We hope you’ll join us for Ann-Christine’s dreamy challenge – we look forward to seeing your responses. Remember to tag them Lens-Artists, and be sure to check with us next week when Amy offers our next opportunity. Until then, wishing everyone a wonderful week. I’ll be visiting with family this week – my apologies in advance if it takes a bit longer for me to respond to your comments. 

 

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Lens-Artists Challenge #54 – Detail

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd

DANCING EGRET

DANCING EGRET

With sincere thanks to those who helped us to close out the first year of the Lens-Artists challenge with such terrific, thoughtful and much-appreciated congratulatory posts, we’re ready to move forward with Year Two. For our opening challenge, Patti has chosen Detail as our subject. Those who follow me know I’m enamored with the amazing birdlife here on our barrier island. As such I’ve decided to focus on some of the details of these beautiful creatures, especially the enchanting Great Egrets. In my opening image I’ve featured one of these graceful birds seemingly ballet dancing on top of the water. I loved the way the tiptoe balance illustrated such amazing grace.

Egret with wings spread

SPREADING HER WINGS

“If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.”

Kyo Maclear

Above, I’ve captured an egret at water’s edge as he/she demonstrates a wing maneuver to balance a landing. I find the egrets continually on the move – flying, fishing, feeding chicks, building nests or protecting territory. One need only sit quietly on the edge of any of our many lagoons and before long there will be an egret or heron landing nearby.

egret landin in bushes

TOUCHDOWN

“What joy compares with that of a bird that has just learned she can fly?”

Marty Rubin

In addition to their forays for food in the lagoons, large flocks of our egrets are often seen in and around the plentiful greenery throughout the island. There are two important details in the image above. Both the bright green surrounding the bird’s eye and the long feathers around the tail tell us that this is a bird in breeding plumage, probably looking to attract a mate. Interestingly, outside of their breeding season, many male birds are sterile.

SNOWY EGRET

STRIKING A POSE

“I want to paint the way a bird sings.”

Claude Monet

Finally, an image of a Snowy Egret – similar to the Great Egret but a bit smaller. More importantly, this bird is distinguished by its bright yellow eyes and feet. In the image above, the detail I loved was the bit of feather on the beak. Clearly he’s been preening to make himself more attractive to the females in the area (OK I made that up but it COULD be true!).

To our participants; we are most grateful for your support and encouragement, and look forward to another year of challenges. Be sure to check out Patti’s DETAIL challenge this week, and to stay tuned for our next challenge at Ann-Christine’s Leya blog. Finally, to help us all find you, please TAG your post with our Lens-Artists tag, and if you’re looking for information on how to join us, click here .