A Quest for Harmony – Weekly Photo Challenge

“It’s not the quest of finding who is right or wrong… it’s about what do you really stand for”

Shivangi Lavaniya

SLAVE CABIN

SLAVE CABIN

This week the venerable Smithsonian Institute opened its National Museum of African American History and Culture.  A slave cabin from South Carolina, similar to the one I captured in the photo above, was dissembled and reassembled piece by piece.  At its opening, the museum was dedicated by our country’s first black president. Whether you are an Obama fan or not, the significance of the moment should not be lost on anyone.

Despite tremendous progress, it is a troubled time in our history. Battle lines are drawn and judgements being made.   Protests erupt and the media fans the flames.  Everyone has an opinion shaped by personal experience which oftentimes varies exponentially from their neighbor’s.   FDR’s famous inaugural speech seems particularly pertinent to our present situation. …let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” 

It is time we addressed the roots of our fear. The simple truth is that most of us want one set of rules imposed equally upon all. Most of us want fairness in our system of justice as issues are explored and resolved. Most of us want bigots to be silenced and incendiary rabble-rousers to go away.  Most of us want less speculation by the media and more emphasis on objective reporting. Most of us want our energies focused on fighting common enemies rather than each other.

Sadly, the fears of many are not unjustified, but most of us believe they can be addressed and overcome with understanding and a focus on change.  There will always be some number of bad citizens, bad cops and bad judgement in the line of fire. But most of us are inherently good. Personally, I choose to believe that the goodness of the majority will rule. I choose to believe that our advances will eventually take us to a harmony that is not yet beyond our reach. What about you? What do YOU really stand for?

Edgy Wall Art – Weekly Photo Challenge

“If you aren’t living on the edge you’re taking up too much room.”

Pamela Eglinski

JUMP ON THE CHANGE TRAIN

JUMP ON THE CHANGE TRAIN

This week Ben invited us to share examples of photos that illustrate an “edge” or an interesting point of view. I chose the photo above, which I captured during our recent trip to Asheville NC, because I loved the perspective that combined the message of the graffiti and the concept of people on the train moving through it. (And trust me, I had to wait quite a while for that train to come by!) The wall art in this example was quite tame compared to some of the “edgier” examples nearby. Beyond a strict interpretation to his edge challenge in the opening capture, I’ve chosen to include wall art that illustrates “on the edge” in an entirely different way.

THE BIRDMAN

THE BIRDMAN

“We all have an edge. We all are floating our psyche on top with a great ocean underneath.”

Brad Dourif

I was amazed at the number of clever examples of wall art within a small section of Asheville known as The River Arts District. The example above was one of the most interesting, inviting the viewer to interpret the meaning of the artist’s message. In addition to outdoor examples like this one and that of the bicyclist below, the area is filled with talented artisans of all kinds – photography, painting, pottery, jewelry, glass blowing and much more. The artists open their  workshops to visitors, and many of their creations are available for purchase.

THE BIKER

THE CYCLIST

“A photographer can sit at the edge of paradise and may only see unframeable beauty.”

Ryan Learoyd

There were so many examples of “edgy” art it’s difficult to choose from those I captured that day. I was a bit like a kid in a candy store shooting to my heart’s content. I found myself wondering about the various graffiti artists and how they would feel to know how much I (and I’m sure many others) admired their creativity.

MARS AND VENUS

MARS AND VENUS

“It’s hard learning to live with vivid mental images of scenes I cared for and failed to photograph. It is the edgy existence within me of the unmade images that is the only assurance that the best photographs are yet to be made.”

Sam Abell

The captures above and below were two of my favorites. “Mars and Venus” seemed to take a serious look at what goes on in the minds of people with different perspectives, while the artist of “Three Ladies”  took a slightly more sardonic approach to the world and its inhabitants 😊.

THREE LADIES

THREE LADIES

“When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere.”

D.H. Lawrence

Most of the art is located in a small area off the beaten path filled with abandoned warehouses and surrounded by dirt, gravel and sometimes a bit of broken glass. It is not immediately visible to the those passing by on their way to the Arts District, but to those of us on the lookout for something interesting or unusual, it’s well worth a stop or a side trip. If you’re ever in town, be sure to check it out.  Wishing everyone a great week.

NATURE’S MIRROR – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Ugly is the man who judges harshly what he sees looking out, Without first judging what he sees in the mirror.”

Suzie Kassem

PALMETTO REFLECTIONS

PALMETTO REFLECTIONS

For the past week or two I have been transitioning from a very old Mac to a spanking new one and from long-time use of Apple’s Aperture software to Adobe’s Photoshop and Light/Room. I won’t bore you with the details but there were definitely some bumps in the technology road. Always one to try to make lemonade out of lemons though, I found some captures I’d made several months back that I’d never imported, so they became my test shots. Happily, the shot above fit nicely into this week’s challenge, Mirror (thanks for that Jen!). It took me a moment to realize that the trees were actually reflections mirrored in the lagoon beneath.

DAYBREAK ON THE MARSH

DAYBREAK ON THE MARSH

“Only by glaring into the depths of ones own reflection can we find our true selves.”

Paul Morabito

Now I know I’ve often commented that early morning is NOT my favorite time of day. For these images however, I was indeed out and about at dawn. A good friend, who is a wonderful artist, asked me to join her for some captures of the marsh in the hopes that she would find some beautiful scenery for plein air painting at a later date. I’m happy to report the scenery was glorious as we ventured out to the very eastern end of our little island.

SYMBIOTIC

SYMBIOTIC

“Sometimes the heart of a weary soul needs a simple moment of love and light shined upon it, or reflected back to it.”

Molly Friedenfeld

Interestingly, the thing I found most compelling the morning of our outing was the commanding presence of the magnificent trees. Yes, the vista overlooking the marsh, which to me calls to mind the wide-open savannas of Africa, was wonderful. Somehow though, I was more drawn to the majesty of the beautiful coastal forest along its border.

HOLDING THE SUN

HOLDING THE SUN

“Life is like facing two mirrors at each other: there is no beginning, there is no end. Just the beauty within the reflected infinity”

Michael Biondi

Sometimes the coincidences in life are quite amazing. I had decided if possible to use the captures I’d made of the trees in this week’s blog when my “Tip of the Week” came in from Outdoor Photographer magazine. Yep, you guessed it, “Take Better Tree Photos“.  Of course, it was too late for me to heed any of the article’s advice this time around, but there were some interesting ideas in the article to which I’ve linked for anyone who is interested.

CROOKED TREE

CROOKED TREE

“Nature sometimes contrives to disconcert by reflecting the image of our creation.”

Sergio da Silva

Of course, one of the ever-present suggestions in the OP article was to shoot in the early morning or late evening when the light is best. Personally, I’m much more likely to be found shooting sunset than sunrise, but I must admit that nature’s colors at first-blush are about as good as it gets. There is nothing quite like the warm glow of the golden grasses as the first rays of the sun gently kiss them with light.

SWINGING TREE

SWINGING TREE AND SWEETGRASS

“The hardest thing of all, is just standing in front of a mirror and not recognizing the reflection.”

Klaudio Marashi

The captures for this week’s post were all made on a single morning this past fall (hence the purple sweetgrass in the capture above), although I’d not seen them since I shot them. Finding them on a card I’d filed away was like getting an unexpected gift; perhaps a fair exchange for the time spent setting up my new system, developing a new file methodology, and using new tools to edit my work. Now if my husband will forgive me for the time I’ve spent ignoring him while working on the new system, I’ll be home free 😀.

NOTE: For those who kindly checked in to see how we fared during this week’s Storm Hermine, thank you. We experienced some heavy wind and rain but no major damage, and the reward for having had the storm is a gloriously beautiful holiday weekend with lots of sun and no humidity. I’m off to enjoy as much of it as possible 😊.

Durham NC – A Tobacco Town: Weekly Photo Challenge FRAME

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

Roy Stryker

TOBACCO TOWN

TOBACCO TOWN

One of our many stops this summer as we made our way north toward Asheville, NC was an overnight in Durham, NC. We decided to explore a bit and were rewarded with a very interesting visit to their revitalized Tobacco District. The capture above gives a glimpse of what awaits you reflected in the mirrored doors of the American Tobacco Institute. While tobacco is certainly nothing to glorify, when framed (pun intended) within the history of a tobacco-centric town like Durham it becomes a very interesting and entertaining walk through an amazing national change in perspective.

15 CENT LUNCH

15 CENT LUNCH

“To photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude.”

Susan Sontag

Anyone over the age of 30 can certainly recall billboards, movies, TV shows and magazine articles with glamorous scenes of people smoking. Once the downsides of tobacco were identified and promoted, the glamour disappeared and the dangers to smokers’ health, and that of those around them became a much more prevalent subject. The surgeon general drove a move to put warnings on tobacco products and the decline in numbers of smokers was dramatic.

HIPPO SIZE

HIPPO SIZE

“A photographer can sit at the edge of paradise and may only see unframable beauty.”

Ryan Learoyd

One of the negative effects of this massive shift in public perception was the decline of towns where tobacco had been king. Durham, NC was definitely one of those places. The once-profitable town became a dreary has-been of a place as factories closed and jobs became scarce.  Rather than accept their fate and continue to decline, Durham has become a benchmark for creative revitalization. The centerpiece of the effort is the metamorphosis of the factory district into the American Tobacco Complex, a downtown extension of the American Tobacco Trail.

ROLL YOUR OWN

ROLL YOUR OWN

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

Hollis Frampton

Durham has made the most of this iconic period of American history. The centerpieces of the area are the old Lucky Strike smokestack and water tower, but they are now surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, playful statues, plaques describing history, a restored train, and most importantly, locals and tourists enjoying a wonderful environment. Nearby, creative restauranteurs are delivering delicious food and once-decaying buildings have been restored as lovely condos and apartments. Healthy products from the worldwide headquarters of iconic Burts Bees completes the scene.

LUCKY STRIKE

LUCKY STRIKE

One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.
Annie Leibovitz
Cudos to the city of Durham for turning lemons into lemonade. In my mind the town has given us all a lesson on facing seemingly insurmountable odds and overcoming challenges.  If you’re ever in the area make a point of visiting Durham – you won’t be disappointed!

Rare Sightings in Nature: Weekly Photo Challenge

At the critical moment it is the rare few who can do what needs to be done.”

Icarus

COLORFUL CRAWLER

COLORFUL CRAWLER

This week my husband and I returned to Kiawah after our summer adventures.  As always, it was great to travel and just as great to get home! Soon after our return my neighbor called to invite me to photograph the gorgeously-colored monarch caterpillars (technically called larvae) which had taken up residence on her parsley plant. These little creatures are true eating machines, bulking up in preparation for their time in their chrysalis stage.  Sadly, monarch sightings are becoming more rare every year. Scientists have noted their numbers have dropped 10-fold in the last decade.

SINISTER SMILE

SINISTER SMILE

“They’re so rare, those hearts that carry the blessing and lavish it over everything.”

Rumi

We all know the American Alligator is NOT rare. However, it is (happily) rare to find one in your backyard. Yep, this guy was sitting in our back yard earlier this morning. Perhaps he just came by to welcome us home. 😀 And yes, I was using a 200mm zoom lens to capture him. Our local gators do not typically attack humans but I see no reason to test that theory!

BIG BEAVER

BIG BEAVER

“Everybody talks, nobody listens. Good listeners are as rare as white crows.”

Helen Keller

Kiawah is known to have otters but as far as I know we do NOT have beavers. I captured this guy in our travels when I should have been paying more attention to my golf game. Combining photography with golf isn’t particularly good for scoring but it does add a different element of interest to the sport.  As for rarity, the beaver is another species on the decline, with numbers estimated to have dropped from 60 million to less than 12 million. Especially in my neck of the woods, beavers are a rare sighting indeed.

Have a great week everyone, and as always, thanks to Ben for his interesting challenge.

 

 

Victoria Harbor Fun

“There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.”

Andrew Jackson

TUBBY TAXI

TUBBY TAXI

On my 30th birthday my younger brother sent me a card.  Inside he wrote “Happy Birthday.  Don’t ever grow all the way up.”   Many years later I can still see that card as if it were yesterday.  I’m sure by now he’s long forgotten his message but it has stuck with me longer than I care to admit.

HARBOR FERRY

HARBOR FERRY

“Never get so old that you forget about having fun.”  

Tom Giaquinto

Sometimes as grown-ups fun means forgetting how silly we look and just enjoying the ride – as we did in the Victoria Harbor Taxis above. It means focusing on the thrill rather than the danger – like not worrying about whether the rusty joints of the un-inspected harness will hold as you parasail high over the ocean on an island vacation.  Or giving in to the turning of your stomach as the helicopter pilot decides to give you a nosedive thrill landing on a remote glacier.

JUJU AND VIRGO

JUJU AND VIRGO

“Have fun, even if it’s not the same kind of fun everyone else is having.”

C.S. Lewis

My husband is a master of having fun. Although he has a serious side, he lives his life with an amazing sense of joie-de-vivre. Perhaps that’s why everyone says he’s so young for his age. Truth be told, a great many of the fun things I’ve done in my life have been a direct result of his urging. He is always pushing for us to go, to do, to explore, to have the next adventure – and so we have 😄

SHIPYARD

SHIPYARD

“The purpose of water is to drink it but we swim in it for the fun of it.”

S.A. Tawks

As we wind down this summer’s adventure, we’ve added some wonderful memories to our list. One very special one was our day with the orcas in Victoria which I posted about earlier this month. Before and after that experience, we enjoyed some fun activities in the harbor, highlighted above.  For now we’ll take a lesson from the happy harbor seals pictured below and relax a bit before summer ends and we wonder, as always, where it went!

FLOATING BLISS

FLOATING BLISS

So, back to my brother.  This year his daughter and her new husband quit their jobs, rescued a puppy, and are setting off on a rock-climbing adventure in their self-outfitted, refurbished camper. Sounds like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree doesn’t it?!

To see what everyone else is doing for fun, click here.

 

MORNING HAS BROKEN: Weekly Photo Challenge

Morning has broken, like the first morning”

MOUNTAIN MORNING

MOUNTAIN MORNING

“Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird”

BLACKBIRD HAS SPOKEN

BLACKBIRD HAS SPOKEN

“Praise for the singing, praise for the morning”

PRAISE FOR THE MORNING

PRAISE FOR THE MORNING

“Praise for the spinging fresh from the word.”

KIAWAH MORNING SPRINGING FRESH

KIAWAH MORNING SPRINGING FRESH

“Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven”

SWEET RAIN

SWEET RAIN

“Like the first dew fall on the first grass…..”

MORNING GRASSES

MORNING GRASSES

‘Praise with elation, praise every morning.”

GOLDEN SUNRISE

GOLDEN SUNRISE

“God’s recreation of the new day.”

LIKE THE FIRST DAY

LIKE THE FIRST DAY

NOTE: Although Cat Stevens made the Morning Has Broken lyrics famous in his 1971 song, the lyrics were originally written in 1931 as a Christian hymn by Eleanor Farjeon.

For this post I’ve included a number of images from previous posts as well as several that are included for the first time. With thanks to Cheri for her lovely challenge, I offer you all my best wishes for a week filled with the all that mornings have to offer.