Lens-Artists Challenge #29 – Cityscapes

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

Charles Baudelaire

GARDEN BRIDGE, SHANGHAI

GARDEN BRIDGE, SHANGHAI

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

SHANGHAI BY DAY

SHANGHAI BY DAY

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

Aristotle

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

SHANGHAI BY NIGHT

SHANGHAI BY NIGHT

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

Cate Blanchett

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

SHANGHAI PORT

SHANGHAI PORT

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

Simon Van Booy

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

THE BUND, SHANGHAI

ALONG THE BUND, SHANGHAI

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

Patrick Geddes

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

SUNSET, PUDONG, SHANGHAI

LAST LIGHT, PUDONG, SHANGHAI

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

Roman Payne

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

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

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Lens-Artists Challenge #28 – CURVES

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

Phyllis Diller

NATURAL CURVES

NATURAL CURVES, PETRA

2019 is now well under way, the holiday decorations are back in storage, and it’s time to think about some of the more common features of our everyday lives. This week, let’s pay some attention to curves  – in nature, in architecture, on our roads and in our lives … just about everywhere if you think about it.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

“In life as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.”

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

While my husband and I were exploring Israel and Jordan this fall, I was surprised at the prevalence of curves. I found myself shooting them everywhere – whether on purpose or coincidentally I’m not exactly sure.  As I was putting together this week’s curves challenge, the turning of the calendar page made me think about some of the curveballs life throws at us. How we deal with them can make all the difference in our view of the world and our place in it.

ALLEY CURVES, JAFFA

ALLEY CURVES, JAFFA

“My life is one long curve, full of turning points.”

Pierre Trudeau

Let’s face it, no one ever makes it through life without facing a curveball now and then. The dictionary defines it as something which is unexpected, surprising, or disruptive”. Life’s curveballs can be as serious as a sudden illness or the loss of a loved one, or as insignificant as an unexpected bill or a delayed flight. Think about the last few curveballs you’ve faced. Were they important or simply annoying? Was your reaction proportionate or did you end up more stressed than necessary? If you ask my husband he might tell you I have a bit of a tendency to take small matters more seriously than necessary. Just sayin’ 😊.

WINDOW CURVES

WINDOW CURVES

“Magic lives in curves.”

Mason Cooley

I’m not really into making New Years resolutions but I do think it’s a natural time to think about what’s good and right with our lives versus those things that could use improvement. For me, channeling my energy toward taking a more positive approach to life’s ups and downs is an effort worthy of attention.

 

CURVY TREE

CURVY TREE

“Those who think only in straight lines cannot see around a curve.”

Romina Russell

How about you; how are you dealing with life’s little curveballs? Think about it as you’re putting together your response to this week’s challenge – and remember to tune in next week for Lens-Artists Challenge #29 on Patti’s Pilotfish blog. We look forward to seeing your responses and as always, we remind you to use the Lens-Artists Tag so that we can all find you in the WP Reader.

 

Have You Seen These?

Last week Amy challenged us (here) to share some of our memorable travel moments.

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead!

 

Note: All images created with Fuji X-T2, edited via Adobe L/R and P/S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #27 – My Travels

“The world is full of beautiful places. Let your heart be one of them.”

Jenim Debie

AUSTRALIA'S "12" APOSTLES

AUSTRALIA’S GREAT OCEAN ROAD – THE NO-LONGER-12 APOSTLES

Those who follow me know I love my island home and its beautiful flora and fauna. But my husband and I also share a love of travel and adventure, and we are doing our best to see as much of this beautiful world as possible. Since our first major trip to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti in 2001 we have made an effort to do one major trip each year, and with a few exceptions have succeeded. With her challenge this week, Amy has given us a perfect opportunity to talk about some of our favorite travel adventures.

BEAUTIFUL BEAST, BOTSWANA

BEAUTIFUL BEAST, BOTSWANA

“Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.”

Kurt Vonnegut

We are often asked which has been our favorite journey. Although I’ve loved them all, for me our South Africa and Botswana safaris have always held the number one place. Seeing magnificent creatures in the wild, in their natural environment, is a life-changing experience. For a photographer, I am convinced there is nothing that compares. 

DUBROVNIK, CENTRAL EUROPE

RED ROOFS OF DUBROVNIK, CENTRAL EUROPE

“Travel teaches toleration.”

Benjamin Disraeli

To travel is to experience the incredible beauty of our world. The natural wonders of places like Patagonia in Chile and Argentina….

PATAGONIA, SOUTH AMERICA

TORRES DEL PAINE, PATAGONIA

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Or man-made splendors like China’s Great Wall …

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

CHINA’S GREAT WALL

“A wise man travels to discover himself.”

James Russell Lowell

or Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, 

ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA

DAWN, ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.”

Susan Sontag

leave one in jaw-dropping wonder at the world around us. 

THREE MONKS, SE ASIA

THREE MONKS, SE ASIA

Whenever you visit foreign lands or distant places, remember they are all someone’s home.”

Vera Nazarian

I firmly believe that travel expands the mind and opens the hearts of those who experience other cultures. While our ability to see the world has expanded significantly through online and modern-day media resources, there is nothing quite like viewing it first-hand. Interacting with our world’s other citizens helps us to better understand how very much we have in common.

GLACIER BAY, ALASKA

GLACIER BAY, ALASKA

“Every journey makes its own map across your heart.”

Sharon Sinn

Having visited many of the countries of Africa, North/South American, Australia/Oceania, and Europe, it was time this year to make our first trip to the Middle East.  Since several of my recent posts have included images from our journey to Israel and Jordan (as does today’s header), I’ve closed this week’s post with something a bit different. As fascinating as we may find other parts of the world, we should also remember that our own countries have much to offer as well. As an example, the image above is from an adventure several years ago in Alaska.  Glacier Bay is but one of the many incredible US National Parks. Bryce Canyon in Utah (below) is another. We count them and several others among our favorite trips. As always, there are more to be seen.

BRYCE CANYON VISTA, UTAH

HOODOOS, BRYCE CANYON, UTAH

“More than the destination, it is the journey that makes a traveller.”

Salma Farook

Long ago I was introduced to the idea that there was an amazing world beyond my own little corner of it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much of it I would one day see. Sincere thanks to Amy for her beautiful travel challenge which is posted here. I hope you’ll join me next week for Challenge #28. In the meanwhile I leave you with this thought from Akiane Kramarik:

“If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder never end.”

May 2019 be a year of adventure and wonder for us all.

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #26 – 2018 Photography Review

“Which of my photographs is my favorite?  The one I’m taking tomorrow.”

Imogen Cunningham

MARSH MAGIC

MARSH MAGIC

This week Ann-Christine has challenged us to sort through 2018’s images seeking personal favorites. It’s a daunting exercise akin to being asked which of your children is your favorite – does one not love them all equally?  Each represents a moment in time that for some reason spoke to heart of the photographer; perhaps in the hope that they would one day speak to those who view them.

ON THE WING

ON THE WING

“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.”

Unknown

I am ever-grateful to my father for sharing his love of nature, which has become a favorite subject for my lens.  At home on Kiawah we are surrounded by an amazing array of incredible offerings. Rich with beautiful vistas and wonderful wildlife, it is difficult to spend time here without developing an appreciation of Mother Nature’s bounty.

MAN AT WORK, CHARLESTON SC

MAN AT WORK, CHARLESTON SC

“Photography is simply a function of noticing things. Nothing more.”

Elliott Erwitt

I also enjoy capturing the quiet moments of everyday life. Nearby Charleston SC offers a never-ending opportunity to observe and shoot the little things we often overlook. Whether hard at work, such as the tiler above, or simply passing time like the woman below, somehow the lives of strangers create a strong pull for a photographer’s lens.

KNIT ONE PURL ONE

KNIT ONE PURL ONE

“The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”

Yousuf Karsh

While we can create wonderful images from our day-to-day lives, nothing awakens the senses more than the sights and sounds of travel.  As such, I’d like to close today’s post with some favorite images of Israel and Jordan from our visit this past fall.

DANCING FEET, TEL AVIV

DANCING OVERHEAD, TEL AVIV

“Photography is a love affair with life.”

Burk Uzzle

GELATERIA

TOO MANY CHOICES

“My favorite photographs speak eloquently, both about and to us.”

Matei Glass

LONELY TREE, WADI RUM, JORDAN

LONELY TREE, WADI RUM, JORDAN

“When I look through the lens of a camera I truly appreciate what’s right in front of me.”

Anthony T. Hincks

DAY'S END, PETRA, JORDAN

DAY’S END, PETRA, JORDAN

“Every photo tells a story but remember this, there was a story teller behind the lens.”

Sincere thanks to all of my followers for your on-going support, and a special thanks to my partners in the Lens-Artists Challenge – Patti, Amy, and Ann-Christine.  My best wishes for a peaceful 2019 filled with love, joy and gratitude.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #25 – Reflections

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 

Charles Dickens

LET THERE BE LIGHT

LET THERE BE LIGHT, NAZARETH, ISRAEL

This week Patti has given us a challenge that can be interpreted in two entirely different ways. The dictionary tells us that a reflection is either the “throwing back by a body or surface of light without absorbing it” or “serious thought or consideration”. (actually there is a third meaning related to mathematics but I’m going to simply ignore that 😀)

Each of my images this week illustrates the former – the throwing back of light. After all, what is more pleasing to a photographer than the play of light?! As for  “serious thought”  – what better time to reflect back on the year just ending as we prepare to move into the year to come?

LIGHT ON LIGHT ON LIGHT

LIGHT ON LIGHT ON LIGHT, ACRA, ISRAEL

“Reflect within yourself for that reflection is far better than what you see in the mirror.”

Gian Kumar

This year my husband and I were overwhelmed by the beauty, spirituality and history we experienced in Israel and Jordan. It’s a journey my husband had long listed at the top of his bucket list, but which had always landed in second place behind places like South Africa, China, Australia/New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Patagonia – you get the idea. Happily our very high expectations were met and exceeded by this remarkable area of the world.

I'VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW

I’VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Choose your friends carefully. They are a reflection of you.”

Jim George

While we have thoroughly enjoyed our journeys to every corner of the world, we are also blessed to live in a beautiful place surrounded by some of nature’s most pristine landscapes and the amazing creatures who reside in them. This year we saw some of the most incredible cloudscapes I’ve seen in 20 years here on Kiawah. On top of that, as always our birds were ubiquitous – perfect subjects for an inquisitive lens.

EGRET IN FLIGHT

EGRET IN FLIGHT

“What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?”

Frederick The Great

There are times when nature is best seen without the distraction of color. The two images that follow seemed to speak most beautifully to me when presented quietly. I made both captures during an inspirational photography class with Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic‘s Director of Expedition Photograph. Ralph led a terrific two-day class for our amazing Photography Group here on Kiawah.

LEAF ME ALONE

LEAF ME ALONE

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

This year also represented a major departure for me as I transitioned fully from the Nikon gear I’ve loved since my first FM film camera in the early 1980s to a Fuji X-T2 mirrorless. I’ll admit the road was not a smooth one but after finally getting a defective lens replaced (kudos to Fuji for the replacement) I am once again happily shooting with confidence. The lighter weight makes everything easier and the WYSIWYG is great for visualizing and experimentation.

TREES IN THE ROUND

TREES IN THE ROUND

“Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. You get in return what you give.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour

In hindsight, 2018 has been a year of many blessings. My husband and I have enjoyed time with family (which has grown by one), travel to wonderful places, good health, fun times with both old and new friends (3 with whom I share Lens-Artists moderation) and a world, for the most part, at peace. I wish you all a wonderful Holiday and a New Year filled with joy.  

GALILEE REFLECTION

GALILEE REFLECTION

“Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.”

Rumi

 I’ll close with thanks to Patti for her thoughtful challenge, and a quote that I thought perfect for this beautiful season.

“Thoughts turn to others just a little more this time of year. Days grow shorter and memories grow longer. Families and friends gather in celebration or hope. Giving is a reflection of our love and caring for each other and those less fortunate. May your thoughts turn to gratitude this holiday season and carry on throughout the next year…”

                                                                James A. Murphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #24 – SEASONAL

“December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come.”

Fennel Hudson

COULD BE RUDOLPH

COULD BE RUDOLPH

OK, I’ll admit I used Photoshop to give this beautiful buck a bit of a Rudolph-red nose, but as the song says, “t’is the season” right? Speaking of seasons, for this week’s challenge we’re focused on the seasons and what they mean to you.  For me, winter is a time of introspection. I like to snuggle in by a warm fire and listen to soft music while considering the year just finished and the one ahead. On warmer southern days it’s great to get outside and enjoy a bit of our mostly-mild winter.  Full disclosure, I captured my image of the buck during our visit to Colorado over Thanksgiving. Here on Kiawah, neither we nor our deer get to see much snow 🙂.

GARDENS IN BLOOM

GARDENS IN BLOOM

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

NESTING EGRETS

NESTING EGRETS

Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?”

Neltje Blanchan

One of the beauties of winter is that it is inevitably followed by spring. Emerging from winter’s gloom, Mother Earth seems to celebrate the return of warmth and color.  While I am as happy as anyone to see the year’s pristine first snowfall, once the cold has settled in I am more than ready for it to fade away. The spring’s first blooms celebrate nature’s best efforts. The air is filled with the scent of new growth, carried in on the gentle breezes of the new season. For most of us it is a time of renewed energy and an appreciation of the nature’s many wonders. For a photographer there is no better time than the first blush of spring.

READY FOR ACTION

READY FOR ACTION

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

Charles Bowden

BEACH DAY WITH DADDY

BEACH DAY WITH DADDY

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!”

Kenny Chesney

For me, summer is a time for relaxation and fun. Often, because the temperatures here in South Carolina can be extreme, my husband and I will travel during the summer months. Most years we’ll spend time with our families in the northeast, occasionally we’ll venture out west or even farther afield. Personally I don’t mind Kiawah summers but my Boston-born husband has little tolerance for it.  Interestingly, it is by far the most popular season for Kiawah’s many visitors.

AUTUMN FOLIAGE

AUTUMN FOLIAGE

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

John Howard Bryant

COLORS OF FALL

COLORS OF FALL

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”

John Donne

Ah fall – a perfect example of good news/bad news. First, it is glorious. Mother Nature dons her most beautiful colors to show us the best of what she has to offer. The air is crisp and clear and the very slight chill in the air is most welcome after the heat of summer. On the other hand, those colorful leaves are falling fast, days are getting shorter, and soon winter’s chill will once again be upon us. Perhaps autumn is teaching us a lesson on enjoying the blessings of each day as we cannot know what tomorrow will bring.

T'IS THE SEASON

T’IS THE SEASON

“May the splendor of the holiday season enlighten your life and warm your heart.”

Debasish Mridha

Here’s hoping you are enjoying a beautiful holiday season surrounded by family and friends. Remember to reach out to those who are not so fortunate and for whom this may be a difficult time.  

We look forward to seeing your interpretation of our Seasonal challenge.  Remember to link your post to this one and to tag it with our Lens-Artists tag.  Last but not least, don’t forget to tune in next week for Patti’s challenge at her Pilotfish blog.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

Last week Amy’s Celebrations challenge invited us to share our experiences around the world. Your responses offered some wonderful variety. For example:

John Steiner shared examples of amazing Christmas lights in his post at PhotosbyJohnbo

Sue of Words Visual took us all the way to Maramures Romania in her response here.

Mei-Mei of Jedibyknight shared a religious festival from her studies in Salamanca, Spain

Lens-Artists Challenge #23: CELEBRATIONS

“If there is no celebration, there is no real worship.”

Steve Brown

LIGHTS OF LOVE

LIGHTS OF LOVE

The world is full of colorful celebrations, many of which I’m sure will be featured in this week’s responses to Amy’s Celebrations Challenge. I’ve decided instead to focus on a celebration that has become a part of everyday life for people all over the world – the celebration of worship.

COLORFUL

COLORFUL

“Everybody worships; it’s just a matter of what, or whom, we serve.”

Paul David Tripp

In our recent visit to Israel, we were amazed to see the number and variety of houses of worship. Our pre-conceived notion was that we would predominantly see synagogues and examples of Jewish culture – how very wrong we were. One of the things that most impressed us was the incredible denominational variety. There were as many Christian and Muslim churches, mosques, worshipers and pilgrims as there were synagogues.

ANCIENT WORSHIP

ANCIENT WORSHIP

“The purest worship is to simply love — without demand, without condition, without fear.”

L.R. Knost

Mankind has worshipped since the beginning of time. There is evidence of spirituality dating back 300,000 years to the paleolithic era. Many of the ruins we visited in Israel included evidence of religious worship. For example, the altar above is from Avdat in the Negev Desert, which dates back to the third century BC. 

HOLY SPIRIT

HOLY SPIRIT

“Worship is not what we do with our lips; it is what we do with our lives.”

Joel Balin

The celebrations we observed along the way included everything from a small gathering of Catholics observing mass among the trees to services in majestic churches and mosques (such as the Dome of the Rock below) that would rival the world’s most beautiful architecture.

GOLDEN DOME OF THE ROCK

GOLDEN DOME OF THE ROCK

“Worship can be defined as celebrating the availability of God.”

Larry Crabb

PETRA WORSHIP

PETRA WORSHIP

“Service is the highest form of worship.”

Debasish Mridha

For me, one of the most impressive examples of worship came from our visit to Petra in Jordan. To quote National Geographic “A worthwhile hike from the Royal Tombs leads up to the numerous places of worship on the flattened High Place of Jebel Khubtha.” As usual, if you look closely you can see many tiny figures, all of whom are tourists visiting the enormous structure. Originally built as a tomb, archaeological evidence points to its later adoption as a place of worship. Of course, National Geographic was correct – it was a VERY worthwhile hike!

ACROSS CULTURES

ACROSS CULTURES

“Churches would be empty ruins without the sinners who transform them into places of life, love and worship.”

Rev. Kellen Roggenbuck

I’ll close with the image above, which shows a section of Jerusalem I captured from a rooftop overlooking the city. I was drawn to the mix of religious symbol, including the Muslim minaret in the foreground and the Christian crosses in the distance. There is a certain joy one experiences during a visit to such an historic and spiritual place. For me it was a celebration of mankind’s better instincts – to worship freely, with respect for others’ beliefs, in recognition of the greater good. Would that we could all remember it more often.

Thanks to Amy for her thoughtful post – looking forward to seeing your responses.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #22 – Happiness Is…

“The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

SUNRISE, COLORADO

SUNRISE AND SNOW, COLORADO

Those who know or follow me will not be surprised that my response to Ann-Christine’s Happiness challenge is all about nature. Having spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Colorado with family (yet another reason for happiness) I was happy to see a glorious sunrise over a fresh coating of snow. Here in South Carolina we rarely see snow, and I rarely see the sunrise – sometimes happiness can be found in a two-hour time change. 😊

ASPEN GROVE

ASPEN GROVE

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy .”

Sylvia Plath

Another thing we don’t see here in South Carolina is a grove of aspens – in fact, as far as I know we have no aspens at all. I was happy to find this small grove near my brother’s Colorado home as I enjoyed an early morning walk in the crisp air. I often shoot them with a bit of blur (as above).  I find their white trunks make a lovely subject, especially against new-fallen snow.

SWEETGRASS AND SUN

PINK SWEETGRASS, BLUE SKY

“Colors are the smiles of nature.”

Leigh Hunt

Returning home, I was happy to find the beautiful southern sweetgrass still blooming. I captured this image of the causeway on which we enter/exit our island using my iPhone as I bicycled to the gym on our first morning back (and yes, I did need to work off the excesses of Thanksgiving weekend). This is one climate change I was happy to see!

BIG BIRD

BIG BIRD

“If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.”

Steve Maraboli

Finally, I love photographing nature, and was happy to have my zoom lens with me on one of our local golf courses earlier this month. High in a tall pine tree bordering the course my friend spotted the beautiful hawk in the image above. I don’t often use a cart but when I do I try to remember to bring my Fuji along for the ride.  I was glad I did.

I think Steve Maraboli got it right that gratitude is the key to happiness. I personally am ever-grateful for my husband and partner in life, our families, our friends and of course for the beauty of nature all around us. As the old song says – if you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep. There may be times when it’s a bit harder to see them, but no matter what, they’re always there.

 

Thanks to Ann-Christine for giving us the opportunity to focus on the things that make us happy. And thanks to all those who’ve chosen to join us for our Lens-Artists challenges. We’re happy to see participation growing each week. Be sure to stay tuned for Amy’s challenge next Saturday – we hope to see you then!

Lens-Artists Challenge #21 – SPLASH

“May there be no end to the sea, to the sand, the splash of water, the glow of the sky, the prayer of man.”

Hannah Senesh

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

Patti’s “SPLASH” challenge made me think of our recent visit to ancient Caesarea in Israel. The ruins there date back to the time of King Herod, who in 25 BC built a mighty port city – eventually brought to ruin by the Crusaders in the 7th Century. On the day of our visit the sea was incredibly (and unusually) rough – entertaining tourists by splashing mightily against the buildings (above) and the rocks (below). My lens, which happily had a UV filter attached, was fine after a few wipes with a handy lens cloth 😊. 

TOURISTS

TOURISTS

“Unless you paddle for the wave, you’ll never know if you can catch it.”

Abigail Spencer

The sea was much quieter during our visit to Jaffa, another of the world’s oldest port cities.  It is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, including its location as the port from which Jonah sailed before meeting the whale. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that the city was inhabited as early as 7500 BC. 

JAFFA MINARET

JAFFA MINARET

“The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea.”

Vladimir Nabokov

Although rough seas and big waves can be fun, even thrilling, the peace and calm of a quiet sea at sunset is food for the soul. The scene below followed an incredibly busy day of touring.  Our guide drove like a crazy person to get us back in time to see the golden orb sink below the hills surrounding our hotel.  His effort was greatly appreciated as we enjoyed the serenity of the evening on the beautiful shores of Galilee.

GOLDEN SUNSET, GALILEE

GOLDEN SUNSET, GALILEE

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Finally, I’ll close with a bit of fun. Full disclosure – I did NOT take the photo that follows. In fact, that’s me in the black hat splashing sand into the air at the request of our guide at Wadi Rum in Jordan. Apparently he felt the need to have us remove our shoes, get on our knees, and splash sand in the air while he captured the moment. I must admit it felt really good, but then I was on the left and the wind was blowing to the right! 😀

SAND SPLASH

SAND SPLASH

““Are we etched in stone or just scratched in the sand waiting for the waves to come and reclaim the land?”

Matt Squire

Like many others, this week I spent the Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by family.  In my case this meant braving the “friendly skies”, and dealing with much colder weather, but as always well worth the effort. I have much for which I am thankful, and hope all of you can say the same. Wishing you all the best of the holiday season.

 

For further information about our challenges, click here. To see Patti’s original post click here

 

All images created with Fuji x-t2

Lens-Artists Challenge #20 – Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways

“Doors can lead you to other worlds, or to what is behind what is in front of you.”

Stephanie Torbert

LAUNDRY DAY

LAUNDRY DAY, JERUSALEM

“What’s behind what’s in front of you” – what an interesting concept – describing not only doors but also the art of photography. As we press the shutter to capture an instant, are we not working to express our idea of what the scene tells us; what it makes us feel, what’s “behind” the image? Are we not hoping that the viewer will be drawn into the scene just as we were?

STAIRWAY TO A DOORWAY

STAIRWAY TO A DOORWAY

“There always two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer.”

Ansel Adams

Each of us brings his or her own experiences to an image, whether we are creating it or studying it. The best photographs focus on that which drew us in the first place. In my opening image, for example, it was the person behind the door that drew my attention. Although the doors look like they could tell a million stories, for me the real questions revolved around the young woman –  what was she studying/reading? Was she tired, absorbed in a story while waiting for the next load, bored? Why had she left the doors ajar in the first place? 

GATEWAY TO THE SEA

GATEWAY TO THE SEA, BAHA’I GARDENS, HAIFA, ISRAEL

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Confucius

Have you ever thought about what drew you to a particular scene, painting or photograph? In my second image it was the boxes of fruit and the empty ticket booth that caught my eye. The booth reminded me of those old-fashioned amusement park booths with a fortune teller inside – a bit spooky and forlorn. The contrast of the fresh fruit beside it told me there was life nearby waiting to be savored. In the image above It was the shadows of the iron gate leading out to the beautiful blues of the sea and sky beyond. Often our eye is drawn by our subconscious but as photographers or viewers, it’s a great exercise to analyze what appeals to us and draws us in. 

GLIMPSE OF GLORY, PETRA

GLIMPSE OF GLORY, PETRA, JORDAN

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m a fan of a bit of mystery in an image – everyone loves surprises, right?  In the image above, for example, like everyone else who has been to Petra I found the famous Treasury Building to be spectacular. Having seen so many images of it in its entirety, I personally preferred the image above. I liked having just a taste of the structure’s splendor from the natural portal created by the rock walls of the Siq, and the thought of the two onlookers seeing the scene for the first time. And yes, of course I also made an image of the entire building – but that’s for another day 😉.

14 AND 16

14 AND 16

“Every life is different because you passed this way and touched history.”

Barbara Kingsolver

Sometimes it’s fun to manipulate images to deliver on an idea. In the capture above I combined two doors which were physically quite close to each other into a single image. It seemed to me that the doors had been nearly identical until a passing street artist decided to add some individual flare 😊. Do you suppose it was the same artist? Did the owner(s) appreciate or resent the paintings?  Did you, the viewer, think this was a single panorama or did you sense the combination. Do you think it works or would the single images have been better left alone? Did you have to pause for a moment to think about it? Isn’t that part of our goal – to cause others to pause and think about an image and our intent in creating it?

DOORWAY, DOME OF THE ROCK, JERUSALEM

DOORWAY, DOME OF THE ROCK, JERUSALEM

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”

Diane Arbus

Sometimes we create an image simply to capture beauty. The image above, of one of the doorways into the Dome of the Rock, is exactly that. It is one of Israel’s holiest places to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. I was drawn not only to the beauty and spirituality of the site, but also to the political controversy surrounding its accessibility.

DOORWAY TO THE SKY, CAESAREA, ISRAEL

DOORWAY TO THE SKY, CAESAREA, ISRAEL

“The adrenaline and stress of an adventure are better than a thousand peaceful days.”

Paulo Coelho

Finally, no post about doorways in the Middle East would be complete without one of their incredible antiquities, in this case an arched doorway in Caesarea. Originally built by Herod the Great in 20 BC the city ruins are remarkably well-preserved and are now part of an Israeli National Park. I have always been interested in archeology and the stories these kinds of ruins tell us about life so long ago. I made this image in recognition of my own sense of wonder and in the hopes that you too might give the long-ago history a moment’s thought. More on the many sites like this one in future posts.

Thanks for staying with me as I meandered through so many doorways this week – I look forward to seeing your responses!  Please remember the Lens-Artists tag to be seen in our Reader section, and feel free to link your post to this one as well. For more information about our challenge click here. And don’t forget to join Patti for her challenge next week.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

Last week Amy enchanted us with her Magical Light challenge and your responses were amazing. Check these out:

Along with some other beautiful examples, Bren of Ryan Photography created a composite moonscape for us;

Steve of TheOutershores introduced us to a new word (and creature) “pollicipes” shown in the beautiful morning light.

Deb of Twenty-four showed us what happens when water meets the treeline in a beautiful sunset.

Ana of Anvica’s Gallery showed us it’s actually possible to touch the sun.

 

Wishing everyone a great week, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.