Lens-Artists Challenge #158 – Back Country Roads

cows, numbers, farm

“The beaten path only gets you where most people go. Be original and explore new roads.”

Nanette Mathews

This week our guest host, Beth of Wandering Dawgs, has invited us to leave the beaten path and wander some back country roads. Over the years my husband and I have often set off to do just that. I’m happy to have an opportunity to share some of our exploits, starting with the beautiful bovines above. We came across them and the farmstead below in our adventures along the country roads near the home of our family in upstate New York.

farm, tractor, silo
Down on the Farm

“A farmer is a magician who produces money from the mud.”

Amit Kalantri

In beautiful Montana , a good friend invited me to join her in photographing the glorious yellow canola fields. The colors of the red barn, blue sky and yellow canola flowers were a photographer’s dream!

canola field, red barn
Canola Fields, Montana

“Is there any sight more exquisite than a field of canary yellow rapeseed on a day of blinding sunlight?”

Stewart Stafford

Speaking of red barns, the image below is one of my all-time favorite scenes. Captured during a getaway in New England some years back, it’s an example of the importance of timing. We originally saw the barns at mid-day and I captured several images of the scene. That evening I was disappointed when I reviewed my results. We were fortunate to be able to return late the following afternoon and the images I’d envisioned were there for the taking in the waning light.

red, barns
Red Barns, New England

“Painted oxide red, silhouetted against colored skies of a setting sun, the barns were a dramatic, strong architectural presence.”

Hemalata Dandekar

I’ll close with a few images captured along the winding, crazy curving “off the beaten path” road which leads to my brother’s home in the Colorado mountains. I made these images one chilly morning as the sun was just beginning to rise. Fortunately the time change traveling west means sunrise is a bit more manageable for an Easterner like yours truly.

sunrise, woods
Sunrise, Colorado

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”

Jo Walton
aspens, impression, panning
Impression of Aspens in the Snow

“I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree.”

Joyce Kilmer
red barn, american flag

“Freedom is a privilege, not a right. And as such, I have no right to ask anything of it, but I have the privilege of giving everything to it.”

Craig D. Lounsbrough
deer, woods
Local Residents

“How can a deer tell when a leaf falls silent in the forest? She hears it breathing differently”

Richard Bach

I hope you’ve enjoyed my stroll down memory lane (aka the back country roads) as much as I did – I look forward to seeing your responses to the challenge. Be sure to link them to Beth’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. We thank Beth and all of our guest hosts this month, and look forward to next week when our final guest host, Ana of Anvica’s Gallery leads us with her Postcards challenge. Most importantly, we thank all of you for your participation in our challenges and for your continued creativity and commitment. Until next week, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #157 – Getting Away

Getty Museum, stairs, windows, white
The Climb

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

Maya Angelou

This week our Guest Host, Rusha Sams invites us to get away from it all, and for me it couldn’t have come at a better time. My husband and I arrived home from a short getaway very late last night. Ms. Angelou’s quote describes exactly what we needed, and with the help of some very good friends we were able for the most part to leave our worries behind. My opening image, captured at the beautiful Getty Center in Los Angeles, symbolizes the long climb with which we’ve been faced, but like the figure in the image we’re hopefully past half-way and headed for the summit.

Welcome to Denver

“Be kind to yourself give yourself a break.”

Bernardo Moya

Speaking of summits, the first stop on our journey was Colorado, which invites you into its mountains with an airport vista (shown above as captured from my airplane window) meant to resemble them. The weather was quite warm and hazy (although of course more comfortable than our South Carolina summer heat), which for the most part hid the actual mountains from view. That notwithstanding, we very much enjoyed our visit with family and the break from SC’s humidity.

Balboa park, San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego

“Everyone needs a break to refuel, recharge, and jump back in full throttle.””

Helen Edwards

Our next stop was Carlsbad, California – just north of San Diego. There we visited with good friends who some 20+ years ago were our northern next-door neighbors. Since we are on different coasts we don’t see them often but it’s always as if we’d only seen them yesterday each time we are together. While there we did a day trip to Balboa Park, which we’d not seen before. In addition to the famous San Diego Zoo, the park is home to several wonderful museums (including a terrific photography exhibit), beautiful gardens, and some glorious turn-of-the-century buildings that seemed more old-world European than American.

flowers, white
White on White, The Getty Center

“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.”

Russell Eric Dobda

During our getaway, which we ended with wonderful friends in Santa Monica, we enjoyed incredible floral displays in Balboa Park, at the Getty in LA, and at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. I hope to share more of those images in the coming weeks. At the end of the day, we were reminded that friends are truly the flowers in the life’s garden. Yes, there are weeds, but sometimes we need to take a break from pulling them in order to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the flowers that are blooming.

Sincere thanks to Anne for last week’s wonderful B&W challenge – we enjoyed seeing the results of your image edits. Thanks also to Rusha for her well-timed (at least for me 😊) challenge. We look forward to seeing your responses. Be sure to link them to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally, be sure to join us next week when Beth of Wandering Dawgs brings us her Back Country Roads challenge. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #156 – Black & White

portrait, sadness, B&W

“Black and white photography does more to evoke an emotion and freeze a moment in time than any other medium”

Bob Snell

This week our guest host, Anne Sandler, has invited us to share images in Black and White. Among other things, I find B&W particularly well-suited to portraying emotions in portrait photography. Dramatic lighting is much more visible and provides a way for the photographer to focus the viewer’s attention exactly as he or she chooses. The image above was a candid capture of an exhausted ship’s worker as she stole a rare moment of peace and quiet. In Black & White her exhaustion comes shining through.

Simply Twigs

“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black & white is a delight for the soul.”

Andri Cauldwell

For many, B&W is the purist’s way of looking at the world. While it is not something I use frequently, I find it can deliver opportunities for taking a more artistic approach which strips the subject of any distractions and allows its beauty to come through in its simplicity.

Magnolia in Bloom

“The world may be color, but Black & White transcends it.”

Abbas Attar

There are times when nothing can portray the purity of Mother Nature’s work better than the use of Black & White. Here in the south we are blessed with weeks of glorious magnolias everywhere we look. They draw the eye to their beauty and the nose to their sweet bouquet. For me, B&W strips them down to their essence and presents them in a way that allows their details to draw the viewer into the image.

forest, trees, art, panning
Forest Primeval

“Black and White are the colours of photography.”

Robert Frank

I captured the scene above in camera using a vertical pan. While I liked the image in color, to me the conversion to Black & White took it to a more artistic place. The trees took on a rather ominous feel – conjuring thoughts of frightening creatures lurking beyond. Sometimes if we strip an image of its color we allow the viewer to form their own impressions of a scene rather than dictate their reactions.

A Poem Lovely as a Tree

“Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”

Elliott Erwitt

If we compare the tree above to the one that immediately precedes it, we see that the use of B&W allows the photographer to better portray a sense of emotion in a scene. We move from dark and ominous to light and fanciful simply by the use of the many elements of shading and light available in Black & White. At least, that’s my impression….what’s yours?!

Thanks to Anne for giving us an opportunity to explore our world in Black & White – we look forward to seeing your interpretations. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link them to Anne’s original post here. We also thank you for your responses to John’s “On the Water” challenge last week; a fun thought for those of us enjoying some lazy summer days. Finally, please join us next week when Rusha leads us with her “Getting Away” challenge. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #155 – On The Water

shrimp boat
The Tina Marie

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

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This week our guest host John has asked us to interpret “On the Water”, which for John no doubt brings visions of amazing luxury liners who cruise the world’s most beautiful places. I’ve taken rather a different approach this week, exploring some thoughts about the way earth’s waters sustain us and the many creatures who depend on it (such as the lurking gator in today’s header 😊) My opening image above features a shrimp boat setting out to sea at daybreak. Looking rather weather-worn, her nets poised for action, with any luck she will deliver a fine catch of delicious fresh shrimp from our local waters.

Lovely Loon

“The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.”

Ethel Thayer

In the image above, a beautiful loon floats serenely on the waters of Lake Arbutus. I’ve included it this week to honor good friends who summer on the lake in Michigan. Over the years during our many wonderful visits, the song of the loons welcomed us back. Recently our friends sold their summer home to a couple we all hope will love it, and those loons, as much as we have.

water lily
Pretty in Pink

“Like the lily, I rest on the deep water’s surface. Not knowing the journey’s end, I rest in nature’s embrace.”

Patricia Robin Woodruff

Like the birds and the creatures of the sea, plants and flowers depend on earth’s waters for their sustenance. Water lilies for example are born in the soil beneath the waters, rising up through them in their journey toward its surface. They create shade and protection for fish in landscape ponds, and provide a resting spot for frogs and dragonflies. The lily above was located in the amazing gardens of Asheville, North Carolina’s Biltmore Mansion. The mansion and its gardens are well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

clouds, reflections
Upon Reflection

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.”

Joni Mitchell

While I have no doubt the image above is well outside of John’s intent with his challenge, in fact the reflection of the overhead clouds is definitely “on the water”, don’t you think? Here in the south there is nothing more welcome than the white fluffy clouds that provide a bit of shelter from the heat of the summer sun.

cruise, boat, harbor

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

John Augustus Shedd

Finally, an image from a visit to Bar Harbor, Maine. I loved the dichotomy of the smaller crafts made minute by the size of the visiting cruise ship. By cruising standards the ship is relatively small. On the other hand, the two-masted sailboat, quite large by sailboat standards, seems minuscule when positioned beside it. Think of it as a reminder that whenever our problems appear major, when compared with those of so many others, they are merely a drop in the ocean.

Sincere thanks to those who responded to last week’s “One Photo Two Ways”. It was really interesting to see the many ways we can interpret the scenes and subjects on which we choose to focus. We look forward to seeing your responses to John’s challenge this week. Please remember to link them to his original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Finally, a reminder that next week’s guest host will be Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed who will challenge us with Black & White. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

Note: I’ll be on the road next week but will do my best to stay in touch. Apologies in advance if I’m a bit late in responding

Lens-Artists Challenge #154 – One Photo Two Ways

green, plant, curly leaves

“A photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson said that a photographer is continually shaping and changing his or her perspective to create a capture, but at the speed of a reflex action. This week, we’d like you to think about the various ways you create your images. Show us the same subject captured using multiple, different approaches. For example, my opening images, above and below, are a horizontal and vertical capture of the fresh curly plant leaves I captured in my yard last week.

Vertical Curls

“Too often in life we pass by important things. Let’s pause, change perspective and see things more clearly.”

Sergio da Silva

The next example illustrates the difference a big picture image versus a close-up can make, and how important your choice can be in conveying your message.

Strolling Egret Close-up

“I encourage playfulness and experimentation with both camera and subject. Never be satisfied with an obvious perspective.”

Michael Kenna

I captured the egret above and below earlier this month as it strolled across a bridge on our local golf course. Typically with birds I like to get as close as possible. Below however, I photographed the bird from a larger perspective which presents a completely different message. Sometimes the big picture is more interesting than zooming in, other times a close-up is preferred.

egret, comical
Can birds read? Apparently so!! Sometimes the big picture has more to say.

“I do not document anything. I give an interpretation.”

Andre Kertesz

The next set of three images, each with their own strengths, focuses on the impact of an image’s mood. I was committed to photographing the visiting family of a good friend last week. I don’t know about you but I find capturing 16 people of all ages in a single image to be a very daunting challenge! We typically have only one chance to create images that will capture memories for all of the family members. We depend on the weather, we avoid sun glare, and we work hard to position people so that everyone can be seen. YIKES!

family, portrait
16 Happy Family Members

“Photography… offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”

Ansel Adams

In the image above I positioned the family in a traditional way and was fortunate that everyone actually looked at the camera at the same time 😊. In the image below I thought we could have a bit of fun by posing the young boys higher in the trees, which also allowed me to move slightly closer, creating a somewhat more intimate scene.

family, portraiture
Boys Just Wanna Have Fun

“Sometimes I look with telephoto eyes, sometimes with wide-angle eyes.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Lastly, I created some black & white images for the family, which to me seem a bit more timeless. As an aside, I was facing a bit of a crisis at the time but my friend’s family only gathers once each year so I decided to go ahead with the shoot. For its duration I forgot about my troubles, focused on the task at hand, and shared in the joy of the family’s gathering. It turned out to have been an excellent decision and the diversion couldn’t have come at a better time.

Seeing the world in monochrome

“In black and white you suggest, in color you state.”

Paul Outerbridge

Below and finally, a favorite photography subject, the beauty of a wonderful garden, such as that of Charleston’s Middleton Place. Surrounded by nature’s glory, we may choose to deliver the big picture , to play with software that creates an impressionist perspective, or to zoom in on the details of a single bud. Ultimately it is the photographer’s choice – lucky us!

Garden Path

“Every photo I take is a piece of my life that I will never get back, but that I will be able to see again and again.”

Malcolm Flowers
garden, path, impression
Impression of the Garden

“A picture is the expression of an impression. If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?”

Ernst Haas
flower, pink, green
Up Close and Personal

“Photography is as much about what is left out of the frame as it is about what the photographer keeps inside the frame.”

Daryl Oh

This week, please join us in sharing images that you’ve captured in more than one way. Except for the B&W and Impressionist images, all of those in this week’s post were created in camera. It’s up to you to choose your own approach to your subjects, including the use of editing tools. We look forward to seeing the results of your vision – please link them to my original post and use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you in the WP Reader.

An important announcement. We are excited to announce a special event for the month of July. Several of our previous Guest Hosts have agreed to lead the Lens-Artists challenge. We’re sharing their themes in advance and hope you’ll join us and them in the coming weeks. They include:

July 3 John Steiner of Journeys With Johnbo will present “On the Water”

July 10 Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed will present “Black and White”

July 17 Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See will present “Getting Away”

July 24 Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs will present “Along Back Country Roads”

July 31 Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery will present “Postcards”

Please be sure to check out their always-interesting and beautiful blogs, and join us in supporting them as they lead us each Saturday in the coming month. Until then, please remember to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #153 – Wonderful World

mountains, lake, Canada, 10 Peaks
Ten Peaks, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

“Viewed sensitively and with love; the world blossoms in beauty.”

Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

This week I’m taking a different approach with my post. I’m responding to Amy’s “Wonderful World” challenge with images from our travels throughout this wonderful world, primarily taken by others. My husband and I have been truly fortunate to have traveled widely, visiting many places we’d previously only dreamed of. Amy’s challenge has given me an opportunity to share some of them with you.

Glacier Climbing, Alaska

“The most beautiful thing about the world is how much is unknown to us… So much awaiting discovery.”

Chelsea Sedoti

There are so many different ways to see the world, including active vacations that feature things like skiing, hiking, golf etc. In hindsight glacier hiking as shown above is probably not the best option ecologically as it means helicoptering on and off. Sadly there was very little discussion of the impact on these declining surfaces as we climbed glaciers in Alaska, Canada and New Zealand back in our earlier travels. That said, I am so glad we were able to experience these massive wonders first-hand.

wind, ocean, Doonbeg
Golf in Ireland’s Weather

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Anne Frank

Soon after moving south we bid on an Ireland golf vacation in support of a local charity. As a result we were able to visit some of the famous courses that until then we’d only heard about. Our weather wouldn’t have felt like Ireland if we hadn’t had some wind and rain along the way! We’ve since golfed in Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada and of course across much of the US. Oftentimes golf courses present us with some of the most beautiful areas in the visited country, however we learned early to be sure to visit many of the other highlights in each country.

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”


Our safaris in Africa, which I’ve often shared here on Travels and Trifles, were truly life-changing. While in South Africa, we also visited their beautiful wine country in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, took the aerial tram to the top of Table Mountain, visited Robben Island and spent time at the Cape of Good Hope, pictured above.

Lake Pehoe, Torres del Paine, Patagonia

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Mother Teresa

In Patagonia, the mountains and glaciers are spectacular, but as shown above, their lakes are equally beautiful. It’s one of those places that has so much natural beauty it’s sometimes hard to know which way to look.

Angkor, Cambodia, Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

“This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.”

Henry David Thoreau

Beyond the world’s natural beauty, there is history, art, architecture, culture, religion, food, and oh so much more to explore. Travel allows us not only to see the world, but also to experience and better understand its many people. It helps us to realize that at heart we really are all the same.

Terra cotta warriors, xian, china, photography
Capturing the Terra Cotta Warriors, Xian, China

“The whole world is a family.”

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi

Whatever our primary interests in the world, for most of us it truly is wonderful. We are fortunate to live in a time when world travel is possible, (except of course for the past year – which taught us a great lesson in appreciation). For those who cannot travel, we are fortunate that so much of the world can be seen through the lenses of photographers across the web. Someday I suppose those who come after us may find us primitive as they explore OTHER worlds. For me though, I’m perfectly happy with this one 😊.

My thanks to the photographers who captured these images and shared them with me. My thanks to you, my followers and visitors, for spending time with me, and of course my thanks to Amy for her interesting challenge which allowed me to share some of my favorite places in this wonderful world. We look forward to seeing your perspectives as well – please remember to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link to Amy’s original here. Finally, we thank you for your participation in Ann-Christine’s Shades and Shadows challenge. As always your responses were creative, interesting and thought-provoking. Until next week when I will be leading the challenge here on Travels and Trifles, please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy this wonderful world.

Lens-Artists Challenge #153 – Wonderful World

Lens-Artists Challenge #152 – Shade and Shadows

Within the Shadows

“Our job is to record this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.”

Edward Abbey

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to feature shade and shadows – often a photographer’s nightmare but now and then, a dream. I’ve opened with a favorite image, taken in San Francisco under one of their many beautiful bridges. I loved the somewhat sinister feel of the man surrounded by the bridge’s shadows.

Don’t Fence Me In

“In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”

August Sander

I thought the shadows of the lovely scrolled fence above were actually prettier than the fence itself. Here in Charleston we see beautifully decorative iron work quite often because of the expertise of local legend Philip Simmons. However, I actually captured the fence above at the Mount of Beatitudes during our visit to Israel.

On the other hand, the window below IS located in downtown Charleston at our historic City Hall. I captured the image from the inside looking out on a bright, sunny day.

shadow, ironwork, window

Though a Glass Darkly

“The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.”

Jay Kristoff

Sometimes an object’s shadow is very easily identified, as in the following two images. The extra appendage on the airplane’s shadow is a float which allows water landings.

airplane, shadow


“Shadows can invite us to imagine what is hidden.”

Michale Kenna

Yet another mode of transportation in which you’ll sometimes find us is featured in the image below. This one is an unusual selfie during which I was using a cart to photograph a golf event here on Kiawah.

golf cart, shadow

Beside the Bunker

“The organization of light and shadow effects produce a new enrichment of vision.”

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

As the appearance of the moon signals the end of day, I thought it only appropriate to end my post this week with its light surrounded by shadows.

moon, shadows

Shadows on the Moon

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject, that is the essence of expression and art through photography.”

Scott Bourne

We look forward to seeing your shades and shadows as well. Be sure to link your response to Ann-Christine’s post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. We thank you as always for your creative and colorful responses to Patti’s challenge last week, and hope to see you next week as Amy leads the challenge. In the meanwhile, please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the week ahead.

Lens-Artists Challenge #151 – From Large to Small

beijing, rooftops, China

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”

Wassily Kandinsky

This week Patti has given us a double challenge – first to choose a color and second to show images that range in size from large to small. After much thought I decided on orange, and have opened with a large example of rooftops from Beijing’s Forbidden City.

flowers, red rocks, colorado

Orange is the happiest color.”

Frank Sinatra

My second image above shows a beautiful garden of orange and yellow flowers fronting some of the huge orange-red rocks of Colorado. Although the image presents it as a beautiful natural landscape, in fact just beyond the tallest flowers is a treacherously difficult golf fairway which has gobbled up many a ball from golfers such as yours truly.


“When life gives you lemons….they could really be oranges.”

Ellen DeGeneres

Moving on to slightly smaller examples of orange, I’ve included a personal favorite image above. I captured these three monks sauntering along a dirt road in Cambodia using umbrellas as protection from the bright sun. I’ve posted this photograph more than once, and have a framed version of it that a friend painted from my image hanging in my home.

chihuly, glass, art, seattle

“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable – each segment distinct.”

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The image above was part of a Chihuly art exhibit we saw while visiting Seattle, Washington. His glass artwork is all incredible, but I especially loved the way this piece was displayed in a glass structure through which one could see downtown Seattle. Each piece was unique and the fact that it was orange and yellow helped me to decide on that color for this week’s challenge – as did the following image of a performance artist posing in front of a fun piece of local wall art. Two VERY different, medium-sized approaches to art.

performance artist, colorful

“Be patient. Everything has its time. You can’t make an orange mature right away because you are hungry.”

Bangambiki Habyarimana

The images that follow are examples of small touches of orange – and of course they’re among my favorite subjects – the winged residents of Kiawah. The first image is very special to me. For 20 years here on Kiawah I’ve searched high and low for a painted bunting. It’s a tiny, very colorful bird, seen primarily in the spring. I finally saw, and photographed my first-ever last week on a neighbor’s bird bath. Can you believe those colors?! I was much more excited than most people would have been, especially considering I’m not really a birder, but this little one has been on my “must see” list for a very long time! Notice the band on his right leg, which tells us it’s not his first visit to Kiawah.

Painted Bunting, colorful, bird

“Orange is life. It’s unexpected but beautiful.”

Aly Martinez

Birds aren’t the only winged creatures on Kiawah, nor are they the smallest. Here’s yet another beautiful, small example of orange on the wing.

gulf fritillary, butterfly, orange, green leaves, spots

Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness.”

Tae Yun Kim

Finally, although breaking the rules a bit and going back to a large splash of orange, I thought it only appropriate to finish with a natural orange flourish – a beautiful sunset reflected on one of Kiawah’s many lagoons.

sunset, Kiawah Island

“The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset – the color that gives you hope that the sun will set only to rise again.”

Ram Charan

Once I decided on my color for this week it seems I found it everywhere! My task then became finding small, medium and large examples. I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices and will have fun putting together your own responses to Patti’s challenge. Be sure to link them to her original post here, and to add the Lens-Artists Tag.

I’ll close with a sincere thank you for your responses to Dianne’s Let’s Get Wild challenge last week. It was great to see nature unspoiled in so many beautiful places and we very much appreciate Dianne’s having taken the helm. We look forward to seeing your choices for this week and as always wish everyone a safe and wonderful week ahead.

Lens-Artists Challenge #150 – LET’S GET WILD

patagonia, mountains, Torres del Paine

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

John Muir

This week our guest host Dianne has asked us to share some examples of the wild places we’ve seen, “Mother Nature untouched and untrammelled”. I’ve opened above and below with some majestic mountain views of Patagonia. There, some of the most beautiful, rugged mountains in the world can be see in both Chile and Argentina. My header this week is also from that trip, a vista of the Andes that illustrates the immensity of the mountain peaks when compared with the structures below.

Laguna de los Tres, Patagonia, snow, El Chalten

“The breathtaking view at the mountaintop is compensation for all of the breath lost whilst sweating towards it.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

While in Patagonia a good friend and I hiked to the famous Laguna de los Tres, seen above. The hike is steep and difficult, made more so by a sudden, frightening storm as we reached the lake. Protected from a fierce wind by a huge boulder, we jumped up, took a quick photograph or two (one of which is seen above) and hurried to descend before being caught by the storm. It one of my favorite memories of any of our amazing journeys.

CHEETAH, animal, sunset

“Sometimes you just have to find the majesty in yourself and other things to truly appreciate life.”

Imania Margria

Another treasured memory is pictured above. During one of our African safaris, we came upon this gorgeous cheetah at sunset, posing perfectly as we headed back to our lodgings. I cannot think of a better “wild” example than the incredible untouched beauty of Africa and the glorious creatures who roam freely there.


“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”

Ralph W. Sockman

A bit closer to home, the image above captures Spirit Island, a tiny piece of land on Lake Maligne, nestled in the middle of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. The lake is typically a bright azure blue, but on this day the clouds surrounded us, offering a more ominous perspective. Although I have several images of the scene at its azure-best, it’s the moody image that captured my imagination.

fallen sequoia roots

Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things.”

Vera Nazarian

I’ve included the image of my 6’2″ / 2 meter husband standing among the roots of a fallen giant Redwood tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park. Although it may be considered less “wild” than some of my other images this week, it is a reminder of a place where the most incredibly majestic giants grow and thrive. Many are over 1,000 years old and grow as tall as 360 feet / 110 meters and as wide as 15 feet / 4.5 meters at their base. There is an air of absolute magic when walking among them, and the profound quiet brings with it an amazing sense of peace.


“Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.”

Halldór Laxness

We’ve been fortunate to see several glaciers in our travels, including Argentina’s Perito Merino, the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies, some of the 20+ remaining glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park, and several glaciers while on a small-boat cruise along Alaska’s Inside Passage which included Glacier Bay National Park. Searching the web identifies countless articles related to climate change’s effect on receding glaciers and melting sea ice resulting in today’s rising seas. It seems we are finally beginning to understand the issue although it remains to be seen how much will be done to address the problems we ourselves have created.

sunset, whale, glacier bay, ocean

“…you never truly win a conservation battle – you just win the right to fight another day. Like an alcoholic, the environment is never saved. It always needs saving.”

Joshua Horwitz

During our Alaska visit we enjoyed the mountain vistas of Denali in the National Park, were enchanted by the antics of the salmon-fishing grizzly bears of Brooks Falls, and saw countless numbers of whales, especially on Glacier Bay. Adventuring out on a rubber raft late one evening, a whale breached so close to us we were truly frightened by the rocking of the boat and the sudden appearance of such a behemoth! Once we got over the shock we were thrilled to have been so close to such a magnificent creature. Sunsets on the bay are quite late and more beautiful than any I’ve seen before or since. They frequently included whale tails and flippers such as the one above .


“Every time I see something about the Wild West, I’m reminded that our version of history may not be what really happened.”

James McBride

I’ll close with a less dramatic scene from a road trip to visit the glorious national parks of the U.S. West. It was somewhere in Utah, between Bryce and Zion, that we came upon this scene. It reminded me of countless TV movies I’d seen growing up that featured cowboys and cattle and dry, dusty gulches filled with tumbleweed and the occasional set of cattle horns. 😊 There are vast areas which look exactly as pictured in those movies, and I couldn’t resist a stop now and then to capture some of them. They may not be quite as “wild” as glaciers or a herd of elephants crossing the savannah, but they too remain among the places still available to those of us seeking nature unaffected by the intervention of mankind.

Sincere thanks to Dianne for hosting this week’s challenge. Be sure to visit her post here, where she shares some incredible examples of nature’s best work. Also, thanks to those who responded to last week’s Blue and Green challenge – as always, your creative and interesting posts were terrific, covered a wide breadth of subjects, and were very much enjoyed by all of us. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti brings us “From Large to Small”. She’ll ask us to choose a color and share images of items from large to small that feature it. Sounds like fun! Until then, as always please stay safe and enjoy the week ahead. For those who recognize it, please take a moment to remember the real meaning behind Memorial Day.

Lens-Artists Challenge #149 – Cool Colors – Blue and Green

hot air balloon, blue, green

“True voyagers are those who leave just to be leaving; hearts light like balloons.”

Charles Baudelaire

This week we are returning to the color wheel and its cooler members, which include blue (primary) green (secondary) and blue-green or blue-violet aka purple (tertiary). A visit to the web on the subject will take you deep into the emotions said to result from exposure to these and other colors. For this week’s purposes, let’s simply explore the many ways the cooler colors appear in our world.

metal frog, statue, violin

“Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”

Bianca Frazier

There are times when blue and green colors are used just for fun, as in the two images above. I captured the opening image one chilly, pre-dawn Oregon morning as a major balloon festival was getting underway. Shown in my second image, the smiling frog greets visitors arriving at the gates to Magnolia Gardens’ Audubon Swamp. Both images speak to me of fun and creativity.

grasses, nature, abstract

“Get close to grass and you’ll see a star.”

Dejan Stojanovic

Leaving behind “just for fun”, we move on to the blues and greens found in nature. Complimenting each other perfectly, this was the area where I found the greatest frequency of the two colors together. My image above presents it in an abstract way via a vertical pan of the spring marsh grasses. Below, we see it in a more classic landscape of sky, trees and water.

reflection of sky in water, blue and green, nature

“The gods preferr their libations diluted with rainwater and mixed with freshly cut grass.

Thomm Quackenbush

Beyond nature’s more typical examples, the image that follows resulted from a bit of serendipity, capturing a somewhat unique combination of the colors.

dragonfly, eyes, leaf

“Despite its dark veins, the transparency of dragonfly’s wings assures me of a pure, innocent world.”

Munia Khan

Moving on from nature, there are also beautiful combinations of blue and green in art and architecture. A stunning example is seen below in the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem. The rock over which the shrine is built is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque

“Love is your religion; the whole world is your temple.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

In addition to Israel, my quest for combinations of blue and green took me on a bit of a world tour – some examples are shown below:


“Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars.”

Colton Dixon
arizona, cacti, art

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pable Picasso

“There’s nothing more lovely than your lamplight, seen from a dark street…”

John Geddes

Last week we greatly enjoyed the fun we had with your responses to Ann-Christine’s Spots and Dots challenge. We hope you also enjoy this week’s Cool Colors and will join us with your own examples. Please remember to link your response to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally, next week we’re excited to announce that our challenge will be hosted by Dianne Millard of Rambling Ranger. Be sure to check out her beautiful blog and watch for her post next week. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.