Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – SPRING

MAGNOLIA GARDENS CYPRESS SWAMP

MAGICAL MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”

Anita Krizzan

Next up on our seasonal challenges, this week we turn to thoughts of Spring. Noted by poets and lyricists as a season of hope and renewal, spring teaches us that despite (or perhaps because of) the hardships of winter, our world will once again blossom with new life.  As we continue to deal with the issues of the day, spring teaches us to remain hopeful despite our challenges. One of the many rituals of the season here in the Charleson area is a visit to beautiful Magnolia Gardens. There we might learn from the cypress trees which draw strength and nourishment from waters that would destroy a less-resilient species.

DRAMATIC SKY, KIAWAH ISLAND

UNDER THREAT

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”

Bernard Williams

Spring here on Kiawah also delivers some incredibly dramatic skies – yet another example of nature’s lessons. The image above shows a line of beachfront cottages made smaller by the immense, threatening clouds. Yet for the observant among us, there is a small bright spot in the center of the maelstrom.  We can learn from Mother Nature that despite the worst moments there is always a spot of hope somewhere even when troubles threaten to engulf us.

egret chicks, nest

SWEET CHICKS

“Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

Robert H. Schuller

Spring is also a time of rebirth – not only of the plants and flowers but also of the creatures with whom we share Mother Earth. Pandemic notwithstanding, birds continue to deliver and nourish their chicks, does give birth to fawns and tiny alligators emit high-pitched, musical melodies as they take joy in swimming through the lagoons. Of course, we are always mindful that mom is surely keeping a watchful eye on them (and more importantly, on us) should her fierce protection be required.

ALLIGATOR HATCHLINGS

TINY GATOR HATCHLINGS

“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant. if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet

There are reasons that platitudes exist. They take note of things that are commonplace and widely acknowledged. If one searches for quotations about spring there are significantly more than on most other subjects. The vast majority speak to hope, renewal, rebirth, determination … you get the idea. There have certainly been days in the recent past when most of us have wondered when we will ever return to life as we knew it. Surely others have felt the same during trying times in the past – the great depression, world wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters – yet somehow time heals, trials end, and we are reborn with a new appreciation of the things we’d long taken for granted.

WILDFLOWER

WILDFLOWERS

“That is one good thing about this world–there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M. Montgomery

So let us pause, refresh, and reset our expectations. We have been given the gift of time – to learn more about ourselves and the world around us, and to develop a new or renewed appreciation for living every moment. Personally, I’m working on developing a view of the “new normal” as an opportunity for self-improvement, definitely an uphill battle for me – how about you? 

Speaking of opportunity, many of you ran with the opportunity to shine in your responses to last week’s SUMMER challenge. Your posts ranged from poignant to buoyant, were both clever and original and offered some unique perspectives for all to enjoy. We very much appreciate your support of our challenge as we come together creatively to navigate these difficult times.

Have You Seen These?

Finally, we hope you’ll join us again next week as Patti brings us our Autumn challenge. In the meanwhile and as always, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #104 – SUMMER

beach, parachutes, Kiawah Island

FLOATING BY

“Summer is singing with joy, and the beaches are inviting you with dancing waves.”

Debasish Mridha

I’m happy to open this week’s post with a summertime view of Kiawah’s beautiful beach. As you can see, there are two parasails floating in from above, their pilots looking as if they haven’t a care in the world – if only it were so! We are fortunate to be experiencing lockdown in a place where the air is fresh and the sea is a short walk away. Never mind that our daily temperatures typically reach the high 80s Fahrenheit (32 C) and feel even hotter due to our high humidity. We count ourselves lucky to be able to experience nature’s bounty these days.

clouds, ocean, pelicans

AHEAD OF THE STORM

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.”

Kelle Elmore

Our summers here on the island often include fairly violent but short-lived storms in the late afternoon/early evening. In the image above the clouds begin to gather and the pelicans, as always, are getting out ahead of it. In order to control social distancing, we are now required to reserve time slots at our community’s seaside pools. Yesterday my husband and I had briefly considered the 3:00 pm time slot. We laughed from the comfort of our home when at 3:15 the skies opened, thunder roared and lightning flashed. Then we felt a bit guilty thinking of the others who probably WERE using that valuable slot!

Beach, feet, dunes

BEACH BLANKET BINGO

“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly,”

Van Morrison

Yep, that’s me in a lovely self-portrait 🙂. The capture is from a day last week when we managed to secure a slot and the sun obliged perfectly. Note the lack of pedicure – one of many minor, annoying side effects of the pandemic. And no, the toes on my right foot did NOT get sunburned.

shrimp boat at rest

SUMMER SHRIMP A-COMIN’

“There’s a magical sense of possibility that stretches like a bridge between June and August. A sense that anything can happen.”

Aimee Friedman

Summer on Kiawah also means fresh shrimp, which we can buy from our local market or, as shown above, fresh from the shrimp boats as they return from the sea. Truth be told, you haven’t tasted shrimp until you’ve bought it fresh and tasted its sweetness. Our area is famous for its lowcountry shrimp boils; complete with locally grown potatoes and corn on the cob, it’s summer on a plate!

deer at water fountain

THIRSTY SUMMER VISITOR

“Rejoice as summer should…chase away sorrows by living.”

Melissa Marr

 

I’ll close this week’s post with an image I captured earlier this week from my window. A sweet and very thirsty deer had traveled our long driveway to the front courtyard to drink from the bubbling water element. Typically we see the birds dropping in for a refreshing dip but this was a first for sure! I guess we’re not the only ones feeling the heat of summer. 

Thank you for joining us this week and as always for your support of our challenge. We hope summer in your part of the world is a happy one for you and yours, pandemic notwithstanding. (I appreciate the thought in Ms. Marr’s quote above and intend to follow it to the letter 🙂) Please be sure to link your response to Amy’s original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.  We hope to see you next week for a breath of SPRING right here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, as always, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #103 – SURPRISE

girl, seascape, ocean

WORLD OF WONDER

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.”

Ken Poirot

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to share images of things that surprise us. I must admit it occurred to me that if something really surprises us, we’re unlikely to have camera in hand to capture the moment. That said, I set out this week to find at least a few examples. In my opening image, while beach walking with a good friend (camera in hand) I was surprised to see this adorable little one all by herself apparently pondering the majesty of Kiawah’s beautiful seascape.  Now THAT is my idea of a perfect pandemic moment.

“The most pleasant surprise is to get lost in the beauty of life.”

Debasihs Mridha

Yet another moment of true surprise occurred as I was playing golf with some friends on one of our local Kiawah courses. As we were walking between two marsh-front holes I happened to notice two young guys on paddle boards going by in the creek. In this case I did NOT have my camera but I did have my trusty iphone (as always, the best camera is the one you have with you!) and I captured them as they paddled by. It’s certainly not something one would expect to see on the golf course.

pink wildflowers

IN THE PINK

“The more you try to control the world, the less magic you get. It’s really about being open and surprised.”

Larry Sultan

Yet another golfing surprise came in the form of the lovely pink wildflowers shown in the image above. It’s often said that the best golfers are able to notice the beauty around them, enjoying the day as well as the game. This is definitely NOT my usual strength! Again it was iPhone to the rescue as I walked by this lovely natural landscape in the marsh beyond the course. Candidly, I was surprised not only by the beauty of the day, but also by how much I enjoyed combining the game with paying greater attention to the abundance of nature’s gifts.

AFTER THE STORM

“The photographer reminds us that the actual world is full of surprise, which is precisely what most people tend to forget.”

John Rosenthal

My final image represents several surprises. First, it is a reminder of last week’s unexpected and surprisingly violent storm. Second it shows us one of nature’s most lovely gifts, the surprise of a rainbow after the storm. Third, and to me most surprising, I am NOT the photographer who captured the truly lovely image. A good friend with whom I golfed several times this week made the image from her back yard with her iPhone. She and I had laughed several times at my frustration with trying to find surprising captures. When she told me she’d taken the rainbow image the evening before our game I jumped on the opportunity to share her result. The surprise is that I have never before included anyone’s images other than my own, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything! So thanks Dar, for helping me with this week’s post. 😀

Speaking of this week’s post, please remember to add the Lens-Artists TAG to your response for inclusion in our WordPress Lens-Artists Reader section. Using tags can significantly increase your views and comments. For instructions on adding tags click on this link https://wordpress.com/support/posts/tags/”. 

Finally, the Lens-Artists team has a special “Surprise” for July. We will be hosting the theme “Seasons” for the entire month and are announcing the sequence in advance. The schedule will be:

  • July 4    Amy brings us Summer;
  • July 11  Spring will be hosted here on Travels and Trifles
  • July 18  Patti will host Autumn/Fall
  • July 25  Ann-Christine will close out the event with Winter

We hope you’ll join us with your own surprises this week – remember to link to Ann-Christine’s original post here. As always, our thanks for your continued support. Stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #102 – A Quiet Place

SCOTLAND FOG

SCOTTISH FOG

“When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Ansel Adams

As I thought about Patti’s Quiet Place challenge, my mind immediately went to a mystical journey through the Scottish Highlands that I hope never to forget. Tucked away in the remote northwest corner of the country, we’d driven hours on a one-lane road to reach our destination in Lochinver along Scotland’s magical coast.

northwest Scotland road

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

“I have never heard a more eloquent silence.”

Laurie Halsey Anderson

We made the drive in the early evening as dusk was settling in and the infamous Scottish fog was creeping over the hillsides. During our nearly 3-hour drive we saw a total of 2 or 3 cars, one of them shown above.  The beauty that surrounded us was more breathtaking at every turn, which helped ease our fears that another car could be approaching around one of the many blind curves. At one point our only choice was to back up until we found a berm to allow another car to drive by in the opposite direction.

HEATHER, Scotland, FOG

HEATHER AND FOG

“The world is quiet here.”

Lemony Snicket

Around many of the bends in the road there were amazing vistas. Stone ruins, heather-covered hills, small lochs with weathered boats, and one with a beautiful copse of trees standing in its center. The fog brought with it a silence much deeper than that of a city or town. In the quiet, one could almost feel the presence of those who’d traveled the same road long before. 

copse of trees

COPSE

“So quiet one can almost hear other people’s dreams.”

Gayle Forman

It was a long and difficult journey worth every moment of white-knuckle driving. My ever-patient husband never complained about my requests to stop for photography along the way. As the fog thickened, its dense moisture left me, my camera and my lenses fairly drenched by the end of the trip. Happily, no harm done and all for a good cause.  

boats, loch, scotland, clouds

AROUND THE BEND

“Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow.”

Frank McCourt

Eventually we reached our destination and after a much-needed meal and a good night’s sleep we set off to see the surrounding sights by light of day. I’ve included above one of many peaceful scenes, this one from a nearby loch. We spent several days in the area enjoying the quiet and restoring our own inner peace as we closed in on the end of our Scottish journey. For the most part our weather while in Scotland had been amazing and the Scottish light every bit as beautiful as any I’d ever seen. Somehow though, I believe the fog-shrouded quiet is the Scotland that will stay with me far longer.

Many thanks to all who responded to last week’s One Single Flower challenge; and special thanks to Cee for the care and support she’s given to so many of us. It was our honor to have her lead our challenge – not surprisingly one of our most popular to-date . We look forward to seeing your response to this week’s Quiet Place. Remember to link your post to Patti’s original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG so we can more easily find you. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine brings us Challenge #103.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #101 – A Single Flower

flower with bee

LET IT BEE

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”

Buddha

This week we are excited to have Cee, one of the most successful bloggers on WordPress, joining us as Guest Host. Beyond her creativity and talent, she is well-known for generously helping others to succeed. As a new blogger eight years ago (yikes!), it was Cee whose reblog of my post generated one of the largest responses Travels and Trifles has had. I still remember my excitement as the likes and comments poured in.  I couldn’t be more proud to see her leading our challenge with her amazing spirit and beautiful photography.

magnolia

ETHEREAL SOUTHERN BEAUTY

“Minds are like flowers, they open only when the time is right.”

Stephen Richards

I’ll admit that my archive of images is a bit short on flowers. Truly though, any photographer in the southern U.S. will most always have at least a few images of a beautiful magnolia. Fossil records suggest it has been with us for 150 million years, making it the first flowering plant. Unlike other flowers, these blossoms grow on trees, and are fertilized by beetles rather than bees. To my mind, their beauty is surpassed only by their incredible fragrance.

light, lily

LOVELY LIGHT

“The loveliest of all, the lily family….with this plant the whole world would seem rich though none other existed.”

John Muir

Let me be perfectly honest, although I love flowers I have absolutely no talent when it comes to growing them. I am the classic “black thumb”, deadly to any flower that comes near me! I’ve been known to photograph them but not often, and more usually either when plentiful in a field or when they are being visited by a bee or a butterfly. That said, I’ve done my best to respond to Cee’s call for a single flower (although admittedly my opening image may be a bit of a stretch on that front).

partial daisy on green background

DAISY, DAISY

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the daisy of its simple charm.

Therese of Lisieux

Because I am not prone to photographing a single flower, and because at the moment we are restricted to our local environment, several of this week’s blooms are among those I’ve previously posted. On the other hand, they are some of my personal favorites so with your indulgence I’ve included them as well as several new images in today’s post.

pink and white rose

A ROSE IS A ROSE

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way.”

Miranda Kerr

Those who follow me know that I include quotes as well as images to support my message. The search can be harder for some posts than others. Interestingly, it seems there are more quotes about flowers than one could ever hope to use. For today’s post I chose those that spoke to the individual species as well as those that referenced a perspective on our humanity. In today’s climate it’s helpful to find quotes that speak to hope, individuality, and appreciation of the differences that make us unique as individuals yet stronger as a whole.

HUMMINGBIRD, FLOWER

NOURISHING NECTAR

“Connecting our hearts through love yields a nectar so sweet we are forever full.”

Amy Lee Mercree

Sometimes nature simply grants a gift, and our job is to be ready to take advantage of it when it is presented.The image above is one example. My attempt for most of that morning to capture a hummingbird without including a feeder had been very frustrating. Then, that afternoon while golfing near my brother and sister-in-law’s Colorado home, we came upon this gorgeous little bird feeding on vibrant red/orange flowers. I was thrilled to get the opportunity I’d wanted in a more natural environment. 

butterfly, flower, orange, red, yellow

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.”

Ecouchard Le Brun

I’ll close this week’s post with three favorite images of butterflies on single flowers. The first image shows how wonderful nature can be when she blesses us with coordinated colors. The two below illustrate how beautiful  differences can be.

butterfly, flower, stripes, orange

MELANGE OF COLOR

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. “

Maya Angelou

I particularly liked Maya Angelou’s quote above. In these troubled times it is important to remember that nothing worthwhile comes without difficulty. If we believe in the goal, the journey becomes more tolerable.

pink flower, yellow butterfly

IN THE PINK

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson

I got a bit carried away with Cee’s single flower challenge, which you can find here. We look forward to seeing your interpretation and enjoying the beauty of your responses. Be sure to link to Cee’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists tag so that we can more easily find you. We hope to see you again next week when Patti brings us Challenge #102 –  and as always our sincere thanks for your continued support. Special thanks to those who congratulated the team on our 100th Challenge – it’s been an amazing journey. Be safe out there and if possible, try to pause for a moment to enjoy nature’s bounty. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

road, hill, keffiyeh

WINDING HER WAY, AMMAN, JORDAN

“Feel kinship with fellow travelers on the long and winding road toward unification.”

Brian Greene

As you can imagine, the team at Lens-Artists coordinates challenge subjects throughout the year to avoid duplication or confusion. Little did we know when we chose the theme for this week’s challenge how very timely it would be. The entire world has been trudging wearily along the long and winding road of a pandemic that most of us would not have believed possible even a few short months ago. Added to that, here in the U.S. the past week brought tremendous unrest following a horrific instance of police brutality in Minneapolis, MN.

DRAGON'S BACK, RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

WINDING THROUGH THE RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

“The winding road slants downward many a time.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Protests have been taking place in most major cities and many smaller ones, including our own beloved Charleston. Many of the protests are peaceful – seeking justice in the specific case as well as sweeping changes in the policies and programs that foster inequality among our citizens. Sadly, in several cities some of the protests turned violent, smashing windows, looting stores, defacing and burning buildings and police cars, and most importantly in some cases causing loss of life.

autumn foliage, winding road

WINDING THROUGH AUTUMN, NY, USA

“Sometimes you have to stop, turn around, and take the longer harder road.”

Ash Sweeney

Most are of the opinion that violence defeats the purpose of the protests and causes harm in many cases to the very people hoping for change. There is speculation that some of the violence is driven by outsiders rather than local citizens. The impacted shops and restaurants had only recently re-opened following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions; sadly many may now close permanently. Jobs will be lost and freedoms will be further restricted. Curfews have been imposed on many of our cities and scientists fear an uptick in virus cases due to the large gatherings.

path, trees, golf course, Kiawah

WINDING THROUGH THE TREES, KIAWAH, USA

“Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.”

Amit Ray

It is my firm belief that the vast majority believe in the merit of the protesters’ cause, and that justice will prevail in the specific case in question. Further, I believe we will see fundamental change to many of the laws and policies that foster inequality sooner rather than later due in large part to the peaceful protests taking place throughout our country. It is my fervent desire that those who believe in the cause will help to quell the mayhem that is defeating their purpose. Beyond protesting, write to your senators and congressmen and let them know you are watching. Write to your local and national newspapers. Make your vote count. Be an advocate for change. Let your voice be heard any way you can, but in a way which is not hurtful to others. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Utah, road, rock arch

WINDING THROUGH THE ARCHES, UTAH, USA

“Sometimes the only way to find a way is to get lost.”

Talismanist Giebra

Do you find yourself wondering how much worse the problems in the U.S., as well as those in the rest of the world can get? I know I do. My hope is that we will be stronger as people and as nations when we begin to see our problems as part of our past rather than the present. Perhaps Talismanist Giebra is right – we’ve been lost and are looking to find the way out.  Let’s hope we find it soon – the warriors are becoming weary. Hang in there my friends, there is often a rainbow after the storm. 

This week, share your images and thoughts about the long and winding road. Feel free to be literal or metaphorical in your approach. Know how much we appreciate your support and enjoy seeing your responses to our challenges. Be sure to link them to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag.

Speaking of responses, thank you as always for your creative approaches to Amy’s Old and New challenge last week.  Have you seen these?

  • Anne Leueen shares images of medieval armor vs current horse “decor” in her Horse Addict blog
  • Wendy of My Plaid Heart shares an astounding experience as RAF jets fly over ancient Duffus Castle
  • We welcome Meikah of Wordplay at Midlife who bravely shares both old and newer images of herself

Finally, we are excited to announce that next week the Lens-Artists team will be bringing you a very special event. Cee of Ceenphotography has graciously agreed to lead us on our next challenge. All four members of the Lens-Artists team will join Cee next Saturday at noon EST in response to her challenge subject. We look forward to seeing where she leads us, and hope you’ll join the fun as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #99 – Old and New

Gold, dragon, hong kong

DEVILISH DRAGON, HONG KONG

“You haven’t been bit ’til a dragon does it.”

Tamora Pierce

Well, Ms. Pierce seems to have seen the future with her quote – who knew how good life was before COVID-19 bit us?! Haven’t we all learned to better appreciate the little things we now miss? A walk in the sunshine without worrying about masks and social distancing…a friend’s hug or kiss…spending time with grandparents or grandchildren….fully-stocked grocery shelves…a movie or a concert…the list goes on. 

CAMELS, TRUCK, DESERT

4-LEGS VS 4-WHEELS, WADI RUM, JORDAN

“Are you in a desert? Then be a camel! Be compatible with the reality!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Then again, Mr Ildan encourages us to find the best ways to live within the confines of our current situation. Most all of us have learned to Zoom or House Party with friends and family. Our local photography club has found that many very well-known photographers are available to give zoom presentations and classes since they are no longer leading tours. My friends and I have found an online Mah Jongg application which we play together, communicating online via House Party at the same time. Fortunately our spring weather has been beautiful and our golf courses and running/bike paths are open which means fresh air, socializing (6′ apart of course) and exercise. 

ancient junk, sailboarding, Hong Kong

WORK AND PLAY, HONG KONG

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”

Leo Tolstoy

One side benefit of the pandemic fulfills Mr. Tolstoy’s command – I suspect many have learned to appreciate the simple things which may have been missed by focus on work. Staying home with family, taking time to appreciate the small things could be a benefit for those who may have lost sight of them. The importance of our loved ones becomes much more obvious to us when we are threatened with losing them. We have learned to recognize that every day is a gift not a given.

vietnamese worker, baskets, motorcycle

YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS, VIET NAM

“One day at a time. Just keep trying. Keep believing.”

Akiroq Brost

Sadly, nothing quite takes the place of traveling and exploring the world. Many of us have had adventures cancelled or at least postponed. Nostalgic visits to journeys past, such as those in this week’s post, are but a reminder of the joys of experiencing other places and cultures. They are also a reminder to appreciate the travels we’ve had thus far. Unfortunately, seeing the world may be an entirely different thing for the foreseeable future. 

FRAMED, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

“The greatest skill is the ability to persevere.”

Avine Celeste

So let us take a moment to savor life in whatever form and remember, this too shall pass. As Amy’s challenge reminds us, there is a charm and beauty to things from days gone by, but life goes on and the new world soon becomes the norm. Hopefully we shall all be the better for having lived (and learned) in challenging times.

I enjoyed perusing my archives for mixed old/new images and send thanks to Amy for her creative challenge. To our followers, our thanks for last week’s beautifully delicate colors. We look forward to seeing how you approach Amy’s Old and New challenge. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link your response to her original post here. We hope to see you again next week as our 100th challenge (YIKES) posts right here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, be well and stay safe.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #98 – Delicate Colors

IMPRESSION OF SWEETGRASS

SWEETGRASS IMPRESSION

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”

Jenna Morasca

This week Ann-Christine’s challenge threw me for a bit of a loop. Here on Kiawah our summer is well underway and most of our flowers at this point are quite vibrant. I was lamenting to a good friend about my lack of delicately-colored images and she graciously reminded me that there is nothing quite as delicate as our Kiawah sweetgrass. Voila, my post was born 😊.

sweetgrass bordered path

WARM WELCOME, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Life is delicate, it’s fragile, it’s a precious thing.”

Patricia Vanasse

Those who know Kiawah most probably recognized my opening image as an impression of sweetgrass based on its distinct appearance. In the image above I’ve shown the causeway used to approach our island, which also includes a bike path I’ve traveled hundreds of times. In the fall when the sweetgrass blooms it is quite simply glorious. A most delicate bloom, the sweet grasses are a lovely soft green for most of the year, but in early fall their pinks and purples deliver an ephemeral beauty all the more precious for its brevity.

sweetgrass, river, Kiawah

JUST AROUND THE BEND, KIAWAH

“…The fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient.”

Rachel Carson

Ms. Carson’s quote above about life rings so true, especially these days. Interestingly, it could also describe sweetgrass. Its appearance is quite fragile and delicate, especially when the ocean breezes move it to and fro. Anyone who has touched it knows on the other hand how tough and resilient it truly is. 

sweetgrass in bloom, kiawah

COTTON CANDY VIEW

“How scarce and delicate life is, how insignificant we are compared with the forces of nature.”

Aron Ralston

Since last week’s post celebrated the joys of golf, I’ll close with an image of sweetgrasses along the edge of one of Kiawah’s many fairways. It can be difficult to concentrate on the game when surrounded by nature’s many gifts – well, that’s my excuse anyway 😊.  

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for her challenge, and to my good friend Barbara who suggested my response. As always, thanks to our followers for their continued support, and especially to Sue for hosting last week’s challenge. We look forward to seeing your colorful interpretations this week – please remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s post here and to use the Lens-Artists tag.  Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week as Amy hosts Challenge #99. As always, most importantly, be careful and stay safe.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #97 – Pastimes

Kiawah Island, Cassique, Golf

GREAT DAY FOR GOLF, KIAWAH ISLAND

“God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”

Anne Frank

This week we are happy to have Sue, Mac’s Girl guest hosting with her challenge “Pastimes“.  I gave the subject quite a bit of thought, as I am involved in so many things – not the least of which is photography. I decided instead to focus on an activity which is among my favorites for many reasons, golf.  There are those who might say (and I used to be one of them) it’s simply a dumb game. But I’m here to tell you it is SO much more than that! First and foremost, especially now, it is a wonderful opportunity to spend a few hours among some of nature’s most glorious scenery.  Exhibit A, Kiawah’s Cassique Golf Course shown above after a storm, is one of my favorite images of nature’s beauty.

golf, fun, color, female golf pros

GIRLS RULE, LPGA GIRLS GOLF

“Winning has always meant much to me, but winning friends has meant the most.”

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Golf is a wonderful opportunity to meet people, to make friends and to have fun. My husband and I have made many good friends, both here and around the country, after being paired with them on the golf course. The image above features two of my favorite people, both successful female golf professionals in our area.  I made the image as a photographer for the LPGA’s Girls Golf.  It’s an important annual event for young girls, many of them on golf scholarships. I brought along some colorful props and the kids had a great time hamming it up for the camera – as did the staff apparently 😊.  It was a nice way to “give back” for a good cause as well as to practice my portraiture skills. Interestingly, it also started me on the path to blogging, as I was asked to do a blog for the kids and their parents. After the tournament I created the first Travels and Trifles – the rest, as they say, is history.

GRAVEYARD, SCOTLAND

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, SCOTLAND

“It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”

Hank Aaron

Typically my husband and I do not golf when we travel to other countries. The exceptions are Scotland and Ireland, both meccas for golfers. In Scotland we enjoyed some truly world-renowned courses. But one of my favorite memories was the day we played a small course on the North Sea in Stonehaven, Scotland. The course, founded in 1888, is famous for having been bombed during WWII. Turning lemons into lemonade, the bomb crater later became “Hitler’s Bunker”, between the 1st and 2nd fairways. It was a beautiful, peaceful little spot – at least until a typically Scottish thunderstorm drenched us to the skin and forced us off the course 😀.

DOONBEG, WIND, GOLF

WINDY DAY AT DOONBEG, IRELAND

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

Heywood Broun

Speaking of thunderstorms, for the most part we’ve been very lucky with weather when we travel. We did run into one of the most violent rainstorms ever during a round at the Doonbeg Course in Ireland. Yep, that’s me a few years back with my formerly long, formerly brunette hair blowing in the wind and my rain jacket puffed up over my normally svelte self  😊! Doonbeg is located on the Atlantic Ocean, which it borders on 16 of its 18 holes. The fact that they have clothes dryers in the locker room tells you all you need to know! Perhaps the wettest I’ve ever been, I refused to give in until I finally took refuge in a shepherd’s hut and called for transportation back to the clubhouse. At least I gave it a good effort!

golf ball on tee

BE THE BALL, .STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

“If at the end of the day you can’t shake hands with you opponents and still be friends, you’ve missed the point.”

Payne Stewart

During the pandemic we’ve been fortunate that some of our courses remained open. We push our golf bags on our own carts, walking 4+ hours with friends in the sunshine. It’s fun, good exercise, a terrific mental challenge, a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and a wonderful opportunity to socialize while maintaining distance. Keeping a good attitude despite the usual errant shots is a never-ending challenge, and one on which I’ll admit I could use a bit of improvement.

Thanks as always to our followers who very creatively responded to last week’s Cropping the Shot challenge, and a big thank you to Sue for hosting this week. Please visit and link to her original challenge post here, and as always, remember to use our Lens-Artists Tag in your responses. We look forward to learning about the pastimes that bring you pleasure over the coming days, and hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule with Ann-Christine’s Challenge #98. Finally, remember whether locked-down or set free, above all else Stay Safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #96 – Cropping the Shot

bald eagle

MAJESTIC

“There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.”

Bryan Peterson

This week Patti invites us to share images which have been cropped along with some thoughts about their before and after. As promised in my previous post, I’ve included a number of images from my photography outing on the island last week. I was on my way home from a beach shoot mid-week when I spotted the eagle in my opening image. Fortunately, since I had my camera with me I was able to pull over and capture the shot. The bird was quite high up in a very tall tree, so cropping helped to show its magnificent details.  I also cropped it a bit tighter than I might otherwise have to fit it within the width of my post.

red-tailed hawk

PROTECTIVE

“Pictures can be cropped so long as their meaning remains intact.”

Yann Arthus Bertrand

For the image above I was actually on the golf course and had only my iPhone 8+ for photography. The gorgeous red-tailed hawk was being bombarded by crows as he soared through the trees and landed nearby. As we approached, it spread it’s beautiful wings to protect its treasure (probably stolen from the crows). It never once moved until we’d gone past, at which point it proceeded to eat its bounty. I cropped the shot to show the detail of the bird and to remove the cart path from the image. Removing the path put the bird within a more natural environment and cropping brought some of its beautiful plumage into better focus.

Black skimmer skimming

AERODYNAMIC

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Robert Capa

Mr. Capa is right in his quote above, but there are times when one simply cannot get closer – when shooting across water for example. Birders and photographers are fascinated by black skimmers. Their unique vertical pupils cut the water’s glare and their bills are shaped longer on the bottom to skim while their shorter top bill locks down on their prey. Most of us have captured them in flight or standing on the water’s edge, but one has to be VERY lucky to catch them actually skimming. First, it doesn’t happen often or for long. Second, if lucky enough to see it, one has to have camera in hand pre-set to capture the action. I was at the beach shooting with a friend when several skimmers came soaring in, skimming the water behind us. We were so excited I’m surprised we were able to capture the birds at all, but capture we did.  The image above clearly shows the bird skimming and as a bonus catches its reflection as well.  I could have cropped the shot more closely but I wanted to keep the symmetry of the bird’s reflection.

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

I’m closing this week’s post with a comment about a tragedy on Kiawah this past week. A local woman was killed by a 10′ alligator in front of several witnesses who tried to save her. Unfortunately, she’d ignored the most basic rules of safety. First, in an effort to photograph the gator she ran toward it- to a distance of only 4 ft (1.2 meters).  She then got down to its level, and lastly she reached out to touch it. Many of you have commented in the past about it being dangerous for me to be so close to our alligators. Contrary to Mr Eisenstaedt’s quote above, I have a very healthy fear of our alligators and would NEVER get close to one. I use a zoom lens, and most often I crop the shot (as I did in the image above) to show their fierceness. Signs are posted throughout the island warning that alligators are dangerous. Those who knew the woman that was killed were stunned by her behavior. It was a tragic reminder of how important it is to be safe and to avoid dangerous situations at all times. 

Sincere thanks to those who responded to our All Wet challenge last week.  Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I enjoyed the wide variety of your as-always creative responses. We hope to see you next week when our challenge will be Guest-hosted by Sue (Mac’s Girl) of The Nature of Things. Be sure to link to her site and to use the Lens-Artists Tag so that we can all enjoy your responses. Until then, whether locked-down or let loose, be safe and stay healthy!