Up Close and Personal – Weekly Photo Challenge

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

Henry Miller

(6 photos)



This week Brie Anne has challenged us to share some close-up photography. As she points out, there is no need for special equipment to create details such as those in this week’s post. Because I’ve been a bit consumed with packing for our impending move, I’ve reached into the archives to share some of my favorites close ups.



“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the things I love about photography is that it causes you to stop and notice the smallest details. For example, we often pause to admire a field of beautiful sunflowers raising their heads to the sky, but how many of us have actually stopped to study the back of the flower, or the texture of the stalk?



 “The closest thing to Heaven, is having a peaceful mind, and a beautiful, pure heart.”  

Anthony Liccione

I have a good friend here on Kiawah who is obsessed with dragonflies. She’s also a photographer and has some amazing captures of these tiny, fast-moving creatures. The secret, she tells me, is to find a spot that they frequent and then sit quietly until they are used to you, at which point they’ll return to their usual routine. I find that to be true of most of nature’s creatures – and stillness is also a balm for a busy mind often cluttered with unnecessary chatter. So Suzie – this one’s for you 😊.



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

Robert Capa

Over the years I’ve shared many examples of the lowcountry’s magnificent oaks. The shot above closes in on the symbiotic relationship between the beautiful spanish moss and the intricate turns of the oak’s beautiful branches. Often the details of a scene are more compelling than the big picture.



“Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

This spring I shared many shots of baby chicks in an amazing bird rookery I was privileged to visit. The capture above is a close-up of one of the nests in which the eggs hadn’t quite hatched. I loved their soft blue color and wondered which of the mama birds might be waiting for this brood to appear.



“Keep close to nature’s heart.”

John Muir

Finally, the classic palm frond, found everywhere here in the south, and always beautiful, especially in it’s luminous center.

Interestingly, this week a study was published about the impact on city dwellers who spent 30 minutes walking in a natural setting vs indoors. Physical changes in the brain which have been proven to indicate a lessening of negativity were seen in all of the nature walkers; no change was found in the control group.  I for one am a strong believer in nature’s ability to soothe a troubled mind and deliver us back to our happier selves. So much the better if we do so with camera in hand 😊.

To close in on some other bloggers’ subjects, click here.

102 thoughts on “Up Close and Personal – Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Pingback: Napoli unplugged | litadoolan

  2. There is such beauty to be found if you look close enough, and then what a sight as you have shown here Tina. The wings of gold shots is really stunning, but of course my eyes rest most comfortably on your “morning light” shot…reminds me of the mysteries of your part of the States that I have yet to see. Enjoy your week ~

    • I’m with you on that choice Randall – I love the thought of eye resting – that’s perfect actually. You can just use your sensory imagination to feel a soft breeze blowing through the mosses as the sun lights them on it’s way through the horizon. That’s just how it felt!

      • Yes, letting the breeze create a little show with the moss and lighting ~ a nice place to enjoy the day ~ hope the summer is treating you well!

  3. Each of these is lovely, Tina, and the one of the dragonfly is absolutely stunning! I have fallen out of the habit of participating in the weekly challenge, I really need to get back to it!

  4. I love macros and your close ups are wonderful, Tina. Thank you for: “stillness is also a balm for a busy mind often cluttered with unnecessary chatter.” – it’s in my little books of gem.
    All the best, downsizing is hard work, I know, not always easy to let go, but such a relief afterwards …
    Dina x

    • Very impressed to have made your little book Dina 😄. Downsizing IS hard work but with every thing I toss or donate I feel a bit lighter so well worth the effort! Thanks for your visit and comment – enjoy your sail!

  5. Love the shot of the dragonfly, and the advice from your friend about becoming part of the scenery until they are used to you. They seem to like to sit at the highest point nearby. Saw one just last night, tried to catch him with my cellphone, but I invaded his space and he left.

  6. Gorgeous close up photography – I think macro is my favorite type of photography – I am always surprised by the detail I see when I look at the pictures on the computer

  7. Beautiful shots Tina! Macros do change our perspective on life around us, making us appreciate the finer details more. I love the details you captured in the butterfly and dragonfly images and but also the unique perspective in the photograph of the sunflower.
    Hope you get done with the packing soon Tina. It can be a bit of a grind, I know 🙂

    • A grind indeed Uday, but it also gives us a feeling of freedom the more we toss or donate. I can see why the whole “simplify” movement was born!! Have a great week.

  8. I also love that aspect of photography, and once you start looking closely there is so much to see – the dragonfly is a good example of that, what an extraordinary being it is! I’m not surprised about the science of nature walks, and am urgently in need of one. I recently saw some research that people who looked up at a tall tree for a few minutes were more likely to act altruistically immediately afterwards, than people who looked up at a tall building – so it’s definitely good for us all to be more engaged with our natural environment. Good luck with your move.

    • Thanks Maamej – we’re well on our way to being ready. It’s always that last day or two that turn into a frenzy isn’t it?! Thanks for your visit and I loved the tree vs bldg story!!

  9. Thank you for the beautiful post while you are busy with packing. Stunning captures, love the dragonfly and butterfly shots especially!

  10. Beautiful images and inspiring quotes to go with them. I hope you’re move goes well and I look forward to exploring your new home with you when you get settled in. Are you moving far?

  11. Beautiful captures and interpretation of the theme, Tina. I love the first quote by Miller. Looking closely and paying close attention to something: worlds within worlds appear right before our eyes. I like that. My favourite photo has to be the one of the dragonfly, Mr Golden Wings 😀 He looks so delicate, yet in that position so strong and mighty. It has a cute little round head too 🙂

    So true. So many of us don’t really think much about shooting the back. Like me…and now I will think otherwise. Thanks for inspiring 🙂

    • My pleasure Mabel, thanks for your lovely comment. The thing I loved about that dragonfly shot over the many others I took was that she/he seemed to be looking straight at me and I wondered what the heck he was thinking! Do bugs think do you think???

  12. That back of a sunflower is a beauty, Tina 🙂 The devil is in the detail? Funny old saying, but I love the Miller quote. Are you moving far? Not that it makes much difference how far- it’s the effort of sorting and packing! Perish the thought! 🙂 Happy moving!

    • Thanks Jo – and yep, you got that right – it’s the sorting and packing that gets you!!! We had boxes never opened from when we moved from NJ in 2000 !!! Needless to say, those went straight to trash – obviously there was nothing THERE that was really needed. I did have fun strolling down memory lane as I made my way through the morass though! Everyone should do it every few years – it would be much easier and still have the element of nostalgia! Not moving far tho, just downsizing locally here.

  13. The Spanish moss photo is beautiful, Tina. I have photographed it in B&W because it looked so creepy, but through your eyes it is gorgeous. I hope your move goes well and you find wonderful new opportunities to capture.

  14. These are truly fantastic photos.. If you are moving, please stay in touch with your old college roomy..

  15. You are so right when you say we need to look at the small things. I love doing that too and am enjoying seeing the adventures in all matter of mundane things in my daily post project. I love your photos in this post and your words are a perfect match.

    • Thanks very much Debbie – I do think photographers pay more attention to details but on the other hand sometimes it’s hard to look at the world without visualizing it within a frame so I guess you gotta take the good with the bad!!

  16. How did u ever capture ‘wings of gold’?????? Incredible!! They are all outstanding…. just fabulous!!!

  17. I have to get out there and embrace those little bugs I’m so scared of. You photographed the butterfly and drangonfly beautifully. AND … I like the idea of taking back photos of daisies. Clever …!!! These are all super great photographs, Tina. 😍

    • Thanks very much Isadora – I’m not much of a bug fan either but butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies all have a certain appeal. I suppose even an especially colorful caterpillar might appeal as well. As for the rest? UGH!!

  18. Tina, I can attest firsthand to the efficacy of being out in nature every day or whenever possible. The mornings I can’t walk (because I have to be at work too early), I really miss it. Your beautiful photos take us there without leaving the house. Probably best viewed with a nature soundtrack in the background. 🙂

    Blessings on your move, wherever it takes you.


    • Thanks Janet – and I sure agree w you about nature walks. First time I’ve seen science about it tho; thought that was really interesting. As for the move, just downsizing nearby so it’s not taking us very far at all 😊

    • Thanks Stacy – I agree with you, bugs are DEFINITELY not my thing! But I do like dragonflies and butterflies – kind of like squirrels vs rats…..beauty in the eye of the beholder and all 😊. And no, we’re not leaving Kiawah, just downsizing. Still a major effort to get it all done tho, isn’t it?!

      • Ooh, how I wish to downsize too, Tina. We’re getting ready to become empty nesters in exactly three weeks and if I had my druthers, I’d prefer to return home to a one-level condo than to my current house 🙂 Good luck with your move. Glad to hear you’re staying in your beloved Kiawah. As for butterflies, those I can handle 🙂

  19. A frond, a frond, my kingdom for a front. I know it’s not a real quote but I do love that frond. Great gallery of close ups Tina. I love your Henry Miller quote, it’s message is similar to one of my favourites from Albert Schweitzer, which I think I have used on thechangingpalette and is also perfect for the weekly photo challenge: “In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.” Best wishes for a creative week ahead 🙂

  20. I applaud you for shooting the back of the flower. It’s a good reminder because most people overlook the back side which can be just as pretty.

    • Congrats on your major move Kelly!! We are simply downsizing from our big house to a smaller home also on Kiawah. But we’re off to Colorado and then Scotland between moves so I’m fortunate to have some fun adventures ahead as well! Enjoy the new environs!!

      • Thanks Tina! Hope your move goes well. Colorado and Scotland! What fun destinations! Have a great time. I look forward to seeing both places through your lens! 🙂

  21. Love ‘Wings of Gold’, truly beautiful. But that said, your images are always great to see! All the best with your move..I can empathise as I am in the same position and I still have loads to do,….

    • Thanks Sylvia – I remember the day I shot that one, the sunrise was gorgeous which was a good thing because I was up at 4 am to get to the location before the sun came up!

    • Thanks Jude – glad they appealed! Not moving far, just downsizing but what a job the packing is. I really wanted to parse through 15 years of collecting “things” so as not to move unnecessary stuff. It’s been quite a walk down memory lane going through it all!

  22. Tina, as always, your photography is amazing. The “Wings of Gold” dragon fly is magical; your thoughts and quotes are inspirational. I’m surrounded by nature here at our country home in NY…keeping close to nature’s heart.

  23. These are really lovely pictures as always Tina, with some smashing quotes to go with them! I do love that spanish moss but not all the insects that live in it.. 🙂

    • Thanks Adrian – LOL re the insects. I know someone who brought some spanish moss in to include with a floral display – UGH, I’m guessing she’ll never do that again!!

  24. Lovely photos – especially the top ant photo and the butterfly; the colours of the butterfly look so good with the flower it has chosen to feed on. It is very true that if you take photographs, especially macro then you notice so much more in the garden. I was lucky enough to get a macro lens last year and have been amazed at the detail I have since noticed in plants and seeds. I, too hope to be able to find some interesting shots for this challenge.

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