Lens-Artists Challenge #47 – Elements

“A great silent space holds all of nature in its embrace. It also holds you.”

Eckhart Tolle

Scottsdale water fountain with metal umbrellas


“If precious metals had been abundant, they would not have been precious.”

Harry Hazlitt

This week Amy has asked us to explore the fundamental elements of existence defined by ancient Chinese culture – wood, metal, fire, water and earth. Today’s science has identified somewhat more significant elements – such as the atom for example – but those might be a bit more difficult to photograph 🙂.  So in response to Amy’s challenge, the image above features a double hit including both metal and water.  I came across the “sculpture/Fountain/Water Distribution System” during a recent visit to Scottsdale, Arizona.  While there I also captured the wood  image below as I was hiking to photograph their glorious superbloom. I loved that the fallen cactus had become a vessel around which the blossoms were thriving – a testament to nature’s resilience.

fallen cactus, flowers


“Wood is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

As for water, I was surprised to come across these beautiful spoonbills last week foraging in a nearby marsh. Typically they”d have left our area by now. They serve as a gentle reminder of the dependence of all living things on the availability of fresh water. As Sylvia Earle said “No water, no life.”

3 roseate spoonbills in water


“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

Benjamin Franklin

I’ve previously shared several images of the beautiful rose walls of Petra in Jordan. Perhaps more amazing than the walls themselves is the glow of the canyons as they are kissed by the rays of the sun. To my eye it seems they are as if on fire as the shadows and sunlight dance across the rocky chasms. (See what I did there? 🙂)



“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

Marlee Matlin

The candles below are a more literal portrayal of the fire element captured during our visit to Israel this past fall.  Pausing in the quiet of a church vestry one can often feel the emotions of the remembrance of loved ones lost. As we here in the U.S. celebrate Memorial Day, let it serve as a reminder of the true spirit of the day – to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and the families they’ve left behind.

burning candles


“The most tangible of all visible mysteries – fire.”

Leigh Hunt 

Thanks to Amy for her very unique challenge. To view her post, click here. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you, and hopefully tune in next week for Challenge #48 right here on Travels and Trifles. Have a great week everyone.


NOTE: Thanks to Allan G. Smorra of Ohm Sweet Ohm, I was prompted to further explore the art installation in my opening image. If you’re interested, you can read more about “Copper Falls” here.






95 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #47 – Elements

  1. I do just love your insight and creativity as expressed through your photos and quotes. Thanks. I have been off social media for a bit but saved the email notices about your blogs, so I could catch up. If I had seen this earlier, I might’ve posted a response to this challenge. Instead, I will just enjoy yours!

  2. Hi, Tina. I’ve never seen in person a spoonbill, and I didn’t know spoonbills could be found in Arizona. I like their plumage and the way they look! Your image of Petra reminds me of parts of the southwest I’d like to see, and that’s Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. We missed out on a daytrip to Sedona from Flagstaff (snow day in October!); so, next time, I’d like to spend an extra couple of days in the Flag area, exploring more of the town, Sedona, and Williams. There’s more, but I should stop. 😅

    • Hi Henry – no spoonbills in Arizona, that image is from here on Kiawah in South Carolina. I’ve been to Zion and Sedona (marvelous photo ops) but Antelope was flooded during our visit. Appreciate your stopping by!

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  4. what a beautiful post Tina….such great detail in each shot…very calming on this memorial holiday!! happy happy to ya😜

  5. If you go by this ancient classification, then every photo is fire, earth, and metal looking at other elements! Wonderful photos as always. I love those roseate spoonbills. Bird watching in the Americas is on my bucket list.

  6. Such an apt interpretation of this week’s challenge, Tina. The four elements are found all around us in the everyday things that we see and places we pass through. Through your words, you also show how all four of them are interrelated – all are part of life and sustaining life on this planet. Hard to pick a favourite out of this set. I do really like the canon and the candle-lit shots. There’s something so alive about warm colours and light. Have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

  7. This is a fabulous challenge and I am fascinated by your response to it. Photos with two of the elements, one element and as for the Fire…. well that is a stunning one.

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  9. Was off exploring it as you were posting the link. Looks wonderful. I also did a bit of further exploration on the element and have now added a link to the end of my post. thanks Allan!

  10. Beautiful solutions to the challenge, Tina.

    Have you ever visited Arcosanti in Arizona, or the Cosanti foundry in Scottsdale where they make the bells? Your first photo brought them to mind.

  11. I’m so in awe with this set of photo. Each photo interprets the element so very beautifully.
    I, too, love the water running through the metal. 🙂

  12. The spoonbills are beautiful, Tina. I knew they weren’t flamingo, but I tried guessing…..Always outstanding photos. Always. Happy weekend to you.

  13. Fantastic photos, Tina – and a vibrant answer to Amy’s challenge! Your posts are always a feast for the eye, but this time my favorite is not the one you might think…in fact I was so taken by the metal and water fountain, I stayed with it for several minutes. Spectacular.

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