Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!



“Travel , photography and wilderness are my addictions….And I’m happy with that…”

Kedar Khepe

There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling “quite a treat”. Thanks to COVID, our local photography club has been able to enlist some well-known photographers who would otherwise be leading group photography tours around the world. At home instead, they have welcomed the opportunity to teach groups via Zoom. This week we were honored to host renowned wildlife photographer Kathleen Reeder, who joined us from her home in Arizona.

elephant, Africa


“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”

Paul Oxton

Kathleen is a marvelous teacher. Organized and to-the-point, she also illustrated her instructions with superb images. Her guidelines for photographing wild animals caused all of us to wish we could revisit the places where we’d captured God’s creatures in their natural habitat. Personally, I thought immediately of our African safari – yet another incredible treat. I would love to return for a “do-over” (now that would REALLY be a treat!) but that is not currently in the cards. Instead I decided to revisit my images to see how often I’d followed her instructions – either intentionally or by luck. I’m illustrating some of her many suggestions with today’s images. 

sable, motion, pan, running


“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny.”

Kim Shotola

I’ve included several of Ms. Reeder’s points in my three opening images. The first capture, of a beautiful leopard, shows tack-sharp eyes, ears up and pointed in the same direction as the eyes, the animal off-center in the image and a clear delineation between the animal’s head and the image’s background. Check 😊.  The second image shows the elephant exhibiting a “behavior” which makes him more interesting. The image of the sable, above, uses panning to illustrate motion and speed. It breaks the rule of including the animal’s legs but as was mentioned during the presentation, this is one of the more difficult techniques to master so I’m giving myself a passing grade on it. 



“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

E.O. Wilson

Another of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions is to use burst mode when interacting with wildlife in motion. Often when using this technique your chances are better for getting one or two good shots – especially when multiple animals are involved. My burst-mode series of two wildebeests in battle resulted in several images that are among my favorites, including the one I’ve chosen above.



“We don’t own the planet earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.”

Steve Irwin

The image above represents several of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions. First, when shooting animals in a tree, a vertical composition is most effective. Second, when possible try to include the animal’s tail – check! And finally, look for tender moments, such as the interaction between the cub and its mother. I would have preferred better lighting for this one but hey – you can’t have everything!

ostrich, africa


“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

Charles Darwin

An interesting suggestion was to capture wildlife in motion by including a raised leg. It’s hard to believe that such an ungainly looking creature could be so fast but in fact ostriches are among the fastest land animals – easily reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour with a stride up to 25′ long.



“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much larger and better in every way.”

John Muir

My image of the juvenile lion above is a reminder of a suggestion that Ms. Reeder illustrated very effectively for capturing an animal’s “mood or behavior”. There is very little difference between an animal that is growling and one that is simply yawning. We were shown several images and asked which of the two behaviors the animal was exhibiting. We got several wrong 😊. So what do you think – growling or yawning on the image above?  

Speaking of lions, I’ve illustrated one final suggestion from Ms. Reeder below. Include space above and below to show the animal’s entire mane. Full disclosure, I had several images that did not do so, but happily this image did – and what a mane it is!

Lion, mane


“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

There were many more helpful hints, including how to photograph through fences, cages and glass enclosures in zoos and wildlife parks.  I found the session very helpful and hope to be able to get additional practice when COVID restrictions are lifted. 

This week we are including what we hope is a treat for all of you! At the suggestion of one of our followers we are announcing NEXT week’s theme. Our host, Patti will share “FOCUS ON THE SUBJECT” on her blog Pilotfish. Please let us know your thoughts – is it helpful to know the theme in advance or do you prefer to be surprised? Your responses will help us to formulate our future plans.

Finally, sincere thanks to those of you who participated in Ann-Christine’s Hideaway challenge last week. As always we enjoyed your creativity and the peek you gave us into what you consider a hideaway in your own lives.


  • I.J. of Don’t Hold Your Breath gave us an insightful post about how people have reacted to lockdown during COVID
  • Ana of Anvica’s Gallery cleverly used clay figures to illustrate her personal concept of a hideaway
  • Khurt of Island in the Net shared a beautiful natural retreat in a densely populated area of my former home state, New Jersey

We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us this week. We’d love for you to share something that was a treat for you – a visit from your grandchildren, a special event, a recipe you really loved, maybe even a Halloween surprise ….it’s up to you. Whatever you choose, please remember to link to this post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Until then have a lovely week and as always, please remember to stay safe.










254 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

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  4. These photos are great. Nice detail, as well as the way you’ve showed the animals in doing various things. Feel very much like moments captured.

    Regarding the early announcement, I think that it is good if people want to plan for it and prepare. However, it does sort of take away from it feeling more like a surprise. I think either approach has its positives and negatives, with neither being inherently better than the other. Personally I lean more toward announcement on the day, but no strong feelings toward either option.

    Here’s my shot for this challenge:


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    • LOL it seems my lion quiz responses are just as varied as our responses to Kathleen Reeder’s quiz – I promise to answer the question later in the week. Africa was indeed a wonderful experience and it was fun to relive it when putting my post together. Many thanks Sofia.

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  8. A master class and looking at your images, I think we can give you very good grades. 🙂

    I have some difficulty understanding this week’s challenge, it’s language stuff. If I look in the dictionary, the first meaning that comes out is “how delicious,” but seeing as you’re talking about Halloween, I think it might be more related to “trick or treat,” right? Well, I’ll see what I can do…

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  10. Beautiful photos. I love that action photo with wildebeest. I can never remember to go to burst mode. Maybe I’ll just set it on burst mode in the mornings of safaris. Also, such a lovely photo of the cheetahs. The only pair I saw spent two hours lying on the ground. Hope you get to do a repeat trip in the not-too-distant future.

    Your theme for the week resonates with what I was thinking of writing for the day, so I’ll be back with a link. And, thank you so much ,Tina et alia, for the shout out.

    • A well-deserved shout out I.J., look forward to your response this week as always. Appreciate your thoughts on the wildebeests – I do leave my camera in burst mode which can be annoying if I hit it accidentally but when I need it it’s great that it’s ready for me!

  11. Hi Tina – the animals are wonderful and it sounds like some great learning
    And exploring occurred

    I think the animal is growling (was going to say yawn but it felt wrong)
    And I like knowing the theme a little bit ahead of time- so that was nice
    To read. And I actually think I missed out on joining in with lens artist
    Challenge once or twice because when the theme was announced –
    I went to ponder and then never got to it – and…. I was once out grabbing
    Photos on a Friday and I remember wondering what the next theme
    Would be – and then the next day the post came I out I realized I missed
    A few photo ideas – like had I known earlier it would have helped a lot
    — so yes – I like to know at least a few days or preferably a week in advance –

  12. Lots of good tips Tina and applied well on your shots. Perfect capture of the cub looking up at the mother. Nice idea for this week’s challenge and I’m for getting the theme in advance.

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  17. Love this weeks theme Tina 🙂 I think my images will be from Africa also. Yes! Yes! It is of great benefit to know themes in advance in my opinion. I think your lion is yawning. I think the nose is the tell.

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  19. Wow, this was a treat for me, Tina!! Lots of great information/suggestions to go with your wonderful photos. Seems to me you don’t have much more to learn, although I know there are always ways to improve and more things to try.

    You know that I like and appreciate the opportunity to know the prompt/challenge in advance, especially as Saturday can be a busy time for me, one reason I’m only seeing this now. So I vote that the advance notice becomes permanent and I’ll be back at some point either tonight or tomorrow with my entry. I have a number of things that were treats this last week but because I didn’t know in advance what the theme was (heavy hint!!), I already used them as blog post. But I have yet another idea in mind, so TTFN and thanks again for the maybe-more-gorgeous-than-usual photos.


    • Your comment really gave me a smile this morning Janet, so many thanks for that! It seems the prevailing opinion is definitely for advance notice so I think we’ll be giving it a try to see how it goes. Looking forward to your new idea!

      • I did laugh a bit, though, as “Focus on the Subject” isn’t very specific. Of course that allows us to interpret, which is also fun. I’m glad it seems to be something lots of people would like.

  20. What a wonderful treat for the eyes, Tina! I just love seeing wild animals in their habitats. You’ve caught their souls indeed, and I love Steve Irwin’s quote. Your theme nicely coincides with my backyard birding, to which I will link tomorrow’s SS post! I do like advance notice, so that is great to know and I appreciate Lens-Artists bloggers letting us know in advance. Perhaps others like to be surprised, but the planners of the world need time!

  21. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge: What a Treat! | scillagrace

  22. What great photos and how perfect they are at illustrating the lessons. That lion’s mane!!! I’d LOVE to know the theme a week in advance – I tend want to look for new photo opportunities instead of going through the files.

    • Greetings Abrie, have missed you these past weeks – hope all is well on your end. “Bootiful images” – classic Abrie 😀. Don’t be a stranger my friend, and you stay strong too.

  23. Tina, your cat photos are showstoppers, especially mother and cub, but first and last held my attention too. Fabulous work! 🙂 🙂
    We all respond differently to the challenges. Some people think on their feet and rush off to their files the minute you post. I tend to file them in the back of my head and if they fit with a subject I want to post that week, then fabulous! Often they don’t, so I regretfully decline. Maybe advance warning would help, but I do like to follow my own path- sorry!
    Can I ask a favour? If you pop over to mine this week will you look past my six words, to Kind of Idyllic, please? It’s my favourite this week. Many thanks!

  24. Pingback: Variety of Tea and Bar Soap: What a Treat (Lens-Artists & #Kindasquare Day 24) – priorhouse blog

  25. Wow!!! What a treat for us to view these wild animal photos you capture in African safari. The mother and cub image is my favorite.
    A great theme and post!

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  27. What a marvelous experience, Tina, to photograph these beautiful creatures in their own environment. Their beauty and majesty are wonderfully captured through your lens. A marvelous experience for us, too!

    • Many thanks Patti – it’s truly an experience of a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade it for any other trip we’ve done anywhere. And that much more fabulous for an animal lover and a photographer! I think my husband got a bigger kick out of how excited i was than he got out of the animals themselves – and that’s saying something!

  28. Spectacular images, Tina. Panning, I’m still working on that … not so much to master, but to be better.

    On photographing wildlife, I forgot who said it, but a park ranger at RMNP said the same: be situationally aware – do not get too close, do not get between mom and baby, and remember they are wild animals. The ranger said too many people forget these animals are wild, on their ground. Most importantly, no selfies.

    • Thanks David. Trust me, no one had to remind us that these were wild animals! Sadly about two weeks after our visit a man was killed by a mama elephant when he inadvertently got between her and her baby on a walking safari. This is their world, no doubt about it.

  29. Stunning images Tina, I particularly like the elephant. It sounds like you had a n amazing zoom session too with Kathleen Reeder.

  30. Beautiful photos! And I’d say you were successful in capturing these images according to Kathleen’s recommendations. Yes, I like the idea of knowing the prompts in advance.

    • Ah Laurel, you’re such an easy mark for a creature feature! Several cats in this one for you 😊. So glad you enjoyed this one, and thanks for your vote. Stay tuned for the answer later in the week.

  31. Hi Tina, I have reblogged this on my site. I love the instructions, and now I will be able to remember which Lens Artist Challenge it was! I disagree with JohRH (sorry John) because I think his nose is too wrinkled up to be a yawn. It could be a half-hearted snarl rather than an out and out growl, but I don’t think it’s a yawn. I do agree with John that the photos are all great and I’m green with envy. 🙂 Have a great week, Tina. 🙂

  32. Tina–these are all wonderful photos. The panning shot of the sable is so good–I am such a fan of panning. The look of love in the baby leopard’s eyes caused me to go back to that photo again and again. What a great capture. The snarl…I love it! I like to capture my little kitties when they are yawning. They look so ferocious! 😀 Looking at how his nose is a bit crinkled makes me thing this cat is snarling. Anxious to know what was really going on, though!

    • Many thanks Lois – glad you chose that one as it was a real challenge! That guy was really moving 😊. And you’re right about the little cub, I had quite a few shots of him with his mama. It’s great when you get to see a special moment like that. As for the lion’s snarl/growl/yawn, stay tuned for the answer later this week!

  33. What a wonderful treat to hone one’s skills with the teachings of a renowned photographer. The mother and cub image is very endearing and makes one realize that animals do have feelings of attachment and love. Such a beautiful selection of wildlife photos from Africa and I hope you get to revisit some day.

    • Thank you Olga, I hope to too but either way I had a fabulous adventure never to be forgotten. It was great hearing the suggestions and ideas of such an accomplished artist – even if I only get to use her ideas on local creatures from now on 😊

  34. Wow Tina, what a great post!! You are highlighting some of the wonderful information Ms. Reeder shared with us at the meeting plus showing us examples of your terrific photography. 😊
    I’ll go along with John on the Yawning lion, his explanation seems logical.😉 Also, count me as one of those who likes to know the topic in advance. It allows more time for planning.

  35. Reblogged this on Marsha Ingrao – Always Write and commented:
    If you have any wild animal pictures or are going on a safari in the next 50 years or so, Tina’s hints she picked up from a Zoom class will improve your chances of getting a good shot. The Lens Artists make photography exciting. They are all stunning, even if you don’t participate in the challenge. Meanwhile, don’t forget the about your Carrot Ranch “Git Along Dogies” Rodeo Contest #3 https://tchistorygal.net/2020/10/20/git-along-an-start-writin/ Monday Deadline 12:00 am PDT. That gives you easterners a few extra hours. 🙂

    • Hi Marsha – first many thanks for the reblog, much appreciated. LOL re the next 50 years – maybe I’ll get to go back someday but if not I surely treasure the memories from our time with these amazing creatures. Finally, thanks for the nod for the team – we all appreciate it!

  36. Yawning, IMO. A growl might have more teeth and gums exposed, like a snarl? Theme in advance might give one more time to browse one’s archives. GREAT photos. Definitely a TREAT to be able to see and capture those. GREEEEN with envy. Well done.

    • An interesting analysis John. I shall solve the riddle later in the week. Don’t want to ruin it for others! Thanks for your input on the advance subject notice, and of course for your lovely comment. And it was indeed an amazing treat to have been with these beautiful creatures in their world.

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