Lens-Artists Challenge #140 – Change of Scenery

bridge, Magnolia Gardens

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes. “

Terry Pratchett

It has been a long time (or so it seems) since we’ve been able to travel to new and different foreign locations. This week’s guest host, Beth of Wandering Dawgs, reminds us that often a change of scenery can be just around the corner and need not involve planes, trains or cruise liners at all.

Just a 30 minute drive away from our home on Kiawah are the beautifully exotic Magnolia Gardens and Plantation. Each year I try to visit at least once, and this year is no exception (although sadly the pandemic did keep me away in 2020). There, all seasons are magical, but spring is especially so. All of today’s images are from my Gardens visits during spring through the years.

egrets, nesting

“The key to a better life isn’t always a change of scenery. Sometimes it simply requires opening your eyes.”

Richelle E Goodrich

One of the things I most love about the Gardens is the abundance of nesting birds. Egrets, Blue Herons, Cormorants and many other species are everywhere (as are photographers). Females update the nests as their mates continually deliver building materials. Interestingly as many as a dozen nests with birds of every variety can often be found on a single tree – rather like a multi-cultural bird condo. 😊 Chicks can be heard calling for a meal as gators cruise below hoping for a fall.

great blue heron, heron chicks, birds

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could we ask?”

Victor Hugo

As the birds busily prepare for, give birth to, and raise the next generation, there is incredible growth happening throughout the plantation’s gardens. Magnolia is the oldest public garden in America, founded in 1676 and opened to the public in 1870. Today it is comprised of nearly 500 acres with paths meandering among camellias, daffodils, azaleas, wisteria, magnolias and countless other varieties of blooms. Built along the Ashley River, it also includes wetlands and a beautiful cypress and tupelo swamp.

wisteria, artistic impression

“You can spend your life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your backyard.”

Khang Kijarro Nguyen

One of the things I love about the Gardens is the way the grounds lend themselves to a marvelous integration of trees, flowers, waterways and structures. I’ve taken a bit of license with the images above and below because in my opinion the natural beauty lends itself perfectly to artistic interpretation.

magnolia gardens, bridge, foliage, red

“The leaf that spreads in the light is the only holiness there is.”

Kage Baker

I’ll close today’s post with a favorite image of a simple azalea blossom, followed by an image of a lily which I’ve posted previously. I include it in honor of the arrival of spring her in the U.S. and the coming of Easter for those who celebrate.

pink, flower, azalea

“Just past hell lies paradise. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.”

Serena Hartwell
lily, light

“The greatest skill is the ability to persevere.”

Avina Celeste

My thought in closing with my final two images is directed toward resurrection. So many of us have been awaiting the moment when we can re-enter the lives we had become used to – filled with family, travel, restaurant dining and so many other things we have been denied this past year. While not full resurrection, we are at last beginning to again see the light of day beyond the view from our own windows. As we look forward to further freedoms, please remember to follow the advice of the scientists and be mindful of the safety of others as well as your own.

Thanks to all who responded to last week’s Special Moments post – we very much enjoyed sharing in your fondest memories. We thank Beth for leading us this week, and look forward to seeing the scenery you’ve chosen in response. Please remember to link to her original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Next week Patti will once again deliver our challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

118 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #140 – Change of Scenery

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artists #140 A Walk Along the Shore of the Bay – Musin' With Susan

  2. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-140-Change-of-Scenery – WoollyMuses

  3. Absolutely gorgeous photography and lovely interpretations. The bridge reflection is spectacular as are your flower images. I love the Egrets and Herons nesting with their babies. They would be great for my Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #140 – Change of Scenery – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

    • Hi Izzy – I truly appreciate your comment as they were my personal favorites. I gave them a bit of an artist’s brush because they just seemed to me like something Monet would have loved 😊. Thanks for joining us this week.

  5. A great spring collection from Magnolia, Tina! Your capture of the wisteria over the river is lovely.

    If the buds are any indication we are in for a big azalea showing this year. I was there yesterday and they’ve almost finished with the primer coat of black on the bridge hand rails, now almost a year since it was closed by a fallen tree.

  6. Amazing – as usual! I love the painterly effect and the colours – so grey here still. No sign except the cranes arriving and the snow drops. Just love the series – and must go back again and again. The lily is outstanding – I can’t believe you haven’t framed it.
    It must be wonderful to feel the return to a bit more normal life…not in sight here as we do not get the vaccine we were promised. If I am lucky…maybe for Christmas?

  7. Change of scenery, I know you don’t have to travel far to experience it. Since moving to North Ranch, a change of scenery can be practically had everyday. When you have 450 acres, and your neighbor has 20,000+, there’s much to see. 🙂

    • Well said Sally. BTW I’m doing an online class with Kathleen Clemons who uses many photograph examples from Longwood Gardens. I thought of the gardens there when Was doing this week’s post. Both beautiful in different ways.

  8. Your images of Magnolia Gardens are stunning! Once again, you’ve done it! Your photos of the birds really are so sharp and so lovely as well as your flowers. I enjoyed this view of spring, something we’re still waiting for here in New England! Later this year, I’d love to visit your part of the country again. There is such beauty in the Gardens–among many other spots. I’m trying to catch up with my posting and reading…after my computer and camera melt downs….Fingers crossed for both of them. Have a beautiful and sunny week!

  9. These gardens are wonderful. The flowers especially the climbing wisteria and those birds. I would love to see these things. Maybe down the road and post pandemic I will make a point of taking a trip.

  10. Tina, Your photos are beautiful. How nice that you’re not far from Magnolia Gardens and Plantation. I hope to see great herons and egrets around Toronto Islands this summer. #Lens-Artists

  11. Beautiful pictures, Tina! I haven’t been able to get to Magnolia this year so your pictures remind me of what I’m missing out on. I also like your painterly effect but my favorite is your last shot of the lily!

  12. Had the joy of sharing your blog with my 6 year old grandson who is fascinated by our low country birds… the busying egrets with their building supplies in tow really got him! I found the azalea and lily just beautiful….may we never take for granted the beauty that is right before us!

    • Oh you MUST take him out there now to see them. It is so much fun watching them building their nests and flying to and fro carting building materials to their mates!

      Sent from my iPhone


  13. In some ways, it has been a pleasure to stay close to our homes and rediscover the areas we love and why we moved there in the first place, Tina. The egrets and herons are amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that heron’s eyes are yellow. Love your impressionistic images and enjoy very much when you include those into your posts! With a year of shutdowns and limited travel, this spring feels so much more precious to get out and explore again. We all need to stay safe and smart these days. Even on my break, I will come visit your blog!

    • I agree Terri, there have definitely been some benefits to the pandemic. I’m kind of a homebody myself so it wasn’t awful for me to have been restricted. I am ready to spread some wings tho, and thrilled that our families can begin to gather again. Thanks for the visit!

  14. You are lucky to live so close to such a beautiful riparian area! I can see why you make it an annual event to visit.
    I especially love your treatment of the bridges in your images.

    • Wow John – “riparian” – did you have to look that one up first?! I’ll admit it was a new word for me and I DID have to look it up. But I’ve now integrated it into my vocabulary so thanks for that LOL. Yes, it’s an amazing spot and we are very lucky to have it so close by. And in fact it’s one of several but is my favorite among them. Re the bridges, the white one in my opener is a very special local favorite which was totally destroyed in the last major storm. They painstakingly rebuilt it exactly as is was thank goodness and it is now fully re-opened, much to the delight of the many brides who pose on it for their wedding photos!

      • I admit to being on this planet for well over six decades before I knew the meaning of “riparian”. One of the parks west of the Phoenix Metro near Wickenburg, the Hassayampa River Preserve is where I first learned the term from their documentation.
        I picked it up there and added it to my vocabulary.
        Let’s face it, there aren’t too many riparian areas in the Arizona desert so the term stuck in my mind. >grin<

    • Thanks Amy – I know you love the birds as much as I do so it’s always terrific to be able to see them building their nests and raising their chicks. Glad you enjoyed my foray into impressionism – I thought those images lent themselves to it nicely.

  15. Tina, what fabulous images. I love the nesting birds, so clear and crisp. Your artistic interpretations are beautiful and flowers just gorgeous. Thanks for posting such beauty to brighten my morning!

    • Thanks very much Anne. I enjoyed putting this one together as it truly brightened my mood to know that spring really is hear (at least in the south!). It’s an enchanting place really, at any time of year but especially now.

  16. This looks such an amazing place, no wonder you visit regularly! I don’t know which photos to comment on first 😆 I love the nesting egrets and herons – I can see I would spend hours photographing the birds! And your artistic interpretations are lovely, especially the one with the red bridge – I couldn’t help but think of Monet when I saw it. But in the end I’ve picked your final shot as my absolute favourite, for its simplicity and for the beautiful words you’ve attached to it. Thank you 🙂

    • What a lovely comment Sarah, thanks so much. Monet was my thought when I created that one so thanks for that comparison 😊. And also of course for your comment on the lily – it’s a repeat but a personal favorite and seemed right for the season and its message.

  17. Tina, I woke up to a gloomy morning and your images just lifted my spirits. I love the nesting birds, especially the heron family. And your inspirational words are very powerful and bring hope with the beginning of spring. Thank you.

    • My pleasure Beth – lovely to have you hosting us this week. The birds at the gardens really are magical this time of year, along with the blooming azaleas and Japanese magnolias. Such a beautiful season!

    • Thanks Andre – the nests are in large trees that grow in the middle of the water so the birds feel very safe (and rightly so). With a reasonable lens (mine is 200mm) and a small crop you can capture some amazing activity when they are nesting. I love being there in season to see them anticipating and caring for their chicks.

      • ah, ok, I usually go out with either my 80-400 or my 150-600 attached to my APS-C camera body when going out birding. So, even 200mm is quite short. Well done! You can even count feathers. Even with my quite long lenses I have to come quite close to get such good results. 👍

    • Thanks Susan – there is so much more to the area than Charleston itself (which is marvelous too!). Not the least of which is the famous Angel Oak – a photographer’s dream! There are several gardens/plantations in the area, this one just happens to be my personal favorite.

    • Thanks Janet – it is truly a beautiful place, especially at this time of year. The gardens are open enough that we can walk freely without worry about what germs others might be carrying. A wonderful gift to have such a place so nearby.

    • Thanks Laurel, I’d say the skies are clearing and spring is bringing with it a new level of freedom. Perhaps not to the pre-pandemic level but certainly better than winter’s gloom.

  18. As you know I am passionate about flowers so always love to be taken on a tour around a garden. This one must be magnificent. Love all the bird photos and that floral bridge is amazing. I am just biding my time until the end of the month when we are allowed to travel a little further from home, but still stay local, I figure staying in the county is local 😊

  19. You are an amazing photographer Tina! I loved these photos. I also hope to travel more in future months. I will now be searching for gardens and parks and nature’s beauty. It awakens the soul doesn’t it?!! Love your photos!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Lisa. Yes, I think we’re all anxious to be out there again but in the meanwhile nature is everywhere, especially with the coming of spring. Awakening our souls indeed.

    • Thanks very much Hien. Afraid not, I have a very few images I’ve framed and hung but none of these I’m afraid. There is so much nature around us we don’t really need to bring it indoors 😊

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