Lens-Artists Challenge #186 – Low Light

egrets, sunset, nesting, lagoon, reflection
Egrets at Sunset, Kiawah Island

“I believe in the photographer’s magic – the ability to stir the soul with light and shape and color.”

Amyn Nasser

I gave some serious thought to my opening image for Sofia’s Low Light challenge this week. It’s not as amazing as some others might be, but it represents a special moment for me. At sunset one evening I came upon a lagoon where literally hundreds of egrets, perfectly reflected on the water, had settled in for the night. I had only my iPhone, but for me it was more about capturing the moment and as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Shangri-La, reflections, light, china, 
Evening Concert, Shangri-La, China

“The water rolls, the clouds move and light reflects off all it touches. How wonderful this world is.”

Steve Coleman

From our little island here on Kiawah we move all the way across the world to Shangri-La China. One evening my husband and I were headed out for our evening meal when we came across this bucolic scene. A small orchestra was playing in the center of a lighted pagoda, with lanterns spread about and everything reflected on the still waters. How wonderful this world is indeed.

Hong Kong, night, light, skyscrapers
Nightscape, Hong Kong

“I have always loved light… Its manifestations serve as symbols of the greatest secrets of the unknown.”

Wayne Bullock

From the quiet of a concert in Shangri-La to the lights and frenzy of Hong Kong, both fond memories of our time in China. When capturing scenes such as the one above, a tripod is a photographer’s best friend. Although you wouldn’t know it from the image, so too is the photographer’s ability to navigate through the crowd to an elevated area where one can shoot over the heads of the hundreds of people attempting the same shot!

beach, Kiawah, moonlight, ocean, shrimp boat lights
Moonlight, Kiawah Island

“The camera captures light, our minds capture images.”


Back on Kiawah, I’ve included one of my favorite beach scenes. The full moon created a path across the sea, while the distant lights of two shrimp boats on the horizon further enhanced the vista. Hard not to smile on an evening such as this.

Light Painting, Kiawah Island

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.”

Trent Parke

I did not adjust the long length of the image above because of the amazing stars on the evening of the capture. It was quite a few years ago and I was participating in a class on light painting with our local photography club. I did love the blue light we created in the window, but it seemed to me that Mother Nature’s own efforts far outshone our own.

palmettos, sunset, Kiawah
Two Palmettos, Kiawah Island

“It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extraordinary photographs.”

David Young

I‘ll close today’s post with an image I made this past year, which I posted not long ago. I believe it exemplifies Mr. Young’s belief that it is very much the light that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. A couple of palmettos, which are found throughout our island, are reflected in one of our many lagoons. In the light of the setting sun, with the full moon’s reflection beside them – they become a photographer’s dream.

Thanks to Sofia, whom we welcome as one of our new Lens-Artists team members, for the opportunity to explore the magic of low-light photography. Please remember to use our Lens-Artists Tag with your responses, and to link to Sofia’s original here. Thanks also to John for last week’s Change challenge, and for your many creative and interesting responses. We look forward to seeing your Low Light images this week and to your joining us next week when Anne leads our challenge on her Slow Shutter Speed site. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.


120 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #186 – Low Light

  1. A grand collection. The photo of the egrets was magical. Before I read, I thought maybe it was a photo from the holidays. To think it was an iPhone capture. Awesome.

    The Shangri-La was my favorite. Honestly, I loved how the mountains were the backdrop, but to hear you say there was a small orchestra playing “just for you” brought it to a different “light”. What a treasured moment in time. You are right, we live in a most amazing world. Donna

  2. Beautiful, beautiful – as always you have captured every moment in the best of ways, Tina! My eyes keep returning to the first one, always. I wish I could have been there to see this moment, be in that moment. Ethereal. Otherworldly.

  3. Iโ€™ve begun reading โ€˜Where the crawdads singโ€™ and your picture of the two palmettos reminded me of its setting immediately. Honest confession-each time the book describes the marsh and I think of your pictures of Kiawah. Capturing such fine pictures in low light setting is tough and yet there was the orient charm, the urban scape, nature lighting up spectacularly. Beautiful post, Tina!

    • Many thanks Sheetal – I’m happy to hear you’re reading Crawdads. that one really reached out to me as so many of the scenes reminded me of home. I’m so glad my images came to mind while reading it – that makes my heart happy โค๏ธ

  4. Wow, you’ve come up with some excellent shots this week! I fully understand why you chose that opening shot but my own favourites are the Shangri-la concert and the last shot of the palmettos – both stunners and perfect for this theme ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. wow. It’s amazing how the egrets are popping out of the trees. Also, the pagoda and the two palm trees are mirroring in the calm water. Very calm and serene scenes! Top choice!!

    • Thanks Frank – I had some fun with this one and am enjoying the responses as well. Low-light shooting can be really challenging so it’s nice to see so many successful efforts.

  6. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #186: Low Light – Calling-all-RushBabes

  7. Beautiful low-light images. I love your opening image of the egrets nesting for the night. Your experience in China reminds me of our visit there in the 90s. It was so crowded everywhere except for the countryside.

    • Thanks Anne, yes the countryside vs cities in China is an amazing dichotomy – probably even more so than when you were there. I truly loved the remote areas which were so beautiful and the people were so friendly. They were so curious about seeing us too!

  8. What a gorgeous gallery! It’s impossible to pick a favorite. The cityscape, the egrets, the pagoda….all of them! I’d love to know how you created the blue light in the window. Is there an easy search term I can look for on the web? I’d love to do that in the window of my monk’s cell image. Have a great weekend and week ahead.

    • Thanks Patti! Funny you asked about the blue light. It was quite a while ago and our photo club had a local professional showing us how to do it. As I recall, he put a blue cellophane filter over a flashlight and we took our images while he focused the flashlight on the window. Definitely takes 2 people. I imagine it could be done these days in post-processing with selective color but I havenโ€™t tried it.

  9. Beautiful images Tina, the egrets settling for the night and their reflections in the water is my favourite too ๐Ÿ’š

  10. Such a beautiful low light photo selections, Tina. I love the evening concert, what a beautiful setting. The reflections of the last image is amazing!

  11. Photographing in low light is always a challenge, but your make it look easy, Tina! The image of all those egrets is astounding! All that low light brought out plenty of amethyst hues and is perfect for my color challenge today. Feel free to link to my post! have a great day!

  12. I’m so glad that you saw all of those Egrets and posted your cell pic of them. Superb capture. Here, I have never seen more than one single Egret at a time. Your image is what Eagle Heaven must look like!

  13. That image of the egrets is certainly special. Lucky you had a camera with you to capture the moment. I am most impressed, however, with the pagoda. Such a serene scene. It makes me want to put on some appropriate music and just meditate a few moments!

    • LOL re the meditation John. We never did hear the music – I suppose they hadn’t started yet. That image was made with my big Nikon which I no longer own but the egret image was on my iphone, They’ve really improved dramatically.

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