Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

mountain, Alaska, purple
Purple Mountain Majesty, Denali National Park, Alaska

“I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is stay close to home.”

Annie Leibovitz

Like many of us, I find myself energized and excited by the photographic opportunities I find while traveling – especially to foreign countries where so many things are so different from my usual environment. On the other hand, there is much to love here in my own country. This week, let’s give that some extra thought. If a foreigner were to spend a week or a month traveling your home country with you, where would you take them? What sights would you tell them to be sure to see? Where have you found some of your own favorite images? What is it you truly love about where you live, or places you’ve seen in your home country? For example, my image above shows a beautiful Alaskan mountain vista – which couldn’t be more different than my home here in the warmth of South Carolina’s “Lowcountry”.

Oregon, ocean, rocks, coast
From Sea To Shining Sea, Bandon, Oregon

“There’s still an epic story to be told which exists wherever humans have made their homes.”

Jem Southam

Here in the U.S. we are surrounded by four major bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Pacific Ocean in the west, The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Each of these is unique and offers different coastlines and creatures. I’ve featured a favorite image from a visit to Oregon’s rocky coastline above, which those who follow me know is completely different from the many mages I’ve posted from my eastern coastline here on Kiawah Island.

mountains, Zion, National Park
Zion National Park, Utah

“Adventure is not only measured in kilometers.”

Willie Ronis

One of the things I most love about the U.S. is our network of National Parks. There are 423 National Parks across the country comprising some 84 million acres. 63 carry the name “National Park” while the remainder are places like National Historic Sites, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, etc. The landscapes are simply breathtaking. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many, including Zion (shown above), Bryce, Denali, Katmai, Glacier, Yosemite, Virgin Islands, Grand Teton, Crater Lake, The Grand Canyon, Acadia, Yellowstone, Redwood, and Sequoia. Others, including Great Smoky Mountains and Joshua Tree, are still on my bucket list. I would encourage anyone visiting the U.S., especially nature lovers and photographers, to see as many as possible.

Maine, harbor, small town
Anytown USA, Maine

“There are things you experience growing up in a small town that create memories that last a lifetime.”

Carlos Wallace

While most visitors enjoy the excitement of big cities like New York or San Francisco (which have MUCH to offer), there is a wonderful community of small towns throughout the U.S., each with their own special highlights. Above I’ve featured a small town in Maine in the northeastern US. There you find communities that have been built around the remarkable fishing opportunites of the Atlantic Ocean, including lobster (for which they are best known).

9-11, cross, NYC
9/11 Commemorative Cross, NYC

Speaking of NYC, the image above and the two that follow were recently captured there. They represent three of my favorite things about the U.S. First, that the country was founded based on personal freedoms, including religion, which remains an important element of our national identity. Second, despite our many differences, when challenged we do manage to come together in support of the nation and of each other. Third, no matter how big the city or how dense the population, there are open areas for relaxation and enjoyment of nature’s many gifts.

flags, police, parade
Patriotism, NYC

“Someday, I hope that we will all be patriots of our planet and not just of our respective nations.”

Zoe Weil
Central park, NYC, water, bridge, boats
Central Park, NYC

“…air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

Sylvia Plath

I’ll close with three final images that address our country’s respect for nature. The first was captured during a visit to Yellowstone National Park where the geysers and the animals that roam the park are magnificent. The second is from a beautiful vineyard in Washington State, and the third is my husband, who at 6’2″ is dwarfed by the towering specimens of ancient trees in Sequoia National Park.

yellowstone, buffalo
Yellowstone National Park

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

Albert Einstein

Vineyard in Bloom, Washington State

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Towering Trees

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir

Sincere thanks for your patience as I meandered through some of my favorite places and things here in the U.S. We’re looking forward to seeing your own favorites wherever you live, or wherever you’re from, or both! Please remember to link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Thanks also to Jude for Guest Hosting last week’s Textures Challenge. Both her challenge and your responses were original, well composed and beautifully photographed. We very much appreciate your support. Our next challenge, DIAGONALS will be hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog so be sure to check in next Saturday at noon EST. Until then as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.


167 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #227 Home Sweet Home - My Colorful Expressions

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  6. Wonderful series, and yes, there is beauty right outside our doorstep to enjoy. There is a part of me that looks forward to settling back home – home, sweet home – and fully exploring and enjoying such scenes as you have captured here. It is sometimes overwhelming how strong our feelings become as we get older to home. Your last photo and quote are simply perfect. Wishing you and your family well. Take care ~

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  10. As I read this, I was under the impression that you take me on a tour of your town.
    But this was really a big surprise for me by knowing a little more about your travels around USA and more.
    Very amazing, Tina 🙂

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  13. What a great challenge Tina. Loved all your image but especially Purple Mountain. I am again doing everything at the last minute but posting shortly.

  14. You captured the US beautifully. I’m a Californian (born and raised and still residing), and one of the things that I love the most about California is the diversity in food. I have been to Joshua Tree and most of the other parks you have mentioned, and each national park is so wonderful in each of their own marvelous ways. Thank you so much for sharing and for the beautiful photos 😊

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    • Hi Christine – funny you’re the second person to ask that. The photo is not enhanced except for a bit of “dehaze” slider in Lightroom. I can see why you wondered because we spent 8 days in the area and it was the ONLY day that the sun broke through all week! But it really was that richly colored the day we were there, accentuated by striations created in the areas where the sun shone through the clouds. Glad you enjoyed these, thanks for the visit and comment.

      • Absolutely stunning! There have been many photos on blogs that I comment on only to find out they were enhanced. Not that that is a bad thing but something like your picture with those colors! I can’t even imagine seeing such a beautiful sight in person!

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  19. I am looking forward to writing my own challenge response. Arriving home from our Thanksgiving trip, I just realized yesterday that I hadn’t yet done this week’s challenge response.
    This is a great topic in that home can be defined by city, region, or country. My favorite image is that opening photo of Denali, but the biggest surprise for me is your image of New York City where Central Park is a natural oasis in a desert of urban life (not to denigrate a vibrant city, it’s just a metaphor.)

    • LOL re the “desert of urban life” John! Thanks for jumping on this one after your travels. Yes, Central Park is an incredible expanse of natural glory in the middle of the busiest city in the world (or close to it anyway) and is a real treasure! Glad it caught your eye.

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  25. Thanks for showcasing the best of the US Tina. Now if only it could be reflected in the political environment. I couldn’t agree more about your National Parks. They are always the highlight of any trip south. We too have a few more to go to including Joshua Tree. Warmest wishes as always.

    • Thanks very much Andrew – I’m sure you’ve seen more of our parks than many Canadians and probably many Americans 😊. As for the politics, don’t get me started!!! Warm wishes back my friend.

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  27. You did our country proud. From sea to shining sea, for sure. Its hard to look at our country as a whole since it is vast and you pulled it off so eloquently. Maine reminded me of “home away from home” as did the bison. I love the energy you put into NYC and our personal freedoms. It is a great country, despite our differences. And my favorite photo is of your husband. Whether we are present in such a fantastic place, or see it in a photo it seems surreal. Many of the trees are older than our country. A great challenge. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much Donna, glad you could relate to this one. It IS a great county which we must remember as we are blasted every day with only the worst of the day’s news. As for the trees, they hold a permanent place among my fondest of memories.

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  32. Tina, your photo tour highlighted some of the many different kinds of beauty there is in the U.S. Your purple mountain majesty from Alaska is my favorite and I also love the Maine harbor. And your husband with the giant tree is great, too.

    • Thanks so much Beth, glad you enjoyed these. I have no doubt you’ve seen most of these first=hand! As for the sequoia, I’ve seen some amazing things but I don’t think anywhere I’ve been can compete with the magic I felt among those trees. I can always find serenity if I go back there mentally, it just never leaves you.

  33. What a fabulous tribute to the USA, Tina. Your images are magnificent and truly inspiring. Your photos of Denali and Zion and the Oregon coast are really special. I have to visit those sites when we are back in the USA. Was that Bailey.standing by the sequoia? 😊. Here’s my link about our adopted home this year.

    LAPC #227: Home Sweet Home

  34. If ever anyone doubted that the US had an incredible variety of landscapes and sights, they need only visit this post to see how wrong they are! You’ve reminded me all over again how much I love exploring your country. Faves here include Bandon Beach Zion, Central Park and Sequoia. I also lobe that quote about patriotism from Zoe Wall.

    You’ve also jolted me out of my Nepal rut for a gallery of images to a place dear to my heart and not too far from my home, relatively speaking: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-an-ode-to-beautiful-northumberland-shhh/

    • Many thanks Sarah – yes ma’am, the variety across the U.S. is marvelous. Hard to believe there is so much considering we’re not an especially large country. Thanks too for sharing beautiful Northumberland – you’re so right it’s a well-kept secret! Having been to the UK many times I’d never thought of visiting. Here’s hoping it remains unspoiled!

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