Lens-Artists Challenge #231 – Favorite Images of 2022

clouds, Kiawah, sky
Cloudy Skies, Kiawah Island

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Nothing offers a greater opportunity for optimism than the annual turning of the calendar page. Somehow we enter each New Year expecting that it will be an improvement over the last. In our home that’s a pretty safe bet since my husband closed out 2022 with a nasty case of Covid. But on a happier note, this week John opens 2023 asking for our Favorite 2022 Images. Always a challenge, it forces us to choose images that truly spoke to us, or perhaps more importantly, to our followers.

I’ve opened with some favorite Kiawah scenes, including the skyscape above. It was captured from our beach looking back toward one of the beachfront cottages. Below I’ve featured two beautiful but elusive birds, an owl and a painted bunting, both photographed on Kiawah during 2022.

Backyard Birds

“There is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar, but it represents a clean break, a new hope, and a blank canvas.”

Jason Soroski

There is a special sense of serenity in the natural beauty that surrounds us on our little island. The rhythmic music of the ocean, massive oaks with their gracefully swaying Spanish Moss, towering pines reaching toward the sky, creatures both winged and four-legged – we are blessed with nature’s gifts at every turn. They can be found not only in the places one might expect, but also in the little things easily walked past. Exhibits A and B below, the tiny buds of natural ground cover on an approach to the beach and my personal favorite, a simple overhang of leaves in the nearby woods.

ground cover, buds, plants
Simple Beauty

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

Vern McLellan
red, leaves, flowers, forest
Forest Finery

“A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish….”

C.J. Cherryh

Despite the beauty that surrounds us, my husband and I have always loved traveling, so undeterred by Covid restrictions we managed to take some short trips in 2022. Our two weeks in North Carolina’s mountains were a nice break from summer’s heat, and our visits with family in NYC were wonderful as always. Those visits resulted in the two images below – a true study in the city’s contrasts.

colorful, World Trade Center, art
Colors of the WTC

“The New Year brings fresh beginnings…Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.”

Peggy Toney Horton
graves, NYC, high rises
Then and Now, NYC

“It’s not tearing a leaf off a calendar which will make you a better or a worse man but the attitude that you have from dusk till dawn every day.”

Indeewara Jayawardane

Of course while in New York we made a trip to the nearby countryside where practice makes perfect 😊.

silhouette, Elisabeth, horseback
Horse and Rider – A Silhouette

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Next, an ode to the beautiful, ephemeral magnolia – first with a piece of art I created and hung in our home, followed by several captures from nearby Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens, a magical world of natural beauty.

magnolias, wall art, B&W, tryptic
Magnolias As Art

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Altshuler
Red, Fence, Iron, leaves, berries
Garden Gate, Magnolia Gardens, Charleston SC

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. “

Sarah Ban Breathnach
birds, egret, fish, anhinga, marsh hen
Birds of Magnolia Gardens

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. “

Oprah Winfrey
gator, takeoff, humor
Flying Alligator – Magnolia Gardens

“New year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? …The choice is ours.”

Alex Morritt

I thought about ending my post with the alligator image above, which reminds us to find reasons to smile in everyday life. 😊. Instead though, Im finishing with a favorite Kiawah sunset, signifying the close of 2022 and our hopes for 2023.

sunset, sweetgrass, nature, Kiawah Island Ocean Course
The End and The Beginning

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Life is filled with moments of joy, pain, disappointment, opportunity and growth. May we learn from our mistakes, accept our imperfections and look forward to each new day as a chance to be better than the day before.

Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to enjoy a retrospective of our 2022 images. As always, we look forward to seeing your choices. Be sure to link them to John’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to our Last Chance post of 2022, especially those who thanked us for continuing to publish the challenge. It is your appreciation and amazing responses that keep us going. Finally, Sofia will lead us next week so be sure to visit her beautiful Photographias blog next Saturday at noon EST.

My best wishes to all for a marvelous 2023 – remember to stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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


102 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #231 – Favorite Images of 2022

  1. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-231-2022-Favourites – WoollyMuses

  2. What a marvelous selection of amazing photos taken by you last year Tina! Here we get to see beautiful Magnolia art, lots of colour and fabulous views. All these bird pictures are absolutely wonderful!! And I love “Simple Beauty!

  3. Oh goodness, I haven’t commented yet, and I loved this post. What a year of fabulous memories. But shallow person that I am, I’m voting for the flying alligator! If we’re voting ….

  4. Wonderful collection from your year, Tina! I’m sorry your husband was so struck by COVID, another “life thing” that just will be with us it seems.

    Yes, that alligator made me smile–a maneuver I’ve not seen before. We’ve said this before–we are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Best wishes to you for a joyous 2023 and lots of fun out exploring our world.

  5. Breathtakingly beautiful, Tina! I am not surprised. Your nature images are all gorgeous and the Kiawah sunset is otherworldly. And, for the first time in my life, I have seen a flying alligator! Thank you for the beauty, Tina – may your 2023 bring you (and us) more of that!

  6. This post is teaming with life and optimism, Tina. Such a gift that you offer to photographers and readers like me that is not a Lens-Artists. I’d say, congratulations to a New Year.

  7. I always love seeing your photos of Kiawah – however the gator is a hoot!! Hope your husband is on the mend. We had several family members and friends come down with Covid. So far – we have dodged it!

    • Thanks very much Nora – the gator seems to have captured this week’s attention – now I suppose I really will have to figure out what he/she was doing! My husband has weathered the covid storm and is back out and about thank goodness. I guess the holidays presented the perfect opportunity for another surge. Good for you for avoiding it!!

  8. Wow, you have a great diversity of shots here, Tina, and each time I thought I found my favorite – I saw another and had to change my mind. The photo titled Simple Beauty resonates because I am learning more to step back from the big, landscape-type shots and trying to find the more intricate ‘simple beauty’ photos that are such a vital backstory to have. However, the forest finery and NYC photos have such contrast, which is where my indecision began :-). The silhouette would have to be the one for me, horse and rider… simply perfect.

    • Loved your comment on this one Randall. The rider is my granddaughter. The barn where she rides in bad weather is messy and dirty and it’s extraordinarily difficult to capture a good image there. The silhouette came together because of the bright light outside which allowed me to eliminate the mess and focus on her form and that of her horse. I’m so glad you chose that one ❤️ as it has special meaning for me. For this week’s exercise I chose photos that resonated with me personally, and I suppose that’s really what it’s all about at the end of the day, right?! So glad you enjoyed. Wishing you only the best in 2023 my friend.

      • What a lovely shot of your granddaughter – silhouettes can be so tricky to shoot, and you caught them both at the right time with such rich contrast. I tell you, you need to come to Pendleton, OR during the Pendleton Round-Up, and I’ll set you all up on horses to ride 🙂
        You are right about how photos with special meaning hold a part of us; it is what makes photography special… Especially when others can see it as something unique & special as well. Best to you and your family, Tina.

    • Thanks so much Siobhan – the rider is my granddaughter and she absolutely loves riding. I seriously dislike taking images of her riding in the barn as it’s a messy, dirty environment with bad lighting and of course they’re in full motion. The silhouette approach gave me a chance to feature her without showing the mess😊.

  9. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #231: Favorite Photos of 2022 – Calling-all-RushBabes

  10. I’ve told many people that as good as your photography is ( fabulous) your writing, heartfelt thoughts and meaningful messages are even better. This post is a great example of that. Wish you told everyone I helped you hang the magnolias picture👏👏👏👏

    • Thanks Beth, nor had I !! I may have to ask our naturalists about that one. As for the sunset, it was truly spectacular. I’d have loved to have my camera with me but thank goodness for the ever-present iPhone 😊

    • Many thanks Cee! It’s funny, when we do this kind of post we think hard about the order of the images and of course we want the opener to be eye-catching. Sometimes it’s about the emotion of the moment of capture and I distinctly remember having my breath taken away with that one as well as the sunset at the end. Mother Nature is hard to beat, isn’t she?! Happy New Year to you and Chris.

    • Thanks Kelly and Happy New Year to you both. The sunset that evening was one of the best I’ve seen in the 20+ years I’ve lived here and that is really saying something. My brother was here with us which happens very rarely so that made it even more special.

  11. Wow, what a beautiful series, Tina! Love the images of nature, especially. The Flying Alligator is really cool. And, the Kiawahi sunset is just breathtaking.

    • Thanks Amy – the gator seems to be the hit of the series this week and I remember thinking when I captured it that it was really unique! Never seen anything like that before or since!

  12. I think you have truly outdone yourself with this stunning gallery of 2022 faves, Tina! The opening shot of the cloud formation, the flying alligator, and the rest are just incredible! Have you thought about showing your art somewhere? I can see those magnolias framed just like this in a gallery with a hefty price tag! You are truly an inspiration to us photographers, and I wish you a wonderful start to your New Year!

    • Well Terri, you certainly made my day!! I have had a couple of small exhibits here and done quite well but honestly I don’t want to feel like photography is a job so I choose to please myself and my family, and I do photography for friends at their request, but my days of art shows are happily behind me! I’ll leave that to others with more ambition LOL.But thanks so much for the lovely compliment and wishing you a wonderful New Year as well. How fab that you have a wedding to plan and look forward to!

  13. Lovely retrospective Tina 🙂 My favourites are the one you call Simple Beauty, and the three magnolias you framed for your own wall. I can why you would want to do that, to enjoy their beauty on a daily basis!

  14. One of my favorite post of your to date. The quotes we so inspiring to those of us needing that nudge and the photos were so reflective of your work, yes. And more so your personality. I loved your opening image of the cloud cover to start your story. It is clear even with travel, you love where you live. I found my linger the longest on the WTC mural as I want to know what every paint stroke represents. It is such a profound place to visit and I know the mural has great meaning. Of course the alligator is a favorite, and I also loved the simple beauty of the ground cover. And yes…the good news is we are the pilot.

    • Thanks so much Donna. The challenge break gave me a nice opportunity to really think about this one. You’re so right about the WTC, there is just SO much there at every level from tragic to euphoric – definitely worth several days to absorb it. We’re fortunate our family is so close by that I can do just that! As for me, covid forced me to stop, look and appreciate the beauty of small things. Nice that at least SOMETHING is positive about it!

    • Thanks so much Suzanne, the magnolias are very special around here. I so look forward to their blossoming every year. Now I can see them in the off season too! Best wishes to you in the New Year as well.

    • Awww, thanks LeeAnne. My neighbor has a little birdbath that the buntings seem to love. They call me when it arrives so my lens and I can try to capture it. I think birds must see either a reflection in the lens or sense its focus because as soon as I focus on it, it flies away. Nothing personal I’m sure LOL!

  15. Flying alligator snagged the gold! As always, your quotes are just perfect for the theme and I couldn’t help but linger over the study of contrast. Photographs can really speak loudly.

    To health, more quotes and fabulous posts , have an awesome 2023, Tina.

  16. What a beautiful sensitive post….each quote and pic offered me an opportunity to reflect,
    Ponder, pray….the beautiful skies here always stop me in my tracks… so glad you are out and about with your lens to commemorate God’s genius ❤️

  17. It’s not just that your photos are wonderful Tina, the timing on some of them is just absolutely perfect. There’s so many that I love I will only mention the WTC, the magnolia triptych and the birds… Have a wonderful 2023!

  18. Nice thoughts to start the new year with. Through this road I wish you all the best for 2023 with many beautiful moments, a glimmer of happiness here and there and lots of beautiful photography (like in this series). There is something special with the aligator….. maybe celebrated New Year’s a little too intensely – LOL

  19. Gorgeous pics and lovely quotes Tina 😀. The flying alligator made me smile..it reminded me of a children’s storybook here in India which there is a wise crow who keeps saving his rabbit friends, from a cunning jackal and his friend – a rather slow-witted crocodile, in funny ways 😀.

  20. Once again I’m spoiled for choice, Tina. The flying alligator made me laugh, definitely the most unique of all the shots. The sky in the first is gorgeous! But all wonderful and showcase your photographic skills perfectly.

    • He/She seems to be getting some much deserved attention – I’m guessing that may have been the motivation in the first place! A gator with a sense of humor, who knew?! Thanks Janet!

  21. Those leaves are just so wistful and beautiful, Tina. It takes a lot to beat a Kiawah sunset but I do so love that bird doing a feather and fan dance. Hope your husband is fully recovered and you can sail calmly into ’23.

    • Thanks Jo – the leaves are my personal favorite but the bird was definitely in beautiful form. My husband is through the worst of it, thank you. Here’s to putting 2022 behind us! Wishing you all the best in the New Year too.

  22. Too many wonderful photos to choose a favorite!!! However, have to say that I’ve never seen an alligator trying to fly!
    Happy New Year!

    • LOL thanks Laurel – we laughed out loud at the gator and sure would have liked to know what the heck it was trying to do! Perhaps he’d seen one too many birds and figured he’d give it a try!

  23. I love that alligator who is determined to take flight! He is an aviator at heart… or maybe he’s just spied some flying prey. >grin<
    We are contemplating a trip in February to North Carolina when we leave Florida. We might just have to visit Kiawah Island to check it out for ourselves!

    • You must visit John!!! We will actually be in California in Feb but hopefully we can coordinate! Yes, the flying gator – there MUST be a story there but sadly he/she wasn’t about to tell it!!

      • If our plan comes to be, we’ll be sure to visit the island when we are nearby. Sorry we will miss you on this trip. I’m sure I’ll be asking questions. 🙂

  24. So lovely as ever with thoughtful sentiments for the New Year. Covid, get out of our way. Happy , Happy New Year. Keep on inspiring us with your keen art spirit!

    Sent from my iPhone


  25. Tina, there is so much to love in this post. That alligator pose? The cormorant (I think) biting off a huge amount of fish. The magnolia series. The NYC cemetery. And the Kiawahi sunset. Let’s all have a wonderful 2023 and experience health and happiness.

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