Lens-Artists Challenge #234 – Messages

birds, spring, egret, anhinga
“Tis The Season

“Life is an ever-evolving cycle that fosters continuous growth through each season of action.”

Jeffrey G. Duarte

This week we welcome our newest team member Donna, who has challenged us to share some Messages. As she notes in her beautiful post, they are truly all around us, some more obvious than others. I’ve opened with two examples of our avian friends here on Kiawah – on the left a pair of anhingas and on the right a beautiful egret. In both cases the birds are exhibiting messages that they are hoping to mate. The anhingas develop a greenish-blue area around their eyes while the egret is showing off both its green eye coloring and its beautiful feathers in an attempt to attract a partner. These changes are seasonal and are a message to residents that springtime has arrived once again.

storm, weather, rainbow, clouds
Before and After

“Thunderstorms are as much our friends as the sunshine.”

Criss Jami

Mother Nature is a master at sending messages. In the images above we see two of them. The first, from a visit to Scotland, the gathering clouds offer a clear message that a storm is coming – bringing with it a deluge of rain and strong winds. On the right, a stunning Kiawah rainbow signifies the end of a storm as a whistle delivers the message to return to play. The flags at half-mast signify the death of a person of note.

sea turtle, birth, eggs
Last One Out

“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never see what lies ahead.”

Gusteau, Ratatouille 

Above, another of Mother Nature’s messages – this time about the cycle of life. A newborn sea turtle has emerged from its nest, as have all of its siblings whose eggs have been left behind. In late spring, the massive mothers lumber onto our beach to dig their nests and lay their eggs, which hatch some two months later. Those that survive, as few as 1 in 1,000, will live some 50+ years and upon reaching adulthood will return to the same beach each year to deliver their own hatchlings and continue the cycle of life..


“If this ring could talk, it would have more stories to tell you than even me.”

Mukta Singh-Zocchi,

There are many inanimate objects that deliver a message, perhaps none as clearly as a ring. Because of the rings in the image above we know the man on the left is proud of his alma mater, and because of the ring above the held hands we know the couple is about to be wed. The wedding ring will signify the couple’s love for and commitment to one another. The round shape of the rings is meant to signify the eternity of their commitment.

Some messages are even more obvious, for example those in the following two images.

alligator, sign
Trust the Sign!

“Do not curse the alligator before crossing the river.”

Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
Tree, giant, redwoods
No Kidding!

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” 

Herman Hesse

Some messages have become ubiquitous, as shown in the image that follows. On the left, a sign in China and on the right from Jordan. People the world over know exactly what awaits them when they see the bright red sign for McDonalds. Kudos to the company for the consistency of their message – we know exactly what we will get should we choose to eat there. While I’m not especially surprised by their prevalence here in the U.S., I’ll admit I was a bit stunned to see them elsewhere.

McDonald's, China, Jordan

“Here, there and everywhere.”

Paul McCartney

I’ll close with a final image from our visit to Scotland (as you can surely guess). There the kilts carry a message of belonging – of Scottish heritage and of Scottish pride. They are still worn for special occasions, or these days for most any reason at all.

tartan, kilt, clansmen
Members of the Clan

“Ancestors unite the clan, and heaven unites nature.”

I Ching

A warm welcome to Donna along with sincere thanks for her challenge . Please be sure to link your response to her original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also to Anne for last week’s One-Lens Walk challenge. It was so interesting to see the lenses each of us is using and why. We very much appreciate your creative responses. Finally, please be sure to join Patti next week for our next challenge “Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome” on her wonderful Pilotfish blog. Until then, as always please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the ride.

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


93 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #234 – Messages

  1. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-234-Messages – WoollyMuses

    • Many thanks Florin. The difference is quite stunning isn’t it?! Of course only the most violent of storms look like that one, and the brilliant rainbow followed one of those as well. Gotta take the good with the bad, right?!

  2. An amazingly beautiful collection of messages, Tina! Love your birds as always, and the beautiful kilts. Great you posted on them – talk about messages! Now I learned something new as well – you have rings from a person’s Alma Mater. We don’t have them in Sweden either, only if you reach the professor’s degree. It looks beautiful though.

    • Thanks as always Ann-Christine. Yes for some reason I supposed most everyone uses the Alma Mater ring tradition. Duh! I had one myself and wore it for about 2 weeks LOL. They’re expensive and most all of them sit in a drawer. In fact the groom’s ring may be the first time I’ve seen one on a hand as old as his. On a different but related subject we have a fellow here on Kiawah who played football professionally and his team won the Super Bowl twice. He wears his Super Bowl rings one on each hand. My husband went to a golf match with him and said people were coming up to him all day long asking to see the ring and wanting to know who he was and which team he played for. My husband said it was quite fun to see.

      • It seems popular with special rings in the US. I can imagine people would love to see those two rings – Super Bowl is big over there! Maybe I would have asked him too…

  3. A wonderful collection of messages, Tina! I had to go to your original post to see the images, though. I’m not sure if it’s the really slow Internet connection on the cruise ship I am on, or if it’s a bug in the WP Reader, but none of your images are visible in the version on the reader.

  4. Some of these are comical, like Big Tree and the crocodile shot. 😀👍 I guess that sometimes the message is just obvious. And that egret, what an amazing photo!

  5. The ever-ongoing cycle of life is a great perspective to take ~ and your photos capture this so well, Tina. The egrets and turtles are incredible, but the sight I really loved was your view of Scotland, the storm clouds bringing a bit of angst and electricity, followed by the full, beautiful rainbow of Kiawah, bringing calm and a sign to come out and move forward… and with the flags at half-staff, the scene of the rainbow is made even more special. Also, I had to smile at the 麦当劳 🍔 photo too, my first Christmas away from my family (and our traditional roast duck) was in China, and I celebrated with a Big Mac on Tiananmen Square :-)! Nothing quite like seeing and experiencing the evolution and cycles of life.

    • Your Christmas story really made me smile Randall. Nothing like a taste of home when one is feeling a bit homesick 😊 (although a bit of roast turkey with dressing might have been a bit more rewarding LOL). I appreciate your perspective on the storm/rainbow combo. To me it was a bit of a reflection on life in general – its ups and downs and the hope that no matter our issues somehow there is usually light at the end of the tunnel. Many thanks for the as-always thoughtful comment my friend.

    • Thanks very much Xenia – interestingly I hadn’t thought of that one as poignant because I didn’t tie the two things together in my mind but you are absolutely right. Thank you especially for that thought.

  6. I love how you’ve interpreted this theme with such a variety of clear messages in your images. I particularly like the egret and the hands, although I didn’t really understand the reference to an alma mater in the context of wedding rings?

    • Thanks Sarah – in the image of the rings, the husband-to-be is wearing a college ring from his Alma Mater. It’s very common here in the US although for the most part people have long-abandoned them by the time they reach his age. I had one myself long,, LONG ago LOL!

      • Ah, that explains it. We don’t have college or university rings here (or not that I’ve ever heard of – certainly my uni didn’t). Instead people have ties or possibly scarves with the colours in, but that’s as far as it goes.

  7. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #234: Messages – Calling-all-RushBabes

    • Thanks so much Nora – and absolutely, that little hatchling is a memory that will always be with me. It’s incredible watching them make their way to the water, especially knowing how few of them live to return one day.

  8. Great post, Tina, and we’ll done for the variety of messages. Love the egret, and the header is brilliant…yes, we do need to switch off phones and talk to people….

  9. You grab my heart with the first two shots, especially the one on the right of the egret!! Loved the sea turtles eggs. To me, the rainbow is the best, the message from God that He will never again sent a flood to cover the entire earth. The McDo sign makes me a bit sad because although I understand the positive side of going into a business knowing what to expect (generally), I bemoan malls that are all the same stores as the other malls and that some of that has spread to other countries. Positives and negatives as with everything else, but I do miss the small, personalized businesses.

    • Thanks Janet – especially of course for the rainbow comment. Always hoping and most often seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I do agree with you about the McD/malls/etc. I was especially sad to see something like McD in places where traditional foods are so much tastier and healthier. I especially feel sad about small, independent bookstores. We’re about to lose my favorite here on Kiawah. Sigh.

      • There’s an excellent independent bookstore in Naperviile with, I think, two other locations in the suburbs of Chicago. They always get big name authors for presentations and book signings. But overall, there are too few anymore.

  10. Tina, so much to enjoy and smile about here. the Big tree sign sitting so big near the photo had layered messages – as did your quotes along the way.
    The hands and rings photo is extra warm today and esp that quote ““If this ring could talk, it would have more stories to tell you than even me.”

  11. I don’t need to tell you how much I love your photography, I know you know. You photos always warrant more than one look and the stories you tell, with or without words, are ever present. This week I loved the info about anhingas an egrets eye color during mating season.

    A stormy Scotland and a rainbow timed perfectly for the flags, a great message. The turtle is probably my favorite, and I am sure you often feel like a cheerleader when you see the stragglers. “come on you got it” Do they ever close the island when the turtles come a shore? Seems like it would draw too many people to Kaiwah. The symbolism, the signs, the kilts, your final sentence; all of it. Always an exemplary example for us to follow. Thank you again, Tina.

    • Well I’m blushing a bit at your comment Donna, so many thanks for that! We adore and protect the turtles here and are one of the busiest hatchling spots in the country. Residents and visitors are invited to join the “turtle patrol” each morning before sunrise. We do not allow lights on any of the beachfront home after 9 pm in any windows that face the beach. We fence the nests against predators, and the beach patrol is vigilant on protecting the hatchlings as they leave the nest.They use flashlights to light the way for the little ones who get lost. One of the most poignant moments I’ve had here was seeing the very last little hatchling who emerged with a bad flipper and struggle all the way to the water but did eventually make it. Theirs is a VERY difficult life and most are eaten by predators very early on. It amazing to see and understand.

      • Fascinating, isn’t it? I am so glad to hear of your patrol otherwise I suspect it would become a circus, and the residents don’t want that either.

  12. The images convey countless messages this week, Tina, as I have found that most of your images do. Gotta love the Micky-D’s logos that speak volumes worldwide as well as the alligator warning sign complete with a resident! My fave is the baby sea turtle hatching and running–truly compelling with the quote and the information you shared. Funny, I have seen several posts where Scotland or European River cruises are implied–love those kilts–I think the hints are hard to ignore (especially since I just received my Rick Steve’s Scotland book in the mail 🙂 Have a lovely week!

    • Thanks so much Terri – it seems the Universe is urging you to see the Scots in person! We were very fortune in that our daughter-in-law’s family is from Scotland and they truly know what to see and where to go. My husband and I drove the entire country from end to end and shore to shore. that’s one of its beauties – it is VERY drivable and you can manage to see SO much in a relative short time.

  13. Great post in narrative and images Tina! I have never seen and egret feather like that. Brilliant photo. I also like your life cycle message of the hatchling turtle. It’s so sad that so few of them make it. I especially liked the closing image of kilts captured as the men were walking, maybe playing bagpipes. Awesome post.

    • Many thanks Anne – first, yes indeed several of the men but not all did have bagpipes. They’re so proud of their clans over there. And I agree the breeding plumage is amazing. We see it quite often as so many of the large bird species choose to nest and raise their chicks here. It’s warm and they are well protected. This year I’ll work on getting a bigger picture of one of the nesting areas so readers can see how plentiful the nests are. On one small lagoon about a mile away there must have been 30 nests around a very small lagoon – the level of noise from the chirping was amazing!

  14. Oh, what a very different take on the challenge the earlier part of your post is. Lovely. And how DID you take that Big Tree photo? But my eye was also taken by the very first photo in your header photo. I’ve seen its twin several times, and yes … we should talk to each other in public spaces. But here at home, it’s great to have established blogging ‘friendships’ all over the world.

    • Thanks Margaret, glad you enjoyed these. I agree wholeheartedly about the sign in the header and I too have seen it in several places. I love the places that say NO PHONES !! Then again, I hate them when there’s an especially compelling photo. I supposed we’re darned if we do and darned if we don’t as they say!

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