Lens-Artists Challenge #240 – The Road Most Often Taken

desert, golf, mountain, Palm Desert
Desert Vista

I believe that photographers should be passionate, determined, disciplined and ready to seek out their own styles and identities.

Michael Kenna

This week John has asked us to describe our favorite type of photography – our “road most often taken”. As much as I’d like to have a clear answer to his challenge, the reality is I don’t really have one. For me the subject determines my approach. a quick glance through my Lightroom database will confirm exactly that.

palm trees, desert, Palm Desert
Tall and Stately

“My biggest advice would be to take the pictures you want to take… Don’t think about style.” 

David LaChapelle

There was a time when I primarily captured images vertically, but blogging favors a horizontal format so I’ve adjusted a bit in that area. Now if I’m interested in my subject I’ll capture it both ways to give myself an option. Although many think of me as a nature photographer, my favorite is actually travel photography. Nothing is quite as inspirational to me as seeing many different people and places around the world. Unfortunately COVID rather put a stop to our world travels and we’ve only now begun to dip our feet into some US travel, as evidenced by this week’s images of last week’s journey.

Oh My – what big TEETH you have!

I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.

Sebastiao Salgado

I promised myself that I would take my camera and lenses with me on our recent visit to Arizona and California but as I packed my carry-on it became apparent they would be left behind. Yet another step in my evolution is an appreciation of the power of the i-phone. No, it’s not as capable as a camera with a good lens, but it’s come a very long way indeed. The image above was captured in portrait mode and my phone was far less tiresome to carry as we walked through Palm Desert’s fun “Living Desert Zoo”. Both the image above and the one that follows were captured there. While great for close-ups and portraits, I definitely missed my zoom lens for the image below which has been cropped pretty severely.

Push Me Pull You

“Seeing is the most important trick of modern photography.”

Karl Pawel

I tend to agree with Mr. Pawel above. The most important influence on our style of photography is “seeing”. How many times have you seen a photograph that really resonated with you, making you think “why didn’t I see that??” Or worse yet, how many times have we seen what could have been a marvelous image but we passed it by in our haste to get somewhere or to see something else. We’ve all done it if we’re honest with ourselves, right?

cactus, flower, green

“II don’t like styles. I only like taking photos and expressing myself through them.”

Andre Kertesz

I also tend to like getting up-close-and-personal as they say – closing in on a subject and capturing its essence as in the image above. The iPhone these days has a pretty good portrait mode but I’ll admit I’m a bit envious of those who own and use Lensbaby lenses. It’s hard to beat a soft, lovely bokeh. The same, of course, can be done with a normal fixed or zoom lens, but somehow IMHO lensbaby has conquered the technique to the nth degree.

Palm Desert, Aged
Times Gone By

“Be true to yourself…Figure out your own style and vision and stick to it.”

Jodi Cobb

Finally, those who follow me know I enjoy creative editing. Because my vision of Palm Desert is often one of looking back to its portrayal in old-time western movies, I’ve used Photoshop and Topaz itextures to create the image above.

Sincere thanks to John for taking us on this week’s journey. We hope you’ll join us with your own response to his thought-provoking challenge. Be sure to link to his original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to my Finding Peace challenge last week. We enjoyed seeing the many ways each of us uses to find calm in our busy world. Sofia will lead us next week so remember to visit her beautiful Photographias blog on Saturday at noon EST.

For those of us impacted by Daylight Savings Time, remember to turn your clocks forward tonight, and get ready to enjoy the longer days ahead. And of course, as always, stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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


108 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #240 – The Road Most Often Taken

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #240 – The Road Most Often Taken – bhagtirash

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  4. Great use of effects in your last photo, Tina! I liked the leading lines in that picture. I also liked the Pawel quote. For me, a great photographer is someone that brings out what others may not notice.

    • I agree wholeheartedly about seeing what others may not notice Siobhan. One of my favorite things about photography is that it really does teach us to see. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  5. Yes, you are a travel photographer, but your love of landscapes and nature always shine through. I love the giraffes you’ve captured and the light in the first two images is stunning.

    • Thanks Patti – I guess I’d better start traveling then LOL! Seriously though, I do indeed love nature and landscape photography, especially when the light is so beautiful. Visiting California is always a favorite because at least for a few days I don’t mind being up at sunrise LOL.

  6. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #240 – The Road Most Often Taken – MobsterTiger

  7. I so agree with , this how many times have we seen what could have been a marvelous image but we passed it by in our haste to get somewhere or to see something else. Travel photography – yes, I find when you travel you are more open to new, even if at home you lots of new an interesting to see, you don’t pay attention. Nice selection of photos, I really like the giraffes.

  8. The teeth look wonderful! I’ve also started taking short trips without my camera. As you noticed, the quality is not the same as a “real” camera, but it works surprisingly well.

    I’m also captured by that cactus photo. Do the flowers belong to the cactus, or to some other plant poking through the gaps?

    • LOL the teeth cracked me up I.J. – in fact the whole gator did. The zoo is a really fun spot especially for kids. The flowers are indeed part of the cactus. It really surprised me how many of the cacti in AZ flower, many of them quite beautifully.

  9. Top selection, Tina. The two giraffes made me smile, because of being parted by the tree. My favorite is your first one. It’s a very inviting scene 👍

    • Thanks Andre – yes those two giraffes were really posing around the trees! I was amazed at how they’d created the landscape for them that was huge and truly resembled the native African vistas

      • I was also amazed, how small these huge animals can seem, when in their natural environment. They can easily hide with a single step despite of their huge bodies.

  10. Your photos are wonderful. Your technical expertise is admirable yet your ability with phone cameras is quite stunning. I don’t have much success with that.

    • Thanks Suzanne. The thing about cellphone cameras is a) having a relatively current model (my 12 is SO much better than my 8) and taking a class. There are so many things that are not really intuitive that a short class can help us to discover and use, I really recommend it. There are many on the web, most are free and worth 20 or 30 minutes!

  11. Tina, the “times gone by” edits are amazing – and I just happen to be watching “rick Steves” covering Roman engineering and so that photo fit in with a few of the shows highlights (how cool is that)

    and the “ouch” image stood out because of the decaying sections – sometimes I only see cacti with what feels like perfection – yet so many in nature have the many phases of life.

    oh and I think of you as a “travel photographer” – and then nature comes into play according to where you are – so if it is close to home – we see that souther/east coast delight – or you take us around the world and for some reason, I am thinking right ow about your Great Wall of China shots….

    • Many thanks Yvette – yes the cacti in their final phases have their own beauty I think. I’m happy to hear you and several others do indeed think of me as a travel photographer although we’ve not done much traveling since covid. The thing I especially love about it though is that it preserves our wonderful memories of our adventures!

      • Well Tina – I bet you would have enough in your archives from pre-COVID to fill posts for many years! Haha
        And another thing I noticed with your travel photography is that they really do seem to highlight adventures (from NYC to China!) as opposed to cold high quality photos of these places

  12. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #240: The Photo Road Most Traveled – Calling-all-RushBabes

  13. The Desert Vista is my fave. I must try out that portrait mode on non-portraits, since I do very little post-processing. I took my ZS-200 to Florida last week and only used it one afternoon. All my photos this week are iPhone 13 Pro.

    • Thanks John – it’s such a different environment vs my everyday world so I truly enjoyed the change. I also enjoy the freedom the iPhone gives me vs my Fuji and for this trip it worked out just fine.

  14. Oh gosh! You were here! As soon as I opened your post, I thought, how fun and how appropriate that so often we feel your calm, ocean photos, and world travels as you said, and this week you bring us the desert. Any wildflowers for you?

    I agree, thank goodness for iPhones. It becomes easier and easier to stick it in the back pocket.

    Tina, There is so much to love about your photography, everyday. It is your gift. But the quote above …”What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them” is so you. You don’t just take pictures . Your pictures bring us TO you, and your personality is reflected wherever you land. So nice. AND please know I am about halfway between Scottsdale and Sedona. Love to see you.

    • NOW you tell me?!?!?! Would have loved to meet you while we were there. We spent 5 days in Scottsdale and candidly the weather wasn’t especially cooperative this time around, although it has always been perfect in past visits. We’ll be back for sure and I will find you no matter how well you hide 😊. We saw some wildflower blooms just beginning to pop as we drove through some of the desert areas. Probably a week or two too soon although last time out we hit the superbloom perfectly and I’ll never forget it! Thank you so much for the beautiful comment.

  15. I was just commenting on Donna’s post about how she takes pics of everything and like you, can weave a good story into the images, Tina. Your quotes are always so perfect for the images you choose. I always love your editing and how they change a beautiful photograph into a stunning piece of art!

    • Thanks for that lovely comment Terri, much appreciated. While I truly appreciate the skill of photographers who focus on a single medium, for me it’s all about capturing whatever subject calls to me and doing the best I can to share the feelings it inspired in me.

  16. The quote by David LaChapelle really resonates with me, “Take the picture you want”, Tina. It was interesting to read the behind the scene effort to capture and enhance that moment you clicked. It’s always a pleasure to see the final form and read your stories woven around them.

    • Thanks so much Kellye – I’ll admit I spent more time on that one than most of my edits because I really wanted to match my memories of the “old west”. Funny how our memories play such a large part in our images and vice-versa!

  17. A beautiful series, as always! I love your travel photo styles, Tina. Love the first one especially. I always admire your creative edits.
    I used iPhone for photography early 70% of the time for all 3 trips last year. 🙂

    • Thanks Amy – I guess the real question is, what % of our images would be significantly better if made with a good camera/lens and is it worth the weight and trouble. the answer probably differs depending on the location. I’d have been heartbroken not to have had them in China or Africa, or even on our trips to the U.S. National Parks for example. So long as we have both we control our own destinies 😊 at least for the time being!

  18. Just love all of your styles Tina!! U r so right that. the iPhone has come a long way..but still not quite the same yet as camera. Loving the ;push me pull you’…great eye!!!

    • Thanks as always April for stopping by and for the much-appreciated comment. I agree for sure about “not quite the same yet” but I’m guessing it’s going to be harder and harder for the camera companies to stay one step ahead as time goes on!

  19. Tina, all of your images are fantastic no matter what the subject is. I really like Time goes by and What big teeth. I know what you mean about not wanting to lug around a camera with big lens. It seems like every time I decide not to take my zoom lens on an outing I come across something that would really look great it I could only zoom in closer…

    • Well first Beth, thanks for that lovely compliment. And sadly, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about zooming. I’ve had a couple of suggestions this week about a smaller camera with a good zoom which is probably worth thinking about. I have a friend here on Kiawah who uses hers very effectively. It’s always something isn’t it?!

  20. Ah, you beat me to it! I’m just composing a post about my love of travel photography rather than a specific genre 🙂 Your photos here certainly reflect that. A shame you couldn’t take your camera but you’ve made the most of the phone’s capacities. I have a small Panasonic Lumix point and shoot, a DMC-TZ70, which I take when I can’t (or don’t want) to manage my bigger camera and I find that better then the phone because it has a viewfinder and a pretty good zoom. I see Brian has made a similar suggestion re a Canon Powershot.

    • Thanks Sarah – I’ve noticed you’re back on the road full-bore; good for you! Yes, I also have a friend here who throws here panasonic in her golf bag and has gotten some excellent images with it. Food for thought!

      • Oh yes we’re travelling again and even more than previously – partly because we’re both now retired and partly to make up for lost time!

  21. Marvellous images, as ever, Tina! I would have you down as a travel photographer first and foremost! And in terms of image style I agree with you, “for me the subject determines my approach”

    • First, thanks for the “travel photographer” support Sue 😊, and second for your agreement. It was nice to have some travel for this week’s post, as well as some examples of the different ways of approaching various subjects. It was interesting to have traveled without my camera which I think was a first for me!

      • Well done you with the phone images, and after all the best camera you have is the one you have with you!

  22. Fab as always Tina 🙂. Indeed, I also wonder while packing every time if I should carry the regular camera or not and even if I do pack it, I hardly use it these days considering the powerful features of the phone!

    • Thanks PR, yes I think it’s a transition many are making these days. I think there are still opportunities that demand a camera with a good lens be they become fewer and fewer as time goes on.

  23. Love these examples especially OUCH.
    How true your statement!

    “The most important influence on our style of photography is “seeing”. How many times have you seen a photograph that really resonated with you, making you think “why didn’t I see that??” Or worse yet, how many times have we seen what could have been a marvelous image but we passed it by in our haste to get somewhere or to see something else. We’ve all done it if we’re honest with ourselves, right?”

    Thank you.

  24. A person’s style is not easy to put into words but I think that if we had a photo of yours, Patti’s, Ann-Christine’s and Amy’s it would not be too difficult to say which is which. The backdrop on your Desert Vista is so beautiful, how does anyone play golf there? Love the close up of the cactus too. Have a great week, Tina!

    • LOL an excellent question Jo. One of the reasons I love golf it that it typically includes some of the most beautiful nature in any area where it exists. That’s been our experiences as we’ve visited places across the US. A very interesting comment about our 4 Lens-Artists founders Jo. Might have to think about doing that as a challenge one of these days!

  25. Tina! We were just in the Palm Desert area the last week of February (Indian Wells). Thanks for the idea for some photos from our trip. I’ll do my post tomorrow. Cheers!

  26. I agree with you about the iPhone. I use mine almost exclusively when we are on our walks. My pentax I’ll use in the studio for higher quality images. Love “Times gone by”; great creative editing. Bravo. Best wishes…A

    • Thanks Andrew – it’s perfect for walks, I too use it exclusively there. Glad you enjoyed my edits on the final image, I had some fun with that one! Best wishes to you and your family as well.

  27. These photos are beautiful, Tina! My phone just doesn’t take real great photos unless the color and lighting are just right. I do like it for videos, as I don’t love the video mode on my camera (can’t see well because I have to use the screen). Great job!!!

    • Many thanks Lisa. I’d have said the same about my previous phone, the iPhone 8+, but the difference with the newer model (iPhone 12 pro max) is night and day. If you phone is older and you want to use it for photos I’d seriously recommend an upgrade. I’m using the iPhone extensively now and only miss my real camera very occasionally. As always, appreciate your visit and comment!

  28. Hi, Tina. Times Gone By really does look like times gone by!

    Sent from my iPhone


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  29. Tina, I’ve always been impressed by your skills with travel photography, and no doubt, much of the feel you bring to your images is through the vision you’ve brought out in your editing. I love the work you did on your closing image.

  30. David Lean, the famous film director who did Dr.Zhivago,Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on theRiver Kwai,etc etc started out as a film editor and used to say that he knew how he was going to edit a scene before he shot it. So if youenjoy editing you are in good company!

  31. I haven’t known you very long, but I thought of you as a travel photographer right away. It’s important to be flexible because every situation presents itself differently, but the basic rules and talents apply, composition, light, camera angle, etc. You, Tina, are a top-notch photographer. You have a true gift for it.

    • Well you certainly made MY day Dan! And you’re so right – the basic rules definitely apply. Once learned though, I think seeing is equally important. Like you I’m sure, I’m always on the lookout 😊.

  32. Tina, I lean toward ‘landscape photographer’ as a description for your style, based purely on what I have seen on your blog. I love portrait photography but tend to take what is still and in front of me, which happens to be a beautiful beach most days. Lovely images.

    • LOL, I hear you on “still and in front of me” Suzanne! Somehow I do end up with lots of landscapes but mainly that’s because, like you, that’s what’s in front of me 😊

  33. No daylight savings time for us, so we’ll sleep as usual. 🙂 I thought your thought that blogging emphasized horizontal photos more interesting because I feel the opposite way. I think it might depend on your theme. Mine is narrower in photo space than yours, hence vertical photos showing up better. I also agree with you that you don’t have a particular “road” other than everything being compelling. I love this quote: “Seeing is the most important trick of modern photography.” Karl Pawel

    Have a great weekend.

    • Hi Janet and thanks! lucky you re DST 😩. I keep hoping they’ll move to it and stay there but so far no go. Interesting on the blog perspective. Hadn’t thought of that!

  34. The words, quotes and photos are you Tina. I agree on seeing the photo beforehand. I have a friend who looks at my photos taken at the same place as hers and said “I go looking for photos where you just see them”. I do enjoy your photo edits as I am in that fun group as well.
    If you can’t take all your gear, maybe a Canon PowerShot, which I use is ideal. Small enough for carry on, fabulous telephoto and macro

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