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Come Join Us! A NEW Weekly Photo Challenge

Do you miss sharing your creative ideas and photos each week in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge? We do. That’s why we’re inviting you to join us for the new LENS ARTISTS weekly photo challenge. Our goal is to continue our creative community on WordPress.

Each Saturday at noon EST we will publish a photo challenge similar in form to the now-defunct WPC. If you choose to participate, please make sure to tag your post with the name of our group LENS-ARTISTS so that all of the responses can be found together in the WP Reader. Please also include a link to the challenge moderator’s original post (links to the posts within the Reader will not work correctly). One of our 4 moderators will host the challenge each week.

Week 1 – Patti of https://pilotfishblog.com/

Week 2 – Ann-Christine aka Leya of https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/

Week 3 – Amy of https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/

Week 4 – Tina of https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/

Be sure to subscribe to all 4 blogs to receive the weekly challenges. Patti will post the first challenge on Saturday, July 7.

To remind us of what we’re missing, here are two of my personal favorite photos from previous WPC challenges.

First, a capture of Kiawah’s amazing beach at low tide from April 25, 2018’s “LINES”. This image caught the attention of another Kiawah resident who ordered a framed 16×20 canvas for her home 😀.

LINES IN THE SAND

LINES IN THE SAND

And from further back in the archives, October 2016’s Challenge “LOCAL”, a capture of a local shrimpboat headed out at sunrise. This one I framed for myself and hung over my living room fireplace.

SHRIMPBOAT AT SUNRISE

SHRIMPBOAT AT SUNRISE

We hope you’ll join us as we continue to support the wonderful community of creative sharing we all greatly value. We look forward to seeing you next week.

Lens-Artists Challenge #61 – Precious Pets

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

dogs

WAITING FOR A WALK

For the past few weeks our challenge has addressed a number of photography skills – framing a shot, finding different perspectives and combining multiple elements in a single image. This week, let’s relax a bit and share something just for fun – our precious pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog, beach

BEACH BEAUTY

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

Orhan Pamuk

Here in the U.S. (as well as in China and India), the most common pet is a dog. Dogs are loyal companions – sharing our moods, our homes and most importantly, our love.  The capture above features Geneve, a gorgeous Bernese Mountain dog. Despite very hot, humid conditions, she was willing to spend an hour posing on Kiawah’s beach in her naturally thick coat because her beloved human and I asked it of her. What is that phrase “no greater love”?  Interestingly, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic confirmed a long-suspected fact that dog owners are more likely to have better heart health – perhaps that explains why the U.S. celebrated International Dog Day this past week.

black cat

PRETTY KITTY

“Once a cat loves you, it loves you till the end.”

Will Advise

On the other hand, in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey the most popular pet is a cat. In my experience (and prevailing opinion), most of us are dog OR cat people but not usually both . To me, cats have always seemed a bit more aloof, except to the (typically) ONE person with whom they choose to bond. They do not come when called, do not do tricks on demand, and only eat when they are darned good and ready – not before. I suppose that simply means they are the smarter of the two species – just sayin’ 😊.

alpaca

BAD HAIR DAY

“Our pets are our family.”

Ana Monnar

Dogs and cats may be the most obvious subjects for today’s challenge, but there are a number of other, less predictable choices. Exhibit A – the alpaca above. The beloved pet of a family in upstate New York, he (or she) loves to trot down to the front-yard fence to greet passers-by. One wonders whether the family invites her to sit by the fire on a cold winter’s evening as one might a dog or cat – or if there is a cozy alpaca bed available at a pet supply store near you!

two-tone horse

PAINTED PONY

“We could all learn a thing or two from our four legged friends.”

Howard Upton

Another less-than-obvious choice might be an equine companion. Just ask Anne Leueen at Horse addict about her faithful steed Biasini. Horse and rider often times know each other as well as can be imagined, working together in a dance of stunning coordination. Love and trust between them is a critical component of their performance.

HUMMINGBIRD AND FLOWER

COLORFUL COMBO

“Pets understand humans better than humans do.”

Ruchi Prabhu

Many people have birds as pets – both large and small. Although you may not think of a hummingbird as a pet in the traditional sense, having spent several days at my brother’s home in Colorado I now have a new appreciation for these small creatures. He and his wife keep their feeder well-supplied and out of reach of other wildlife. The hummingbirds are on a constant journey back and forth between their nests and the feeder, lining up patiently for their turn. Happily I was able to capture the little beauty above snacking on an iris in an area near his home before it headed out on its winter migration – which can include up to 2000 km (1200 miles) without a break.

asian woman with ox on a leash

ODD CHOICE

“Love is love, whether it goes on two legs or four.”

Gwen Cooper

You must admit that a woman holding an ox on a leash is not something you see every day. This scene greeted me one afternoon during a visit to a very remote area of China. Do you suppose if the ox decided to take off, the thin rope the woman is holding would serve its purpose? I’m guessing probably not. I’m also guessing this will be the only “ox as pet” photo we’ll see in this week’s challenge responses.

golden retriever, aging

HALLIE – YOUNG AT HEART

“Our pets are the kids who never leave home.”

Nick Trout

I’ve closed today’s post with an image of Hallie, a beautiful Retriever with a heart of gold. She sweetly led me through the colorful marshes as her mistress and I searched for (and found) stunning vistas and roseate spoonbills on nearby Seabrook Island. Her white muzzle may indicate advancing age, but in her heart she’s still a puppy. Isn’t that one of the many things we might learn from our pets – to be forever young at heart? That along with giving love unquestioningly and enjoying the simple things – a master class in living life to the fullest. 

Patti, Ann Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing your take on pets, both expected and surprising, in your responses this week – extra credit for any images that make us smile or better yet, laugh out loud 😀. Be sure to link to this post (IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure to link to the original post, Links posted within the Reader are not working correctly) and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. For instructions on how to join us, click here– and of course be sure to visit Patti’s Pilotfish blog next week for Challenge #62.

Last week you responded to Amy’s FRAMING challenge with some terrific examples.

Have you seen these?

Beth of Wandering Dawgs showed us how landscapes can be framed in multiple ways

Debbie Whittam showed us a creatively humorous framing of a sweet little pet

Abrie of Abrie dink hardop (Abrie thinking out loud) shows us how South Africans are framing their famous Table Mountain

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #41 – Delicious

“You are what you eat. What would YOU like to be?”

Julie Murphy

WALL ART, COLORFUL, EATING

FUN WITH FOOD

Like the painter who created the wall art above, I love a good farmers’ market. It’s among my favorite activities when I travel, and it’s also a great local resource for fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve chosen to respond to Patti’s Delicious challenge by sharing some of the foods I’ve enjoyed in recent visits to local markets.

Various spices in a Jerusalem farmers market

SPICES GALORE

“I don’t think I’ll ever grow old and say, “What was I thinking eating all those fruits and vegetables?”

Nancy S. Mure

The spices in the image above were on display in a Jerusalem farmers market. No matter what one decides to cook, some wonderful spices will make the dish even more delicious.

Various hummus flavors on display in farmers market

HUMMUS GALORE

“Anyway, what is ‘beauty’ apart from the combination of the letters of ‘buy’ and ‘eat’?”

Alain Bremond-Torrent

In Tel Aviv I learned that the one or two flavors of hummus we eat here in the states are quite boring compared to those of the Israelis. Just think, Chocoboom hummus – how could THAT be bad?!

POMEGRANATE display in a farmers market

PRETTY POMEGRANATES

“Hunger gives flavor to the food.”

Amit Kalantri

Even if (like me) one is not a fan of pomegranates, it’s hard not to appreciate their beauty. The display above was a very tempting one but I decided to pass. Something about this fruit makes it one of the few I don’t enjoy. I’m definitely in the “Look don’t eat” category on this one.

OLIVES DISPLAYED IN ISRAELI FARMERS MARKET

OLIVES ANYONE?

“Enjoy food like that’s the only thing left in your world.”

Nikita Dudani

Olives, on the other hand, are one of my favorite foods.  A good olive or two adds wonderful flavor to most any dish (except perhaps dessert 😊). I’m a big fan of Kalamata and couldn’t be happier that the oft-recommended Mediterranean Diet includes them along with olive oil as a staple.

SUNFLOWERS

SUNSHINE ON A STEM

“Some people just don’t have what it takes to appreciate a cookie.”

James Patterson

Sometimes market items are a feast for the eyes rather than the palate. I offer exhibit A – these beautiful sunflowers which our local farmers market provides in abundance during season.

SHAWARMA - REALLY???

SHAWARMA – REALLY???

“Never ask a baker what went into a pie. Just eat.”

George R.R. Martin

Let me just say I am normally a very healthy eater, although I will admit to a sweet tooth which makes it impossible to resist my husband’s chocolate chip cookies. While in Israel however, I was persuaded to try Shawarma, pictured above. It’s one of the most popular Middle Eastern street foods, normally cooked on a vertical spit and shaved while rotating. I believe the version we tried was a combination of lamb and beef although I’m not really sure. I can only tell you it was amazingly delicious – and that’s from one who very rarely eats meat. I’m happy we don’t often see it here in the U.S. as it would be very hard to resist on a regular basis!

Thanks to Patti for her delicious challenge. Now excuse me while I go fetch a snack – this post has made me hungry! Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s Something Different challenge. We look forward to seeing your ideas about what you find delicious.  Be sure to tag your responses with the Lens-Artists tag to help us all find them.  If you’d like more information about our challenge and how to join us, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge 114 – Negative Space

ARTISTIC BRANCHES

BRANCHES

“Like a tree that grows stronger with more branches and roots, you need to find more and more ways to be inspired.”

Yiannis Kouros

This week Amy challenges us to illustrate the photographic concept of “negative space”. Typically I am much more prone to “fill the frame” but agree that negative space is quite a powerful photographic tool. In addition to making a capture that emphasizes a primary subject, we can also create the effect in post processing. My opening image is an example of that concept. The original image was  a rather boring one. By concentrating on the negative space and using a bit of creativity, I was able to achieve a better result.  I much prefer the final, edited version for its simplicity and abstract quality.

WOODPECKER SILHOUETTE

SILHOUETTE

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

Victor Hugo

So too, the capture above. Once again, the final result was not my original concept. As we evaluate the results of our efforts in photography sometimes we need to look beyond what the camera has captured to see the potential of an image. In this case, the conversion to B&W combined with isolating the subject using negative space, resulted in a much-improved image.

Palouse, farmland, shadows

WIDE OPEN SPACES, THE PALOUSE

“No race can prosper until it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”

Booker T. Washington

Unlike my first two images, negative space was an important part of my intent on the Palouse image above. One of the most captivating aspects of the area is the wide expanse of farmland in every direction. While the small, rather run-down farm was key to the image, I also wanted to show its relationship to the land around it. The dramatic contours of the negative space helped me to create the feeling I wanted to capture in the image.

two, calves, flowers, yellow

TWO OF A KIND

“For one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”

Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

In the image above the two adorable little calves are surrounded by beautiful flowers. However they are clearly the subject of the capture with the flowers playing a secondary role. As such it represents the concept of negative space not as empty per se, but rather as complimentary to the primary focus of the capture.

SWEETGRASS-TO-BE

SWEETGRASS-TO-BE

“Look at a tree, a plant. How still they are, how deeply rooted in being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.”

Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes negative space is intuitive as we compose our images, other times it appears as we process our results. Shining a light on its power will hopefully help us all to become more creative. Thanks to Amy for challenging us to focus on the concept, helping us to move further forward in our efforts as photographers and artists.

We look forward to seeing your responses to Amy’s challenge. Please remember to link them to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG to have them appear in our WP Reader section. As always, we thank you for your support and participation and hope you’ll join us next week as we present Challenge #115 here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, have a wonderful week and please remember to stay safe out there.

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge 113 – Labors of Love

SAVING NAXI

“The hand expresses what the heart already knows.”

Samuel Mockbee

This week our guest host Rusha Sams has given us a most interesting challenge – A Labor of Love. Throughout our travels I’ve photographed many people engaged in a variety of labors but for today’s purposes I’ve chosen to limit myself to those who, in my eyes at least, are truly working at something they love. My opening example is a gentleman documenting his beloved Naxi language – spoken by an extremely small number of people and written by even fewer, in a remote area of Sichuan, China.

hands, tiler, saw, dust

CLOSER TO HOME

“What the two hands of a laborer can achieve, the capitalist will never get with all his gold and silver.”

Mahatma Gandhi

As proof that I do sometimes use my camera locally for places and things other than birds and nature 😊, I’ve included the image above. It’s a personal favorite, captured in nearby Charleston, SC. The subject was happily working on tiles for a a building under repair and graciously allowed me to photograph him at his job. I loved the strength of his hands and the dust coming from his saw. The image was chosen as photo of the week by the Post and Courier, Charleston’s local newspaper.

CHEF AT WORK

“Working in the kitchen is my soul and my life, and I love it. I am there because I want to be. “

Heinz Beck

The chef’s mask in the image above was not in place due to COVID restrictions. I captured it pre-Covid in a restaurant in Xian, China. Xian is famous for their Terra Cotta Warriors, and  interestingly, also for their dumplings.  Said to be the best in the world, having eaten them you’ll get no argument from me. 😊 The capture was made through a window to the kitchen which allows patrons to watch the chefs at work. 

tuk tuk driver, SE Asia

HAPPY TUK-TUK’ER

“You are the driver steering your own dreams. Choose to knock down whatever crosses your way.”

Israelmore Ayivor

In Cambodia it was great fun traveling by tuk-tuk. Part of the reason was our first (and consequently only) tuk-tuk driver. He clearly loved his country and loved his work. After our first ride he agreed to be our driver for the remainder of our visit. His amazing smile was a great way to start and/or end the day.

china, female captain

O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN

“Watching her navigate life through a lens of love is inspiring. She’s the captain, we’re the crew.”

Richie Norton

Zhouzhuang is often called the Venice of China and having been in both places I found China’s version much more approachable. Yes, Venice is incredible and in a class of its own. But Zhouzhuang, a 2,500 year old city of 6,000 stone bridges, has canals that seem to go on forever, incredible food, and warm, friendly people. None more so than the captain of our little boat as she steered us through the ancient canals. It was a wonderful day filled with many memories, not the least of which was her smiling face.

SOLITARY WORKER, LONGSHENG

SOLITARY WORKER, LONGSHENG RICE FIELDS

“You will never feel alone, as every solitary step becomes your companion.”

Munia Khan

In China’s Longsheng rice fields, as the afternoon light was at its most glorious, I was intently focused on capturing the incredible landscapes. As I looked across the fields I saw a solitary worker, scythe in hand, tending to the crops. I found myself thinking about his day, and his life, and I thought it must be quite something to spend a lifetime amidst such beauty. Perhaps the serenity is enough to offset the difficulty of manually maintaining such an environment. In the many huge fields of China we saw very little machinery, and the vast majority of the workers – at least the ones we saw – were female.

monk, bald, colorful, writing

FULLY COMMITTED

“Be faithful in small things because it is in that that your strength lies.”

Mother Teresa

I’ve chosen to close with another personal favorite, once again from our time in Cambodia. I was fascinated by the many monks we saw there, and truly excited to happen on the subject above. He was so involved in his labors he never noticed my effort to capture his intense concentration. Would that we would all be so committed to our everyday tasks. 

Sincere thanks to Rusha for agreeing to be this week’s guest host, and for her very interesting challenge. On this Labor Day weekend, we offer special thanks to those on whose labors we so depend – our health care workers, our policemen and firemen, those in the armed forces (especially those far from home), our teachers, those who grow, work in and/or deliver our food, our mail and our packages, and the many others who make our lives so much better thanks to their commitment to jobs well done. 

As always, thanks also to our followers for your much-appreciated support. We look forward to seeing your ever-creative responses. Please remember to link them to Rusha’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. We hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule and Amy brings us Challenge #114.

  • NOTE: I’ve included links to some previous posts on today’s subjects for those who may be interested in more information or additional images of the places mentioned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

THE ARTIST'S STUDIO-WORKS IN PROCESS

THE ARTIST’S STUDIO-JANE IWAN PAINTINGS IN PROCESS

“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.”

Bruce Garrabrandt

Last week Amy patterned her Under the Sun challenge after the novel “Under the Tuscan Sun“. This week we’re playing on the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s highly acclaimed “Love in the Time of Cholera“.  Knowing that generations past have managed to emerge from pandemics, with far less knowledge of science and pharmacology,  offers hope that one day we too will view Covid 19 as a distant memory.  In the meanwhile, many of us have found ways to cope with those restrictions through our efforts to maintain our creativity. This week it’s time to focus on those efforts.

birdlike seashell

BIRD IN FLIGHT

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

Many bloggers, including yours truly, have been fortunate to travel extensively, learning about other cultures and seeing the world’s wonders. We’ve used our focus on photography and blogging to share those travel experiences with others. Now that we have for the most part been confined closer to home, we’ve been challenged to find other ways to channel our creative energies.

SEASHELL CYCLE

SEASHELL CYCLE

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

We may no longer be able to visit places like the Great Wall of China, or the rose walls of Petra, or the temples of Angkor Wat, but we have learned that there are other wonders in and around our homes that are worthy of creative exploration. As an example, some weeks ago a good friend shared with me her amazing collection of seashells, all gathered from the beach here on Kiawah Island. Having lived here 20+ years and never seen the likes of them, I must admit I became a bit obsessed with photographing them.

STATUESQUE SEASHELL

STATUESQUE

“To practice any art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Perhaps more interestingly, my friend – who is a wonderful artist – has decided to make them the subject of a series of beautiful oil paintings. You can see her first result on her blog Jane Iwan Studio  which features the shell in the image below. I visited with Jane earlier this week both to satisfy my own creative interest in these beautiful shells and to see how she is coming along with her paintings of them.

whelk

ACCRETION #1

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

Paulo Coelho

As Jane told me, the shells are primarily whelks, which she learned from consulting the book “Seashells of the World”. Not surprisingly, she is already working on her second painting along with writing her second novel. (Her first, Refugee of the Heart”  is available on Amazon and is a fictional story drawn from her time living in Hong Kong.) Obviously her creativity gene is alive and well and hasn’t been challenged by geographic restrictions. Her second painting, shown in process in her studio, is featured in my opening image. It captures the shell(s) in the image below.

Accreted whelk and shells

ACCRETION #2

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

As for me, blogging is a way to address two of my favorite creative outlets, photography and writing. Both through my own efforts and those of the bloggers I follow I am able to experience the world – both the wide outside world and my own place within in – from a creative perspective. This year in order to protect those efforts, I focused some of my lockdown time on a blog-to-book project, printing all of my posts since starting Travels and Trifles in 2012. I highly recommend the exercise if you are interested in preserving your own work for the future.

BLOG-TO-BOOKS

BLOG-TO-BOOKS

To be creative means to be in love with life.”

Osho

Sincere thanks to my friend Jane for sharing her studio, her artistic passion, her beautiful seashells, and her works in progress with me. Her generosity has been a wonderful subject for my own creative energies this week. So how about you? We’d love you to share with us the ways you’ve fueled and satisfied your creative energies these past few months as the pandemic has restricted our ability to move freely. We look forward to seeing the focus and results of your creativity.

Thanks also to Amy for her beautiful post hosting last week’s Under The Sun challenge and to those of you who, as always, responded with wonderfully creative posts. 

Have you seen these?

  • Priscilla of sillagrace explores the impact of recent changes in her own life under the sun
  • Tish Farrell tells a compelling tale about her years in Africa, Beneath a Tropic Sun
  • Jude gives us a peek at the changing landscapes of the UK’s southwest in Cornwall in Colors
  • We welcome Mesca of HIP Photography who brings us a bit of sunny color for the week

Finally, are you interested in learning more about about the team behind the Lens-Artists Challenge?  If so, we invite you to visit TCHistorygal.net where you’ll find our recent interview with Marsha Ingrao of Always Write. It was great working with Marsha and being a part of her Artists’ Interview series. We thank her sincerely for her efforts on our behalf. 

We hope you’ll join us next week for Patti’s challenge #111. Until then, as always take care and stay safe.

Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – SPRING

MAGNOLIA GARDENS CYPRESS SWAMP

MAGICAL MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”

Anita Krizzan

Next up on our seasonal challenges, this week we turn to thoughts of Spring. Noted by poets and lyricists as a season of hope and renewal, spring teaches us that despite (or perhaps because of) the hardships of winter, our world will once again blossom with new life.  As we continue to deal with the issues of the day, spring teaches us to remain hopeful despite our challenges. One of the many rituals of the season here in the Charleson area is a visit to beautiful Magnolia Gardens. There we might learn from the cypress trees which draw strength and nourishment from waters that would destroy a less-resilient species.

DRAMATIC SKY, KIAWAH ISLAND

UNDER THREAT

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”

Bernard Williams

Spring here on Kiawah also delivers some incredibly dramatic skies – yet another example of nature’s lessons. The image above shows a line of beachfront cottages made smaller by the immense, threatening clouds. Yet for the observant among us, there is a small bright spot in the center of the maelstrom.  We can learn from Mother Nature that despite the worst moments there is always a spot of hope somewhere even when troubles threaten to engulf us.

egret chicks, nest

SWEET CHICKS

“Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

Robert H. Schuller

Spring is also a time of rebirth – not only of the plants and flowers but also of the creatures with whom we share Mother Earth. Pandemic notwithstanding, birds continue to deliver and nourish their chicks, does give birth to fawns and tiny alligators emit high-pitched, musical melodies as they take joy in swimming through the lagoons. Of course, we are always mindful that mom is surely keeping a watchful eye on them (and more importantly, on us) should her fierce protection be required.

ALLIGATOR HATCHLINGS

TINY GATOR HATCHLINGS

“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant. if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet

There are reasons that platitudes exist. They take note of things that are commonplace and widely acknowledged. If one searches for quotations about spring there are significantly more than on most other subjects. The vast majority speak to hope, renewal, rebirth, determination … you get the idea. There have certainly been days in the recent past when most of us have wondered when we will ever return to life as we knew it. Surely others have felt the same during trying times in the past – the great depression, world wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters – yet somehow time heals, trials end, and we are reborn with a new appreciation of the things we’d long taken for granted.

WILDFLOWER

WILDFLOWERS

“That is one good thing about this world–there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M. Montgomery

So let us pause, refresh, and reset our expectations. We have been given the gift of time – to learn more about ourselves and the world around us, and to develop a new or renewed appreciation for living every moment. Personally, I’m working on developing a view of the “new normal” as an opportunity for self-improvement, definitely an uphill battle for me – how about you? 

Speaking of opportunity, many of you ran with the opportunity to shine in your responses to last week’s SUMMER challenge. Your posts ranged from poignant to buoyant, were both clever and original and offered some unique perspectives for all to enjoy. We very much appreciate your support of our challenge as we come together creatively to navigate these difficult times.

Have You Seen These?

Finally, we hope you’ll join us again next week as Patti brings us our Autumn challenge. In the meanwhile and as always, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #102 – A Quiet Place

SCOTLAND FOG

SCOTTISH FOG

“When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Ansel Adams

As I thought about Patti’s Quiet Place challenge, my mind immediately went to a mystical journey through the Scottish Highlands that I hope never to forget. Tucked away in the remote northwest corner of the country, we’d driven hours on a one-lane road to reach our destination in Lochinver along Scotland’s magical coast.

northwest Scotland road

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

“I have never heard a more eloquent silence.”

Laurie Halsey Anderson

We made the drive in the early evening as dusk was settling in and the infamous Scottish fog was creeping over the hillsides. During our nearly 3-hour drive we saw a total of 2 or 3 cars, one of them shown above.  The beauty that surrounded us was more breathtaking at every turn, which helped ease our fears that another car could be approaching around one of the many blind curves. At one point our only choice was to back up until we found a berm to allow another car to drive by in the opposite direction.

HEATHER, Scotland, FOG

HEATHER AND FOG

“The world is quiet here.”

Lemony Snicket

Around many of the bends in the road there were amazing vistas. Stone ruins, heather-covered hills, small lochs with weathered boats, and one with a beautiful copse of trees standing in its center. The fog brought with it a silence much deeper than that of a city or town. In the quiet, one could almost feel the presence of those who’d traveled the same road long before. 

copse of trees

COPSE

“So quiet one can almost hear other people’s dreams.”

Gayle Forman

It was a long and difficult journey worth every moment of white-knuckle driving. My ever-patient husband never complained about my requests to stop for photography along the way. As the fog thickened, its dense moisture left me, my camera and my lenses fairly drenched by the end of the trip. Happily, no harm done and all for a good cause.  

boats, loch, scotland, clouds

AROUND THE BEND

“Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow.”

Frank McCourt

Eventually we reached our destination and after a much-needed meal and a good night’s sleep we set off to see the surrounding sights by light of day. I’ve included above one of many peaceful scenes, this one from a nearby loch. We spent several days in the area enjoying the quiet and restoring our own inner peace as we closed in on the end of our Scottish journey. For the most part our weather while in Scotland had been amazing and the Scottish light every bit as beautiful as any I’d ever seen. Somehow though, I believe the fog-shrouded quiet is the Scotland that will stay with me far longer.

Many thanks to all who responded to last week’s One Single Flower challenge; and special thanks to Cee for the care and support she’s given to so many of us. It was our honor to have her lead our challenge – not surprisingly one of our most popular to-date . We look forward to seeing your response to this week’s Quiet Place. Remember to link your post to Patti’s original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG so we can more easily find you. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine brings us Challenge #103.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #101 – A Single Flower

flower with bee

LET IT BEE

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”

Buddha

This week we are excited to have Cee, one of the most successful bloggers on WordPress, joining us as Guest Host. Beyond her creativity and talent, she is well-known for generously helping others to succeed. As a new blogger eight years ago (yikes!), it was Cee whose reblog of my post generated one of the largest responses Travels and Trifles has had. I still remember my excitement as the likes and comments poured in.  I couldn’t be more proud to see her leading our challenge with her amazing spirit and beautiful photography.

magnolia

ETHEREAL SOUTHERN BEAUTY

“Minds are like flowers, they open only when the time is right.”

Stephen Richards

I’ll admit that my archive of images is a bit short on flowers. Truly though, any photographer in the southern U.S. will most always have at least a few images of a beautiful magnolia. Fossil records suggest it has been with us for 150 million years, making it the first flowering plant. Unlike other flowers, these blossoms grow on trees, and are fertilized by beetles rather than bees. To my mind, their beauty is surpassed only by their incredible fragrance.

light, lily

LOVELY LIGHT

“The loveliest of all, the lily family….with this plant the whole world would seem rich though none other existed.”

John Muir

Let me be perfectly honest, although I love flowers I have absolutely no talent when it comes to growing them. I am the classic “black thumb”, deadly to any flower that comes near me! I’ve been known to photograph them but not often, and more usually either when plentiful in a field or when they are being visited by a bee or a butterfly. That said, I’ve done my best to respond to Cee’s call for a single flower (although admittedly my opening image may be a bit of a stretch on that front).

partial daisy on green background

DAISY, DAISY

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the daisy of its simple charm.

Therese of Lisieux

Because I am not prone to photographing a single flower, and because at the moment we are restricted to our local environment, several of this week’s blooms are among those I’ve previously posted. On the other hand, they are some of my personal favorites so with your indulgence I’ve included them as well as several new images in today’s post.

pink and white rose

A ROSE IS A ROSE

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way.”

Miranda Kerr

Those who follow me know that I include quotes as well as images to support my message. The search can be harder for some posts than others. Interestingly, it seems there are more quotes about flowers than one could ever hope to use. For today’s post I chose those that spoke to the individual species as well as those that referenced a perspective on our humanity. In today’s climate it’s helpful to find quotes that speak to hope, individuality, and appreciation of the differences that make us unique as individuals yet stronger as a whole.

HUMMINGBIRD, FLOWER

NOURISHING NECTAR

“Connecting our hearts through love yields a nectar so sweet we are forever full.”

Amy Lee Mercree

Sometimes nature simply grants a gift, and our job is to be ready to take advantage of it when it is presented.The image above is one example. My attempt for most of that morning to capture a hummingbird without including a feeder had been very frustrating. Then, that afternoon while golfing near my brother and sister-in-law’s Colorado home, we came upon this gorgeous little bird feeding on vibrant red/orange flowers. I was thrilled to get the opportunity I’d wanted in a more natural environment. 

butterfly, flower, orange, red, yellow

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.”

Ecouchard Le Brun

I’ll close this week’s post with three favorite images of butterflies on single flowers. The first image shows how wonderful nature can be when she blesses us with coordinated colors. The two below illustrate how beautiful  differences can be.

butterfly, flower, stripes, orange

MELANGE OF COLOR

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. “

Maya Angelou

I particularly liked Maya Angelou’s quote above. In these troubled times it is important to remember that nothing worthwhile comes without difficulty. If we believe in the goal, the journey becomes more tolerable.

pink flower, yellow butterfly

IN THE PINK

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson

I got a bit carried away with Cee’s single flower challenge, which you can find here. We look forward to seeing your interpretation and enjoying the beauty of your responses. Be sure to link to Cee’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists tag so that we can more easily find you. We hope to see you again next week when Patti brings us Challenge #102 –  and as always our sincere thanks for your continued support. Special thanks to those who congratulated the team on our 100th Challenge – it’s been an amazing journey. Be safe out there and if possible, try to pause for a moment to enjoy nature’s bounty. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

road, hill, keffiyeh

WINDING HER WAY, AMMAN, JORDAN

“Feel kinship with fellow travelers on the long and winding road toward unification.”

Brian Greene

As you can imagine, the team at Lens-Artists coordinates challenge subjects throughout the year to avoid duplication or confusion. Little did we know when we chose the theme for this week’s challenge how very timely it would be. The entire world has been trudging wearily along the long and winding road of a pandemic that most of us would not have believed possible even a few short months ago. Added to that, here in the U.S. the past week brought tremendous unrest following a horrific instance of police brutality in Minneapolis, MN.

DRAGON'S BACK, RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

WINDING THROUGH THE RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

“The winding road slants downward many a time.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Protests have been taking place in most major cities and many smaller ones, including our own beloved Charleston. Many of the protests are peaceful – seeking justice in the specific case as well as sweeping changes in the policies and programs that foster inequality among our citizens. Sadly, in several cities some of the protests turned violent, smashing windows, looting stores, defacing and burning buildings and police cars, and most importantly in some cases causing loss of life.

autumn foliage, winding road

WINDING THROUGH AUTUMN, NY, USA

“Sometimes you have to stop, turn around, and take the longer harder road.”

Ash Sweeney

Most are of the opinion that violence defeats the purpose of the protests and causes harm in many cases to the very people hoping for change. There is speculation that some of the violence is driven by outsiders rather than local citizens. The impacted shops and restaurants had only recently re-opened following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions; sadly many may now close permanently. Jobs will be lost and freedoms will be further restricted. Curfews have been imposed on many of our cities and scientists fear an uptick in virus cases due to the large gatherings.

path, trees, golf course, Kiawah

WINDING THROUGH THE TREES, KIAWAH, USA

“Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.”

Amit Ray

It is my firm belief that the vast majority believe in the merit of the protesters’ cause, and that justice will prevail in the specific case in question. Further, I believe we will see fundamental change to many of the laws and policies that foster inequality sooner rather than later due in large part to the peaceful protests taking place throughout our country. It is my fervent desire that those who believe in the cause will help to quell the mayhem that is defeating their purpose. Beyond protesting, write to your senators and congressmen and let them know you are watching. Write to your local and national newspapers. Make your vote count. Be an advocate for change. Let your voice be heard any way you can, but in a way which is not hurtful to others. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Utah, road, rock arch

WINDING THROUGH THE ARCHES, UTAH, USA

“Sometimes the only way to find a way is to get lost.”

Talismanist Giebra

Do you find yourself wondering how much worse the problems in the U.S., as well as those in the rest of the world can get? I know I do. My hope is that we will be stronger as people and as nations when we begin to see our problems as part of our past rather than the present. Perhaps Talismanist Giebra is right – we’ve been lost and are looking to find the way out.  Let’s hope we find it soon – the warriors are becoming weary. Hang in there my friends, there is often a rainbow after the storm. 

This week, share your images and thoughts about the long and winding road. Feel free to be literal or metaphorical in your approach. Know how much we appreciate your support and enjoy seeing your responses to our challenges. Be sure to link them to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag.

Speaking of responses, thank you as always for your creative approaches to Amy’s Old and New challenge last week.  Have you seen these?

  • Anne Leueen shares images of medieval armor vs current horse “decor” in her Horse Addict blog
  • Wendy of My Plaid Heart shares an astounding experience as RAF jets fly over ancient Duffus Castle
  • We welcome Meikah of Wordplay at Midlife who bravely shares both old and newer images of herself

Finally, we are excited to announce that next week the Lens-Artists team will be bringing you a very special event. Cee of Ceenphotography has graciously agreed to lead us on our next challenge. All four members of the Lens-Artists team will join Cee next Saturday at noon EST in response to her challenge subject. We look forward to seeing where she leads us, and hope you’ll join the fun as well.