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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

Week 2 – Ann-Christine aka Leya of

Week 3 – Amy of

Week 4 – Tina of

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 😀.



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.



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 #127 – Precious Moments


“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” 

Amy Poehler

I couldn’t resist opening this week’s response with an image from an annual event my friend and I have hosted for years. It’s a golf outing where prizes are included for creative costumes. That’s me in front on the far right – yes, in reindeer glasses. It’s been a favorite event for many of us but of course we didn’t run it this year. We have so many precious moments with our friends here on Kiawah I couldn’t begin to cover them all. But what is missing from the image, and in fact, from Kiawah as a whole? Children! We rarely see children other than our visiting families or vacationers.


“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”

Henry Ward Beecher

I’ve made images of children all over the world – I suppose as we travel my eyes and heart are drawn to them. For me, they represent the most precious of moments. The adorable little lasses above were demonstrating their prowess with the Highland Jig.


“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments – tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.”

Louis Pasteur

In Vietnam my husband and I sailed overnight into HaLong Bay, a gloriously beautiful area of which I have many images. There is a community there that lives entirely on the water, visiting land only to trade goods. The little one above was happily entertaining herself on the edge of her floating home and seemed perfectly attuned to her small, wet world.


“While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.”

Angela Schwindt

I was instantly drawn to the little guy in the image above. Deep in a remote area of China, he was happily sitting in his basket playing with the sunflower seeds. He couldn’t have been better posed if I’d put him there myself!


“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. Want them to be more intelligent – read them more fairy tales.” 

Albert Einstein

Beyond capturing children while traveling, I also enjoy creating images of my own family. The image above is our precious granddaughter who is much more grown up now. She’s always loved dodos – aka dogs – and her precious cat Mitzy.


“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

John F. Kennedy

I come from a large family (4 brothers, all married with children and grandchildren). The images above and below are from our reunion two summers ago. Our annual summer reunion and our family holiday gatherings have both been COVID-cancelled this year.


“Children see magic because they look for it.”

Christopher Moore

Kiawah is a small community where many people know my photography, so I’m often asked to photograph visiting families. The images that follow are two favorites from 2020. Like us, many have not seen their families since COVID disrupted travel. These two families were among the fortunate exceptions.


“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children. “

Nelson Mandela

If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my children may have peace.”

Thomas Paine

In my opinion, EVERY moment, with every child, is a precious moment. We’re looking forward to seeing the moments you’ve chosen, and extend our thanks to Amy for causing us to focus on some of the many positives in our lives. Be sure to link your responses to her original challenge here. Thanks also for your responses to last week’s Alphabet Letter A challenge. We so appreciate your creativity and commitment to our challenge, and hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine is our host.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week ahead, along with special good wishes to those of the Jewish faith for a lovely Chanukah.

Lens-Artists Challenge #122 – The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow



“Sunrise, sunset – swiftly fly the years.”

John Williams

This week we are proud to welcome guest host Ana of Anvica Photos, whose beautiful post asks us to focus our responses on the restorative powers of the sun. Historians among us know that our world has gone through many difficult times in the past, eventually proving the resilience and strength of good people everywhere. War, disease, weather disasters and terrorism have been unable to defeat us, nor shall the current pandemic, or here in the U.S. a divisiveness that has threatened our very democracy. This too shall pass – and the sun will indeed come out tomorrow.



“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”  

Nelson Mandela

This week has been a momentous one here in the U.S. A record 144 million of our citizens came out, despite the pandemic, to exercise their right to vote. Illustrating what has been a deep divide among us, the nearly-final tally was 74 million for now president-elect Joe Biden vs 70 million for our incumbent president Donald Trump. While I work hard to keep politics out of my posts I will say my sincere hope is that the promise to serve all people equally, and to unite us despite our differences, sounds like the sun may yet shine on a new day for us all.



“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.”

J.K. Rowling

Whatever our political leaning, as we struggle through the tsunami that is COVID 19, there is much to be said for a leader with decades of experience, well-known for his kind heart. There is also a sense of tremendous accomplishment across many factions in the election of a female vice president – a woman of color and the daughter of immigrants – a long-overdue symbol of the dawning of a new day here in the US.



“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

As we move through the final stages of solidifying the election results, I would encourage any who voted the other way to (as we’ve said in years past) give peace a chance. Allow the new administration time to find their way and trust that they have our best interests at heart. Our issues are many and extraordinarily complex. There are no quick fixes, but things have a way of working out in the long run.



“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”

Robert Jordan

In the images above I’ve included some glorious sunrises across various locations in the South Carolina lowcountry, as well as several from our travels. I’ll close with some personal favorites highlighting our very own Kiawah Island, which has some of the most astoundingly beautiful sunrises and sunsets anywhere. 



“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

Steve Maraboli

sunrise, Kiawah island


“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf



“Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” 

Mary Anne Radmacher



“From suffering can come strength – if we have the virtue of resilience.” 

Eric Greitens

In our local Sunday paper this morning, Leonard Pitts had this to say: “The moral of 2020: You only get so many star-filled nights and rainy midsummer days. Only so much baby laughter. Only so much music. So it is always a good idea to take joy urgently.”  Remember, the sun WILL come out, if not today then tomorrow. Let us all take joy whenever and wherever we can.

With apologies to our international followers for a very US-centric post, I’ll offer sincere thanks to Ana for her extraordinary post and her interesting and uplifting challenge. As always we look forward to seeing your ever-creative and thoughtful responses. Be sure to link them to Ana’s post here, and to tag them with our Lens-Artists tag. We hope you’ll join us again next week as Ann-Christine brings us challenge #123. Until then, wising you a week of beautiful sunshine, good health and continued safety.


NOTE TO MY EMAIL FOLLOWERS: The “happiness engineers” at WordPress are working to resolve the issue that caused last week’s post to display incorrectly. If the problem recurs, please click on my post’s title in your email, which will take you directly to my post on the web.



Lens-Artists Challenge #61 – Precious Pets

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

Anatole France



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


“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


“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’ 😊.



“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


“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.



“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


“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


“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



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


“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


“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


“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.



“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.



“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.



“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 #175 – Follow Your Bliss

Moonrise Reflection, Kiawah Island

“Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment and creativity.”

Michael Jackson

One would think it would be simple to describe and illustrate those things that bring us bliss – defined as “perfect happiness; great joy”. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I can think of many things that bring me bliss – which as my opening quote attests, does indeed lead to wonderment and creativity. So this week, in response to Lindy’s challenge, I’ll share several of them.

Pineapple fountain, welcome, charleston, waterfront park
Welcome to Charleston – The Pineapple Fountain

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

Robert A. Heinlein

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Heinlein that before all else, the love I share with my husband, our families and our friends brings me my greatest joy. But today I’ve focused on some of the other things that bring me happiness. My opening image (as well as my closing capture) is from an evening earlier this week. The glory of nature – especially a magnificent sunset enjoyed with good friends – brings me great joy. Another source of continuing joy, shown in the second image, is our move to the south, including life in the Charleston area, and especially, on Kiawah.

live oak, sunrise, golden light
Live Oak, Sunrise

If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”

Roy T. Bennett

Being part of a community of wonderful photographers on Kiawah, and the wealth of knowledge they and our guest speakers have shared, has brought me great happiness. It is a community of generosity, where ideas and techniques are shared and growth is encouraged across the board. I love photography, which brings me joy and helps me to notice and appreciate the beauty around me. Sharing it with other, like-minded neighbors further enhances my appreciation.

flowers, trees, garden, red
Springtime, Charleston

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”


Although I’ve always loved nature, my obsession with birds has developed only since moving to Kiawah. The amazing creatures that inhabit our trees, our lagoons, our coast and our skies is beyond anything I could have imagined and brings me great joy. In the images below, 3 roseate spoonbills on the left, and on the right a flock of egrets nestled in for the night beside a lagoon.

The Birds, The Birds

“Today is your day to dance lightly with life.”

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

You might think based on the image below that I would address my love of flowers – but you’d be wrong 😊. I do love them, but they do not love me so I tend to admire them from afar or through my photography. The image represents the joy of travel. Since Covid began, my husband and I have not traveled abroad but we’ve made a few trips here in the U.S. These beautiful specimens were captured at a garden we visited during this year’s trip to California .

flowers, impression
Funky Flowers

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

Karl Barth

I’ll end as I began, with a glorious sunset here on Kiawah. It represents my love of nature, of Kiawah, of photography, of birds (yes, here flying across the water) and of the joy that comes with creating from and sharing all of those things.

sunset, Kiawah, lagoon, water
Day’s End, Kiawah Island

“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.”

Ernest Barbaric

Sincere thanks to our guest host Lindy Low LeCoq for her imaginative challenge, which gives us all an opportunity to think about the things that bring us bliss. Be sure to link your responses to her original challenge post here. Thanks too to those who joined us for last week’s Shapes and Designs challenge. What fun seeing the many varieties that are everywhere, especially within Mother Nature’s bounty. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine brings us challenge #176. Until then, wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and a continued reminder to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #173 – Interesting Architecture

architecture, modern, contemporary
Going Modern, Kiawah Island

“Photography brings the world to us: art, architecture, fashion, nature, war and far-off lands.”

Tim Mantoani

This week I started out thinking about the evolution of our little island here on Kiawah. Where once the island was restricted to classic, southern homestyles, today we have opened ourselves to more varied, often contemporary architecture. Exhibit A, the beautiful home in my image above. My opening quote then led me to expand my perspective to include architecture from “far-off lands”. So our challenge this week is to share your images of Interesting Architecture – whether in your back yard or anywhere else around the world.

Shanghai, china, architecture, contemporary
Pudong, Shanghai – China At Its Best

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness” 

Frank Gehry

When I think about architectural wonders, the first place I think of is Shanghai. We were incredibly fortunate to have visited during a crisp, sunny, beautiful week when the city was at its most beautiful. At sunset the buildings in the Pudong area were aglow and the ancient areas of the city were softly lit and equally beautiful. It was a wonderful contrast of old vs new – indeed, the timelessness Mr. Gehry himself so often achieved.

Calatrava, NYC,
The Calatrava Oculus, NYC

“A new building should deliver a feeling of hope.”

Santiago Calitrava

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Calitrava’s Oculus, a transportation hub at the heart of the World Trade Center in New York City will achieve the timelessness Mr. Gehry espouses. I can tell you that the interior is an absolute wonderland filled with light and beautiful shapes at every turn. To me, the exterior does not quite fit with its surroundings but that is only one person’s opinion.

stairway, glass, architecture, Mendoza
Looking Up, Mendoza, Argentina

“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”

Le Corbusier

In Mendoza, Argentina we visited the beautiful Archaval Ferrer winery. The only thing better than the architecture was the wine 😊 (or was it vice-versa?). At the top of their contemporary winery we climbed the beautiful stairs to reach a rooftop overlooking the vineyard. A wonderfully memorable day.

Petra, Jordan, architecture, ancient
The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

“Building becomes architecture only when the mind of man consciously takes it and tries with all his resources to make it beautiful, to put concordance, sympathy with nature, and all that into it. Then you have architecture.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

The incredible rose-red architecture of the ancient Nabateans in Petra, Jordan is absolutely unforgettable. Amazingly, the buildings were carved directly into the rock as far back as 312 BC. Not only are they huge (see the tiny people at the bottom of the image) and beautiful, but they are also surrounded by an innovative water system that allowed them to live comfortably in the middle of the desert. That the architects were able to design, and craftspersons to build such an amazing city so long ago is truly a wonder. Along with places like the Great Wall of China or Cambodia’s Angkor Wat (in this week’s header), this ancient city would rank as one of the most impressive places I’ve seen in all of my travels.

budapest, architecture, night, lights
Budapest Nightscape, Chain Bridge

“We should attempt to bring nature, houses, and human beings together in a higher unity” 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I’ll close this week’s post with day’s end in beautiful Budapest. I probably took a hundred photos of their famous Chain Bridge which spans the River Danube. Built in the mid 1800s, it is glorious at all times of day. I captured this image from our hotel room window which framed an amazing view of the river, the city, and the bridge.

We thank you for your responses to last week’s “A Day in My Week” challenge – what a terrific variety of amazing days you shared with us! We hope you’ll join us this week with some interesting architecture from around the corner or around the world. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our reader, and to link to my original. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti once again leads our challenge on her Pilotfish blog. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #170 – Street Art

hummingbirds, street art, wall art, colorful
The Birds, The Birds

“Street art is nothing else but urban poetry that catches someone’s eye.”

Christian Guemy

This week Patti invites us to share images of street art which appears more and more often in the most unlikely of places. I’ve seen it in multiple countries and on a myriad of platforms – railroad cars, bridges, building walls, playgrounds, you name it. It ranges from scrawled messages all the way up to the most elaborate of commissioned work. The artists have come into their own such that they no longer have to hide their identities, in fact they’ve become rather iconic as leaders of a new and exciting genre.

primary colors, street art, black woman
Strength and Beauty

“I use art to express myself and to escape from work. It is sacred.”

Guido Van Halten

I was in California when I came upon my opening image, and in the heart of NYC for the second. The first was in a quiet outskirt on the wall of a store, the second was beside the famous Calatrava Oculus. Both seemed perfectly positioned in areas that could not have been more different. I was drawn to both for the amazing use of color to draw the eye and to express emotion.

little green men, street art, musical instruments
Little Green Men

“Don’t have much to say that wouldn’t look better on a wall.”


Because I’ve focused on the most colorful of examples, my selection this week offers quite a range of locations, themes and approaches. The image above, taken in Hudson New York, was on a wall outside of a Mexican restaurant. I thought it was great fun with its green street musicians.

street art, eyes, bird, colorful, faces
The Eyes Have It

“Few people go to art expeditions. The power of Street Art is that it goes to people’s daily life to be seen.”


One of my favorite street art encounters was in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. Seen above we actually saw the piece as it was being created by a very focused painter. Obviously street art is a global phenomenon although I suppose there are places where it would not be allowed, or where it would be more controlled.

Colorful, street art, open air market
Market Day, Tel Aviv

“Street art …is so democratic. Art by anyone for anyone.”


The image above was one piece of a large street art painting in Tel Aviv, Israel. I loved the colors and what I saw as portrayal of a happy, fun day at an open-air market.

street art, street performance, vulture
Carried Away

“If our creativities are guided by public policies, we are not gonna be able to paint anything at all”


I’ve chosen a personal favorite as my closing image. Th gigantic vulture was an amazing example of street art just outside of Charleston SC. It was made even more special by the performance of a street artist, the young man shown “falling” in front of the art. There are a dozen terrific paintings in the area and he performed for our photography club one afternoon much to our delight. I combined the vulture images into a tryptic to create a feeling of his having been dropped by the bird.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection this week. I apologize that I’ve not included the names of the painters, unfortunately I don’t have them. But each of my quotes this week is from a well-known street artist which I hope makes up for that in some small way.

Many thanks to I.J. for leading us last week with his Ordinary challenge. It was great to see how each of you was able to turn everyday objects and places into something magical. We hope you’ll join us this week to celebrate the street artists and their craft. Remember to link your response to Patti’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Next week Ann-Christine will lead our challenge so be sure to stop by her blog next Saturday. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #166 – Artificial Light

pole fishing, China, floating
Night Fishing, China

“Drama is increased with the shadows of artificial light. They can invite us to imagine what is hidden.”

Michael Kenna

This week Ann-Christine invites us to share the effects of artificial light and shows us in her post how very beautiful it can be. I’ve opened with an image of night fishing which we experienced during our visit to China. Both the image above and the one that follows captured cormorant fishermen on the Li River, lit only by their small lanterns. I’ve also chosen to take an impressionist approach to this week’s images using Topaz software to create an artistic effect.

At work on the Li River, China

“Photography! Acquiring the knowledge and tools to express your artistic vision.”

Wayne Paulo

There is much beauty to be found when natural light and that which we have created to augment it come together in harmony. Such was my feeling about the image that follows. As the full moon lit the town of Guilin from above, the artificial light of the windows and their reflections created a scene any artist would love. I found it completely enchanting. If I were a painter, this is a scene I would love to recreate.

Nightfall, full moon, city lights
Nightfall, Full Moon

“Just as I work with paint, brushes and canvas, I work with the light.”

Man Ray

Although China offered amazing opportunities for evening photography, several of our other journeys provided equally wonderful night vistas enhanced by artificial light. The scene below for example was captured from our hotel room during a long-ago visit to Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik, evening, artistic
Evening lights, Dubrovnik

“Photography…brings to science what it needs most, the artistic sense.”

Ernst Haas

Also captured from our lodging window, the beautifully lit waterfront of Vancouver, Canada.

canada, nighttime, tents, waterfront
Oh, Canada

“I am a painter who was too impatient to paint, and therefore became a photographer.”

Ernst Haas

Sadly I must agree with Mr. Haas – although my issue is not impatience – rather it is an inability to translate my vision onto canvas using paint and paper. I’ve found that photography gives me an artistic outlet and allows me to “paint” the world as I see and/or imagine it.

Stained Glass, Israel

“I subjugate the real situation to my artistic concept of the picture.”

Andreas Gurkst

Around the world, throughout my many travels, I’ve encountered examples of beautiful light, created by nature or by humankind (better yet, by both), and presenting an opportunity to translate the scene through my lens. I’ll close with a simple scene we encountered while visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It struck me as a vision a painter might have created as a wonderful still life.

Ready for Prayer

“Photography freed the hand of the most artistic functions, that henceforth devolved only upon the eye looking into the lens.”

Walter Benjamin

Many thanks to those who responded to Patti’s Going Wide challenge last week. For me it was an eye-opener to see how effectively a wide vista can be created using so many different approaches. As the owner of a brand new I-phone 12 pro max (hurrah – long overdue !!) I’m looking forward to trying some of your suggested techniques.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my interpretations of the beauty to be found in the interplay between natural and artificial light. I look forward to seeing your responses to Ann-Christine’s challenge. (Although she states that candlelight is not artificial, I loved the scene above enough to break that rule!) Be sure to link to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

We hope you’ll join us next week when Amy once again leads us on her Share and Connect site. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #165 – Going Wide

Bryce Canyon, hoodoos, clouds
Hoodoos, Bryce Canyon

“Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.”

Ernst Haas

Last week Sofia asked us to look up or down. This week Patti has given us yet another directional challenge, this time to “go wide”. When I sold my Nikon equipment to move to mirrorless technology I did not replace my wide angle lens. Instead I subscribe to Mr. Haas’ philosophy of stepping back to capture a wider scene. There are times though when a wide-angle clearly does a better job. So this week I’ve used images taken with my Nikon and a 10-24mm lens, such as the scene above from Bryce Canyon in Utah. It would have been nearly impossible to capture the breadth of the landscape without a tripod and a wide-angle lens due to the limited ability to “back up” to capture the scene.

Rice Fields, China, Longsheng
Longsheng Rice Fields, China

“Sometimes I look with telephoto eyes, sometimes with wide-angle eyes.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Likewise in the image above I was looking to capture not only the beauty of the rice fields but also the village below. Again, I was walking along a narrow ledge around the fields and could not have backed up any further to capture the scene.

“Try to approximate as much as possible the way we see, focusing on details, opening up to wider angles…”

Beat Streuli

Sadly, Old Sheldon Church (shown in the images above) is no longer accessible to photographers as it becomes ever-more fragile. I was fortunate to have visited a few years back with a friend to shoot the church ruins at sunrise. I thought the first (left) image with its sunburst best expressed my reaction to a place that for hundreds of years housed the faithful in communion with their God. I also loved the huge live oak tree gracing the second image. I’m curious to hear which of the images you prefer.

Scottish Loch, flowers, rocks
Beautiful Scotland

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”

Henry Ward Beecher

For the image above, my husband and I were vacationing in Scotland with our daughter-in-law’s family. They’d rented a large home situated on a beautiful loch to house all of us. I set my camera and wide-angle lens on a tripod at the edge of the water and walked out to the scene several times to capture the landscape as it evolved. The image I’ve shared here was my favorite because of the evening light and the lovely sky.

Bar Harbor, fog, Maine
Foggy Morning, Bar Harbor Maine

“Set wide the window, let me drink the day.”

Edith Warton

I captured the scene above from a hotel window in Bar Harbor, Maine. I loved the peaceful feeling of the fog and mist creeping across the bay. I’d set the camera up the night before to capture what turned out to be a rather boring sunset and was up at dawn the next morning while the camera was still in place. It was simple luck that I’d awakened in time to see the scene. Shooting from a window, only a wide-angle lens could have captured the breadth of the landscape.

Glacier National Park, fog, flowers, purple, valley
Fog in the Valley, Glacier National Park

“Life is short and the world is wide.”

Simon Raven

Finally, my image above was NOT captured with a wide angle lens, nor with a tripod. Rather I used my Fuji X-T2 with it’s 18-55mm kit lens while leaning on a rock wall. I include it as proof that one does not necessarily need a wide-angle lens to capture wide-angle images. As long as there is room to back away from a scene we can capture landscapes such as this one quite well. This particular day a good friend and I were bemoaning the miserable fog which was ruining our opportunity for good images when we suddenly broke through the clouds and ended up above them on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It was EXACTLY the kind of ah-ha moment espoused in my opening quote by Ernst Haas.

My thanks to Patti for pushing me to think about wide-angle shooting which is not something I typically do. I hope you’ll join us in response to her challenge – if so, be sure to link to her original post here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also, of course, to Sofia for guest-hosting last week with her Looking Up/Down challenge. As always you rose to the challenge beautifully and with some amazing variety. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine leads us on her Leya blog. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

In closing, a note on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and to all those affected by the tragedies of man’s inhumanity to man. May we all find peace in our lifetimes and remember those who have served to protect us..

“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

John Lennon