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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 #127 – Precious Moments

FUN FRIENDS

“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.

LITTLE SCOTS

“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.

TESTING THE WATERS, VIETNAM

“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.

STUDYING SEEDS

“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!

DELIGHTED BY A DODO

“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.

CAL, DEEP IN THOUGHT

“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.

A TOAST TO VISITING AGAIN IN 2021

“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.

PROUD DAD

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

Nelson Mandela
PURE JOY

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, BOTANY BAY SC

SUNRISE, BOTANY BAY SC

“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.

SUNRISE, ROCKS, MAINE

SUNRISE ON THE ROCKS, MAINE

“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.

MIDNIGHT SUN, ALASKA

MIDNIGHT SUN, ALASKA

“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.

SUNRISE, OLD SHELDON CHURCH

SUNRISE, OLD SHELDON CHURCH

“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.

SC LIVE OAKS AT SUNRISE

SC LIVE OAKS AT SUNRISE

“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. 

SUN AND CLOUDS, KIAWAH ISLAND

SUN AND CLOUDS, KIAWAH ISLAND

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

Steve Maraboli

sunrise, Kiawah island

DAY IS DONE, KIAWAH ISLAND

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

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

SUNRISE, KIAWAH ISLAND

SUNRISE STROLL, KIAWAH ISLAND

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

Mary Anne Radmacher

Beach, REFLECTING SUN, KIAWAH ISLAND

REFLECTING SUN, KIAWAH ISLAND

“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

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 #131 – Emotions

MIXED EMOTIONS

He to whom emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.”

Albert Einstein

This week Patti has asked us to show emotion with our images. As one who does not typically do portraiture, I was a bit flummoxed (don’t you just love that word?!) by this one. Not one to avoid a challenge, I carried on and found that my archives held more possibilities than expected. I was pleased to come across my opening image, which shows the happy smile of a young man in front of the sad eyes of a graffiti image. Two emotions in one – a good start for the challenge!

EXHAUSTED

“Tired is a feeling. Lazy is a behavior. Don’t confuse the two.”

Steve Maraboli

The image above shows a Tuk-Tuk driver we passed by during our visit to Cambodia (remember those days when we never gave a thought to our ability travel the world?!) Our own driver was one of the happiest people we’d met anywhere, who seemed to take genuine pleasure in his work and his ability to meet people from all around the world. Apparently the gentleman in my image was long past that level of enthusiasm.

PLEASED

“Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

We came across the farmer and his chickens above in a market during our visit to one of the more remote areas of China. I loved his happy smile and the way he was so pleased with his offering. Simple pleasures indeed.

AFFECTIONATE ELEPHANTS

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

James Herriot

It was during our visit to Africa that we found absolute confirmation that animals have as many emotions as we humans. The elephants especially showed affection, playfulness, fear, anger, parental care and any number of other emotions. Their languages and expressions may be different from ours but are no less eloquent.

PROUD

Never be too proud to say you’re sorry or I love you. These are words that strengthen our heart, and give us peace and wisdom.”

Ron Baratono

There’s a reason the phrase is “proud as a peacock”. The beautiful fellow above lives at nearby Magnolia Gardens and really struts his stuff – and very impressive stuff it is too 😊. While the image doesn’t show much emotion, let me just say this – everyone who has ever encountered him stays well out of his way when his feathers are on display! The image was captured at 200mm and cropped afterwards – trust me, I too kept my distance.

CONTENTED

“He who knows contentment is rich.”

Lao Tzu

Finally, the adorable little bear cub above is as good an example as I can imagine of a contented not-so-little baby sucking his paw/thumb. Mama bear and 3 siblings were below, the little ones in various stages of climbing and mama carefully watching over the four of them. Woe be he or she who would try to interfere with the process.

We look forward to seeing how you illustrate emotions in your responses. Remember to link them to Patti’s original post here, and to include the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Thank you as always for your exquisite responses to last week’s Close-Up challenge, and of course a big thank you to Anne for joining us as last week’s Guest Host. We hope you’ll join us next week as Ann-Christine once again leads our challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #130 – Close Encounters

LEAFING 2020 BEHIND

“Focus on the small things life already has offered you, else you may turn your boundless blessings to countless disappointments.”

Shihab Kazi

This week the Lens-Artists team is happy to welcome guest host Anne Sandler and her challenge to focus on the small things in life. With significant delays in the availability of our virus vaccines, and the events of the past week at the U.S. capitol, hers is very welcome advice.

FALLEN FERNS

“Rejoice in small things and they will continue to grow”

Slaven Vujic

As I ventured out earlier this week, my mood was as grey as the skies, and nature itself seemed sad and withered, having lost its usual vibrance. Although photography had been the last thing on my mind, I decided to use the portrait mode on my iPhone 8+ to capture some of the small things that drew my attention. They seemed to me to fit Anne’s challenge for looking at the world a bit more closely.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

“Small things bring joy, somedays.”

Warren Ellis

We can allow ourselves to be caught up in the maelstrom, or we can remember the things that bring us joy. We may not be able to visit with our families, but we do not love them any less, nor they us. We can focus on the gloominess of a cold, cloudy day, or we can remember that the sun will shine again and there will be days when a cloud or two will be more than welcome 😊. We can focus on the effect of winter’s chill on nature’s vibrance, or we can remember that spring will surely follow winter and nature’s bounty will be renewed as always.

PERSPECTIVE

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”

Alphonse Karr

Not unlike the seasons, my image above is meant to illustrate a perspective on who we are and who we can become. The leftmost image shows two tree trunks that come close together in the middle when seen from a spot before reaching them. The middle image, when one is directly opposite the same trees, shows the distance between them. The third image was made after passing them – joined together in peaceful co-existence, despite their need to share the resources they depend on to continue their growth. So too the issues that divide and threaten to tear us apart. In the end we shall come together, stronger for having had to struggle and compromise along the way. In the meanwhile, do your best to keep the faith and focus on the small things that bring you happiness.

Thanks again to Anne for hosting our challenge this week. Be sure to visit and link to her original post here. My personal thanks for the beautiful images you shared in response to last week’s 2020 Favorites challenge – apparently there were more happy moments than we realized! We hope you’ll join us next week as Patti once again leads our challenge. Until then, remember to stay safe and be kind.


Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

airplane wing over NYC
THAT WAS THEN – THE BIG APPLE, NYC

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

Bill Keane

This week Amy challenges us to share a comparison between “now” and “then” in an area of our lives for which there is a notable difference. As this is the season for holidays, and hence for being with our families, I’ve chosen to compare our holidays now versus those of the past.

Central Park, NYC
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, CENTRAL PARK,NYC

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Like many of you my husband and I typically spend our holidays with family, which means flying or driving with an overnight stay. Based on our concerns about the ever-present virus, and CDC warnings, this year (or NOW in Amy’s challenge terminology) we’re staying here at home. We’re hosting some very close, very careful friends from our “pod” all of whom will also be missing their families this year as well.

Autumn, Ghent, NY
AUTUMN IN THE COUNTRY, GHENT NY

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Mother Theresa

As much as we are missing our families, I like to think we are keeping them safe, and they us. There is a vaccine on the horizon, which means there will be an end to this pandemic in the not too distant future. Until then I will keep my memories of family gatherings in the northeastern U.S. close to my heart and know there will be many more to come. We won’t be flying to share our holidays this year, instead we’ll be observing flying “Kiawah style” as shown below.

FLYING, KIAWAH STYLE

“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”

Ida Scott Taylor

As time passes we will look back on this time knowing we did what we had to do to insure family time in the future. One day soon the pandemic with be “then” and we will enjoy the “now” that much more for having made it through. Until then we are thankful for our equally safety-conscious friends, family zoom calls and images of Thanksgivings past such as those I’ve shared this week.

Many thanks to Amy for her interesting challenge and the opportunity to think back fondly on times past. We look forward to peeking into your pasts as well as your present. Be sure to link your responses to Amy’s original challenge here and to Tag them with the Lens-Artists tag. We hope you’ll join us again next week as I host challenge #125 here on Travels and Trifles. Until then as always we thank you for your support and wish those who celebrate a safe and healthy holiday.

Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

King Tide, Kiawah Island
King Tide, Kiawah Island

“You cannot stop the tides from changing.”

Brandon Sanderson

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to share some images of our neighborhoods. As so many of us are confined either by mandate or by choice to our neighborhoods, they have become ever more important to us. The Kiawah image above was taken during our most recent “King Tide”. While it may look like a lovely view of the ocean or marsh, in fact it is a fairway on one of our local golf courses. Needless to say, there was a bit of maintenance required by the course management team before golfers could effectively play the hole.

Oystercatcher At Work

“The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.”

Andrew Carnegie

Here in our Kiawah “neighborhood” the marsh is an amazing source of life. We are careful to avoid the occasional alligator as dolphins swim leisurely by, sportsmen fish for the plentiful mullet and redfish, and crabbers use traps to capture delicious hardshells. We also have access to a well-known local delicacy, oysters. In the image above an oystercatcher is hard at work harvesting oysters which will later be sold in local markets or served at nearby restaurants. I have never been able to get past their look and feel to try eating one, but most everyone here would tell you they are a wonderful treat.

spring, worker, marsh, green, blue sky
Springtime on the Marsh

“If you think my winter is too cold, you don’t deserve my spring.”

Erin Hanson

As winter descends upon us, it is important to remember that each season has its purpose. This winter more than ever, it will be incumbent on all of us to be mindful of the lurking virus and its ability to spread during indoor gatherings. It is also critically important to remember that while winter’s chill may not be our favorite time of year, the spring will surely follow as it always does. This year, it will hopefully bring a vaccine as well and perhaps a return to something closer to the old (vs new) normal.

Next Generation

“The present generation is the future generation, beware of what you teach them”

J. Nedumaan

I would be remiss when writing about my neighborhood to neglect the amazing birdlife on Kiawah. Our island is a refuge for so many species it is impossible to list them all. I will simply say there is never a day that goes by without my appreciating the wonders of the winged inhabitants who share our little island.

Kiawah Sunset

If the ocean can calm itself, so can you.”

Nayyirah Waheed

Of course, as you may have guessed, I’ve chosen to close with an image of our beautiful Kiawah beach. We never forget how fortunate we are to live in a neighborhood so blessed by nature’s glory. Its restorative power even in the worst of times is an amazing gift.

I look forward to visiting your neighborhoods as you respond to Ann-Christine’s challenge. Please remember to link to her original post here and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. In the meanwhile, as always we thank you for your support and wish you a safe and wonderful week. We hope you’ll join us next week as Amy brings us Challenge #124.

Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

leopard

HERE KITTY KITTY

“Travel , photography and wilderness are my addictions….And I’m happy with that…”

Kedar Khepe

There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling “quite a treat”. Thanks to COVID, our local photography club has been able to enlist some well-known photographers who would otherwise be leading group photography tours around the world. At home instead, they have welcomed the opportunity to teach groups via Zoom. This week we were honored to host renowned wildlife photographer Kathleen Reeder, who joined us from her home in Arizona.

elephant, Africa

AN ORIGINAL S CURVE

“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”

Paul Oxton

Kathleen is a marvelous teacher. Organized and to-the-point, she also illustrated her instructions with superb images. Her guidelines for photographing wild animals caused all of us to wish we could revisit the places where we’d captured God’s creatures in their natural habitat. Personally, I thought immediately of our African safari – yet another incredible treat. I would love to return for a “do-over” (now that would REALLY be a treat!) but that is not currently in the cards. Instead I decided to revisit my images to see how often I’d followed her instructions – either intentionally or by luck. I’m illustrating some of her many suggestions with today’s images. 

sable, motion, pan, running

SABLE ON THE MOVE

“Animals are a window to your soul and a doorway to your spiritual destiny.”

Kim Shotola

I’ve included several of Ms. Reeder’s points in my three opening images. The first capture, of a beautiful leopard, shows tack-sharp eyes, ears up and pointed in the same direction as the eyes, the animal off-center in the image and a clear delineation between the animal’s head and the image’s background. Check 😊.  The second image shows the elephant exhibiting a “behavior” which makes him more interesting. The image of the sable, above, uses panning to illustrate motion and speed. It breaks the rule of including the animal’s legs but as was mentioned during the presentation, this is one of the more difficult techniques to master so I’m giving myself a passing grade on it. 

WILDEBEEST, FIGHT, WILD, AFRICA

WILDEBEEST RIVALRY

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

E.O. Wilson

Another of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions is to use burst mode when interacting with wildlife in motion. Often when using this technique your chances are better for getting one or two good shots – especially when multiple animals are involved. My burst-mode series of two wildebeests in battle resulted in several images that are among my favorites, including the one I’ve chosen above.

LEOPARDS, CUB, AFRICA

MOTHER AND CUB

“We don’t own the planet earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.”

Steve Irwin

The image above represents several of Ms. Reeder’s suggestions. First, when shooting animals in a tree, a vertical composition is most effective. Second, when possible try to include the animal’s tail – check! And finally, look for tender moments, such as the interaction between the cub and its mother. I would have preferred better lighting for this one but hey – you can’t have everything!

ostrich, africa

BIG BIRD

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

Charles Darwin

An interesting suggestion was to capture wildlife in motion by including a raised leg. It’s hard to believe that such an ungainly looking creature could be so fast but in fact ostriches are among the fastest land animals – easily reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour with a stride up to 25′ long.

LION CUB, GROWLING

TREAD CAREFULLY

“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much larger and better in every way.”

John Muir

My image of the juvenile lion above is a reminder of a suggestion that Ms. Reeder illustrated very effectively for capturing an animal’s “mood or behavior”. There is very little difference between an animal that is growling and one that is simply yawning. We were shown several images and asked which of the two behaviors the animal was exhibiting. We got several wrong 😊. So what do you think – growling or yawning on the image above?  

Speaking of lions, I’ve illustrated one final suggestion from Ms. Reeder below. Include space above and below to show the animal’s entire mane. Full disclosure, I had several images that did not do so, but happily this image did – and what a mane it is!

Lion, mane

THE KING AT REST

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

There were many more helpful hints, including how to photograph through fences, cages and glass enclosures in zoos and wildlife parks.  I found the session very helpful and hope to be able to get additional practice when COVID restrictions are lifted. 

This week we are including what we hope is a treat for all of you! At the suggestion of one of our followers we are announcing NEXT week’s theme. Our host, Patti will share “FOCUS ON THE SUBJECT” on her blog Pilotfish. Please let us know your thoughts – is it helpful to know the theme in advance or do you prefer to be surprised? Your responses will help us to formulate our future plans.

Finally, sincere thanks to those of you who participated in Ann-Christine’s Hideaway challenge last week. As always we enjoyed your creativity and the peek you gave us into what you consider a hideaway in your own lives.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

  • I.J. of Don’t Hold Your Breath gave us an insightful post about how people have reacted to lockdown during COVID
  • Ana of Anvica’s Gallery cleverly used clay figures to illustrate her personal concept of a hideaway
  • Khurt of Island in the Net shared a beautiful natural retreat in a densely populated area of my former home state, New Jersey

We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us this week. We’d love for you to share something that was a treat for you – a visit from your grandchildren, a special event, a recipe you really loved, maybe even a Halloween surprise ….it’s up to you. Whatever you choose, please remember to link to this post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Until then have a lovely week and as always, please remember to stay safe.