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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 #90 – Distance

mountains and hills

BLUE AND GREEN AND WHITE

“From a distance the world looks blue and green, and the snow-capped mountains white….”

Julie Gold

These days, everyone’s talking about and hopefully practicing “Social Distancing”. Since it’s something we should all be doing, we thought a challenge focused on DISTANCE might be an appropriate reminder of its importance. For today’s quotes I’ve chosen lines from Bette Midler’s 1990 Grammy-winning release “From A Distance”. Although the song is often attributed to Ms. Midler, who made it famous, it was actually written by Julie Gold. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

SOCIAL DISTANCING – OCEAN AND STREAM

“From a distance the ocean meets the stream…”

Julie Gold

Although nearby Charleston is in Lock-down, here on the island we are still doing voluntary Social Distancing. Many of our friends around the country, and blogging friends around the world, are facing various levels of constraint. My husband, our friends and yours truly have been adhering strictly to the rules. All of our meetings have been canceled and video conferencing has become a poor but better-than-nothing substitute for personal connection. Zoom, House Party, and Skype are quite popular although I’m sure there are other products out there. I’ve had more texts and email from friends and family in the past two weeks than in the past two years. Thank goodness we live in an age of technology.

EAGLE IN FLIGHT

EAGLE IN FLIGHT

“And the eagle takes to flight.”

Julie Gold

Most local facilities are closed except our grocery, gas station and pharmacy. Our local doctor has temporarily suspended treatment of patients who are not ill and has installed a tent behind his office for seeing those who are. We are fortunate to live in an area where there is opportunity for outdoor activity that offers the ability to maintain distance. Our beach is wide and sparsely populated,  a bicycle path runs the 10-mile length of the island, and our golf courses remain open, at least for now. 

VEGETABLE STAND

EARTH’S BOUNTY

“From a distance we all have enough and no one is in need.”

Julie Gold

Groceries are a bit of challenge although the stores are continually replenished. Many, including our grocery and Costco, are now offering seniors-only hours. Locally, a security guard is checking age IDs. Personally I’m more than happy if someone doesn’t believe I’m 60+.  I do, however, take exception to the term “elderly” 😊.  Several of our local restaurants are offering take-out, delivery and/or curbside service. It’s a nice way to augment home-cooked meals as well as support local businesses trying to generate income and retain their employees.

TUBA, SHEET MUSIC

BIG INSTRUMENT

“From a distance we are instruments, marching in a common band.”

Julia Gold

Bottom line; we are all in this together despite needing to avoid each other physically.  Please share with us the creative ways you’ve found to address your need to connect while keeping your distance. Have you found interesting and productive ways to pass the time? Are you enjoying comics/funny stories or do you find the situation too serious for jokes? The Lens-Artists team hopes our weekly challenge brings at least a small opportunity to look away from the news for a bit to connect with the rest of us. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your Distance images – whether related to the COVID-19 crisis or not. Be sure to link to my original post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. If you’re interested, give a listen to Bette’s version of “From A Distance” here. Its message is one we can all appreciate, especially in these troubled times.

Many thanks to Amy for last week’s beautiful A River Runs Through It challenge. Have you seen these?

  • In his Pictures Without Film post, Ken shares his perspective on helping each other through today’s challenges.
  • We welcome Kelly of Compass and Camera, who shares her visit to beautiful Bella Coola in Canada
  • Sandy’s Out of Her Write Mind shares peaceful monochrome river views along with her as-always lovely verse. 

I’ll close with a quote from Donna Lynn Hope that I came across while working on another project. I thought it was particularly appropriate for the current environment: 

  • “I don’t cry because we’ve been separated by distance…because for as long as we share the same sky and breathe the same air, we’re still together.”

We hope the challenge offers a moment of peace in an otherwise troubled world, and that you’ll join us next week for Patti’s Challenge #91. Until then, stay safe and stay calm. This too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #88 – CHAOS

airplane over NYC

INBOUND

“New York; a whole cacophony of sounds and tastes that all somehow came together to form something beautiful”

Aishabella Sheikh

This week Ann-Christine’s Chaos challenge comes just one day after the U.S. declaration of a National State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 virus. As we entered New York City just last week, we were aware of a whole new level of chaos about to descend, especially in high-density areas like New York. In the opening image I’ve shown our plane’s wing as we flew over lower Manhattan on our approach to LaGuardia Airport. In the photo you can see One World Trade Center under the far end of the wing. It is the tallest building in the  western hemisphere, standing where the Twin Towers were located prior to 9/11. Many have noted parallels to the heightened state of awareness the world now faces as nations work to protect their citizens from the spreading pandemic.

CENTRAL PARK, NYC

CENTRAL PARK, NYC

“The city was a hive from this height, the people and the yellow cabs moving about in the street below like insects.”

David Levien

Home to over 70,000 residents per square mile, on weekdays that number more than doubles due to the commuting population. During our visit the city seemed slightly less crowded than usual, as businesspeople began telecommuting, schools began teaching on-line and tourists began to cancel their travels.

Virus not-withstanding, during normal times NYC residents speak over 800 languages. Stand on any street corner in Times Square to get a clear picture of the chaos that can bring. On the other hand there are oases of calm, such as the city’s Central Park shown in the image above.  Measuring 843 acres (341 hectares) the park hosts 42 million visitors each year. Note the line of uber-expensive apartment buildings on the park’s edge – John Lennon and Yoko Ono chose one of them as their NYC residence.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION, NYC

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

“New York…the crowds, the noise, the traffic, the expense, the rents; the messed-up sidewalks and pothole-pocked streets…”

Bill Hayes

Recognized as one of the world’s busiest commercial centers, the city also features fabulous museums, incredible theatre, an amazing music scene, world-class shopping and beautiful architecture ranging from elegant brownstones to towering modern-art skyscrapers. Not surprisingly, it is also rife with chaos. Can you imagine the amount of infrastructure it takes to keep the city going? There is upkeep and maintenance of the airports, bridges, tunnels, trains, subways, roads and schools. Beyond that, a complex water system delivers a Billion gallons of drinking water daily. Massive energy systems, intricate state-of-the-art telecommunication systems, and over a million buildings all require constant attention. I honestly felt we saw or heard some level of maintenance or new construction at every corner in the city.

Citi Field, NYC

A SENSE OF OZ

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is.”

Fran Lebowitz

All of this week’s images were made with my iPhone 8+ . Those taken from the air are cropped and edited for detail. The final image seemed a bit “vintage” to me due to its pixelation. As a former Nikon photographer, I shot it specifically because of their huge sign in front of Citi field (home of the NY Mets baseball team in the Queens Borough of NYC). I loved the way Manhattan appears in the background, rather like the Emerald City of Oz 😊. Seeing the density of the homes between Queens and Manhattan highlights the immensity of the obstacles we face in controlling the chaos of the spreading virus.

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for challenging us to rise above despair and focus on more positive possibilities despite our fears. Timing, as they say, is everything. She, Amy, Patti and I look forward to seeing your interpretations. Be sure to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to add the Lens-Artists TAG so that we can more easily find you.

We all very much appreciate Miriam’s joining us as last week’s Guest Host, and enjoyed going through your many beautiful responses to her Reflections Challenge. We hope you’ll join us next week as Amy brings us Challenge # 89. In the meanwhile, follow the recommendations of certified authorities, avoid fake news, and stay safe!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #85 – Treasure Hunt

SUNRISE, ORANGE, BIRDS, WATER

SUNRISE ON THE WATER

“Treasure hunts make much better stories when there’s treasure at the end.”

Eric Berlin

This week we’re going on a Treasure Hunt! The challenge is to search for specific items – either from your archives or newly captured – from the list below. Extra credit items are a bit more challenging. Focus on quality over quantity and hit us with your best shot(s)!  

  • Challenge Items: Sunrise and/or sunset, Something cold and/or hot, a bird, a dog, a funny sign, a bicycle, a seascape and/or mountain landscape, a rainbow, a church, a musical instrument, a boat, a plane, a waterfall
  • Extra Credit Items:  An expressive portrait of one or more people, a very unusual place, knitting or sewing, a fish, an animal you don’t normally see, a bucket, a hammer, a street performer, a double rainbow, multiple challenge items in a single image. My opening image, for example, includes a sunrise, a seascape and birds in a single shot. See how easy it is?! 😀
violin, parade, music

VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCE

“Music is the road to the soul”

Syed Sharukh

I had tons of fun traveling down memory lane as I searched for images that fit the challenge. The street performer above playing his musical instrument is from a visit to Provence, France several years ago.

cormorants, fishing, china, boat

OLD MAN AND THE SEA

“Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Lao-Tzu

Our journey across China provided me with some of my favorite images. The capture above features a traditional fishing method, where trained birds dive for fish, which they deposit into the woven bowl. They are rewarded for their efforts so they also benefit. They and the fisherman balance on a traditionally built raft (boat).

DOG, SHEEP, AUSTRALIA

KEEPING WATCH

“The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.”

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

The image above shows a sheepdog watching over a flock of sheep, animals I rarely see. Notice the one in the middle of the flock keeping track of the dog. Perhaps he’s thinking about making a run for it – or is he assigned to track the dog so that the rest of the flock needn’t worry about him? 😀 

SCULPTOR, HAMMER

SCULPTOR AND HAMMER

“Your life is a sculpture, every day chip away.”

J.R. Rim

I always enjoy making images of people at work. I would really have loved to see the finished product of this sculptor’s efforts with his hammer and chisel.

floatplane, lake, mountain, snow

FLOATING FLYER

“The century of airplanes has a right to its own music.”

Claude Debussy

Each day during our adventure in an Alaskan fishing camp we would board a floatplane and fly to where the salmon were running. It was during this trip that we encountered the salmon-fishing bears shown in last week’s post. A floatplane could be considered both a plane and a boat, and the snow on the mountains beyond represents something cold.

double rainbow, beach

SEEING DOUBLE

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life.”

Lord Byron

We saw the double rainbow above during a visit to Prince Edward Island off the eastern coast of Canada. I’m not sure what I found most exciting – the double rainbow, the red sand seascape, or the sea glass that washed up on the shore each day.

women, serious, love, mother, daughter

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

“Mothers of daughters are daughters of mothers and have remained so, in circles joined to circles, since time began.”

Signe Hammer

I don’t often do portraits but I was enchanted by this mother-daughter embrace, my attempt at an expressive portrait. I converted the image to B&W to eliminate the distraction of their colorful outfits. 

I got a bit carried away by the number of images I found during my hunt (as well as my header which includes a number of funny signs).  I sincerely hope you enjoy the quest as much as I did. As always, Amy, Ann-Christine, Patti and I look forward to seeing your responses.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  The Lens-Artists team is delighted to announce that our March 7th challenge (#87) will be hosted by special guest host Miriam Hurdle of The Showers of Blessings. For the rest of February and March we’ll follow our usual weekly schedule, beginning next week as Patti brings us Challenge # 86. In the meanwhile, many thanks to Amy for last week’s Narrow challenge. 

Have you seen these?

  • Suzy of Suzy Blue gives us a terrific description of Narrow Depth of Field along with some wonderful examples.
  • Andy of AEKShots uses creativity and humor to draw us into the tiger’s den
  • Ana of Anvica Photos creatively crops to show us what narrow REALLY looks like.
  • Rambling Ranger Dianne demonstrates her sense of adventure with some incredibly narrow roads.

Finally, it’s been suggested that we post a Treasure Hunt challenge each quarter with a new set of items. Let us know your thoughts on that, and if you agree, feel free to suggest any items you’d like to see included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #83 – Into The Future

PUDONG, SHANGHAI, CHINA

CITY OF DREAMS

“We can become inspired to shape a higher, more ideal future, and when we do, miracles happen.”

James Redfield

In response to Ann-Christine’s “Future” challenge, I thought immediately of the Pudong district in the Chinese city of Shanghai. There, gleaming futuristic buildings are reflected in the Huangpu River which services the largest trading port in the world. Beyond its reputation as a business and financial center it includes an international airport, the Shanghai World Expo Center, a Disney resort, bike trails, boating lakes, miniature golf and many restaurants. When the air is clear (as it was during our visit), it is everything one would want in the cities of the future. 

mountains, clouds, barren, landscape

LOOKING BLEAK

“One mustn’t dream of one’s future; one must earn it.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Then again, if we aren’t careful, the future may look more like the bleaker environs of remote Patagonia. In most of Patagonia, there are incredibly beautiful areas of jagged, snow-covered peaks, dense forests, rippling streams and waterfalls. The image above however, shows cloud-covered areas of barren mountains with a line of obviously bare trees. With climate change bringing ever more unpredictable and severe weather, our most beautiful landscapes could be lost.

barren landscape, sheep, truck

DRY AS A BONE

“Progress is measured by the speed at which we destroy the conditions that sustain life.”

George Monbiot

If we ignore or abuse that which sustains us – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants on which we and the other animals depend – the world our children inherit may be filled with sorrow for what might have been. 

CLOUDS, SUNLIGHT, GRASS, LANDSCAPE

A NEW DAY

“The greatest gift this generation can give future generations is a healthy planet.”

Lain Cameron Williams

We humans are finally beginning to appreciate the importance of preserving the gifts we’ve been given. Organizations focused on saving the environment are driving important changes in our treatment of Mother Earth. While the wheels move painfully slowly, steps are being taken to restrict pollution, minimize carbon footprint and protect endangered species. Many among us are pushing for change. Movements like Ted Talks Countdown are gathering the best and brightest ideas to address our most critical issues. Let us hope we are not yet too late.

Sincere thanks to all who participated in our Capitals Challenge last week and to Viveka for joining us as the first-ever Lens-Artists Guest Host . As always, Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I very much appreciate your support and participation. Stay tuned next week as Amy brings you challenge #84. In the meanwhile please remember to use the Lens-Artists TAG on your response and to link your post to Ann-Christine’s original post here.

 

Reminder: check your spam files to recover lost comments!

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #77 – Favorite Images of 2019

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

light, lily

LOVELY LIGHT

The great Ansel Adams once said 12 significant photographs in any one year is a good crop“.  So in response to Patti’s Challenge, I’ve chosen 12 favorites from among this year’s  thousands. Each is special to me for a different reason, which I’ve included in my comments below.

To approach the task, I divided my 2019 archives into several categories.  I opened with a favorite of my Flower Images, chosen because of the way the exquisite light gives the lily a transparent purity against the dark background.

Glacier National Park, mountains, clouds, flowers

ABOVE THE CLOUDS, GLACIER

“My favorite photographs speak eloquently, both about and to us.”

Matei Glass

For my second category, Travel Photography, I first chose a capture of the incredible natural phenomenon we experienced in Glacier National Park. Climbing the Going To The Sun Road, we were totally fogged in and worried we’d see nothing of the park’s grandeur. As we rose above the deep mist we had a true AHA moment. The fluffy white clouds spanned the valley to reach the towering mountains on the other side. The purple lupines completed the palette of nature’s perfect painting.

DESERT SUPERBLOOM

DESERT SUPERBLOOM

“A good image can be created, executed, captured, and recorded but it is well before imagined by a mind.”

Lakshman Iyer

My second Travel image features the 2020 super bloom, which had to be seen to be believed. It’s not something one can plan for, never knowing when or if it will occur. I was fortunate to be visiting family in Arizona during the desert super bloom.  It is a memory I hope to have with me forever.

impressionist, fleld worker

IMPRESSIONS OF THE DAY

“Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.”

Peter Adams

I sometimes enjoy creatively post-processing my images, so I’ve featured two captures from among my Artistic Impressions. I love the feeling of movement in the scene above, which highlights the bright green of Kiawah’s springtime marsh under beautiful blue skies, as a field worker focuses on his task.

Both Portraiture and Monochrome are featured in the post-processed image below. The color’s removal and a touch of grain to me give the image a more nostalgic feel. The little girl is my niece’s daughter – I like that the portrait captures the more serious side of her personality.

Child, beach

DEEP IN THOUGHT

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

Edward Steichen

Next up, my favorite 2019 Kiawah Creature Images – beginning with our magnificent birds. I’ve chosen the Night Heron from among hundreds of 2019 birds. This particular species is quite elusive, often hiding in deep foliage beside one of our lagoons. They are usually partially hidden and are rarely seen with wings outstretched. The image captures the bird’s beautiful wings and coloring, as well as the intensity of its bright red eye. It is one of my favorite photography moments, simply because it is so rare.

NIGHT HERON ON THE WING

NIGHT HERON ON THE WING

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”

Ansel Adams

Here on Kiawah, we co-exist peacefully with our deer population – they provide a lovely reminder of the nature that surrounds us. I like the way this image captures the doe within her typical environment;  the catchlight in her eye is an added bonus.  

deer, foliage

SHARING NATURE

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

I simply cannot omit alligators from a Kiawah Creatures category. In this image, I love the gator’s lazy, smiling face and its apparent indifference to the turtles below. I suspect the turtles’ shells offer little protection from the gator’s powerful jaws but perhaps he’ll seek an easier target should he awaken hungry from his nap.

alligator, turtles

PEACEFUL COHABITATION

“I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.”

Wayne Miller

Finally, I’ve included some favorite Kiawah Landscapes – a true challenge since our island is so blessed with natural beauty. I love the soft light peeking through the clouds during a rainstorm in the image that follows. Its ethereal beauty speaks to me of Mother Nature’s many moods.

Kiawah landscape, fog

PEEKING THROUGH

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”

Marc Riboud

Amazing skies are a frequent occurrence on Kiawah. While the scene below seems dramatic in and of itself, for me the presence of the fisherman adds an extra touch of interest.

fisherman, clouds

UNDER SCARY SKIES

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hurricanes can wreak havoc on a barrier island. This image was captured the day before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian. It left us with many downed trees and no power, but spared us from major damage. I was happy to capture the beachgoers enjoying the churning sea under the gathering clouds of the approaching storm.

Clouds, beach, Kiawah Island, swimmers

CALM BEFORE THE STORM

“I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.”

Annie Leibovitz

I agree whole-heartedly with the quote following my final image below. For me at least, it’s the things I’ve photographed that I most remember. The beauty of an autumn sunset on Kiawah’s beach, for example, will be with me for a lifetime.  Hopefully, on this one my choice speaks for itself.

Kiawah, beach, sunset

BEACH SUNSET

“What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind

So there you have it, my favorite images of 2019. Sincere thanks to those who stayed with me for my longer-than-usual post 🙂. I’d love to hear your thoughts on which image(s) you prefer and why.

Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing which of YOUR images you count as personal favorites. Be sure to include the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you, and to link to Patti’s original challenge here. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine posts Challenge #78. If you’re new to Lens-Artists, click here for information on how to join us.

As always, our team sincerely thanks you for your participation and  support of our challenges throughout the year. Happy 2020 everyone – wishing you a New Year filled with love, friendship, peace, fun and photography. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #75 – Nostalgic

“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.”

Margaret Fairless Barber

TWO RED BARNS

TWO RED BARNS

Last week Patti asked us to respond to her  “uniquely modern” abstract challenge. Shortly after I responded, I visited a new community nearby (featured later in this post), which moved me in the complete opposite direction to the idea of days gone by. So this week, let’s  look back a bit with a touch of nostalgia.  

BALES

BALES

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”

Doug Larsen

For me, one of the things most evocative of the past is the concept of a family farm. Unfortunately, my nostalgic view is probably quite different from reality. While I love things like hay bales along peaceful rolling hills or classic red barns, I have no firsthand experience with the difficulties of truly managing a farm. Up before the sun, totally dependent on the elements, managing livestock – I cannot begin to imagine the effort involved.

GOATS, COWS

LAZY LIVESTOCK

“It’s never safe to be nostalgic about something until you’re absolutely certain there’s no chance of its coming back.”

Bill Vaughn

In the new community mentioned earlier and shown above, they’ve taken a unique approach.  As one first drives in there is a relatively small farm located at the beginning of the property. There they grow simple crops and house livestock like goats and adorable Belted Galloway cows (often called oreos). The crops and goat cheese will be sold through a gourmet store also located on the property. A community farm seems a logical choice for a return to the “good old days” but with an approach that distributes the workload a bit.

SPOONBILLS, LOG, WATER

FLOATING SPOONBILLS

“Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”

Franklin Pierce Adams

Just around a bend in the road the community fronts the Kiawah River where we came upon a floating log shared by several beautiful spoonbills and an egret. The peace and quiet of the moment brought to mind bygone days when such scenes might have been a bit more prevalent. 

Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you  fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about. Be sure to link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

 

Many thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s Abstract challenge. We enjoyed the diversity of your responses and especially appreciate those in the U.S. who joined us during a holiday week. 

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

Yvette of Priorhouse Blog gave us a very interesting psychological explanation of the appeal of abstract art

Sue Judd of WordsVisual showed us a number of techniques for creating abstract images

Gina of Photography in Pearls shared some abstract images of holiday lights from South Carolina’s Brookgreen Gardens  

Finally, we welcome first-time responders Jussi Laasonen of Avaruussuo and Vero of Uprooted Wanderers

 

PLEASE NOTE we will not be publishing our challenge the week of December 21 to 27, but we hope you’ll join us next week as Amy posts Challenge #76. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #73 – COLD

Come, little leaves, put on your dresses of red and gold; for Summer is past, and the days grow cold.”

George Cooper

Snow, sweetgrass, winter

WINTER WONDERLAND

Last week I posted some images of our beautiful, pink/purple sweetgrass in response to Amy’s “Waiting” challenge. By contrast, my opening image above shows what happens to sweetgrass when we experience a rare coating of winter snow.

Kiawah, snow, palmetto

BRRRR

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

Erin Hanson

Having lived in the south for 20 years now, my husband and I have seen snow here exactly twice. As such, I hesitate to complain when our friends and family in the north suffer much more difficult winters. But last week’s extremely abrupt turn to cold, windy rain prompted me to consider the coming season, which led me to this week’s challenge: COLD.

ice covered plant

ENCAPSULATED

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

John Steinbeck

In my younger days I enjoyed snow skiing. Back then we had the right clothing for winter temps and enjoyed the rush of adrenaline as our workout on the slopes warmed and exhilarated us. The inevitable return to the lodge, typically with a raging fire and a hot cup of cocoa, was the perfect reward. Let’s just say my days of enjoying the cold are behind me forever 😀. Happily, here on Kiawah we are back in the 60s with lots of warming sunshine – at least for now.

Downed branch in snow

DOWN FOR THE COUNT

“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.”

Anne Bradstreet

Despite my feelings about the cold, on each of the two occasions when snow and ice arrived on Kiawah, my husband and I bundled up in whatever warm clothes we could find and headed out to explore the beautiful scenery. I will admit that if I didn’t love photography, chances are I would have passed on the scenic opportunities and stayed cozy and warm at home.

icicles on beach sign, Kiawah Island

THIS WAY TO THE BEACH

“If the world is cold, make it your business to build fires.”

Horace Traubel

I have fond memories of both of our winter storms. In one favorite moment we were watching golf on NBC. Incredibly, there on the screen popped one of my photographs! It was my husband holding the flag on one of our golf greens. The commentator was illustrating the rarity of “snow on Kiawah’s Ocean Course”.  I had posted the image on Facebook for a friend who was out of town. Unfortunately, in my excitement I’d neglected to add my copyright. That’s the last time THAT will happen.

Snow, Ocean Course, Kiawah Island

ALMOST FAMOUS

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

Anonymous

The infamous photograph is included above. You’ll notice it now has a copyright 🙂.  We tried in vain to get the network to send us a video of the moment but alas, never got one.

snow, Kiawah, Beach

SNOW MAGIC

“Often times we call a man cold, when he is only sad.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For those who may be wondering, I’ve mixed the images throughout my post to show both of our wintery events. My final image above shows Kiawah’s beautiful beach covered in icy snow. Happily it doesn’t happen often but when it does it is truly magical. 

 

Many thanks to those of you who responded to Amy’s “waiting” challenge.  We enjoyed your creativity and as always Amy, Patti, Ann-Christine and I greatly appreciate your support of our challenge.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

Lens-Artists welcomes Wendy of My Plaid Heart, who joins us with a fun post about waiting for whisky (with no e 😃)

Hard to believe it’s “that time again” but Celia of  WordWacker shares her thoughts on waiting for Santa

John of Journeys with Johnbo shares a wait for the perfect moment at Utah’s beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park

 

We look forward to seeing your interpretation of “cold”. It could be snow and ice, or a frosty window pane, or even your favorite flavor of ice cream! Please remember to link your response to my original post as the reader links are not working correctly, and to add the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Finally, for those who celebrate, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you hold most dear.