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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 #102 – A Quiet Place

SCOTLAND FOG

SCOTTISH FOG

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

Ansel Adams

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

northwest Scotland road

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

“I have never heard a more eloquent silence.”

Laurie Halsey Anderson

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

HEATHER, Scotland, FOG

HEATHER AND FOG

“The world is quiet here.”

Lemony Snicket

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

copse of trees

COPSE

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

Gayle Forman

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

boats, loch, scotland, clouds

AROUND THE BEND

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

Frank McCourt

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #101 – A Single Flower

flower with bee

LET IT BEE

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

Buddha

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

magnolia

ETHEREAL SOUTHERN BEAUTY

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

Stephen Richards

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

light, lily

LOVELY LIGHT

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

John Muir

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

partial daisy on green background

DAISY, DAISY

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

Therese of Lisieux

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

pink and white rose

A ROSE IS A ROSE

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

Miranda Kerr

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

HUMMINGBIRD, FLOWER

NOURISHING NECTAR

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

Amy Lee Mercree

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

butterfly, flower, orange, red, yellow

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

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

Ecouchard Le Brun

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

butterfly, flower, stripes, orange

MELANGE OF COLOR

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

Maya Angelou

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

pink flower, yellow butterfly

IN THE PINK

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

road, hill, keffiyeh

WINDING HER WAY, AMMAN, JORDAN

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

Brian Greene

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

DRAGON'S BACK, RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

WINDING THROUGH THE RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

“The winding road slants downward many a time.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

autumn foliage, winding road

WINDING THROUGH AUTUMN, NY, USA

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

Ash Sweeney

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

path, trees, golf course, Kiawah

WINDING THROUGH THE TREES, KIAWAH, USA

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

Amit Ray

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

Utah, road, rock arch

WINDING THROUGH THE ARCHES, UTAH, USA

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

Talismanist Giebra

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #98 – Delicate Colors

IMPRESSION OF SWEETGRASS

SWEETGRASS IMPRESSION

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”

Jenna Morasca

This week Ann-Christine’s challenge threw me for a bit of a loop. Here on Kiawah our summer is well underway and most of our flowers at this point are quite vibrant. I was lamenting to a good friend about my lack of delicately-colored images and she graciously reminded me that there is nothing quite as delicate as our Kiawah sweetgrass. Voila, my post was born 😊.

sweetgrass bordered path

WARM WELCOME, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Life is delicate, it’s fragile, it’s a precious thing.”

Patricia Vanasse

Those who know Kiawah most probably recognized my opening image as an impression of sweetgrass based on its distinct appearance. In the image above I’ve shown the causeway used to approach our island, which also includes a bike path I’ve traveled hundreds of times. In the fall when the sweetgrass blooms it is quite simply glorious. A most delicate bloom, the sweet grasses are a lovely soft green for most of the year, but in early fall their pinks and purples deliver an ephemeral beauty all the more precious for its brevity.

sweetgrass, river, Kiawah

JUST AROUND THE BEND, KIAWAH

“…The fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient.”

Rachel Carson

Ms. Carson’s quote above about life rings so true, especially these days. Interestingly, it could also describe sweetgrass. Its appearance is quite fragile and delicate, especially when the ocean breezes move it to and fro. Anyone who has touched it knows on the other hand how tough and resilient it truly is. 

sweetgrass in bloom, kiawah

COTTON CANDY VIEW

“How scarce and delicate life is, how insignificant we are compared with the forces of nature.”

Aron Ralston

Since last week’s post celebrated the joys of golf, I’ll close with an image of sweetgrasses along the edge of one of Kiawah’s many fairways. It can be difficult to concentrate on the game when surrounded by nature’s many gifts – well, that’s my excuse anyway 😊.  

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for her challenge, and to my good friend Barbara who suggested my response. As always, thanks to our followers for their continued support, and especially to Sue for hosting last week’s challenge. We look forward to seeing your colorful interpretations this week – please remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s post here and to use the Lens-Artists tag.  Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week as Amy hosts Challenge #99. As always, most importantly, be careful and stay safe.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #95 – ALL WET

grizzly bear, water, salmon

NO SHARING

“All the beauty of this world is wet with the dew of tears.”

Theodor Haecker

As I considered the subject for this week’s challenge, my husband commented that because we live on an island it should be a very simple exercise. Since many of you are still in lockdown however, I challenged myself to use my archives instead. (Rest assured my island images will still appear in the not-too-distant future 🙂.) Having just organized many of my pre-Lightroom images, I chose to highlight a favorite travel memory – a visit with the very wet grizzlies of Alaska’s Brooks Falls.

bear with fish, water

MAKING A SPLASH

“Nature is cold, wet, hard and unforgiving.”

David Remnick

The bears were extremely active the day we visited, focused intently on the running salmon  (which, crazy as it seems, DO swim upstream). They seemed perfectly at home in the water, finding purchase on small rocks, shore outcroppings and even somehow on the waterfalls themselves. They were also incredibly strong swimmers, which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me, but did.  It was great fun shooting them as they fished, ate and protected their catch from the lurking birds.

salmon swimming

SWIMMING UPSTREAM

“You can cross the shore without getting wet, but you can’t get through life without tears.”

Oscar Auliq-Ice

If you’re wondering why the bears are so focused on the water, the image above should give you a better idea. The salmon are incredibly plentiful and are exhausted from their upstream journey. The bears literally catch them in their mouths as they jump to climb the falls. I worked hard to capture that moment but alas it proved impossible. I managed to get the bears trying, the fish swimming, and the bears eating the fish while defending their catch from the birds, but never did get the catch as it happened. 

wet bear swimming

REFRESHING DIP

“How very wet this water is.”

C.S. Lewis

The bear above may be the wettest we saw. Most of the bears were solely focused on catching fish. While there’s a chance this one may have been fishing underwater, candidly he looked much more to have simply been enjoying some fun. Then again there’s an old saying about the calm duck paddling furiously under water so who knows?!

bear, water

KEEPING WATCH

“If you stand in the rain you get wet, whether you understand water or not.”

Werner Erhard

I’ll close with the image above featuring a bear that seems docile enough. In fact she was a mama bear keeping an intense eye on her young cub. The cub was on the shore and was quite close to a fisherman who had ventured beyond a safe area. Needless to say, had mama decided the man was a threat my money was on the bear! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my departure from the everyday challenges of our COVID-19 world, and that you too have some archived wet images to share. Of course you’re welcome to shoot today’s world as well – maybe you’ve just given your pet a bath, or perhaps the dewdrops on your garden have given you a smile.  You might also choose the colloquial meaning of the term “all wet” meaning mistaken or completely wrong. Whatever comes to mind, we look forward to seeing your choices.

Last week Amy gifted us with her At Home challenge, to which you responded beautifully as always. Have you seen these?

  • Suzy Shipman of Suzy Blue shared her clever garden “bee hotel”
  • Chris Mousseau shared an amazing world of daffodils in his County Gardening post
  • Wendy of Dream on Farm shared her love of the home she and her husband have built over a 10 year period
  • Kelly of Compass and Camera captured a spectacular sunset from her Lake Tahoe home

As we begin to cautiously emerge from lockdown around the country and the world, please remember to continue practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds. Stay safe and if you can, be sure to join us next week when Patti brings us Challenge #96.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #93 – Morning

SOCIAL DISTANCING BEACHGOER

SOCIALLY DISTANT MORNING

“I didn’t want normal until I didn’t have it anymore”

Maggie Stiefvater

Our challenge this week is to share aspects of our mornings as we adapt to the “new normal” of COVID-19. My response was inspired by one of our followers, who recently asked if I’m doing more photography in light of the extra time available under new curve-flattening regulations. When the question was asked, I realized that the answer was no, and I set about to change that.

LITTLE BLUE HERON

LITTLE BLUE HERON

“When it is becomes impossible to go back to normal ,we have to create a new normal and adjust to it.”

Sabine Shah

I decided to combine my morning exercise routine with my love of nature photography by taking my camera on some morning bike rides – a great way to enjoy our beautiful springtime weather while maintaining good health. Today’s images are some of my results. I began (of course) on our beautiful beach, where I found the lone sun seeker pictured in my opening image. Then, since several of our golf courses are closed, I rode the cart paths, a perfect place to catch our local creatures as they go through THEIR morning routines.

algae-covered alligator

DEEP IN THE WEEDS

“Life went back to normal after that, as it will do if you’re not careful.”

Michael Monture

There are certain areas of our island where one can be assured of creature-sightings. One of them is a lagoon on the first hole of a nearby course. It was there that I captured both the little blue heron and the alligator images above. I find it interesting that although alligators will often eat birds, for the most part they co-exist peacefully, albeit with a certain distance between them. The birds are ever-watchful of the seemingly docile gators, as well they should be!

alligator with fish

CATCH OF THE DAY

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou

The image above was not captured during the same ride. I actually shot it with my iPhone during a morning round of golf on a different course later in the week. My friends and I laughed at the little juvenile gator who was so proud of his catch, and was being very protective. They say the juveniles are actually more dangerous than full-grown alligators, as they don’t realize they can’t seriously hurt you. We are all agreed never to test that theory. As an aside, those of us on Kiawah are very happy that a few of our courses remain open for play. We follow social distancing rules carefully, carry or push our own golf bags and enjoy the ability to get some fresh air and socialize with friends.

deer, woods

BAMBI

“Do you really think this will be over someday and things will go back to normal?”

Jason Medina

My final image captures one of our many deer, who unfortunately decided to make her move just as I hit the shutter button. She’s included because she was a part of my ride, and because deer are definitely a part of Kiawah mornings.  In response to Mr. Medina’s quote above, yes, I do believe this will be over someday. But I’m not sure “back to normal” is either possible or desirable. Hopefully we have all learned some valuable lessons about what’s important in our lives and will be more focused on those things as we return to the new normal sooner rather than later.

Thanks to Ann-Christine for giving us the opportunity to share a key part of our lives. I chose to skip the part of my day when I lumber sleepy-eyed into our family room to join my husband, who always has coffee and the newspaper waiting for me. I am not now, nor have I ever been a morning person, so I’ll just leave that part to your imagination 😊. Thank you, as always, for your continuing support. We look forward to sharing what your mornings look like these days. Remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. We hope you’ll join us next week when Amy presents us with our next challenge.

In closing, because Earth Day is celebrated this week on April 22, I’m including a link to a beautiful presentation by the NASA artist who designs their annual Earth Day celebration poster. It’s a truly beautiful piece, is quite short, and makes one feel good about life here on earth, COVID-19 notwithstanding. You can view it here – preferably full-screen. A big shout-out to my friend Diane who sent it to me.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #92 – Second Time Around

ELEPHANTS WET

GENTLE BEASTS OF BOTSWANA

“No matter how deeply you come to know a place, you can keep coming back to know it more.”

Rebecca Solnit

This week we are pleased to welcome John Steiner as our guest host. Since most all of us are confined at home, his challenge about revisiting previous journeys is a great way to remind us of wonderful memories. I’ve opened with a scene from our visit to Botswana and South Africa.  Seeing elephants in their natural environment quite simply leaves one without words. We were thrilled to see most every other creature we’d imagined – leopards, cape buffalo, lions, rhinoceroses, monkeys, hippopotami, crocodiles, giraffes. wildebeests, zebras, and magnificent birds we’d never dreamed existed. There are two things we did NOT see however. The first is the annual wildebeest migration, where millions of these amazing animals travel across the Serengeti in search of lush new grasses. The second is the critically endangered silverback gorilla, primarily seen in the Virunga mountains. I would love a return to Africa for either or both of those experiences.

LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, S.A.

LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, S.A.

“Sometimes it is necessary to go back before we can move forward.”

Mary Balogh

Our visit to South America was focused primarily on the incredible natural phenomenon of Patagonia. I have a crystal clear memory of our very challenging hike to Laguna de los Tres (above) which is one of my favorite travel moments ever. While the natural beauty of these remote areas of wilderness was both incredible and thrilling, we also enjoyed some wonderful, civilized time in Buenos Aires and Santiago.  In hindsight, however, I’m sorry we didn’t continue on to Antartica which is but a stone’s throw from our adventures at the southern tips of both Chile and Argentina. 

vietnamese woman, bicycle, rice paddies

RICE FIELDS, VIETNAM

“We get a second chance at everything, including our mistakes.”

Christopher X. Shade

In Southeast Asia, we covered a lot of ground as we visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. We found the people to be warm and friendly, the food fantastic, and the sights amazing (and of course they were way ahead of us on the mask thing ☹️). Some of my favorite photographs captured the people of these amazing places, and my memories of the glories of Angkor Wat will be with me forever. Although the trip was already several weeks long, I wish we had taken the time to visit Myanmar which was so close by and easily reached. I don’t imagine I’ll be back in that area again any time soon but one never knows.  If so, rest assured Myanmar is at the top of my list.

Petra, rose rocks

PETRA’S GLORY

“The wonderful thing about second chances is that they exist.”

Felice Stevens

Our incredible visit to Israel and Jordan left me curious about the rest of the Middle East which I hope one day to visit. I’ve always dreamed of exploring Egypt and Turkey, both of which remain on my list of must-see locations.  

My husband and I recognize how fortunate we’ve been to experience so much of the world’s beauty. We’ve visited every continent except Antartica, and we haven’t given up on that one yet. Feel free to browse some of my previous posts about the places I’ve featured today along with many others by using the search field after the comments below. While we’re mostly homebound, enjoy a wander with me to places like China, Europe, Australia/NZ, and of course North America. 

Sincere thanks to our followers for your continued support, and to John for his terrific challenge which you can see by clicking here. Remember to link to his post and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Our best wishes to those who celebrate for a joyful Passover or Easter despite the current circumstances. We hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule with Ann-Christine hosting Challenge #93. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay at home – we’re counting on you!