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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 post. One of our 4 moderators will host the challenge each week.

Week 1 – Patti of

Week 2 – Ann-Christine aka Leya of

Week 3 – Amy of

Week 4 – Tina of

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

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

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



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



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


Lens-Artists Challenge #41 – Delicious

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

Julie Murphy



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

Various spices in a Jerusalem farmers market


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

Nancy S. Mure

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

Various hummus flavors on display in farmers market


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

Alain Bremond-Torrent

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

POMEGRANATE display in a farmers market


“Hunger gives flavor to the food.”

Amit Kalantri

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



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

Nikita Dudani

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



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

James Patterson

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



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

George R.R. Martin

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

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









Lens-Artists Challenge #50 – Trees

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson

2 egret juveniles


I’m stretching a bit to respond to Ann-Christine’s TREES challenge this week. Having spent some time shooting a copse of trees where a number of beautiful birds have decided to locate their rookery, I’m focused on the birds within the trees rather than the trees themselves. But after all, where would the birds (or for that matter we) be without the trees in the first place?!



“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heavens.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Although a good friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with the birds, we are hopeful they will move on before they’ve destroyed the lovely trees they inhabit. Their chicks are no longer little – in fact the best way to identify a juvenile is to watch them being fed by their avian parents (see below). They’re testing their wings by flapping and jumping around but are not quite ready to fly. We laughed out loud at some of their antics.

egret parent feeding juveniles


“We can learn a lot from trees. They’re always grounded but never stop reaching heavenward.”

Everett Mamor

We were impressed by the number of birds and how closely they’d located their nests. Cormorants were next to anhingas, herons were nesting on the same branches as egrets -a truly integrated neighborhood! There was an amazing cacophony of sound as the chicks called to their parents and to each other across the entire rookery.

anhinga chicks and parent


“The story of the tree is written on every leaf.”

Marty Rubin

As we made our way around the rookery we marveled at how clever the birds had been in choosing their location. They’d built their nests deep in the greenery of a set of trees surrounded on one side by water and on the other by an impenetrable growth of bramble bushes. There was no way to capture them other than with a long lens. Even at 200mm, my images this week required cropping to show the details of the rookery’s inhabitants.

Egrets in the trees


“There’s nothing more beautiful than watching trees getting dressed up for Spring and Summer.”

Charmaine J Fordy

The rookery is located smack in the middle of an area between the third and fourth holes of one of our local golf courses. Many a ball has been lost to the pond fronting the rookery, which is also a popular areas for juvenile gators and their watchful parents. Needless to say, only a fool would try to retrieve a ball there.



“Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

John Muir

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with the nesting birds and their homes in the greenery.  Let’s hope the area is still green when they decide it’s time to move along to their next location😊. Wherever they end up, we’ll do our best to find them. Their last rookery was only a few blocks away and was equally protected by water and densely stickered bushes – I expect nothing different next year. 

flying egret with branch


“A forest bird never wants a cage.”

Henrik Ibsen

Hopefully Ann-Christine will forgive my “tweak” of her Trees challenge. How about you? Are you focused on the trees themselves or the wildlife that inhabits them? We look forward to seeing your interpretation whatever way you decided to go. If you’re new to our challenge, click here for instructions on joining the fun – and don’t forget your Lens-Artists tag.  We hope to see you next week when Amy shares her take on the next Lens-Artists challenge.




Lens-Artists Challenge #49 – Favorite Things

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”

Jonathan Swift

impressionist art - roseate spoonbills


This week we’ve been challenged to share some of our favorite things. There isn’t enough room in all of WordPress for me to cover all of my favorite things, so instead I’ve focused on only one – creating impressionist art from some of my images.  Above, three beautiful little spoonbills are being observed by a long egret.  Do you suppose he/she was wondering where they got those amazing pink coats? Or is he just glad he has a normal beak? 



“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”

Helen Keller

On a bike ride along one of our local golf courses last week I came across a group of landscapers working in our marsh of newly summer-green hues. I had only my iPhone but with a few swipes of an impressionist brush I was perfectly happy with the resulting image. Proving once again that the best camera is the one you have with you.



“Your heart is able to see things that your eyes aren’t able to.”

Kholoud Yasser

I recently did a post in B&W highlighting this year’s incredible magnolia blossoms. Above, I’ve treated a close-up image with an impressionist brush followed by a touch of texture. I liked the way the background of blue sky became more prominent, as did the yellow center.

Charleston SC pineapple fountain impressionist


“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”

Abhishek Kumar

The iconic Charleston Pineapple fountain above has been featured more than once on my blog, including a post about old-world Charleston here.  As proof that the way an image is treated by the artist can significantly change the way it is perceived by the viewer – I’d say that the last term one might use to describe this week’s image is “old-world”!  Although personally I’d be more inclined to hang the old-world version on a wall, I suspect there might be others who would prefer something more like this one. Beauty, as always, being in the eye of the beholder.



“I know that this world is a world of Imagination and Vision.”

William Blake

I’ll close with an image of two adorable little fawns I spotted (pun intended) last week. I was actually a bit too far away and they were too skittish for a good capture. Using textures and an impressionist tweak, the image becomes something rather dream-like versus a realistic portrait.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on Patti’s Favorite Things challenge.  Coincidentally in addition to the impressionist editing, all of my subjects are among my favorite things as well 🙂. For the traditionalists among us, I promise to return to more realistic images next week when Ann-Christine presents us with our next opportunity. Until then wishing everyone a great week ahead.


Looking for instructions on how to join the Lens-Artists Challenge? Click here. Be sure to Tag your post ” Lens-Artists ” to appear in our WP reader section.











Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”

Edward Abbey

Leopard in the wild


Way back in 1963, Maurice Sendak published Where The Wild Things Are to rave reviews. Since then, children everywhere have been entertained by its wonderful story and colorful pictures. For me though, “Wild Things” will forever bring to my mind our incredible African safari.

Male lion in the wild


“Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery.”

Lois Crisler

Although we visited Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as far back as 2006, (time DOES fly doesn’t it?!), I remember every moment as if it were yesterday.  Just last week, as often happens, I was asked which of our many adventures was my favorite. My answer never varies. I’ve loved every one of our journeys but Africa will always be at the top of my list. Happily, that conversation was my inspiration for this week’s challenge.



“In the wilderness is the salvation of the world.”

Henry David Thoreau

There is no way to describe the emotion of seeing Africa’s creatures in their natural environment.  It is truly life-changing.  I struggle with the concept of zoos after seeing animals roaming free, but I know many of us would never see them if not in captivity.  Still it challenges me to justify our right to confine them.  We can only hope that the zoos’ visitors learn to respect and appreciate them, and to join the many who work to save them and the environments on which they, and we, depend. 



“The wilderness is a place of an encounter with the creator.”

Laila Gifty Akita

I have no such challenge when it comes to Wild Game Trophy hunting. Many years ago I attended a party at the home of a friend of a friend. He was a hunter and had hung dozens of heads of these beautiful creatures on his walls as well as used their fur as rugs on his floor.  I’m sure there are many who feel such practices are reasonable, but I am not among them. Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the very real emotions of our four-legged brethren. Science has proven that their methods of communication, although different than ours, are every bit as effective and at times even more sophisticated. If only we could learn to speak their language we might learn how better to co-exist on our shared planet.

cheetah in hunting position


“Wilderness touches the heart, mind and soul of each individual in a way known only to himself.”

Michael Frome

I recently read that Botswana, which for many years disallowed elephant hunting, has passed a law allowing it on a limited basis. Although it makes me tremendously sad, there is some justification for their decision.  Back when we visited, our guide told us Botswana was having a terrible time managing the growth of the herds. They had become so large they were destroying their own habitat more quickly than it could be replenished.  One wonders though – obviously huge herds survived in times past without human intervention.  Survival of the fittest is more than just a phrase – it is a valid description of the evolution of many species, including, one would assume, elephants.

sable in motion in the wild


“The wilderness needs your whole attention.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Although perhaps not as attention-getting as the big cats or elephants, many dozens of other animals in the wild are equally awe-inspiring to those of us who love nature. Take for example the sable antelope above. It was a privilege to see them on the run through the African plains. Although they are threatened by lions and other predators, they use their long horns for defense and typically emerge victorious. Prized by hunters for its beautiful coat and incredible horns, the primary threat to this species is its status as a wild game trophy.  Their numbers have also diminished due to the use of insect control chemicals. Because their grazing areas are typically conducive to farming, several conservation programs now focus on providing financial incentives to farmers who adhere to conservation criteria.



“There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild.”

Boyd Norton

Thanks to improved post-processing software I was able to rescue the images above and below from my 2006 “rejects” bin. Together the images, along with the Norton quote, speak volumes about the beauty of the earth’s natural wilderness and its inhabitants. Perhaps we could all benefit from a better understanding of our place on the planet and the amazing creatures with whom we share it.



“There are places which exist in this world beyond the reach of imagination.

Daniel J. Rice

There are many ways one might choose to interpret this week’s “wild” challenge – of course wild animals, but also wildflowers, the wild blue yonder, wild about “fill in the blank”, the wild, wild west….I could go on and on.  Instead I’ll turn it over to you to show us YOUR perspective on what wild means to you.  

Speaking of your perspectives, last week Amy challenged us to show the 5 elements as defined in ancient China and you replied with a wonderful assortment of responses…


  • Sofia showed us the importance of considering the 5 elements together here
  • Viveka took us around the world with her elements here
  • Mike offered us a musical memory here

We look forward to seeing your responses to this week’s challenge. For information on joining the challenge click here. Remember to link your post here and to tag it Lens-Artists to help us find you in the WP Reader section. Be sure to tune in to Patti’s Pilotfish blog for next week’s challenge.











Lens-Artists Challenge #45 Street Art

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh

street art, hummingbirds

“Rebirth” by Nicole Punsler

This week Patti has invited us to share some examples of street art.  I must admit I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to showcase some street murals I photographed while in California visiting friends this spring. My opening images were part of a gloriously colorful mural – one of several located in Indio, California. More well-known for its Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio is home to several of these works of art painted on concrete buildings throughout the downtown area. Click on the images for a slightly larger view. 

street art, indio

Old Indio by Bijan Masoumpanah

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

Camille Pissarro

In 1996, this relatively small town just outside of Palm Springs initiated a mural project. Business owners were asked to support artists’ murals depicting the city’s historical, artistic and cultural legacy. Online maps were created and made available for the various murals, which can be explored on foot or by car. It’s a great example of the mutual benefit to businesses and artists when the two work together in support of each other.



“If you don’t want a generation of robots, fund the arts!”
Cath Crowley


When you think about it, 20+ years is a long time for building murals to exist. Exposed to the elements day in and day out, the murals remain beautifully detailed if somewhat faded (much like the times they represent). Despite Southern California’s harsh sun along with desert wind and sudden rainstorms, they do a wonderful job of artistic storytelling for all to see.



“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

Nina Simone

The murals are much, much larger than I’ve been able to include here, covering entire walls of large buildings.  You can see them in their entirety on a video posted here. Although all of the murals were terrific (including my header, which captures “Moving Toward the Future” by David Oceloti Garcia), two of my personal favorites were my opening image and the much quieter one that follows. This mural (of which I’ve included only a small piece) was the most damaged by the elements. The white spots are all areas where the paint had peeled off. Despite its aging, the mural had a lovely nostalgic feel. For me it seemed what a ride through the countryside might have looked like in times gone by – perhaps even here in South Carolina.

mural-History of the Date Industry in the Coachella Valley


“Inspiration surrounds us, the creation is our responsibility as artists.”

Lyn Crain

Special thanks to my good friend Sharon who knew how much I’d enjoy photographing the murals and took the time to explore the area for and with me. For another, very different look at a street art installation combined with performance art , visit my previous post here.

Thanks also to all who participated in our exploration of Harmony last week and to those who continue to support our challenge each week.  For more information on how to join us, click here. As always, remember to TAG your post with our Lens-Artists tag. We look forward to seeing the street art you’ve discovered – whether painted, sculpted, carved or created in ways we’ve not thought about before. 😊











Less is More – Lens-Artists Challenge #43

“To say more while saying less is the secret of being simple.”

Dejan Stojanovic

lily in sunlight


Amy has challenged us to portray “less is more” in this week’s post. I’ve opened with a simple image of a beautiful lily captured during a visit to Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens earlier this month. I loved the way the light made the blossom nearly transparent, allowing the flower to stand on its own against the dark background.

turtles, alligator sunning


“Speak little. Listen more. Learn a lot.”

Anthony T. Hincks

It’s not unusual to see alligators and turtles sunning at this particular ramp in the Gardens. Somehow the creatures have found a way to peacefully co-exist. On this particular day the last turtle seemed to be thinking that if the gator would just move up a few inches he’d have a bit more room to join the party!

Many white hydrangeas


“The more you are grateful for what you have the more there is to be grateful for.”

Pravin Agarwal

Back to the Garden’s flowers, to me these hydrangeas looked like giant snowballs waiting to be thrown.  In their pure whiteness (is that really a word?!) it struck me that sometimes less color means more beauty. I also thought this image would make a nice abstract but since last week was all about impressionism I’ll hold that thought for another day.



“The more we give away, the richer we become.”

Craig Groeschel

One of my favorite things about the Gardens is the birdlife. In the spring the herons, egrets and cormorants are busy nesting, giving birth, and raising their chicks. I shot this image using an aperture setting to blur the background, allowing focus to rest on the two birds and their carefully crafted nest. I further emphasized the birds by adding a bit of light to the nest area in post processing.

Magnolia Gardens swamp


“The universe doesn’t know good or bad, only less or more.”

Pat Cadigan

Although the Garden’s flowers are magnificent, so too is its simple swamp. I can imagine the landscape must have looked much like this at the beginning of time. I particularly love the cypress trees whose roots seem to reach to earth’s very core. No floral embellishments are needed to enhance the beauty of the scene.

red bridge, magnolia gardens, small child, pink flowers


“True merit is like a river – the deeper it is the less noise it makes.”

Edward Wood

At quite the opposite end of the spectrum, the image above is bursting with life and color. Full disclosure, as I was shooting the scene a young family happened to arrive at just the same time. Rather than wait for them to pass, or ask them to wait for me to finish, I asked if they’d let their young daughter add to my composition. They happily obliged and I think she adds just the right amount of “less” to the scene’s colorful “more”. 

pink and white rose


“What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Mother Teresa

Finally, since I began with flowers I shall close with one. This image is actually from our west coast visit earlier this month. But it was too perfect in its simplicity not to include it with a post about less being more (thank you Sharon!).

Thanks to Amy for her clever challenge this week. I hope you’ll stop here next Saturday for Challenge #44.  In the meanwhile, here’s wishing you a great week ahead.


#Fuji, #Magnolia Gardens, #Charleson


Lens Artists Challenge #42 – Creativity

“Dreaming is easy. Creativity is a lot of work.”

E. Obeng-Amoako Edmonds


This week Ann-Christine has challenged us to show some creativity.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve taken an artist’s brush to my images, and a recent class reminded me of how much fun it can be.  Combining that with some captures I made during our visit last week to Hudson New York, Ann-Christine has pushed me toward my attempt at artistic creativity. All of todays images were edited using Topaz, Photoshop and French Kiss Textures.


“Genius creates from the heart.”

Elizabeth Goudge

Hudson is a fun little town in the middle of the Hudson Valley  – home of the well-known Hudson River School of 19th century landscape painters. It is filled with interesting shops and excellent restaurants and offers some great people-watching. At just over two hours from NYC it has become a popular getaway for busy Manhattanites seeking the quiet of a country weekend.

My husband and I were in Hudson for a family event but while there we took advantage of several of the restaurants. Along with delicious meals, I will also admit to having eaten some amazing chocolate croissants, which are high on my list of all-time-favorite foods. I also spent time enjoying the shops and wandering the neighborhoods with my Fuji at the ready.


“The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.”

Sylvia Plath

Clearly it was a very creative person (or more likely several of them) who first thought about the town’s transition from a sleepy, one-horse stop along the rail line into a go-to destination. As the process continues to be underway, there are a number of buildings around town that appeal to photographers who, like me, are drawn those that are pre-urban renewal. 



“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

Joseph Chilton Pierce

It’s a funny thing about travel – places and things one would pass without a glance become much more compelling. In fact, many of the places that drew my focus would probably be considered eyesores were they to be found in my own neighborhood. 

restaurant, BBQ


“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

Albert Einstein

Not so the restaurant above. How creative the owners were to include the little booth in the right corner – which of course comes from Charles Shulz’s wonderful comic strip.  How many times have you smiled at Lucy’s advice to poor Charlie Brown? I suppose as they say, we do get what we pay for 😊.

Decayed, run down, red window


“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.”

Cecil B. DeMille

I was drawn to the contrast of the three red squares in the building shown above. Interestingly on closer inspection I found a sign that said the business (which may or may not have been permanently shuttered) was cigar-making. Inside the window I saw what appeared to be a tall pile of tobacco leaves. Now that trade with Cuba had been opened perhaps American cigar-makers are in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

Red gate, run down


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


The red of the gates above also drew me in to the scene. While the town’s renewal is definitely under way, it’s a bit sad to think that often the character of a place is lost in the process. Happily Hudson seems, at least so far, to be preserving its character while updating its structures.

Doorknob, hearts, worn


“Creativity is the only way a man can ever experience motherhood.”

Girish Kohli

So here’s to the creative among us. Those who embrace rather than fear new ideas, those who try new things without worrying about failure, those who challenge themselves to think outside the box. Here’s to Ann-Christine for challenging us to be creative, and to all of those who will respond to her challenge. We look forward to hearing all about your efforts!

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and Happy Earth Day to us all!  Remember to check in next week when Amy bring us our next challenge. For more information about joining us, click here.  Remember to use the Lens-artists tag to have your post appear in our Reader section.










Lens-Artists Challenge #40 – Something Different

“The things that make me different are the things that make me me.”

A.A. Milne

group of cacti


Those who saw my post last week know that I was on the west coast, enjoying the super blooms of Arizona and California along with friends and family. Beyond the amazing flowers, I really enjoyed the differences between the Kiawah scenery and the desert landscapes .  As I thought about it, it seemed only natural that this week’s challenge should be “Something Different”.

2 living cholla cacti vs 1 dead cactus


“Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

The landscapes looked completely different depending on the time of day. The famous deep purple Arizona sunset cast a golden glow, while the blue sky of daylight provided a colorful contrast to the greens of the hillside sentinels.

cactus with pink flowers


“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”

Freya Stark

The chances of seeing desert blossoms and cacti are less than zero here on Kiawah 😊. While I might prefer our ocean and beach landscapes if forced to make a choice, it’s always nice to have a new and different experience.  Somehow travel seems to awaken our senses and cause us to absorb our surroundings in a new way.

red cacti flowers


“Be daring. Be first. Be different.”

Anita Roddick

Clearly we have no cacti here on Kiawah, nor do we have the hills and mountains which are so much fun to hike. Our flowers are different due to the change in climate, as are our birds and bugs.  Although I love our beautiful home surroundings, life often gets in the way.  When traveling I tend to use my lens a bit more often, especially when presented with new and different opportunities.

2 cholla cacti vs 1 dying cactus


“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Coco Chanel

In the image above we see two different species of cacti. On the left, two cholla cacti are alive and well, while on the right the cactus, now unidentifiable, has died.  Interestingly a tree or plant has taken root and is growing out of its skeleton – yet another of nature’s small miracles.

Red blooms on cacti


“We have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.”

Kofi Annan

I’ve done my best to cull the images from our western adventure, but there was so much to see and shoot! The super bloom flowers were incredible, but even without them, the cacti were a great subject. I was surprised by the many varieties and how very different they were from each other – as many as 127 genera according to Wikipedia.

two small cacti growing on one large cactus


“The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.”

Mahatma Ghandi

I enjoyed shooting both the flowers and the cacti.  The differences between the various elements of the desert were astounding, as was the difference versus our home landscape. That said, I’m closing with one of my favorites of the trip, which features neither flowers nor cacti. Unlike the Fuji X-T2 images above, this one was captured using my iPhone 8+ as we drove by. I loved the feeling of the painted desert created by the clouds, the shadows and the hills spotted with tiny dots of cacti.

desert mountain in shadows


“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.”

Martin Luther King

So lets see something out of the norm in your world.  Show us something different, something unusual, something we wouldn’t normally expect from you.  We look forward to your entries and as always, remind you to tag them “Lens-Artists” so that we can all find them.

Speaking of entries, we enjoyed and appreciate all of your responses to Amy’s fun Hello April challenge last week.


o             RXFrazier went for originality and a smile with an April Fools joke here

o            Gina from Photography in Pearls shared an amazing Lady Bank shrub in full bloom. Check it out on the link.


Interested in joining the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge? For instructions and more information click here. We’d love to have you. 😊







Lens-Artists Challenge #39 – Hello April; Desert Super Bloom

If you spend enough time in the desert, you will hear it speak.”

Nnedi Okorafor



This week Amy invites us to welcome the new month with her Hello April post- which here in the US means the beginning of spring. I was excited to be ushering in the season out west this year, spending time with friends and family . Apparently, this past winter in the desert was chillier and wetter than normal so there is an amazing preponderance of glorious flowers to see and enjoy.



“You came into my life like the rain to the parched desert.”

Avijeet Das

Much of the news during our visit was about the “super bloom” – a rare occurrence during which there are literally blankets of wildflowers covering the hills and roadsides around much of California and Arizona. Yellow and red poppies were surrounded by blue and purple lupines and pink fairydusters among other species too numerous to name. Reports of towns being overwhelmed by tourists and photographers were heard daily, although we were fortunate to be with locals who knew the best times and places to avoid the crowds. Sadly, not everyone affords nature the respect she deserves, and officials have had to post warnings under #dontdoomthebloom to ask people not to trample or pick the flowers. How sad.


“The desert is a natural extension of the inner silence of the body.”

Jean Baudrillard

In addition to the glorious floral carpets, the scenes were enhanced by the ever-present cacti – standing guard like soldiers with their prickly exteriors. Arms outstretched toward the desert sun, they seemed a bit battered and bruised by the harsh conditions and yet still they stood, ever vigilant.



“The empire of desert, water is king and shadow is queen.”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Beyond the beauty of the flowering desert, we were blessed with clear blue skies and perfect temperatures for hiking. The far-drier desert air is a bit challenging for those of us who live at sea level, but I personally found it less difficult than the change of time zone.  As easy as it is to adapt when traveling west, the return to eastern time is definitely not for the faint of heart.



“I will fill myself with the desert and the sky.”

Kiersten White

Now that we’ve returned home, I’m happy Amy has given me an opportunity to share some of the desert’s magic with her challenge. Hopefully you are enjoying similarly beautiful weather wherever this post finds you.



“You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we walk in fields of gold.”


We look forward to sharing April with you  in your part of the world. Remember to Tag your post Lens-Artists so that we can all find you in our reader section. We’ll be back next week and hope you’ll join us here on Travels and Trifles for Challenge # 40.



#superbloom, #fuji x-T2, #dontdoomthebloom