Lens-Artists Challenge #133 – My Photography Journey

Nikon FM Camera
FIRST LOVE

“One’s first love is always perfect until one meets one’s second love”

Elizabeth Aston

It was longer ago than I care to admit that I began my long journey into the world of photography. The image above is my first camera, a much-loved 35mm Nikon FM, an SLR film camera. Little did I know at the time that it would become a life-long passion. (And yes, you’re right – it IS bizarre that I still have that first camera and its manual 🙂.)

12 Apostles, Australia
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, GREAT OCEAN ROAD, AUSTRALIA

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

J.R.R. Tolkein

For a while life got in the way as I built my career in the technology business. Through more luck than planning my husband and I were able to retire early and begin the life we’d often dreamed of. After moving south, we focused on exploring the world. My love of photography was re-awakened and coincided perfectly with the arrival of digital technology. I stored my film equipment away for good and bought an inexpensive Canon point-and-shoot which I quickly outgrew.

READY FOR ACTION, OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA

“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

Danny Kaye

The Kiawah Photography Club became a wonderful resource for improving my skills with its many excellent speakers who came to lecture and lead photo shoots. Our safaris in Botswana and South Africa motivated me to invest in new technology – this time with Nikon. After studying my options I purchased their then-current DSLR – with a dazzling 6 megapixel sensor – and my beloved 70-200 f/2.8 lens. It served me well for many years (along with an array of other Nikon lenses and several camera upgrades 😊) until it became just too heavy for me to hold.

Great Wall, China
WITH MY HUSBAND AND MY NIKON AT CHINA’S GREAT WALL

“I urge you; go find buildings and mountains and oceans to swallow you whole. They will save you, in a way nothing else can.”

Christopher Poindexter

As we continued our travels, photography not only captured our adventures, it added to our enjoyment and allowed us to revisit them long after they were over. On the equipment front, because weight had become key I moved to a mirrorless Fuji X-T2. It served me well on our first outing, a visit to Israel and Jordan. I was able to comfortably carry it all day, every day for three weeks. More importantly, I was very pleased with the results despite some technology glitches along the way.

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK, ISRAEL
TEACHING WHILE DOING

“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”

Trenton Lee Stewart

As we’ve traveled the world I’ve loved both seeing and capturing its wonders. None of it would have happened without the support and encouragement of my husband – the more adventurous and enthusiastic of our partnership. He has pushed me beyond anything I’d have accomplished without him and ensured that we’ve both enjoyed the journey. Happily, our photography club (where I am now occasionally a leader as well as a learner) continues to help me expand my skills. The image above for example is from a class I teach on making photography books, one of my favorite ways to savor and preserve our exploits.

sunset, Botswana, art
ARTISTIC IMPRESSION, SUNSET, SOUTH AFRICA

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Finally, I’ve enjoyed learning the many sophisticated editing tools available. These days I use both Lightroom and Photoshop augmented by tools like Nik, Topaz and Luminar – which brings me to next week’s challenge! We’ll be asking you to share images that didn’t quite live up to your expectations together with your final versions after editing them. As an example, I’ve enjoyed dabbling in artistic interpretations like the image above, which can be great fun.

Looking back over my photography journey these many years has been a real pleasure for me. Amy is so right that photography is much more than what camera you use. Whether on another continent or in your own backyard, it’s also about what you see and how you translate your vision. My sincere thanks to Amy for this week’s inspiration, as well as to Ann-Christine and Patti who continue to inspire and motivate me. Finally, thanks to all of you who continue to follow along with us on our Lens-Artists adventures. We look forward to hearing about YOUR journeys. Remember to link to Amy’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Until then, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite-ever quotes from Helen Keller: “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”.

So far so good 😊

Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped and Checked

mother and baby zebra
TWO GENERATIONS

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

Isak Dinesen

For this week’s challenge “striped or checked” I decided to keep it simple and focus on a single subject – the beautiful zebras of Botswana. Surely there is no more iconic subject when it comes to stripes! All of my images this week were captured in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, home to the Plains Zebra – including the Burchell variety which is the only type found there.

DISTANT COUSINS

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

Paul Oxton

Named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2014, the Okavango Delta is so large it can be seen from outer space. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean. Because it floods seasonally, the delta’s plants and animals have adapted their lifecycles to its annual rain cycle. During migration, up to 25,000 zebras can be found in Botswana. The image above shows a zebra and a wildebeest (both striped 😊) grazing comfortably side by side. While we did not see intermingling between species, we found most of the grazing creatures peacefully co-existing.

Burchell's Zebra
HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU KID

“Scientists think they can now clone an all-white zebra. Now, I’m no expert, but isn’t that a horse?

Jay Leno

The three types of zebra are very difficult to distinguish. The Plains zebra (including the Burchell) is noted for its faint tan line within its white stripes. The Grevy’s zebra is the largest species, and the Mountain zebra prefers to live in high altitude areas. All three varieties have that perfectly-shaped black and white mane that looks as if it has just come from the hairdresser 🙂. While generally placid, the kick of a zebra can break a lion’s jaw, and males are known to eat the foals of other males to reinforce their dominance within the herd.

Burchell's Zebra
PRINCELY PORTRAIT

“I asked the zebra, are you black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?”

Shel Silverstein

Zebras, horses and donkeys are the only members of the Equus genus of mammals. A male zebra and a female horse can mate, creating offspring called a zorse. Much more rare, a female zebra and a stallion can mate and give birth to a hebra. Interestingly, although very difficult for humans to recognize, each zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes, much like our own fingerprints. Scientists believe the stripes help hide the zebra from predators as they resemble the dappled sunlight through African trees, or that they form a bit of a thermometer assist – dark stripes attracting the sun on cool mornings and white reflecting it to cool them in mid-day heat.

dazzle of Zebras
DAZZLING DAZZLE

“The herd may graze where it pleases, but he who lives the adventurous life will remain unafraid when he finds himself alone.”

Raymond B. Fosdick

A group of zebras is called a dazzle or, less interestingly, a herd. We found them to be curious creatures, but in an interesting way. Typically we’d come across a dozen or more in a group, but only one would turn to see us, typically the last in line. Do you suppose they have an appointed guard or lookout assigned to check out potential threats?

zebra close-up
SNACKTIME

“Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken.”

Ernest Gaines

I have amazing memories of our African safari, including the beautiful creatures with which one is surrounded. While in the midst of it however, there is much to see and absorb, such that little facts tend to be forgotten. Many of those in today’s post were discussed during our safari but had long been forgotten until I searched them online.

Parents and zebra foal
BABY IN-BETWEEN

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

Kedar Dhepe

I had a hard time narrowing down the number of images for this week as you may have noticed. Hopefully you’re still with me as I thank you for your creative and interesting responses to last week’s Emotions challenge. We appreciate your using the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you, and ask you this week to include a link to Ann-Christine’s post here. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses. Finally, we hope to see you again next week when Amy hosts our next challenge. Until then, stay safe and have a wonderful week.

Lens-Artists Challenge #131 – Emotions

MIXED EMOTIONS

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

Albert Einstein

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

EXHAUSTED

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

Steve Maraboli

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

PLEASED

“Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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

AFFECTIONATE ELEPHANTS

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

James Herriot

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

PROUD

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

Ron Baratono

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

CONTENTED

“He who knows contentment is rich.”

Lao Tzu

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

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #130 – Close Encounters

LEAFING 2020 BEHIND

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

Shihab Kazi

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

FALLEN FERNS

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

Slaven Vujic

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

SIGN OF THE TIMES

“Small things bring joy, somedays.”

Warren Ellis

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

PERSPECTIVE

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

Alphonse Karr

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

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


Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favorite Images of 2020

LAST FLIGHT OUT

A new beginning is a blank canvas ready and thirsty for paint. 

Chaker Khazaal

The Lens-Artists team is back after our brief hiatus and is happy to wish a warm welcome to 2021. More than ever, this New Year brings with it a sense of hope that life will return to something closer to normal – perhaps with a greater appreciation for what is most important. Our annual “Favorite Images of the Year ” challenge presents a different opportunity this time around. While typically we might include visits to faraway lands, or to family in other places, 2020 was a very different year. Rather than highlight what I might consider 2020’s best photography, I’ve chosen instead to include images that tell my personal story for 2020.

I’ve opened with an image taken during our only trip of 2020, an early March visit with family in New York City. In fact, it was the last time we were with any of our family, our biggest disappointment this bizarre year. As it happens, we were but one tiny step ahead of the first major outbreak in New York. We remember joking about it, thinking it had been over-hyped and was nothing to worry about. We could not have been more wrong and in fact our timing was simply pure, dumb luck.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM

“The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.”

Josiyah Martin

We returned to the shelter of our small island, where we have taken advantage of fresh air, nature’s many gifts, and relative safety. As the COVID storm swirled around us we were able to spend time with friends – our pod members if you will – playing golf, walking the beach, bicycling and dining outside in our typically mild climate. We were unable to visit our families, and prevented from traveling for pleasure, but because we have been much more fortunate than so many others we cannot help but count our blessings.

LIME TIME

A new dawn always breaks after darkness, but only those who have survived the night live to see it.”

Tristan Roulot

I will admit my enthusiasm for photography waned a bit this year, as the news continued to grow darker each day. Having become used to seeing new faces and places, the idea of capturing the “same old thing” failed to interest me. It was a visit with a friend whose beautiful garden drew me in that helped me to remember Mother Nature’s wonders were more than worthy of my attention. The luscious fruit above was one of my many images that day.

HANGING AROUND

“You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unthinkable.”

Christina Rasmussen

Once re-energized it seemed nature’s gifts were everywhere. I took to biking around the island with my camera, with an eye toward being more observant. It was on those outings that I captured the images above and below.

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

“The key to a better life isn’t always a change of scenery. Sometimes it simply requires opening your eyes.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

Happily, our local photography club continued its weekly meetings using Zoom. We were able to host amazing professionals who would otherwise have been on the road leading groups exploring exotic locations. There were wonderful opportunities for expanding our skills, including an introduction to the concept of Wabi-Sabi which struck a chord with me. The two images that follow resulted from that session, which explored the beauty that can be found both in aging and imperfection (two concepts with which I am very familiar 😊).

AGE AND BEAUTY

“The days without difficulty are the days you do not improve.”

Evan Winter
GHOST FOREST

“The great lessons in life often come to us through some form of extreme hardship.”

Robert White

Our lives are filled with moments of wonder that offset times of difficulty and hardship. It is only through the latter that we learn to better appreciate the former. Let us hope that if nothing else, 2020 has shown us that the curveballs life throws us are opportunities for growth that once overcome, strengthen our resolve to keep moving forward.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

Og Mandino

We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest hosted by Slow Shutter Speed’s Anne Sandler. Be sure to stop by her blog this week to see her beautiful photography and to make sure you don’t miss her post next Saturday at noon EST.

As the sun sets on 2020, may 2021 bring peace, good health, and moments of joy to us all. We look forward to seeing YOUR favorite images of 2020 and understanding why you’ve chosen them. Remember to link them to my original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our challenge and the creativity of your responses.

Holiday Wishes

“When you live gratefully and joyfully every day is a holiday.” 

Marty Rubin

Wishing all a joyous holiday, along with a New Year of peace and good health.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 128 – Here Comes the Holiday Season

SANTA REIGNS

“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within.” 

Prabhas

How lovely of Ann-Christine to offer us an opportunity to remember holidays past and to think about those of 2020 and the years ahead. For me, the holidays cover a wide range of traditions. Our kids and my husband’s family are in New York, and we begin the holidays celebrating Chanukah with them. From there we head south to New Jersey where my large family has gathered for Christmas every year until this one, no exceptions. Unfortunately this year it’s zoom calls all round instead.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

“One candle can light another. See how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” 

Moshe Davis

My parents, who sadly are no longer with us, always made a major fuss for Christmas. With 5 children, so long as any of us believed in Santa there were neither gifts nor a tree to be seen before Christmas morning. As we grew up, it was a big treat to pretend to sleep until the little ones dozed off, only to sneak downstairs to help mom and dad decorate the tree and distribute the gifts. Imagine how tired they must have been on Christmas day! Once we’d all grown up it became our tradition to attend Midnight Mass followed by hot chocolate and shared memories of Christmases past.

CURRIER AND IVES COMES ALIVE

“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” 

Janice Maeditere

Last year our visit to New York, in addition to precious time with family, included a stop at the Oculus, which was beautifully decorated for the holiday. To me it looked like a Currier and Ives painting come to life. I’ve included a small part of it in the image above.

WELL-DRESSED LIBATIONS

“Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light.” 

Rabbi Rafael Goldstein

Our family hosts in New Jersey really get into the spirit of the holiday. They prepare a full dinner for 26 of us, including our libations of choice – fully dressed for the occasion 😊. We all participate in a “white elephant” exchange – where we try to present an original or humorous gift to the person whose name we’ve drawn. That’s my husband below, who once received a framed magazine cover with his head and mine attached to muscle-bound bodies. If only!

I DON’T THINK SO!!!

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” 

Marjorie Holmes

Before heading north, back on Kiawah much of the holiday revolves around golf. In addition to the ladies-only Holiday Mixer I featured last week, we also have a couples ” Santa Open”. We begin with a pot-luck dinner at the home of a participating couple. It’s followed the next day with the first of two days of golf . We finish with an awards dinner at a local restaurant ending with some enthusiastically if poorly sung Christmas Caroling 🎶🎶.

GOLFING PHOTOGRAPHER

“It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”

Agnes M. Pharo

That’s me above and with my husband below, during last year’s Santa Open. Sadly this was the first time in 20 years we were unable to hold the event. But like many things we’re hoping it will be back in 2021.

CHRISTMAS GOLFERS WITH SANTA

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. “

Helen Keller

We look forward to sharing your holiday memories and plans. Remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. I’ll close by wishing everyone the happiest of holidays, Covid notwithstanding. Remember that by staying home the loved ones you save may be your own. Surely they are with you in spirit as you are with them.

The Lens-artists team will be enjoying a holiday next week and will return on Saturday, January 2. I’ll be your host here on Travels and Trifles and the challenge will be  “Favorite Photos of 2020”. Until then, we thank each and every one of you for your support and creativity as our community has grown throughout the year. Wishing everyone a joyful holiday and a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2021!

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Lens-Artists Challenge #127 – Precious Moments

FUN FRIENDS

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

Amy Poehler

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

LITTLE SCOTS

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

Henry Ward Beecher

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

TESTING THE WATERS, VIETNAM

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

Louis Pasteur

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

STUDYING SEEDS

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

Angela Schwindt

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

DELIGHTED BY A DODO

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

Albert Einstein

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

CAL, DEEP IN THOUGHT

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

John F. Kennedy

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

A TOAST TO VISITING AGAIN IN 2021

“Children see magic because they look for it.”

Christopher Moore

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

PROUD DAD

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

Nelson Mandela
PURE JOY

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

Thomas Paine

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

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #126 – A is for Anstruther and Archives

AFTER THE STORM, ANSTRUTHER

“There is magic in Scotland.”

Gayle Rankin

Among the many responses to Patti’s alphabet challenge this week, I doubt any others will feature Anstruther 😊. A small Scottish fishing town, Anstruther is well-known for its beautiful harbor and award-winning fish and chips (Yes, they were definitely calorie-worthy!). We were in Anstruther because of its proximity to St. Andrews, the revered golfing mecca. As golfers we enjoyed St. Andrews and the historic town that surrounds it. Beyond that though, we were absolutely charmed by Anstruther, and from there, the northwestern Scottish highlands.

LANDSCAPES FROM HEAVEN, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

“There are few places more ruggedly beautiful than the highlands of Scotland.”

Julia London

We spent a month in Scotland, driving to its farthest corners over one-lane roads that often included blind curves. Fortunately we survived the winding roads which were well worth the extra gray hairs. The area is breathtakingly beautiful and deserves the many accolades given it by poets and authors through the years. The light is like no other and the weather every bit as unpredictable and varied as is often said.

LOW TIDE, ANSTRUTHER

“Wherever I visit, wherever I rove; the hills of the highland forever I love.”

Robert Burns

We made so many photography stops during our drive from Anstruther to Ullapool that my husband began to wonder if we’d ever arrive. Along the way we encountered bright sun, cloudy skies, misty rain, and fog. By the end of the drive I was soaking wet with a slightly injured ankle (slipped off a rock – duh) and couldn’t have been happier.

ON THE ROAD TO ULLAPOOL

“It (Scotland) is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world.”

J.K. Rowling

One of the benefits of blogging during the pandemic is a return to the Archives and the treasure trove of memories they generate. I’ve included a few additional images from among my favorites of the area.

ANSTRUTHER, BEHIND THE WALL

“Did not strong connections draw me elsewhere, I believe Scotland would be the country I would choose to end my days in.”

Ben Franklin
DUNDONALD CASTLE, ONE OF OVER 2,000 IN SCOTLAND

“I feel a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most beautiful country.”

Queen Victoria
MORNING LIGHT, SCOTLAND

“Give me but one our of Scotland, let me see it ere I die.” 

William Edmondstoune Aytoun
CLOUDY SKIES, DUNNOTTAR CASTLE

“Poetry, the reading of it, the writing of it, the saying it out loud, the learning of it off by heart, matters deeply to ordinary Scottish people everywhere.”

Liz Lochland

Sincere thanks for your varied and creative responses to last week’s challenge. It seems most all of our followers enjoyed the freedom to feature their own favorites. Rest assured we’ll be offering the option again in the new year. In the meanwhile, we look forward to seeing your “A” choices. Please be sure to link them to Patti’s post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

Muted Blooms

“Pared down to its essence, Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature.”

Tadao Ando

This week it’s all up to you – you get to choose your subject and to share whatever it is about it that you find interesting. Personally, I’ve chosen last week’s introduction to the concept of Wabi-Sabi, particularly as it relates to art and photography, as my topic. Our local photography club held a zoom class on the subject, led by nationally-renowned artist / photographer, Jamie Konarski Davidson.

Magical Forest

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”

Marc Chagall

As a lover of both nature and impressionism, I found the presentation particularly interesting. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that recognizes beauty in the imperfections of life and the natural cycle of growth and decay. I’ve often commented about the fact that many photographers (present company included) are drawn to objects like broken down barns, old rusty vehicles, or abandoned homes with broken windows and overgrown, weed-infested gardens. What I didn’t realize was that in the world of Wabi-Sabi, all of those things are considered intrinsically beautiful.

Whispy

“Pare down to the essence but don’t remove the poetry.”

Leonard Koren

Part of the concept of Wabi-Sabi is being aware of our surroundings and looking for beauty in everyday life – in its impermanence and imperfection. Ms. Davidson encouraged us to depict our subjects not only as they appeared, but as we felt while photographing them. As such I’ve chosen to highlight some of the beauty I found on Kiawah this week using textures and impressionism.

Southern Camellia

“The Japanese sense of beauty…has been dominated by a love of irregularity rather than symmetry, the impermanent rather than the eternal and the simple rather than the ornate.”

Alain de Botton

We were encouraged to slow down, observe and notice everything around us, making no judgements. A friend had earlier suggested I visit a forested, inland area of the island that had been overrun by marsh tides, affectionately renamed the “ghost forest”. My second image was captured there, as were my header and the two images that follow. The area has become a habitat for amazing birdlife, incredible grasses and hundreds of tall, bare trees reflecting perfectly on the waters in which they sit. The stark beauty of the place is the best example of Wabi-Sabi I can imagine.

Ghost Forest

“The intersection where wabi (minimal) and sabi (functional) meet is the platform for my creativity: space and quiet solitude, simplicity.”

Laurie Buchanan

In addition to the images I’ve included from the Ghost Forest, I’ve also included images from my own home. Muted Blooms, Whispy and the Southern Camellia were all captured early one morning after a light rain. If not for this week’s class there is little chance I’d have noticed those subjects.

Reflections

“In every art, achieving simplicity is one of the hardest things to do. Yet it’s easily the most essential.”

Pete Turner

This week we hope you’ll share a subject that is near and dear to you, that you find interesting, or challenging, or perhaps that shows us something new or unique to you. It can be simple or complex, funny or endearing, educational or just for fun. It’s totally up to you – we look forward to seeing what you come up with. Please remember to link your response to this post and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

As always we very much appreciated your creative and thoughtful responses to last week’s Now and Then Challenge. Have you seen these?

  • Sarah at toonsarah-travels takes us through one of few remaining rainforests of the Pacific Coast
  • Teresa of My Camera and I shows us how her beautiful art and her memories of travel are intertwined
  • Khurt of Island in the Net speaks to the difficulties of isolation as we await the arrival of the vaccine and hopefully a return to more normal life
  • We welcome Alison from Travels with Ali to Lens-Artists

SPECIAL NOTE: For those who expressed a wish to have advance notice on our themes, next week Patti will present us with an Alphabet Challenge – Subjects That Begin With The Letter A. Forewarned is forearmed !

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week ahead.