Lens-Artists Challenge #209 – Surrealism

Nightmare, surreal, performance art
The Stuff of Nightmares

“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations.”

Stephen King

Well I must admit that when I saw Tracy’s Surrealism challenge I had a bit of a nightmare of my own. After all, I’ve never been a fan and never attempted anything surreal. I’ll further admit that as I put together my thoughts and ideas for the challenge – and then worked to create images that translated them, I had a heck of a lot of fun! So for me, this is what a “challenge” should be – something that makes you step outside of your comfort zone to try something different, and because of that stretches your capabilities and your artistic thinking a bit more than usual.

hummingbird, impression, surreal, pointing
Facing a Fickle Finger

“The fickle finger of fate controls our destiny, come what may.”

David Harris

I played with software in both of my opening images. In the first I chose an image I’d included several years back of a performance artist working in front of a wall painting of a giant vulture. In the unedited image it appears that the vulture is dropping the man from its beak. That may have been surreal enough as it was, but I chose to add a small amount of twist in photoshop to make it a bit more so. Just above, I combined two images in photoshop, a hummingbird and a man’s pointing finger. To me it appears he is telling the bird, much larger in perspective than it would normally be, to go away. I further edited the image with painterly effects in Topaz.

surreal, magnolia
Surreal Magnolia

“My images were surreal simply in the sense that my vision brought out the fantastic dimension of reality.”

Brassai

My image above is somewhat less surreal than the first two and needs no explanation. Here I simply applied one of Photoshop’s filters to a closeup of a beautiful magnolia. I almost felt bad “mistreating” it but I did rather like the result.

lion, surreal, yellow
Yellow But Not Mellow

“Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb.”

Martin Amis

The image above is, to me, truly weird – ie surreal? I started with a lion portrait from our safari in Botswana, then moved a yellow hat and jacket from an image of our granddaughter onto the lion. Once I’d integrated the elements I ran them through multiple photoshop filters until I was happy with the result. I truly stepped out of my comfort zone on this one! I must admit it took me back to my college days when blacklights and neon posters were all the rage 😊.

statue, surreal, green, gator, firecracker
Ouch!

“Create in the dark, only then can you recognize the light.”

Jyrki Vainonen

Last but not least, I’ve been wanting to post the image above for quite some time. It was a roadside statue of a giant alligator we came across during one of our drives north. I made a cutout of another image, a fireworks burst, and added it to the bottom corner of the image because the alligator for some odd reason is holding a firecracker and seems to be shouting. Go figure! I finished the image by adding just a bit of “zigzag” distortion in Photoshop.

I don’t know much about surrealism, and I’m maybe still not a fan, but I really enjoyed the challenge, so thank you Tracy for that! We hope you’ll join us this week and stretch yourselves just a bit too. Please remember to link your posts to Tracy’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Andre for last week’s Summer Vibes challenge which gave us all an opportunity to show our love for the season. My apologies to anyone I missed as I was on the road much of the week. (and by the way, my surreal header is an unedited image of the sunset one evening this past week during our travels – how cool is that?!)

Finally, we hope you’ll join Sarah with your three favorite images next week as she helps us to close out our month of Guest Hosts. We’ll be back the following week when Anne leads us with her “What’s Your Photography Groove?” challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #208 – Summer Vibes

kiawah, beach, walk, clouds, ocean
Summer’s Day, Kiawah Island

“I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this.”

Susan Branch

Sadly, our guest host this week, Andre of the marvelous Solaner blog, has given us a Summer Vibes challenge. Why, you may ask “sadly”? This week marks our annual “family beach week” which we attend each year in Delaware. It always results in some fun photography, but it will be too late for this challenge. So while I enjoy our little family break, I’ve drawn images from the past few weeks and will save my Delaware beach images for another time.

Duneside

“Dear sun I agree you are very “HOT”; you don’t have to prove it everyday”

Wrushank Sorte

My opening image which I made earlier this month (along with the images above and below) captures Kiawah IMHO at the best of times. It was a beautiful, breezy day with wonderful puffy clouds creating the perfect opportunity for a beach walk. All three images were made using my ever-handy I-phone 12 Pro Max. And yes, as per the quote above, the sun here is definitely HOT!

beach patrol, sea, Kiawah, ocean
Ever Watchful

“I am happy to experience beauty of each season; spring time, summer, autumn and winter.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

Thanks to our temperate climate Kiawah’s beach is a year-round feature, much to my delight. As such, our beach patrol is on the alert in every season. Even on the coldest of winter days (which are rare indeed) a beach walk in the crisp air is balm for the spirit and a reminder of all that is good about our troubled world.

mountains, North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain, vista
I Can See For Miles And Miles

“When all else fails, take a vacation.”

Betty Williams

After 20+ years, it continues to surprise me that so many people visit our beach in summer. The air is humid, thunderstorms are frequent and our temps border on intolerable. While there is much to be said for cooling ocean breezes and a refreshing dip in the ocean, my husband and I often choose summer for travel to cooler climes. Such was the motivation for our visit to North Carolina this June. Both the panorama above and the two images below are from that visit. Note what to us were the very frightening curves in the mountain road on the left of the image above.

mountains, clouds, pink, Summer Mountain
Pink Skies at Night, Sugar Mountain

“Summer has a flavor like no other.”

Oprah Winfrey

Beyond the change of scenery and climate, coming from the “lowcountry” the incredible vistas of our rental home high in the mountains was a wonderful highlight. One evening there was an amazing pink tint, exactly as shown in my image above. While I very rarely include images of myself, or captures made by others on my blog, I decided to share the image below. It shows proof positive that my husband and I crossed the Mile High Bridge on Grandfather Mountain. And yes, it WAS scary!

Mountain, Mile High Bridge, Grandfather Mountain
Mile High Bridge, Grandfather Mountain

“In summer, the song sings itself.”

William Carlos Williams

Last but not least, I’ve included a capture of a tiny visitor clinging to our front door one evening as a summer storm thundered outside. Summer storms are a welcome respite here on Kiawah as they tend to lower both temps and humidity at least for a short while. This little fellow stayed only a few minutes, just long enough for me to grab my iPhone for a capture.

frog, iPhone 12 pro max
Summer Visitor

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”

Al Bernstein

Many thanks to Andre for guest hosting this week and for giving us the opportunity to share some “summer vibes”. Please be sure to link your response to his original here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Jez for last week’s Seeing Double challenge. Your responses were a terrific array of wonderful moments captured forever. We hope you’ll join us again next week when Tracy challenges us with “Surrealism” on “Reflections of an Untidy Mind”. She’ll be followed by the last of our July Guest Hosts, Sarah of “Travel With Me” who will invite us to share three favorite images. Finally, the Lens-Artists team will return in August, when Anne will lead us with her “What’s Your Photography Vibe” challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #207 – Seeing Double

birds, gull, egret, roseate spoonbill
All About the Birds

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd

This week our guest host, Jez, has invited us to “see double”. As I reflected on his reflections (😊)my first thought was to feature some of our beautiful birds. Each of those in the image above is frequently sighted here on Kiawah. I especially loved the little roseate spoonbill trying to relate to the much larger egrets. Typically they are closer in size so perhaps this was a youngster trying to find its place in the avian world. We can all relate to that, right?!

bridge, reflection
Bridging the Gap

“Photography is a bridge between science and art.”

Karl Pawek

One of my favorite Kiawah features is the variety and prevalence of natural waters – lakes, lagoons, rivers, ponds, and of course the sea. Happily, when there is a need to create a bridge, great care has been taken to insure that it reflects the natural beauty that surrounds it. I’ve included the image above as an example – along with the reflected palmettos and a number of avian residents enjoying the peaceful waters.

sky, water, reflection, marsh
Reflecting the Sky

“There is something more beautiful than a beautiful thing – a beautiful thing which has a beautiful reflection on the water.”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

In the image above, a day featuring Kiawah’s beautiful skies is perfectly reflected in the marsh below – only the reeds peeking through the waters hint at the nature of the scene. In the distance, another of our naturally-designed bridges spans the horizon.

sunset, reflection, palmettos, kiawah, moon
Palmettos at Sunset

“The water in the stream may have changed many times, but the reflection of the moon and the stars remains the same.”

Rumi

I’ve featured the image above in previous posts but I couldn’t resist including it again for a “seeing double” challenge. The scene includes double palmettos perfectly reflected, as well as a clear reflection of the evening’s full moon and a gloriously-colored sunset. Sometimes nature offers a gift that simply takes our breath away. For me, this was one of those times.

eaglets, twins
Twins

“Fly like the eagle; the eagle flies as if it never remembered it was once an egg!”

Israelmore Ayivor

Although it is clearly not a reflection, in the true spirit of “seeing double” I’ve included an image of two eaglets that I captured this spring. I was quite a distance from their very high perch in a giant oak tree, but I used my longest lens and did my best to save the image in post-processing. Although cropped and edited, I think it shows how nearly identical the two eaglets are, as well as how fierce and powerful they both appear.

Glorious Garden

“A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul.”

Saadi

Lastly, from nearby Magnolia Gardens, one of my favorite features. The gazebo is placed such that it is reflected in the calm waters below. When viewed from across the water, it’s reflection is an opportunity to appreciate the glory of nature and to marvel at seeing it enhanced and doubled. As an aside, unfortunately I didn’t think to shoot the scene focused only on the reflection. I’ve cropped it below to show what it would have looked like. What do you think – which image do you prefer?

On Second Thought

“You were my everything, which, upon reflection, was probably the problem.”

Joey Comeau

Sincere thanks to Aletta for last week’s Treasures challenge, we enjoyed seeing everyone’s take on the subject which included some terrific variety. We also thank Jez for his challenge this week and look forward to seeing your doubles. Please remember to link your responses to Jez’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists reader tag to help us find you.

Finally, we especially appreciate your support of our July Guest Hosts. Following Jez, they include:

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, who asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when Anne will host her challenge – “What’s Your Groove”. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #206 – Treasures

rubber chicken, humor
Chicken Check-In

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Those who have seen Aletta’s “Treasures” challenge this week may wonder why I’ve opened with a row of rubber chickens! It’s simple really – this week my images express some of the abstract things I treasure, in this case, a sense of humor. Life is full of twists and turns and bumps along the road. Although not always successful, I try to remember to keep a sense of humor to help me through. One of the things I treasure is a hearty laugh shared with loved ones or good friends.

colors, wall art, hearts
Colorful

“You risk a lot when you love – your heart and soul, at the least.”

J.E.B. Spredemann

I chose the colorful wall painting above because of the many hearts in the colorful pattern. I captured it in NYC while visiting family. Because of the hearts and the fact that it was from a family visit, I chose this one to illustrate yet another treasure, the love of family.

Grandfather Mountain, zigzag
Mountaintop

“The thing that is important usually is the thing that is not seen”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I dipped our toes into our first “get-away” since Covid began, two weeks in the nearby mountains of North Carolina. I’ve chosen the image above, a site near the top of Grandfather Mountain, to illustrate yet another treasure, my love of travel and the many things I’ve learned through our experiences both close to home and around the world.

airplane, Lowcountry, South Carolina
Heading Home

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. “

Louisa Thomsen Brits

One of my favorite things about traveling is how much I love coming home. The image above was captured from my airplane window as we approached our beloved lowcountry. Looking down, I captured an iPhone image of some of the marshlands and rivers that surround us. For me, home truly is a treasure – it is where my heart is, no matter how much we enjoy our travels.

Treasured Vista

“Each season is unique yet so important, so cherish the seasons in your life.”

Gift Gugu Mona

Speaking of home, the image above pays homage to another of the things I treasure, the beauty of nature. In it we see one of Kiawah’s marsh areas surrounded by trees. Together they provide a home for our many species of wildlife, as well as an opportunity for the recreation so many of our residents and visitors enjoy. Nature here, nearby, and seen throughout our many travels is another of the things I most treasure.

Photographer, nature
Photographer at Work

“The truth is, we find time for what’s important to us.”

Craig Groeschel

Finally, I could not close today’s post without a mention of photography. I treasure it because it causes me to notice so much more of the world around us, and gives me an opportunity to share it with others. I also treasure the many friends I’ve made through photography, including those in our local photography club. I’ve treasured learning from many of them as well as our visiting professionals, and having had an opportunity to share some of my experience with those just beginning their journey.

Thanks to Aletta for her very creative challenge – we look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to Aletta’s challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to last week’s Eyes challenge. I loved your very creative approaches and beautiful images. We hope you’ll join all of our guest hosts this month. In addition to Aletta they include:

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, who asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when Anne will host her challenge – “What’s Your Groove”. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #205 – The Eyes Have it

Wall Art, eyes, tears, red
Moods

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”

Charlotte Bronte

It’s been said that the eyes are a window to the soul; Charlotte Bronte said it much more eloquently in her quote above. In photography, the most successful portraits will, with rare exception, include focus on the eyes. So this week, let’s explore that concept. My image above includes both the eyes of a photography model and that of the wall painting behind him. I was captured by the difference between the two expressions and honestly, the eyes in the painting are what drew me to this scene.

Windows to the Soul

“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.”

Santosh Salwar

Speaking of different expressions, the image above could not demonstrate it more dramatically. I was drawn to the little boy’s joy versus the world-weary eyes of his father. In this portrait as well as the one that follows, the natural light was my friend. Although many professional portraits are done in studio, natural light can also be perfect – especially if the light is reflected in the subject’s eyes. For this Image I was mindful of avoiding shadows on the faces and chose to “fill the frame” to eliminate distractions. For the one below I used a wider aperture to isolate the little monkey and create a bokeh around him.

Cheeky Monkey

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

Martin Buber

I loved the ever-so-human expression on the little monkey, a favorite from our African safari. Like the image above it, there is a nice catchlight in the eyes, and if you look closely you can actually see me reflected there. Safaris can be especially fruitful because so many of the animals are used to being around people. Here on Kiawah the animals and birds are fairly accustomed to us as well, but we can get similar results most anywhere by staying in an area long enough for the local critters to get comfortable around us.

Oystercatcher, red beak, red eye
Now That’s What I Call Red-eye!

“From a bird’s eye view I can see, you are just like me.”

Jason Mraz

Closer to home, in the image above you can see that oystercatchers have eyes red enough to match their powerful beaks. What an interestingly colorful parade they’ve formed! This one was captured from a boat as we explored a bird sanctuary not far from Kiawah. Because I knew we were photographing birds I had my shutter speed set faster to capture motion and raised my ISO to 400 for a bit of extra light. The number of birds was actually larger than I could fit into the frame, so I removed a bird from the right and left sides of the image in post-processing to give those that remained a bit more space.

alligator, teeth, eyes
I’ve Got My Eye On You

“There was something intelligent…and slightly terrifying behind those eyes.

Stanley Wheeler

I’ve included one of our local creatures, a friendly-looking alligator, in the image above. Of course, we are not fooled by his smile, which would open to envelop any body part that dared to get too close. As always, my long lens was the best answer for a gator image, but in fact it’s an excellent tool for most animal portraits. When photographing animals I find that taking multiple shots from different positions, both with and without the surrounding environment, gives me more options for finding what works best.

woman, girl, paisley, wrap, afro, eyes
Window to the Soul

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”

Anne Sexton

The woman in the image above is also from our travels. I found her so memorable – she was absolutely stunning and I couldn’t resist her beautiful eyes or the halo the backlight had created around her. Her colorful scarf was the icing on the cake. It was not a planned image, rather a fortunate moment in passing. It’s easy to forget that sometimes shooting into the light can create a lovely glow around a subject, as opposed to our normal approach with the sun behind us. In this case, truth be told, I didn’t plan the backlight but the circumstances made it the only way to capture the image.

storm, cloud, mountains
Eye of the Storm

“In the eye of the storm we’re not tossed about by what we see.”

Darryl Anka

While those who skip a post’s text might wonder about the image above, it’s meant to convey a widely-used expression “the eye of the storm”. I captured it last week as my husband and I took a break from South Carolina’s heat for some time in the North Carolina mountains. We truly had a bird’s eye view of the storm as it rolled in and quickly moved on. I used f/11 to capture the wide scene in this one. For me there are two reminders on the image above and the previous one. First while the ‘rule’ of thirds is important (as used in my closing image), it’s OK to ignore the rule sometimes as I did in the image that precedes it. Secondly, it’s important to always have the camera nearby and ready for whatever happens! Of course with today’s cellphone technology that’s a lesson that may soon be found only in history books.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of eye-catching moments (pun intended 😊), and now I’m looking forward to yours. Please remember to link your responses to my original, and to use the Lens-Artists tag which makes it easier for all of us to find you. Special thanks to Sylvia for guest hosting last week’s Doors/Doorways challenge, and to you for your terrific responses.

Next week we’ll continue the Lens-Artists’ summer tradition of inviting several talented guest hosts to present our July challenges.  We’re sharing their themes in advance and hoping you’ll join us in the coming weeks.  They are:

July 02 – Aletta Crouse of Now at Home is focusing on Treasures.

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to check out their diverse and interesting blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when Anne will host her challenge – “What’s Your Groove”. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Looking for more information on joining our challenge? Click here.

Lens-Artists Challenge #204 Doors/Doorways

door, gate, blue
Behind the Blue Gate

“My camera is my best friend when I travel. It opens doors for me and helps me see things I would not have noticed.”

P’all Stefansson

This week we welcome Guest Host Sylvia of My Colorful Expressions who has challenged us to focus on doors and/or doorways. Since I’ve been traveling these past two weeks I’ve taken a look through the archives for some of my favorites. It occurred to me as I searched that most of my door images were from our travels. Exhibit A, my opening image, was captured during our visit to Israel and Jordan. I loved the beautiful gates as well as the worn but lovely doors behind them.

doors, green, France
Epicerie

“Nothing attracts me like a closed door. I cannot rest until I have pried it open.”

Margaret Bourke-White

Another of my favorite door images, shown above, is from the Neve Tzedek area of Tel Aviv (although it could just as easily have been in France from the look of it). There’s only one thing in the image more enticing than those green doors – the delectable treats to be found inside!

doors, ornate, pillars
Ornate

“Everything is interesting, even your doorstep.”

Anna Fox

In Jerusalem’s Old City I was drawn to the beautifully ornate doors above and the ancient portal below.

doors, laundry, Israel, old, worn
Laundry Day

“Photographs open doors into the past but they also allow a look into the future.”

Sally Mann

In Buenos Aires, these four nearly-identical doors caught my attention. What is it about doors that makes them so hard for photographers to resist?!

Similar but different, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“To me, that is what photography is – you walk along the street and something happens, and you get it.”

Joel Meyerowitz

Here in the U.S., the charming door below welcomes visitors to a little church we found along a country lane in upstate New York.

church, countryside, New York, doors, windows
Along a Country Lane, New York, USA

“The artist’s world is limitless. It is always on his doorstep.”

Paul Strand

In French Provence, a colorful entry is framed with flowers in full bloom:

door, roses, colorful, france
Floral Flair, Provence, France

“We all open the same door many times over and each time we open it a new light comes in.”

Stephanie Torbert

A quiet, spiritual spot in Vienna, Austria includes a slightly mysterious door beneath some beautiful arches:

door, church
Spiritual Scene, Vienna, Austria

“Don’t include the whole house if it’s the intricate doorknocker you are after.”

Leender Drukker

In Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat, we encountered a lovely bride framed by a doorway among the ruins

Bride, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Among the Ruins, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

“If you are curious, you create opportunities and if you open the doors you create possibilities.”

Mario Testino

Last but not least, some bright red doors closer to home in nearby Charleston, SC,

Red, door, charleston
Really Red, Charleston SC

“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.”

Leon Levenstein

As I searched the archives for this week’s challenge, I was amazed to find so many images of doors – far more than I’ve included here. I’m sure we’ll enjoy many more doors in your responses – for which we offer our sincere thanks both to you and to Sylvia. Please be sure to link your posts to her original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. We also offer thanks to Anne for last week’s Local Vistas challenge. It was great fun seeing so much variety in the many places we all call home. Finally, I’ll be your host next week here on Travels and Trifles; I hope to see you then. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #203 – Local Vistas

Kiawah, sunrise, sunset, moonlight
Kiawah From Start To Finish

“Sometimes – and it is of course a rarity – a landscape becomes in front of your eyes everything you ever hoped a landscape could be.”

Charlie Waite

There are moments, as Charlie Waite describes above, when the beauty of a vista we see every day becomes something extraordinary. This week, Anne’s Local Vistas challenge gives us an opportunity to invite others into those moments close to home and to our hearts. Here on Kiawah we are all about nature’s amazing gifts. There is much to be seen and savored, so my apologies in advance for what may become quite a lengthy post. 😊 I’ve opened with a triptych of 3 of my favorite Kiawah vistas taken over the years from 3 different locations on the island at sunrise, sunset and moonrise.

beach, tide pools, walking, Kiawah
Beachwalking

“This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand.”

Emmet Gowin

One cannot appreciate Kiawah without observing the many moods of our 10-mile coastline. With tide changes that can range up to 7 feet (2 meters) visitors are often seen biking or walking the beach only to find it difficult to return due to changes in the tide or the wind. It’s a mistake most everyone (including yours truly) has made, but only once!

Kiawah, marsh, water
Marvelous Marsh

“Nature is a great artist.”

Brett Weston

Along with our coastline and inland forests, Kiawah’s marsh has a magic all its own. It is beautiful in each of its many seasonal colors and in every kind of weather. While I don’t have a favorite season I’ve chosen a vista from one of many beautiful spring days as winter golds transition to the bright greens of new growth.

golf, cassique, vista, marsh
Back Tees, #16, Cassique

“Art is not to be found by touring Egypt, China or Peru; if you cannot find it at your own door, you will never find it.”

Peter Henry Emerson

Having been amazed by the beauty I’ve found throughout our travels, I disagree a bit with Mr. Emerson’s quote above, however I certainly agree there is much beauty to be found in our own backyards. In the image above I’ve included one of the many amazing vistas around which our seven golf courses are designed. Although Kiawah’s Ocean Course is world-famous for having hosted national and international tournaments, each of our other courses also takes full advantage of the island’s natural surroundings. Today’s header and the image above are from two other Kiawah courses.

Kiawah, wildlife, gator, bobcat, dolphin, turtle
Wildlife Wonders

“Photographic composition is a means to show the strength and dignity of animals in nature.”

Frans Lanting

We humans are not the only ones enjoying Kiawah’s natural beauty. We are frequently gifted with glimpses of the other inhabitants of our island. Dolphins frolic and strand feed in our ocean and our rivers, gators prowl our ponds and their edges, bobcats can be seen strolling along our bridges and huge, endangered loggerhead mothers return annually to give birth to a tiny next generation in the warm sands of our beach. Those who follow me are already familiar with the amazing diversity of our avian residents so I’ve chosen not to include them today.

kiawah, activities, vistas
Spending Time on Kiawah

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.”

Henri Matisse

The island is also a marvelous playground, enjoyed by people of all ages and interests. In the images above from top left – eventual champion Phil Michelson enjoys Ocean Course golf during last year’s PGA, kayaks (one of the best ways to enjoy our island and its resident dolphins) stand at the ready, a fisherman leaves one of our many fishing docks as a storm moves in, and paddle boarders cruise along one of our many creeks.

kiawah island, palmetto, snow
Almost Never

“The capture of a rare photograph becomes a real physical delight.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

As Kiawah residents for over 20 years, we’ve seen one ice storm and two snow storms. In both cases the freeze was gone the following day; hence my delight when capturing a rare image such as the one above.

Kiawah, flowers, pond, yellow
Inland Beauty

“In nature, every bit of life is lovely.”

Roman Vishniac

The quote above perfectly expresses my thoughts on the natural beauty of Kiawah. Our 10-mile island includes the ocean and its beaches, a dense maritime forest, an ever-changing marsh, rivers and creeks, numerous natural and man-made ponds, and the accompanying flora and fauna prevalent in each. Other local vistas I could also have included (as I have in previous posts), include nearby downtown Charleston, Magnolia Gardens and Middleton Place, historic Fort Sumter or Sheldon Church to name a few – but I’d need far more space and you’d need far more patience 😊. For now I’ll bring this one to a close with a sincere thank you to Anne for her challenge. We look forward to seeing your local vistas. Please remember to link your posts to Anne’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Next week’s challenge will be Guest-Hosted by Sylvia of My Colorful Expressions. Be sure to check out her interesting and beautiful blog. Until then as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in participating in our challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #202 – Minimalism/Maximalism

tennis, action, blue
Men in Blue

“Less is not necessarily more. Just enough is more.”

Milton Glaser

This week Sofia has challenged us to speak to minimalism and/or maximalism. I’ll admit this one required a bit of extra thought on my part. Having recently covered a significant tennis tournament here on Kiawah, I decided to use some examples from the event, which covered the entire range of fashion extremes. For the most part, the male participants went minimalist – choosing simple blue and tan or white in solid colors as shown above.

Colorful, tennis, female
Girls Rule!

“The more minimal the art, the more maximum the explanation.”

Hilton Kramer

On the other hand, many of the ladies did not disappoint. They chose to show not only their skill, but also their fashion sense. Blues, greens, pinks, purples, you name it, they wore it!

tennis, colorful, ladies, sports
Dressed to the Nines

“I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”

Yves Saint Laurent

With few exceptions, my images for today’s post include a tennis ball in play. I’d set myself this extra challenge to make both my task and its results more interesting. I don’t often shoot action so it was a great opportunity to practice the skill. That said, I couldn’t resist the maximally adorned ladies in the center of the triptych above.

red, white and blue 
tennis, action
Red, White, Blue and BAM!

“When in doubt, wear red.”

Bill Blass

Of course there were also male competitors showing some maximalist fashion flair. I’ve included Exhibit A, the agile and athletic gentleman above in his red, white and blue outfit – including matching hat and tennis shoes.

tennis, ladies, blue
Ladies With Style AND Skill

“Why take minimum from life if you can take maximum? Both are on the table!”

Vambola Tullus

The ladies in blue above demonstrate that even monocolor minimalism can be effective when worn with both style AND skill. The gentlemen below, while obviously skilled, wore their blues a bit more casually.

tennis, ball, player, sport, action
Focused Forward

“Minimalism is saying all by saying nothing.”

Will Advise

My thanks to Sofia for her challenge, which gave me a chance to offer a bit of an unorthodox response. We look forward to seeing your approaches on this one. Please remember to link them to Sofia’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. My thanks also to Ann-Christine for her Three-of-A Kind challenge and to all of those who so creatively responded. As you can see, I decided to take the challenge a bit further and carried it into my response this week. Our host next week will be Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed so be sure to check in on her always-interesting blog. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining our challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #201 – Three of a Kind

magnolia, triptych, B&W, flowers
Three Magnolias

“There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.

Christopher Morley

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to think in threes – either with triptychs or in other ways. Because our glorious but ephemeral magnolia blossoms are everywhere at this time of year I was out and about with my Fuji to capture some of my favorites. I’ve included three of my them in my opening triptych. This year’s blossoms seem bigger and more beautiful than ever. Perhaps they too are anxious to emerge from the isolation of the past two years.

roseate spoonbills, birds, pink
Three Spoonbills

“Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”

Confucius

Those who follow me know how much I love the birds here on Kiawah; among my many favorites, the beautifully pink-colored roseate spoonbills. I chose a few of my recent images to put together the triptych above. One of the few benefits of climate change, these birds are seen more and more frequently around our island each year.

Three Little Sheep

“Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, my side, and the truth.”

J. Michael Straczynski

I loved the interesting patterns of these sheep we came across in Scotland. They seemed as interested in us as we were in them. How cooperative of them to be a threesome for today’s challenge 😊.

elephants, water, three
Three Thirsty Pachyderms

“Harmony, balance, and rhythm. They’re the three things that stay with you your whole life.”

Daniel James Brown

I’ll close with an image of one of my favorite subjects, the beautiful elephants of Botswana. We are finally recognizing their level of intelligence as well as the way they love, communicate with and protect each other. Our limited understanding of the other creatures with which we share our planet is only now beginning to be known – and what amazing things we are learning every day.

Thanks to Ann-Christine for her invitation to share our threesomes. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses – please be sure to link them to her post here, and to use the lens-artists tag. Thanks also to all who responded to Amy’s “Every little thing” challenge last week. It was great to see so much variety among the many approaches. Next week’s challenge will be hosted by Sofia on her Photographias site. Her subject will be Minimalism/Maximalism – simple or flamboyant, plain or “more is more”, your choice. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

Lens-Artists Challenge #200 – Every Little Thing

bee, purple, flowers
Buzzzz

“Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.”

Christy Lefteri

This week Amy asks us to focus on the little things – important in life as well as in photography. I’ll admit I don’t do much work with macro, and I don’t own a macro lens. Now and then, however, I enjoy doing a bit of close-up work using my zoom lens – and of course there is always the crop tool. Both my opening image and the one that follows were captured earlier this week as spring dazzles us with her most beautiful colors on Kiawah.

foxgloves, purple, spots, flowers, spring
Frilly Foxgloves

“Be like a flower; turn your face to the sun.”

Robin Craig Clark

I have no doubt we will see some marvelous flowers and insects in response to this week’s challenge. My image below may be a bit unique as it captures the tiny snails that cluster on our marsh grasses during low tide. One has to look hard to see them, and also needs to know where to look!

marsh, grasses, snails
Snails A-plenty

“Snail is frail but does not fail to assail every nail on its trail.”

Vincent Okay Nwachukw

Another image from last week’s zoom outing was the capture below. I loved the colorful patterns on the big leaves. I’ve actually desaturated this one a bit as it was hard to believe the depth of its reds and greens.

Caladium, Elephant Ears, red, veins
Colorful Caladium aka Elephant Ears

“Between my heart and your heart, there is a vein. Maybe a bridge.”

Emmanuelle Soni-Dessaigne

And now, as they say, a few captures from the archives:

First, some sprightly little dragon/damselfliesalways a challenge to capture 😊

dragonflies and damselflies
Dragon – or are they Damsel – flies

Next, a newly-hatched egret awaiting the arrival of some siblings

egret hatchling, nest, eggs
Waiting for Nest-mates

And last but never least, a beautiful butterfly who found a flower with complimentary colors.

butterfly, flower, orange
Orange Times Two

“Little things teach us big things”

Mehmet Murat ildan

Thanks to Amy for her fun challenge – how nice to be able to use some of my captures of spring’s loveliest subjects. Be sure to link your responses to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John and to those who responded to his creative Mechanical/Industrial challenge last week.

Ann-Christine will take the lead next week. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.