Lens-Artists Challenge #69 – Seeing Double

“There are two who are never satisfied – the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.”

Rumi Jalalud-Din

Double trouble, double-time, two’s company, take two ….  the world is filled with references to twosomes. This week, let’s double our pleasure and focus on things that come in twos.



In the image above, two shrimp boats head out to sea as the morning sun lights their nets. Birds soar overhead hoping to cash in on whatever is cast aside. Both the shrimpers and the birds have a hard day ahead but the rewards of a good catch and the feeling of a job well done will help to make up for the early start and long hours.

couple, beach, ocean, stroll


“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”


Above, a couple takes a leisurely stroll along Kiawah’s beach at sunset – over their shoulders the moon continues its rise. There aren’t many things more beautiful than an early fall evening as daylight fades, evening begins and a friend or loved one is at your side.

two calves, flowers


“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Audrey Hepburn

I spotted the sweet little calves above while hiking with friends in the mountains of North Carolina. I was drawn to them not only because they were adorable, but also because of the beautiful field of yellow flowers in which they were playing. They seemed just as interested in me as I was in them 😊.



“We all have two lives. The second starts when we realize we only have one.”

Tom Hiddleston

A bit farther from home, I was fascinated by the exotic (at least to me) camels we saw during our recent visit to Jordan. How nice that they were dressed so colorfully for inclusion in my post 😊.

“Every blessing, just like a coin, has two sides.”

Sunday Adelaja

Birds are among my favorite subjects back home in the lowcountry  No matter the species, they are truly beautiful creatures. Their abilities, including soaring above the earth with seeming joy, or snaring fish from the murkiest of waters, are amazing. The juvenile herons above show no sign yet of the gorgeous blue-grey specimens they will one day become.

two juvenile alligators


“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein

Finally, I’ve shared a favorite from among my many alligator images. The two juveniles shown above were hanging out as they watched the golfers passing by. Until they reach about 6 feet in size, alligators will share territory. After that they become aggressive toward any other gator venturing into their space – brother, mother or other, it makes no difference.  Here on Kiawah we are cautious about them whatever their size. Knowledgeable locals know that where there are juveniles there is likely a very protective mama gator keeping close watch nearby.

Sincere thanks to Amy and to all who responded to last week’s Layered challenge. You came through with examples of beauty, originality and creativity – all very much appreciated.


Sue (Mac’s Girl) from The Nature of Things gave us a fun seasonal approach with layers and layers of Jack-O’-Lanterns

Nurul Fitri Lubis from Stories of a Wanderer gave us an amazing tour of the layers of Lake Victoria

We welcome Maria of Sagittarius Viking who joined us for the first time with a beautiful visit to Kelso Dunes in California

Olga from Stuff and What If shows us the many layers of Autumn along with her lovely lyrical verse.


Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I look forward to seeing your terrific twosomes. Remember to TAG them with the Lens-Artists Tag, and to link them to my original post here. Please be sure to stay tuned next week as Patti brings you Challenge #70.  If you’re new to Lens-Artists and would like more information about how to join our challenge, click here.







Lens-Artists Challenge #68 – LAYERED

“Layer by layer art strips life bare.”

Robert Musil



Amy has given us some interesting food for thought this week with her “Layered” challenge. I’ve chosen to feature some images I made over the course of a few evenings last week on Kiawah’s beach.  Our summer humidity has lifted and beautiful clear weather has become the norm. Sand, sea and sky combine to become one of Mother Nature’s best examples of layered perfection. My opening image also includes a set of beachfront umbrellas standing watch as the sky develops its beautiful layers of color.

sunset, reflection, beach, Kiawah Island


“I like to compare my method with that of painters centuries ago, proceeding from layer to layer.”

Alberto Moravia

In the capture above, the sky turns ever more beautiful just before the sun finally sets. A lone bird searches for its evening meal in the waters reflecting the colorful sky. I wondered about the people you can barely see in the waves beyond. Hopefully they returned to shore before the night went totally dark.

shrimp boat on ocean at sunset


“Magical realism allows an artist to inject layers of meaning without being obvious.”

Shirin Neshat

In the image above, while the ocean waves create a continuum of layers, a lone shrimp boat sails along the horizon.  Heading home or furthering its quest, in either case the crew is surely in for a long and lonely night. 



“The most memorable photos are layered, in good light, and have something really interesting going on.”

Joel Sartore

Drama developed across the sea as storm clouds gathered in the distance. Fortunately, they stayed where they were and their only impact on our area was some additional interest rather than a change in the weather. 

SEA OATS, SUNSET, Kiawah Island


There’s a magical layer of love that’s laced, designed to take us to a higher place.”

Bootsy Collins

Back on shore, sea oats blew gently in the breeze as the sky continued to display a palette any artist would envy. Warm, balmy temperatures combined with the gentle wind to create perfect beach walk conditions. Ours was occasionally interrupted by photography – patiently endured by my husband as always😊.

Moonlight over the ocean, Kiawah Island, ocean


The camera is a remarkable instrument. Saturate yourself with your subject, and the camera will all but take you by the hand and point the way.

Margaret Bourke-White


I’ll close with my final shot of the evening. The moon, just short of full, shone brightly across the waves. Just below, a shrimp boat cast a light within its glow. Here’s hoping your week has been equally lovely as fall continues to bless us with its beauty here in the US.  

Sincere thanks to Amy for her challenge this week – she, Patti, Ann-Christine and I look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to Amy’s original post here, and to tag them with our Lens-Artists tag.







Lens-Artists Challenge #67 CANDID

“How candid the camera that captures the best of you.”

Martin Fry

girl, ocean, colorful


I must admit that Ann-Christine’s challenge threw me for a bit of a loop this week. I am not one who typically shoots people without permission – nor am I one for asking permission.  This of course leaves me without many candid photographs. I’ve opened with a favorite capture of my great-niece, taken during a family beach vacation this summer. I love the many colors in the shot, but more than that I love her expression as she intently surveys the scene. What do you suppose lies beyond the edge of the photo that has so captured her attention despite what I remember to be complete chaos behind her?

arab at rest in Petra


“I think, therefore I am, therefore I am photographable.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Continuing in the vein of serious expressions, the capture above is from our recent visit to Petra in Jordan. The subject is a Jordanian guide, seen taking refuge from the heat of the mid-day Jordanian sun. Because he was very intent on his phone, I was able to capture a candid image without being an annoyance.

Tourist, Glacier National Park


“People come in and out of your life, and a picture fixes them in the moment they reach out to you.”

Zu Vincent

I couldn’t resist taking the image above, which really makes me laugh. Here was a visitor standing in front of one of the most magnificent vistas ever, and she is looking in the complete opposite direction. What could she possibly be looking at that would be more interesting than the scene in front of her?

farmer feeding goats


“There is nothing like capturing the moment.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

The farmer above was much too busy with his herd of goats to worry about being the focus of my lens. I find one of the best ways to capture a candid moment is to shoot while your subject is intently occupied with something else 😊. Clearly I distracted neither the farmer nor the goats from the task at hand.

orang jacket, snowstorm


“If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.”

Kahil Gibran

Another way for a somewhat reticent photographer to capture a candid is to shoot from a distance. I loved the contrast of the subject’s bright orange jacket against the falling snow as he made his way through the storm. His distance from my lens allowed me to capture a shot without disturbing his moment of solitude.

Happily I’ve managed to find at least a few candids in response to Ann-Christine’s original post, and without digging into the archives! As always, she, Amy, Patti and I look forward to your joining us. Please remember to link your posts to her original here, and to tag them with the Lens-Artists tag.  We’ll hope to see you next week as well, as Amy provides us with challenge #68.






Lens Artists Challenge #66 – Filling the frame

“To photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude.”

Susan Sontag


flower, bee, red, yellow


This week it’s Patti’s turn create our challenge and she’s given us an opportunity to zero in on our subjects to maximize their impact. As Susan Sontag says in my opening quote, “to frame is to exclude”. What can we leave out of our image to draw the viewer in? My image above, hopefully, focuses one’s eye on the brilliant colors of the flower and of course, on the little bee collecting its nectar. A keystone species critical to agriculture, bees are declining in frightening numbers – yet another example of the earth’s changing environment.

partial daisy on green background


“A still photograph is simply an isolated frame taken out of the infinite cinema.”

Hollis Frampton

Sometimes it’s interesting to creatively approach an image by leaving part of the subject to the imagination of the viewer. Seeing the capture above might cause one to pause a moment to wonder why I’d chosen to include only a part of the whole. Perhaps a viewer would be drawn to what might otherwise be a rather ordinary photo of a fairly common flower. What do you think?



“Constantly ask yourself ‘what the heck would what I’m looking at look like framed’.”

Mason Resnick

I shot the two dandelion pappi above (yes, I had to look up the name for them) because of my long-ago memory of blowing on them to make a wish. Do parents everywhere teach that to their children or is it a uniquely American thing? In any case I cannot say if any specific wishes came true because I cannot remember what I wished for. But the ephemeral starry flowers still make me smile at the memory.

mountains, clouds below


“Every time the shutter captures a frame, that image is recorded at a low threshold in the brain of the photographer.”

Dirk Halstead

Of course, as Patti’s post illustrates, the technique of filling the frame applies to a great deal more than flowers. In the image above, for example, I wanted to emphasize the incredible blanket of clouds over which we had just driven as we climbed the mountains of Glacier National Park.  The scene was much larger, and the grand vista (which of course I also shot🙂) was extremely impressive. But this image, zeroing in on the clouds, was one of my favorites from the day.

alligator resting on an elevated board


“You fill up a frame with feelings, energy, discovery and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.”

Joes Meyerowitz

I loved the smiling laziness of the alligator in my capture above. We think of them as dangerous creatures ever on the hunt for their next meal. In fact they are fairly docile and typically eat only once a week. They can actually go as long as up to two years between feedings. Over my 20 years in the low country they’ve taken me by surprise once or twice but thankfully they’ve chosen to jump away rather than rush toward me. Despite their usual laissez-faire attitude, we are all very cautious around alligators as they have been known to attack small dogs and in rare cases yes, even humans. 

anhinga drying wings


“Our eyes are shooting millions of frames a day.”


It is rare that we have an opportunity to get as close to the beautiful birds of our island as I did to this anhinga. I suspect the only reason he didn’t fly away was because he was working to dry his wings and wasn’t quite ready to fly. In any case, I was happy to be able to capture him closely enough to fill the frame with his beautifully patterned wings.

butterfly on pink thistle


“Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the image.”

Minor White

I’ll close with an image of a lovely, pollen-covered butterfly at rest on a bright pink flowering thistle. Interestingly, as a  result of our recent hurricane, we’ve seen butterflies and dragonflies in much larger numbers than we’d normally expect. Today we noticed that our sweetgrass is beginning to change to its lovely purple color so it seems fall is well and truly under way. 

Sincere thanks to those who responded to my Special Places challenge. Reading through the posts was like taking a tour of some of the world’s most beautiful locations. Patti’s challenge this week invites us to take a much closer look. As always, she, Ann-Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing your perspectives. Remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and to link your response to her original post here.




Lens-Artists Challenge #65 – Pick a Place

“The place cast a spell on me, a lovely spell that seduced me one breath at a time.”

Brenda Sutton Rose

golden fields, green trees, dark sky


Last week Amy challenged us to share images of the countryside and/or a small town. This week we’re asking you to look a bit farther afield. Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories. It may have been a small town, a big city, or even better, an entire country.  We’d like you to capture the spirit of a place that is vivid in your memory. What was it that drew you in and why did it capture YOUR heart?

small scottish town, rough sea


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

Daniel J. Rick

My husband and I have been fortunate to experience some truly iconic places, most of which have appeared here on Travels and Trifles over the years. Among many others, we’ve been amazed by our safaris in Africa (always number one), Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, China’s Great Wall, the US National Parks, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and most recently, Old City Jerusalem. This week I’ve chosen to feature our visit to the small but enchanting country of Scotland.



“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”


Scotland is made up of some 30,000 square miles (79,000km) and has a population of just over 5 million. (By comparison New York City measures about 300 square miles and its population is over 8 million.)  It includes 790 islands, 130 of them occupied, and is home to over 300 castles. Perhaps Scotland can best be understood by a single fact – their national animal is a unicorn 🙂 gotta love that!

Scotland vista


home on Scottish loch


“This place is special to me and I just wanted to share it with you.”

Anthony T. Hincks

I remember many things about Scotland, including the food (loved Cullen Skink, couldn’t make myself try haggis), the roads (1200 miles on narrow, winding, often one-way roads with a manual shift), the golf (my second-ever eagle), the people (warm, friendly and helpful), the castles, and of course the glorious vistas. Most memorable for me though was the incredible, ever-changing, other-worldly light. You cannot capture it with a lens, nor can you describe it in words. It was simply the most beautiful I’ve ever seen with an ethereal quality all its own.


Bridge over water between farmlands in Scotland


Let your heart hear the music – be moved by images, people and places… for that makes you more alive.”

Val Uchendu

In Scotland, if you don’t like the weather just wait a moment. Bright sun, dense fog, hard rain, dramatic storms – oftentimes within the space of an hour or two. The elements made for spectacular skies and yes, amazing light. 



“There are some places that simply demand that a story be told of them.”

Mark Valentine

I couldn’t close without featuring some of the unique creatures dotting the Scottish landscapes. They were completely unfamiliar to me and having seen them I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Scotland really DOES have unicorns!



two-colored sheep




“Visualize a place that you really love, be there, see the details. Now write about it.”

Natalie Goldberg

Hopefully you’ve hung in there with me up to this point and are thinking about some wonderful memories of your own. As always Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I are hoping you’ll join us this week to share your own special places. Remember to tag your response Lens-Artists and to link it to my original post, rather than the reader version, to make sure we can all find you. 

Last week Amy asked us to share some thoughts and images from the countryside and/or small town life. We hope you enjoyed the responses as much as we did. The feelings of fresh air along with peace and quiet came through loud and clear! 


Pam at I Choose This gave us a tour of the countrysides in some far corners of the world

Svetlana of Svetlana’s Photography visits the unique countryside lives of the Amish

Henry of Fotoeins Fotografie shares his images of life in the small towns of Austria


New to Lens-Artists? Click here to learn how to join us.










Lens-Artists Challenge #64 – Out in the Country

“The country is lyric, the town dramatic. Together they make the most perfect musical drama.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



It has been said that there is nothing quite like a day in the country to restore one’s spirit. The smell of fresh mown hay, the wide open views, the freshness of bright green grasses as spring begins or the brilliant colors of autumn  – all combine to ease the stress of daily life in the city. 



“The country soothes us, refreshes us, lifts us up with religious suggestion.”

Edwin Hubbel Chapin

My husband and I are fortunate to have family with a home in the country outside of New York City – talk about a dichotomy! For them it is a welcome respite from the frenzied challenges of city life. For us it is an interesting departure from our quiet life at the beach. There is a unique beauty to country life – around every curve or corner one might see fresh bales of hay shining in the sunlight, or a quintessentially red barn – probably in need of repair, or the gentle curve of a country road through rolling hills.

Rolling hills, hay bales


“If country life be healthful to the body, it is no less so to the mind.”

Giovanni Ruffini

This week Amy has challenged us to portray the slow pace of life in the country or a small town. Somehow the two seem inexorably tied – as one typically leads to the other. My choices this week are all over the map, literally. I’ve included images from Colorado, New York, Michigan, Kentucky, Montana and Washington State. Can you guess where each of today’s images was taken? (Not to worry, I’ll include the answers at the end of the post.)

fir trees, canola field


“I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

Albert Einstein

Throughout our many travel adventures, I’ve enjoyed the fun and excitement of some of the world’s largest cities. But I find myself feeling more at home in the small towns and villages that surround them. Perhaps it’s my imagination but it seems the people are friendlier, the air fresher and the natural scenery more beautiful than the often stunning creations of man.

Palouse farmhouse


“When life becomes too fast, I find relief at last – Out in the country”

Three Dog Night

As I put this post together I realized how much I enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. As a photographer, the way the light plays on the open fields, or catches the gentle curve of a horse’s back are more interesting to me than the bright lights of the big city – no matter how majestic.

2 white horses


“The country life is to be preferred, for there we see the works of God.”

William Penn

One of my fascinations with country life is the gentle nature of the creatures grazing thereabouts. We often come across farm animals like horses, sheep, pigs and cows as well as wild animals like deer and turkeys. It seems only fair that we should share nature’s bounty considering, presumably, they were there first 😊.

horses in corral


“Country things are the necessary root of our life.”

Esther Meynell

No  discussion of country living would be complete without an image of a wintry scene on a country lane. While I”m the first to admit winter and snow are not high on my list of favorite things, an occasional short brush with the snowy cold can be fun as well as photogenic. I’m thinking the image below may be the easiest for those of you trying to identify locations 😊.

snow-covered country lane


“The sun shines brighter in the country, making people more wholesome.”  

Lori Lansens

For me, life on the beach is a blessing I never take for granted. Having friends and family in small towns and in the country only adds to our appreciation of life in the “slow lane”.

Thanks to Amy for giving us a fun opportunity to explore the countryside – we look forward to seeing your views on this one! Remember to tag your post Lens-Artists, and to link them back to Amy’s original post. As always, we greatly appreciate your support and hope you’ll join us next week here on Travels and Trifles for Challenge #65.


  1. Ghent, NY
  2. Ghent, NY
  3. Traverse City, Michigan
  4. Whitefish, Montana
  5. The Palouse, Washington State
  6. Ghent, NY
  7. Lexington, KY
  8. Evergreen, Colo








Lens-Artists Challenge #63 – Magical Mother Nature

“When Mother Nature speaks, even the Gods hold silence.”

Abhijit Naskar



As most of you know, last week the coastline of the eastern US, including SC and our beloved Kiawah Island, had a very close call with Hurricane Dorian.  My husband and I chose not to evacuate, having experienced several previous storms predicted to be of similar magnitude without issue. The day before the storm was due, I set out with my Fuji for some “before” images. My opening capture was made that day, as were the bird photos below. The beach image includes our highly vulnerable dunes, which had been battered by king tides all week.

Circle, tree, birds


“No one broods like Mother Nature”

Richelle E. Goodrich

It’s always interesting to me to watch the birds gather when storms approach. I loved the way they were perched around the circular configuration of branches above, almost like a circus trick. There seemed to be no discrimination among different species, with egrets, wood storks, ospreys, gulls and herons mixing freely.

wood storks with spread wings


“Storms are nature’s way of evening out the odds.”

Anthony T. Hincks

I had some terrific opportunities to capture our avian friends, and will surely find ways to include some of my results in future posts. I’ve chosen only two for today, as there are other elements of this past week I wanted to share.

WEST BEACH , kiawah, Dorian storm damage


“Always respect Mother Nature.”

James Rollins

Dorian hit our coast late in the day and unleashed her wrath throughout the night and into the following afternoon. It was well beyond anything we expected or had experienced in the past. The night was so dark you literally couldn’t tell if your eyes were open or closed.  When lightening lit the sky you could see the trees blowing so furiously it was hard to understand why they weren’t simply flying out of their roots into the maelstrom.  The roar of the winds made perfectly clear what was happening during those moments when the darkness was at its deepest. 

Hurricane Dorian tree damage


“Such was the hidden power of nature.”

Kenneth Eade

Once the storm quieted late the following day, I was able to walk a few blocks although the roads were still impassable with fallen trees and mountains of debris. Of the two images above, the first is at the corner of my street where it meets the main road onto the island. The second was about a half mile further onto the island, and was as far as I ventured that first day. Despite the close call, we were fortunate that none of the many trees surrounding our home were uprooted.

tree damage, Hurricane Dorian


“Mother nature is intentional….She will roar when she needs us to take a second look.”

Peta Kelly

On the second day my husband and I took a short ride around the island. There were quite a few huge trees that had been felled like matchsticks. The image above shows one of several that toppled across the entry to one of our golf courses. We were surprised that with so many trees down there was very little serious damage. Road crews were everywhere as were electrical repair teams. The island was without power for 3 days, some homes for a bit longer. Although we had a generator for necessities we very much missed creature comforts like hot water and our oven, and luxuries like television and a dishwasher. We used our gas stove to make coffee and boil water for dishwashing, and enjoyed several good books. Our generator kept our wireless alive, so we were able to follow storm updates on live-streaming local news. Through it all we realized how fortunate we were compared to the disaster in the Bahamas. 

KIAWAH beach


“If we’re good to Mother Nature, she will be good to us.”

Viola Shipman

After our ride, I walked up to see the impact of the storm tides on our beautiful beach. Thankfully there was little if any erosion due to the direction and timing of the winds at the hurricane’s peak. The day was one of Mother Nature’s finest, with bright sunshine, low humidity and a gentle breeze.  The shore birds had returned in abundance and were feasting on the many delectable items the storm had churned up. The tide was farther out than I’d ever seen it; the beach was virtually deserted since evacuees and visitors were not allowed on the island until the roads were clear.

Beach, starfish, seashells


“No one weaves the exquisite quite like Mother Nature.”

Foster Kinn

The beach was covered with starfish and seashells which had been delivered by the unusually violent storm surf. Although one might think I’d arranged the items in the image above, I simply shot the configuration exactly as Mother Nature created it. If there was one such combination, there were literally hundreds. It’s no wonder the birds were so plentiful.

Starfish in sand


“Mother Nature is always one step ahead when it comes to beauty. She’s quite the artist.”

Giovanna Fletcher

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for the opportunity to illustrate Mother Nature’s magical ability to create, destroy and create anew. Her storms make room for new life and help us to appreciate the beauty of all that we are putting at risk. She reminds us of her power lest we forget or take undue advantage of all she has given us. I will not preach about humankind’s disregard for her gifts except to say this: take heed – during times such as the week just passed it becomes ever more apparent that zero hour is fast approaching.

Ann-Christine, Patti and I look forward to seeing what is magical in your world. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists tag, and to link your post back to Ann-Christine’s original.  Wishing everyone a wonderful week; be sure to join us next week when Amy posts Challenge #64 on her Share and Connect site.










Lens-Artists Challenge #62 – Silhouettes

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”

Ambrose Bierce



Patti’s challenge this week requests that we seek silhouettes from among our images. Through the years I’ve focused my lens on several that remain among my favorites, including my opening capture. It takes me back to a pre-dawn shoot with good friends on a picture-perfect morning. As we set out on our adventure, a large shrimp boat pulled alongside our much smaller vessel and wished us a great day. As he motored past we all agreed no matter what came next, thanks to him the day was already a success.

Palmetto trees, silhouette, sunset, orange


“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”

Diane Arbus

Sunrise and sunset are both great times for shooting silhouettes. In addition to a beautiful sky, it’s helpful if one has a subject with distinctive elements that will eliminate any doubt about its identity in the darkness. I captured the image above one evening as my husband and I were heading to a beachfront restaurant near our home. The palmetto, South Carolina’s state tree, can be found most anywhere on Kiawah, especially at the beach. It’s distinctive fronds make it an excellent subject for silhouettes. 

silhouette, beach, sunset, couple, love


“Photography is a magical kind of art that allows people to preserve time and moments.“

Sahara Sanders

The image above, which I made several years ago, helps to show the importance of the way subjects are positioned when shooting silhouettes. Space is important because details are obscured. Having the subjects’ arms and legs positioned such that light is created between them helps to provide definition in what would otherwise be an indistinguishable area of black. The young couple in the image were celebrating their engagement here on Kiawah. They’re now married and expecting their second child – my how time flies!



Photographs are just light and time.”

John green

While I am fortunate that my beach location here in South Carolina lends itself to amazing sunsets and scenery, the beauty of a silhouette is that it can be created anywhere, anytime. While early morning and late evening provide excellent opportunity, mid-day shooting can also work. I created the image above in the midst of a sunny, cloudless afternoon. Shooting the bird as he crossed in front of the sun identified the unique shape of a cormorant as it soared overhead.

glacier mountain landscape, couple in silhouette


“Nature itself creates the most beautiful pictures, I’m only choosing the perspective.”

Katja Michael

While I must admit that initially I found it annoying, it was actually somewhat serendipitous that the couple in the image above wandered into my composition . Making lemonade out of lemons, I composed around them to create a landscape/silhouette image. Although it’s not my favorite capture from our time in Glacier, it does make me laugh as I remember the (fortunately) brief interruption in my creative process 😊.

woodpecker silhouette


”If you want something to look interesting, don’t light all of it.”

Joe McNally

I’ll close with a favorite image I’ve posted previously. I made the capture from my kitchen one afternoon as a woodpecker was working on the trunk of a palmetto outside the window. His shape was so distinctive it cried out for treatment as a silhouette. The day was bright and conditions were awful for photography, but a quick edit in High Pass and voila, a black & white that makes me smile every time I look at it.  After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about – taking and giving pleasure from simple moments that will last much longer than our memories might otherwise retain them?

Thanks so much for supporting our challenge, and special thanks to Patti for this week’s subject. We look forward to seeing your responses – remember to tag them to appear in the Lens-Artists WP Reader section and to link them to Patti’s original post rather than in the Reader. As always, stay tuned as Ann-Christine shares next Saturday’s challenge #63 on her Leya post.


PLEASE NOTE: Sincere thanks to those who expressed concern for our safety during Hurricane Dorian. We decided to stay on Kiawah despite the evacuation order and were stunned by the intensity of the storm. Fortunately although there were many very large trees down and tons of debris scattered throughout the island, there was no major damage and our beach came through beautifully. I shot the image in my header yesterday on our beach during the gorgeous day after the storm.








Lens-Artists Challenge #61 – Precious Pets

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France



For the past few weeks our challenge has addressed a number of photography skills – framing a shot, finding different perspectives and combining multiple elements in a single image. This week, let’s relax a bit and share something just for fun – our precious pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog, beach


“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

Orhan Pamuk

Here in the U.S. (as well as in China and India), the most common pet is a dog. Dogs are loyal companions – sharing our moods, our homes and most importantly, our love.  The capture above features Geneve, a gorgeous Bernese Mountain dog. Despite very hot, humid conditions, she was willing to spend an hour posing on Kiawah’s beach in her naturally thick coat because her beloved human and I asked it of her. What is that phrase “no greater love”?  Interestingly, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic confirmed a long-suspected fact that dog owners are more likely to have better heart health – perhaps that explains why the U.S. celebrated International Dog Day this past week.

black cat


“Once a cat loves you, it loves you till the end.”

Will Advise

On the other hand, in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey the most popular pet is a cat. In my experience (and prevailing opinion), most of us are dog OR cat people but not usually both . To me, cats have always seemed a bit more aloof, except to the (typically) ONE person with whom they choose to bond. They do not come when called, do not do tricks on demand, and only eat when they are darned good and ready – not before. I suppose that simply means they are the smarter of the two species – just sayin’ 😊.



“Our pets are our family.”

Ana Monnar

Dogs and cats may be the most obvious subjects for today’s challenge, but there are a number of other, less predictable choices. Exhibit A – the alpaca above. The beloved pet of a family in upstate New York, he (or she) loves to trot down to the front-yard fence to greet passers-by. One wonders whether the family invites her to sit by the fire on a cold winter’s evening as one might a dog or cat – or if there is a cozy alpaca bed available at a pet supply store near you!

two-tone horse


“We could all learn a thing or two from our four legged friends.”

Howard Upton

Another less-than-obvious choice might be an equine companion. Just ask Anne Leueen at Horse addict about her faithful steed Biasini. Horse and rider often times know each other as well as can be imagined, working together in a dance of stunning coordination. Love and trust between them is a critical component of their performance.



“Pets understand humans better than humans do.”

Ruchi Prabhu

Many people have birds as pets – both large and small. Although you may not think of a hummingbird as a pet in the traditional sense, having spent several days at my brother’s home in Colorado I now have a new appreciation for these small creatures. He and his wife keep their feeder well-supplied and out of reach of other wildlife. The hummingbirds are on a constant journey back and forth between their nests and the feeder, lining up patiently for their turn. Happily I was able to capture the little beauty above snacking on an iris in an area near his home before it headed out on its winter migration – which can include up to 2000 km (1200 miles) without a break.

asian woman with ox on a leash


“Love is love, whether it goes on two legs or four.”

Gwen Cooper

You must admit that a woman holding an ox on a leash is not something you see every day. This scene greeted me one afternoon during a visit to a very remote area of China. Do you suppose if the ox decided to take off, the thin rope the woman is holding would serve its purpose? I’m guessing probably not. I’m also guessing this will be the only “ox as pet” photo we’ll see in this week’s challenge responses.

golden retriever, aging


“Our pets are the kids who never leave home.”

Nick Trout

I’ve closed today’s post with an image of Hallie, a beautiful Retriever with a heart of gold. She sweetly led me through the colorful marshes as her mistress and I searched for (and found) stunning vistas and roseate spoonbills on nearby Seabrook Island. Her white muzzle may indicate advancing age, but in her heart she’s still a puppy. Isn’t that one of the many things we might learn from our pets – to be forever young at heart? That along with giving love unquestioningly and enjoying the simple things – a master class in living life to the fullest. 

Patti, Ann Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing your take on pets, both expected and surprising, in your responses this week – extra credit for any images that make us smile or better yet, laugh out loud 😀. Be sure to link to this post (IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure to link to the original post, Links posted within the Reader are not working correctly) and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. For instructions on how to join us, click here– and of course be sure to visit Patti’s Pilotfish blog next week for Challenge #62.

Last week you responded to Amy’s FRAMING challenge with some terrific examples.

Have you seen these?

Beth of Wandering Dawgs showed us how landscapes can be framed in multiple ways

Debbie Whittam showed us a creatively humorous framing of a sweet little pet

Abrie of Abrie dink hardop (Abrie thinking out loud) shows us how South Africans are framing their famous Table Mountain




Lens-Artists Challenge #60 – Framing the Shot

” A photographer needs rectangular eyeballs and horse blinders to frame and focus the vision of what is seen.”

Roy Stryker



In this week’s challenge, Amy asks us to illustrate the concept of “framing the shot“. I believe Mr. Stryker hit the nail on the head with his quote above. A photographer views a scene in 3D and decides which pieces of it will best illustrate his or her vision when translated into a two-dimensional image. My choice in the opening scene was to use the colorful flowers to draw the viewer into the dramatic rocks of Littleton, Colorado.



“A still photograph is simply an isolated frame taken out of the infinite cinema.”

Hollis Frampton

For the last two weeks my husband and I were traveling in the Western US, leaving behind Kiawah’s summer heat and humidity. We thoroughly enjoyed the cool, dry temps of Montana and Colorado as well as the company of good friends and family. During our visit we spent a day sightseeing and photographing the glorious mountain scenery of Glacier National Park, shown above and below. Traveling up through the thick fog, we worried that the day might be a total loss – only to find ourselves completely enchanted by the gorgeous views as we rose above the clouds on the Going To The Sun Road.



“Deciding on a composition when framing a scene is an exercise in subtraction.”

Pete Bridgwood

The vistas are so incredibly vast throughout the park, it’s up to the photographer to narrow his or her focus when composing an image.  The interplay of shadows and light, the colorful flowers versus the severe grey of granite, and the puffy, light texture of the clouds all worked together to frame the scene above just as I’d envisioned it.



“One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on.  It’s on all the time.”

Annie Liebovitz

Amy mentions foliage as one of the ways photographers frame their images. The capture above is framed not only by the beautiful fir trees but also by the intersecting lines of the mountains which highlight the glacier that anchors the shot. According to Wikipedia, there were 150 glaciers in the park circa 1850. Today only 25 remain. We know that the internet can sometimes deliver inaccurate information but sadly scientists have confirmed the disappearance of glaciers worldwide. We can only hope that our belated efforts to address global warming will impact the speed with which they are melting away.



“The magic possibility of framing a certain space and time is what brought me to photography.”

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

Our time in the west included more than mountain scenery, as shown in the image above. We enjoyed amazing sunsets as well as the many lakes and streams created by nature’s whims throughout the area. Our best efforts to spend some time boating on the lakes was thwarted by the threat of incoming storms several times, but the storms only enhanced the scenery as we sat lakeside enjoying delicious libations and interesting conversations with good friends.

BIRD, plants, flowers, balance


“You have to decide what to keep in the frame and what to leave out.”

Richie Norton

Finally, a photographer can choose to frame a grand vista, or perhaps focus on something much less imposing but equally beautiful. I was drawn to the little yellow bird above because of the way it was perched on the color-coordinated sunflowers. To me it was irrelevant that the small scene was actually part of a much larger landscape.

One my favorite aspects of photography is the ability to choose the context that best suits one’s intention. My sincere thanks to Amy for giving us a challenge that draws attention to the importance of that concept. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses, and greatly appreciate your continued support. Remember to use the Len-Artists tag to help us find you. Stay tuned next week as we bring you challenge #61 here on Travels and Trifles.  

New to Lens-Artists? For more information on how to participate click here.