Lens-Artists Challenge #57 – Taking A Break

“The wise rest at least as hard as they work.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

2 hikers viewing a river


Here in the U.S. we are in the heart of summer, which for many of us means it’s time to take a break and relax. Children are out of school and many families are in the midst of their hard-earned vacations, or at least a relaxing stay-cation. So let’s follow their lead and respond to this week’s challenge by showing how we and/or others “Take A Break”.



“To be at rest is to be at peace.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

For many of us, summer vacation means a visit to the beach – beautifully illustrated last week by your responses to our seascapes/lakeshores challenge. Although that can sometimes mean fighting crowds, on Kiawah’s 10-mile beach (above) there is ample opportunity for a quiet moment of contemplation whatever the season.

couple on a bench at the ocean


“The first step towards true enlightenment is to lighten up on yourself.”


There are so many ways to relax – obviously the beach is one of them. However, not every beach moment requires a chair and an umbrella 😊. In the image above, a young couple enjoys an impromptu picnic while watching the waves along the rocky Oregon coast.

Adiirondak chairs at lagoon



Fennel Hudson

Living in a beach community doesn’t necessarily mean spending all of one’s time by the sea. The scene above is actually part of our backyard. My husband and I often relax on our back deck and watch the birds working to capture their next meal.

3-masted schooner at sea


“Rest and repose are as much a part of life’s journeys as seeing all we came to see.”

Gina Greenlee

Nearby Charleston, SC has become a very popular vacation destination thanks to its many travel awards. In the image above, a three-masted schooner carries a number of tourists on their journey to visit Fort Sumter National Park, home of the first battle of the American Civil War. The fort is pictured off to the left of the boat.



“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”

Patti Digh

City dwellers also find creative ways to take a break. Boating on one of New York City’s Central Park waterways is a great way to relax during summer in the city. Most large cities have wonderful parks, perfect for enjoying a picnic, a swim, a bike ride or a simple walk in the woods.

Artist painting trees


“In the lap of nature we always feel relaxed.”

Uruj Shahid

Not a fan of athletically-oriented activities? How about picking up a paintbrush (or a camera 🙂!) and relaxing by capturing nature’s beauty? Don’t paint? How about listening to music or reading a good book? Meditation and yoga are both suggested as ways to slow down your heartbeat and improve your well-being. Any or all of those things can feed the soul and renew the spirit.

How many ways can you think of for getting away from the daily grind and finding peace? Show us your views on “taking a break” – Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Be sure to link your post here, and to TAG it Lens-Artists to appear in our WP Reader section.

Last week we asked you to share some of your favorite seascapes and lakeshores – see Amy’s original post here . Of course you responded with some wonderfully varied and beautiful scenery. 

Have you seen these?

In her post here, Nurul shares an image of the lighthouse in Kadikoy, Turkey 

Gracy shared images of Italy’s seascapes in her first Lens-Artists response here – welcome Gracy!

Viveka shares some of her many voyages around the world in her post here.

Alexandria of Simply Sage shares her love of the sea here.


Be sure to join us next week for Challenge #58 on Patti’s Pilotfish blog . If you’re new to Lens-Artists and would like to join us, click here for everything you need to know 😊.


Lens-Artists Challenge #56, Seascapes

“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”

Kate Chopin

beach umbrella under clouds


This week’s challenge, Seascapes, comes at an opportune time for me. My husband and I have just returned from our annual family reunion in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Those of us in the eastern US were suffering through a serious heat wave (although I think Europe’s current wave is a bit worse) and the beach was one of the more tolerable places to be. In the image above, a small family stayed behind to watch the clouds close in as most everyone else had left for the day.

beach crowded with umbrellas


“When life gives you happiness deficiency try adding Vitamin SEA to your travels.”

Aakash Nand

My opening image notwithstanding, the beach was as crowded as any I’ve ever seen. I was only able to shoot part of the scene, but the beach umbrellas were 5 or 6 deep and literally touching each other as far as the eye could see. The sun was simply too hot even for beachgoers, and many more people ventured into the water than usual.

lighthouse on Maine coast


“The serenity of the lulling ocean is a wondrous thing to behold”

Oksana Rus

Earlier this summer we attended a family wedding in Bar Harbor, Maine. There the coastline is extremely rocky, necessitating lighthouses such as the one above. 

Fog over Bar Harbon


“The ocean mist engulfs me, like a lifetime’s friendship honored.”

Sanober Khan

A dense fog enveloped us early one morning as cool air met summer’s warmth across the harbor. I loved the depth of color as green met blue from our window high above.



“I am drawn to the ocean; I find solace in its mystery.”

Joe Dunthorne

Meanwhile, back home on Kiawah the sunsets deliver far different color. It’s amazing really that despite all of today’s images having come from the Atlantic Ocean and the east coast of the US, they could not be more different – each place having a beauty all its own.



“I will find comfort in the rhythm of the sea.”

Charlotte Eriksson

Sunny or stormy, morning or evening, high or low tide, rough or calm – the sea is ever-changing. It’s power is immense, its beauty unrivaled. It can calm the darkest of moods and bring peace to the most injured of hearts. Painters paint it, photographers shoot it, poets praise it. Adventurers have challenged it and sailors have joyfully ridden the wind on its waves.



“Surely the sea must somehow belong to the happiness of every child.”

Iris Murdoch

Covering over 70% of our earth, the sea significantly influences our climate and the quality of our air. It is the source of half of the world’s oxygen and much of the world’s food. Let us remember to treat it with respect as we work to undo the damage we humans have done these past decades.

Many thanks to Amy for the opportunity to explore the magic of the sea. Click here to see her original challenge, and remember to tag your post Lens-Artists to help us all find you. Last but not least, remember to check back right here at Travels and Trifles next week for Challenge #57.





Lens-Artists Challenge #55 – DREAMY

“When dreams come true creativity becomes art.”

Martin Schuster

abstract branch photo


This week Ann-Christine has challenged us to portray things “dreamy”. As one who occasionally enjoys turning photographs into more abstract art, I’ve edited this week’s images using tools from Adobe’s Photoshop and Topaz Impressions. To me, the more impressionist versions create rather a dreamy portrayal of the original captures. I’ve opened with a simple cluster of branches made softer in their impressionist form.

abstract woodstock on branch


“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.”

Janos Arnay

Above we see an endangered woodstork surveying the landscape as puffy clouds fill the sky. I remember exactly the moment I captured the scene, which was later used as the cover shot for a local magazine. It is fairly rare to find a lone woodstork, as these birds are typically found in communal groups. One of the things I find most interesting about them is that they are incredibly beautiful and graceful in flight as they soar silently overhead. Unfortunately, up close they are somewhat less attractive – except perhaps to another stork 😊.

egrets surrounding sweetgrass


“Always dream high.”

Md. Mujib Ullah

I’ve used an unedited version of the image above in a previous post, but thought it would also make an interesting dream-like scene. Here the birds are merely a suggestion of themselves, as is the colorful pink sweetgrass. It was a moment that followed a hard rain and the birds were taking full advantage of the creatures on which they feed. Coincidentally, I was also taking full advantage – of their focus on things other than yours truly 😊.



“Some people dream of success, others stay awake to achieve it.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour

This week’s final image is an edited moment just after sunset on the marsh here on Kiawah. We are blessed with some amazing colors throughout the year because of the seasonal nature of the marsh. My favorite season is spring, when the grasses are a bright shade of verdant green. During the summer months the green remains but is a softer, more subdued version of itself. In the autumn the marsh begins to turn a warm, golden color with borders of beautiful pink sweetgrass. Finally, during the winter we have a more subtle beige as grasses die out and new reeds begin to push out the old. Sunsets and sunrises offer deep, rich hues as they reflect upon the waters, colored by the grasses. Mother Nature’s palette offers variety which, try as we might, few artists can match.

We hope you’ll join us for Ann-Christine’s dreamy challenge – we look forward to seeing your responses. Remember to tag them Lens-Artists, and be sure to check with us next week when Amy offers our next opportunity. Until then, wishing everyone a wonderful week. I’ll be visiting with family this week – my apologies in advance if it takes a bit longer for me to respond to your comments. 


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







Lens-Artists Challenge #54 – Detail

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

Robert Lynd



With sincere thanks to those who helped us to close out the first year of the Lens-Artists challenge with such terrific, thoughtful and much-appreciated congratulatory posts, we’re ready to move forward with Year Two. For our opening challenge, Patti has chosen Detail as our subject. Those who follow me know I’m enamored with the amazing birdlife here on our barrier island. As such I’ve decided to focus on some of the details of these beautiful creatures, especially the enchanting Great Egrets. In my opening image I’ve featured one of these graceful birds seemingly ballet dancing on top of the water. I loved the way the tiptoe balance illustrated such amazing grace.

Egret with wings spread


“If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.”

Kyo Maclear

Above, I’ve captured an egret at water’s edge as he/she demonstrates a wing maneuver to balance a landing. I find the egrets continually on the move – flying, fishing, feeding chicks, building nests or protecting territory. One need only sit quietly on the edge of any of our many lagoons and before long there will be an egret or heron landing nearby.

egret landin in bushes


“What joy compares with that of a bird that has just learned she can fly?”

Marty Rubin

In addition to their forays for food in the lagoons, large flocks of our egrets are often seen in and around the plentiful greenery throughout the island. There are two important details in the image above. Both the bright green surrounding the bird’s eye and the long feathers around the tail tell us that this is a bird in breeding plumage, probably looking to attract a mate. Interestingly, outside of their breeding season, many male birds are sterile.



“I want to paint the way a bird sings.”

Claude Monet

Finally, an image of a Snowy Egret – similar to the Great Egret but a bit smaller. More importantly, this bird is distinguished by its bright yellow eyes and feet. In the image above, the detail I loved was the bit of feather on the beak. Clearly he’s been preening to make himself more attractive to the females in the area (OK I made that up but it COULD be true!).

To our participants; we are most grateful for your support and encouragement, and look forward to another year of challenges. Be sure to check out Patti’s DETAIL challenge this week, and to stay tuned for our next challenge at Ann-Christine’s Leya blog. Finally, to help us all find you, please TAG your post with our Lens-Artists tag, and if you’re looking for information on how to join us, click here .



Lens-Artists Challenge #53 – Your Choice

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.”

Jim Henson

Elephants holding trunks


Today is a very special day for us here at Lens-Artists – the one year anniversary of our Challenge. While we were all initially saddened by the discontinuation of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, for us it became an opportunity to expand our blogging horizons and to create some amazing new friendships.

Heron Chicks


“I am glad you are here with me.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

On our end, we have transitioned from four independent photography bloggers to a tightly-knit team that supports, encourages and helps each other as we develop and create our weekly challenges. We’ve also been fortunate to have expanded our follower base thanks to bloggers like you who support and inspire us.

3 young children


“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

As a result, our challenge has become near and dear to each of our hearts. We’ve gone well beyond being individual members of a team and have become four good friends.  We are tremendously thankful to you for your appreciation of our efforts; and for making us smile or feel touched by your responses.  As our thank you for your support and encouragement, we’re suggesting that you respond to today’s challenge with any subject that’s near and dear to YOUR hearts, as we’ve done with our images today. If you’d prefer some guidance, choose any of the four subjects we’ve selected this week (Friendship, Imagination, Connected or A Country that’s special to you).

Two older chinese women


“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

Maya Angelou

Each of us has included several captures that are special to us in some way. Mine are from some of my favorite places (Africa, China, Israel and Jordan) as well as my home in Lowcountry South Carolina.  They recognize the value and importance of friendship – which for me has been the biggest surprise and the most important byproduct of hosting the Lens-Artist challenge. 

3 Jordanians in keffiyehs


“By chance we met, by choice we become friends”


Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for making this such a terrific experience. If you have a subject that you feel might inspire us, please feel free to suggest it – we’d love to hear from you.  Should you be new to our challenge and interested in joining us, please click here and be sure to include the Lens-Artists TAG so we can all find you. Happy Blogging to all of our loyal followers and friends, and Happy Anniversary to us! 

Three Israeli soldier at gelato bar


“There is no gift like friendship.”

Rudyard Kipling


Each week on Lens-Artists, we highlight several responses from among our followers. This special week we’d like to thank ALL of our followers for their thoughtful, funny, often-feisty and always wonderful posts. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and will continue to join us as we move into year two of the Lens-Artists Challenge.

See you next week when Patti resumes our normal schedule at her Pilotfish blog.


Lens-Artists Challenge #52 – Serenity

“To taste life, so true and real. Sweet serenity.”

Jonathan Lamas

large tree, Frenchman's bay


This past week my husband and I traveled to Bar Harbor, Maine for a family wedding. The weather forecast was awful but happily for the most part, wrong. Skies cleared and the sun broke through just in time for the outside service. As we moved indoors for the reception the skies darkened once again and rain fell hard on the area we’d left just a few minutes earlier. 

porch over Frenchman's Bay, Bar Harbor


“Don’t underestimate the power of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself to deliver peace and serenity.”

Charles Glassman

As I wandered around the beautiful nooks and crannies of Bar Harbor, I saw many classic New England homes fronting beautiful Frenchman Bay. Most had large porches and beautiful gardens. I found myself smiling at the thought that the gardeners’ work might last longer than the number of days residents enjoy the results before winter’s cold returns. On the other hand, the serenity one must feel sitting on the bay-front porch as the flowers bloom behind must surely be well worth the effort.

coastal SC from airplane wing


“You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind. “

Henry David Thoreau

Serenity is defined as being calm, peaceful. Flying in a small commercial airplane would not seem a reasonable place to find it, but for me a return to the lush greenery and meandering waters of the low country always brings with it a sense of peace and comfort.  I captured the iPhone image above as we flew over the rivers and creeks surrounding Charleston on the approach to our local airport. 

adirondack chairs overlooking Cougar golf course


“Nature is never other than serene, even in a thunderstorm.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Once back home, we enjoyed a visit to the most recent neighborhood addition, the new clubhouse and revitalized landscapes of Cougar Point. It was a beautiful, yes serene, evening if a bit warm compared to the dry, cooler air of the northeast. 😊

field of daisies


“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and elevates it.”

Washington Irving

I think Washington Irving had it right in his quote above.  Personally I find nature and its scenery of all kinds helps me to achieve serenity in this crazy world. What about you? What is it that helps you to find serenity in the face of growing chaos? We look forward to seeing your responses – remember to link them here and to include the Lens-Artists tag to appear in our WP Reader section.

PLEASE NOTE: We are hosting a special Lens-Artists post at noon EST next Saturday, July 6th, to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of our Lens-Artists challenge.  Please be sure to check on posts from Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and me as we publish special posts to mark the occasion. We look forward to seeing you then.


Last week Amy invited us to share some of the UNIQUE aspects of our world and your responses definitely rose to the challenge.


Irene of Heaven’s Sunshine shared thoughts on her 40th anniversary celebration

Izzy of Isadora’s Art and Photography shared an artist’s version of the Tree of Life

Nurul from Stories of a Wanderer shared a story of Prison Island – which never had a prison!


New to Lens-Artists? Click here to learn how to join us. And thanks as always to those of you who continue to support and encourage us.







Lens-Artists Challenge #51 – UNIQUE

“It never fails to amaze me how the most ordinary day can be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.”

Jodi Picoult

deer in forest


This week Amy invites us to talk about uniqueness. You may be thinking, what’s so unique about a deer?  Here on our little island one of the most unique (and special) things is the frequency with which one can encounter some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. Exhibit A of course, the sweet face of the little deer peering at me one day last week from the woods that border my running path.  



“Extraordinary magic is woven through ordinary life. Look around!”

Amy Leigh Mercree

Speaking of encounters, perhaps a bit less beautiful (except maybe to another alligator) but equally extraordinary, the fearsome fellow above was just on the other side of my running path the same day I encountered the deer.  They’re amazing creatures really – relatively unchanged from prehistoric times although happily somewhat smaller. This fellow was probably 5 or 6 feet long and couldn’t have cared less about the presence of yours truly and my trusty Fuji.  Look closely at his neck just behind his head and you’ll see a metal tag, which is part of a study currently underway on the health and habits of these amazing reptiles.



“Every snowflake is unique, yet they are each perfect.”

Donald L. Hicks

Another example of the unique nature of our island is the welcome presence of our wild bobcats. I captured this image some time ago on the famed Ocean Course – known to golfers worldwide. Our bobcats are well-studied and fervently protected. They are our primary means of controlling the deer population on the island, as well as the pesky marsh rats that lurk in our dense grasses. One never knows when a bobcat will appear, so it’s best to be camera-ready at all times. Although they are typically deeply hidden in the marsh grasses, they can also be found crossing our boardwalks and roads to travel throughout the island.

tryptic of bobcat, turtle, dolphin on kiawah


“Uniqueness is the highest gift of existence.”

Amit Ray

Above, a tryptic of some of the other iconic creatures we see here on Kiawah. First, our dolphins – caught in the act of strand feeding. This is a unique behavior practiced by the dolphins of coastal South Carolina. They form teams to herd baitfish (typically mullet) onto the beach. They follow the fish out of the water and feast on them, leaving many to be devoured by watching seagulls. This amazing act of nature has been studied and filmed by National Geographic as evidence of the dolphins’ ability to communicate, work as a team and teach their young.  Next to the dolphins is a newly-hatched loggerhead turtle. Here on our protected barrier island, 300+ pound mother turtles crawl onto the beach in the dead of night to dig nests and lay eggs. The hatchlings emerge some 2-3 months later, usually right around dawn, and make their way to the ocean water beyond. Happily, this season there are already some 300 nests, promising a record year for these special creatures. My image was captured just as a nest’s last hatchling crawled to the ocean one pre-dawn morning. Last but not least, one of our iconic bobcats crossing a boardwalk between the Ocean Course and the marsh beyond.

roseate spoonbills in a pond


“It’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

Darren Hardy

I’ve posted quite a few images of our beautiful birds of late but honestly I never tire of seeing and shooting them. I was driving home from the golf course one day and happily had my camera and a long lens in my car. Fortunately no one was tailgating me because when I spotted these colorful creatures sharing a shallow pond I slammed on my brakes and yanked my car to the side of the road as fast as you can say Roseate Spoonbill!


Cute little puppy


“Each creature is a unique piece of art to be respected and believed in.”

Sameh Elsayed

OK, I’ll admit it, the adorable creature above is NOT one that is found in the wild here on Kiawah.  Last month I donated my time to photograph a charity tennis event to which one of the contestants brought this little cutie. I’d never seen one like it, and have since forgotten what breed it is, but I couldn’t resist including it as a truly unique creature. Feel free to respond with the name of the breed if you know it!

We look forward to seeing what’s unique about your world in your responses this week, and hope to see you next week right here on Travels and Trifles.








Lens-Artists Challenge #50 – Trees

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

Nelson Henderson

2 egret juveniles


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



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

Rabindranath Tagore

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

egret parent feeding juveniles


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

Everett Mamor

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

anhinga chicks and parent


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

Marty Rubin

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

Egrets in the trees


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

Charmaine J Fordy

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



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

John Muir

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

flying egret with branch


“A forest bird never wants a cage.”

Henrik Ibsen

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




Lens-Artists Challenge #49 – Favorite Things

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”

Jonathan Swift

impressionist art - roseate spoonbills


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



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

Helen Keller

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



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

Kholoud Yasser

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

Charleston SC pineapple fountain impressionist


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

Abhishek Kumar

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



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

William Blake

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

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


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











Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

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

Edward Abbey

Leopard in the wild


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

Male lion in the wild


“Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery.”

Lois Crisler

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



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

Henry David Thoreau

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



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

Laila Gifty Akita

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

cheetah in hunting position


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

Michael Frome

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

sable in motion in the wild


“The wilderness needs your whole attention.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

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



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

Boyd Norton

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



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

Daniel J. Rice

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

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


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

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