Lens-Artists Challenge #231 – Favorite Images of 2022

clouds, Kiawah, sky
Cloudy Skies, Kiawah Island

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Nothing offers a greater opportunity for optimism than the annual turning of the calendar page. Somehow we enter each New Year expecting that it will be an improvement over the last. In our home that’s a pretty safe bet since my husband closed out 2022 with a nasty case of Covid. But on a happier note, this week John opens 2023 asking for our Favorite 2022 Images. Always a challenge, it forces us to choose images that truly spoke to us, or perhaps more importantly, to our followers.

I’ve opened with some favorite Kiawah scenes, including the skyscape above. It was captured from our beach looking back toward one of the beachfront cottages. Below I’ve featured two beautiful but elusive birds, an owl and a painted bunting, both photographed on Kiawah during 2022.

Backyard Birds

“There is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar, but it represents a clean break, a new hope, and a blank canvas.”

Jason Soroski

There is a special sense of serenity in the natural beauty that surrounds us on our little island. The rhythmic music of the ocean, massive oaks with their gracefully swaying Spanish Moss, towering pines reaching toward the sky, creatures both winged and four-legged – we are blessed with nature’s gifts at every turn. They can be found not only in the places one might expect, but also in the little things easily walked past. Exhibits A and B below, the tiny buds of natural ground cover on an approach to the beach and my personal favorite, a simple overhang of leaves in the nearby woods.

ground cover, buds, plants
Simple Beauty

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

Vern McLellan
red, leaves, flowers, forest
Forest Finery

“A Great Year passes tonight. A new one begins. Let the good that is old continue and let the rest perish….”

C.J. Cherryh

Despite the beauty that surrounds us, my husband and I have always loved traveling, so undeterred by Covid restrictions we managed to take some short trips in 2022. Our two weeks in North Carolina’s mountains were a nice break from summer’s heat, and our visits with family in NYC were wonderful as always. Those visits resulted in the two images below – a true study in the city’s contrasts.

colorful, World Trade Center, art
Colors of the WTC

“The New Year brings fresh beginnings…Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.”

Peggy Toney Horton
graves, NYC, high rises
Then and Now, NYC

“It’s not tearing a leaf off a calendar which will make you a better or a worse man but the attitude that you have from dusk till dawn every day.”

Indeewara Jayawardane

Of course while in New York we made a trip to the nearby countryside where practice makes perfect 😊.

silhouette, Elisabeth, horseback
Horse and Rider – A Silhouette

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Next, an ode to the beautiful, ephemeral magnolia – first with a piece of art I created and hung in our home, followed by several captures from nearby Charleston’s Magnolia Gardens, a magical world of natural beauty.

magnolias, wall art, B&W, tryptic
Magnolias As Art

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Altshuler
Red, Fence, Iron, leaves, berries
Garden Gate, Magnolia Gardens, Charleston SC

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. “

Sarah Ban Breathnach
birds, egret, fish, anhinga, marsh hen
Birds of Magnolia Gardens

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. “

Oprah Winfrey
gator, takeoff, humor
Flying Alligator – Magnolia Gardens

“New year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? …The choice is ours.”

Alex Morritt

I thought about ending my post with the alligator image above, which reminds us to find reasons to smile in everyday life. 😊. Instead though, Im finishing with a favorite Kiawah sunset, signifying the close of 2022 and our hopes for 2023.

sunset, sweetgrass, nature, Kiawah Island Ocean Course
The End and The Beginning

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Life is filled with moments of joy, pain, disappointment, opportunity and growth. May we learn from our mistakes, accept our imperfections and look forward to each new day as a chance to be better than the day before.

Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to enjoy a retrospective of our 2022 images. As always, we look forward to seeing your choices. Be sure to link them to John’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to those who responded to our Last Chance post of 2022, especially those who thanked us for continuing to publish the challenge. It is your appreciation and amazing responses that keep us going. Finally, Sofia will lead us next week so be sure to visit her beautiful Photographias blog next Saturday at noon EST.

My best wishes to all for a marvelous 2023 – remember to stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.

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


Merry Christmas

Lens-Artists Challenge #230 – Last Chance

beach, boardwalk
Pam’s Kiawah View

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Each week the Lens-Artists Challenge presents us with an opportunity to include images on a specific subject. But what about the images that are among our favorites but have not fit any of the categories? This year we’re giving you an opportunity to include images on any and all subjects that are personal favorites – BUT, they must have been created in 2022 AND must not have been previously published in response to a Lens-Artists Challenge! It’s an opportunity not only to revisit 2022’s images, but also to take a stroll down memory lane for some of the year’s highlights. (special thanks to Amy for the idea!) For example, I’ve opened with an image made during a walk with a very good friend who sadly for us left Kiawah to move closer to family. She and her husband are sorely missed but of course are still in our hearts.

sweetgrass, Kiawah, Ocean Course
Sweetgrass in Bloom

“Every year, Every day, Every moment Begin again.”

Shellen Lubin

Those who follow me know how much I love our annual sweetgrass bloom, when the fragile green becomes a brilliant rosy pink. I made the image above in September at the entrance to Kiawah’s Ocean Course but it never quite fit this year’s challenges. Also on the subject of blooms, the grouping below includes several I’d seen in this year’s travels but hadn’t used for any of our challenges. On the left a cactus and a wildflower from our visit to North Carolina this past summer, and on the right a floral display on which I loved the sign during a visit to NYC earlier this year.

Favorite Blooms

“This year will become next year if you’re not careful!”

Anthony T. Hincks

While in NYC I always like to head out for a short photography walk with i-phone in hand, to explore nearby neighborhoods. I made both of the following images that way. We were in NYC twice in 2022 and the reflection images that follow were from each of those visits.

high rise, reflection, NYC
Reflections, NYC

“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.”

Jonathan Huie

As reflections go, NYC because of its many high-rises is filled with them. While we do not have high-rises here on Kiawah, we do have more than our fair share of reflections. The image below captures one of my favorites, which I pass every time I walk to the beach. It is beautiful any time of day, especially when the sweetgrass is in bloom. On this day however, it was the deep blue of the sky reflected along with the palmettos in the pond below that drew my eye.

reflection, kiawah, blue, green, palmettos
Double Vision, Kiawah Island

“I heard someone say, “It’s December! Maybe 2022 saved the best for last.” 

Steve Maraboli

I’ve posted a few times about my good friend and her 2 beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs. Sadly this past year both Mozart and Geneve journeyed over the rainbow bridge. Never one to dwell on sorrow, my friend has a new light in her life, mini-bernedoodle Nellie, shown below with Geneve before she passed. I consider it a privilege to be asked to photograph loved-ones and was happy to capture this image as the new “baby” worked to get the attention of her “big sister”.

dogs, bernese mountain dog, big and small, puppy
New Kid In Town

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

Josiyah Martin

Of course, we cannot close out a “favorites” post without at least one butterfly! This year I posted several but somehow this one was lost in the shuffle. This is its opportunity to shine 😊.

butterfly, flowers, colorful

“Life is such that beginnings and endings are neither. “

Craig D. Lounsbrough

I’ll end this set of favorites with an image from a visit early in 2022 to nearby Magnolia Gardens. I’ve added a touch of impressionist blur to soften it. To me it speaks of peace and serenity, which I wish for all of us as we journey toward the year ahead.

forest, trees. impression
Forest Primeval

“Treat every day like it’s a new year because it is.”

TemitOpe Ibrahim

As always, we thank you for your beautiful responses to Ann-Christine’s Perfect Patterns challenge last week. We hope you’ll join us this week with your previously-unused favorites of 2022. Please remember to link them to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

And now for some news! It gives us great pleasure to announce that Donna Holland of Wind Kisses will be joining the Lens-Artists team beginning in the New Year. Donna has been a loyal follower of our challenge, has previously Guest-Hosted, and consistently delivers thoughtful and beautifully illustrated posts. Be sure to follow her at her site, windkisses.com. We are also announcing that the Lens-Artists Challenge will be on hiatus for the remainder of 2022. We look forward to rejoining everyone when John leads our Challenge on Saturday, January 7. In the meanwhile we send thanks to all of our followers and participants as well as warmest holiday greetings to all who celebrate, and our best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #229 – Perfect Patterns

beach, kiawah, patterns, light
Beach Bumps

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

Rachel Carson

For Ann-Christine’s Perfect Patterns challenge this week, I’ve decided to stay close to home. All of todays images were made during my most recent walks to Kiawah’s beautiful beach and back. The opening image highlights the patterns that often appear in the sand, especially after windy days with active waves. While it represents a relatively frequent beach scene, the image below is more unusual. This week Kiawah is hosting its annual marathon (the 44th) which draws runners from all over the world. It is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon and because the route is so flat, it is popular with runners hoping to race there as well. The image focuses on the winners’ podium and for some reason really made me smile. I’ve run the race several times but those days are definitely behind me 😊.

podium, patriotic, Kiawah, marathon
Marathon Day, Kiawah Island

“Don’t race to be the first in life, watch and learn from those who race to be the first and be better then them.”

Md Arifuzziman

Also related to the race, the image below shows an arrangement of bicycles set up for those who will use them to follow the racers. Often they’re used by families and/or friends of the runners who ride to follow their progress. I’d assume some of the runners also use them when the race ends as traffic to and from the venue is restricted and very crowded. Most residents, including yours truly, stay off the roads on race day!

bicycle, bike, pattern
Bike Brigade

“There is beauty in silence and there is silence in beauty and you can find both in a bicycle!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

The bicycles and podium were an unusual feature of my everyday walks that were a fun addition for this week’s challenge. Much more typical, a few natural wonders – each with its own perfect pattern:

leaves, patterns, red
Ruby Reds

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.”

Bill Blass

pattern, plant, green
Natural Magic

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature 

Rachel Carson
pinecone, pattern, nature
Perfect Pinecones

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”

Helen Keller
fronds, fern,green, plant, nature, pattern
Fabulous Ferns

“Only spread a fern frond over a man’s head and worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in.”

John Muir

Ann-Christine’s challenge and her beautiful post brought to mind many other images from my archives – vineyards, zebras, fences, NYC’s high rises, just to name a few. But I decided instead to challenge myself by using only recent images highlighting my local neighborhood. I realize how important fresh air and Mother Nature’s gifts are to me, and wanted to share some of them with you. All of this week’s images were captured with my I-phone 12 Pro Max. I thank Ann-Christine for the opportunity and recommend you visit her beautiful post here. We hope you’ll join us this week with some of your own perfect (or imperfect) patterns. Be sure to link your response to Ann-Christine’s challenge, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

We thank you for your as always creative responses to Patti’s Diagonals challenge last week. Who knew there could be so many of them in so many places, put to such good use?! Thanks to Patti for reminding us of their importance. I’ll be leading the challenge next week here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind. For those who celebrate, wishing you a joyous holiday season.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #228 – Diagonals

Longsheng, light, hillside, worker
Rice Fields Study, Longsheng, China

“A farm at first light is more beautiful than gold, or a ship’s sails in the mist. Many ordinary things are far more beautiful.”

George Webbe Dasent

This week Patti invites us to show the effect of using diagonals in our images (reminding me as a Harry Potter fan of Diagon Alley). As she describes in her beautiful post, we can use diagonals to direct the viewer’s eyes to the most important areas of the scenes we capture. I’ve opened with two archive images from our visit to China. Above, the diagonal leads from the bottom left up the “steps” of the rice field to a lone worker surveying the crops. The light that afternoon was incredible, adding to the impact of the lone figure standing in the sun.

Below, I’ve included a classic example of The Great Wall. We see diagonals in the wall’s path leading to a lookout station, then continuing on for thousands of miles. The path’s design was probably based on the terrain, but I prefer to think there was a visual design aspect as well 😊.

The Great Wall, China, leading lines, diagonal
Double Diagonals, The Great Wall of China

“Brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.”

Randy Pausch

The Great Wall offers thousands of opportunities for capturing leading lines. So too the vast network of roads and walking paths that surround us in our everyday lives. Below, several examples of leading diagonal lines. First up, a road through the mountains that divide the U.S and Canada near Glacier National Park:

road, leading line, mountains, trees, scenic
A Beautiful Ride, Montana

“The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip.”

Jon Bon Jovi

Even farther afield, a path leading to Lake Pehoe and from the lake to the beautiful Torres del Paine, all in Chilean Patagonia:

Lake Pekoe, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, road, diagonals, leading lines
Lake Pehoe, Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Henry David Thoreau

Next, our own lovely Kiawah Beach and my personal boardwalk approach 😊. Notice the well-defined rainstorm directly across from the beachwalkers.

beach, boardwalk, storm, Kiawah
Approachin’ The Ocean, Kiawah

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, my husband and my brother walking a wooden path through the trees leading to a beach in Bethany, Delaware.

boardwalk, buddies, trees
Beach-Bound Buddies

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

Anatole France

Finally, some diagonal examples from Mother Nature herself. I promise I did not arrange the starfish mosaic on the left of the grouping. They were arranged exactly as shown following a recent storm.

nature, leading lines, diagonal,
Nature’s Diagonals

“I see my path but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”

Rosalia de Castro

Once I started looking for images to include in this week’s challenge, I found WAY too many examples, so I thank Patti for the opportunity to explore them, and for her reminder of their importance when visualizing our captures. We look forward to seeing your favorites as well. Please remember to link to Patti’s beautiful original here and to use the Lens Artists Tag. Thanks also to all of those who responded to last week’s Home Sweet Home challenge. It was a wonderful reminder of the marvels to be found everywhere in our world. For me it was also a reminder of the vast difference between the world we see as as tourists and that which can be seen through the eyes of those who know the local secrets!

Next week’s challenge will be hosted by Ann-Christine on her beautiful Leya blog so be sure to tune in for that next Saturday. In the meanwhile, enjoy the holiday season but as always please stay safe and be kind.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

mountain, Alaska, purple
Purple Mountain Majesty, Denali National Park, Alaska

“I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is stay close to home.”

Annie Leibovitz

Like many of us, I find myself energized and excited by the photographic opportunities I find while traveling – especially to foreign countries where so many things are so different from my usual environment. On the other hand, there is much to love here in my own country. This week, let’s give that some extra thought. If a foreigner were to spend a week or a month traveling your home country with you, where would you take them? What sights would you tell them to be sure to see? Where have you found some of your own favorite images? What is it you truly love about where you live, or places you’ve seen in your home country? For example, my image above shows a beautiful Alaskan mountain vista – which couldn’t be more different than my home here in the warmth of South Carolina’s “Lowcountry”.

Oregon, ocean, rocks, coast
From Sea To Shining Sea, Bandon, Oregon

“There’s still an epic story to be told which exists wherever humans have made their homes.”

Jem Southam

Here in the U.S. we are surrounded by four major bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Pacific Ocean in the west, The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Each of these is unique and offers different coastlines and creatures. I’ve featured a favorite image from a visit to Oregon’s rocky coastline above, which those who follow me know is completely different from the many mages I’ve posted from my eastern coastline here on Kiawah Island.

mountains, Zion, National Park
Zion National Park, Utah

“Adventure is not only measured in kilometers.”

Willie Ronis

One of the things I most love about the U.S. is our network of National Parks. There are 423 National Parks across the country comprising some 84 million acres. 63 carry the name “National Park” while the remainder are places like National Historic Sites, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, etc. The landscapes are simply breathtaking. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many, including Zion (shown above), Bryce, Denali, Katmai, Glacier, Yosemite, Virgin Islands, Grand Teton, Crater Lake, The Grand Canyon, Acadia, Yellowstone, Redwood, and Sequoia. Others, including Great Smoky Mountains and Joshua Tree, are still on my bucket list. I would encourage anyone visiting the U.S., especially nature lovers and photographers, to see as many as possible.

Maine, harbor, small town
Anytown USA, Maine

“There are things you experience growing up in a small town that create memories that last a lifetime.”

Carlos Wallace

While most visitors enjoy the excitement of big cities like New York or San Francisco (which have MUCH to offer), there is a wonderful community of small towns throughout the U.S., each with their own special highlights. Above I’ve featured a small town in Maine in the northeastern US. There you find communities that have been built around the remarkable fishing opportunites of the Atlantic Ocean, including lobster (for which they are best known).

9-11, cross, NYC
9/11 Commemorative Cross, NYC

Speaking of NYC, the image above and the two that follow were recently captured there. They represent three of my favorite things about the U.S. First, that the country was founded based on personal freedoms, including religion, which remains an important element of our national identity. Second, despite our many differences, when challenged we do manage to come together in support of the nation and of each other. Third, no matter how big the city or how dense the population, there are open areas for relaxation and enjoyment of nature’s many gifts.

flags, police, parade
Patriotism, NYC

“Someday, I hope that we will all be patriots of our planet and not just of our respective nations.”

Zoe Weil
Central park, NYC, water, bridge, boats
Central Park, NYC

“…air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

Sylvia Plath

I’ll close with three final images that address our country’s respect for nature. The first was captured during a visit to Yellowstone National Park where the geysers and the animals that roam the park are magnificent. The second is from a beautiful vineyard in Washington State, and the third is my husband, who at 6’2″ is dwarfed by the towering specimens of ancient trees in Sequoia National Park.

yellowstone, buffalo
Yellowstone National Park

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”

Albert Einstein

Vineyard in Bloom, Washington State

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Towering Trees

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir

Sincere thanks for your patience as I meandered through some of my favorite places and things here in the U.S. We’re looking forward to seeing your own favorites wherever you live, or wherever you’re from, or both! Please remember to link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Thanks also to Jude for Guest Hosting last week’s Textures Challenge. Both her challenge and your responses were original, well composed and beautifully photographed. We very much appreciate your support. Our next challenge, DIAGONALS will be hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog so be sure to check in next Saturday at noon EST. 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 #226 – Textures

leaves, snow, brown, black
Summertime in the Mountains

“I am convinced that abstract form, imagery, color, texture and material convey a meaning equal to or greater than words.”

Katherine McCoy

This week our Guest Host, Jude, has asked us to visualize texture – a subject near and dear to the hearts of photographers. In response, I found myself drawn to the many types of textures offered by nature. My opening image was captured this past June as my husband and I spent a week in the North Carolina mountains. Although the weather was absolutely perfect, some of the areas were so high that there were dustings of ice visible in the early mornings. Nearby (shown below), an example of some of the mossy magic to be found in the mountain forests. Can’t you just imaging one of the Hobbit’s elves emerging just after you’d passed by?!

moss, tree,
Mossy Magic

“There is something magical about photography.”

Harry Gruyzert

Speaking of magic, there are moments here on Kiawah that are nothing short of magical. My brother was visiting earlier this month and we went to the Ocean Course one evening for dinner. I had to tone down the colors of the iPhone image that follows because the sunset was so spectacular it would be hard to believe I hadn’t doctored it. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sweetgrass this year has been incredible – more colorful and longer-lasting than we’ve ever seen it. All of the elements combined that evening to add beautiful textures to the scene, but the sweetgrass color and texture are what to me make it special.

sweetgrass, sunset, Ocean Course, Kiawah
Sweetgrass at Sunset

“After sunset there is a gentle leaving of the light, the air begins to still and a quiet descends…A sense of magic prevails.”

John Sexton

Back on the beach textures are apparent everywhere we look. The other day while walking with my husband he drew my attention to a perfectly shaped starfish nestled into the sand. Although we see them sometimes they’re actually not very common here. I captured it with my iPhone along with the little sculpture created by Mother Nature and now adorning my desk. Although small in size there must be 20 shells all adhering to the larger shell at the base. A wonderful find!

starfish, seashells, sculpture, Kiawah
Gifts from the Sea

“Photography is about searching, finding and reacting.”

Jesse Marlow

Of course there are many other examples of wonderful textures outside of those offered by Mother Nature. In a recent post I shared an image of a horse peeking out of his stall at the barn. Here is that door when closed, showing us the textures Father Time will create given the opportunity.

barn, door, paint, worn
Age = Texture

“…I am not lonely. Shifting light, textures, shades; these are my companions.”

Steve Coleman

Finally, one more example of texture outside of Mother Nature’s offerings. When I saw the subject for this week’s challenge, my mind’s eye immediately went to an image I’ve posted before. As a former knitter, I do love the textures in this one.

knitting, hand
Knit One, Purl One

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone to having abundance in your life.”

Wayne Dyer

Sincere thanks to Jude for hosting our challenge this week. Please click here to see and link to her beautiful original post. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to Anne for her uber-fun Wildlife Close To Home challenge last week. What an array of marvelous creatures you all shared with us! Finally, I’ll be your host here on Travels and Trifles for next week’s challenge. Until then please stay safe and be kind, and my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it. In fact, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday it’s a great opportunity to think about the many things for which we are, or should be thankful!

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #225 – Wildlife Close To Home

bobcat, spots
Kiawah Bobcat

“We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.” 

Steve Irwin

This week Anne has given us a challenge near and dear to my heart. As a true lover of nature and her many creatures both large and small, our safari in Africa is at the very top of my list of travel memories. Seeing creatures in their natural habitat shows us the world as it was meant to be. On Kiawah we are fortunate that there is a high level of focus on / appreciation of / habitat preservation for our local wildlife. Our deer population is primarily controlled by the bobcats who roam the island. They are elusive creatures but are occasionally seen crossing the roads or raising their kittens in the high grasses that surround us. If we’re really lucky we see them hunting small prey along the grassy edges as shown above.

deer, fawn, wildlife
Kiawah’s Deer

“Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.”

Alice Walker

Our wildlife is a bit less skittish around humans than in many other places. Deer, for example, will allow us to get quite close. The image on the far right above is actually a deer licking salt from my leg on a hot summer day. I’d stopped my bike to capture an image of her fawn and unfortunately was using my zoom lens so I was unable to get a better image of the doe. I was a quite startled by the whole thing, but I did at least manage to document the incident 😊.

strand feeding, stranding, dolphins, Kiawah
Kiawah’s Dolphins Strand Feeding

“Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”

Mila Kundera

We are fortunate to be among the very few places where dolphin strand-feeding occurs. Basically the dolphins form “teams” that gather to push baitfish onto the shore at very high speed. Once there they (along with the opportunistic pelicans that follow them) feast on the unlucky fish. It’s a recognized illustration of animal intelligence and learned behaviors which we are only now beginning to understand. National Geographic spent months here on Kiawah filming the behavior for their Predator series a few years back.

birds, collage, Kiawah, egret, heron, eagle, owl, roseate spoonbill, hooded merganser, pelicans
Birds of Kiawah Island (Some of them anyway!)

“Without birds, where would we have learned that there can be song in the heart?”

Hal Borland

I’ve featured many of the birds of Kiawah through the years and will admit that before moving here I hadn’t given birds much thought. Kiawah’s bird species number over 300 strong. We are a stopover point for the amazing red knot species whose annual migration covers 18,000 miles. Last year we had 6 bald eagle nests on our 10 mile island as well as owls, osprey and multiple species of hawks. Shorebirds like skimmers, seagulls, brown pelicans, sanderlings, willets and piping plovers nest and roost along our beaches. Along our wetlands herons, egrets, ducks and kingfishers as well as many others thrive. Our most recent inhabitants are the beautiful pink roseate spoonbills which it seems are moving to our area due to climate change.

Big Ole Boy – Gator Alert!

“Every once in a while an alligator has a lightbulb moment and decides to take a stroll and see the world a bit.”

Maureen Johnson

I had to laugh at the quote beneath my alligator image above because especially during mating season we often see them crossing our streets or strolling along the paths of our golf courses. For the most part however, they stick to their normal habitat which is in and around our lagoons and ponds. Although they appear placid they can be dangerous and there are signs everywhere warning visitors to keep their distance. Often we see them sharing a spot in the sunlight beside egrets, cormorants and herons, neither bothering the other – unless or until the gator decides it’s mealtime. Then we see nothing but the feathers that were lost in the frenzy. They’ll eat most anything, including full-sized deer which they drown before eating. Residents know to keep their distance but we occasionally need to warn inquisitive tourists. They can grow quite large, are very fast, and should never be considered friendly.

squirrels, tree
Too Close For Comfort

“Making a difference to the welfare of Animals doesn’t require a massive effort; it requires small actions that can make a significant impact.”

Paul Oxton

I’ve often thought about how humans have defined other creatures throughout the years. Why are bobcats and eagles seen as beautiful and worthy of admiration, while squirrels and crows are seen as pests and treated with disdain? How have we come to love dogs and cats yet we treat coyotes and wolves as demons worthy of eradication? I’l admit despite my respect for wildlife I don’t tolerate creatures like marsh rats, mice, or armadillos. I love and have many photographs of butterflies but insects like ants and the dreaded “palmetto bugs” make my skin crawl! And yes, occasionally I do eat meat. We humans are a fickle species, aren’t we?!

butterfly, flower, colorful
A Butterfly Flutters By

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

Thanks to Anne for the opportunity to explore one of my favorite subjects. I look forward to seeing what other creatures our followers around the world choose to highlight. Please remember to link your response to Anne’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

Thanks to Sofia for last-week’s exposure challenge, and to those of you who responded with so many different approaches. It was great fun seeing how creative and diverse your results were from adjusting exposures in such a wide variety of applications. Finally, we are excited that next week our challenge will be Guest-Hosted by Jude, aka HeyJude of Cornwall in Colours and hope you’ll join us for that. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #224 – Exposure

horse, window, barn
A Horse is a Horse Of Course, Of Course

“Exposure in photography = Salt in food.”

Lakshman Iyer

This week Sofia has given us an opportunity to work with photographic exposure. While I often adjust exposure in the field, more often I use exposure to adjust my images in post-processing for artistic effect. For me “correct” exposure creates an accurate portrayal of what was seen in the field, as above. (As an aside, correctly exposing my opening image was a challenge because of the stark contrast between the dark horse, the barn interior and the brilliant sunshine outside of the barn at high noon.) In the edited image below, I’ve adjusted the exposure to create something a bit more artistic by over-exposing it in post-processing.

horse, over processed, white, artistic
Artistically Over-exposed Horse – Still a Horse!

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

Minor White

Sometimes exposure adjustment can be used to isolate a subject. For example, beautiful blossoms can often be surrounded by distracting clutter like multi-colored leaves or things like homes, weeds, trees or sidewalks. Magnolias such as the one below are particularly difficult to isolate.

magnolia, flower, white, leaves
Magnolia, Surrounded

“Crystallize in your own mind at the time of exposure just what you are trying to say, to mentally trim the scene down to your subject.”

Leendert Drukker

I loved both the Drukker quote above and the Karsh quote that follows the image below. What, really, did I want the photograph to say? That a magnolia’s purity is beyond compare, that its lovely petals are naturally symmetrical, and that its beauty comes from its simplicity. To me, the original image cannot compare with the one below, on which I’ve dropped the background exposure to clear out the clutter that surrounded it. This is something much easier to do in post than in the field.

magnolia, white, contrast, isolation
Purity Personified, Magnolia

“It should be the aim of every photographer to make a single exposure that shows everything about the subject.”

Yousuf Karsh

Sometimes an exposure ‘tweak’ can improve our results when photographing people by eliminating distractions and softening the skin. The image below, from last summer’s family reunion, captures one of my favorite little people, my great-niece. The differences between the two images are subtle but I think make a nice improvement. What do you think?

child, comparison
Here’s Looking At YOU Kid

“A camera exposes more than just a image. It also exposes the photographer.

Steve Coleman

Finally, during a visit to North Carolina this summer my husband and I came upon a trio of turtles sunning themselves on a rock. Once again I felt that the messy waters that surrounded them added too much clutter. Adjusting the exposure in camera either made the water too bright or the subject too dark. Hence, my choice to work toward an artistic impression using post-processing exposure adjustment. Here are the original and the edited images.

turtles, three
Three Turtles – Original

“Photography can light up darkness and expose ignorance.”

Lewis Wickes Hines
Turtles, water, Three
Three Turtles – Edited

“The world is one huge canvas, find your location and expose your film passionately!”

Steve Denby

Thanks to Sofia for the opportunity to explore how exposure can be used to create images that reflect our vision. We look forward to seeing your examples. Be sure to link your response to Sofia’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John for his inspirational Flights of Fancy challenge. We were amazed at the creativity and originality of all of the responses. Finally, be sure to visit us next week when Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed will host our next 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 #223 – Flights of Fancy

horse, chicken, goat, grazing
Old MacDonald Had A Farm – E-I-E-I O

Farming is a profession of hope.”

Brian Brett

Well I must admit that John knocked me for a loop this week with his Flights of Fancy challenge. I thought long and hard but came up empty. That is, until it occurred to me that children’s songs and poems are all about fanciful things – and I was off to have some fun with John’s theme. My opener (along with this week’s header), represents what one might find on “Old MacDonald’s” farm – on the assumption he actually had one 😊. At night, after putting his farm critters in their stalls perhaps he sang his children to sleep with the lovely …..

night, stars, twinkle
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

Sarah Williams

Many nursery rhymes, children’s stories and songs are widely known around the world. Some of today’s features will be more familiar to those in the U.S. (Although Twinkle Twinkle above was originally written in England.) But one I’m guessing very few of you will recognize is my children’s story Al E. Gator Moves To Kiawah. Click on the link and hit Preview for a look at my published children’s book.

alligator, teeth, smile, book
Al E. Gator

“You know you’re old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.”

Phyllis Diller

The next image is one that I suspect most all of us could guess, especially since its fleece is white as snow. Yep, it’s everyone’s favorite, Mary’s Little Lamb.

sheep, lambs, fleece
Mary Had A Little Lamb Its Fleece Was White As Snow

“Mary had a little lamb its fleece electrostatic. And everywhere Mary went the lights became erratic.”

David Foster Wallace

Once I got started I enjoyed skipping down Memory Lane to revisit some childhood favorites. I’ll be interested to hear from our international followers about which of these stories, songs and nursery rhymes are popular in other places and whether they’re exactly the same or a bit different. For example…

pink, sparkle, flower petals, shoe
One Two, Buckle My Shoe, Three, Four, Shut The Door

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

Marilyn Monroe

How many generations of children have enjoyed, learned and sung along with the verses of these children’s standards? But what about spoken lyrics? Who knows this one?

owl, bird
The Wise Old Owl

“A wise old owl sat in an oak; the more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke the more he heard; why can’t we be like that old bird?”

Unattributed, first published in 1875

Or how about this one? I’ve probably recited it a hundred times with our granddaughter, nieces, nephews and the children of our friends. Funny when you think of it, it’s kind of a creepy subject but put it into a rhyme with a tickle at the end and voila, it’s guaranteed to generate giggles and smiles.

spider, web
The Itsy, Bitsy Spider Climbed Up The Water Spout

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself….and spiders!”

Darynda Jones

I’ll close with a favorite which I think should be known to most everyone — or maybe not. Can you guess it?

boat, lake, dock, mountains
Row, Row, Row Your Boat Gently Down the Stream

“Little boats should keep near shore.”

Benjamin Franklin

OK you’re right, it’s not really a stream and it has a motor but you get the idea 😊. Thanks to those who hung in there with me for this one. Please let me know which of these examples, well-known here in the U.S., are recognized around the world – and whether perhaps your version is a bit different. Thanks also to those who joined us for Amy’s Mountains Are Calling challenge last week. We very much enjoyed your amazing collections of magnificent peaks from around the world!

Hopefully John will forgive me for stretching the meaning of his challenge a bit; we look forward to seeing how you interpret his fanciful theme. Be sure to link to his original here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Next week’s challenge “Exposure” will be led by Sofia on her Photographias site so be sure to check it out. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

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