Lens-Artists Challenge #89: RIVER

fishermen, river


“I wish I had a river I could float away on.”

Joni Mitchell

The quote I’ve included with my opening image seems particularly apropos for these troubled times. It’s from the song “River” which has always been among my favorites. Right now I think many of us wish we could just float away from today’s issues. Alas there’s not much chance of that, but at least we can do it mentally, right?  The image shows my husband and brother happily casting away on a river near my brother’s home in Colorado. Little did we know on that peaceful afternoon the chaos that would follow a few short months later.

mountain stream, rocks


“Love is a river. Drink from it.”


In Colorado there are many streams such as the one above, where the crystal-clear water flows between rocky shores before feeding into larger rivers. One of the things I love about visiting the area is that it is so totally different from anything we see here in our low-lying oceanside community.

Victoria Falls, Africa


“There’s hope at the bottom of the biggest waterfall.”

Patrick Ness

At the other end of the world, glorious Victoria Falls follows the meandering Zambezi River in southern Africa. It is considered the world’s largest waterfall at 5,604 feet (1,708 meters) wide. The falls were very impressive when we reached them from a short hike, covering us in mist and making their presence known with a might roar.  They were even more incredible from the air where we were fortunate to have also seen them from a helicopter. 



“If the earth is a mother then rivers are her veins.”

Amit Kalantri

Here on the Kiawah River, we are always on the lookout for our beautiful river dolphins. In the image above they are in the process of stranding – pushing baitfish to the shore and then swimming onto the shore themselves to chase the fish. It’s a very rare behavior seen only in the rivers of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Below, they entertain one of our many visitors with their “spy-hopping”, peeking out from below the water to see what’s happening above.



“The care of rivers is not a question of rivers but of the human heart.”

Shozo Tanaka

We’ve done many kayak and motorboat forays on the Kiawah River and it is actually rare that we don’t see at least a few dolphins along the way. They are curious creatures and seem to “enjoy” the company of their human counterparts.  It’s a bit more rare to see their stranding behavior but we have been fortunate to have seen it many times as well. 

Thanks to Amy for this week’s challenge. Click here to see and link to her original post, and as always please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag.  We appreciate all of our followers’  creative and interesting responses to last week’s CHAOS challenge. We sincerely hope everyone is practicing Social Distancing to protect themselves and others from the continuing spread of COVID-19. Stay safe out there and we hope to see you right here next week for Challenge #90.





Lens-Artists Challenge #88 – CHAOS

airplane over NYC


“New York; a whole cacophony of sounds and tastes that all somehow came together to form something beautiful”

Aishabella Sheikh

This week Ann-Christine’s Chaos challenge comes just one day after the U.S. declaration of a National State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 virus. As we entered New York City just last week, we were aware of a whole new level of chaos about to descend, especially in high-density areas like New York. In the opening image I’ve shown our plane’s wing as we flew over lower Manhattan on our approach to LaGuardia Airport. In the photo you can see One World Trade Center under the far end of the wing. It is the tallest building in the  western hemisphere, standing where the Twin Towers were located prior to 9/11. Many have noted parallels to the heightened state of awareness the world now faces as nations work to protect their citizens from the spreading pandemic.



“The city was a hive from this height, the people and the yellow cabs moving about in the street below like insects.”

David Levien

Home to over 70,000 residents per square mile, on weekdays that number more than doubles due to the commuting population. During our visit the city seemed slightly less crowded than usual, as businesspeople began telecommuting, schools began teaching on-line and tourists began to cancel their travels.

Virus not-withstanding, during normal times NYC residents speak over 800 languages. Stand on any street corner in Times Square to get a clear picture of the chaos that can bring. On the other hand there are oases of calm, such as the city’s Central Park shown in the image above.  Measuring 843 acres (341 hectares) the park hosts 42 million visitors each year. Note the line of uber-expensive apartment buildings on the park’s edge – John Lennon and Yoko Ono chose one of them as their NYC residence.



“New York…the crowds, the noise, the traffic, the expense, the rents; the messed-up sidewalks and pothole-pocked streets…”

Bill Hayes

Recognized as one of the world’s busiest commercial centers, the city also features fabulous museums, incredible theatre, an amazing music scene, world-class shopping and beautiful architecture ranging from elegant brownstones to towering modern-art skyscrapers. Not surprisingly, it is also rife with chaos. Can you imagine the amount of infrastructure it takes to keep the city going? There is upkeep and maintenance of the airports, bridges, tunnels, trains, subways, roads and schools. Beyond that, a complex water system delivers a Billion gallons of drinking water daily. Massive energy systems, intricate state-of-the-art telecommunication systems, and over a million buildings all require constant attention. I honestly felt we saw or heard some level of maintenance or new construction at every corner in the city.

Citi Field, NYC


“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is.”

Fran Lebowitz

All of this week’s images were made with my iPhone 8+ . Those taken from the air are cropped and edited for detail. The final image seemed a bit “vintage” to me due to its pixelation. As a former Nikon photographer, I shot it specifically because of their huge sign in front of Citi field (home of the NY Mets baseball team in the Queens Borough of NYC). I loved the way Manhattan appears in the background, rather like the Emerald City of Oz 😊. Seeing the density of the homes between Queens and Manhattan highlights the immensity of the obstacles we face in controlling the chaos of the spreading virus.

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for challenging us to rise above despair and focus on more positive possibilities despite our fears. Timing, as they say, is everything. She, Amy, Patti and I look forward to seeing your interpretations. Be sure to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to add the Lens-Artists TAG so that we can more easily find you.

We all very much appreciate Miriam’s joining us as last week’s Guest Host, and enjoyed going through your many beautiful responses to her Reflections Challenge. We hope you’ll join us next week as Amy brings us Challenge # 89. In the meanwhile, follow the recommendations of certified authorities, avoid fake news, and stay safe!




Lens-Artists Challenge #87 – Reflections

cormorant, turtles, perch


“One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.”

Lao Tzu

There are very few photographers who do not appreciate a beautiful reflection. As I considered my response to this week’s Reflections challenge I thought about the many amazing species of birds here in Coastal South Carolina and the number of times I’ve captured their reflections. It seemed only natural to approach this week’s challenge with a combination of the two. Above, a cormorant and three lazy turtles are reflected in the pond below as they catch some sun at beautiful Magnolia Gardens.

seagull feeding


“The more peace we have within our own lives, the more we can reflect into the outer world.”

Senora Roy

There are more than 200 species of birds on Kiawah – way too many to include here. Birds of prey like hawks, eagles and ospreys, shorebirds such as gulls (like the one above), terns and plovers, and wading birds like herons, spoonbills and egrets all share our little world.  For more information on our avian population, click here.

roseate spoonbill, reflection, golf ball


“Words are chameleons, they reflect the color of their environment.”

Learned Hand

There are times when we interact a bit more closely than usual with our birds. I had to laugh at the roseate spoonbill above as it stared at the golf ball nestled in the nearby mud. Perhaps the bird is wondering what bizarre creature would lay such a strange, dappled egg, and further, was it the same species that left similar eggs just visible beneath the waters beyond?!

great blue heron, spread wings, marsh, Kiawah


“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Above, I’ve included a favorite image I shot one evening several years ago along Kiawah’s marsh. I found the graceful elegance of the bird’s wings reflected in the waters to be simply exquisite. If a moment like that doesn’t cause one to reflect on nature’s blessings, I cannot begin to imagine what else possibly could.

Hooded Mergasner


“The way we experience the world around us is a direct reflection of the world within us.”

Ritu Ghatourey

Finally, as a verb rather than a noun, we reflect on the wonders with which Mother Nature surrounds us. Here on Kiawah we are vigilant stewards of our natural environment. Plastics are not allowed on our beaches. Lights out at 9 along our oceanfront insures that sea turtles will visit to lay their eggs. Situating buildings within native landscape buffers provides cover and shade during intense summer heat. Small inconveniences for our residents deliver important protections for all of our wildlife.

Sincere thanks to our Guest Host Miriam for joining us this week. Please be sure to link your response to her challenge which can be found here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our Reader section.

As always, we very much appreciate the continuing support of our followers –  you are the best! We hope you’ll join us again next week when Ann-Christine returns with Challenge # 88.



Lens-Artists Challenge #86: Changing Your Perspective

globe, sculpture, NYC


“One moment the world is as it is. The next, it is something entirely different.”

Anne Rice

Patti’s perspective challenge brought to mind a recent visit to NYC. While the trip was primarily focused on family I did manage to capture a few images as we walked between locations in the city.  My opening image is a sculpture located on the upper west side of the city near Columbus Circle, as is the image below.

globe, sculpture, high-rise, NYC


“Humans see what they want to see.”

Rick Riordan

In the opening image it’s hard to imagine the size and scope of the city surrounding the globe. In the second image,  the same globe is shown in perspective to the nearby high-rises. As the song says, it really is “A Small World After All.” 😊  I loved the way the low-hanging clouds seemed to be clinging to the highest points of the tallest buildings.



“Those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

My first post this year featured the incredible Calatrava-designed Oculus building in the heart of lower Manhattan. I found it interesting how capturing the building from multiple perspectives caused it to morph into something completely different. Above I’ve shown the building from the front toward the left side, while below my shot was taken from the left toward the front – changing the perspective simply by turning myself and my lens in the opposite direction..

Calatrava, Oculus, NYC


“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.”

Colin Powell

Below I’ve included a side view of the building seen beyond an interesting example of NYC street art. From this position it’s hard to see there is a building beneath the spread wing. There could just as easily be an open air theatre or outdoor concert stage below the spines.

oculus, calatrava, street art


“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

John Lubbock

Finally, I shot the building as part of the surrounding environment.  In this context it seems quite small compared to the nearby high-rises, which I captured by changing my aperture and focus.

Calatrava, oculus, NYC


“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.”

Chuck Palahniuk

In photography, as in life, perspective can make a tremendous difference. As Wayne Dyer says “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”   Wouldn’t it be nice if we all listened with an open-mind to those with whom we disagree or from whom we feel different? The world would surely be a better and more peaceful place for all of us.

Sincere thanks to those who responded to last week’s Treasure Hunt challenge – Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I  thoroughly enjoyed your creativity and appreciate your getting into the spirit of the hunt!  This week we look forward to sharing your changing perspectives.  Remember to TAG your posts to appear in the Lens-Artists section of the Reader, and to link them to Patti’s original post here. Finally, remember to visit Miriam’s Showers of Blessings blog next week as she Guest Hosts our Lens-Artists Challenge #87.





Lens-Artists Challenge #85 – Treasure Hunt



“Treasure hunts make much better stories when there’s treasure at the end.”

Eric Berlin

This week we’re going on a Treasure Hunt! The challenge is to search for specific items – either from your archives or newly captured – from the list below. Extra credit items are a bit more challenging. Focus on quality over quantity and hit us with your best shot(s)!  

  • Challenge Items: Sunrise and/or sunset, Something cold and/or hot, a bird, a dog, a funny sign, a bicycle, a seascape and/or mountain landscape, a rainbow, a church, a musical instrument, a boat, a plane, a waterfall
  • Extra Credit Items:  An expressive portrait of one or more people, a very unusual place, knitting or sewing, a fish, an animal you don’t normally see, a bucket, a hammer, a street performer, a double rainbow, multiple challenge items in a single image. My opening image, for example, includes a sunrise, a seascape and birds in a single shot. See how easy it is?! 😀
violin, parade, music


“Music is the road to the soul”

Syed Sharukh

I had tons of fun traveling down memory lane as I searched for images that fit the challenge. The street performer above playing his musical instrument is from a visit to Provence, France several years ago.

cormorants, fishing, china, boat


“Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”


Our journey across China provided me with some of my favorite images. The capture above features a traditional fishing method, where trained birds dive for fish, which they deposit into the woven bowl. They are rewarded for their efforts so they also benefit. They and the fisherman balance on a traditionally built raft (boat).



“The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.”

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

The image above shows a sheepdog watching over a flock of sheep, animals I rarely see. Notice the one in the middle of the flock keeping track of the dog. Perhaps he’s thinking about making a run for it – or is he assigned to track the dog so that the rest of the flock needn’t worry about him? 😀 



“Your life is a sculpture, every day chip away.”

J.R. Rim

I always enjoy making images of people at work. I would really have loved to see the finished product of this sculptor’s efforts with his hammer and chisel.

floatplane, lake, mountain, snow


“The century of airplanes has a right to its own music.”

Claude Debussy

Each day during our adventure in an Alaskan fishing camp we would board a floatplane and fly to where the salmon were running. It was during this trip that we encountered the salmon-fishing bears shown in last week’s post. A floatplane could be considered both a plane and a boat, and the snow on the mountains beyond represents something cold.

double rainbow, beach


“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life.”

Lord Byron

We saw the double rainbow above during a visit to Prince Edward Island off the eastern coast of Canada. I’m not sure what I found most exciting – the double rainbow, the red sand seascape, or the sea glass that washed up on the shore each day.

women, serious, love, mother, daughter


“Mothers of daughters are daughters of mothers and have remained so, in circles joined to circles, since time began.”

Signe Hammer

I don’t often do portraits but I was enchanted by this mother-daughter embrace, my attempt at an expressive portrait. I converted the image to B&W to eliminate the distraction of their colorful outfits. 

I got a bit carried away by the number of images I found during my hunt (as well as my header which includes a number of funny signs).  I sincerely hope you enjoy the quest as much as I did. As always, Amy, Ann-Christine, Patti and I look forward to seeing your responses.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  The Lens-Artists team is delighted to announce that our March 7th challenge (#87) will be hosted by special guest host Miriam Hurdle of The Showers of Blessings. For the rest of February and March we’ll follow our usual weekly schedule, beginning next week as Patti brings us Challenge # 86. In the meanwhile, many thanks to Amy for last week’s Narrow challenge. 

Have you seen these?

  • Suzy of Suzy Blue gives us a terrific description of Narrow Depth of Field along with some wonderful examples.
  • Andy of AEKShots uses creativity and humor to draw us into the tiger’s den
  • Ana of Anvica Photos creatively crops to show us what narrow REALLY looks like.
  • Rambling Ranger Dianne demonstrates her sense of adventure with some incredibly narrow roads.

Finally, it’s been suggested that we post a Treasure Hunt challenge each quarter with a new set of items. Let us know your thoughts on that, and if you agree, feel free to suggest any items you’d like to see included.



















Lens-Artists Challenge #84 – Narrow



“Life’s true sojourn reveals a long winding narrow path that only you can choose.”

R.J. Blizzard

Amy’s challenge this week leaves us with more than one approach, so I’ve  addressed it in two ways. First, of course, is the literal translation above – a narrow path, across a narrow bridge, over a narrow stream. Also quite literal, the image which follows, of a beautiful Little Blue Heron posing its narrow legs on a narrow perch. 

little blue heron


“We fear to trust our wings. We plume and feather them, but dare not throw our weight upon them. We cling too often to the perch.”

Charles Newcomb Baxter

On the other hand, consider a “narrow margin for error”. This is a something that often occurs in wildlife photography. How long do you think the beautiful bird above sat on its perch? Was I prepared for such a moment? Were my settings correct? Was my lens at the ready? Happily in this case the answer was yes.  And what about the image below? Was I ready for the moment the grizzly bear captured its meal? Could I capture him before he moved away? Again, in this case yes. But in many others perhaps not. Both are examples of a very narrow margin for error, as well as evidence of the importance of being ready for the shot you hope to capture.

grizzly bear with fish


“A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin for error is small.”

Donald Rumsfeld

Happily I was also ready for the image that follows, even though the little bear cub seemed content to sit quite still while sucking on his very large thumb. (Do you believe the size of those paws?!) I re-discovered both this image and the one above in my seemingly never-ending chore of moving older images to current technology.

bear cub, thumb sucking


“In the margin for error lies all our room for maneuver.”

James Geary

Finally, in the capture below there is a narrow-beaked oystercatcher working a long narrow oyster bed in the hopes of finding his next meal. His beak and the bed are both examples of the literal use of the word narrow.  He also exhibits a narrow margin for error – at times the target shellfish will beat him to the punch and clamp on his beak, sometimes drowning him when the tide comes in. Or, other birds like gulls and willets will often steal his hard-earned meal.



“I’d rather learn from one bird how to fly than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”


I have no doubt our followers will find other interesting interpretations of Amy’s Narrow challenge. As always, we very much appreciate your support and look forward to seeing your responses.   Remember to Tag them “Lens-Artists”, and to link them to Amy’s original post here.  We hope to see you next week here on Travels and Trifles as I post Challenge # 85.



Lens-Artists Challenge #83 – Into The Future



“We can become inspired to shape a higher, more ideal future, and when we do, miracles happen.”

James Redfield

In response to Ann-Christine’s “Future” challenge, I thought immediately of the Pudong district in the Chinese city of Shanghai. There, gleaming futuristic buildings are reflected in the Huangpu River which services the largest trading port in the world. Beyond its reputation as a business and financial center it includes an international airport, the Shanghai World Expo Center, a Disney resort, bike trails, boating lakes, miniature golf and many restaurants. When the air is clear (as it was during our visit), it is everything one would want in the cities of the future. 

mountains, clouds, barren, landscape


“One mustn’t dream of one’s future; one must earn it.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Then again, if we aren’t careful, the future may look more like the bleaker environs of remote Patagonia. In most of Patagonia, there are incredibly beautiful areas of jagged, snow-covered peaks, dense forests, rippling streams and waterfalls. The image above however, shows cloud-covered areas of barren mountains with a line of obviously bare trees. With climate change bringing ever more unpredictable and severe weather, our most beautiful landscapes could be lost.

barren landscape, sheep, truck


“Progress is measured by the speed at which we destroy the conditions that sustain life.”

George Monbiot

If we ignore or abuse that which sustains us – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants on which we and the other animals depend – the world our children inherit may be filled with sorrow for what might have been. 



“The greatest gift this generation can give future generations is a healthy planet.”

Lain Cameron Williams

We humans are finally beginning to appreciate the importance of preserving the gifts we’ve been given. Organizations focused on saving the environment are driving important changes in our treatment of Mother Earth. While the wheels move painfully slowly, steps are being taken to restrict pollution, minimize carbon footprint and protect endangered species. Many among us are pushing for change. Movements like Ted Talks Countdown are gathering the best and brightest ideas to address our most critical issues. Let us hope we are not yet too late.

Sincere thanks to all who participated in our Capitals Challenge last week and to Viveka for joining us as the first-ever Lens-Artists Guest Host . As always, Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I very much appreciate your support and participation. Stay tuned next week as Amy brings you challenge #84. In the meanwhile please remember to use the Lens-Artists TAG on your response and to link your post to Ann-Christine’s original post here.


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Lens-Artists Challenge #82 – Capitals



“Budapest is a prime site for dreams”

M. John Harrison

As our first-ever guest host Viveka says, cities are more than places with buildings and history, they are also made up of all kinds of people. My husband and I have been fortunate to have visited many capital cities around the world, some of which I’m featuring in today’s post. As I think about the list I’m amazed at the places I’ve seen, and also about how many remain on my “someday” list. 

I’ve opened today’s post with Budapest, above and below, which was a beautiful part of our visit to several countries in Central Europe.

SHOES, BUDAPEST, Holocaust memorial


“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”

Elie Wiesel

One of my most poignant memories from the trip was the Holocaust memorial along the banks of the Danube River. There are 60 pairs of shoes, cast in iron, memorializing the Jewish citizens who were required to remove their shoes before being shot and dropped into the river. The simple memorial, which included the shoes of children, for me brought home the horror of those terrible times more than any other I’ve seen.



“Visit Cape Town and history is never far from your grasp.”

Tahir Shah

I’m currently working to bring thousands of images into Lightroom from my years of Aperture use. Some of my earliest digital images captured our incredible visit to Africa. Above I’ve included an image of the sea taken from Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa. We found the city naturally beautiful and were awed by places like Table Mountain, The Cape of Good Hope and their glorious coastline. Don’t get me started on the beautiful animals – or my husband on their wine country 😊.



“Be simple, stay humble, care with love, hug with kindness.”

Debasish Mridha

We found the people of South Africa to be friendly, warm and incredibly open. The mother and son above resulted in one of my favorite images because of the mother’s obvious love and the pure joy of the little boy. We were also amazed by the guides in our visit to Robben Island. All are former political prisoners (Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there) who were housed there during Apartheid.



“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.”

Tim Rice

We very much enjoyed our visit to Bangkok. Like most of Asia we found the city vibrant, the food incredibly delicious and the people warm and friendly (are you sensing a trend?).  The traffic was not something I could live with as a general rule but the tuk tuks, mechanized 3-wheeled taxis, were great fun for getting around the city.



“Of all sound of all bells… most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.”

Charles Lamb

It happened that we were in Bangkok during Chinese New Year. The festivities and celebrations were incredible. It seemed every one of the zillions of scooters we saw was overloaded with orange trees, loaves of bread, flowers – you name it as Bangkok’s residents made their way home for the holiday. The image above captures a New Year’s street festival. The crowds were huge but orderly and enthusiastic. I loved the happy fellow roasting nuts along the main street.



“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven.”

Benjamin Disraeli

The image above represents our first view of the sprawling city of Jerusalem. From our vantage point we were incredulous at the size of the city and of course the busses, representing the masses of tourists. Little did we know what wonders awaited us as we made our way down the hilly streets into the beautiful Old City below. The walls of the city of David, the Wailing Wall, the Via Delarosa, and the Dome of the Rock were just a few of the many sights that awaited us. 



“Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.”

Yehuda Amichai

I’ve posted many images of the people of Jerusalem so today I’ll include only the image above. In it a student or tourist walks peacefully among the young trees that stand just before the entrance to the Old City. Although in many places Jerusalem is a very modern, vibrant city, it was the history and the tangible aura of spirituality of the Old City that most impressed us. It seemed to us to be one of the few places in the world where Christians, Jews, Muslims and non-believers leave their differences behind for at least the duration of their visit.



“Edinburgh is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. It breaks the heart again and again.”

Alexander McCall Smith

Our visit to Scotland was quite a whirlwind. We spent three weeks criss-crossing its winding roads and visiting towns large and small – each with their own unique flavor. In all we drove about 1,200 miles and found favorites in far-flung places like Ullapool as well as places with interesting names like the Firth of Forth. We hiked among beautiful natural places like Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye and Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain.  We visited several of their reputed 2,000+ castles and saw many more. Our stay in Edinburgh was especially memorable as we arrived, unbeknownst to us, in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest art festival in the world.



“KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.”

Ambrose Bierce

Of course one cannot represent a complete visit to Scotland without including a gentleman in a kilt playing the bagpipe. This fellow was stationed at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle but we saw many others when we attended some local Scottish games. It’s a country steeped in tradition with a great respect for history and a reputation, well-earned, for their hearty, honest, hard-working people.

By now I’m sure you’ve had enough of my response to Viveka’s Capitals challenge. Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I thank Viveka for joining us and hope you’ll participate as well. Remember to link your response to her original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. We’ll be back on our regular schedule next week as Ann-Christine hosts Challenge #83. Hope to see you then.


Note: Several of you have mentioned that my comments have gone to spam so if you don’t hear from me please check your spam files

Note 2: This week’s header is from Buenos Aires, one of many capitals I’ve not included in today’s post.








Lens-Artists Challenge #81 – Seeing Red

“Beauty without color seems to belong to another world.”

Murasaki Shikibu

dog, sleeping, white, red


As I put together my response to Patti’s “Find Something Red” challenge, I was amazed at the number of images I found among my archives.  Of course the trick then is narrowing down the choices and selecting which to feature. The image above is a favorite because of the sweet pup enjoying his cozy spot on the red rug.

RED UMBRELLA, rice fields, china


“Never invest in any idea you can’t illustrate with a crayon.”

Peter Lynch

The image above is from the beautiful rice terraces of Longsheng, China. The terraces are glorious (see more of my images here) and I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop capturing every vista imaginable. The shot is among my favorites because of the striking contrast between the red umbrella and the fields of green. Clearly, red can have impact even when it is not the predominant color.

chickens in a basket


“Color affects us. Everyone should have a paintbox and a box of crayons.”

Dr. Sunwolf

Likewise in the image above the chickens’ red combs are not the primary color but somehow they bring extra life to the capture. One wonders why they’re in the basket and how long it will be before they figure out it’s one easy hop and they’re free 😉

red leaves


“Coloring outside the lines is a fine art.”

Kim Nance

Here on Kiawah, autumn colors are typically quite subtle. I captured the image above in my own front yard one afternoon as the sunlight hit the bright red of our very young maple tree. Planted by our home’s previous owners, I doubt it will last very long in our climate but we can hope!



“Color is a creative element, not a trimming.”

Piet Zwart

Much more typical of Kiawah, the image above. I found this tree fairly deep in an oak forest and was amazed by how prolific the beautiful red vine had become as the tree reached high into the sky. I found myself wondering if it was a symbiotic relationship or if the vine was actually choking the tree.  Hopefully it’s the former rather than the latter.

RED TRUCK, lobster cages


“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”

Claude Monet

The “little red truck” above caught my eye during a visit to Maine – where lobster pounds are everywhere. You can see the empty lobster cages behind the truck in the image. I have no idea if it is actually used for deliveries or merely a nod to days gone by. Whichever the case, I thought it was really fun.



“Our attitudes are the crayons that color our world.”

Allen Klein

I’ll close with yet another image from China, a row of red lanterns offering a leading line to the pagoda beyond. Speaking of which, many thanks to those of you who participated in my Leading Lines challenge last week. Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I very much enjoyed your responses and look forward to seeing your thoughts on RED this week. For more views, remember to use the Lens-Artists TAG, and to link to Patti’s original post here.

All of us at Lens-Artists are delighted to announce that next week’s challenge (#82) will be hosted by our special guest host, Viveka of My Guilty Pleasures.   Please be sure to visit Viveka’s site on Saturday, February 1st to view her challenge.  For the rest of February, we’ll return to our usual weekly schedule.  Wishing everyone a lovely week ahead.






Lens-Artists Challenge #80 – Leading Lines

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.”

Edward Weston



I loved the opening quote by renowned photographer Edward Weston. There are indeed “rules” of photographic composition, which like many other rules, are made to be broken. Whatever their skill level or experience though, understanding and knowing when to use the “rules” of composition can be helpful for any photographer. This week, our challenge will explore a key compositional element, Leading Lines.



“Unlike the painter who starts with a blank canvas and builds up his image by the addition of paint, as photographers we work in the other direction.”

Pete Bridgewood

Leading lines carry our eye through a photograph. They help to tell a story, to place emphasis, and to draw a connection between objects. They create a visual journey from one part of an image to another and can be  helpful for creating depth as well.

beach, sunset, kiawah


“Each picture requires a special composition and every artist treats each picture originally.”

Peter Henry Emerson

There are an infinite number of elements that can serve as leading lines. Nature offers things like the wave above which leads the viewer to the beachwalkers and eventually to the sunset. Grasses and trees can lead the eye across an image…rocks can be especially effective. It’s not so much what you put into your image as it is where you want the viewer’s eye to go and how you get them there.

path, red, umbrella


We don’t take pictures with cameras – we take them with our hearts and minds.”

Arnold Newman

Manmade objects such as roads, paths, fences, bridges, etc all provide opportunities to use leading lines. I remember distinctly how excited I was shooting the image above. Seeing the woman with the red umbrella at the end of a perfect path created one of my favorite captures from our visit to China. It was eventually selected by a travel agency to be featured in their brochure.

Mandarin Duck


There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.

Bryan Peterson

The beautifully-colored Mandarin duck in the image above would draw one’s eye wherever he was standing. But his placement on the dilapidated wooden bridge gave me an opportunity to lead viewers directly to him. I couldn’t have posed him better if I’d tried (OK, maybe if he’d moved just a tiny bit closer to the top 😊).



Photography is the easiest art, which perhaps makes it the hardest.”

Lisette Model

Be creative – there are lines everywhere. Footsteps in the sand, train tracks, the walls of a town on a narrow street, a row of arches on a building or of lights at night, a babbling brook or a winding river – it’s up to you to see and shoot them. Position them to lead the viewer where you want them to go (in the case above, toward the beautiful mountains of Zion or below to the karsts of Guilin). Once you’ve focused on their existence you’ll see them everywhere!

boats heading down river, karsts


Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity… I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance.”

Sally Mann

So give us a chance to see some of the leading lines you’ve captured and we’ll follow wherever you lead. Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I look forward to seeing your creativity on this one. Remember to link to my original post, and to TAG your post with the “Lens-Artists” Tag. If you’re new to tagging, click here for an explanation of how and why. Remember your post will get more views and comments with tagging! If you’ve not seen our Tag Section yet, click here to see posts that included our tag.

Last week Amy challenged us to share some windows with a view. As always you met the challenge beautifully.


First-time participant Amy of Bedlam and Daisies  took us on an amazing world tour of windows

Tracy from Reflections of an Untidy Mind gave us a frightening look into the ravages of Australia’s wildfires

Laura Denise shared some windows along memory lane and the perspective she’s gained with the passage of time.

As always, we thank you for your support and participation. We hope you’ll join us again next week when Patti publishes Challenge #81 on her Pilotfish blog. We look forward to seeing you then.


Note: For those interested in more detailed information about the how and why of Leading Lines, there’s an interesting article here.