Lens-Artists Challenge #99 – Old and New

Gold, dragon, hong kong

DEVILISH DRAGON, HONG KONG

“You haven’t been bit ’til a dragon does it.”

Tamora Pierce

Well, Ms. Pierce seems to have seen the future with her quote – who knew how good life was before COVID-19 bit us?! Haven’t we all learned to better appreciate the little things we now miss? A walk in the sunshine without worrying about masks and social distancing…a friend’s hug or kiss…spending time with grandparents or grandchildren….fully-stocked grocery shelves…a movie or a concert…the list goes on. 

CAMELS, TRUCK, DESERT

4-LEGS VS 4-WHEELS, WADI RUM, JORDAN

“Are you in a desert? Then be a camel! Be compatible with the reality!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Then again, Mr Ildan encourages us to find the best ways to live within the confines of our current situation. Most all of us have learned to Zoom or House Party with friends and family. Our local photography club has found that many very well-known photographers are available to give zoom presentations and classes since they are no longer leading tours. My friends and I have found an online Mah Jongg application which we play together, communicating online via House Party at the same time. Fortunately our spring weather has been beautiful and our golf courses and running/bike paths are open which means fresh air, socializing (6′ apart of course) and exercise. 

ancient junk, sailboarding, Hong Kong

WORK AND PLAY, HONG KONG

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”

Leo Tolstoy

One side benefit of the pandemic fulfills Mr. Tolstoy’s command – I suspect many have learned to appreciate the simple things which may have been missed by focus on work. Staying home with family, taking time to appreciate the small things could be a benefit for those who may have lost sight of them. The importance of our loved ones becomes much more obvious to us when we are threatened with losing them. We have learned to recognize that every day is a gift not a given.

vietnamese worker, baskets, motorcycle

YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS, VIET NAM

“One day at a time. Just keep trying. Keep believing.”

Akiroq Brost

Sadly, nothing quite takes the place of traveling and exploring the world. Many of us have had adventures cancelled or at least postponed. Nostalgic visits to journeys past, such as those in this week’s post, are but a reminder of the joys of experiencing other places and cultures. They are also a reminder to appreciate the travels we’ve had thus far. Unfortunately, seeing the world may be an entirely different thing for the foreseeable future. 

FRAMED, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

“The greatest skill is the ability to persevere.”

Avine Celeste

So let us take a moment to savor life in whatever form and remember, this too shall pass. As Amy’s challenge reminds us, there is a charm and beauty to things from days gone by, but life goes on and the new world soon becomes the norm. Hopefully we shall all be the better for having lived (and learned) in challenging times.

I enjoyed perusing my archives for mixed old/new images and send thanks to Amy for her creative challenge. To our followers, our thanks for last week’s beautifully delicate colors. We look forward to seeing how you approach Amy’s Old and New challenge. Be sure to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link your response to her original post here. We hope to see you again next week as our 100th challenge (YIKES) posts right here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, be well and stay safe.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #98 – Delicate Colors

IMPRESSION OF SWEETGRASS

SWEETGRASS IMPRESSION

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”

Jenna Morasca

This week Ann-Christine’s challenge threw me for a bit of a loop. Here on Kiawah our summer is well underway and most of our flowers at this point are quite vibrant. I was lamenting to a good friend about my lack of delicately-colored images and she graciously reminded me that there is nothing quite as delicate as our Kiawah sweetgrass. Voila, my post was born 😊.

sweetgrass bordered path

WARM WELCOME, KIAWAH ISLAND

“Life is delicate, it’s fragile, it’s a precious thing.”

Patricia Vanasse

Those who know Kiawah most probably recognized my opening image as an impression of sweetgrass based on its distinct appearance. In the image above I’ve shown the causeway used to approach our island, which also includes a bike path I’ve traveled hundreds of times. In the fall when the sweetgrass blooms it is quite simply glorious. A most delicate bloom, the sweet grasses are a lovely soft green for most of the year, but in early fall their pinks and purples deliver an ephemeral beauty all the more precious for its brevity.

sweetgrass, river, Kiawah

JUST AROUND THE BEND, KIAWAH

“…The fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient.”

Rachel Carson

Ms. Carson’s quote above about life rings so true, especially these days. Interestingly, it could also describe sweetgrass. Its appearance is quite fragile and delicate, especially when the ocean breezes move it to and fro. Anyone who has touched it knows on the other hand how tough and resilient it truly is. 

sweetgrass in bloom, kiawah

COTTON CANDY VIEW

“How scarce and delicate life is, how insignificant we are compared with the forces of nature.”

Aron Ralston

Since last week’s post celebrated the joys of golf, I’ll close with an image of sweetgrasses along the edge of one of Kiawah’s many fairways. It can be difficult to concentrate on the game when surrounded by nature’s many gifts – well, that’s my excuse anyway 😊.  

Sincere thanks to Ann-Christine for her challenge, and to my good friend Barbara who suggested my response. As always, thanks to our followers for their continued support, and especially to Sue for hosting last week’s challenge. We look forward to seeing your colorful interpretations this week – please remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s post here and to use the Lens-Artists tag.  Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week as Amy hosts Challenge #99. As always, most importantly, be careful and stay safe.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #97 – Pastimes

Kiawah Island, Cassique, Golf

GREAT DAY FOR GOLF, KIAWAH ISLAND

“God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”

Anne Frank

This week we are happy to have Sue, Mac’s Girl guest hosting with her challenge “Pastimes“.  I gave the subject quite a bit of thought, as I am involved in so many things – not the least of which is photography. I decided instead to focus on an activity which is among my favorites for many reasons, golf.  There are those who might say (and I used to be one of them) it’s simply a dumb game. But I’m here to tell you it is SO much more than that! First and foremost, especially now, it is a wonderful opportunity to spend a few hours among some of nature’s most glorious scenery.  Exhibit A, Kiawah’s Cassique Golf Course shown above after a storm, is one of my favorite images of nature’s beauty.

golf, fun, color, female golf pros

GIRLS RULE, LPGA GIRLS GOLF

“Winning has always meant much to me, but winning friends has meant the most.”

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Golf is a wonderful opportunity to meet people, to make friends and to have fun. My husband and I have made many good friends, both here and around the country, after being paired with them on the golf course. The image above features two of my favorite people, both successful female golf professionals in our area.  I made the image as a photographer for the LPGA’s Girls Golf.  It’s an important annual event for young girls, many of them on golf scholarships. I brought along some colorful props and the kids had a great time hamming it up for the camera – as did the staff apparently 😊.  It was a nice way to “give back” for a good cause as well as to practice my portraiture skills. Interestingly, it also started me on the path to blogging, as I was asked to do a blog for the kids and their parents. After the tournament I created the first Travels and Trifles – the rest, as they say, is history.

GRAVEYARD, SCOTLAND

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, SCOTLAND

“It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”

Hank Aaron

Typically my husband and I do not golf when we travel to other countries. The exceptions are Scotland and Ireland, both meccas for golfers. In Scotland we enjoyed some truly world-renowned courses. But one of my favorite memories was the day we played a small course on the North Sea in Stonehaven, Scotland. The course, founded in 1888, is famous for having been bombed during WWII. Turning lemons into lemonade, the bomb crater later became “Hitler’s Bunker”, between the 1st and 2nd fairways. It was a beautiful, peaceful little spot – at least until a typically Scottish thunderstorm drenched us to the skin and forced us off the course 😀.

DOONBEG, WIND, GOLF

WINDY DAY AT DOONBEG, IRELAND

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

Heywood Broun

Speaking of thunderstorms, for the most part we’ve been very lucky with weather when we travel. We did run into one of the most violent rainstorms ever during a round at the Doonbeg Course in Ireland. Yep, that’s me a few years back with my formerly long, formerly brunette hair blowing in the wind and my rain jacket puffed up over my normally svelte self  😊! Doonbeg is located on the Atlantic Ocean, which it borders on 16 of its 18 holes. The fact that they have clothes dryers in the locker room tells you all you need to know! Perhaps the wettest I’ve ever been, I refused to give in until I finally took refuge in a shepherd’s hut and called for transportation back to the clubhouse. At least I gave it a good effort!

golf ball on tee

BE THE BALL, .STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

“If at the end of the day you can’t shake hands with you opponents and still be friends, you’ve missed the point.”

Payne Stewart

During the pandemic we’ve been fortunate that some of our courses remained open. We push our golf bags on our own carts, walking 4+ hours with friends in the sunshine. It’s fun, good exercise, a terrific mental challenge, a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and a wonderful opportunity to socialize while maintaining distance. Keeping a good attitude despite the usual errant shots is a never-ending challenge, and one on which I’ll admit I could use a bit of improvement.

Thanks as always to our followers who very creatively responded to last week’s Cropping the Shot challenge, and a big thank you to Sue for hosting this week. Please visit and link to her original challenge post here, and as always, remember to use our Lens-Artists Tag in your responses. We look forward to learning about the pastimes that bring you pleasure over the coming days, and hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule with Ann-Christine’s Challenge #98. Finally, remember whether locked-down or set free, above all else Stay Safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #96 – Cropping the Shot

bald eagle

MAJESTIC

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

Bryan Peterson

This week Patti invites us to share images which have been cropped along with some thoughts about their before and after. As promised in my previous post, I’ve included a number of images from my photography outing on the island last week. I was on my way home from a beach shoot mid-week when I spotted the eagle in my opening image. Fortunately, since I had my camera with me I was able to pull over and capture the shot. The bird was quite high up in a very tall tree, so cropping helped to show its magnificent details.  I also cropped it a bit tighter than I might otherwise have to fit it within the width of my post.

red-tailed hawk

PROTECTIVE

“Pictures can be cropped so long as their meaning remains intact.”

Yann Arthus Bertrand

For the image above I was actually on the golf course and had only my iPhone 8+ for photography. The gorgeous red-tailed hawk was being bombarded by crows as he soared through the trees and landed nearby. As we approached, it spread it’s beautiful wings to protect its treasure (probably stolen from the crows). It never once moved until we’d gone past, at which point it proceeded to eat its bounty. I cropped the shot to show the detail of the bird and to remove the cart path from the image. Removing the path put the bird within a more natural environment and cropping brought some of its beautiful plumage into better focus.

Black skimmer skimming

AERODYNAMIC

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Robert Capa

Mr. Capa is right in his quote above, but there are times when one simply cannot get closer – when shooting across water for example. Birders and photographers are fascinated by black skimmers. Their unique vertical pupils cut the water’s glare and their bills are shaped longer on the bottom to skim while their shorter top bill locks down on their prey. Most of us have captured them in flight or standing on the water’s edge, but one has to be VERY lucky to catch them actually skimming. First, it doesn’t happen often or for long. Second, if lucky enough to see it, one has to have camera in hand pre-set to capture the action. I was at the beach shooting with a friend when several skimmers came soaring in, skimming the water behind us. We were so excited I’m surprised we were able to capture the birds at all, but capture we did.  The image above clearly shows the bird skimming and as a bonus catches its reflection as well.  I could have cropped the shot more closely but I wanted to keep the symmetry of the bird’s reflection.

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

I’m closing this week’s post with a comment about a tragedy on Kiawah this past week. A local woman was killed by a 10′ alligator in front of several witnesses who tried to save her. Unfortunately, she’d ignored the most basic rules of safety. First, in an effort to photograph the gator she ran toward it- to a distance of only 4 ft (1.2 meters).  She then got down to its level, and lastly she reached out to touch it. Many of you have commented in the past about it being dangerous for me to be so close to our alligators. Contrary to Mr Eisenstaedt’s quote above, I have a very healthy fear of our alligators and would NEVER get close to one. I use a zoom lens, and most often I crop the shot (as I did in the image above) to show their fierceness. Signs are posted throughout the island warning that alligators are dangerous. Those who knew the woman that was killed were stunned by her behavior. It was a tragic reminder of how important it is to be safe and to avoid dangerous situations at all times. 

Sincere thanks to those who responded to our All Wet challenge last week.  Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I enjoyed the wide variety of your as-always creative responses. We hope to see you next week when our challenge will be Guest-hosted by Sue (Mac’s Girl) of The Nature of Things. Be sure to link to her site and to use the Lens-Artists Tag so that we can all enjoy your responses. Until then, whether locked-down or let loose, be safe and stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #95 – ALL WET

grizzly bear, water, salmon

NO SHARING

“All the beauty of this world is wet with the dew of tears.”

Theodor Haecker

As I considered the subject for this week’s challenge, my husband commented that because we live on an island it should be a very simple exercise. Since many of you are still in lockdown however, I challenged myself to use my archives instead. (Rest assured my island images will still appear in the not-too-distant future 🙂.) Having just organized many of my pre-Lightroom images, I chose to highlight a favorite travel memory – a visit with the very wet grizzlies of Alaska’s Brooks Falls.

bear with fish, water

MAKING A SPLASH

“Nature is cold, wet, hard and unforgiving.”

David Remnick

The bears were extremely active the day we visited, focused intently on the running salmon  (which, crazy as it seems, DO swim upstream). They seemed perfectly at home in the water, finding purchase on small rocks, shore outcroppings and even somehow on the waterfalls themselves. They were also incredibly strong swimmers, which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me, but did.  It was great fun shooting them as they fished, ate and protected their catch from the lurking birds.

salmon swimming

SWIMMING UPSTREAM

“You can cross the shore without getting wet, but you can’t get through life without tears.”

Oscar Auliq-Ice

If you’re wondering why the bears are so focused on the water, the image above should give you a better idea. The salmon are incredibly plentiful and are exhausted from their upstream journey. The bears literally catch them in their mouths as they jump to climb the falls. I worked hard to capture that moment but alas it proved impossible. I managed to get the bears trying, the fish swimming, and the bears eating the fish while defending their catch from the birds, but never did get the catch as it happened. 

wet bear swimming

REFRESHING DIP

“How very wet this water is.”

C.S. Lewis

The bear above may be the wettest we saw. Most of the bears were solely focused on catching fish. While there’s a chance this one may have been fishing underwater, candidly he looked much more to have simply been enjoying some fun. Then again there’s an old saying about the calm duck paddling furiously under water so who knows?!

bear, water

KEEPING WATCH

“If you stand in the rain you get wet, whether you understand water or not.”

Werner Erhard

I’ll close with the image above featuring a bear that seems docile enough. In fact she was a mama bear keeping an intense eye on her young cub. The cub was on the shore and was quite close to a fisherman who had ventured beyond a safe area. Needless to say, had mama decided the man was a threat my money was on the bear! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my departure from the everyday challenges of our COVID-19 world, and that you too have some archived wet images to share. Of course you’re welcome to shoot today’s world as well – maybe you’ve just given your pet a bath, or perhaps the dewdrops on your garden have given you a smile.  You might also choose the colloquial meaning of the term “all wet” meaning mistaken or completely wrong. Whatever comes to mind, we look forward to seeing your choices.

Last week Amy gifted us with her At Home challenge, to which you responded beautifully as always. Have you seen these?

  • Suzy Shipman of Suzy Blue shared her clever garden “bee hotel”
  • Chris Mousseau shared an amazing world of daffodils in his County Gardening post
  • Wendy of Dream on Farm shared her love of the home she and her husband have built over a 10 year period
  • Kelly of Compass and Camera captured a spectacular sunset from her Lake Tahoe home

As we begin to cautiously emerge from lockdown around the country and the world, please remember to continue practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds. Stay safe and if you can, be sure to join us next week when Patti brings us Challenge #96.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #94 – At Home

dog, lagoon

CAMDEN’S WORLD

“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Amy’s “At Home” challenge made me really think hard for an appropriate response. The idea, of course, is  since so many of us remain on lockdown we are spending a great deal of time in our homes. Here on Kiawah, thankfully, we continue to have access to the beach, running/bicycle paths and golf courses – while observing social distancing rules of course. In the spirit of the challenge however, I’ve included several images of the views I see from inside my home. My opening image features our next-door neighbor’s dog, Camden, lazing happily beside the lagoon we share. I shot it through my kitchen window earlier in the week.

golfers, rain

DESPERATE TIMES, DESPERATE MEASURES

“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.”

William J. Bennett

The golfers in the capture above braved a major rainstorm earlier this week on the green behind our home. Like most of us these days, they’re using individual push carts to maintain distance. Shot from the same kitchen window (also featured in this week’s header), it highlights the lengths to which some will go to enjoy the game, despite the teeming rain. These days the storm that keeps most of us inside our homes is COVID-19 . I recently read an essay called “We are all in the same boat” which went on to say that in fact we are not in the same boat. Some of us work from home while others are unemployed. Some of us have groceries delivered while others stand in line at food banks or soup kitchens. Some of us are sheltered inside warm, loving homes while others are homeless and alone. It’s important to remind ourselves of those less fortunate when we begin to feel put upon by current restrictions, and to lend a hand or donate whenever possible. 

PEACEFUL VIEW

OUR PEACEFUL VIEW

“Home is where you can say anything you please, because nobody pays any attention to you anyway.”

Joe Moore

Mr. Moore’s quote above injects a bit of humor into today’s situation. They say the pandemic may cause an increase in two things: new babies and divorces – perhaps in jest, perhaps not. Happily my husband and I are too old for the former and have no interest in or need for the latter 🙂. Many, like us, are learning to share new responsibilities around the home and expanding our repertoires around the kitchen. When we’re lucky, we get to sit and sip an evening libation in our backyard, shown above, or on our back porch as the evening sun sets. And yes, if you’re wondering, we’ve watched many a golf ball go awry to be lost forever in the lagoon beyond.

palmetto trees, fog

IN A FOG

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

Pierce Brown

My final image this week isn’t actually in my back yard, and isn’t visible from my window. In fact I have to walk to the end of my street (which takes about 2 minutes 🙂) to see it. So it’s “at home” only if one thinks in broader terms of my neighborhood. I thought it was appropriate because many of us probably feel like we ARE in a fog. Also, it brings to mind the old adage about not seeing the forest for the trees. Yes, the virus is frightening, and yes, it is keeping us away from many of the people we love. It has forced us to think more carefully about stocking our pantries and keeping our homes germ free. But it has also given our beleaguered earth time to heal and given each of us time to reassess our priorities. It has pushed us to be more creative and taught us to treasure and use our time and our freedoms more carefully. Hopefully we will emerge all the better for having lived through trying times. 

As always, thanks to Amy for her creative challenge and to our followers for your continued support. We look forward to sharing a peek inside your homes and your lives as we make our way together through the crisis that surrounds us. Be sure to link your response to Amy’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Be well, stay safe and stay at home! We hope you’ll join us right here next week for challenge #95.

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #93 – Morning

SOCIAL DISTANCING BEACHGOER

SOCIALLY DISTANT MORNING

“I didn’t want normal until I didn’t have it anymore”

Maggie Stiefvater

Our challenge this week is to share aspects of our mornings as we adapt to the “new normal” of COVID-19. My response was inspired by one of our followers, who recently asked if I’m doing more photography in light of the extra time available under new curve-flattening regulations. When the question was asked, I realized that the answer was no, and I set about to change that.

LITTLE BLUE HERON

LITTLE BLUE HERON

“When it is becomes impossible to go back to normal ,we have to create a new normal and adjust to it.”

Sabine Shah

I decided to combine my morning exercise routine with my love of nature photography by taking my camera on some morning bike rides – a great way to enjoy our beautiful springtime weather while maintaining good health. Today’s images are some of my results. I began (of course) on our beautiful beach, where I found the lone sun seeker pictured in my opening image. Then, since several of our golf courses are closed, I rode the cart paths, a perfect place to catch our local creatures as they go through THEIR morning routines.

algae-covered alligator

DEEP IN THE WEEDS

“Life went back to normal after that, as it will do if you’re not careful.”

Michael Monture

There are certain areas of our island where one can be assured of creature-sightings. One of them is a lagoon on the first hole of a nearby course. It was there that I captured both the little blue heron and the alligator images above. I find it interesting that although alligators will often eat birds, for the most part they co-exist peacefully, albeit with a certain distance between them. The birds are ever-watchful of the seemingly docile gators, as well they should be!

alligator with fish

CATCH OF THE DAY

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou

The image above was not captured during the same ride. I actually shot it with my iPhone during a morning round of golf on a different course later in the week. My friends and I laughed at the little juvenile gator who was so proud of his catch, and was being very protective. They say the juveniles are actually more dangerous than full-grown alligators, as they don’t realize they can’t seriously hurt you. We are all agreed never to test that theory. As an aside, those of us on Kiawah are very happy that a few of our courses remain open for play. We follow social distancing rules carefully, carry or push our own golf bags and enjoy the ability to get some fresh air and socialize with friends.

deer, woods

BAMBI

“Do you really think this will be over someday and things will go back to normal?”

Jason Medina

My final image captures one of our many deer, who unfortunately decided to make her move just as I hit the shutter button. She’s included because she was a part of my ride, and because deer are definitely a part of Kiawah mornings.  In response to Mr. Medina’s quote above, yes, I do believe this will be over someday. But I’m not sure “back to normal” is either possible or desirable. Hopefully we have all learned some valuable lessons about what’s important in our lives and will be more focused on those things as we return to the new normal sooner rather than later.

Thanks to Ann-Christine for giving us the opportunity to share a key part of our lives. I chose to skip the part of my day when I lumber sleepy-eyed into our family room to join my husband, who always has coffee and the newspaper waiting for me. I am not now, nor have I ever been a morning person, so I’ll just leave that part to your imagination 😊. Thank you, as always, for your continuing support. We look forward to sharing what your mornings look like these days. Remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. We hope you’ll join us next week when Amy presents us with our next challenge.

In closing, because Earth Day is celebrated this week on April 22, I’m including a link to a beautiful presentation by the NASA artist who designs their annual Earth Day celebration poster. It’s a truly beautiful piece, is quite short, and makes one feel good about life here on earth, COVID-19 notwithstanding. You can view it here – preferably full-screen. A big shout-out to my friend Diane who sent it to me.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #92 – Second Time Around

ELEPHANTS WET

GENTLE BEASTS OF BOTSWANA

“No matter how deeply you come to know a place, you can keep coming back to know it more.”

Rebecca Solnit

This week we are pleased to welcome John Steiner as our guest host. Since most all of us are confined at home, his challenge about revisiting previous journeys is a great way to remind us of wonderful memories. I’ve opened with a scene from our visit to Botswana and South Africa.  Seeing elephants in their natural environment quite simply leaves one without words. We were thrilled to see most every other creature we’d imagined – leopards, cape buffalo, lions, rhinoceroses, monkeys, hippopotami, crocodiles, giraffes. wildebeests, zebras, and magnificent birds we’d never dreamed existed. There are two things we did NOT see however. The first is the annual wildebeest migration, where millions of these amazing animals travel across the Serengeti in search of lush new grasses. The second is the critically endangered silverback gorilla, primarily seen in the Virunga mountains. I would love a return to Africa for either or both of those experiences.

LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, S.A.

LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, S.A.

“Sometimes it is necessary to go back before we can move forward.”

Mary Balogh

Our visit to South America was focused primarily on the incredible natural phenomenon of Patagonia. I have a crystal clear memory of our very challenging hike to Laguna de los Tres (above) which is one of my favorite travel moments ever. While the natural beauty of these remote areas of wilderness was both incredible and thrilling, we also enjoyed some wonderful, civilized time in Buenos Aires and Santiago.  In hindsight, however, I’m sorry we didn’t continue on to Antartica which is but a stone’s throw from our adventures at the southern tips of both Chile and Argentina. 

vietnamese woman, bicycle, rice paddies

RICE FIELDS, VIETNAM

“We get a second chance at everything, including our mistakes.”

Christopher X. Shade

In Southeast Asia, we covered a lot of ground as we visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. We found the people to be warm and friendly, the food fantastic, and the sights amazing (and of course they were way ahead of us on the mask thing ☹️). Some of my favorite photographs captured the people of these amazing places, and my memories of the glories of Angkor Wat will be with me forever. Although the trip was already several weeks long, I wish we had taken the time to visit Myanmar which was so close by and easily reached. I don’t imagine I’ll be back in that area again any time soon but one never knows.  If so, rest assured Myanmar is at the top of my list.

Petra, rose rocks

PETRA’S GLORY

“The wonderful thing about second chances is that they exist.”

Felice Stevens

Our incredible visit to Israel and Jordan left me curious about the rest of the Middle East which I hope one day to visit. I’ve always dreamed of exploring Egypt and Turkey, both of which remain on my list of must-see locations.  

My husband and I recognize how fortunate we’ve been to experience so much of the world’s beauty. We’ve visited every continent except Antartica, and we haven’t given up on that one yet. Feel free to browse some of my previous posts about the places I’ve featured today along with many others by using the search field after the comments below. While we’re mostly homebound, enjoy a wander with me to places like China, Europe, Australia/NZ, and of course North America. 

Sincere thanks to our followers for your continued support, and to John for his terrific challenge which you can see by clicking here. Remember to link to his post and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Our best wishes to those who celebrate for a joyful Passover or Easter despite the current circumstances. We hope you’ll join us next week as we return to our regular schedule with Ann-Christine hosting Challenge #93. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay at home – we’re counting on you!

Lens-Artists Challenge #91 – Simplicity

willett at ocean

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER

“The greatest step toward a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.”

Steve Maraboli

Patti’s Simplicity challenge this week brought to mind an evening a short time ago when my camera and I were strolling Kiawah’s beach. There was a small flock of willetts foraging along the water’s edge and the little one above seemed to have had a bit of success. For today’s post I’ve chosen to simplify the images by treating them with a soft shade of sepia to reduce distraction.

two willetts, ocean edge, sunset

TWO OF A KIND

“Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much.”

Sir Joshua Reynolds

I have to smile at the number of people made miserable by stay-at-home mandates. How many times have we all wished for some peace and quiet? For some time to ourselves? For just one day of rest with no responsibilities?  Well, it seems we’ve gotten our wish and then some! Now of course, we are wishing for less of the same – fickle humans that we are.

3 WILLETTS

THREE’S COMPANY

“Simplicity embarks not on what is seen by the naked eye, but dwelling on what is in the heart.”

Anonymous

Most of nature’s creatures live very simple lives. They eat a limited diet, live in a specific habitat and in most cases adhere strictly to “follow the leader”. Human nature being what it is, we are a bit less structured. No matter what we have, often times we yearn for something different. If nothing else, perhaps this crisis will teach us to appreciate those things that are most important – our loved ones, friendship, and the rewards of a life of simplicity. 

four willetts

FEATHERED FOURSOME AT SUNSET

“Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.”

Richie Norton

Thanks to all of our followers for your continued support, and a special thanks those who responded to last week’s Distance challenge. Our thoughts go out especially to those in the Covid-19 “hot spots” as well as our heroic health care workers. The heart-warming actions of so many during such difficult times restores our faith in humanity and in each other. 

We look forward to seeing your responses this week to Patti’s Simplicity challenge. Be sure to link to her original post here, and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. Next week we’re excited to welcome John Steiner as our Guest Host. Make sure you don’t miss his post by following his always-interesting blog, Journeys With Johnbo.  Until then, stay safe and keep your distance.

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

mountains and hills

BLUE AND GREEN AND WHITE

“From a distance the world looks blue and green, and the snow-capped mountains white….”

Julie Gold

These days, everyone’s talking about and hopefully practicing “Social Distancing”. Since it’s something we should all be doing, we thought a challenge focused on DISTANCE might be an appropriate reminder of its importance. For today’s quotes I’ve chosen lines from Bette Midler’s 1990 Grammy-winning release “From A Distance”. Although the song is often attributed to Ms. Midler, who made it famous, it was actually written by Julie Gold. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

SOCIAL DISTANCING – OCEAN AND STREAM

“From a distance the ocean meets the stream…”

Julie Gold

Although nearby Charleston is in Lock-down, here on the island we are still doing voluntary Social Distancing. Many of our friends around the country, and blogging friends around the world, are facing various levels of constraint. My husband, our friends and yours truly have been adhering strictly to the rules. All of our meetings have been canceled and video conferencing has become a poor but better-than-nothing substitute for personal connection. Zoom, House Party, and Skype are quite popular although I’m sure there are other products out there. I’ve had more texts and email from friends and family in the past two weeks than in the past two years. Thank goodness we live in an age of technology.

EAGLE IN FLIGHT

EAGLE IN FLIGHT

“And the eagle takes to flight.”

Julie Gold

Most local facilities are closed except our grocery, gas station and pharmacy. Our local doctor has temporarily suspended treatment of patients who are not ill and has installed a tent behind his office for seeing those who are. We are fortunate to live in an area where there is opportunity for outdoor activity that offers the ability to maintain distance. Our beach is wide and sparsely populated,  a bicycle path runs the 10-mile length of the island, and our golf courses remain open, at least for now. 

VEGETABLE STAND

EARTH’S BOUNTY

“From a distance we all have enough and no one is in need.”

Julie Gold

Groceries are a bit of challenge although the stores are continually replenished. Many, including our grocery and Costco, are now offering seniors-only hours. Locally, a security guard is checking age IDs. Personally I’m more than happy if someone doesn’t believe I’m 60+.  I do, however, take exception to the term “elderly” 😊.  Several of our local restaurants are offering take-out, delivery and/or curbside service. It’s a nice way to augment home-cooked meals as well as support local businesses trying to generate income and retain their employees.

TUBA, SHEET MUSIC

BIG INSTRUMENT

“From a distance we are instruments, marching in a common band.”

Julia Gold

Bottom line; we are all in this together despite needing to avoid each other physically.  Please share with us the creative ways you’ve found to address your need to connect while keeping your distance. Have you found interesting and productive ways to pass the time? Are you enjoying comics/funny stories or do you find the situation too serious for jokes? The Lens-Artists team hopes our weekly challenge brings at least a small opportunity to look away from the news for a bit to connect with the rest of us. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your Distance images – whether related to the COVID-19 crisis or not. Be sure to link to my original post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. If you’re interested, give a listen to Bette’s version of “From A Distance” here. Its message is one we can all appreciate, especially in these troubled times.

Many thanks to Amy for last week’s beautiful A River Runs Through It challenge. Have you seen these?

  • In his Pictures Without Film post, Ken shares his perspective on helping each other through today’s challenges.
  • We welcome Kelly of Compass and Camera, who shares her visit to beautiful Bella Coola in Canada
  • Sandy’s Out of Her Write Mind shares peaceful monochrome river views along with her as-always lovely verse. 

I’ll close with a quote from Donna Lynn Hope that I came across while working on another project. I thought it was particularly appropriate for the current environment: 

  • “I don’t cry because we’ve been separated by distance…because for as long as we share the same sky and breathe the same air, we’re still together.”

We hope the challenge offers a moment of peace in an otherwise troubled world, and that you’ll join us next week for Patti’s Challenge #91. Until then, stay safe and stay calm. This too shall pass.