Lens-Artists Challenge #64 – Out in the Country

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

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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



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

Edwin Hubbel Chapin

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

Rolling hills, hay bales


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

Giovanni Ruffini

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

fir trees, canola field


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

Albert Einstein

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

Palouse farmhouse


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

Three Dog Night

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

2 white horses


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

William Penn

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

horses in corral


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

Esther Meynell

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

snow-covered country lane


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

Lori Lansens

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

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


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








Lens-Artists Challenge #63 – Magical Mother Nature

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

Abhijit Naskar



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

Circle, tree, birds


“No one broods like Mother Nature”

Richelle E. Goodrich

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

wood storks with spread wings


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

Anthony T. Hincks

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

WEST BEACH , kiawah, Dorian storm damage


“Always respect Mother Nature.”

James Rollins

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

Hurricane Dorian tree damage


“Such was the hidden power of nature.”

Kenneth Eade

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

tree damage, Hurricane Dorian


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

Peta Kelly

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

KIAWAH beach


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

Viola Shipman

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

Beach, starfish, seashells


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

Foster Kinn

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

Starfish in sand


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

Giovanna Fletcher

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

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










Lens-Artists Challenge #62 – Silhouettes

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

Ambrose Bierce



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

Palmetto trees, silhouette, sunset, orange


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

Diane Arbus

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

silhouette, beach, sunset, couple, love


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

Sahara Sanders

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



Photographs are just light and time.”

John green

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

glacier mountain landscape, couple in silhouette


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

Katja Michael

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

woodpecker silhouette


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

Joe McNally

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

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


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








Lens-Artists Challenge #61 – Precious Pets

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

Anatole France



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

Bernese Mountain Dog, beach


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

Orhan Pamuk

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

black cat


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

Will Advise

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



“Our pets are our family.”

Ana Monnar

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

two-tone horse


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

Howard Upton

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



“Pets understand humans better than humans do.”

Ruchi Prabhu

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

asian woman with ox on a leash


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

Gwen Cooper

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

golden retriever, aging


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

Nick Trout

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

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

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

Have you seen these?

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

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

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




Lens-Artists Challenge #60 – Framing the Shot

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

Roy Stryker



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



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

Hollis Frampton

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



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

Pete Bridgwood

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



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

Annie Liebovitz

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



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

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

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

BIRD, plants, flowers, balance


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

Richie Norton

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

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

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











Lens-Artists Challenge #59 – Angles

“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.”

Allen Klein

lamp, angles


This week we’re looking at angles – both the geometric ones (such as in the light fixture above) and as the perspective from which you see something. Not gonna lie – Ann-Christine threw me for a loop with this one!

ceiling with many angles


“Perseverance and perspective until victory.”

Lincoln Diaz-Balarty

I had to look high and low (literally and figuratively) for images that fit the challenge. Both the light fixture in my opening image and the ceiling in the image above seemed to me to include as many angles as one might ever want. Both were found by the simple act of looking up.



“The challenge of art is always searching for something different; a new perspective.”

Lucovico Einaudi

On the other hand, I spotted the image above by looking down. I liked the angles in the cross as well as those created by the cracks in the pavement. Much as in life, different perspectives allow us to see things differently – perhaps giving us a better understanding of others’ views of the world.

gold, star, circle


“Let us pause, change perspective and see things more clearly.”

Sergio da Silva

I’ll close with an image of a golden star – which has both large and small angles set within its circular form. Perhaps the idea of our looking at a situation from every angle would help to make the world a better place. What do you think?

Thanks to Ann-Christine for pushing me to really give some thought to her challenge and its multiple meanings. We’re looking forward to seeing your interpretations as well.  Be sure to tag them Lens-Artists to appear in our WP Reader section, and stay tuned as Amy presents next week’s challenge on her Share and Connect post. Not sure how to tag? Here are some helpful instructions from our friends at WordPress: Why Tag?  and  Tag Instructions


Lens-Artists Challenge #58 – Something Old, Something New…..

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”

Thomas Jefferson



This week Patti’s challenge comes from a popular saying that originated in Victorian England which was said to bring good luck to a bride on her wedding day. Try as I might to find a single image that combined all of the items in the wish (old, new, borrowed and blue), the closest I came was in my opening image above. Captured during our visit to China several years ago, it includes a very old wall, a blue bicycle, a snazzy new red-striped seat and I’m going to suggest its owner probably borrowed the yellow bucket behind it 😊.



“Luck has a way of evaporating when you lean on it.”

Brandon Mull

The Chinese are great believers in luck, and since I opened with a capture from our visit there I’ve chosen to stick with that journey for this week’s post . There was no shortage of things “old”, including the gentleman above, seated on an old bench in front of an old wall with it’s beautiful decorative window. 

blue sky, puffy clouds, reflections in water


“I think we consider too much the luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The blue of the sky and water, as well as the old age of the buildings above are obvious. But where is the new?  Interestingly in Napa Lake near Shangri La,  each year a totally dry valley lush with greenery is home to grazing animals and rare migratory birds. As the snow in the 3 surrounding mountains begins to melt, the area fills in to create a massive (over 250 square miles) lake. The buildings are designed by farmers to house their livestock during the dry season.  So actually, both the lake and the water are brand new – literally not there at all a week before our visit. 

boy, plaid shirt, sunflower seeds


“Beware what you wish for, unless you have the grace to hope that your luck can be shared.”

Christopher Hitchens

I remember being struck by the scene in the image above. The combination of the giant sunflower heads, the little boy in his blue plaid shirt, (having of course borrowed a seat in the big rattan bowl), was a photographer’s dream. How nice that it also fit this week’s challenge.

two friends, sharing, blue umbrella


“Good luck and bad luck are strands of the same rope.”

Sakura Tsukuba

Speaking of borrowed, I’m suggesting that one of the women in the image above has borrowed a space under her friend’s/sister’s umbrella to avoid the light rain that was falling. Both have taken a moment to study the details of the vista below. Their blue sailor jackets and the blue umbrella were a bonus on this one.

modern skyline, shanghai


“Luck is for those with nothing else. I wish you strength and courage.”

Annette Marie

Finally, one of our biggest surprises – the ultra-modern skyline of Shanghai. The city is quite a dichotomy. The most populous city in the world, it is filled with beautiful old neighborhoods, areas of very heavy French influence, 157 city parks including a gorgeous botanical garden, and of course the newest area – Pudong. Developed in the 1990s, the Lujaizui financial district pictured above reminded me of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. Despite its reputation for pollution and smog, we were blessed with beautiful clear skies for the nearly four weeks of our China visit.

Thanks to Patti for the opportunity to revisit some very fond memories of our China travels. Hers was one of the more difficult challenges for me, pushing me to search my archives for an appropriate response. I’m especially looking forward to your responses this week as you share your own creative takes on the subject! Remember to TAG them to help us find you, and to check out Ann-Christine’s Leya post next week for our next challenge. Until then, wishing everyone a terrific week.














Lens-Artists Challenge #57 – Taking A Break

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

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

2 hikers viewing a river


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



“To be at rest is to be at peace.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

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

couple on a bench at the ocean


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


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

Adiirondak chairs at lagoon



Fennel Hudson

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

3-masted schooner at sea


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

Gina Greenlee

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



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

Patti Digh

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

Artist painting trees


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

Uruj Shahid

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

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

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

Have you seen these?

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

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

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

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


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

Lens-Artists Challenge #56, Seascapes

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

Kate Chopin

beach umbrella under clouds


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

beach crowded with umbrellas


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

Aakash Nand

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

lighthouse on Maine coast


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

Oksana Rus

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

Fog over Bar Harbon


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

Sanober Khan

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



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

Joe Dunthorne

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



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

Charlotte Eriksson

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



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

Iris Murdoch

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

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





Lens-Artists Challenge #55 – DREAMY

“When dreams come true creativity becomes art.”

Martin Schuster

abstract branch photo


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

abstract woodstock on branch


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

Janos Arnay

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

egrets surrounding sweetgrass


“Always dream high.”

Md. Mujib Ullah

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



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

Ziad K. Abdelnour

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

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


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