Lens-Artists Challenge #146 – Focus on the Details


“Leaving out of question the deliberately posed or arranged photograph, it is usually some incidental detail that heightens the effect of a picture”

Bill Brandt

It seems of late it is the birdlife of Kiawah that has been the most frequent draw for my lens. At the risk of boring those who follow me, I’m responding to Patti’s “Focus on the Details” challenge with one more post featuring our avian community. As Mr. Brandt posits above, it truly is the special, incidental detail that draws us in. In my opening example the nesting anhinga couple drew me in with their blue-rimmed eyes and seemingly smiling beaks. The colorful eyes are a characteristic of their breeding plumage.


“Despite all the pictures in the world, there’s so much that’s unseen—people, landscapes, entire regions, small gestures, overlooked details.”

Kay Grannan

I must admit the bird shown above had me stumped. I’ve seen many a great blue heron but had never seen one with such a blue beak. After research, I learned the bird is a LITTLE blue heron, and that the turquoise beak (along with the rust-colored neck) is a characteristic of their breeding plumage. In this image I was drawn to the detail of both the beak and the vertical white feather of the bird’s head.

anhinga, Kiawah, bird

“Every stone, every little perfection, or dilapidation, the most minute detail, which, on an ordinary drawing, would merit no special attention, becomes, on a photograph, worthy of careful study.”

Francis Frith

The anhinga above was not especially fond of my presence, and was more than ready to take off if I’d gotten one step closer. Since our goal as a photographer is to leave nature undisturbed, I backed off immediately after capturing this one. The moment I did so, the bird returned to his normal “at ease” posture. I loved his “crewcut” hairdo 😊and the flight-ready position of his wings.

Glossy Ibis, bird, kiawah, nature

“I find it strangely beautiful that the camera with its inherent clarity of object and detail can produce images that in spite of themselves offer possibilities to be more than they are.”

Joel Meyerowitz

I’ve chosen to save my favorite image of the week for last – a beautifully-colored Glossy Ibis. I captured all of this week’s images in an outing my husband and I made specifically to look for this bird. While typically nondescript, when in his breeding plumage he is quite spectacular. His head and neck are a rusty red, while his tail feathers are a shiny green and blue – almost metallic in appearance. His long beak is accentuated by white stripes which complete his distinctive appearance. In 20+ years here on Kiawah I’d never seen one and was thrilled to find him not far from my home. Now I’m on the lookout for his even more rare cousin, the white-faced ibis which has pink eyes and red legs during breeding season. A friend and fellow-photographer captured one earlier this week and after submitting it to the Department of Nature Resources was told it was only the second time one had been seen in South Carolina. Let the quest begin!

In closing, one more thank you to Priscilla for her “Getting to Know You” challenge, and to those of you who responded. It gave all of us some new insight into our community and the things that are most important to all of us. Next week we’ll have a slight change to our normal schedule and Amy will lead our challenge on her Share and Connect site. In the meanwhile we look forward to seeing the details you choose for this week. Please remember to include a link to Patti’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Happy May everyone!

Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You

egrets, marsh, Kiawah Island

“Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them.”

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

This week our guest host Priscilla has invited us to illustrate a relationship with “a person, place, culture or object that has captured our attention, won our affection, and taught us a thing or two.” Many years ago when I told a friend in New Jersey that we were building a home on Kiawah’s marsh, he asked why anyone would want to live “on a swamp”. With a smile at the memory, I’d like to answer his question by inviting you to get to know one of my favorite places in the world, the lowcountry marsh of Kiawah Island.


“…to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”

Rachel Carson

I have seen the marsh in all kinds of weather, at all times of day, and in every season. While I love the sea on which our island rests, to me it falls short of the beauty and variety of our salt marsh. Its colors change with the seasons, delivering magnificent sunrises and sunsets throughout the year. Its “pluff mud”, seen at low tide, is cultivated as an amazing balm for the skin. At high tide it can resemble a massive body of water with the occasional tree poking through.

marshland, deer, Seabrook Island

The marsh holds melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.”

William Beebe

The marsh performs vital functions for our coastal world. It filters unwanted chemicals to improve water quality and provides an important habitat for organisms that feed our beautiful birds. It is home to fish, shrimp, crabs, turtles, otters, snails and many other creatures, and offers safe breeding grounds and nutrients for our winged residents. Often, the sight of fishermen casting nets to capture bait fish is a reminder of nostalgic days gone by.


“…you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”

Pat Conroy

The grasses of the marsh perfectly illustrate our changing seasons. A bright, verdant green announces the arrival of spring which deepens as the grasses grow longer in the heat of summer. The beautiful gold tones of autumn turn a sleepy beige as winter’s chill sets in. Marsh tides deliver ever-changing scenery which at their height fill the many creeks and streams until the grasses are nearly hidden. Low tides create a feeding ground for our many aquatic birds along with an opportunity for local photographers. Cloud formations reflect on the marsh waters below, which serve as both respite and meal ticket for our local river dolphins. It is an ever-changing miracle of nature that offers not only beauty but also a playground for boaters, fishermen, crabbers, kayakers and paddle boarders.


“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free. Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea.

Sidney Lanier

I could go on forever about the beauty of our marshes, and their importance to our island and its wild inhabitants. Instead, I’ll share a few more images before closing, in the hopes that you might find it as beautiful as I do. What better way to celebrate the importance of this natural wonder than the week of Earth Day?!

King Tide, Kiawah Island, Marsh

“We need the tonic of the wilderness, to wade sometimes in the marsh where the bitten and the meadow hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snips; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.”

Henry David Thoreau

Special thanks to Priscilla for joining us as Guest Host, and for a beautiful challenge which offered me a chance to share one of my favorite places. We look forward to getting to better know the people, places and/or things that are most special to you. Please remember to link your response to Priscilla’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule with Patti leading the challenge on her Pilotfish blog inviting you to “Focus on the Details”. Until then, please continue to stay safe and be kind.

Note: With the exception of my third image in neighboring Seabrook Island, all of this week’s images were captured on Kiawah Island

Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Taking Flight


“Birds are magical. Their flight alone can arouse a clever thought.”

Michael Bassey

Flying…how often have you thought about how amazing it would be to simply stretch your arms and soar? When you think about it, the number of flying “objects” is quite large. Yes, of course the birds. But beyond them, butterflies, bees and other insects, airplanes, balloons, bubbles, kites….well, you get the idea. So this week, although I’m focused on some of the beautiful birds of Kiawah, please feel free to be creative and choose whichever flying objects catch your imagination and your lens.

Roseate spoonbills, pink, birds

“The biggest favor you can do to yourself is fly freely like birds.”

Kuldeep Gera

Kiawah is home to an incredible abundance of birdlife. I captured the barred owl in my opening image two weeks ago very close to my home. As the old poem says, “A wise old owl sat on an oak”, and indeed he did. Roseate spoonbills such as those just above spend weeks here in the spring but leave to have their chicks in Florida. They return and can be seen here well into autumn. Their distinctive pink coloring and spoon-shaped bills are obvious elements of their name.


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

Marty Rubin

A few weeks ago I posted an image of the eaglets above with one of their parents on the nest. On a return visit, big brother was apparently either teaching the next-born how to fly – or he was letting the little guy know who was really boss. We were fortunate to have four active eagle nests on the island this year and all of them had eaglets that successfully fledged. Does that mean next year we’ll have eight?!


“You are the only one that knows how high or how far you can fly.”

Theodore Volgoff

I’ve often posted images of the beautiful blue herons that are frequently seen around our lagoons and ponds.This is the first time however that I’ve shared an image of a juvenile such as the one above. It’s hard to believe his rather unimpressive brown feathers will soon become a beautiful blue-grey, and his little wings will expand to over 6 feet across.

Hooded merganser, pair, ducks

“A bird seldom depends on the strength of the breeze for its flight. It relies solely on its own wings to soar higher.”

Anurag Anand

The image above is one of my archived favorites. We’d had a “fish kill” here on Kiawah, which sometimes happens when the water in our more shallow lagoons gets too warm. I was shooting with a friend who’d shared her 600mm lens that fit my camera as well. Fortunately I was using a tripod that day as I could not have handheld something that heavy.


If you never dream of flying, then you’ll never wake up with wings.”

Natalie Kendall

Finally, I’ll admit the little hummingbird above is not a Kiawah Resident. I spent hours at my brother’s home in Colorado trying to capture these incredible creatures as they lined up for their turn at the feeder. Their speed and agility was amazing, although I was surprised by their aggressiveness toward each other. I could have watched them for days – and in fact, I did!

Thank you as always for your responses to last week’s Colorful April challenge – you shared some amazing examples of spring’s (as well as a few of autumn’s) incredible beauty. We very much appreciate your creativity and continued support of our challenge. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this week’s Taking Flight challenge – please remember to link to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. Last but definitely not least, we hope you’ll join us next week when we welcome our Guest Host, Priscilla of Scillagrace . Be sure to check out her ever-thoughtful and interesting blog.

Lens-Artists Challenge #143 – Colorful April

spring, flowers, path, color, Middleton Plantation

“See with a different eye, visualize with a colorful mind, manifest your thoughts with the energy within.”

Michael Bassey Johnson

Well it is’s official, spring has definitely sprung here in the southern U.S. Earlier this week a friend and I drove to nearby Middleton Plantation to see whether the azaleas had begun to bloom. As you can see in the image above, they had more than just begun 😊. It was a glorious, sunny spring day with flowers at every turn. A photographer’s dream, we did our best to take full advantage of it.

Middleton Plantation, bridge, water, landscape

“Did I live the spring I’d sought? It’s true in joy, I walked along, took part in dance, and sang the song.”

Roman Payne

The earth was awash in glorious color from every direction. As Amy so rightly noted, the verdant greens seemed to predominate every scene, but the reds, pinks, whites and yellows found ways to make themselves known just the same. No matter the color, the many ponds throughout the venue reflected them all equally.

Japanese Maple, red, landscape, Middleton Plantation

“Have the Japanese, from generations spent in one-story paper houses, learned an alphabet of beauty in nature, that we, in our houses of brick and stone, have shut out?”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I chose a quote about Japanese art because the image above, and the view it captured, reminded me of something one might see on a Japanese scroll. I also believe the red tree in the foreground is a Japanese maple. I made a point of keeping the image soft, especially in its background – thinking a Japanese artist might depict it that way.


“If you never go out on that limb, you’re missing a hell of a view.”

Jodi Picoult

The image above features one of many gorgeous live oaks which grace the property. Most are hundreds of years old, and are symbiotically decorated with patches of spanish moss. There are benches throughout the property should one wish to sit and ponder nature’s gifts. For us, knowing there was another beautiful vista around every corner, we chose to keep moving and shooting.


“A flower does not use words to announce its arrival to the world; it just blooms.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

There were so many beautiful blossoms throughout the plantation, it would be impossible to portray them all. I chose instead to include a small sampling. On the left, a pink camellia. These are the first blossoms of spring and are about finished blooming. On the right – a pink azalea just entering its prime. Finally, from the back, a white flower which unfortunately I didn’t recognize – anyone??

spanish moss, spring, Middleton Plantation, spring

“More delicately, more intricately fashioned than any grasses of the field, more subtle in texture than any seaweed of the sea…There is a religious reticence in the nature of moss.”

John Cowper Powys

Middleton is a National Historic Landmark spanning 110 acres along the Ashley River. Like most southern plantations, it prospered from the use of slaves. A 10-year Middleton research project has worked to identify the names and stories of some 2,800 slaves who worked the plantation until 1865. They have created an exhibit, a book and a documentary film to “explore the lives, families and contributions of seven generations of enslaved people.” While we cannot undo the wrongs of the past, at the very least we can learn from them as well as acknowledge and give names to those whose labor created the beauty we enjoy today.

As always, we thank those of you who joined us for last week’s “You Pick It” challenge. What a diverse set of images and subjects you presented! I’ll be back right here on Travels and Trifles to host next week’s challenge. In the meanwhile we look forward to seeing your colorful images of April. Please remember to use our Lens-Artists tag and to link to Amy’s original post here.

Lens-Artists Challenge #142 – Photography as Art

Spanish Moss

“Art is both the taking and giving of beauty.”

Ansel Adams

This week Ann-Christine is hosting “You Pick It”, a challenge for which we choose our own subject. Since there were several comments about the artistic interpretations in my recent post about Magnolia Gardens, I chose to focus this week on photography as art. My opening image of Spanish Moss was captured last week here on Kiawah as the late afternoon sun peeked through the dense foliage.

reflection, green, art

“Photography is an art form – human beings expressing their understanding of and connection with life, themselves, and others.”

Lisette Model

On the same photography outing I created the image above with a slow camera pan on a reflection of palmetto trees in the marsh. I loved the verdant green of the water which looks to me almost like the careful strokes of an oil painting.

egrets, art, impressionist, birds

“The camera need not be a cold mechanical device. It can be an extension of the mind and heart.”

John Steinbeck

I took one of my Magnolia Garden images about as far from reality as I could in the rendition above. My intent was to have the image appear as if in a dream. The birds were so free and delicate with their beautiful white feathers I couldn’t resist.


“If photography is truly an art…it’s about what’s inside of you. … artistic expression, not objective duplication.”

Brooks Jensen

Yet another Kiawah scene captured during last week’s outing, in the image above I focused on the single oak tree limb gracefully curling through the leaves and moss. I purposely overexposed the shot to emphasize the contrast between the limb and the feathery foliage. I applied an impressionist filter to the background in post processing to emphasize its ethereal quality.

art, impression, palmetto, moon

“A photograph is an art form; it means different things to different viewers and is totally subjective. Like music, sculpture, painting, it stirs up a different feeling and thought within anyone who looks at a picture.

Edmond Terakopian

The scene in the image above reminded me a bit of the South Carolina flag, which has become quite controversial of late. We are working to standardize on a single image for the flag and our politicians cannot agree on which is the best option. I applied an impressionist filter and overlaid it with a bit of texture to create the final image. I think it would make a lovely flag but adding another option is probably not the best idea at this point 😊.

reflection, trees, water

“Photography is a bridge between science and art. It brings to science what it needs most, the artistic sense, and to art the proof that nothing can be imagined which cannot be matched in the counterpoints of nature.”

Ernst Haas

My final image above is Straight-Out-Of-Camera. I saw it as nature’s version of an impressionist scene. It is simply the reflection of a copse of trees on the waters of a small lagoon. The colors come from a blend of last autumn’s remaining leaves with the early greens of spring’s new growth, all set against the reflection of the mid-day sky – proving once again that Mother Nature knows best.

It was great fun seeing your portrayals of geometry in last week’s challenge – you took us on quite a world tour! As always we thank you for your support of our challenge. This week we look forward to seeing which subjects you choose and how you portray them. Remember to link your responses to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Amy will be our host next week so stay tuned to see what she comes up with! Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #141 – Geometry

sunflowers, yellow

“Sometimes it’s all about the details, they make the whole more meaningful.”

Iva Kenos

This week Patti has challenged us to explore geometry. I will admit it was never my favorite subject, but the great minds of history – such as Euclid and Archimedes and Fibonacci – have shown the incredibly specific order of our universe which in turn gives us the ability to build and create everything in our world. Fibonacci is known for proving that even nature itself follows geometric principals to create things like flowers, trees, seashells, the patterns on giraffes and tigers, even our own DNA.

Chihuly, glass, yellow, orange, art

“Mighty is geometry; joined with art, resistless.”


Geometry comes from the Greek words “Geo” and “Metron” which mean Earth and Measurement. Geometry, aka “Earth’s Measurement”, is a branch of mathematics that studies the sizes, shape, position, angle and dimension of things. Even the pyramids, built in 2800 B.C. are noted to have followed the most intricate of geometric principles, the “golden ratio”.


“Architecture is geometry made visible in the same sense that music is number made audible.”

Claude F Bragdon

From the ancient pyramids to the beautiful skyline of Shanghai’s Pudong district, architects have used geometry to study and divide space as well as to draft detailed building plans. Builders and engineers rely on geometry to create safe structures. Designers apply geometry along with color and scale to create appealing spaces. Geometry is also inherent in art as demonstrated in the beautiful Chihuly glass in my earlier capture above.

spider, web

“Life is a web that you weave.”

Irfa Rahat

Spiders’ webs are intricate examples of natural geometry. Every side of the web is equal to every other side, and their strength and geometric precision is unique. Interestingly, scientists are studying spider silk because it is highly flexible, extremely stretchable, surpasses steel in strength, and can be formed into a mesh that would stop a bullet.

bubbles, blue

“Scratch the surface of knowledge and mystery bubbles up like a spring.”

Chet Raymo

Have you ever thought about the shape of bubbles, which are always round? Mathmeticians explain it using the “isoperimetric” theorem. It comes down to geometry – soap bubbles form spheres to minimize surface area. Who knew?!


“Our actions in the present build the staircase to the future. “

Craig D. Lounsbrough

While Patti’s challenge for the week definitely required more than my usual thought, it also made me realize the number of images I could use to illustrate it. To me, that was further proof that geometry is everywhere if we give it some consideration. Perhaps I should have paid a bit more attention to it in those classes long ago 😊.

My personal thanks to Patti for her creative challenge this week. We look forward to seeing your take on the subject. Please remember to link your response to her original post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG to help us and our other followers to find you in our WP Reader section. As always, we appreciate your creative and interesting responses to last week’s Change of Scenery challenge. Special thanks also to Beth of Wandering Dawgs for having joined us as guest host. Finally, we invite you to give some thought to next week for Ann-Christine’s “You Pick It” challenge, which suggests you choose your own subject. Until then, please remember to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #140 – Change of Scenery

bridge, Magnolia Gardens

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes. “

Terry Pratchett

It has been a long time (or so it seems) since we’ve been able to travel to new and different foreign locations. This week’s guest host, Beth of Wandering Dawgs, reminds us that often a change of scenery can be just around the corner and need not involve planes, trains or cruise liners at all.

Just a 30 minute drive away from our home on Kiawah are the beautifully exotic Magnolia Gardens and Plantation. Each year I try to visit at least once, and this year is no exception (although sadly the pandemic did keep me away in 2020). There, all seasons are magical, but spring is especially so. All of today’s images are from my Gardens visits during spring through the years.

egrets, nesting

“The key to a better life isn’t always a change of scenery. Sometimes it simply requires opening your eyes.”

Richelle E Goodrich

One of the things I most love about the Gardens is the abundance of nesting birds. Egrets, Blue Herons, Cormorants and many other species are everywhere (as are photographers). Females update the nests as their mates continually deliver building materials. Interestingly as many as a dozen nests with birds of every variety can often be found on a single tree – rather like a multi-cultural bird condo. 😊 Chicks can be heard calling for a meal as gators cruise below hoping for a fall.

great blue heron, heron chicks, birds

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could we ask?”

Victor Hugo

As the birds busily prepare for, give birth to, and raise the next generation, there is incredible growth happening throughout the plantation’s gardens. Magnolia is the oldest public garden in America, founded in 1676 and opened to the public in 1870. Today it is comprised of nearly 500 acres with paths meandering among camellias, daffodils, azaleas, wisteria, magnolias and countless other varieties of blooms. Built along the Ashley River, it also includes wetlands and a beautiful cypress and tupelo swamp.

wisteria, artistic impression

“You can spend your life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your backyard.”

Khang Kijarro Nguyen

One of the things I love about the Gardens is the way the grounds lend themselves to a marvelous integration of trees, flowers, waterways and structures. I’ve taken a bit of license with the images above and below because in my opinion the natural beauty lends itself perfectly to artistic interpretation.

magnolia gardens, bridge, foliage, red

“The leaf that spreads in the light is the only holiness there is.”

Kage Baker

I’ll close today’s post with a favorite image of a simple azalea blossom, followed by an image of a lily which I’ve posted previously. I include it in honor of the arrival of spring her in the U.S. and the coming of Easter for those who celebrate.

pink, flower, azalea

“Just past hell lies paradise. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.”

Serena Hartwell
lily, light

“The greatest skill is the ability to persevere.”

Avina Celeste

My thought in closing with my final two images is directed toward resurrection. So many of us have been awaiting the moment when we can re-enter the lives we had become used to – filled with family, travel, restaurant dining and so many other things we have been denied this past year. While not full resurrection, we are at last beginning to again see the light of day beyond the view from our own windows. As we look forward to further freedoms, please remember to follow the advice of the scientists and be mindful of the safety of others as well as your own.

Thanks to all who responded to last week’s Special Moments post – we very much enjoyed sharing in your fondest memories. We thank Beth for leading us this week, and look forward to seeing the scenery you’ve chosen in response. Please remember to link to her original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Next week Patti will once again deliver our challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

eagles, eaglets

“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. ”

Sarah Breathnach

We’ve all had them…..you know what I mean…those moments that take your breath away. Moments that you want to save forever in your heart of hearts. Aha moments. The birth of a child, taking your wedding vows, your first shooting star, a perfect sunrise….I could go on and on. This week, let’s look beyond the life-changing events and share some everyday special moments and what they mean to us. Hopefully we’ll end each post with a smile for the gifts these moments have brought into our lives.

My opening image was captured here on Kiawah earlier this month. Eagle nests are typically very deep and very high above, making it quite difficult to capture the birds “in residence”. Eaglets are even more difficult to photograph, as typically they are hidden deep in the nest, emerging only to eat until they are large enough to fledge. To have captured an eagle with her two eaglets was as excited as I’ve been about a photograph in a long time. For me it was a very special, unique moment.

elephants, contrast, botswana

“A photograph is an opportunity to keep a moment forever.”

Destin Sparke

A bit farther afield 😊 the image above represents our many amazing travel adventures. Seeing sights like the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, Angkor Wat at sunrise, the rose rocks of Petra…..has gifted me with many special moments. I distinctly remember my excitement on our African Safari and the moment I saw my first elephant – from above the Okavango Delta in a small plane. To find myself up close and personal with these gentle giants gave me many moments I’ll always cherish.

Charleston, pineapple fountain

“The memories of beautiful moments are magical.”

Giovannie de Sadeleer

The image above is an iconic symbol of welcome in nearby downtown Charleston, SC. It represents the moment my husband and I arrived here in the south, having relocated from the cold and crowded northeast. We enjoyed living in town while we built our home on Kiawah. In hindsight it was the perfect time for a move and we’ve never looked back.

snow, golf, sneakers

“Life is short. Don’t count the seconds. Enjoy the moments.”

David Cuschieri

I laughingly call the two moments above my “claims to fame”. On the left, my image of my husband during a rare snowfall on Kiawah. (In 20 years we’ve seen snow here only twice. ) Once home I posted the image on Facebook. An hour later we were watching TV when incredibly my photo appeared, fullscreen! The announcer talked about how rare it is to see snow on the famous Kiawah Island Ocean Course. Our phone started ringing immediately with friends asking about the photo. It was the last time I published an image without my watermark 😊. On its right, an image I submitted to the New York Times for their feature on “Why People Travel”. Not only was my image and story selected but it was published in full color on a quarter page of the Sunday Times and was the featured image on their online site for several weeks. Seriously fun AHA moments!

Redwoods, trees

“It is up to you and me to create the everlasting from fleeting moments.”

Sanober Khan

I cannot overstate how magical I found the Giant Redwood Forest during a visit to California. In my image, my 6’3″ husband is leaning against the bottom of one of these incredible specimens. It is truly life-changing to stand among them, knowing that they are in fact interconnected beneath the earth, sharing the resources that help them continue to thrive. A truly ethereal moment.

Also magical, we were fortunate to visit Arizona during a superbloom. It was an incredible experience hiking through the amazing explosions of floral color and beauty. Of course it took a great deal longer than normal, as I stopped every few steps for yet another photograph!


“Try to hold on to those moments that flicker like candlelight with the people we care about.”

Katherine McIntyre

Of course my special, more personal moments would include things like the moment my husband and I married, the birth of our beautiful granddaughter and that of every one of my 16 nieces and nephews, family reunions, you get the idea. But instead I’d love to turn it over to you! Show us some of your favorite moments and tell us why you chose them. We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link to my original post.

In closing, we thank you for your glorious examples of Natural Light in response to Amy’s challenge. The variety was amazing, and proved beyond doubt the importance of light to an image, no matter the subject. Next week we’re excited to announce we’ll welcome Beth of Wandering Dawgs as our Guest Host. Be sure to stop by and check out her always-interesting blog. Until then, as always stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #138 – Natural Light

storm, kiawah island, fisherman, dock

“A painter works with color as the medium, a photographer works with light.”

Carlotta M. Corpron

Amy’s Natural Light challenge is sure to deliver a treasure trove of sunrises and sunsets, all beautiful in their presentation of nature’s gifts. I’ve chosen to illustrate the light a bit differently this week. I’ve opened with a stormy sky captured on my iPhone one Kiawah afternoon. The storm was about to erupt and a fisherman was scurrying off the dock to reach safety. The deep color of the clouds was broken in places by the last remaining rays of sunlight peeking through. Nature at its best.

Bryce Canyon, hoodoos, clouds, light

“It takes darkness to be aware of the light.”

Treasure Tatum

The dramatic light shining in the image above captures the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon in Utah. It followed a violent storm, the remains of which can be seen in the clouds above the canyon. My husband and I dashed to and remained in our car while the storm raged. Returning to the canyon when it abated we found ourselves alone with this amazing scene, as any other visitors had long departed.

double rainbow, light, storm, clouds

“Life throws challenges and every challenge comes with rainbows and light to conquer it.”

Amit Ray

Not unlike our experience in Bryce Canyon, the red beaches of Prince Edward Island in Canada were made that much more beautiful by the light which followed a storm. There, a double rainbow appeared to further embellish the landscape.


“Let the starlight shine upon you, let it lead you to your peace.”

Victoria Moschou

Not all light is found between sunrise and sunset. Some of the most beautiful light can be found in the twinkling of the stars after the sun has set. My capture above was made at just such a time, when the stars were bright in the night sky over the ocean. Even on a slightly cloudy night, such as the one in my image, the stars can still shine brilliantly.

flower, bokeh

“O Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on earth.”

Roman Payne

For photographers, the world is filled with amazing subjects just waiting to be captured. While the glories of sunrise and sunset present us with wonderful opportunities, there are many other ways to see and show the light. Both the previous and the following images are examples of simple subjects that, when captured in the right light, become quite special. Above, a beautiful bokeh was created by light on the water beyond the flower, while below, the sinking sun created a lovely backlight on the coneflowers. Yes, they’d seen better days but were still exquisite. How fortunate are we to be able to see, save and share those little moments of delight?!


“A photograph is your vision, held together by light.”

Steve Coleman

Sincere thanks for your wonderful responses to Ann-Christine’s SOFT challenge, which showed us how very many kinds of softness there are! Thanks also to Amy, for pushing us this week toward the light. We look forward to seeing your adventures with light, wherever they may be. Please remember to link to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. I’ll be back to lead next week’s challenge right here on Travels and Trifles. We hope you’ll join me then and in the meanwhile will continue to stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #137 – SOFT


“I admire the fog, how it fades into itself.”

Marty Rubin

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to think about things that are soft, and immediately I thought of fog. To me, it softens everything it surrounds, creating a quiet, gentle atmosphere of silence. Often it brings with it a soft, gentle mist that seems to cleanse the world of its blemishes before returning it to the light.


Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”

Vladimir Nabokov

Like fog, a gentle rain too can bring a sense of quiet to the world, cleansing whatever it touches as it softly falls from the clouds. Often it can bring a sense of melancholy along with it, although its ability to refresh and nourish the earth makes it a worthy recipient of our gratitude.


“I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them.”

Limani David

Clouds too can be seen as soft, especially when, as they sink deep into the crevices of a mountain landscape. Were we to be walking among them, the clouds would feel more like fog or light rain. Seen from above their soft beauty cannot be denied.


“Sometimes the clouds in the sky are mistaken. They didn’t come to block the sunlight. They came to embrace it.”

Kaylee Stepkoski

Climbing the mountains of Glacier National Park in Montana, the road was as foggy, wet and cloudy as in my first three captures, As we broke through the clouds having reached a higher elevation, we were greeted with the magnificent vista in my image above. To me it feels a bit like our current situation. For a year now we have been surrounded by the clouds and fog of a pandemic. We are hopefully on the cusp of reaching beyond the haze if we can just hang on a little bit longer. Surely there is light ahead for us all.


“Get close to grass and you’ll see a star.”

Dejan Stojanovic

Here in South Carolina the soft pinks of our native sweetgrass are a harbinger of autumn’s arrival. Despite their fragile appearance, they move gently with the wind rather than fight its power. So too we have learned the difficult lessons of the pandemic. We’ve worn masks, avoided crowds, and sadly abandoned any travel plans. As our turns have arrived (or soon will), we suffer the insult of being injected with the dreaded disease to avoid succumbing to its wrath. We have learned difficult lessons about what is most important to us, and look forward anxiously to reconnecting with friends and family.


“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

Leon C. Megginson

Like the soft-pelted prairie dogs of the U.S. West, we are cautiously peeking our heads out from our protective burrows, sensing the degree of danger and gauging the safety of re-emerging. Our hearts are heavy for those who have lost loved ones along the way, but our spirits lift at the thought of a return to at least some degree of “normal”. How close we will get remains to be seen, but at least we have begun to see the lifting of the darkness before the dawn.

Sincere thanks as always to those who responded to Patti’s Letter S challenge last week. We thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of clever S-themed images and captions. We hope you’ll join us this week for Ann-Christine’s SOFT challenge. Please remember to link to her original post and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. Next week Amy will once again lead our challenge with the subject Natural Light. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

SPECIAL NOTE: This week I am grateful to Frank of Beach Walk Reflections for featuring my images in his post about the wonders of travel. I’d very much appreciate your visiting and commenting on his site, which is always rich with interesting thoughts about his subjects. He welcomes any who are interested in collaborating to contact him via his site.