Archive for the ‘Lens-Artist Photo Challenge’ Category

Today’s challenge is “Getting Away”, something I enjoy doing as often as possible. However, we aren’t the only ones who like to get away.

Here’s what getting away looks like in McDowell Forest Preserve, Naperville, Illinois. I came around a corner of the trail to find both a fawn and a doe. I froze, allowing me to appear unthreatening for at least long enough to get some photos.

(I’m going to publish this post with four photos, the first of the fawn. But although all the photos show up in the draft, the preview doesn’t show it. I’ll see what happens and if it doesn’t work out, try editing the published version. Ahh, WordPress, why do you do these things??)

The doe was on the move at this point.

OK, I’ve tried everything I can think of to get that photo inserted but WP won’t let me do it. So instead I’ll use another one. This buck was happily standing in the path looking at me until a cyclist, out of my line of sight, came zooming along.

Getting away in Wyoming might look like this and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving! I love the expression the eye seems to have.

And getting away at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, Arizona might mean flying high. This guy seemed to have been carrying some sort of foliage with him.

Whatever getting away means to you, I hope you’ll be able to enjoy it as soon and as much as possible.

Anne Sandler is our guest hostess this week, (thanks, Anne), asking us for black and white photos. I remember when there were only black and white photos (as well as film and no digital.) So I’m taking a break from watching the replay of stage 13 of the Tour de France to gather some of my favorite black and white photos. Not true; I’m doing both. πŸ™‚

Anne asked us to talk about our post-processing but I do virtually none and have no fancy editing apps. Here’s what I told her in response to her post:

“Some were taken with an iPhone and other than cropping, sometimes adding a frame or vignette, or making them black and white, I do very little. I don’t have Lightroom, Nik or any of those things. I use Picasa (free) or Pixlr (also free.)”

One of my favorite photos is this lone grocery cart in the middle of a flooded parking area in Naperville, Illinois.

A quiet moment in the Art Institute of Chicago, rendered in black and white. I love the sweep of the staircase and the single woman making her way down.

Shell and shadow on a beach at Cape May, New Jersey.

A foggy morning in Cape May. I waited for the ghostly carriage to come careening through the mist but I waited, thankfully, in vain.

If there’d been a deer nearby, I could have had a photo of a literal deer in the headlight but it, like the coach above, never materialized.

As always, thanks so much for visiting and for commenting. The conversation makes it all worthwhile because I love to know what you think, what you like, why you like it, and what it makes you think about.

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge by John at Journeys with Johnbo coincides with the last weekend for “white” as the theme for Life In Colour (yes, I know Jude doesn’t know how to spell “color” but you’ll have to excuse her–she’s British.) So here are three examples not only of white but also of white reflections on water, all the more for your time. I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I’ll be watching stage 8 of this year’s wild and crazy Tour de France (but not until the replay, as it starts at about 4 am here.)

β€œWater is the driving force in nature.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

We’ll start with tiptoeing on water while creating a reflection…

β€œPraised be my Lord, for our sister water.St. Francis of Assisi

…floating on the water while reflecting, and finally…

And just because:

β€œIt seems rummy that water should be so much wetter when you go into it with your clothes on than when you’re just bathing, but take it from me that it is.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves

…synchronized swimming (and diving and eating) while reflecting on water.

And never forget this classic poem and a second version:

A Wonderful Bird Is The Pelican

By Dixon Lanier Merritt

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican!

Another version:

A funny old bird is a pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belican.
Food for a week
He can hold in his beak,
But I don’t know how the helican.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-wonderful-bird-is-the-pelican-by-dixon-lanier-merritt

This topic makes me sad, but only because almost every photo I take is something that makes me feel wonderful and although that means I have lots of choices, it means I have too many choices, enough to almost put me in shutdown mode. So I decided to start with my happy place and see where that led. And where it led was to stay right there because what’s not wonderful about a place where you can look one way and see this…

…or look the other way and see this?

Or you might look out the window and see…

…or be walking along a trail and spot one of these showoffs.

And of course in the middle of June, you might look back from a 115F day to relish the thought of seeing a moose in falling snow, also in the middle of June. Very cool! πŸ™‚

Shade and shadows, both things I enjoy capturing in my photos. So many choices, but I’ll start with the shadow of a shade (or blind if you prefer), just so I can use both terms in one shot, even if the “shade” part is different from what Ann-Christine is talking about.

Shadow owes its birth to light. ~John Gay

In the desert, there’s a serious side to shade. Here the shadow of a rock formation in Boyce Thompson Arboretum provides much needed and appreciated shade. The temperature difference, even in the early morning, can be quite a contrast and in some situations could even be a life-saving one. Walking along the shaded path was infinitely cooler than when that path wound its way into the full sun. Trust me. When temperatures start soaring over 100F, you’ll learn to love the shade!

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. ~Jane Austen

I’ll finish with perhaps my favorite shot of shade and shadow ,from the Visitor’s Center in Saguaro National Park. I shared it once before, but it’s so perfect for this challenge that I hope you’ll enjoy it again in this different context.

What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse. ~Edward Abbey


Ann-Christine has set us the task today of find spots and dots, and shares three examples from the amazing work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, whose ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ Installation we saw at the WNDR Museum in Chicago. As we only had a minute in the room, you can understand my slightly demented look as I strove to both enjoy and photograph what was around me. You know how cool it is when you get several mirrors just right to appear to go on forever? Multiply that by a factor of a million and you might be able to imagine this.

My life is a dot lost among thousands of other dots.
— Yayoi Kusama

But let your eyes rest, look at some other examples and enjoy some random dot quotes.

Bird spots and dots and not of the droppings sort…

Purpose is the thread that connects the dots to everything you do that leads you to an extraordinary life.
— Oprah Winfrey

Prickly desert spots and dots…

Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path. ~Steve Jobs

Frozen spots and dots…

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. ~Lois Wyse

And at the other temperature extreme, some almost-boiling spots and dots.

I don’t think Seurat would have been aware of the dots – he would have been aware of what he was trying to do. The dots were an instrument.
— Frank Auerbach

Happy mid-May! I hope wherever you are that you’ve gotten at least one vaccination shot and are able to spend time with friends and family in person.

Patti’s given us some beautiful examples of focusing on details and asked us to do the same. So as Jackie Gleason used to say, “And awaaay we go!”, first to Queen Creek Olive Mill where I saw these shadow details one day while sipping a mocha and reading.

I found alien details in our backyard.

But details don’t have to be small or macro. This garden on Coronado Island in California has a lot of beautiful details that add up to a stunning large picture.

Color in April is different in Arizona than in every other place I’ve lived, starting from ground level up. Except for Steamboat Springs where April was mud season, April almost everywhere else starts with a carpet of green grass covered or at least dotted in many places by innumerable wildflowers. Not so in Arizona where in populated areas grass is replaced by a layer of rocks with individual or small groups of plants dotting it, and in the desert, not much of anything with the same individual or groups of plants. There is grass, but it requires large amounts of water, something I find irresponsible when you live in a desert.

Be that as it may, we were blessed in our rental house because we have a great variety of plants. Most of the other rentals I viewed had nothing in the backyard and I mean nothing, nothing but “dirt” and “dirt” here is a cement-like thing called caliche, nothing like in the Midwest where you can easily sink a shovel into the earth almost anywhere. One of the nicknames of caliche is “hardpan” for a reason.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty and color, such as this yellow trumpet bush which just showed up one day in a corner where it appeared nothing was growing, a welcome surprise! We have another much larger bush of these and an enormous one with orange flowers.

Red yucca isn’t really yucca (go figure) but its flowers are beautiful. There are streets with a row of these along the side which makes for very attractive landscaping.

As far as I can ascertain, this is Britton’s wild petunia, one of the flowers the bees love but one that can be invasive.

You can’t have a colorful April in Arizona without the spectacular flowers and fruits found on the cacti that are everywhere. There may be thorns on many plants but there’s also luxurious beauty and sometimes food, as in the case of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus you see here. These will open up.

Finally, there are these short-blooming, one day, flowers found on the trumpet cactus. Our cactus is small, but welcomed us with three rounds of gorgeous flowers when we moved here just over a year ago and has already has two flowers this year.

Now that we’ve seen some of the April color in our backyard, have a seat on the patio and just relax for a bit. I’m always happy when you stop by and I have some delicious jasmine green tea if you’re so inclined or some iced English breakfast.

Ann-Christine gives us the choice today to pick what we’d like to share and her beautiful flowers can literally be picked. What do I have here in Arizona? Since our move just over a year ago, other than cacti, I’ve been mostly taking photos of birds, so here are a few recent favorites.

Let’s drop in at the Riparian Preserve and see what we can find. A harrier hawk is always fun.

β€œHe imagines a necessary joy in things that must fly to eat.”
― Wendell Berry

β€œIn order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd

Then there’s the spoonbill who came during one of the storms in the south and has been here all winter. Here it’s balancing on one leg while looking astonished. Is that like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time? Pretty in pink but what a big mouth!!

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living ~e. e. cummings

There are lots of spectacular birds but there are also the cute, more approachable ones that you might see in your yard.

Wherever there are birds, there is hope. Mehmet Murat Ildan

If you’re a fish, you’d prefer to see this haughty cormorant perched on a limb rather than in the water where they run silent, run deep, run deadly.

Tomorrow, the birds will sing. Be brave. Face life. ~Charlie Chaplin

A pod of pelicans arrived towards the end of last year and a few have stuck around. I didn’t realize that pairs like this fish and swim in tandem, for all the world like synchronized swimmers. Of course the swimmers don’t usually eat fish while performing, at least I hope not!

And now it’s back to the weekend. I hope you’re enjoying yours.

Patti has asked us to find shapes this week. I’m sticking close to home for mine, as all are taken in our house or yard. I always enjoyed geometry; in fact I enjoyed math, because everything was logical. Just call me Spock. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed math until I got to trigonometry, at which time I realized that unless I went into math, I probably wouldn’t have any use for it, even for figuring out the width of a creek from the shadow of a tree.

We’ll start with an edible shape, one cherry tomato from my patio plant, sharing shapes with part of our patio table (not edible.)

A shapely part of an aloe plant.

Cacti are made for geometry!

Some early morning geometry, courtesy of the sun and blinds.

Although there aren’t innumerable leaves here as there were in the Midwest, we still get some.

Thus endeth today’s geometry lesson. There will be no quiz and it’s pass-fail, so happy weekend!