Posts Tagged ‘Lens-Artist Photo Challenge’

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 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.

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!

This week Tina has set us a daunting task: to share special moments with the Lens-Artists community. Just the thought of trying to choose only five or six special moments out of all the years of photos almost made me give up in despair. Instead, I decided instead to limit my special moments to moments since moving to Arizona just under a year ago…and believe me, that’s hard enough!

Not long after we arrived at our new rental house, the torch cactus in the backyard bloomed with beautiful flowers that have a fleeting life of only about one day. I was stunned by their beauty and thrilled that they bloomed a number of times in the ensuing weeks. What a welcome to the desert! But like much of the desert, be careful how close you get! Beauty and danger have a habit of co-existing here.

On several visits to the Riparian Preserve, I’d spoken with a birder from, judging by his accent, either Boston or that part of the world, about the harrier hawk (he pronounced it “hairyah”) that he was an expert on. This day I followed him down a back path where he not only pointed out the hawk but told me about where he thought her nest was, her usual flight patterns, and so on. Here’s one of my shots of that special moment.

copyright janet m. webb

This pollen-covered bee ecstatically dancing in a poisonous datura flower was definitely a moment that brought joy to my heart.

copyright janet m. webb

Me finally catching a cormorant catching a fish was pretty exciting as was catching him drop it and an egret snatching it away a few minutes later.

copyright janet m. webb

There’ve been so many more special moments since we’ve moved: in Sedona and Saguaro National Park, seeing a vermillion flycatcher at Tuscon’s Sweetwater Wetlands and seeing alpine growth at the top of Mt. Lemmon. The most special moments though don’t have any photos…being here to spend time with and help out my aging parents and, weirdest of all the special moment, the three of us getting our second Covid vaccinations as well and my husband getting his first. What a year when getting shots is probably the highlight!

This last shot may not seem special but it’s of the only squirrel I’ve seen in this area since we moved here. Small joys.

“Natural light” is this week’s theme, one that’s right up my camera lens. I’m enthralled by light. As a morning person who feels that if I didn’t get walking before sunrise I’m running late, I have lots of sunrise photos…so I’m going to avoid those. Those of you who follow me have seen lots of them in various posts. Let’s go with something different, something smaller than grand vistas, which have already been done beautifully by our hostesses.

I’ve shared this photo before, but it’s one of my favorites for showcasing natural light.

copyright janet m. webb

β€œMay it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Light in Descanso Gardens, California.

β€œO, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”
― Roman Payne

Light on milkweed pod.

β€œWe went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
― Leonora Carrington

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, Gilbert, Arizona

copyright janet m. webb

β€œMy first memory is of light — the brightness of light — light all around.”
― Georgia O’Keefe

Since I held off on sunrises, let’s grab a Wyoming sunset to close.

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to share images that are “soft.” “Soft” immediately made me think of fog…but Tina already did that beautifully. Then I thought about trying to do “Soft in the Desert”…but if you’ve been in the dessert, you know there really isn’t too much “soft” here! “Sharp” I could do for weeks, though.

After scrolling through an enormous number of photos, I propose a virtual visit Cape May, New Jersey, birding mecca (although no bird photos today) and a beautiful beach area and you won’t need vaccinations or a passport. We’ll start with the only bird-related image in this post, a soft feather.

Wouldn’t these make great dusters?

There was a lovely foggy day while we were there. I sneaked out with my iPad (these all iPad photos, by the way, as this was before I ever had a smartphone) and blissfully wandered through a world magically softened.

The sand wasn’t completely soft, but it was soft enough to take footprints, prints that faded into the soft distance.

This is one of my favorite views of that day and if you added a carriage, you’d have a wonderful scene from a historic horror movie! Can’t you just see it racing down the alley made by those trees pursued by a ghostly figure?

This soft land led to a soft, beautiful sunset which brings us to the end of our virtual visit. Wasn’t it great to be able to travel without problems?