Posts Tagged ‘Lens-Artists Photo Challenge’

The thought of bugs often causes an expression of dislike on the face of the person hearing about them. Many think “exterminator” immediately and in some cases, that might be necessary. This part of the Southwestern United States is home to scorpions and other nasty critters that need exterminating. But many bugs are beneficial, even beautiful, so when Donna asked what was bugging me, I took a look into the archives to look for this, that, and the other bug. I admit that I draw the line at eating bugs, despite reading about how tasty they can be!

Although our son-in-law is terrified of bees, I always love seeing them, especially as their numbers are on the decline. Bees are necessary for much of life on the earth, not just for honey, and there are many kinds of them, over 20,000 species! Outside the living room of our rental house in Naperville, Illinois, a beautiful butterfly bush grew yearly, attracting not only butterflies but other insects, including bees.

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” ― Henry David Thoreau

I’ve found insects to show up unexpectedly in photos when, for instance, I thought I was shooting just a flower or other plant. This fellow merited the starring role.

Dragonflies remind me of alien versions of helicopters or bi-planes. They move so quickly that it can be hard to get a good shot of one!

“Magic is seeing the wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.” — Ama H.Vanniarachchy

Butterflies, or flutter-bys as we like to call them sometimes, are always a joy. Evidently I wasn’t the only one who thought this one looked quite tasty!

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

On a visit to the South Bay Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, California, we thought this was a piece of art. as it didn’t move as I advance on it with my phone on our first visit and it was in the same place on our next trip. We looked at each other and laughed incredulously as it suddenly flew away!

“Danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light… the air was full of… glinting dragonflies shot …with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

Wandering a back trail at the Riparian Preserve here in Gilbert several years ago, I found a datura plant that thoroughly entranced several bees. They danced until they were covered with pollen and I laughed out loud from the sheer beauty and joy of it.

“Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.”
― Christy Lefteri, The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Insects can live in all sorts of places but I love the insect houses I’ve seen, including this one at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden.

While sitting on the deck of the Wyoming cabin, this butterfly landed on my leg. Let me tell you, trying to take a photo without scaring it away was not easy. Things only got harder when it landed on my hand. Try taking a phone photo with just one hand! It ain’t easy!!

A squadron of these damselflies flew tantalizingly within reach of my camera’s lens but often they moved too quickly for me to capture, so I was thrilled to catch five of them in one shot!!

Sex in the park and not only did I not avert my eyes, I took a photo. Does that make me a bug voyeur?

I can never see enough butterflies. The park in Illinois had lots of milkweed, delighting me with sightings of monarchs sometimes. I can only imagine what it must be like to see them swarming but makes me sad to think how their numbers have fallen. I let milkweed grow in our yard to do my part, although it’s rather invasive.

All good things must come to an end and so it is with insects and all other life. I wonder how death came in this position and how the “skeleton” managed to still cling in death.

Donna, thanks for letting me wander through nature to find photos for this challenge. What fun!

Backlit. I love backlit. I love light. I love mornings, my preference being just before dawn so I can see the sun rise, always causing backlight. There’s an anticipation not just for the beauty of the moment but for the upcoming day and what it might bring.

This is one of my favorite flower photos of all the many, many flower photos I’ve taken. Without the light where it is, I only have a picture of a nice iris. The light changes everything.

“O, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” ― Roman Payne

Back light creates bokeh, picks out details.

Sunrise automatically creates back light. You can’t get behind the sun. The clouds work with the light to create drama at the California beach. These rays of light always bring to my mind the glory of God.

“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.”
― Alexandra Elle

Afternoon at Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona, a shopping complex that feels like an upscale Mexican village.

The magic of sunrise in McDowell Forest Preserve, Naperville, Illinois, “my” park when we lived there, the place that ministered to my soul.

Backlit from the front, a beautiful paradox.

My friend Donna at Wind Kisses is debuting this week as one of the presenters of the Lens-Artists Challenge, one whose thoughtful, lyrical words complement her lovely photos. “Messages” is the challenge she’s chosen, offering us a plethora of possibilities.

Sometimes messages are simply words, words that can be humorous as in these signs I saw recently.

In the natural world, a bright color can be a message that says: “Danger. Stay away,” the same message of the apple in “Snow White”, surface beauty hiding something deadly.

The cliffside at El Morro National Monument, New Mexico is filled with over 2,000 signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs carved by ancestral Puebloans, Spanish, and American travelers, allmessages from the past. I visited on a chilly fall day, almost the only person to immerse myself in the carved autographs of the past. It was magical, both historically and in the physical beauty of the park.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. ~Eleonora Duse

The passage of dawn to dusk reminds us to make good use of our time but also to enjoy the beauty along the way. This beauty is one that animates part of my life, a part that brings joy, wonder, a deep thankfulness for God’s goodness and creation.

Messages are often personal. Do these footprints say we’re not alone, that everyone needs someone beside him/her, or something else altogether? The answer is an emphatic “YES.” 🙂

Life can get overwhelming, wearing us down to the bone. Is that the message? Nah! I don’t think so. I think the message is just relax and laugh!

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man. ~Rabindranath Tagore

What’s the message here? Pure and simple: lovin’ my grandson!

For this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge, Sofia’s theme is “Looking back.” I’m looking back at both history and my family with a copy of a photo of my great-great grandfather, John Keehn (Kuhn), originally from Denburg, Germany. He was in Company F-8 Regiment Indiana Volunteer Cavalry in the Civil War. Maybe that’s where I get my love of horses. 😉

Wild animals often look back to be sure nothing is sneaking up on them. But they can’t escape a telephoto!

I wonder what’s ruffling his feathers?

If you have an itch, you have to look back and scratch it!

Just checking.

Not worried yet but keeping my options open.

Leaving Yosemite some years ago, I looked back and was rewarded by this rather special view.

If you want to participate in this week’s Lens Artists Challenge, click on the highlighted link at the beginning of this post and show us what you see when you look back.

Patti’s theme this week is “Diagonals”, something you’ll find everywhere if you look carefully. Diagonals can be quite dramatic, even dizzying, as in these shadows at the Saguaro National Park Visitors Center.

Diagonal: Having a slanted or oblique direction.

Diagonals caught my eye while traveling on the train home from downtown Chicago.

The veins of leaves are full of diagonals.

© janet m. webb 2017

Diagonals add interest, drama, and stability to this stained glass window in Anthropologie’s store on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, originally the Fell-Van Rensselaer House. How’d you like to see this every day? I think I could suffer through it. Oh, and by the way, it’s a Tiffany dome. 🙂

Here are some more natural diagonals.

While enjoying a beer at the New Glaurus Brewery in Wisconsin recently, I took this photo which works for this challenge. How prescient of me, right?

Blinds. If you move the photo up and down quickly, you’ll feel that they’re moving. I blog to entertain. 🙂 Thanks for the fun, Patti.

Although I spend a good deal of my photographic life (and life in general) avoiding the mechanical/industrial as much as possible, John’s set us the task today of sharing photos of exactly those things. I accept the challenge. Here are a few I like.

I love these lights at my local Black Rock Coffee shop.

I often walk underneath the street when walking along the canal, much easier than waiting for a break in traffic and then rushing across without getting hit or stranded on the median. One day I saw what I think was an owl flying quickly to the other side as I approached this spot, an intersection of nature and industrial/manmade.

For mechanical, there’s nothing quite like a classic car, even if I couldn’t avoid several selfies in the process.

Patti’s Lens-Artists Challenge today is set for fun as it’s about interesting objects. The possibilities are endless. I’m going to start with one from nature, my preferred photo local. This appears to be a little garden spot right inside a tree.

If you ever get the chance to eat at a Din Tai Fung location, grab that chance! After fleeing China with virtually no money, Mr. Yang, the founder,

“Mr. Yang decided to open his own shop to sell cooking oil and named it Din Tai Fung. Mr. Yang and his wife dedicated half of their shop to making and selling Xiao Long Bao—steamed pork soup dumplings.” From the website

But the food became so popular that he left the oil business to concentrate on the restaurant. The Hong Kong location has a Michelin star but you won’t notice any lack if your location is star-less. The food is outstanding and this cutie will welcome you.

Spotted as we waited in line for food. 🙂

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself and hand or if you can’t, I’ll give you this one. Happy weekend!

I’m just in time to sneak into this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge–feet and shoes. I’m not horsing around because these shoes really nail it, though I’d be a bird-brain to think they fit on these feet. Yep, I haven’t lost my sense of humor over vacation (or it hasn’t improved, whichever) but we made it safely back after a wonderful vacation which you’ll learn more about in the following days. Happy August!

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.)

“Water is the driving force in nature.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

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

“Praised be my Lord, for our sister water.St. Francis of Assisi

…floating on the water while reflecting, and finally…

And just because:

It 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.


Patti today has set a challenge which for me is very difficult. One of the things I love doing with my photography is to take unusual photos of everyday objects, although often my objects are outdoors. Today, however, after spending a long time browsing through files and amassing way too many possibilities for the challenge, I finally decided on just four, plus a quote I came across only minutes before the challenge arrived but what I’d like to think inspires my photographic aims.

Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ~Roald Dahl

Let’s start with a little something for the body as well as the soul.

Sometimes when cooking, or in this case baking, I have to quickly get my phone to take a photo. These are liquid ingredients for a recipe.

Years ago, my sister-in-law and I went on a splendid trip which included Vicenza, Italy where I found some beautiful perfume bottles which I managed to get home intact. 🙂

Finally a little something from our living room in Illinois, where nothing is free of the possibility of being decorated for Christmas.

One enjoyable sidelight of this challenge was seeing many photos I hadn’t seen in some time and was delighted to discover all over again. Thank, Patti.

for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #111: Everyday Objects