Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: The Colors of Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
– George Eliot

I can never get enough of the breathtaking beauty of Fall color. Visit Amy’s post for exquisite examples and join in the photo challenge! Just CLICK HERE.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Artificial Light

“Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity.
We use it.” – Maya Angelou

“What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” – Ray Charles

“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” – William Faulkner

The world is turning, and change is in the air. It is actually raining, and darker each day when I wake up. The fire danger is lower, and I breathe easier. I am spending more time with my family and anticipating visits and holidays. This week’s theme is Artificial Light, and I realize that my tendency is to put the camera away when I am indoors in “civilization”. I spend most of my time in natural light, I think, since I started living in remote natural places. And during the pandemic, I have not been in theaters making music and acting. There is something about rehearsal space, the lighting of a stage, and a well-lit display that is art and artifice at the same time. I oscillate between the natural and artificial and realize that it is a human privilege and responsibility. There is grace in the balance, there is Light and Power to be reckoned with.

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for your Northern perspective on the Light in our human lives. Please visit her post to see more about this photo challenge.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Going Wide

“Look wide, and even when you think you are looking wide
– look wider still.”
Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Scouting Movement)

“Cleverness is like a lens with a very sharp focus.
Wisdom is more like a wide-angle lens.”
Edward de Bono

“Accept the terrible responsibility of life with eyes wide open.”
Jordan Peterson

I absolutely adore landscapes! I love to hike and have worked for a land trust protecting land. Just this morning, I was interviewed by a land trust in my new home state of Oregon for their annual appeal video. I was eager and honored to share my passion for an evolving land ethic to guide humanity into better harmony with the Earth and my gratitude for organizations that uphold those ethics.
This week’s challenge is about wide-angle photography. The truth is, however, I don’t own a wide-angle lens. I do have a Landscape setting on my Canon Rebel T3i, though. It provides a large depth of field and color saturation to enhance greens and blues. I use it extensively when I’m out in the wide open spaces of the USA.

Maybe some day I will invest in additional lenses for my camera. I encourage you to visit Patti’s blog to see some stunning examples of wide-angle photography and learn more!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Looking Up/Looking Down…on Fungi

“A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a ‘wood wide web’ of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous
amount of information and goods.”
― Tim Flannery

This week’s photo challenge is hosted by guest Sofia Alves. Her prompt encourages us to Look Up and/or Look Down.
In my photo library, I find fungus and mushrooms in Nature at many levels, high in the trees and underfoot. I recently watched the documentary Fantastic Fungi and was absolutely blown away by the intricacy and importance of mycelial networks and the beauty of a mushroom’s growth over time. I absolutely recommend it for the photography and the ecological information.
Autumn is the perfect season for mushroom spotting. I invite you to take a look at the variety of color, shape, and size in the mushrooms I’ve showcased here, and then go out and see what’s growing in your neck of the woods!

Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty.” – Henry David Thoreau

Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.”
– Thomas Carlyle

“If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds … Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.” – Wendell Berry

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Keep Walking

“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours …but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau

I must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe.
― Henry David Thoreau

“When you walk, arrive with every step. That is walking meditation. There’s nothing else to it.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

“I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and fields absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”
― Henry David Thoreau

A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it
without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.”
― Aldo Leopold

Walking is one of my very favorite activities – specifically, walking in Nature. From a very young age, when I’d walk to school and back twice a day because we allowed to go home for lunch, I’ve used walking time to process my thoughts and feelings. I remember splashing in puddles and kicking up leaves and singing to myself as I passed the houses on the way to kindergarten. I remember rehearsing conversations out loud walking home from junior high. I remember walking over a hill in high school, eager to meet up with my best friend. Now, in retirement, my daily walk is .7 miles down the dirt road to the mailbox. I also find a trailhead and take myself for an adventure several times a week. I am truly fortunate to live in an area with a LOT of trailheads! I don’t use a device to count my steps each day, but I strive to remember to be grateful for each step I take. I hope I will be able to walk for many more years.

Thank you, Amy, for hosting this week’s challenge and for sharing your walking stories and photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: It’s All About the Light!

Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.” – Wikipedia 

“Light! More light!” – Goethe’s last words

My sister Dharam lives in San Francisco. Summers there are dark, cold and foggy on the beach. Here in Oregon, the coast is often brighter and warmer. My sister LOVES the sun, and absolutely loved the light on the beach last Wednesday during her vacation here. We took plenty of photos together!

The amount of vapor in the air greatly affects the way that light is diffused in landscape shots. For comparison, here is the same beach on a hotter day with less fog.

And on a much cloudier, colder day in the winter…

Here is Newport Bridge in various lighting…

I hope you all are enjoying the last days of summer, noticing the splendor of August light. Thank you to Tina for hosting this week’s challenge and showing us such beautiful examples of the light on the “Other Coast” of the U.S.A.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Feet and Shoes

“All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole.”
~ Hal Borland

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
~ Khalil Gibran

“Because the human history is the history of shoes.
The history of places where we ever tread and stand.”
~ Stebby Julionatan

First shoes barely get any wear. I love them for their innocence, their precious smallness, and all the potential of a journey in miniature, striving for growth.

Worn shoes have history. I love them for the stories they could tell, for the job well done, for the weariness and wisdom of travel.

I love this theme for its direct simplicity. Photos of feet and shoes are individual and unique. They tell a personal story, but they are usually whimsical and shy while doing it. Isn’t it the somewhat awkward person who looks at their feet while talking? So now you’ve seen my feet and my shoe photo collection. Now I put my feet up and take a load off.

Thank you to Ann-Christine for this delightful challenge! Please visit her post to see some really elegant and unusual shoes from Sweden plus some adorable pudgy toes.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Inspiration…that moment when you draw in breath, a gasp, an awe-filled audible inhalation, the desire to take in the spirit of something beautiful, breath-taking.

I moved to Oregon exactly one year and one week ago. I have been inspired by something about it every single day I’ve been here, I think. The natural communities are incredibly diverse and resilient and interesting and beautiful. Today, for example, I joined a work party collecting camas seeds. These little seeds are nestled in the dried flower petals like beans in maracas. They shake and rattle as you walk through the meadow grass. Indigenous people roasted the bulbs of these plants as a food staple, high in natural sugars, similar to sweet potato. When I returned from this adventure, I walked down my driveway and began collecting blackberries from the invasive Himalayan canes that grow as a huge, prickly nuisance to most landowners, a deliciously irritating problem. They are everywhere. Free food!

This has not been an easy year for me by any means. It hasn’t been an easy year for most people. On top of the universal griefs and fears, I am new in town, isolated, unemployed, and missing my mother who died in October. There are always mornings when I find it hard to get up and get on with my life. But when I look out my window at OREGON, I find motivation to join the young hawks and the gentle deer, step outside and breathe in the rich scent of Douglas fir.

In such a setting, I feel like I belong to the Earth, like a tree taking root and creating a tall, strong life. I’m grateful to have this new inspiration in my life. If you’re curious about previous explanations of my blogging inspiration, visit THIS POST. Thanks to Patti for creating this challenge and sharing her beautiful photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Postcards

“See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle
Just remember darling all the while
You belong to me
See the market place in Old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me”
recorded by Patsy Cline

Ana evokes wonderful sentiments in her guest post for Lens-Artists this week on the theme of Postcards. My favorite postcards from home were from my father when I was at summer camp as a young girl. They were clever and funny. He sent one of the Chicago skyscrapers along Lake Michigan and instructed that buildings grow naturally along the shores of lakes, and if I looked carefully at the banks of the small lake on the Girl Scout Camp property in Wisconsin, I might see some tiny structures hidden in the plants.
When my fiancé was touring Europe with his University choir, he sent postcards showing the most iconic scenes of cathedrals and palaces along with his sweetest statements of love and longing. Those cards were exotic and precious and carried the potency of romance as well.

I moved to Oregon exactly a year ago. It seems that every time I explore this beautiful state, I send my fiancé, my late husband, a mental postcard of the places I go. I’m sure he would love it. I wish he were here…

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Along Back Country Roads

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Far off the major highways, in deep woods and high mountain forests, lie some of my favorite back country roads.

Paved roads in remote places in the American West lead to canyons and deserts where the human population is minimal and natural landscapes stand out.

Sometimes a back country road is a little more than your vehicle can handle. Use caution!

My very favorite back country road is the gravel lane where my mailbox stands. I’m grateful to have a home far from the heavy thoroughfares where noise and stress oppress the environment.

Thank you to the Lens-Artists guest hosts this week, Wandering Dawgs, for inviting us to share our back road adventures. Happy travelling, all, and safe home again!