Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Picking Favorites

“This exercise will really test your ability to be self-critical, as it has mine. Look into your archives and apply your most critical eye; play ‘judge’ and try to look dispassionately at your images. Pick out three (just three!) that stand out as particular favourites. Choose three from different genres please, but those genres are up to you: macro, wildlife, street, landscape, architecture. Anything goes, but each must be an image you are proud of.” — Toonsarah, Guest Host

You must understand, first of all, how difficult it is for me, the mother of four wonderful humans, to pick favorites. ‘Dispassionately’? You’re killing me! So, I will pick three favorites…AND three runners-up.


Badlands National Park, South Dakota. After driving long hours over seemingly monotonous grassland, we reach this ancient valley and step out of the car onto Sage Creek Road. This is our first look at this fascinating park, and we are utterly gobsmacked! I like how this shot shows the scale and color of the landscape.

Seal Rock Beach, Oregon. My adult kids moved to Oregon, and I went out to visit. This moment of my daughter’s joyful exuberance captured my heart, and I moved out a year later. I love the light and reflection in this shot and the contrast in moods between the ocean and my daughter.


I am proud of this for several reasons. First, my son asked me to do his wedding photo shoot. I’d never done one before; I was terrified I’d fail him, but I didn’t. Second, it was a challenge to photograph outdoors and get good light that would balance their very different skin tones. I used fill-in flash, and that really helped. I love how my son is adoring his bride in this shot, and she just glows! I was really happy with my work that day, and so were they.

I just love this shot of my daughters hugging. I love the soft monochrome light and their bright smiles. It’s so cozy and sweet!


Monarch butterfly caterpillars are very hard to find. They feed exclusively on milkweed plants. I searched the prairie at the George W. Mead Wildlife Area in Wisconsin and found one on the underside of a leaf. I rotated the frame to make the caterpillar right side up and more recognizable.

Gray treefrog, Fox Hill Nature Preserve, West Bend, Wisconsin. I took this photo while I was leading an event for the Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation, a land trust I worked at for five years. I am proud of my work there and very fond of the kettle moraine habitats protected in that area.

Thanks for letting me show of some of my favorite images. I’m eager to see yours!

17 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Picking Favorites

  1. Lovely photos! The first one of the Badlands is truly jaw-dropping, and the loving aura between your son and daughter-in-law is evident. Well done!!!

  2. I understand why these are all your favorites – your descriptions are great. My favorite is the tree frog simply because of the colors and composition.

  3. Your opening photo really tells the story of the Badlands. I’ve only been there once, but in my own photos, I remember the colors and the strata. Including a person really helps to show the scale.

  4. Priscilla, I understand how you couldn’t choose. The Badlands landscape is excellent. You captured the emotion in your son’s wedding portrait and your daughters’ hugging. They all tell a story. The other three are great also. Well done!

  5. You’re welcome Priscilla. Winning awards depends on what contests you enter! My leaf was the largest (meaning very good photographers joining in) and it didn’t win. I’ve not entered the State Fair contest because the photographers in this area are great. The Motherload Fair is a small town fair. Actually I was thrilled that the flamingo took image of the night. I’ve been in the club for about 4 years and have come close only once before. So award winning is relative!

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