Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: A Day of My Week

A day of my week: Sunday. A day in the Wheel of the Year: October 31. Halloween. All Saints’ Eve. Samhain (saa-wn). Halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. The beginning of a darker, wetter time in Oregon. The last day the marsh trails are open at the William Finley Wildlife Refuge before the over-wintering birds are given the privacy they deserve. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon, and my family joined me for a walk along the marsh and past the historic buildings. Here’s a gallery of shots from today.

“Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them— The summer flowers depart—
Sit still— as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart.”
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning

My days are often spent just musing on Nature, the seasons, and the activities of flora and fauna. I have a lot of time to sit still, since I’m unemployed/retired. Most days, I don’t bother to bring a camera with me wherever I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see beauty all around me. I hope that you can say the same about the ordinary days in your week. Thank you to Amy for hosting this week’s prompt. Please visit her site and join in. Click HERE to find out how.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Weird and Wonderful

This week’s challenge is hosted by Ann-Christine and invites us to find captures of the weird and wonderful. My thoughts center around defining what is sufficiently odd to be ‘weird’ and what arouses wonder. The subject of most of my photos is something in Nature, so then I become conscious that there’s a difference between ‘natural’ and ‘weird’.
In my mind, human beings push the boundaries of ‘weird’ more than any other species. And it becomes something of a wonderment how we celebrate the weird! In Portland, OR, there is a museum/novelty store called the “Freakybuttrue Peculiarium”. My 30-something kids find that kind of thing very entertaining, so we took a detour home from the airport to check it out.

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.”
― Robert Fulghum

I do love my kids, and I love their weirdness! And I am often in awe and wonder over things in Nature that I find unfamiliar and unique, and I find them beautiful.

Lake Superior sandy bottom
Badlands National Park
Boxwork formations at Wind Cave National Park

Fly your freak flags with joy, people, and gaze in wonder at the world around! Happy Weird and Wonderful Weekend!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Street Art

“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
― Raymond Salvatore Harmon

My daughter’s partner is working on establishing himself as a club music producer under the label Houseium. He asked me and my sister to do a photo shoot for his promotional material, so we went into Eugene, OR to find some colorful street art as a backdrop for his portraits.

I have become one of Houseium’s top fans on Facebook. I am really impressed by Jake’s ambition to learn to apply new technical skills, new dance skills, and new musical skills to his art. I have a BA in Voice Performance. I studied Classical music and performed my senior recital in four languages, interpreting four different period styles of music from the Baroque era to the 20th Century. Jake is just beginning to learn to read music. But he knows what he likes and what sounds good to him. I have to admit that I don’t listen to his genre of music much or his music in particular. Unless he’s putting on a dance party for the family! Then I dance seamlessly through his array of a couple of hours of music and enjoy every minute!

Thanks to Patti for hosting this week’s challenge and choosing a subject that is new to me and very fun!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Ordinary Oregon

“Oregon welcomed me like a beloved child, enfolded me in her cool arms, shushed my turbulent thoughts, and promised peace through her whispering pines. ”
― Colleen Houck

“Oregonians don’t tan. They rust.” ― Unknown

I have now lived in Oregon for a year. The most ordinary things at hand here are extraordinarily beautiful: raindrops, rock, wood, plants, the ocean.

On any given day, what is at hand is something exquisite, alive, and breath-takingly complex in its interaction with its environment. Just like each one of us humans. I haven’t been around a lot of humans during this entire strange year, so I’m glad to have the company of these common things. Thanks to I J Khanewala, this week’s guest host for Lens-Artists, for inviting us to take another look at Ordinary things.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Seen Better Days

“Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” Robert Browning

Last week’s Photo Challenge was all about Autumn color, the beautiful garb of aging, death and decay. How appropriate that Tina chooses for this week’s challenge the idea of how dilapidated, vintage, older things that have “seen better days” capture the photographer’s eye as things of loveliness and interest.

“The love of old things is a way of respecting time.”
― Wu Ming-Yi

 “Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.” 
― Gautama Buddha

The more I study the beauty of aging and death, the more I am drawn into the transformation of cells and matter. Consider that Life is marked by change, that change is the continuation of Life in new forms. Below is a photo of a petrified tree stump in the Flourissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, illustrating the change from vegetable into mineral.

Is it any wonder we photographers are fascinated by the visual evidence of the dance of Life and Time? As humans, we are definitely a part of this process. As humans, we take our experience and create Art to celebrate it.

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.