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: Black and White

It’s really been a joy to participate in the Lens-Artists Photo Challenges over time. I have “met” so many interesting bloggers and “traveled” to so many fascinating places. And I’ve learned something about technique and artistry along the way. This week, the guest host is Anne Sandler. Her header image took my breath away, and then she totally schooled me on processing black and white photographs! Visit her post HERE.

I am less than a novice when it comes to processing. I use the very rudimentary tools that came with my camera. I’ve never even used Photoshop. The texture and tone and clarity that Anne achieves is truly stunning. What I know about Black and White is that I like it for portraits and for “art”. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Geometry

“There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” Pythagoras

What is the shortest distance between two points? What is the shortest distance between two people? What is the angle of intersection when you are happy? And when you are lonely?

“He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance”

― Dominic Miller, “The Shape of My Heart”

How do you build something structurally sound to house kindness, joy, courage, love, resilience? In a Universe of fact and feeling, of truth and spirit, how do you dwell in the spaces outlined by a complexity of ideas?

Aldo Leopold Shack

Geometry was my favorite subject my freshman year of High School. I liked my teacher; I liked that this kind of math was narrative. I was brand new to the school and to the state. In my 14-year-old brain, I was trying to figure out so much about how the world worked and how I fit in it. I was confused by many things, but I could follow geometry step-by-step and prove something. By the end of Freshman year, I had gained confidence and made some friends. ‘Geometry’, to me, will always symbolize a description of complexity in the cosmos that seems ordered and friendly, mysterious and vast, but approachable.

Thank you to Patti for this Challenge theme!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

“The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.”
― Amy Bloom

“Memory believes before knowing remembers.
― William Faulkner

Thanks to Tina for her challenge “to look backward for a while” with this theme.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Waiting

In the animal kingdom, humans are a species with a highly developed sense of time. We know past, present, and future and often try to imagine time frames that dwarf our own life spans. 

Waiting, the theme for this week’s Photo Challenge, implies expectations of future events. “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop…” or for the adventure to begin. When waiting seems like a waste of time, it’s because the thing to come is more valuable to you than the present moment. However, if you look at it another way, the present moment is the only real moment and therefore more valuable.

To wait well and gracefully may be to enjoy the present moment and allow the future moment to unfold “all in due time”. 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Monochrome

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70, Patti invites to explore the world of monochrome–which includes black and white and sepia, as well as different shades of one color.

“…emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.” – Kim Hunter

I love the drama of a really good monochrome shot. 

To see in color is a delight for the eye, but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul – Andri Cauldwell

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”
― Ted Grant

“Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.” – Eliott Erwitt

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected” – Robert Frank

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Candid

Ann-Christine is hosting this week’s photo challenge with the theme Candid. She invites us to share pictures of people and animals who had no idea they were being photographed.

Stealth shots seem to require that the subject is comfortable with the photographer’s general presence or that the photographer has a lens that allows clear shots from a distance. I cannot claim the long lens, but I can claim that I know a few people and animals who don’t mind me stalking them.

The challenge in candid photos is to be able to capture spontaneous moments when the subject is simply doing their thing, preferably something interesting. Another challenge is in setting up the shot without too many background distractions without “staging” it. Serendipity and shutter speed definitely become factors in the results.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Angles

Ann-Christine challenges us to illustrate the difference angles can make on our perception of the world. I am reminded of the ancient Indian story of the blind men and the elephant, retold in the poem by John Godfrey Saxe that begins like this: 

It was six men of Indostan 
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant 
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation 
Might satisfy his mind.

From my photo archives, I found an album of pictures taken five years ago next week on my “birthday cruise”. I had been working at Discovery World, a museum in Milwaukee that owns a replica of a 19th century cargo ship they named The Denis Sullivan. For my birthday, I was gifted a short trip out of the harbor and back to dock. There was absolutely no wind that day, so though we unfurled the sails, we didn’t go very far or very fast. In the calm, I found that taking photos from all different angles became the excitement of the day. 

 

My perspective on sailing Lake Michigan, therefore, was all about tranquility and discipline. The crew had everything “shipshape” and moved like clockwork. However, I’ve read accounts of shipwrecks on the lake that must have been the picture of chaos and terror.

Perspective makes a huge difference. In this complex world, we must remember the danger of a single story and humbly leave room in our imaginations for something outside of our own experience. 

So, oft in theologic wars 
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Mid-Week Monochrome #15 – Flowers

I got inspired by Amy‘s response to Ryan Photography‘s mid-week photo challenge and converted some flower photos to monochrome. Bren Ryan’s photo is truly dramatic, which is hard to achieve with most flowers, especially pastels in bright light.  Here are my attempts:

“What have you learned, Dorothy?”
That we’re back in Kansas? And that dramatic lighting contrast, simple structure, and sharp focus are pretty essential for a good-looking monochrome flower. 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Shadows

Tina at Travels & Trifles illustrated her challenge with a beautiful opening photo of shadow that evokes spaciousness, loneliness, and the passage of time. As the Earth turns and the Sun’s light falls at different angles, shadows lengthen, shade increases, and cool darkness creeps over stationary objects.

There’s something mournful in that, although it needn’t be. Change is not all good or all bad.  Monochrome isn’t really black & white.  It’s gray.

  
In the end, shadows cast depth and perspective on our view of our selves and our little lives. They keep us humble.