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: 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: Getting Away

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
…”

Not being a city girl, I have never escaped the hustling crowd by climbing the stairs to find solitude “Up on the Roof”, like the Carole King/Gerry Goffin song describes. I prefer to travel to and explore places of natural quiet where there is (ideally) no human presence. Wilderness is my favorite Get Away. I am heading out tomorrow to Strawberry Mountain Wilderness in the Mahleur National Forest on my very first backpacking trip. I will not be tethered to a powered vehicle or a “civilized” infrastructure for three whole days. I will be relying on my own two feet and the company of a few experienced hikers. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for more than 40 years!

I have done day hikes in designated Wilderness before, but never an overnight. It is extremely important that our group Leave No Trace of our visit. Keeping wild spaces as pristine as possible ensures that conservation and spiritual values are not compromised.

If we lose the ability to get away from the impact of human domination, we may lose sight of humility and perspective altogether.

Thank you to this week’s hosts, Rusha and Bert of Oh the Places We See.

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: One Photo, Many Moods

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
– David Alan Harvey

Soft color, diffused light, water falling as gracefully as a diaphanous gown over the form of a posed dancer – the picture above puts me in a mood of dreamy peace.

In black and white, water and rock are opposing elements. There is work being done, erosion and the exposure of contrasting light.

In this cropped version, the multiple paths of falling water suggest possibilities, nuance, ambiguity, secret diversions. In monochrome, it suggests a kind of sexiness that distorts reality. Our Lens-Artists host, Tina, says, “This week, we’d like you to think about the various ways you create your images. Show us the same subject captured using multiple, different approaches.” Her post shows fabulous examples of her photographic skill. Click HERE to see!

In working with the photo above, I made a couple of discoveries. First, I converted it to black and white, which felt more nostalgic to me. If I had a sepia option, it might make me think of an historic war zone.

Then, I zoomed in for a cropped version and noticed a spider web with intersecting lines that mirrored the angles of the fence material, creating an abstract I hadn’t foreseen.

This abstract evokes philosophical thoughts about boundaries and materials. How resistant are the fences that keep me from crossing into new territory?

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts,
you change those facts.”
– Garry Winogrand

This photo exercise yielded some interesting results. I find it worthwhile to experiment with my vision and allow for unexpected rewards. Thank you, Tina, for the challenge!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Shade and Shadow

Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoons
Lazy days, sunny days, nothing much to do.
Rainy days are better days for hangin’ out in-side
Grainy days and city ways make me want to hide
Someplace cool an’ green an’ shady.

Find yourself a piece of grassy ground,
Lay down close your eyes.
Find yourself and maybe lose yourself
While your free spirit flies.
— John Denver

It’s early June, and already there have been days of record high temperatures here in Oregon as well as other parts of the U.S. My adults kids live in apartments without air conditioning…who would have thought you’d need it in the northern part of the country? The fear of another summer of wildfires is palpable. We seek out shade and water while we live in the shadow of hubris-driven climate instability.

Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin.
We can illuminate our paths or darken our way.
It is a matter of choice.
— Maya Angelou

Thanks to Ann-Christine for hosting this week’s Lens Artists challenge. Stay cool and kind and be safe!