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: Filling the Frame

Patti is our host this week for the Lens-Artist photo challenge, and she posts a good tutorial on framing your shots so that the subject is treated with the importance it deserves. How does framing make a difference? Consider:

If this is a shot of two people engaged in conversation about the land, getting a lot of land in the picture might be important. But this also has a truck bumper, distant telephone poles, and other distractions. How about this? You still get the feeling that they’re working on the land, but now it’s about their interaction.

Photographing a monarch in its habitat can be scaled down to photographing a monarch at its food source. 

The petals of a fringed gentian make it distinct from other gentian varieties. Why not make that the focus of the photo?

And finally, even if giving a small portion of the subject a full frame might make the object unrecognizable, creating an abstract might make a better shot.

Experimenting with framing opens up new possibilities for making photos more dramatic. Thanks for the tip, Patti!

Lens-Artists Challenge: Pick a Place

Tina at Travels and Trifles hosts this week’s challenge with an invitation for us to pick a place to which we’ve traveled and feature it in our post.
I have not traveled abroad since the death of my husband 11 years ago, but I have done a bit of traveling throughout the western portion of the United States. I am particularly fascinated by canyon country, places where the geology of the place takes center stage an overwhelms the senses, leaving you awestruck.

“When your spirit cries for peace, come to a world of canyons deep in the old land, feel the exultation of high plateaus, the strength of moving waters, the simplicity of sand and grass, the silence of growth.” — August Frugé 

 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Sand Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado

“Beauty in front of me, Beauty behind me,
Beauty Above me, Beauty below me,
Beauty all around me,
I walk in Beauty…” — Navaho prayer

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Gunnison River, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Magical

Ann-Christine finds Magic in her garden and invites us to share the magic in our lives.

This is something I have to ponder. I tend not to believe in magic. I am in awe and wonder of the natural and suspicious of what others call “supernatural”. However, the dictionary gives me a second definition that I certainly can embrace: 

“beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life”

So here’s a gallery of some of the most beautiful and delightful moments of my life. Enjoy!

 

 

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Silhouette

Patti challenges us with silhouettes this week. “They are a marvelous technique to add to your photographic repertoire because they can add drama, mystery, emotion, and atmosphere to your photos.  They can also tell a story to your viewers.”

Here are my silhouette stories:

I took this photo of my husband on the beach at my grandmother’s cottage on Lake Michigan with the Cannon AE1 film camera he gave me for Christmas when I was 17. The location is a place rich with three generations of memories. The subject is familiar and much beloved to me, but sadly also a memory. Jim died in 2008 at the age of 47. The sunset lighting adds a layer of romantic yearning that completes the picture. 

This silhouette is my youngest daughter on stage at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. We were attending an opera comedy cabaret performance where the audience was seated at cafe tables onstage facing a smaller stage set up downstage. Emily has been in many musical comedy performances and studied play-writing in college. The theatrical setting and her curly hair are the perfect components of her personal silhouette.

Finally, here is a gallery of landscape silhouettes. The story here is that I love to be outside with my camera discovering how the light of the sky is a background for all that happens in the world. And the world is a wonderful place!

 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Precious Pets

Tina is up for some fun in this week’s challenge as she invites us to look at Precious Pets. She especially mentioned a pet ox. So…

Meet Ted and Bear, a team of oxen that I considered co-workers when I was at Old World Wisconsin. They were very good at following voice commands given by Dirk, the farmer. They hauled wagons and did all the heavy lifting around the 19th Century living history museum. They weren’t really “pets”, I guess, but the photo Tina shared wasn’t really an ox, either. I think it was a domestic water buffalo. (I stand corrected. Tina assures me it is a domestic ox.)

Now, I must confess that I don’t have any pets at the moment. The only animals I have ever lived with were cats, fish, and my daughter’s mice.  But I love animals and consider them sentient beings worthy of the greatest respect. I am an enthralled observer of the wild creatures that live around the nature preserve where I rent a house. There are a pair of Sandhill Cranes that visit from March through November. 

I am delighted by their elegance and their devotion. Each year, I mark their nesting and parenting habits. The first year, they fledged twins. Subsequent years were not so rewarding. One year, they had a colt that was hit by a car. This season, one of the adults disappeared for a while. Now there are two again. A new romance, perhaps. Cranes are a symbol of fidelity because they mate for life and always look out for each other. When one is foraging for food with its head down, the other is not far away, and on the lookout. 

I am and have been a proud grandmother of quite a few “fur babies”, however. What I am most proud of, I think, is seeing how my children love and nurture and foster pets, truly doing their best to care for them and have meaningful relationships with them. My kids have taught me quite a lot about dogs, and I have learned to relate very well to them, overcoming a sort of phobia I developed as a young child who was overcome on the beach by an excited Irish Setter. Here’s a gallery of my “grandkids”:

For myself, I have a sweet little companion I call Jimmy Bear. He shares my bed and eats nothing. A pretty nice arrangement, I must say.