“The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down. ” – George Eliot
Donna of Wind Kisses is our host for this week’s challenge. She mentions that she will be turning 60 years old this week and invites us to explore the idea of “over the hill”. Coincidentally, I turned 60 last month, so the topic turns my thoughts to the long view of life’s journey.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” – Nelson Mandela
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time Any fool can do it There ain’t nothing to it Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill But since we’re on our way down We might as well enjoy the ride.” – James Taylor
The journey of my life has definitely been a range of summits and valleys, each with their difficulties and exquisite beauties. I’m not looking to quit any time soon, although my pace has slowed a bit. I strive for the wisdom and grace that will teach me to walk observantly, respectfully, and kindly toward unknown horizons.
Happy Birthday, Donna, and many happy returns of the day!
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ― John Steinbeck
“You couldn’t have strength without weakness, you couldn’t have light without dark, you couldn’t have love without loss” ― Jodi Picoult
“Any life expands and flowers only through division and contradiction.” ― Hermann Hesse
Opposition, it seems to me, is a relationship where there are many similarities and a few striking differences. You wouldn’t say that the opposite of a lemon is an airplane. You might say its opposite is an orange – they are similar except that a lemon is more sour and an orange can be sweet. A mirror image is almost exactly the same, except that everything is reversed. So maybe, if you are distressed by getting the opposite of what you want in life, you can narrow your focus down to one or two factors that are making the outcome contrary. Then, you can see that your life, by and large, is quite satisfactory – a reason for joy, in fact!
“I have struck a city – a real city – and they call it Chicago… I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.” – Rudyard Kipling
Chicago – I lived ten miles outside of the Loop during my Elementary School days, sequestered in an elite suburb, from 1966 – 1976. I raised my children in the far northwest suburbs beginning in 1991. When they left the nest, three of them took up residence in the big city. Those same three all moved out to Oregon by 2019.
I don’t think I am cut out to be a big city dweller. I find urban environments dangerous and frightening.
I imagine the only way I would be able to survive or feel safe in a city is to harden myself.
I do enjoy the occasional foray into the city for cultural events, but then I retreat to my preferred environment.
I do enjoy seeing the sights without actually being there, so thank you Sofia and fellow Lens-Artists for giving me a glimpse into the colorful jumble that is Urbanity!
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins as in art with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.” – Aldo Leopold,A Sand County Almanac
Our host this week, Ann-Christine, writes, “I am sure you have something hidden in your archives that once surprised you or filled you with awe…” I am delighted to be continually filled with awe by light falling on something living, something vibrant. Most recently, it was the orchid my daughter gave me last week for my birthday catching the morning light streaming through my kitchen window.
Getting a beautifully lit close-up at marine life at the Oregon Coast aquarium was a special treat. So was that perfect moment of morning fog being pierced by the rising sun at Spencer’s Butte.
Looking deep into the undergrowth to find those diamond dewdrops, you might be rewarded by a wealth of jewels, arranged in magical symmetry.
My favorite finds are these simple and exquisite examples of Nature’s inexhaustible variety and beauty. Thanks for asking, Ann-Christine!
“A still photograph is called a still photograph because the picture doesn’t move, not because the objects in the picture are not in motion. The photographer’s mission, should he decide to accept it, is to capture motion with stillness. ” – Vincent Versace
Patti, our Lens-Artist host, prompts: “This week, we invite you to have fun with motion. Show us images where you froze the action or focused on the moving parts of an image in the foreground or the background. Maybe you discovered techniques like action panning or time lapses. It’s your choice.”
I have to admit that I haven’t experimented very much with using the blur of motion creatively in my photos. I have used slower shutter speeds to suggest flow, but haven’t done anything dramatic with moving the camera while the aperture is open. I also don’t have any post-production software installed that I can play with. When I look at my images, I see either “freeze” or “flow”.
This last image, however, is more of an example of “surprise and fear”! When this tarantula scurried across my path near Battleship Rock in New Mexico, I reached for my camera and snapped a shot without checking the exposure settings.
For me, photography is a precious, sentimental hobby with its origins in a love story. It allows me to delight in the moments of my life and savor them over time.
When I was in high school, I envied friends who were taking photography classes. Their images were so artfully composed and memorable. My boyfriend (who later became my husband) bought me a Canon AE1 for Christmas after we’d been dating a year. My mother wasn’t sure it would be wise for me to accept such an expensive gift at the tender age of 17, but I was absolutely sure this was the perfect gift, and the perfect giver. I really enjoyed taking pictures of my loved ones and the memories we’d made, and kept them close to me when I moved away to college.
When Jim and I married and had our four ridiculously photogenic children, I was the one taking pictures and chronicling our family’s growth and adventures with the very camera he’d bought me that Christmas.
Two years after my 47-year old husband died and our children had left the nest, the mechanism on my Canon that advanced the film jammed. I decided that for my 50th birthday, I would buy a digital camera…another Canon.
At this point, I fell in love with photographing a new subject – Nature. My new and current groove is all about what is out-of-doors.
Of course, I’m still the family photographer and thrill at the opportunity to capture special moments with my favorite humans.
In two weeks, I will be celebrating my 60th birthday. I think I deserve another milestone present in my photography story. I’m thinking that I will either get an 18-300mm lens for my Canon, or a small, tough, travel camera like the Olympus I borrowed and took backpacking last month.
Thanks for listening to my groovy photo story, and thanks, Anne (our host) for asking! I look forward to seeing what other Lens-Artists are exploring with their art.
“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!
My personal world is a bit surreal at the moment. I fell and broke my wrist on a wilderness backpacking trip on Monday. I had to hike two more days to get out to the car and off to a hospital. My hiking buddies were absolute angels, and I have an epic tale to tell. But I don’t have two working hands with which to create photos.
I was hiking a stretch of coastline in Olympic National Park in Washington state. The rainforest of the Pacific Northwest gets an average of 100 inches of rain a year. The trees are giants. The legendary Bigfoot or Sasquatch is said to roam these parts. I would love to have captured him emerging from the fog (or created that impression in a photo), but current limitations make that difficult. So these are very real shots on the theme of Bigfoot, instead.
My attempt at this challenge falls far short. Do visit our host, Tracy, to see Surreal treated well. I wish I had some cheesecake…
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James
What will you be doing with your summer days, my Northern Hemisphere friends? This is the question and the challenge from our guest blogger of the week, Andre of Solaner in Germany. Beginning tomorrow, I will be backpacking along the Coast in Olympic National Park for four days. I am excited – on many levels! It will be a physical challenge, an emotional high, a journey in soulful wilderness, and eventually an unforgettable memory. I’m hoping to have some great pictures to share!
“There is one art of which man should be master, the art of reflection.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Without reflection, photography literally wouldn’t be possible. Without spiritual reflection, photography wouldn’t be meaningful. May the art you create bring you greater awareness, greater light!” I wrote that on my blog of December 22, 2018 in response to Patti’s Lens-Artist challenge that week.
In my March 7, 2020 blog post, I reflected on the changes I had been through during my cross-country pandemic move. I wrote, “Writing in this blog, storing photographs and memories, was a way to plant the seeds of realization. In my words and pictures, I remind myself who I truly am and see who I am becoming.”
This morning, it is Jez who invites the hunt for reflections with an amazing collection of great photo examples. Visit his post HERE.
The opportunity to see double – to revisit, to reflect, to look again from a new perspective – is a great gift. It often reveals treasures overlooked, depth unfathomed. It’s a practice worth repeating, regularly or periodically. New light can emerge from shadows, reflected from sources once obscured.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard