Lens-Artists Challenge: A Photo Walk

Lens-Artists Challenge #117: A Photo Walk

You are invited to share your photo walk, whether park, beach or street.

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Every walk I take usually ends up as a “photo walk,” transforming most walks into their own photo diaries. I often head towards the beautifully landscaped neighborhood next to mine. It consists of single homes which are part of a condo development. A pond, located in one curve of the road, supplies water for potential firefighting purposes (I think).

Photo opportunities have been plentiful along this street, but not just for the flowers. It has also been the home of various wildlife – both winged and webbed.

Back in May I attempted to photograph a duck family making its way across the pond. Little did I know that by September the water level would be reduced to a fraction of what it once was. A drought has hit the northeast United States (in this case New Hampshire) and sights like this are becoming more and more common.

As we all know…what a difference a few months can make.

No more ducks, fish, turtles or frogs when I pass by. I wonder, where did they go? 😦

Not all wildlife is gone however. A family of deer (looks like a family to me) and I meet at a bend in the road every so often. In August, I was mesmerized as – after the first one stared at me for about 30 seconds – they crossed one by one to the woods on the other side, bringing to mind the age old question…

Why did the deer cross the road?

I must clarify…they actually sauntered across the road, not seemingly in any big hurry. I’d like to think they’d seen me before and figured a human with camera in hand was a safe bet. They hung out in their destination spot for a few minutes…too hidden from view for another photo.

This bright autumn display greeted me during a walk last week. Fortunately I took the picture when I did, as the leaves had totally fallen within days of this photo.

Another photo walk complete.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Symmetry

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #116: Symmetry

This week, we invite you to explore Symmetry as a way to create dramatic and impactful images.  Show us your images that use vertical, horizontal and/or radial symmetry. 

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Symmetry is…calming. Nice and orderly. Perhaps predictable.

Gee…what’s been missing for the last 6 months?

When I read Patti’s description of symmetry as it relates to photography, I realized many of my favorite shots inadvertently head in that direction.

For instance…horizontal symmetry is illustrated below. A walk with a friend one afternoon prompted…I have to stop and take a picture of this!

There was just something about the scene that drew me in…

Exeter River, Exeter, NH

Many walks in the woods behind my condo building are made possible by a long dirt path littered with stones, leaves, twigs and errant branches. It becomes muddy in Spring (although not this year, as we are experiencing a drought) and icy in Winter.

A few months from now, when the trees are bare, much more space will open up and the path will appear to widen. But now…with leaves just beginning to drop and colors starting to turn from green to yellow to red to orange to brown…it feels just right to me.

Vertical symmetry…

During one of those walks in May, I spotted a row of leaves, which to my eye appeared to be waiting in line. Hanging out – all fresh and new – ready for Summer, which was fast approaching.

Their veins exhibited nature’s predictable patterns in impressive detail.

Perhaps symmetry within symmetry?…

And then there are flowers. I discovered a plethora of socially distant sunflowers during recent gotta-get-out-of-the-house visits to a local farm this summer. One day I was lucky enough to find a bee who would hold still. Bonus!

Radial Symmetry Sunflower

Last, but not least, a small town baseball field captured my attention back in August. Empty no doubt because of local restrictions on gatherings…but ready nonetheless.

Vertical Symmetry
Play Ball…Please

From Camp to Kites

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away. 

Eudora Welty

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This post inspired by two challenges this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #115: Inspiration

We look forward to seeing your thoughts and images on what inspires YOU.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #113: How It All Started

…think back to those moments that changed your life. No need to use the prompt; just demonstrate how β€œit” started.

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I was only 10 years old when I got my first camera. And fell in love with photography. I don’t remember the circumstances of who gave me the camera or why. I just thought it was cool (or as we used to say back then…”Keen!”…”Sharp!”) and I’ve never been without one since.

My first attempts at photography – with a Kodak Brownie camera and black & white film – manifested as square blurry images of trees, lean-tos, and other 10 year olds at Girl Scout camp. Hard to believe that a week of rustic living became a defining moment in my life as a photographer, but I guess it did. This despite my most vivid memory being the latrines (just plywood for seats, people – I mean seriously?) and how I dreaded making the trip to That Building (no pictures, sorry).

It was also where I discovered (after the film was developed) that when I held the camera on the lean-to railing the blurring disappeared…

Over time, I slowly improved at steadying the camera and moved on to capturing my younger siblings when they least expected it. As the years went by I became the family photo historian by default. Even more so when I advanced to color film! Very exciting.

My friends knew I would always show up with a camera as the unofficial keeper of the memories. Even at a young age I became acutely aware of how quickly life – and people – could change. It became very important – for me at least – to preserve what I could. I do remember feeling all of that. Which kind of astounds me now.

Oh…and it was fun.

I was 14 Β½ when my 4th and youngest sibling was born and he became a willing subject for photography practice. Never mind that he was exceedingly cute and followed me around constantly. I was “in charge” of him most of the time so taking pictures was easy.

The photographs I took at college and summer jobs are best left off the internet, but they are definitely treasured keepsakes.

I graduated to a Canon SLR camera shortly after I got married and burst onto the taking-pictures-of-my-children-at-every-milestone-possible scene. They were my inspiration for decades and have appeared in many blog posts, so I will restrain myself from adding them in here. Same goes for my grandson, who is now 4 and very comfortable getting his picture taken as a child of the smartphone generation.

However, now (accompanied by a Canon DSLR camera) I am also inspired by the ordinary…what’s outside my window…down the path into the woods…winding around that chain link fence. The mesmerizing waves at the beach. I am constantly looking up and down and to the side…not in as much of a hurry as I used to be.

The best photo moment – for me – still springs from the unexpected…no matter what (or who) the subject happens to be.

Last week I was able to return – after several months of Covid restrictions – to walk along the water’s edge at Hampton Beach. The tourist season is over. Crowds are gone. The parking rules have been relaxed. I couldn’t resist the trip on such a beautiful…sunny…blue sky windy day. Even with a mask on, it was worth it.

As I made my way across the sand to walk back along the street, I spotted something bright in the sky.

Off came the lens cover.

It wasn’t the surf or the rocks or what usually fascinates me about the beach.

I had to get a closer shot.

I set the camera on what I call Grandson Mode or Freezing the Action Mode.

And I was off…

Hampton Beach, NH

And…by the way…it is still fun.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Negative Space

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #114: Negative Space

This week we will explore negative space in photography. Negative space is the area around the main subject of your photograph. This space is empty or unoccupied. 

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Negative space shows up in many of my photographs.

I like to use it to accent flowers as they wait for the afternoon sun to make an entrance in the dining room.

And then…many shots later…the fun with editing begins. Sometimes by altering the surrounding space around the image.

I will attempt to use one of the (sliding) block editor features to compare two different versions.


Well, that’s the magic “before and after” block for what it’s worth! (never mind how long it took to get that to work, but there it is)

Negative space also shows up when I am taking pictures looking down:

…when I’m looking up:

And when I’m looking out the window of an airplane (hard to remember those anymore)…looking forward to Christmas with my family.

December 2019
Logan Airport, Boston MA

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Labor of Love

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

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When you are only 13 years old and decide to sew a patchwork quilt for your parents, it’s a labor of love. That’s what my daughter did 25 years ago amidst her very busy life as a middle school student.

She sewed our Christmas gift that year (and I think it took all year!)…by machine and by hand and presented her father and me with a quilted king sized bedspread, which has lasted to this day.

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Christmas Day 1995

Lens-Artists Challenge: Pick a Word

Lens-Artists Challenge #112: Pick a Word.

Pick a word and illustrate it with a photo! Choose one (1) word or more – choose all of them if you like! The words available are the following:

Comfortable, Growing, Tangled, Crowded, Exuberant

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What could be more comfortable than a choice spot on the beach?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coronado Beach, California

I did a double take during a walk in March when I noticed a vine (or another tree) growing around…a tree! I had never seen anything like it before. As you can see in the lower portion of the photo, the vine actually grows right into the tree. Apparently both still alive. Co-existence in nature…

wraparound tree & vine

Also in March, I discovered a display of tangled vines and such. Perhaps a signal of the bizarre times just beginning…

tangled crowded vines

Last but not least, I was treated to an exuberant crowd of zinnias on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont last year…

crowded exuberance

I missed being able to make the trip again this summer to such a beautiful destination. When I said to my husband last September we can take more photos next summer!, I had no idea what I was taking for granted.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Everyday Objects

Lens-Artists Challenge #111: Everyday Objects

…we’re challenging you to take another look at everyday objects and see them from a new perspective…

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vase

It’s not often one admires a vase without the flowers or single bud on display. But this vase does fine all alone. It originally belonged to my mother-in-law (a gift from my husband to her years before I knew him). I am glad we saved it. It reminds me of her.

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baking tools

This pie pan had been my mother’s, but originally was passed down to her from her grandmother. If I remember correctly. Add in the peeler and corer and you’re halfway (well almost halfway) to making an apple pie.

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watches old & new

Last but not least…going way back in the way-back machine…these are my wristwatches. I’ve been wearing a watch since I was at least 5 years old beginning with this Mickey Mouse watch. I don’t imagine I could really tell time when I first wore it, but the significance of knowing the time took root in my psyche. Which Mickey has frozen forever at 6:36.

The watch I wear now is a simple Timex with one of those twistable bands. Every few years I need a new one, but otherwise it does what it’s supposed to do. I glance down and know the time.

It is truly my most “everyday object.”

Lens-Artists Challenge: Sanctuary

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

This week we invite you to share what Sanctuary means to you, where you find it or how you create your place of calm and healing.

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“Preserve, within a wild sanctuary, an inaccessible valley of reverie.”

Ellen Glasgow

sanctuary path
June 2020

Since the pandemic started, the Squamscott River that runs through Exeter, NH has been my sanctuary of sorts. The town “parkway” runs next to it and has been closed to traffic since March. Walkers have been able to go “one way” on the sidewalk and “one way” back on the street towards downtown. Social distance and all.

It is peaceful and calming…and what more could I ask for during these times?…

Unsure of what’s to come…

window sanctuary
August 2020

A chance to step back from life’s new realities.

sanctuary river
July 2020

Reflect on what remains to give comfort.

sanctuary reach
August 2020

A sanctuary…a safe place.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Winter

Lens-Artists Challenge#107: Winter

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

Edith Sitwell

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Winter brings back the cold. Reliable get-out-the-thick-sweaters cold. Gotta put on a coat before stepping outside cold. Hats and gloves cold.

Most of the time, however, this season of cold shows off…with spectacular displays of snow. My favorite time is right after a snowfall…while it is still fresh and new.

snow maple

Before the city plows started piling it up at the end of our driveway…

snowplow

That’s how I remember winter days back when we owned a house with a driveway and a walkway and a deck. Where the oh-so-beautiful snow couldn’t remain where nature dropped it. When we had to shovel and snowblow and move it out of the way.

snow deck

Color exploded in the sky our last Christmas at the house where we lived for over 36 years.

sunset69
December 2015

Along with Christmas comes a gathering together of family. Complete with holiday lights and decorations.

Winter also brings about changes at the beach – the sand is groomed into hills to guard against storm surges. At least that’s what the hippy guy from town told me – who I crossed paths with the day I took this picture.

winter beach
Hampton Beach, NH – January 2020

A January walk in the woods isn’t totally devoid of color…if you look closely…

winter berries

And last…but not least…in my growing family winter always meant…
…are you ready for some basketball? 

Both of my children played for their high school teams and enjoyed it immensely. As did my husband and I…watching and enthusiastically cheering in the comfort of a heated gym.

Box Out! πŸ€ Defense! πŸ€ Go Team! πŸ€

Lens-Artists Challenge: Autumn

Lens-Artists Challenge #106: Autumn

…share your images of this season.  What does autumn look like in your part of the world?  What does this season mean to you personally? 

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Autumn marks time until the cold darkness of winter arrives…as each day rewards us by unveiling ever-changing shades of yellows, oranges and reds.

Along with greens stubbornly hanging on from summer.

A feast for the eyes.

twisted tree

The line of trees along my street pop with color, one by one.

fall road

Halloween, my favorite holiday, happens in Autumn. There’s no pressure for gifts or elaborate meals. It’s just all about fun and make-believe. Since moving to a condo, I miss the trick or treaters and those knocks on the kitchen door. Little upturned faces covered with makeup and masks…the scary or beautiful or silly masks that have holes made especially for mouths and noses. I absolutely delighted in their joy as the doorbell rang over and over from 5 to 8 pm.

halloween pumpkin064

Autumn also means it’s time for annual fall festivals…including a very special one that I attended last year. It is cancelled for 2020.

fall festival
Apple Harvest Day
Dover, NH
October 2019

Eventually all the leaves turn brown…

brown leaf

…and at the end of a late September day – if you’re lucky – you witness a blaze of gold in a grocery store parking lot…

fall parking lot 2

…in the Autumn.