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

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: A River Runs Through It

Lens-Artists Challenge #89: A River Runs Through It

…photos of rivers running down mountains, through valleys, along plains where you are or you have traveled, and we also love to read your stories…

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A river runs through the small town of Exeter, NH.

Known commonly as The Exeter River, it is technically a tidal river originating in the town of Chester – located west of Exeter.

The Exeter River begins in the town of Chester and flows east and north to Exeter where it becomes tidal and changes name to the Squamscott River, before emptying into Great Bay. (DES.NH)

As it enters Exeter, it flows under a bridge behind the main street, lined with local businesses.

river bridge
Entering

Winding its way past downtown, the river picks up a bit of speed.

river2
Picking up speed

Next it flows by a public park where visitors walk or jog along the perimeter.

river
Next to the park

And often pause to rest…on one of the numerous memorial benches donated by local citizens.

river bench
Memorial bench

A peaceful place of refuge.

Layered life

Lens-Artists Challenge #68: Layered

…we invite you to explore Layers. You can include images of buildings, landscapes, seascapes, clouds, etc.

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I am always fascinated to get a glimpse of what goes on in the hidden places. The mysteries of plant life navigating from seed to stem to flower. Or whatever its destiny may be.

The intricate dance of soil, water and nutrients essential for success…seems miraculous.  Tender shoots of life making their way to the sun. Surviving despite obstacles…both nature and human caused.

A cross section of one hidden place was on display recently…when a recent rainstorm dislodged a support wall alongside a brook near the town park.

layers of plants

My first thought was to crop the image to highlight the layers of exposed roots and stones in the center. Then I realized…no, it is all part of a larger and equally complex layered landscape. In a scene that literally stopped me in my tracks during a late afternoon walk.

This brook also travels south and eventually empties into a tidal river that flows behind old brick buildings in the downtown area.

A site for more layers.

There I discovered plant life…layered in glorious fall colors…crawling up, down and across a brick and stone canvas.

layered walls

Stopped in my tracks once again.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire Hydrants

A surprise find for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire Hydrants

 

I was walking downtown yesterday – making my way back from a huge outdoor flea market – on a splintery “boardwalk” along the river. It was low tide in this tidal river and I noticed a huge pipe sticking out of the water. It snaked under the boardwalk path and out to a strip of grass bordering a parking lot.

Much to my surprise…this is what the pipe led to.

hydrant two

If it hadn’t been labeled, I may not have guessed what it was.

Have you ever seen one like this?

 

Hydrant one

 

 

Taking a Break

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #57: Taking a Break

…respond to this week’s challenge by showing how we and/or others “Take A Break”…How many ways can you think of for getting away from the daily grind and finding peace?

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I like to walk. Outside. I will admit I count steps – or at least keep track of them – via an older model fitness tracker I wear every day. No bells, whistles or flashing lights. Just an app on my phone which records how many steps I’ve accumulated. If I can count at least 5,000 in a day I don’t feel like a slug. 10,000 is the elusive goal. It all depends on how I’m feeling. How well various body parts are cooperating.

If nothing else, it motivates me to push back my desk chair, close my laptop, find my walking sneakers and head outdoors. Sometimes I call a friend to go with me – we chat and discuss the world’s problems.

Five years ago, I had a regular walking buddy – also a good friend – who would drive to my house for an afternoon walk. At that time I lived in a quiet neighborhood on a cul-de-sac. A relatively level road. Perfect for walking and talking with minimal huffing and puffing (more for my benefit – my friend, an experienced hiker, slowed her pace down for me).

Since then, she moved to California and I moved out of the house on the cul-de-sac. To a condo a few towns over. The “walking trail” promised by the developer is no trail at all. Just crushed stone gradually being taken over by grass and water runoff from the roof drains.

My steps outside now consist of walking up and down in front of the condo buildings.  I can also turn the corner and walk further into a neighborhood of matching houses…which are really condos. One “active adult community” next to another…but without many active adults visible.

A big change from the old neighborhood. No swing sets. No children on bikes or running to catch a ball. Rarely anyone at all.

Sometimes I drive downtown and walk to the end of the main street to reach the town “parkway” – which isn’t really a parkway like the infamous Garden State Parkway I grew up next to. It’s a quiet two lane road next to a tidal river. Grassy areas on either side of the road. Lined with memorial benches…often filled with locals finishing up their ice cream cones.

And for those of us who need one…a resting spot…to take a break.

parkway benches

The parkway’s sidewalk is next to the river.

Perfect for walking…especially late in the day…

river downtown

It doesn’t get much more peaceful than that.

 

parkway sign