Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favourite Photos of 2020

Our team is back and we wish you welcome to 2021. This New Year comes with much hope for the future. Maybe more than ever –

It was as if the land opened its lips and breathed again, and was made anew.
― Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Our “Favorite Images of the Year ” challenge will be a bit different – as this whole year, 2020, has been different. No visits to foreign lands or faraway places. Instead it opens for images that tell something of our own journey for 2020. For me, this year meant living in my bubble, struggling to stay reasonably sane. So much less camera…and so much less energy – but still, here’s my year through lens and sense.

I begin with my absolute favourite image for 2020 – the broken window with wine leaves and the last rays of sun. From here I will travel backwards in time, down to when it all started, somewhere in January/February.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
― Oprah Winfrey

A friend of mine said to me, ”…this image is like a symbol of 2020: restriction and restraint for everything beautiful.” Maybe so, but, being a person who constantly seeks beauty, I will always try to find it, and to portray it – no matter what.
Letting ourselves and the dogs as free as possible – giving room and space for more uplifting thinking. We are fortunate to live near nature and the possibility to spend several hours a day in the great outdoors.
One of the few sunny minutes this autumn. For several years I have tried to catch this road in its Autumn glory – and finally, the golden moment arrived. Unfortunately this happened on one of my ”low” days, so, I felt… nothing of the expected joy. Still, here it is – the once much longed for image…
This year brought many opportunities for close-ups and macro photography – finding new worlds in small spaces. Never has William Blake’s words rung more true to me:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

And Eternity in an hour

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Lao Tzu

In September my mother left us. Unexpectedly and unforeseen. And Autumn darkness at the door. After the funeral I went from feeling low to feeling exhausted and powerless. No recharging at hand. Even on our hikes I seldom brought my camera.

And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

A highlight in the autumn darkness was the visit to IFÖ center and the artists’ studios there. I brought my camera… Creativity is contagious – not dangerous.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero

My garden was a special joy this summer. And I finally got my glasshouse – hopefully there will be new plants in spring!
The beginning is always today.—Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

New life is slowly growing where my forest once was. I clearly remember this uplifting day watching the clouds sailing low, like cottonballs dropped from the sky.
NO treat beats an outing with my daughter and son.
This year I discovered the swirl through some other bloggers – and loved juggling with it. I even made a none favourite animal look more handsome. (Still not a favourite though…) So, swirling became a distraction from the nightmare situation in the world.
Every moment is a fresh beginning. —T.S. Eliot

A new hiking area – we walked all familiar areas and even some new ones this Spring. Nothing compares to Mother Nature when it comes to healing. A sunny day, open fields, lovely old houses – the closest we could get to an ordinary day and a normal life.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran

In the sandy soil of southwestern Skåne…you will find the most beautiful of spring flowers – the Pasqueflower. Only about 7 centimeters high, but abundant here. It felt comforting to lie down and touch the earth, knowing it is still there…

I was fortunate to attend a spectacular event – letting two young Eurasian eagle-owls take off for freedom! And how I wished I could just fly away with them.
Waiting for the train in Stockholm. On that train home from Umeå, I learned about the new Corona virus’ arrival in the world. Everything turned sci-fi, and I was shivering to the bones. My husband was traveling somewhere in Asia, and I texted him to return home immediately.

A lovely winter’s morning before the world changed… before everything we knew as normal was … gone.

In retrospect, I realize I have made more images than I knew of… despite this invisible invader and its impact on all our lives. Now we can only wish the vaccine will help us come back to easier and brighter days. The wiser. The first thing I would do… is go to a café for a nice cup of coffee and a tasty piece of cake – and quietly sit down to watch smiling people passing by.

We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest hosted by Slow Shutter Speed’s Anne Sandler. Do stop by her blog this week to see her beautiful photography and don’t miss her post next Saturday at noon EST.

May 2021 bring peace, health, and happy moments to us all. We look forward to seeing Your favorite images of 2020 and understanding why you’ve chosen them. Please link them to Tina’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our challenge and the inventive creativity of your responses.

Lens-Artists Challenge #128 – And Here Comes the Holiday Season…

A strange, surreal Holiday Season. For many of us, it will be very different from earlier years.

I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year?

For me, the holidays are all about Christmas – memories of Christmases gone by and what Christmas really, essentially means to me. What traditions can still be kept this year, and what will I have to let go of…

Well, let us begin… be my guest!

”So this is Christmas…” – John Lennon and Yoko Ono – is always present when we are decorating the Christmas tree. In Sweden we celebrate Christmas, even though not many of us are truly religious. But the message is much the same – Imagine… Wishes for Peace and Harmony. Caring for family and each other – Love for everything living. Gratitude.

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To me, Christmas also means discussing, listening to music and playing games together. Happy music, classical music, religious music…

Street music, Lodz
Piano a’ la Yayoi Kusama

Candle light was made for these the darkest days of winter. Lights in our windows are glowing the whole day – to chase the darkness away. Today’s sunrise was 8.34 AM – and sunset 15.35 PM. No complaining when I compare to my daughter Emma’s situation in Umeå: 9.27 AM and 13.45 PM. (But where I live, the sun has not shown its face for the last two months.)

Adding – just listening to the news it seems people are decorating their houses double up this year – I too bought new lights for the path up to our door…75 meters!

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha

So far, these holidays look much the same as every year. But, Imagine Covid19 was over and gone …. then more of the happy celebrating would come alive – Going to Denmark for delicious food, coffee and cake, attending Christmas markets, traveling to beautiful places, finding snow again – at least for the Christmas card photos… and having the youngsters back for baking, laughing and pottering!

Luckily we Will have three youngsters here with us this holiday season – which makes me truly happy. Corona safe, no hugging or kissing. I know many families with mixed generations have booked barbecue places to eat outdoors in recreation areas. A very good idea.

The greatest differences will be the lack of hugs and kisses. And, our mother and grandmother will not be here with us to celebrate. Her photo is standing where she used to sit at the table, with a candle lit by her side. Maybe she Is watching us somehow, from somewhere. I’d like to think she is.

The much longed for light will slowly return, starting with the Winter Solstice, December 21. This year has made it crystal clear just how much we have to be grateful for – and how little we can take for granted.

Please include a link to my post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We look very much forward to seeing your creative work!

Special thanks to Amy for her beautiful “Precious Moments.” And thank You for sharing with us so many positive and loving moments! Smiles and tears in a beautiful mix.

Finally we send our deepest and most grateful Thank You to you all for being an endless inspirational resource this special year, 2020. Hopefully we have helped each other stay reasonably sane in a crazy world. I want to close with John Lennon’s words in:

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

………………………………………..

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

……………………………………….

– someday soon we hope this invisible enemy, Corona and Covid19, will be defeated too –

Have you seen these:

KFBuchsbaum posted a Christmas card treasure

Big and small moments with Mei-Mei of Jedi by Night

Get starstruck at David M’s Photoblog

Announcement:  We’ll be on break until January 2nd at which point our theme will be Favorite Photos of 2020.

Short Note: There have been issues with WP pingbacks not working. If you don’t receive a reply or a comment from us, please let us know.

Thursday Thoughts – Winter Memories

Today we went to the forest again, dreaming of frosty days and snow …

Like it was only two years ago – Milo and I could walk forever…
I cannot tell you how much I miss that crispy air…
… and the powdery snow

Milo was a youngster – I think it must have been a long time ago…

Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Now and then – Then and now

Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
― L.M. Montgomery

Amy is our host, and she says: ”For our challenge this week we’d like you to tell us about your perspective on now vs then – it could be before and after the pandemic or any other changes you have experienced.” See her perspective on what the current changes can bring to everyday life!

As I was contemplating what major differences there are in my own life now, compared to a few years ago, some things stand out very clearly to me. I will try letting the images tell most of the story, as you change between Then and now, Now and then in my series. ( A new possibility with the block editor – but you have to go to my site to see it. I found out it doesn’t show in the reader …) Somehow I wish it was just as easy to mend things that are broken…

Due to climate change, our winters here in Sweden are very different from those we had only a couple of years ago. These two images are from November 2017 and November 2020.

Two of my best loved hiking trails have been destroyed. The forest is down. Colourful grasses are now taking over, and soon the old stumps will be totally hidden in the new vegetation.

Traveling is no longer an option, due to Covid19 and the pandemic. But, also in order to save the world from more air pollution. Instead of exploring exciting new places abroad, this autumn we built my much longed for glasshouse, where we greatly enjoy a quiet lunch every day.

Ever since I was a child, the forest has been my second home. I usually walk for hours every day, often in the company of my mother and my dogs (in this photo, Mille and Totti). In Spring we always pick wood anemonies and have ”fika” with coffee and cakes in the warm sunshine. Mille left us 2014 and my mother, this unruly year, 2020.

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees
and changing leaves.

― Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)

Changes are obvious to us all this year… and now we are looking forward to seeing Your perspective! Don’t forget to include a link to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find you in the WP Reader. Next week, Tina will be our host for Challenge #125 on November 28th. Be sure to visit her site.

Lastly – Thank you for sending us so many delightful walks through neighbourhoods all over the world! It has been an adventurous week, a glorious and expressive week. As always – We are grateful that you want to share your world so generously.

Thinking of you who are celebraing Thanksgiving, and to all of us – Take care, stay warm, loving and safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

Winter? Now? Totti would have loved it!

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.
John Steinbeck

Lake Taupo, New Zealand. Christmas Eve, 2011

Winter is not the same in any corner of the world…and maybe most significant is the difference when you compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere.  – So, your winter is not mine, my winter is not yours.

Let’s enjoy the differences! Being different and different experiences give us more strength and brings variety to our lives. This week – Winter rules.

I decided to get nostalgic about this theme – as our winters have changed much over the years since I was a child…even in the last ten years, three years, year… Climate change has also made every season more unpredictable. We live in changing times in all aspects. A bit of nostalgia comes over me quite often these days – I guess you might feel the same?

For many years we went skiing every winter, in Dalarna, Sweden. We always stayed in Fryksås, at an old mountain farm – or Shieling (Scottish Gaelic) – overlooking Lake Orsa.

Mille, our first Lagotto (Milo look-a-like, isn’t he?) was a cone collector…he could easily run with 5 (five) cones in his mouth without dropping a single one. He loved going to Fryksås every year – knowing he could play around every day in that cold snow.

The last time we rented one of these 18-19th century cottages, was in 2010. No electricity, no lamps, no technical devices…Only open fires, candle light, reading, playing card games and board games. Knitting, crocheting, discussing… The children (18 and 20 by then – and still loving this concept!) slept in the beautifully painted box-beds.

In Skåne, where I live, (the most southern part of Sweden), winters used to have at least a month of snow, and skiing was often possible. Today’s winters offer only forest walks. And this last winter, for the first time in my life, we had no snow at all.

– And no ice breaking up, letting the brooks sing and the smooth, velvety stones reflect the sun. But I am deeply grateful that we all have these wonderful memories – and that the children share them too. We still talk about going to Fryksås again. Together. Just the four of us. Maybe some day…

 

Announcement: We are happy to welcome Xenia of Tranature as our Guest Host for August 1 !

And thank you, Patti, for hosting a beautiful Autumn week! Thank you for so many colourful and beautiful posts from friends all over the world!

Despite the fact that winter will come to all of us – whether we like it or notwe are looking forward to seeing Your Winter! Meanwhile – stay safe and well out there.

 

Have you seen these:

Thursday Thoughts – Friends

We had our yearly outing at Wanås castle, Viveka and I. Finally. This is something we look forward to every year – and even this ”lost” year,  2020, we made it happen.

 

Much of the art work and installations are the same, but each year there are new interesting artists and art on display. The forest linen and the mirror barn 2020.

These days the importance of friends is even more highlighted. What would our distanced lives be without them? And we can still visit exhibitions that are mostly outdoors.

Viveka (of Myguiltypleasures) is an inspirational and avid photographer, and her Oscar is always going warm when we are out. So, what is she photographing now?

 

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Laetiporus sulphureus – or sulphur shelf. A very beautiful species of fungus growing on tree trunks and branches.

You can easily lose sight of Viveka as she often gets lost in her photography – but there is one unmistakable sign that helps me finding her again…her bag. Her striped bag. Whose bowels contain anything needed for a day out…including Oscar.

https://www.wanaskonst.se/sv-se/ Artist: Kimsooja, South Korea

A friend to go on adventures with, a friend to chat with, and to share your thoughts with, a friend to hold your hand when you need it. Even virtually.

Thank you, Viveka, for being my friend – and Cheers – for future adventures together!