Lens-Artists Challenge #184 – Travel has taught me

Amy says: This week we hope you’ll share some of your travel experiences through our theme “Travel has taught me”. And her opening quote says it so well:

Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.     

~Anthony Bourdain

What is hiding out there, beyond the mountains…?

I have been traveling since I was 16, so, I guess that question wanted some answers… Some of the answers, and something of what travel taught me, I have tried to show in this gallery from our antipodes in New Zealand. Swedish people cannot travel more far away.

Travel taught me that, despite the many differences, there are more likenesses between living beings and cultures, all over the world. We look much the same, we love doing the same things…sunbathing, playing, swimming…and the animals are just like us! Our traditions and religions vary, but at the core, many of them show great likenesses and some have much the same origin. And Love. We love art in all its shapes and form – our species crave it – and fun art too…a good laugh now and then is essential for our wellbeing. Through traveling, we also celebrate our differences – the spice that fuels our sometimes dreary lives!

And small children still like to wave at the train passing, as well as they like to dress up for a masquerade or a Medieval feast.

Above all, travel taught me tolerance and an open mind. That things can be done differently… and still be good. Even if we are good at many things in my own country, there are countries that are much better in several respects and areas – for example New Zealand, with its long standing environmental priorities. A role model for us all.

We must not forget the food – essential to all living beings. Despite all differencies in ingredients, spices and ways of cooking, we love the variety of it. Steam cooking like this I have met in many countries. New Zealand, Iceland, the Azores, the Canary Islands…across the planet we find Mother Earth willing to give us natural ovens and heat to help us making food ready to eat. Be it buried in the ground or in water, volcanic areas usually have both methods. Our Mother is loving and giving…I wish we humans were more loving and giving too – not only taking. Let us leave our marks in good footprints, and learn from life and travel how we can help instead of use, misuse or abuse.

Many thanks to all of you who joined in and shared your beautiful Memorable Events! This way, we were all connected and could feel the magic of everyone’s events. To me, this meant a great deal – there really haven’t been many fun events during the last two years.

This week we are looking forward to seeing your travel experiences, whether to a faraway place or on a local day trip. We also hope you’ll share what you’ve learned along the way. Please link to Amy’s blogpost here and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.  

Next week, John (photobyjohnbo) will lead LAPC #185. The theme is Change – ‘Given that change is inevitable, for this week’s challenge consider change as it applies to you. Maybe it’s the changes in your family over the years, the change of seasons in your favorite park, or even the change in the technology of your camera equipment. In short, what does “change” mean to you? ‘ Be sure to visit John’s site for more.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150 – Wild

Guest host this week, and our natural guide through the wilderness is Dianne Millard of Rambling ranger – ”I don’t want to see groomed gardens or animals in the zoo. No people or signs of people. I want to see and revel in the natural world in your posts. Where’s the wildest place you’ve ever been? Where do you go to let Mother Nature regenerate your spirit?”

Most of you know I am a great nature lover and I always do my best to protect her and … taking only photographs, leaving nothing but footprints.

But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – if only we had eyes to see.

Edward Abbey

Seeing how Dianne lives her life, I can only admire and love her for what she is doing. I share her love of the wilderness, but I guess I was not made for such a tough life that she is living in Alaska… Go see her amazing adventures and photography!

We can all find and love pieces of wilderness at home – but this time I went back to one of my wildest and most loved adventures. Ecuador, the Amazon and Galapagos. I will start like Dianne – with my morning view, of the Napo river.

Every morning after breakfast we went by canoe into the jungle – for a new adventure.

Most significant were the playful monkeys – jumping in the canopy above, curiously swinging down to watch us marvel.
The silence of the gliding canoe, and then all the sounds of the jungle. The diversity in tangled plants and the absolute love and gratefulness of being there… It’s really impossible to describe in words or images, and the feeling impossible to imagine if you haven’t been there yourself.
The light in the darkness under the trees – and us waiting for an anaconda to swim up beside the canoe…
(Luckily?) No anaconda appeared during these days, but every detail was a beautiful gem. Only occasionally it was possible to take decent photos. Low light, no open landscapes, only dense jungle.

Climbing to the top of the canopy, we could hear and see many birds – but from a distance only. We spent our last night high up in a Kapok tree, watching the sunset over the Amazon basin. And I was also enchanted by all the glorious wild orchids residing in the trees.

To really get close encounters with the wild life – we then went for almost a week on a sailing boat to the Galapagos islands.

Here a close-up with one of the most special animals connected to these islands – a giant!

Other special, endemic wildlife here are the Land iguanas –
– and the Marine iguanas. You never forget their faces once you have seen them…
Seals were everywhere of course. This male had a big harem, and he kept a close watch on all the females…

So many adventures we had together, mostly on the water, and incredible close contact with the animals! We met so many lovely faces, and if we only kept a two meter distance, everything was OK. My favourites here are the little yellow warbler and the Mocking bird…they used to come up to me and look me in the eye. The mocking birds tried to steal things from my bag. Paradise is not having to be afraid of one another ♥. We spoke softly together.

Late evening, and both the iguanas and the boobies seemed to love the last rays of sun – just as much as we did.

Every island has its special landscape. Grey, dead trees? Take a closer look…

And every island has its own endemic inhabitants – blending in perfectly. A survival kit we all need.

Thank you so much for sharing last week’s wonderful colours with Tina and the rest of us! And thank you Dianne, for letting me return to another wonderfully wild place on planet Earth. We are looking forward to seeing more wild things, from home or on travels, linked to Diannes original post.

Next week, Patti will be offering LAPC #151, so be sure to check out her site then!  Her theme is From Large to Small.  Pick a colour and take several photos that feature that colour.  Start with a photo of a big subject in that colour (for example, a wall) and move all the way down to a small subject in that same colour (for example, an earring).

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: –Subjects That Begin with the Letter A.

An Alphabet challenge! This week Patti invites us to share images that feature a subject on the letter A. We can also include signs and graffiti with the letter A. For an added challenge, Patti suggests capturing an image that illustrates a concept with the letter A, such as alone, abstract, or afraid. 

I have chosen Art, Arch, Architecture and Abstract.

The Rila Monastery in Bulgaria had me enchanted for many hours – and every time I look at the photos from that day…I remember the surprise that hit me when we entered the courtyard. Silence, and unbelievable beauty in the elaborately handpainted arches.

When it comes to impressive new artwork, one of my greatest favorites are The Kelpies in Scotland. We visited in 2014 when they were just put in place. The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies (shape-shifting water spirits), located near Falkirk, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies were designed by sculptor Andy Scott as a monument to horse-powered heritage across Scotland.

Abstraction indicates ”a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art”. This departure from accurate representation can be slight, partial, or complete. Many abstract sceneries are absolutely natural…while others are manmade. A frosty car mirror in the header and an autumnal lake with reflected leaves above.
David Hockney – ”Me draw on iPad”, Louisiana, Denmark.

Thank you for all your inspirational entries for Tina’s challenge last week! A beautiful highlighting of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

We are looking forward to seeing your new choices – please include a link to Patti’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We hope you will join the fun!

Finally, stay tuned for Amy’s challenge next week – and until then, stay safe and well.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 114 – Negative Space

This week, Amy is our host, and she wants us to show the importance of negative space in our photography. Negative space is the area around the main subject of your photograph. (Which means that your main subject is the positive space) Check out her post, see brilliant examples and learn more about this!

Positive and negative space are two important tools for us to give an enhanced emotional feel to our images, which is essential in photography. Looking forward to seeing your choices!

Negative space is there to give your photos a sense of calmness
…and subtlety.
Well used, negative space provides a natural balance against the positive space in a scene.
But, images can also appear lonely
..or solemn (or funny…)
Most of all, I would say negative space often gives a contemplative beauty to the image, a unique possibility for us to declutter, relax and recover in this jumbled and unruly world.

Our special thanks to Rusha Sams for hosting last week’s Labor of Love. We had so many positive and uplifting experiences of genuine love and care!

Be sure to check out Tina’s Travels and Trifles post next week as she hosts Challenge #115.

And, as always – may you stay safe and well. Our thoughts these days go especially to all of you out there fighting the wild fires.

Thursday Thoughts – Capital Doubles

While in Stockholm for a couple of hours between trains, I had to make the most of it…merging some of the famous buildings together in one image .

Fotografiska is a great place to be – this time exhibiting my favorite Erik Johansson again! As you are not allowed to take any photos, or at least not sending them via internet…

I decided to have some fun outside while walking. How about two amusements parks instead of one? I guess Gröna Lund fans wouldn’t mind!

In ”Chaos” I used one of my best attempts from Stockholm railway station – here is another one. A multitasking transport system?

Anyway I had great fun…but I can assure you I went by a single, ordinary train home to Skåne again.






Thursday Thoughts – The Cats of Kotor

Kotor has got one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns in the Adriatic and is a double Unesco World Heritage Site. No sun when we visited, but still beautiful –

Kroatien Bosnien Herzegovina 590-2

When you visit this old town, you will immediately notice how many cats there are… Lonely Planet even goes so far as featuring Kotor in their Top 10 destinations for cat lovers! So, the Venetian Lion, symbol of the city, has more or less been replaced by a smaller variety – a stray cat.

Today they have dedicated an open square to the cats, and made small houses for them to stay in the park. Even with free WiFi…

The attitude towards cats is said to have developed from folklore, with the Montenegrin people holding the belief that cats saved the town of Kotor. It is reported that in 1918, during the revolt from the Austro-Hungarian navy, the Slav sailors would bring their ships into The Bay of Kotor, and with them, also their cats.

Kotor in those days was plagued by lots of mice, rats and snakes, and the various diseases those animals brought. Thus it became a blessing to have the cats there, to protect the town. And that is why cats have become a symbol of good luck for Montenegro.

Walking through the narrow lanes, I did try to find a dog or two…but the only sign (!) of one was – MILO. My own dog – it’s just that this Milo was a restaurant…

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Yard

For Frank this week. I’d love a yard with trees, leaves, cats – and wine as a roof.

Thursday Thoughts – Off – season

There are many advantages to go on vacation off – season, and we often do. If you do a bit of research on the regional climate before you go, you might have a quiet, beautiful and less stressful visit than during the tourist season. If you are like me – one who doesn’t need to lie on the beach, but prefer quiet walks in beautiful and interesting surroundings – this is a good way to go. And of course, the price-tag is more favourable. Naturally, it is also easier if you are retired, and don’t have to rely on special vacation weeks.

Three weeks before Christmas, we went to the Balkans – and had a great week in one of the otherwise most tourist swarmed places in Europe. We were lucky with the weather, and enjoyed our trip immensely. Good food and many historic places – and peacefulness.

Taking a boat trip is almost always a good thing, to get special views of the city or country you are visiting. In the off – season there are always free seats…


No elbows on deck and no lost photos  – or cameras…You feel like you are the only person there. And the boat was even made just for you…to relax and enjoy your stay.

This little islet, Sveti Stefan, is a world famous place – a place for movie stars and celebrities, all nationalities. Many famous people stay at this 5-star hotel resort for a while, to enjoy the company of other stars and the exclusiveness of living away from Hollywood or wherever you belong. It is situated on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro.

Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Ingemar Stenmark, and Kirk Douglas are some of the well known people who have visited the islet. As you can see, the windows are closed, and there is nobody there this time of the year.

So, if you love solitude more than elbowing, don’t need hot beaches and want a neat price tag, you might give it a try!

Off – season is the way to go – at least for me.