Lens-Artists Challenge #152 – Shades and Shadows

Time for a simple, but hopefully enjoyable challenge for this week – Shades and Shadows. As the weather is fairly hot over here now, you can guess why I chose this theme. Of course it can be interpreted less literally, but as always you are free to surprise us!

In Sweden, and some other countries, we only have one single word for this…so, a neat illustration will start this week’s challenge!

An old friend of mine had his own sleeping preferences …always in the shade. This was one of Totti’s early morning surprises. He was in his prime, agile, loving and sweet.

Skógafoss, Iceland, where late evening light made long shadows and magnificent yellows.

In the Morockan desert, the tiny scarab shows an equally tiny shadow while he is scuttling between sun and shade.

We are still in Morocko, where the narrow alleys and harsh sunlight of Marrakesh makes for both shade and shadows. And difficulties for a photographer.

Finally, an image with not many contrasts, but subtle shadows and shades let the pink/cream coloured sandstone come alive. I loved this moment that suddenly turned up while looking up a side street. That cat owns the area.

Thank you, Patti, for a thought provoking, fun and diffferent challenge last week! We had great fun enjoying your creative posts! Hope to see you this week too under the Lens-Artists tag.

Finally, stay tuned for Amy’s hosting next week, and please be safe and kind.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #151: From Large to Small

Patti invites us this week, for a different challenge. ”…pick a color and select several photos that feature that color. Start with a photo of a big subject in that color (for example, a wall) and move all the way down to a small subject in that same color (for example, an earring).” She reminds us of size constancy and the importance of easily recognizable objects for comparing. You will see some of this in my images, but in some there are no perfect objects for comparing.

So, should I go for my favourite – green, or…no, I think I will choose white! And I will tweak it my way.

I could make it easy for me and choose a B&W image – surely there will be much of white in it…

But, I don’t think that is what was expected of me. Instead I will chose a fluffy arctic white cotton grass.

The flower itself is not big, but together they make a massive impression.

And another massive explosion – of tiny water violets – makes for an almost whimsical White view… So, many small dots will finally conjure up that big wall.

Anyhow, let’s leave the wall for now, and go to the white skies over the old whaling station,

and lichen in spots. To me, white is still the dominating impression. But, are the houses Hobbit size under that big sky and can you hold the stone in the palm of your hand?

In this picture, white is no longer the main colour impression – but, the church is still a Big building…

Ribwort Plantain is a resident of my garden since long, and as a child I used to lie down in the grass, dreaming it was a star with plenty of planets swirling around it. Or a satellite sailing in the wind, the little white dots fluttering and flying in their own universe. I still love this plant, it always puts a smile on my face.

So, how is the relationship between large and small…how do we interpret what the concept says compared with the impression through our eyes? I do know one thing, that great walls are not only built of big bricks…but also of tiny and seemingly inconspicuous things. And That, is good to know.

Thank you, Patti, for a thought provoking, fun and diffferent challenge! Don’t forget to visit Patti and her inspiring site – and we hope to see you there under the Lens-Artists tag.

Special thanks also to Dianne Millard for hosting the Let’s Get Wild challenge last week. Her love of nature is passionate, as well as her photography. We were all entranced by your “wild” and wonderful photos.

Next week I will be hosting, at Leya’s, in LAPC #152. Until then, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

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 #Cool Colours – Blue and Green

For Tina this week, Cool Colours – let’s explore some ways the cooler colors appear in our world. Personaly, I prefer warmer tones, so they are my start and finish in this collection.

Flowers in this combination offer my senses great delight… But, get a bit cooler and land on a blue-green halfmoon…

…and you will have a great view of a beautifully dressed woman in a theatre in Denmark.

Back in Sweden again, how about an enchanting ”bracelet” made of glass from Tiffany lamps?

Or why not accompany some cool dinosaurs in the biggest stone pond in Europe?

When my adventurous senses have been satisfied –

I think I will settle for a late evening meadow in the vicinity of my home…
…or maybe rather a sunny walk in one of our national parks.

Blue and green go so well together, don’t they? Please go to Tina’s cool post for more inspiration!

Thank you for all your magical Spots and Dots last week – you really came up with the most creative and surprising posts! And I do believe you had fun with it – and so had we!

We hope you also enjoy this week’s Cool Colors and will join us with your own examples. Please remember to link your response to Tina’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Finally, next week we’re excited to announce that our challenge will be hosted by Dianne Millard of Rambling Ranger. Be sure to check out her beautiful blog and watch for her post next week. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #148 – Spots and Dots

In one sentence, I’d describe myself as indescribable. But, I wouldn’t end it with a period. I’d end it with three dots. – Jason Schwartzman

My intension with this challenge, Spots and Dots, is … that you should have fun with it! But, also recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference. In the written language for example.

Louis Braille created the code of raised dots for reading and writing that bears his name and brings literacy, independence, and productivity to the blind. – Bob Ney

It is said people with brilliant minds are eccentric, and 92-year-old Yayoi Kusama is no exception — she is obsessed with dots. Her dots may appear boring, but she has this incredible ability to create enchanting artwork of many variations with just the dots. I visited one of her exhibitions in Copenhagen some years ago – and totally fell in love with her art.

What about spots then? We all have spots, weak spots, blind spots etc. Here I spotted two quotes that I like – and use:

A leopard does not change his spots, or change his feeling that spots are rather a credit. – Ivy Compton-Burnett

Do not look at stars as bright spots only. Try to take in the vastness of the universe. – Maria Mitchell

Talking about favourite spots, one of them is my own garden. Found with Forget-me-not spots in the header. And, another favourite spot is Copenhagen with its many attractions. Not least the exhibitions. Only an hour and a half away from my home – but at the moment inaccessible. How I miss the regular summer visit with my friends!

Finally, about connecting dots for an important whole – listen to Ban Ki-moon:

Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.

Thank you Amy, for last week’s beautiful challenge – Gardens. And thank you all for your lush, soothing and spectacular posts! There were many places to note down for a possible future visit. Hope to see you in this week’s challenge as well – very open for creativity! Don’t forget to link to my original post, and the Lens-Artists tag. Also, stay tuned for next week, when Tina will be your host. Take care and be nice.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147 – Gardens

This week Amy has set a beautiful challenge – Gardens. Normally this would have meant so much joy for me to put together, but time and life is bringing too many changes and challenges right now.

Anyhow, here we go – I decided to once again visit my favourite garden – I call it the Garden of My Dreams – because it is, in more than one sense. For its abundant beauty, biodiversity and – for it being lost and is no more.

The old couple who owned it, travelled the world for rare plants and brought them home to their garden in the forest.
I used to visit now and then, and they always loved a quiet chat and a walk through their Paradise. The little old man was an avid birder as well, and he put up homes for the birds in his garden as well as in the forest. He also banded the birds and tracked them every year. So… whenever I post on such a little home, you can be almost sure it was made by his hard working hands.

Now, let’s enjoy a nostalgic walk from the past together. And remember, these wonders are just a few of what this amazing garden would offer!

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me.

Sincere thanks to all who responded to last week’s Focus on the Details challenge. We enjoyed every detail you offered and hope you will share more for this week’s challenge. Please be sure to link your response to Amy’s lovely original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you in our reader. Wishing all the moms a Happy Mothers’ Day filled with love and beauty.

Next week, I, Leya, will be your host. I wish you all a calm and peaceful weekend.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #146: Focusing on the Details

This week, Patti invites us to join in for LAPC #146, Focusing on the Details. We can include photos of details from one subject (a person, a place, an object) or many subjects.

The beauty of life is in small details, not in big events – Jim Jarmusch

I want to take you along with me to a 10x10m area along this trail. Maybe it doesn’t seem to have much of interest…looks rather empty except for the trees, doesn’t it… But, let’s start looking for details – and this time I know what I am looking for.

The first details I see are these late blooming twigs…and I notice that the trunks reflecting in the water, show the sandy waves at the bottom of the creek instead of the patterns on the trunks.

What we are looking for in this forest is the fiddlehead fern or ostrich fern, 100–170 cm (39–67 in) tall and 20–35 cm (7.9–13.8 in) broad, long-tapering to the base but short-tapering to the tip, so that they resemble ostrich plumes. They would have been very difficult to find if last year’s leaves hadn’t been sticking up like brown feathers.

They are giving me the fern look…- I am being watched. They know I will soon be coming for them, because these ferns are edible, and absolutely delicious. It’s the only edible fern in Sweden. Here, in this wet area, they grow abundantly and in a couple of weeks, they will cover the whole forest floor below the trees. They should be picked when new and fresh, like the tallest ones in my images. Boil and eat, maybe with some delicious meat…soon!

Details are important, always.

A special thanks to Priscilla of Scillagrace for her fabulous Getting to Know You! challenge last week. As always, your posts were varied, surprising, delightful, and inspiring. On Saturday, May 8, Amy will host LAPC #147, so be sure to visit her beautiful and thoughtful site for more inspiration.

Until then, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

Priscilla of Scillagrace is our lovely guest host this week: ”The artist’s gaze, the photographer’s eye, when cast on a subject begins a relationship.” And from then on, the road leads to Getting to Know You.

When I was young and just had met my husband to be, I did not know much about the part of Sweden he originally came from, Blekinge. All I knew was the great number of oaks living there – and as I always was a tree lover, I was looking forward to seeing them. The Oak Tree was later voted the Province Tree of Blekinge.

Of course I fell in love with the landscape – forests, farmland, water and a renowned and prize winning park.
Many walks and many beautiful views – I never get tired of the Park in Ronneby Brunn with its numerous grand Rhododendrons.
Our summer house is an old fisherman’s cottage.
I have come to love it very much, and Midsummer is spent with the family here every year.
Ronneby is an old (700 BC) summer town – called the town of roses. The cobbled streets are steep and every house is adorned with roses in one way or the other.
We have got to know many lovely friends in Blekinge – some surprises as well…
To my great joy, our garden is filled with wild flowers, just like home, but different species from where we ordinary live. The soil is more sandy here as it is close to the sea.
The warm evenings are filled with walks and late evening swims. The swims mostly for the children and the youngsters nowadays…
I have also learned to love the sunsets in Blekinge. As we have no sea close to where we ordinary live, this is a special treat.

I know, I have learned much about Blekinge, and I have come to love it very much.

Thank you Tina, and all of you interesting participants, for last week’s Taking Flight. A great variety and so much fun! We hope you will join us this week for Priscilla’s inspiring “Getting to Know You Challenge.” Please visit her site for the details of the challenge and see her expressive and beautiful photos.

Next week, it’s Patti’s turn to lead the challenge. Next Saturday at noon, welcome to the “Focusing on the Details” challenge. Until then, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

Birds, butterflies, bees and other insects, airplanes, balloons, bubbles, kites….well, this week, Tina invites us to be creative and choose whichever flying objects that catches our imagination and our lens. Go to her amazingly beautiful post to visit Kiawah!

I don’t have a perfect long lens, so I will stick with the Galapagos Islands, where you have no need for a long lens, but get to see and love all wildlife close-up, just by your side. And, they do have one of the funniest birds for taking flight

Also called the waved albatross, the Galapagos albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) is the largest bird in the Galapagos, with a wingspan of up to 250 centimetres (8.2 feet). They breed exclusively on Española Island.

The Galapagos albatross engages in a rather elaborate courtship dance, and as our timing was right, we were lucky enough to see this on our trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2016.
Once an albatross has selected a partner, they mate for life.
Albatrosses live much longer than other birds; they delay breeding for longer and invest more effort into fewer young. Most species survive upwards of 50 years, and the oldest recorded was ringed in 1956 as a mature adult and hatched another chick in February 2021, making her at least 70 years old. In fact she is the oldest confirmed wild bird and the oldest banded bird in the world.
These birds weigh between 2.7 and 4 kilograms (6 – 8.8 pounds) and males are typically quite a lot heavier than females. When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide a lift. We saw them run up to the edge of the cliff and jump off to propel themselves into the air. I was sitting 5-10 meters from the action.

However, landing is also quite tricky for this large bird. Because the albatross has a high stalling speed, the landing can seem rather clumsy. (Who doesn’t remember that Disney movie with Orville the Albatross…?)
Seeing a waved albatross fly is quite the sight, they are amazing flyers, soaring dynamically. They stay in the air for many hours and they rarely stall. That’s why sailors used to believe these birds were supernatural.
Due to their great wingspan the bird glides gracefully while up in the skies. In fact the wingspans of the largest great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm (11.2 ft),

In nautical lore, albatrosses are a sign of good fortune, and killing one is meant to bring bad luck. As in Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Thank you for your responses to last week’s Colorful April challenge – you shared some amazing examples of April’s incredible beauty. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this week’s Taking Flight challenge – please remember to link to Tina’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. We hope you’ll join us again next week when we welcome our Guest Host, Priscilla of Scillagrace . Be sure to check out her ever-thoughtful and interesting blog.

Stay safe and well.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #143 – Colourful April

Amy asks for a colourful April this week – and usually it is, even in Sweden. This year though, has so far been some degrees colder than usual. But, there is a positive side to it as well …

Sweet April showers do spring May flowers. – Thomas Tusser

To get you in the mood – tulips from Keukenhof in the opener!

However, with the lack of colours (except for the hepaticas I posted in the last challenge) this April, I first decided to use April colours from earlier years, starting with my garden magnolias. But, after a day on the hunt in the forest… I changed my mind. Surely there must be some colours to capture this year as well!

A sea of last year’s grass softly carried my feet up to the old sallow.
The silken colours against the grey trees –
And the lower you go towards the ground…
…the more colourful it gets. Mosses and lichen, mushrooms and leaves.
…even if modestly displayed. Nettles and the alternate-leaved golden-saxifrage are keeping each other company. In Sweden we call this tiny yellow plant ”golden powder” Due to drying wetlands, I understand it is becoming rare, and it is protected in several countries.

Wood anemonies are usually abundant in April, but 2021 the snow and cold has kept them down so much that I doubt we shall see them carpeting the forest floor this year.

Anyhow – spring has sprung, and the colours are beginning to arrive here too. Hope you are enjoying lovely weather and delightful days!

Finally a big Thank you for using your abundant imaginative powers for last week’s You Pick It! Inspirational, diverse, sweet, thrilling, magical…we have enjoyed your choices to the full! Now we hope to see you here again for Colourful April. Please use the Lens-Artists tag and add a link to Amy’s colourful original post!

Next week Tina will be your host. Stay tuned, take care and be kind to others and to yourself.