Lens-Artists Challenge #131 – Emotions

This week, Patti is our host, and LAPC#131 gives us the opportunity to focus on Emotions. We can do portraits or street photography – or, choose a subject or scene that evokes an emotion in the viewer.

Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts. – Sigmund Freud

No flowers this time… In my opener, I have chosen rippling water in a soothingly green environment – Madeira’s levadas. Green is always recommended for bedrooms because of its calming effect – and that is the emotion I get whenever I meet the colour Green.

My images here will show maybe one main emotion – happiness. But, also love and friendship.

I cannot think of better choices than students and the storm of feelings on their graduation day. It’s impossible to get enough of their happy faces and their vivid body language!

After three years of hard work – High School graduation! These used to be my happiest days – sharing their joy.

Two of the photos are of my daughter. Now I am maybe being too personal…, but seeing her walking up the stairs last Friday as a freshly baked Doctor – filled my heart with pride. She looks so happy, so confident – so ready for a working life outside university.

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. —Franklin D. Roosevelt

And, don’t we all feel that for our children, for their first steps into this world, for our students and for every person who have worked hard and reached their goal? (For making tears fall it is even enough reading a good book where the hero succeeds…) I am very grateful to have met so many students in my life – and to have left them as fully fledged young men and women.

Looking back at last week, thank you Anne Sandler, for It’s a Small World, which made us all see the beauty in little things. And thank you for the fabulous macro/micro and close-up images from all of your collections!

I, Leya/Ann-Christine, will be your host for LAPC #132 next Saturday, January 23rd at noon. So, stay tuned… and for all of you in the USA – may the inauguration go smoothly.

Now we are looking forward to seeing Your emotional images! Be sure to link them to Patti’s beautiful examples, and don’t forget the Lens-Artists tag. As always – stay safe and well and mind the little things until next time.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. —The Dalai Lama

Lens-Artists Challenge #130 It’s a Small World

”This week’s challenge is to take your camera for a walk around your yard or home and shoot some close-up or macro shots. Too cold, too wet, too busy? Feel free to choose some images from your archives.”

This week Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed is our guest host, and we are introduced to similarities and differences between, micro, macro and close-up. Personally I love close-ups from nature, and macros since I bought a new macro lens two years ago. These days there are plenty of opportunities for hunting the little things in our world. My garden is always a gem – and the asters give me my favourite close-ups.

Without water drops, there can be no oceans; without steps, there can be no stairs; without little things, there can be no big things
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Find gratitude in the little things and your well of gratitude will never run dry.
― Antonia Montoya

Seed pods are also favourites of mine. Every autumn I go looking for them – often they display soft, strong colours and a variety of interesting textures.

These images are all from the archives, except a funny hovercraft Rex Begonia – found last week, not hibernating as I thought!

During winter time, I sometimes get roses from kind people…(my husband that is, or visiting friends). The latter not possible right now though… I love roses, they give you infinite possibilities for photography too – even when withered and decayed.

Thanks again to Anne for hosting our challenge this week. Be sure to visit and link to her beautiful original post here. Many thanks for the beautiful images shared in response to Tina’s 2020 Favourites challenge – many of us realized there were more happy moments than expected last year! 

We hope you’ll join us next week as Patti once again leads our challenge. Until then, remember to stay safe and warm – and be kind.

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.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127 Precious Moments

Amy is hosting this week, and she says: ”This week, as we are approaching the end of 2020, let us share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic.”

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver

So, my images are all from before the pandemic – when planning was possible.

Vielha, Spain

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius

Sunrise, Fryksås, Orsa Lake, Dalarna

Frosty morning, Hovdala meadows

The most precious resource we have is time. – Adam Neumann


Life is short, and every moment is precious. – Gad Saad

Sand sculptures, Denmark

Levada hiking, Madeira

My favourite class graduating (Immediate connection and some of them are still in contact with me)

Stray dog and friend, Georgia

Christmas market, Skåne

We invite you to share your own precious moments, from traveling, holidays or with family and friends. Include a link to Amy’s post here and use the lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We look forward to seeing your creative work.

Special thanks to Patti for her inspirational “Subjects That Begin with the Letter A.” Marvelous!

Finally – stay tuned for December 19, when I, Leya, will be your host. Until then, be safe and well.

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 Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.
— Diane Arbus

This week Tina is our host, and she says: …”we hope you’ll share a subject that is near and dear to you, that you find interesting, or challenging, or perhaps that shows us something new or unique to you.” Please visit her page, marvel at her artistry and get inspired by the art of Wabi-Sabi!

I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new. – Ernst Haas

Personaly, I have chosen nature’s beauty combined with different processing of the images. A creative pastime that has become even more interesting in days of seclusion this year. But, let’s start with my capital city – Stockholm. (I do visit cities too…) Said to be one of the most beautiful capitals in the world – much because it is a city on water.

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
— Richard Avedon

Earlier this year (pre-pandemic…), a grey day, just like today, I had some hours between trains in Stockholm. I walked past Stockholm City Hall, sailing in the air – a double exposure processed with an oil painting filter.

Frosty leaves on the forest floor – with a touch of oil painting.

In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story. – Walter Cronkite

My visit to Ifö art center some weeks ago also presented some splendid natural artworks. This beautiful window was covered in colourful Boston ivy (?) (oil painting filter) – but its real beauty wasn’t revealed until we went inside, looking out of the backlit window.

The memory has as many moods as the temper, and shifts its scenery like a diorama.
― George Eliot

This gallery shows the same window, processed with different filters. From left to right: colour pencil, water colour, oil pastel, pencil, abstract.

Only photograph what you love.
– Tim Walker

My final image is the window seen through my eyes, lens and oil painting filter. It represents my heart’s own memory of this moment in time. Our memory works like this – reality through filters like personality, feelings, mood and situation. In the header – double exposed roses processed with an oil pastel filter.

So, this week it’s all up to you – choose your subject and share whatever it is about it that you find interesting. We are looking forward to seeing your interpretations.

Thank you for treating us to your creativity on Amy’s Now and Then Challenge!

SPECIAL NOTE: For those who wish to have advance notice on our themes, next week Patti will treat us with an Alphabet Challenge – Subjects That Begin With The Letter A.

Until then – stay warm, safe and hopeful.

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 Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. – E. M. Forster

We are all trapped in our Covid19 bubbles – and at least here in Europe we are facing tough restrictions again. This gives us a chance to rediscover our surroundings – indoors and outdoors. And, it also means a chance to develop our photography and think outside the ordinary box. We have had some months to practice already…

Neighborhood – this might just mean taking a photo from the kitchen or office window, but, macro possibilities are obvious as well – a tiny neighbourhood with many new surprises.

Here are some suggestions to get you on track for Found in the Neighborhood: What makes this place (thing, person, pet…) what it is? How can I look at the everyday from a new perspective? Try organizing a creative stilleben you have never seen before! Details might reveal new worlds, or maybe you just noticed a new or redecorated house nearby?

Last week I decided to go a few minutes northwest and visit Gumlösa church, a church I haven’t visited since I was 10 years old. It is too close to home I guess… but so worthy of rediscovery!

According to old documents, the church was consecrated 26th of October 1192 by Archbishop Absalon in Lund. At the consecration was also Eirik Ivarsson, Archbishop of Norway, and bishop Stenar of Växjö. Many relics were preserved here, among others: a hair from the Virgin Mary and a piece of the Holy Cross.

The church was also constructed for defense. In the late Middle Ages they built the upper part of the tower and the stepped gables.

Gumlösa church is the oldest dated brick building in Scandinavia. It went down in a fire in 1904, where only the massive walls and vaults survived, together with the little Crucifix in the third image. But the church was soon restored to its former glory.

While walking along the aisle, notice the white sheets of paper on the chairs – the text says: ”This chair is for the Holy Spirit”. A subtle way of helping us to take better care of each other.

We met some more curious friends on the road – Belted Galloway cattle from Scotland. They have no horns and wear a ”double” coat. Very friendly. Do you know their nickname?

There is so much to discover, if only you open your mind and all your senses. Follow that road, follow your curiosity – even if you cannot go far away from home right now. There might still be lovely surprises around the corner… I hope you will go find them.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. – Marie Curie

A big thank you to Ana for her timely challenge, ”The Sun will com out Tomorrow”, and to all of you for your sunny and uplifting responses!

Have you seen these:

Andy’s early morning rays at Aekshots

Yan gives us birds flying into the sun in From Hiding to Blogging

Sarah, of Travel With Me, shares sunrises and sunsets from all over the world

Dianne of Rambling Ranger gives us a glorious glimpse of Alaska

Linda of Grammy Writes leads us to Castle Rock

Before I go – take care and stay well – next week Amy will be your host – see you then!

Lens-Artists Challenge #122 – The Sun will come out Tomorrow

Last week, you shared beautiful, creative, and interesting photos for Patti’s “Focus on the Subject.”I think we learned something new all of us! This week Ana of Anvica’s Gallery is our guest host – be sure to visit her inspiring blog and get even more inspired!

Where I live, in Sweden, winter is very dark, and for many months there will be a constant lack of light and energy. November is the starting month of this seemingly endless period. Some people even use light therapy, spending hours in a totally white room in order to cope with the everyday darkness. There has been more of this since the winters do not provide us with enough snow anymore.

One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.

– Germaine Greer

My own solution is spending time outdoors as much as possible during the few hours of light, soaking up sunrays for the pineal gland. But with the last leaves gone, so are the bright colours. ”How to survive November” is a common struggle for us Nordic people every year.

The evening sings in a voice of amber, the dawn is surely coming.

– Al Stewart

If you have extra to spare, share some of your sunshine with others. Those who are in a dark place may just need that small break in the their clouds to see some sunlight again.
― Christine E. Szymanski

Just living isn’t enough”, said the butterfly, ”one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower”.

– Hans Christian Anderson

I believe this year, these days, this butterfly’s statement is more accurate than ever. So remember – the sun is still there, somewhere behind the clouds. And it will come out tomorrow.

Now we are looking forward to seeing Your part of the challenge! Don’t forget to include a link to Ana’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find you in the WP Reader. Next week, I, Ann-Christine, will lead the challenge on Saturday, November 14th. Until then – stay safe and well.