LAPC #218 – Over The Hill

We are pleased to have Donna of Wind Kisses as our guest host this week, and she wonders what ”Over The Hill” means to us. Please visit her wonderful site for some more inspiration!

My interpretation is mostly an intuitional one…and my first thought was of The Great Wall of China. Climbing all those hills and mountains, at the cost of thousands of lives. And they were all buried in that great wall…

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.

– Henry David Thoreau

Literally…these children are walking over that hill.

”Over the hill” also means the hardest climb is over and the view is terrific. So, after 12 years at school – you are over the hill too!

Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Hiking in the mountains often brings amazingly magical views. Again and again…

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

Nelson Mandela

In Switzerland we saw this nun contemplating the grandness of God’s Creation, and maybe the road meandering over that hill.

Over some hills you don’t reach another hill – but something totally different – maybe a volcano abyss…like this one in Iceland.

And after a volcano eruption, there are endless lavafields covering the land – the plains, hills and mountains.

I will turn 65 next week…and as I’m ageing I often wonder… when I finally have struggled up that hill – will I see The Light? The Light that our religion talks about?

And what about our animal friends? They must be even more overwhelmed by the vast views from up there…especially if you are a cat on a (hot) tin roof…

And what an impossible task for the tiny scarabs climbing this seemingly endless hill of sand.

But remember:

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top.

– Arnold Bennett

Thank you, Tina, for last weeks fun challenge of Opposites! So many clever and mindblowing examples. Hope to see you all this week as well. Tag your entry and link to Donna’s original post.

Next week, Tina will lead us again – on a treasure hunt…Until then, please stay safe and kind.

LAPC #217 – Opposites

This week Tina has put together some interesting opposites. Please visit her beautiful blog and get inspired! Once you have started, it is difficult to stop… ”just think about it, they’re everywhere!”

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.

– Hermann Hesse

Soft – Hard

Morning – Evening in the Sahara desert

Old and dilapidated ( but warm and ornamented…) – Modern (cold and straight)

Cold and hot climate

In the header – opposites in the same image with day and night in one – midnight sun! Above – two in one as well – hot springs in cold ice and snow.

Special thanks to Sofia for last week’s Urban Environments challenge. It was great fun seeing
the many urban examples you all shared! ”This week we invite you to show us some opposites – big and tall, round and square, new and old….”

Remember to link your response to Tina’s original, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. We look forward to seeing what you come up with. Finally, we’re excited to announce that next week’s Guest Host will be Donna of Wind Kisses so be sure to check out her wonderful site. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

LAPC #216 – Urban Environments

You know, I don’t really understand a suburban environment. I want to be out in the woods, I want to be where it’s wild, I want to wake up and hear birds, I want to walk outside and see a gaggle of turkeys bouncing across my lawn – I want to be someplace like that – or I want to be right in the middle of an urban environment. – Karen Allen

This week Sofia asks us about urban environments – I used to love visiting big cities now and then, for a week or two. But, due to covid, the last three years we have stayed at home. I must admit I miss those adventures…

I will tell you something of why I liked visiting the cities chosen.

Edinburgh is an absolutely lovely city with castle and all, but Greyfriars Kirkyard offers both silence and contemplation when needed. One day I saw this young man sitting alone, quietly reading his book. I had to have his portrait. And I love the way they speak, the Scots.
Rome is a city to return to again and again… Mezmerising. But on my first visit I was only16, and the young ladies laughed at my ”childish” sandals – they all wore high heels…

But you can find anything in Rome…

I have always loved London – the ”gentlemen”, the musik and the theaters. And of course the language…a visit to Foyles was always a great pleasure. I used to buy loads of books, for my students too.
Warsaw was a very positive experience. I loved the newer architecture, and the people was good-humoured and generous. And the food! Delicious!
I never dreamed of going to Madrid…but I went with my classes a couple of times. For its history, literature and architecture, fantastic museums (Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofia), good food and animated people – and Madrid did not disappoint!
Århus, Denmark – the new, spectacular area was a dream walking through. Innovative and beautiful in Nordic light colours. Expensive living…but very nice people all we met. Mostly young people in fact – who had made their fortune in IT or business.

A gallery of the kind of urban environments that I love the most. Narrow alleyways and old buildings. But as Sofia says, new architecture can also be interesting. Like Bilbao in the header and Århus in Denmark.

Finally, my nearest big city, Malmoe – the photo taken from a plane flying in from somewhere in the world. Santiago Calatrava’s Turning Torso shining in the evening sun.

”This week’s challenge is about how you view any urban environments you came across, either by visiting as a tourist or the place you live in or commute to every day. What makes that city or town special and how do you capture it.” Please link to Sofia’s marvelous original post and tag with Lens-Artists so we can easily find you.

Last week John emphasized the way of transport to your destination. An inspirational challenge where the different interpretations were varied and interesting.

Next week is Tina’s turn to host, please have a look at her wonderful site and join us if you can.

For more information on how Lens-Artists Challenge work, please click here.

LAPC #215 – Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and the Places They Take Us

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…and the places they take us . Visit John for more inspiration!

I must admit I am not an avid photographer of any of these transportation machines…I prefer walking and hiking. But, I did find some that I really liked. Hopefully these will fit the bill, John.

This pretty thing was found at a car show in Ronneby, Sweden. It is not a really old car, but I like the style.

A steam ship took us over to an island near Queenstown, NZ.

There we watched skilled guys shearing sheep and clever dogs herding.

Cachalote was our sailing boat in the Galapagos Islands. I think she had the tiniest cabin I have ever slept in…but the food and the people around her were just amazing. Going on a small boat also meant we could go closer to the islands and comfortably reach any nook.

A different way to promote your company – Keukkenhof, NL.

The mountain train in Switzerland, Bernina Express, took us to stunning sights. A trip warmly recommended if you happen to stay for a while in this country!

Ice melting in lovely colours

Adventure making for everyone

No planes…but still a means of transport! Maybe not for everyone?

My favourite planes are from Druk Air, Bhutan. They are beautifully decorated with dragons, and their pilots are trained to land in narrow valleys between high mountains. To land a plane here, they have to make a U-turn with the wings close to both mountain sides – and we had a perfect landing.

One more plane story: Going to the little island of Madeira also takes special pilots to land safely. We have been to Madeira five times, and the last one was a nightmare. We landed in a storm, and we knew four planes ahead of us had continued to the next island for a safe landing. We had to try twice before touching ground. Everyone on the plane cried…

Going to Bhutan was an old dream of mine, and yes, every expectation was fulfilled.

We arrived just in time for the big festival, Paro Tsechu, and the people all wore their best clothes. Dancing and celebrations were spectacular.

Bhutan is a stunning gem in the Himalayas. It was an unforgettable visit in every way. People, culture, landscape, architecture – and the fact that they are carbon neutral.

As winter is approaching here in the northern hemisphere, I thought I would finish with a bright and shining tram! I love trams, but of course this one was not in traffic. Warming my eyes though!

Thank you all for sharing your interesting finds with us last week! Very inspiring and diverse – just what we hoped for!

For the challenge this week, John is asking us to share images that focus on our journeys. ”Consider examples of historical modes of transportation if you happen to have some in your gallery, a horse-drawn wagon in Pennsylvania, or maybe an abandoned boat along the seashore.”

”Consider images of places you’ve traveled if you’re not into capturing those modes of transportation that got you there. It’s all about the journey for this week’s challenge.”

Next week’s challenge will be hosted by Sofia. If you’d like to join in the fun but aren’t quite sure how to begin, look here.

LAPC #214 Favourite Finds

Do you love walking in bazaars or flee markets, or just window shopping? Something found in your grandmother’s closet? Second hand is very popular in the Nordic countries right now. Do you find museums intriguing? Or, maybe like me, you love special, surprising finds in nature? I am sure you have something hidden in your archives that once surprised you or filled you with awe…

We will be happy to enjoy your finds this week! And, maybe there is a story too…?

In the header my image shows some lovely hats found at Tjolöholm Castle. I love hats…unfortunately I don’t look that good in them – but I still buy one now and then.

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
– Hubert H. Humphrey

A shopping window in Gdansk. Too many things…but one of my best friends had pugs. Many pugs. I’d like to think she would have loved this one. Had she still been here, I might have bought it for her.
Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.
– Herodotus

A mobile made of 9 porcelain birds…not easily washed or handled, but it is still in one piece – or many pieces in one piece. It was given to me from my friend with the pugs – so you understand she is still with me, even if she has been gone for almost 8 years.
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.
– Rachel Carson

This is a remarkable find. A moth that is disguised as a twig. Look at the little feet and you will find him – the other one is…a twig.

There is also a possibility that someone finds Me…

This beauty was a find in our summerhouse, last year I believe, or the year before. Look at the size and the intricate patterns woven. Nature’s masterpiece made by industrious wasps.
A window on a backstreet in Rome made me stop and look, then the bird made me take out the camera! I still love this window…and I wonder who once lived there. Old Rome always fascinates.

A precious find was the statue of Gaudí, because I finally got the chance to ask him about his art and why he stepped out in the road and was hit by a tram. Why? We would have loved him to stay and finish so many other architectural pieces…

Special thanks to Amy for last week’s happy sunshine! A bright and positive theme with many beautiful images.

Now we are looking forward to your favourite finds! Be sure to link your post here and don’t forget the tag, so we can find you in the reader.

For next week, September 3, John will be our host, and his theme will be: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…and the places they take us to visit.

Until then – stay calm, kind and loving.

LAPC #213 – Here Comes the Sun

Amy is back hosting, and she comes with the sun! Please visit her beautiful site for more inspiration!

I will pick some of my favourite suns over the years – as

According to the Beatles:

Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright

I have mostly caught sunsets, I know, but to me they are the most spectacular ones. In the header – millions of suns in Spain, and the flowers for Ukraine to be free and shine again.

Iceland an early winter morning

A winter morning at home, Hovdala

– and a misty summer morning at Lake Grecken, Sweden

View from the sailing ship in Ecuador/Galapagos

Christmas Eve, Lake Taupo, NZ 2011

My beloved son enjoying the sunset at our summer house

This is my favourite image. Walking alone along the old gravel road with my first lagotto, Mille. The soft warmth of that summer night is still lingering in my memory whenever I look at this image.

An artsy one…at Wanås. A backdrop for one of our most famous artist’s summer show.

Iceland again – because I love this country so much… and already missing it again…

Welcome to share your images of “Here Comes the Sun”– from anytime of the day. Special thanks to Patti for last week’s “Motion” theme. Through her lens and techniques, we have learned the art of capturing motion. Thank you for sharing your fun, creative motion/movement photos!

Please link your post to Amy’s original and tag your post, so we can find you in the reader.

Next week, I, Leya/Ann-Christine, will be your host – until then, stay tuned, take care and be kind.

LAPC #212 – Motion

This week, Patti invites us to have fun with motion. Please visit her site and get inspiration and great examples on how to go about the challenge!

Personally I will tweak it a bit…letting me do the motion while the object is standing still.

In this first yellow one I have used a favourite technique – double exposure. The gentle flowers seem to be dancing a wild, energetic dance.

In these two slider pairs, I have used ICM – intentional camera movements. In a sense, ICM gives the same effect as (intentional) single-exposition motion blur: in the former the camera moves during exposure, in the second the target moves, but they have in common that there is relative motion between camera and target, resulting in streaking in the image.

In the first pair, I have moved my camera from an upward point downwards, rather fast, trying to create as straight lines as possible while the motif gets blurred. In the second pair, I have tried to move the camera faster still, making the image even more blurred, giving the sense of fast movement.

Generally exposures of 1/20 to 1/2 second give the best results and an optimum seems to be 1/8 of a second to retain the shape of the subject, but strip away surface detail. But much is trial and error!

Another motion effect can be achieved by changing the focal length of a zoom lens during the exposure. I find this even more difficult to get a satisfying result. But fun it is and the results surprising!

As I don’t use filters, I tried these effects in the late evening to get softer light.

Last week Anne Sandler challenged us to explore our photographic groove. A great challenge, Anne, and we found many interesting grooves to explore! Next week, Amy will lead the challenge. Visit her beautiful site next Saturday at noon EST to join the fun.

Just remember to link your post to Patti’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you in the Reader.

Until next time…, stay safe and be kind.

LAPC #211 – What’s Your Photographic Groove?

Our host this week, Anne Sandler , is asking: ”What type of photography do you truly enjoy doing?”

I enjoy almost all types of photography, but Nature is my Muse. More specificly: flowers, close-ups and macro. And I am happy if in the flowers there is a critter or two as well… I believe our ”groove” changes over the years – as the world is changing – so are we.

For many years my photography was all about travel, new places, new people, new architecture, new food… but there has always been flowers. And why flowers? Well, I was born in the countryside, and from my grandmother I learned the importance of the little things – to see a world in a grain of sand. Flowers – nothing beats their great variety; in colours, shapes and sizes. I have to have flowers in my life!

My blog was named lagottocattleya after my favourite breed of dogs and my favourite orchid. So, the first image is a cattleya hybrid pictured at Keukkenhof, Holland. Then follows a gallery with some old and new favourites, from close-ups to macros and from Spring to Autumn. From forest to garden and indoors plants. I hope they will speak for themselves.

Special thanks to our guest host Sarah Wilkie of Travel With Me for the exercise of picking out three of our favorite images. And thank you to all our wonderful July guest hosts, Aletta, Jez, Andre and Tracy. If you join us, please link to Anne’s original post and use the lens artists tag. We’re looking forward to seeing your photos! As the LAPC team resumes rotation, Patti will present next week’s challenge. In the meantime, have fun and safe travels.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

LAPC #210 – Picking Favourites

Sarah of Travel with me is our guest host this week, and she says:

”I want to ask you all to join me in sharing three of what you consider to be among your very best shots. This exercise will really test your ability to be self-critical, as it has mine. Look into your archives and apply your most critical eye; play ‘judge’ and try to look dispassionately at your images.”

Sarah asks us to pick out three that stand out as particular favourites, and three from different genres. The genres are up to us to decide: macro, wildlife, street, landscape, architecture. Anything goes, but ”each must be an image you are proud of.”

Not easily done this picking…and I sneaked in a header photo as well…hope you don’t mind, Sarah! But, I made it fairly easy for myself by picking the two award winning images I have, in genres I love, macro and nature – trees. But let’s start with the third image, from 2016:

This favourite is from the Fluela Pass in Switzerland. I have showed it many times, but never tire of it. Also a pleasant surprise as there was no reflection when we passed here in the morning – then this magic appeared when we went back the same road. The people in the image shows the very size of the landscape, and I love the feeling of an endless mountain range disappearing into the blue sky. I remember the difficulty in getting it all inside the frame…a vast landscape and a difficult angle.

This Epiphyllum cactus, in Sweden called Princess of the Night, is a gem. This is her first flower, a warm summer night in 2016. And how we stayed up late, waiting for the wonder to happen! 25 cm of magic, only lasting for a few hours. This photo was taken with my phone, but won a medal of honour and a place in our Nordic photo competition that year. It is in their yearly book of best photos as well.

It was my first competition – I generally don’t send photos to competitions… and I was happy and proud. I think that magical night and the first time I saw the beautiful flower unfold, will stay with me forever.

This image (from the Autumn of 2018) of my favourite beech tree is very precious to me. The photo was taken before the great storms and the heavy snowfall last year, so the tree is intact in this image. Some of his big branches are gone now.

Not much to be seen of the tree in the picture, but that thrills the imagination of the viewer. We understand that the size of the tree must be huge – look at the texture of the trunk and the long, horisontal branches. He is hundreds of years old, and more than 30 meters high, standing alone in an open meadow. I also love the view of the birch trees and the beeches taken under his wings… Because I imagine he is a he – and he is keeping an eye on us all. We usually talk at least once a week.

Being an award winner too, and the only photo of mine sitting on my wall – I have to pick this one. Getting it printed on canvas was part of the prize, and the reason for me to participate was the story of a favourite tree, as trees are my passion. The host was a national park.

If I try to summarize…I can see that I photograph more with my heart than with camera and lens. Strong memories and precious moments I treasure the most. I want the image to reveal my emotions – and to stir yours. I have several thousands of photos collected throughout the years…but the best ones have sprung out of special moments where my feelings shine through.

Special thanks too to Tracy for hosting that interesting Surrealism challenge last week and to everyone who joined in; it was great to see the variety of responses! Anne will be our host next week, Saturday, August 6. Her intriguing theme will be What’s Your Photographic Groove.

Until then, stay safe and cool – and be kind.

LAPC# 209…Surreal

Tracy of Reflections of An Untidy Mind, is leading us this week into the Surreal world. Because that is what our world seems to have turned into, even more so the last few years…

About a century ago, at another time of great societal upheaval, surrealism as an artistic and intellectual movement emerged. Tracy reminds us that modern surrealistic art strives to unite fantasy and reality, and emphasises the juxtaposition of the rational and the irrational. She mentions old techniques like motion blur, unusual camera angles and rotation; double-exposure; playing with light and colour. With Photoshop photo montages and collages have become easier to do. No photoshop? – just cut some pictures and put them together as you like! Please visit Tracy’s site for excellent inspiration!

Personally, I find reality to be surreal even without photoshop…

The shadow of a dragonfly in my window – in B&W even more surreal.

In my garden I have a couple of dead trees that I want to keep for their special beauty and for all the insects living there. Autumn mornings the dew reveals just how many spiders there are…this is enhanced by the monochrome process.

A bathroom in Stettin – playing with mirrors and reflections.

My camera has got a button for double exposure – maybe yours too? And I love playing around with it at times. When I have taken a photo I can take another one afterwards and dimly see the first photo while positioning the lens for a fun result.

Surreal? Simply an umbrella with inside pattern!

At Wanås this art installation does not need any extra tweaks…this is the way it looks. Simply surreal!

And why not go close-up? This is a begonia stem and a christmas tree candle.

Or just…late evening blur.

In the header is a blurred cow parsley in front of the trees. Aliens landing or leaving?

Special thanks to Andre of My Blog-Solaner and to all of those who responded to his Summer Vibes challenge last week. What a summery riot of colour, blue skies and seas we had! Next week, Sarah Wilkie, blogging at Travel with Me, will be our guest host. Sarah’s theme is Three Favorite Images.

”It is time now to create some marvellous surrealism mayhem with photos that we can all enjoy no matter what sort of day we might be having.” (Tracy says) We look forward to seeing your responses. Please remember to link them to Tracy’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.