Lens-Artist Challenge: Water

I like it when there is congruence in my life – like a foggy night and the new Lens-Artist Challenge being “water.” The cool gulf water temperatures and a couple of warmer nights here in subtropical southern Florida created fog. I was delighted by it Saturday night as I was closing the sliding doors and by morning the fog had collected in the screens of the lanai. I took several photos, none of which were satisfactory. So goes photography, but now I know what settings I need to change. Maybe sometime soon we will have similar conditions so I can practice again.

During the first six weeks of this year I fought pain, depression, and fatigue but I now seem to be coming out of my watery depths, taking a more active interest in my narrow world. I am maintaining my precarious balance between being aware of what is going on in the broader world while withdrawing enough to not feel burdened by things I can’t control. Something like how I practice my balance exercise of standing on one foot while fighting to stay standing, an exercise to decrease my chances of falling.

Our life seemed to turn back to a more normal state last week when we decided to walk in the botanical garden two or three times a week instead of once. I suggested it because Jim had become very inactive since being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis late last summer. I understand how hard it is to come to terms with a chronic illness and MG is difficult because the symptoms (weakening of voluntary muscles) compound the normal loss of functioning caused by aging. He felt feeble and afraid. I found a journal article on exercise and MG that reported inconclusive findings on whether exercise helps with MG symptoms but it did reiterate the many advantages of exercise on health in general. I decided that gentle walking in a beautiful garden that he enjoys could only be helpful. Besides, the Naples Botanical Garden provides me with ample opportunities to collect photographs on the topic of water.

I have lived in Michigan my whole life so I have a brain chocked full of memories of spending time close to, on and in lakes and streams during my 77 years of life. Now I spend half the year in southern Florida where water defines life and I am thrilled to be emersed in the ecosystem of the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico coast. Water is a major factor that has defined who I am, and I experience a strong emotional response when I am near bodies of water.

There are eight small bodies of water in the Naples Botanical Garden where various water plants grow, most having lotus or water lilies plus two larger lakes. Most of my photography in the garden is macro, focusing on the beautiful flowers and foliage but lately I have been drawn to landscapes, in an attempt to capture the personality of the garden. These landscapes also seem to express how the water in the garden impacts on my emotions.

Upper & Lower Lily Ponds in the Brazilian Garden. These ponds are the first to capture the heat of the morning sun.
View of the Water Garden as I am sitting at the cafe eating a delicious scone.
First of three connected ponds in the Asian Garden.
Waterfalls taking water from the upper lily pond to Lake Tupke in the Florida Garden. Southern Florida is very flat so water falls need to be engineered. The topography of the garden was formed by dredging dirt from where the architects wanted lakes. This dirt, along with imported rocks, make it possible to hear the delightful sound of falling water in almost all parts of the garden.
The upper lily pond, that feeds a smaller lily pond a bit below, that feeds the falls in the photo above, that feeds a stone-lined brook that bubbles its way to the lake in the distance, all of which creates the music of water.
When rainwater meets the water of a lily pond via the tiled roof of the shelter in the Asian Garden. What fun I had photographing the patterns formed by water drops among the reflections of light and bordering vegetation on the water surface.

The Botanical Garden isn’t the only place I feel the impact of water on my mind and soul. We make a few trips to the Gulf of Mexico beach where I enjoy the morning or evening light and also the excitement when winds are strong, churning up waves.

The Gulf of Mexico on a windy day.
Peace washes over me as I stroll along the warm gentle water as the sun is setting.

The also go to the protected lands of the Everglades a couple of times a year. This is one of my favorite spots, where I look for wading birds who are feeding in the shallow waters and alligators who are sunning themselves in the cooler winter weather. When I have visited in late Spring I like to listen to the eerie bird calls and rustling from the brush in the near distance where hatchlings are being cared for.

Sweetwater Strand, Loop Road, Everglades

What fun to participate in this week’s Lens-Artist Photography Challenge: Water. Click on the link to share your photography of water.

20 thoughts on “Lens-Artist Challenge: Water

  1. It is a dream to live so close to water, whether it be at a botanical garden, stream, or ocean. It heals the soul, doesn’t it? Sorry to hear to your battles, keep doing what you are doing with your photos, you lift others, and in doing so, I hope you lift yourselves. Donna

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  2. Sorry to hear of your husband’s illness, Pat – but I can see he will feel better walking these beautiful gardens. Wonderful scenery, I understand you’re photographing much, and your images are delightful.

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  3. A wonderful collection of beautiful photos, Pat! Especially the seascapes. Whether you’re capturing the action of the waves or the silky motion of the water, the sea is a great subject that gives a certain mood and drama to your image. Thanks for sharing and have a good day πŸ™‚ Aiva xx

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  4. Those gardens are so beautiful, I can easily see why they would inspire your photography and also be a great resource for your husband in dealing with his illness. Walking in nature like that is good for the soul even if it can’t heal the body. I’m sorry you’ve been through a rough patch yourself too, but good ot hear you’re feeling more yourself again now. Take care!

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  5. Great post for this challenge Pat. Your images are beautiful. Our golden years aren’t so golden are they! I’m sorry your husband has a chronic illness. Take care and enjoy your photography.

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    • Pictures I’ve seen of New Zealand were really beautiful – but where you live also has some nice scenery unless fires have damaged the hills. New Zealand is a very long flight from either of our homes.

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