Lens-Artist: Favorite Finds – Jade Vine

Georgia O’Keefe was in the news recently and this got me thinking of my dream of making my floral photos in the image of her paintings. This summer I have also been going through my many years of photo files instead of spending time out and about with my camera. Several of these meanders through my files led me to photos taken early this year at the Naples Botanical Garden when the Jade Vine was blooming at the front entrance. I remember this find with excitement and would tell myself that I needed to do a post – but didn’t. I knew they had been planted and bloomed there the previous year but seeing them this year was an exciting find.

Blossoms hanging along the edge of the boardwalk leading into the Garden…
Next to a sign that reminds us to “Look Up”

Whenever there is a sign saying to look up, I do. I look up a lot because there are a large number of flowering trees and also orchids have been put in trees throughout the garden. But this time my look up knocked my socks off.

All the vines and blossoms hanging down looked like someone had decorated for a tropical party. I also felt fortunate to find a vine of buds with the flowers starting to poke their way out.

I would have a hard time saying this was a favorite find – because most every day I find something that is a surprise and excites me. However, I had great fun finishing up this post after our power and internet were returned after a 3-day electronic holiday brought to us by a nasty wind storm.

Thanks to Ann-Christine for the Favorite Finds theme – you can see what other people posted by going to the links in the comments here. This week John has posted the theme for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Planes, Trains and Automobiles… and the places they take us.

Lens-Artist Challenge: Following the Sun

When I arrived at the Dahlem Center the sun was peeking through the trees.

This morning I went to buy fruit from Ken & Janet who once a week have their Blueberry Hill fruit stand in front of my favorite meat market – about 3 miles from our home. This week they had blueberries but were sold out by the time I got there, peaches, nectarines, plums, and a couple of early apples. As I was leaving to go home, I decided to go to the Dahlem Nature Center as it was almost on my way home, I had my camera, and the sun was shining so I was pretty sure I could get some good photographs for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Here Comes the Sun.

I have taken a few photos of sunrises and sunsets but what I really enjoy about early morning photography is catching the moment when the rising sun shines through the trees to illuminate a subject. In those moments the ordinary is transformed into extraordinary. On my walk through the wooded area of the conservatory my mission was to find these moments.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson

When I take photographs of nature in these circumstances, I think about the definition of beauty. When I do the post processing I become concerned that what I saw as beauty out in a wild field or along a dirt road won’t be perceived by others as beautiful. I wonder what a professional photographer would say about my images and whether anyone would want them matted, framed and hanging on the wall.

These questions and worries don’t discourage me from moving forward with posting them on my blog, however. I think it is because my photography is driven by a desire to share emotions, whereas my life’s work was driven by thought and skill. It seems like those posts of bloggers I follow that focus their photography on the natural world are the most enjoyable. And for me the most exciting, the most gentle, the most evocative are the ones that are gently bathed in early morning sun.

It had been years since I walked the trails of Dahlem Center and I have changed in body and soul. I am thinking that Jim and I need to take regular walks here. I was wandering along an easy path, taking a few photographs and enjoying the bird calls when something caught my eye. If you look closely you will see the doe and spotted fawn on the path ahead watching me. As I slowly walked closer, they ran away.

Here is a gallery of nature’s late-summer offerings, at least they are the ones that the sun wanted me to aim my lens toward and put into focus.

It seems to me that Mr. Wright needed to add, ‘take care of nature.’ Maybe he thought that loving nature would cover it but I’m not sure. If we don’t respect and protect nature it will destroy us instead of being there for us; if we fail nature, it will fail us.

A special thank you to Amy for choosing a topic that motivated me to grab my camera and hit the trails. It has been a long time since I have felt the joy of searching for beauty with my lens.

Lens-Artist: Motion

I have fond memories of watching the motion of the flames of a campfire as we settle down getting ready to go to bed. Maybe sipping a cup of tea or decaf coffee with a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream. This activity is nice connection between the motion of day and the motion of nature.

I must be thinking about camping a lot because I keep going back to the photos of previous years when we did take camping trips, some as short as a few days and others as long a 5 weeks. When I think of these trips I experience a contented feeling of being in gentle motion. We plan an easy breakfast on travel days and gently work together to close up camp. We have done this a long time so our motions are in tandem, knowing what each of us has to do and which tasks can be picked up by whoever has the time. I can’t take a photo of it because a snapshot in time wouldn’t get the job done and get us on the road.

We love to travel down two-lane highways where traffic is light and there are lots of things to see. Sometimes we stop for me to take photographs but mostly we stay in motion. The next photograph was taken along a road, in New England, going through a wooded area with birch trees. I was having fun practicing with different shutter speeds (what I controlled) as Jim drove at varying speeds (what he controlled).

Writing this post also has me thinking about the connection between motion and emotion. I love the excitement of watching the motion of waves pounding the shore of the Pacific Ocean and hearing the roar of the ocean’s power.

On the other hand I am calmed by the movement inherent in the sand, evidence that the ocean’s (Pacific) water has been there, or maybe from the motion of the wind that we cannot see nor photograph. We can only photograph evidence of the wind’s presence.

Usually my favorite place in the motion of nature is illustrated in the next photograph. This is the lower Tahquamenon Fall in late summer. The motion of water flowing over a rock cliff creates excitement but my temperament enjoys viewing from a distance – within the cool green of wooded areas where motion is usually slowed to a calm.

It has been a lot of fun this past week thinking about motion and photography, and travel and emotion. Thank you, Patti, for this Lens-Artist Challenge.

Mirror

We were walking around the small town of Munising, Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan and I came upon this scene. The memorial acts as a mirror, reflecting the man’s image as he does the careful work of placing another name on the long list of soldiers who served to defend democracy and keep us safe – who now only live on in the memories of those who knew them and on this piece of stone.

I have thought about this image a lot, wondering to what extent we all are reflections in this memorial of people who loved country and chose to defend it with their hard work and possibly their lives. This is an especially important contemplation at this point in our country’s history when so many who love our country and what it stands for are blinded by lies and hate into believing in a way of fight for it that is actually threatening the democracy that is the very core of our governmental system.

In response to the Week-end Challenge of “Mirror.