Lens-Artist Photo Challenge – Soft

I went looking for “soft” in my recent photo files for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge and found that my mind just couldn’t find anything that could be considered soft. The alligator I posted last didn’t have anything soft about it so I posted it under a different title. It truly was longer than it was soft. Finally it occurred to me as I looked at the photos I thought of when I contemplated “soft” that my mind wanted to “process” photos that looked soft because of characteristics like lighting, color, focus, and involved water in some way.

The above photo of grass and raindrops was taken early morning after a nighttime rain. I used a very short depth of field and there was a breeze that moved the grass ever so gently. I always stop when I reach this photo in my files because it so perfectly captures the softness of that morning.

I took the next photo because of the softness of the curved stems and gentle colors. Once again the short depth of focus creates a blur both in front and behind the main focus, the orchids with drops of water. This photo was taken at my favorite time of day, in the softness of morning light – no harsh shadows here.

I feel fortunate that I was able to grow up close to water – Michigan’s inland lakes and the Great Lakes that border the state – Michigan, Superior, Huron and Erie. Even as a child I enjoyed how surface ripples would soften and play with plants, stones, and sand beneath. I find it fascinating to watch how currents and waves change reflections on the water’s surface and change the looks .

The next photo was taken in the Everglades, as the shallow water gently and slowly flows from Lake Okeechobee (south of Orlando) fanning out in a broad river until it mixes with the salt water of the ocean – the Atlantic to the east, the Florida Bay to the south, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Sometimes the only way the current can be observed is with the movement of a floating leaf, sometimes through the movement of the water plants.

Often I find softness when walking on the beach just after the sun has dropped below the horizon and everything is bathed in soft blues with a touch of orange and pink.

Where and how do you find “soft” with your camera? You can share your thoughts and images by joining Ann-Christine for this weeks Len-Artist Challenge.

Capturing the Setting Light

 

_DSC0078We see and I photograph lots of sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico because we are only a few minutes from the beach. This brings me joy because during our summers in Michigan we only see the afterglows of sunsets because of the trees growing around us.

I was excited when I learned that the botanical garden will be open late on Wednesdays so people can watch the sun set over the natural preserve area of the garden. A couple of weeks ago Jim and I went for a stroll through the garden and had supper at the Fog Cafe. I had great fun exploring how the landscape catches the late day sun, so different than how it catches the early morning sun during my normal Tuesday morning visits.

 

 

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Chasing the Sunset

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Going north for summer is on our minds a lot. We won’t be leaving for a couple of weeks but we are thinking about things we want to do one more time before we leave. We will probably go to the beach a few more times, but that was my state of mind when I suggested we go to the beach for the sunset.

It was quiet and gentle on the beach, probably because we decided to park several blocks from the pier. Most of our trips to the beach this year were to the pier – taking visitors  to see the sunset and hopefully some dolphins. The pier is a popular place during the winter high season with people coming to fish, see the sunset, and get a different view of the gulf shoreline in Naples. The whole length of Naples shoreline has public access which makes it great for walking, but most were there for the sunset.

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On this evening there were a few walkers, and even a few young men practicing their surf boarding…

most of the time taking a crashing tumble as they left the crest of the wave. Each time they did, my body responded with a groan and a shudder – probably because I was riding the waves with them and I could feel my aging body being jarred into a long period of painful recovery. They came up shaking the water from their hair and laughing – eager to try again. We made a win-win duo. They experienced the exhilaration of the being that comes from doing and I had the joy of the vicarious experience without pain.

I also experienced the joy and peace of a less-than-spectacular sunset. This was one of those sunsets that makes the world gentle and delicate.20170401-DSC_0008

We walked along the low-tide shoreline watching the water press earthward in long slow sweeps.

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We held hands, wanting to absorb this world of ours that seems so common and natural now, but will be left in a couple of weeks for a world that is vastly different.

How strange that I find myself escaping our caustic and scary politics into the gentle world of surf and sunset, and later into dirt roads with freshly plowed fields and budding leaves of spring, only to find myself disturbed by the thought that the current administration has no concern about how undoing environmental protections in the name of bringing back jobs and making more profits for businesses will cause destruction to the environment that have long-lasting effects. There no longer is an attempt to balance progress (making money) with protecting our planet – and we will be the losers. With some mature brain-power I bet we could create jobs with the goal of finding ways of meeting the needs of nature – human and environmental. We need to understand that humans are a part of the environment, not separate from it.  It is inevitable that we will experience the same fate as the environment. If we destroy the environment there won’t be anywhere to escape to, for pleasure… or life.

Evening Tide

20150322-sunset 001We went to the beach to see the sunset last Sunday along with just about everyone else in town. There is parking on every street that ends by the Gulf of Mexico beach but we had to drive well north before we found a park with a spot for us. We almost missed the sunset.

20150322-sunset 012Lately I’ve been fascinated with the surface of water and how light dances and plays with the movement of the water. On this evening I found my own space on our planet and became immersed in the reflected color on the surf.

20150322-sunset 011 We shared it with friends Julie & Joanne and it was a perfect way to end another wonderful day. It is nice to still be adding special memories in the neurons of my brain and connecting them to hundreds of other beach memories from years past. I think new experiences are more exciting in old age because of the opportunity to relive so many previous experiences simultaneously.