Lens-Artists Challenge #252 – What’s Bugging You?

Donna is our host this week, with the intriguing quest for what’s bugging us… And well, mostly I don’t think anything is bugging me…but since Donna asks for it…here’s my gallery of lovely bugs!

Tiny things are often in my lens – I do love macro, but close-ups are ok too. And bugs are definitely an interesting topic.

A big friend…a bit too big for me to feel comfortable! More than once I have had one of these jumping into my face.

This golden guy though, a flower chafer, can also scare me with his sudden thumping into me or my world. He is rather heavy and clumsy – but also a great beauty. In Swedish he is called ”Golden Beetle”, and belongs to the scarab beetles. Which leads me to a visit in the Moroccan desert some years ago.

I cannot say how impressed I was by this little creature covering so much ground so fast in this endless ocean of sand. The first shot is in early morning light and the second is late evening.

Last summer I made some new acquaintances in my own garden – this one I had never seen before and I still don’t know who he is…

Aromia, a handsome longhorn beetle, sitting on a yesterday’s glass left outdoors.

A gallery of last year’s summerfriends – makes me long for the insects to return. The cold and windy spring has taken its toll. But we are ready for take-off!

A special thank you to Anne for last week’s challenge Buildings and Other Structures. It is always fascinating to see how different buildings/structures are constructed and can be both functional and art.

Next week, our guest host is Brian of Bushboys World. The view of Australia through his lens is always fascinating. Be sure to visit his site and join all of us as he challenges us to look for: Fragments.

Interested in going the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

LAPC #238 – Alone Time

Some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.

― Ken Poirot

Alone time means time spent by an individual or a couple apart from others. It is often used to ground oneself, or to do something creative.

In the northern countries we are known for this need of alone time – but I strongly believe we all need it. We just have to watch for the signs… even if they are not always easily recognized. You might for example need some time away from other people when you are feeling short-tempered or getting easily irritated by minor things; feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated; having trouble concentrating or getting anxious about spending time with other people.

My own reasons for needing alone time originates from being an only child, and growing up close to the forests and fields – Nature holds all the beauty I need in life, and I have been given the gift to see and to listen, and to rejoice in it. I am very grateful.

Grounding yourself is when you stay connected to the present. Instead of getting lost in anxiety and reviewing a made-up version of reality in your head, grounding allows you to experience the moment you are in. It requires being connected to yourself and provides stability and calm even in challenging situations.

Nature is an unequalled source to pour from – turn off social media, open your windows and let your eyes and mind wander with you on the path you choose. Personally, my favourite path is the one with grass in the middle…just like my childhood paths.

I feel better when I am surrounded, not by humans, but by trees.

― Michael Bassey Johnson

For many of us books and reading fill this alone time well. Reading gives us the possibility to wander into other worlds, while sitting comfortably in our own chair.

For me, photography, writing and sketching works well too, and so does painting.

I know that I need serious alone time to be able to function. For this purpose, I finally realised an old dream – A Room of My Own.

We need solitude, because when we’re alone, we’re free from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.

― Tamim Ansary

Finding time to be alone can have a number of key benefits. Some of these include personal exploration, creativity and social energy. If you are not used to spend time alone, plan that time into your schedule and make sure that other people know that they shouldn’t interrupt you during that time. It might be helpful too if you plan out what you want to do –

This week in February, every year, I want my husband to travel for some days, so that I can replant my houseplants, alone. I can plan it as I want to, I can emerge myself in facts on the different species…

…and end up with revived plants and cuttings en masse – cheers to new life!

This year I also bought some airplants – they need no soil, just a piece of bark, some Spanish moss, and some sprinkling of water. At the same time I get the joy of creating interesting new arrangements.

New projects are always around the corner, but, I also try hard to just BE. Do nothing. Exist here and now. This is difficult. I wonder – do you manage it? Some good advice would be much appreciated.

Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.

~ Paulo Coelho

When I am completely by myself, entirely alone or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.

~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

A Special thank you to Bren for her soft and magical challenge last week! We learned new things and new experiences make us grow. Now we are looking forward to seeing your Alone Time posts. What are your thoughts, and what do you use your alone time for? Be sure to tag Lens-Artists and link to my original post.

I have been made aware of pingbacks not working, so please, send your link in the comment section! It seems the reason it’s not working might originate in the change to JetPack on my phone.

Next week, Tina will be hosting, and her theme will be – Finding Peace. Please visit her beautiful site for inspiration.

LAPC #237 – Bringing Softness

We need softness in the world. When you go to sleep at night, do you lay your head on a brick?

– Adrienne Posey

For this week’s challenge, our guest host, Bren, wants us to show how we soften our images. Bren is a master of this, and now we can learn how it works. ” You don’t have to stick to flowers, landscapes and architecture are also ideal subjects. By lowering the clarity and creating softness in those areas frames the subject in an image, be it a tree, path, bridge, even a door or house or just a dreamy looking image.”

I decided to try some different subjects, starting with a flower and finishing with a seascape.

My first try was a Nasturtium plant close-up –

Then some fluffiness against a rough wall – I guess the bee was collecting building material for his home.

My red camellia is in flower now. I love what the softening did in this image – it made the ”unreal” look of this flower more tempting and strikingly beautiful. The white camellia is in flower as well, but the softness did not work as well as in this one.

The blue colour of the chikory flower is unsurpassed, according to me.

A gallery from my forest walks and Hovdala Castle. Colourful tapestries and soft trees mimicking the clouds.

Golden beech leaves among the larch trees. A picture I was to throw away – until Bren’s challenge saved it for me!

The last tree standing. I made the layers of twigs, grass, forest and sky soft/clear in those sections.

Another gently woven tapestry with field, forest and sky. The colours really appealed to me, and the skies were great that day.

I didn’t believe this technique would work quite that well with a seascape – but I just had to try.

Thank you, Amy, for last week’s wonderful challenge with so many interesting interpretations! And thank you, Bren, for letting us play and learn – I hope you all had as much fun as I had. Now we are looking forward to seeing your responses to this week’s challenge! Please remember to link to Bren’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Next week it will be me, Ann-Christine/Leya who is your host. See you then!

For more information on joining the challenge each week, check here.

LAPC# 231 – Favourites of 2022

Our first host this new year is John, challenging us to show our favourites of 2022. I don’t know how you choose your favourites, but my choices bring me smiles and warm feelings. So, they are for the greater part memories for my heart.

My absolute favourite 2022 is –

Myra! New in the family and always a sunshine. ♥

At the beginning of last year we went to Lundsbrunn and found some beautiful ruins on the way. Their colours and structures fascinated me. And the concept of pictures in pictures.

Every spring I go to the beech forest to find the first little blue anemonies (hepatica) – daringly facing the first rays of sun. Many times the snow has not yet left the ground.

Pasque flowers are among my absolute favourites, and they are beautiful in every stage of transition. The annual walk by the sea at Kivik and the west coast of Skåne is a treat every spring.

You who follow me know, that flowers are my passion, but also the little inhabitants that fly among them, insects and birds. Nothing beats an early morning walk in the forest or in the fields…or in my garden. At the beginning of the day when everything is served fresh and dewy, birds are singing in a seemingly flawless world .

For some years now, there has not been much traveling – for obvious reasons. When we finally could use our tickets to Porto, it was a strange, but familiar feeling to sit in a plane again. We are more often going by train now – to spare the environment.

Porto was the treat we had been told it would be. And it was very invigorating to meet another foreign city, its culture and people.

For the greater part of 2022 we stayed at home. There was much to do with the glass house, growing vegetables, fruits and flowers. I was also lucky to have a couple of Hummingbird Hawkmoths as rare guests in my garden! As they do not really belong here, I felt a bit sad for them – they would not make it through the winter months.

Mushrooms are delightful company on my walks, and I am appreciating them more every year. This soft little one was accompanied by an even tinier friend at its base. It made me smile.

I hope some smiles came your way as well, looking at my images – ♥

We are looking forward to seeing your favorite images from 2022! Be sure to link your post to John’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find your response. Next week, Sofia hosts the challenge. For more information on joining the challenge each week, check here.

Thank you for staying with us through 2022, and hopefully this will be a Happy and Healthy New Year, 2023!

Lens-Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

”Stop. Look. Listen. Doing those three things will help you discover the abundance of wildlife you have nearby.” I will follow Anne’s advice…

This summer we were fortunate enough to have a couple of Hummingbird Hawkmoths in our garden – guess if I was happy! An astonishing little creature that is not often found this high up north.

I love my bees and bumblebees of course, and since I planted even more flowers favourable to pollinators, they are increasing.

This little friend is a guest every summer, and while our plumtree was still alive, the hedgehogs feasted on the fallen fruit.

This Grass snake met a harsh destiny due to climate change. The sun warmed up too early and the snake was lured to wake up and venture out of its winter home. They go stiff when the cold returns, and there is no food either. I couldn’t do anything for him.

It is always a joy when this golden gem, the green rose chafer, visits my garden. Its flight is rather clumsy, but the sight of him is a true joy.

I am no spider enthusiast, but in a net of pearls it is OK with me.

This beautiful red kite was lying under a log in the forest. I don’t know how he got there, but they say this species often fight each other, so I guess that might have been his story. We took him to a gamekeeper, but he could not be saved. His wings were too damaged and he could not fly properly after a week, so he was unable to feed himself.

The nearest lake has its beautiful inhabitants, and of the mute swans there are several pairs. Cold winter mornings make them something extra.

”From squirrels to birds, wildlife is around us. What non-domestic animals live in your neighborhood or nearby?” Let us see your wildlife. Remember to link to Anne’s original post and use the Lens-Artist tag.

And, special thanks to Sophia for her interesting Exposure challenge. I hope you had fun with it – I certainly had! Next week we are pleased to tell you that our guest host is Jude of Cornwall in Colors. Visit her beautiful site for more inspiration.

Looking forward to seeing you – until then, stay kind and cool.

Thursday Thoughts – The Last Butterflies

The butterflies are leaving – rain and less than 15 degrees C. I only see a few every day now, and they are all battered, tired and slow. Sitting in the last rays of warming sun, preferably on a wall facing south. My Buddleijas are blooming a second time, but almost only bumblebees and bees are guests. It is always sad to see the butterflies go, but there will be a new Spring for them I hope.

Macro Monday – Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Guess if I was happy about this little creature last week! Some years ago we had one visiting – and now he had me smiling again. In fact I am still smiling…