LAPC #234 – Messages

Welcome Donna! Hosting this week with Messages.

Enjoy your search for messages in photography this week. The options are endless. ”Does the message from your last fortune cookie resonate with you? Clouds? Is there street art, neon signs, or store fronts that grab your attention? What about the underlying messages from marketing logos, or the message you want to portray in your photography. Just have fun”. And then, please link your post back to Donna and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you.

Ever since life started on earth, messages have been essential for our communication. Every living creature depends on the ability to communicate. Here are some different messages that I have found…mostly they speak for themselves.

Who left this place, seemingly only some seconds ago…? A dear friend who used to love lying in frosty grass. Happy to have captured his message now that he is gone since long.

I was here! Territorial messages can be marked in many ways.

I have never driven one of these, but many youngsters around here have one…Good message for the police to know what kind of car this is…

You don’t have to know the language if there is a message like this on the building. Pictures delivering messages are essential. This one represents one of our oldest theater forms, a craft almost forgotten in many countries.

One of my dear students is a Swedish champion in Jousting…

– taking a break maybe? Or, did he lose or win? I am sure he will return though, for his coat of arms, sword, armour and mask.

Play of words gives me great pleasure – here at the newest aquarium in Denmark – The Blue Planet. I will come back in a year or two with my grandchild.

Art almost always carry messages for us. With open eyes and senses we will understand. The problem is – will we learn?

A special thank you to Anne as she inspired us to take a One Lens Walk last week. Your interpretations to the challenge were creative and inspiring. Hearing more about what lenses people prefer was also interesting. Not surprisingly a zoom lens was very popular.

Now we are looking forward to your messages! Next week, Patti will lead with Shadows & Reflections in Monochrome. Make sure to visit her at Pilotfish for more inspiration.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists Community Challenges? Click here for more information. 

LAPC #233 – One Lens Walk

Annes challenge for us this week is to take a lens for a walk. Yes, to choose a lens and walk. We can also use our cell phone or point and shoot camera. Another trick, when using a zoom lens, is to pick an aperture and stay with it. It is of course also possible to go for our archives. The important thing is to have fun! Remember to link to Anne’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

I usually walk with my Fuji 16-80 lens, or my 35 prime lens. But my absolute favourite is the Tamron 90 macro. It is not a coincidence that my blog is labelled with a quote from William Blake: ”To see a World in a Grain of Sand…” The complete line goes: ”To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.” To me, this is the essence of Life.

As there are very few flowers and insects to photograph right now, I have chosen some of my old macros to show the different possibilities of this lens. Close-ups and macros yes, – but you will notice it is very versatile.

For macros I normally use f/11, but f/8 – f/11 works fine. I always use a tripod, and that is why most of my macros are shot in my own garden. I don’t carry a tripod on my walks. Not only because of the weight, I want to feel free. And, I often have my dog, Milo, with me too. In the beginning I tried to hand hold the camera, but there were too many photos to throw away, so Milo and the tripod are two of my best friends.

Droplets and frosty petals are always a treat, but even with flowers and other subjects that often don’t move much, I also use the timer in order not to risk accidental camera movements while pressing the button. The photo with many droplets, to the left in this gallery, was hand held. When I don’t take close-ups or macro with the lens, that works fine.

When we get really close, like in the first and the last picture, and the roses, the photo turns almost abstract. Other worlds open up and lets our fantasy work magic.

We enjoyed looking back with all of you during Sophia’s challenge last week. You sent us unique and interesting responses – some surprising ones too. Now we are looking forward to seeing your one lens walks!

Next week our new team member, Donna Holland of Wind Kisses, will be leading the challenge. Be sure to visit her beautiful site for inspiration!

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

LAPC – Looking Back

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness

– Frank Gehry

This challenge from Sofia is about time, how things evolve. I have chosen architecture in the city of Tblisi, Georgia. A city I loved from start to finish, because of …everything! Its architecture ranges from caves to supermodern buildings. They have it all. I loved its gentle and smiling people, the delicious food and wine.

Starting out of the city centre, we visited habitable caves where people lived until just recently.

When walking out of the oldest area and down to the city center, we saw more of tiles and bricks, modern and old techniques. The Orbeliani Sulphur Baths are spectacular buildings from the beginning of the city’s history in the 5th century.

In the middle the most famous of the baths in oriental style.

In some places the juxtapositions were too painful. Many people wanted to preserve something of the old style, and the restorations were fairly well done. But we found buildings made of wood, bricks, tiles and finally glass, together.

The ornamented and typical old style was broken into rounded corners and reflecting glass panels. When we asked people about their ”new” city, not many of them were positive to the changes. They only wanted clean water and electricity.

As you could see in the overall picture of Tblisi, there were some buildings that looked extremely odd – the Concert Hall (not in use…) and the Peace Bridge (in the upper left corner ).

Any architectural work that does not express serenity is an error

Luis Barragán

Peace bridge in night light. Somehow changes are often taken to the extreme, and to me, it seems old and new seldom manage to coexist beautifully.

Alexandr, our guide, saw it as his mission to photograph old Tblisi for future generations to see and for older generations to reminisce about their younger days. And because he loved his city. He walked the streets of the old city every day, and the tearing down of the elaborately built houses, balconies and staircases made him sad. He told us he was going to donate all his photos to the city museum when he was unable to work anymore.

Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art

– Leonardo da Vinci

Sofia picked Art representations to show the passing of time. Now it is up to you to choose where you want to go when you look back in time. Maybe you will want to focus on the evolution of transport, or want to show things that have seen better days… or things that have become obsolete. We’re excited to see where and when you’ll take us. Remember to link to Sofia’s original post and tag Lens-Artists so we can all find you.

A special thank you to John and everyone that took part in last week’s challenge. There were many amazing images from 2022 and promises of a great 2023. Next week Anne will be our host. Please visit her wonderful site for inspiration.

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!

LAPC #230 – Last Chance

Tina is our host this week, with the theme Last Chance. This means we’re given the opportunity to include images (on any and all subjects) created in 2022, but not previously published.

A brilliant idea – let them shine!

You could say that all of life is a series of last chances.

– Cynthia Voigt

Everybody wants to shine a little bit, even a wallflower.

– Phyllis Smith

Look, I want to love this world…

as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.

– Mary Oliver

There is one, and only one solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience.

– Bill Mollison

In vīnō vēritās, in aquā sānitās

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

– Douglas Adams

Ask me to show you poetry in motion and I will show you a horse.

– Unknown

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thank you for your interesting and inspiring responses to my last week’s challenge, Perfect Patterns. I think we all opened our eyes just a little bit more to find a world filled with patterns! Now I’m looking forward to seeing your Last Chance photos, please link back to Tina’s original post and tag Lens-Artists. Tina’s challenge this week is a great opportunity to go back to this year’s photos and give some of them a new chance to shine.

We’ll be off for the Holidays and will be back 7th January with John at the wheel. We are immensely pleased to announce that Donna Holland from Wind Kisses will be joining us then as a new team member. Donna has been a loyal follower of our challenge, has previously Guest-Hosted, and consistently delivers thoughtful and beautifully illustrated posts. Be sure to follow her at her site, windkisses.com.

We wish you all a Happy, Healthy New Year!

LAPC #229 – Perfect Patterns

Of course there is no such thing as a ”perfect” pattern…but it could be perfect in Your eyes, perfect for camouflage or perfect for its purpose…or simply radiating ”perfect”! This week we challenge you to find perfect patterns and it would be great if you wanted to tell us why you think they are perfect.

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is the natural world. Seemingly perfect, and more often than not – pleasing to the eye.

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

– Alice Walker

A giant lotus at Kew Gardens, and DNA strands –

The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and bad treatment it is.

– Dante Alighieri

I went to Copenhagen in search for more patterns, and found Musselmalet Ribbed, the first tableware decor of Royal Copenhagen. It was designed in 1770, and today, centuries later, it is one of the most famous and coveted porcelain decorations in the world. Every piece is still painted by hand. So,…they cannot be perfect…or?

We often think that a perfect pattern should be symmetrical…but does it really have to be? These are licorice bottles.

Many more patterns would be almost perfect, if humans did not mess with them. I never walk on newly fallen snow – if I am not forced to do so… but I have to feed the birds!

A room in one of the wineries of Porto. Surely designed to look perfect – but as it showed up in my computer – I realised it is not. The lines are asymmetrical, but somehow we don’t notice that at first. What can we learn from this?

To understand is to perceive patterns.

– Isaiah Berlin

Why do I believe there are perfect patterns in this shopping window? I liked the white trunks spreading out just like the photo model’s hair, and the dots of snow and her blouse are corresponding. The scale of colours too suggests a Nordic/Scandinavian thought from the decorator. I guess it’s the harmony of different patterns that makes this window perfect in my eyes.

Back to nature again – a young eagle owl being released in freedom – as you can see, the feathers are not completely perfect – but,

I think every single imperfection adds to your beauty. I’d rather be imperfect than perfect.

– Sonam Kapoor

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

– Jane Austen

Did you know that if you destroy a spider’s web too many times, it will not be spun as meticulously perfect anymore?

For my knitted caps, I make up ”perfect” patterns according to what I know about the person who is going to wear them. Most of these were my children’s, but the sheep cap with mittens I made this autumn (Christmas gift) for my little granddaughter.

Finally – nothing is completely perfect – at least never when a human is involved. But, let your own eyes and feelings decide what is perfect for you!!

Many thanks to Patti for last week’s Diagonals – your creative and thoughtful posts really made us think, and maybe even revise our approach to photography.

Now we’re looking forward to seeing what patterns you will find! Be sure to include a link to my original post and to use the Lens-Artists tag so we can easily find you in the Reader. If you’re new to the challenge and want to join us, click here.

Next week, it’s Tina’s turn to be our host, so be sure to visit her inspirational site for LAPC #230. Have a great week ahead and hope to see you soon!

LAPC #228 – Diagonals

We invite you to join us this week as we explore diagonals as a way to add visual interest and depth to our photos, as
well as a sense of action. Our host for this intriguing challenge is Patti.

I enjoy searching for lines that will enrich life, and images. Informally, any sloping line is called diagonal, but the word diagonal derives from the ancient Greek diagonios, ”from angle to angle” (from dia-, ”through”, ”across” and gonia, ”angle”, related to gony ”knee”); later adopted into Latin as diagonus (”slanting line”). Many years since I took Latin and Greek, but they are still interesting and very useful – with the help of Wikipedia too.

The line of life is a ragged diagonal between duty and desire.

– William Rounseville Alger

Before the plants had leaves…the shadows were diagonal.

The Segovia aqueduct is forever a favourite with me. Put together with only the stones themselves, and in perfect lines with diagonal shadows. Where is your focus?

Beaches create perfect diagonals and all other lines…The water pool is leading straight to the two dogs.

Spanish water – alive all the way to the end of the image.

The marvelous construction of Harpa, Iceland, took my breath away. Bold lines, diagonals and a concoction of materials.

The simplicity of these lines – is soothing.

Walking on diagonals to the spa.

Umbrella diagonals!

Last week, we had wonderful tours of your home country, town, village or any place that you call home. A special thanks to Tina for her Home Sweet Home theme. Your posts have given us food for thought and wonderful ideas about new places to visit all around the world.

Patti ask us to consider if the diagonals add a sense of depth, or action, or invite the viewer to explore the scene.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you can find! Be sure to include a link to Patti’s post and the Lens-Artists tag so we can easily find you in the Reader. If you’re new to the challenge and want to join us, click here.

Next week, it’s my turn, Ann-Christine, to take the lead, so be sure to visit Leya next Saturday for LAPC #229 as we continue our December challenges. Have a great week ahead and hope to see you soon!

Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

This Earth is our only home. Together, we must protect and cherish it.

– Ban Ki-moon

Tina is our host this week, and she asks us:

”If a foreigner were to spend a week or a month traveling your home country with you, where would you take them? What sights would you tell them to be sure to see? Where have you found some of your own favorite images? What is it you truly love about where you live, or places you’ve seen in your home country?

This might be the most challenging challenge of all…because I love so many things about my home country. But I will try…starting in the Southern part of Sweden, where I live. Sweden is a very ”long” country, 1 600 kilometers from north to south and 500 kilometers from east to west. This means that it can be winter in the north while it is still late summer in the south.

Spring and apple trees – a must see. Orchards and farmland is the sign of southern Sweden, because we have the best soil in the country. I grew up in an orchard, so this is true home for me.

I would want to show some of our famous parks and gardens, where Ronneby Brunn was voted the most beautiful park in Sweden.

From south to north, we have 30 National parks and 5 342 protected areas/nature reserves. I have visited several of them, and old trees, mostly oaks, are often in my lens.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

– Maya Angelou

Those nature gems are indeed worth visiting – and I can bring Milo along too.

Läckö Castle, 13th century. One of the most popular ”fairy tale” castles in Sweden.

Castles, castles – we have many of them in Sweden and many in Skåne, where I live. There are often different activites around them, medieval jousting, games and markets. Hovdala Castle is situated 15 kilometers from my home. It might be ”my home castle”, as I go there about once a month for hiking or other activities.

Our capital, Stockholm, is of course a must if you want to see Sweden. Founded in the 12th century and called the ”Venice of Scandinavia” because it was built on many small islands.

Kosta Boda glass hotel might be needed after this extensive traveling…here I want to show off our famous glass (Orrefors and Kosta Boda), and the hotel and spa is filled with glass art. The bar and chairs are all in blue glass!

Home is the nicest word there is.

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hornborgasjön is a gathering place for migrating cranes – and for birders of course. This is an unforgettable experience in April every year. Some 20000 cranes are eating, dancing, mating. The sound is incredible…as is the very sight of them!

Where thou art, that is home.

– Emily Dickinson

Graveyards from the Viking Age has a certain mood around them. The concept of time inevitably hits you. They can be found everywhere in Sweden. This one – a kilometer from my home.

We have to visit Tännforsen, one of our amazing nature reserves that treats us to spectacular beauty any time of the year.

Jokkmokk’s market has a tradition of gathering people for 400 years in a row (not the same people of course…) – this is a place for trade and racing reindeer. Warm clothes are recommended – sometimes the temperature drops to minus 40 C.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

– Lin Yutang

Jukkasjärvi Icehotel, the first one in the world, is of course an experience even if you don’t stay the night…They do have famous food too, and every room is specially made with different ice sculptures.

Hiking up north to see the Linnaea borealis, Carolus Linnaeus’ favourite flower.

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

-Jane Austen

And so, ending our trip at the very north and Lapland, we will return home.

What about a refreshing Forest bath now? Quite an exhausting tour it was, but I hope my guests are happy with their tour!

Home is where the heart is.

– Pliny the Elder

Sincere thanks for your patience as I went through some of my favorite places here in Sweden. Now we’re looking forward to seeing your own favorites! Please remember to link to Tina’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Thanks also to Jude for Guest Hosting last week’s Textures Challenge. Both her challenge and your responses were original and beautifully photographed. Thank you for joining in the fun! Our next challenge, Diagonals, will be hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog so be sure to check in next Saturday at noon EST. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

LAPC# 226 – Textures

Jude of Cornwall in colours is our guest host this week, and she has decided on Textures – an interesting choice! Please visit her impressive site for more inspiration.

There are so many textures in this world…I cannot imagine how many. I have chosen some of my favourites from the natural world. Randomly or no special order.

Winter has arrived today, and we have got some snow too. On the east coast and in the south east they got about 30-50 cm in one day. This icy pattern was found on my glass house.

I like the smooth water and the many coloured round stones right under the surface. Often it is opposites or interesting juxtapositions that bring out the interest.

Or, sometimes it’s just enough to view things from both sides.

Manmade and rusty – but it goes so well together with the round, ”soft” green shapes.

More round shapes, now together with spiky ones…

– they enhance each other.

Some of my absolute favourites are the hydrangeas – all seasons.

Trunks fascinates me, and some trees more than others. Birches have so much character…even as fallen and dead.

Somehow this looks like a big smile!

Last year’s heavy snow took its toll in the forest…many branches lost on this one, but the tree lives on!

Finally, a gallery with some different textures found in my garden and out hiking.

We are very much looking forward to seeing the different textures you can find in your world. Please link to Jude’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Sincere thanks to Anne Sandler for a marvellous challenge last week.  Your Wildlife Close to Home took us around the globe and showed us the wonderful variety of wildlife in and around your area.  Next Saturday, Tina will be our host for LAPC #227, so be sure to visit her amazing site Travels and Trifles for inspiration and details.  Until then, stay safe and be kind.

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.