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.

Lens-Artists Challenge #224 – Exposure

Sofia leads us in this interesting challenge – Exposure. Please visit her beautiful site for inspiration! Now, it is up to you how you work on exposure. I prefer using aperture when photographing, but for this challenge I decided only to play with changing the exposure settings while editing. In general, I find that the easiest way to get the look I want. The idea here is to see how the mood of any photo depends on its exposure.

First, some of my high key flower images. I used to be rather obsessed with that some years ago.

What is High-Key Photography?

In short, high-key images are those that have few shadows and have the subject set against a very bright background. High-key images are often set against over-exposed backdrops and the average of all the pixels in the image is very bright. High-key is the opposite of low-key images that are defined by their darker tones.

But, I am cheating…I have this opportunity in one of my cameras, and I also use NIK. If you want to try it for real, here’s an explanation and a tutorial.

Hiking last week in the deforested area, made for sunlit roots and grass. The area felt desaturated – in a positive way.

I decided for monochrome before changing the exposure in LR. The low exposure was a hit for me. I could almost feel the beautiful, whitened roots come alive in the play of light and shadow. Please click to enlarge.

For this plumbago flower, I used Lightroom to create different exposures. You can see that in the underexposed image the light is softly shining through the petals, something you cannot see that well in the overexposed picture. Harmony.

NIK can make striking high key images, while the low key one with LR touched shadows gives another feel.

Different umbrellas

This fly agaric stood alone in the shadow, neutral exposure – with an underexposed image, you can make the ”hat” glow when editing in for example LR. More magic!

Landscapes – well, I don’t know what you prefer, but I prefer the ethereal look of the overexposed image.

Last, but not least, if you are a follower, you already know that I love double exposures. You can make them in Photoshop, but I am lucky enough to be able to make them in my camera. This image I have featured several times, but it is the one I think have turned out the best. So far. In the header – roses.

To sum it up, for me it’s aperture photography, but I often find that playing with exposure while editing gives me a wider range of opportunities. Good for me – I am not always fast in deciding how I want the final image to look. I think that underexposed images make for interesting edits and overexposed images can lift the photo to something ethereal.

Last week we had John’s creative challenge to lighten up our windows to the world. The variety of replies showed how every challenge can be interpreted in a different, personal way and that applies to this week’s challenge as well. We” invite you to play, think or just do your own thing with exposure, either on camera or while editing. and then show us the result.”

Please link to Sofia’s original post and tag with Lens-Artists so we can all find you. Next challenge it is Anne hosting, be sure to visit her beautiful site for inspiration.

As always, stay calm and kind.

LAPC #223 – Flights of Fancy

John leads this week’s challenge, and it is no surprise it involves a ”flight”…

I was a little bookworm, a girl with my head full of dreams. Many dreams of foreign countries I read about in books and saw fascinating pictures of. Mostly special places in these books, not so much whole countries. I never thought they would be more than dreams, but then I met a young man as eager as myself to see the world. We started travelling together when I was 16 and he was 21. And we never stopped. Today I am very grateful that so many ”flights of fancy” from my childhood really came to fruition. Of course I have many dreams left, but in fact there is only one more great travel dream, and that is to see the cherry blossom and the wisteria tunnels in Japan. Somehow I don’t think that dream will come true – but it feels good to still have dreams!

Please go to John’s site for more inspiration!

I have picked three different ”flights”… big and small, and in two out of three there is a real flight involved.

One of my first ”flights of fancy” was this house. As a young girl I used to spend every summer in the public swimming pool of our village. And on my way to the pool, every day I passed this white house, surrounded by a big garden with lots of birches, apple trees, plum trees and pear trees. It was built on a bit higher ground than the other houses, and I also knew that one of the most handsome young boys in my little village happened to live there…

Little did I know that my boyfriend and I would buy this house when I was only 21 – and we have lived here since then, for 44 years now. And, it is still my dream house!

This image is from quite some years ago, when we had both Mille and Totti waiting for us to come home.

Another ”flight of fancy” was going to New Zealand. I had a pen friend when I was 11 (one of many…), and this girl sent me a calender with photos from both islands, North and South. I was so mezmerised, so in love with these extraordinary nature sceneries, that I started dreaming of getting there one day. In my mind, no other country could literally have ”everything” I loved: high mountains and glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs, magical forests and jungle, unimaginable animals…yes, everything. A dream which of course sounded absolutely impossible…NZ was at the the other end of the world – the New Zealanders are our antipodes.

Then there is another ”flight of fancy” involved too. I had always loved the novels of JRR Tolkien, and especially Lord of the Rings. Our children loved it too…so, finally we arrived in NZ, North Island around Christmas 2011. We travelled the islands for a month, and of course we had to visit Hobbiton! And do you know what – it looked just like in my dreams.

Yet another ”flight of fancy” started with a novel, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. I dreamt of the magical Himalayas and mystical Tibet, but realised I would never get there. This was literally another world. But, in 2009 my family took the train from Beijing over permafrost and the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa. It is the world’s highest railway, 5,068 meters at Tanggula. The cars are equipped with oxygen supply to avoid altitude sickness. Still today, we all think this was one of our greatest adventures.

Over the last years, our home has become a ”flight of fancy” for birds and insects, plants and hedgehogs. I try to make it my own Shangri-La, a hidden paradise behind birches, bird cherry and lilacs. I cannot save the planet, but I know I can be of great help to make this little piece of Earth thrive.

According to John, and to, the idiom “flight of fancy” refers to “an unrealistic idea or fantastic notion, a
pipe dream. For example, ‘She engaged in flights of fancy, such as owning a million‐dollar house.’ This idiom uses
flight in the sense of ‘a soaring of the imagination,’ a usage dating from the mid‐1600s.”

I believe we all need imagination and flights of fancy to survive in this unruly world, so, keep dreaming…

A big thank you to Amy for a spectacular mountain challenge – and to you all for your fabulous entries! Now we are looking forward to seeing what was your flight of fancy (or someone else’s) that came to fruition? Please link to John’s original post and tag Lens-Artists.

Next week, Sofia hosts challenge #224 – Exposure. Be sure to visit her beautiful site for inspiration. Until next, stay calm and kind.

LAPC#222 – Mountains are Calling

Amy is our host this week, and she hopes we will share our joy and pleasure of visiting/climbing  mountains. I know many of us are mountain lovers, so we are looking forward to seeing your responses! Be sure to link to Amy’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

– T. S. Eliot

Let’s start close to home, in Scandinavia, with green summer mountains…

…blue glaciers and

mocca coloured, volcanic Iceland. They are calling to me with their special light and fresh air.

The Canary Islands offer more than beaches, we usually hike the mountain areas. Pico de las Nieves in the faraway clouds, and the pinnacle in the middle is called Roque del Fraile (monk)

On top of the world is the Himalayas, an impressive mountain range. Here seen from northern Bhutan.

More from the Himalayas, now seen from the Tibetan Plateau, where we went by train to Lhasa.

A holy lake in Tibet. The landscape is vast and it took some time for my son to walk down to the water. Lower mountains here, but still impressive. The clouds seemed to hang right above us, almost touchable, and the contrasts were bright in the thin air. This is about 3000-4000 meters above sea level.

The mountain meadows of Switzerland are a haven of summer flowers in July. I think this image shows the essense of this week’s challenge – “The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

Hiking mountains is so much more than the spectacular views – it is meeting other hikers, photographing flowers, animals, and different landscapes.

Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.

― Jeffrey Rasley

Many of us seek the mountains to be alone. To shut out the world and just BE. Silence is rare in this world.

Go where you feel most alive.

– Unknown

So, mountains are calling me because of their beauty, for peace of mind and soul…for moving my body at a pace that suits me, for spending time in the glory of nature. And for photography.

I will finish with other ways of loving mountains… bungyjumping, kiteflying, skiing, rafting, aso…today there are endless activities to try in the mountains if hiking is not your thing. In New Zealand you can get it all.

I cannot thank you enough for last week’s explosion in flowers! You sent us just what I had hoped for – an abundance of glorious flowers! For once, you could indulge in lovely flower images without regret (!), and many of you pointed out the impossibility in chosing favourites – because we love them all! ♥

Next week, John will host LAPC #223. Be sure to visit his site for loads of inspiration. Until then, stay safe and be kind.

LAPC 221#221 – Flower Favourites – and Why?

I must have flowers, always, and always.
― Claude Monet

This week I hope will bring some colourful joy to us all – we will have more Favourite Flowers than ever! And, should it not be flower season where you are, you are welcome to share other beautiful or interesting plants that you love. If there is a story to go with them, we’d love you to share it with us.

My first choice, in the header, must be a Cattleya Iwanagaara Appleblossom – this was my favourite for many years, but sadly it died last year. Then…tough choices for me as I love many flowers! I will not complain if you too find it difficult…

I love the white Magnolia in my garden. Maybe the reason for loving these flowers has to do with its extreme fragility in our climate. The first Spring flowers, the anemonies, can take several days of frost and bad weather, but most years we lose the magnolias after a day or two – because of the cold.

Our greatest favourites in Sweden must be the shy blue anemonies. We even poke around last year’s leaves in order to find the first blue buds… And, it’s a yearly competition to show the first photo on facebook or instagram…

Sweden and the other nordic countries are rather cold places, so when Spring arrives with the light and warmer temperatures – our first flowers are always the most loved ones.

While the blue anemonies grow rather scarcely and are more of solitaires – the white wood anemonies fill the whole forest with their little faces turned towards the sun – just like we do. They bring out people of all ages to walk in the forest and admire the magic.

As you probably know, wild flowers and grasses have a special place in my heart. In my garden I have many wild summer flowers, and not only for the insects – they are for me too. I love their delicateness, often in contrast to the bigger and sturdier cultivated flowers.

Among cultivated flowers, Miss Willmott’s Ghost is a favourite of late, I just love the silvery whiteness and its sharp needles – and the story of course. How Miss Willmott loved this plant so much that she secretely spread it everywhere in people’s gardens…

The colour of plumbago is heavenly. Ever since I saw the first one, in my teens, in a little village somewhere in the Mediterranian, I was caught. Finally I can have this beauty at home, as my glasshouse makes it possible for it to survive winter temperatures.

And then, one of the strangest flowers…

Callistemon – or bottlebrush. It was love at first sight, 1986 in Nepal. I brought home a twig and made it live, but coming back from one of our travels I found it had died. I have bought several ones over the years, just to see them die during winter, but now they survive happily in the glass house.

Asters are the last ones to flower before winter, and that is a good reason to love them, because they have to endure cold and rain, frost and sometimes snow. Sorry to say, they don’t look this brilliant in 2022. We have had too much rain and too little sun this autumn.

I guess this is what is left before winter, a much appreciated plant firing away its last flames of autumn. It’s even clinging to my washing line – so, no clean wash there right now…

If you love a flower which happens to be on a star, it is sweet at night to gaze at the sky. All the stars are a riot of flowers.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For winter then? Well the only flower growing here then is…the frost rose. I don’t know what you call them – if you have them where you live – but my grandmother always said they were frost roses. I wonder if there will be a renaissance for them in our homes this winter…?

Now we are looking forward to seeing your favourite flowers and plants – and don’t forget the stories (if there are any) – I know it will be a colourful and interesting parade! Please link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Sincere thanks to Patti for a marvelous challenge that really got us testing and thinking over our photography. I think we all learned something from each other!

Next week Amy will be our host, so be sure to visit her amazing site for inspiration and details! Until then, stay safe and be kind.

LAPC #220 – One Subject Three Ways

This weeks challenge is hosted by Patti, who once again wants us to think photographically – One subject three ways.

I am just back from Porto, and I have to post from the amazing Livraria Lello – ”The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World”… and a bit more than three images it had to be. How do you portray a staircase like this? Hope you don’t mind, Patti! I stayed for an hour and a half to work this shot…

There were so many people in queue to come inside, that we had to try three times to find a queue that didn’t stretch all over Old Town Porto.

And I really don’t know how many books were sold or borrowed or… most people were there for the same reason as we were there – for the love of the architecture and for photographing.

My photos are all crowded, but there was no chance of shooting without people getting in the way…

…taking turns posing or just standing in awe. But for a second or two, suddenly there were only two people in the staircase!

I loved it almost more from behind …but every minute here, I was thinking ”Harry Potter”…

This is my favourite perspective and the lady looking upwards shows there is more to see up there – a beautifully painted glass ceiling for example. But that will be for another post, this one was all about the spectacular staircase!

Patti says: ”This week, we invite you to “work the shot.” Post 3 photos of the same subject–from your archives or from a recent outing. Vary your distance from the subject, try different perspectives, zoom out for the big picture, or zoom in on the details. It’s up to you. You can even experiment with processing the photos differently–in black and white or color, cropping, or trying different filters or effects.”

As usual, be sure to include a link to the original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you in the Reader.

A special thanks to Tina for hosting last week’s challenge for photo treasures. Your photos were so varied and inspiring–as always!

I, Ann-Christine, will host next challenge, LAPC #221, so be sure to visit Leya, next Saturday at noon to get all the details. We hope you will join us!

Until then, stay safe, inspired and kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #219 – Treasure Hunt

Tina’s challenge this week is about treasure hunting! You can do one, many or all of the objects in the treasure hunt, which are listed below. Visit Tina’s beautiful blog for more inspiration, and please remember to link to her original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag.

My treasure, Milo – of course!

Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

– Confucius

Winter sun and clouds at home

Moon over the golden Buddha in Bhutan – fun find? Early morning walk and a great surprise at least. 52 meters high and containing 125000 small Buddhas inside.

Time is the only treasure I have on earth.
― Mitta Xinindlu

Autumn foliage and reflection

Don’t let a man put anything over on you except an umbrella.

– Mae West

Umbrellas through the rainy window

All I’ve ever wanted is a nice truck, and that’s what I got.

– Cole Swindell

A truck, a driver and a new wall

Children are the world’s treasure.
― Matshona Dhliwayo

Cousin and family visiting

Sincere thanks to Donna of Wind Kisses for guest hosting last week. Her beautiful post was inspiring for all of us, and your responses were truly wonderful. We hope you enjoy this week’s Treasure Hunt. Here is the list of items:

  • A pet or pets (yours or someone else’s)
  • The moon or the sun (extra credit for both in one image)
  • Clouds (extra credit if you also include rain or snow)
  • A reflection
  • A child (extra credit if with other family members)
  • An umbrella (extra credit if you include a person using it)
  • A truck (extra credit if you include the driver or what the truck is hauling)
  • Autumn foliage (extra credit if it’s something that only blooms in the fall)
  • Something fun you found on a walk

We look forward to seeing your treasures. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.