Tag Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

I’m a bit obsessed with doors as well as with peeling paint, so I couldn’t pass up this shot when I stumbled upon it.   When I took this shot, at an abandoned set of barns in the middle of countryside, somewhere between Cornfield Central and Picturesque Covered Bridges, where there was only the sound of the wind and a barking dog in the distance, I thought it seemed like a perfect setting for a mystery novel.   And, since my imagination can easily take me on journeys, once I thought of that, I wasn’t about to step through that open door — just in case I might have stumbled upon where bodies were buried!

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Cover Art.  My imaginary mystery novel, to go along with this image, is titled  Hidden Country.

2014-10-18 22.58.58


This was shot with an iPhone5 using BracketMode.  Images were compiled with PRO HDR X and processed in SnapSeed.

Be sure to check out others’ contributions to this week’s Photo Challenge.


From my recent visit to Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands.

Orange Tulip with Rain Drops

For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring, click here.

Quotidian (WP Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life)

Today — more than most days — was not a day to take pictures.  Sure I was busy.  Who isn’t?   It doesn’t matter what you do, we always try to squeeze more activities into less time.    I don’t usually read the DP Photo Challenge when it is published, so I was surprised to see it early this morning.  But, only a few words into the post I realized it was because it was a day-long assignment.    Oh bother!  I had such a boring day planned.   Who wants to look at my laundry, or my dirty floor, or the umpteenth coffee cup of the day.

I decided that instead of taking good photos of the mundane, I would try to take great pictures of the hidden side of my day.   The lights in the laundry room seemed to pulse:  a rhythm of the day beating “Go. Go. Go.”   The vacuum cleaner needed to be cleaned.  There wasn’t enough coffee.  I waited for a contractor who didn’t show.  I had some banking tasks to attend to.  I found time to dust, but “dust” is a bit euphemistic when you haven’t done it for weeks.   Is it possible to shovel dust?   If I waited a few more weeks I might have been able to experiment.

Along the way I was distracted by the usual bright shiny objects.  One in particular has been sitting in my living room for two weeks:  a topographical map of an area near my home, as surveyed in 1946.  Of course, in the middle of something important — like fixing the beater bar — I had to stop and unroll that map.   How fascinating!

It’s all in the collage below:  the coffee, the duster, the broken vacuum, the laundry soap, and the dust; it was interspersed with computer work and phone calls and oranges for snacks;  and there were flowers to deliver, and others to spy peeking out of the ground, and a new bird’s nest discovered in an  outside light.  And the topo maps?  Oh yes!  the maps!

Everyday Jazz

Everyday Jazz

The laundry is done and the house is quiet.  But that pulse of activity beats on . . . .

Be sure to check out other’s post for this week’s challenge.  Here are a few (you’ll find more on the DP page):

Weekly Photo Challenge: My neighborhood, My phone camera

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a new phone (think mid last decade), so never have I had a decent phone camera! That changed last weekend when I finally decided to buy a phone that was usable as, you know, a phone. Although I know I can use Siri’s voice commands to dial, I’m thrilled to be able to have a working keypad on my phone. Besides, I found Siri’s “I don’t know what you mean” comments to be so similar to a petulant teenager’s comments that I quickly tired if her. It was fun, though, finding out her (its?) responses to very unkind things said to her. Try it for a laugh!

One thing that I will not tire of quickly, though, is the camera on the iPhone 5. I’ve been clicking away all week. I thought my very first shot, snapped as we left the nearby phone store, was appropriate to this challenge. (I was NOT driving.) It isn’t the best shot, but it is my neighborhood!

I created this post on the phone too. That’s definitely something that I’d rather do on my laptop next time I’m writing this much text!

Next: Explore the many cool iPhone photography apps. Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.

Find out how others documented their neighborhoods in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Typically, illumination would mean some sort of artificial light — street lights, car lights, neon lights.   But, since I’ve been at the beach this week, it is natural light that I have been drawn to.   Here are two sunsets, both well-suited for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme, Illumination.

This evening, as the sun was setting over a partly cloudy sky, some of the clouds were back-lit.  Not only were the clouds illuminated, but the refracted light also illuminated chairs left on the beach by weary sunbathers who had already left the sand:

lluminated clouds; illuminated chairs

Illuminated clouds; illuminated chairs

Early this week, on a similarly cloudy day, the rays of the sun for about an hour before sunset, streaked behind the clouds, sometimes sending rays towards the water; at other times skywards:

Sun Rays

Sun Rays

Be sure to check out how others have interpreted this week’s theme.  Here are just a few of the participants:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | Ese’s Voice
Weekly Photo Challenge: ILLUMINATION « eagerexplorer
Ibukota di Malam Hari dari Rooftop Pelangi | TraveLafazr
Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | Travel. Garden. Eat.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | LooknWalk
Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination – Joy and Woe
Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | Wind Against Current
Illuminated Mount Pico, Açores | Cardinal Guzman
weekly photo challenge: illumination « A Meditative Journey with Saldage
Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | Figments of a DuTchess

Weekly Photo Challenge: Year-in-Review Photos

I reviewed my photos of the past year, but found I  had a difficult time narrowing my selection of  “favorites”.   Finally, I decided that my criteria needed to be not which ones I liked the best, but which ones could tell the stories of that month.   I could have chosen 12 favorite flower photos — I’m sure that I took at least one flower photo in each month. Or I could have focused on the woods and creek where I often take my camera walks, showing the seasons ranging from icy to record-setting heat waves in the spring, to dry drought conditions throughout the summer, and ending with foggy and soggy autumn days until we came back around to the deep snow we have presently. Or I could have chosen the new techniques that I learned this year and showcased what I see as my improvement as I resolved to take a photo every day without relying on the “auto” settings on my camera for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Instead, here is a quick journey through my year, photographically.  Turns out, that is exactly what the last Weekly Photo Challenge of 2012 is all about.

I spent much of January in the mild, warm weather of southwest Florida. Walking the beach nearly daily, sometimes as much as 8 miles at a time, I photographed life at the shore: birds, tropical flowers, shells, fish and other sea creatures. Everything in nature at the shore looks so interesting to me, especially when seen through my camera lens. And nearly every evening, there was a beautiful sunset to photograph. I even tried night photography, though it wasn’t exactly what I would call “successful”.

In February, I returned home to the cold. But, there were still birds to photograph as well as plants, trees, and life along a different type of shore — the creek bank near my home. I even found a colorful shell. There was a sunset or two to shoot — and at the end of the month, the earliest of spring flowers started to bloom. I also discovered some things on my walks that weren’t natural — like the remains of a 1978 Lincoln Continental and a small, hidden ravine in a nature preserve that was filled with empty, rusting trash cans. Also on my walks I ventured away from nature photography to look for design patterns in concrete and other structures — my first foray into abstract photography.

March was absurdly warm — I even wore sundresses a few times. That’s crazy for the Great Lakes region in March. But it made for wonderful walking weather, with all of the wild flowers and trees blooming. Some of my favorite non-floral finds were a skeleton of a box turtle and a fallen tree that was still alive despite its upended roots. I was crazy enough to crawl out on that fall tree — over swampy water of unknown depths — to shoot pics of the red buds.

The great weather continued in April, with avid gardeners starting their plantings early. Color was everywhere! I began venturing into the world of post-production editing, taking little baby steps using programs like Pikmonkey and Snapseed. Though limited, both are easy to use and allow you to do fun things with your photographs. I continued with abstracts, trying a few arrangements inspired by (and I hope not insulting because of their amateurish nature) artist Andy Goldworthy. Rock Rainbow and Dandelion Clock were so fun to do and were instantly my favorites.

May flew by quickly. Flowers were everywhere, but my favorites were in the ditch across the street from me. I got some pretty funny looks from people driving by as I sat in the weeds with my camera. May was also the month my son graduated from college and moved away from home to begin a career in the Air Force. Big changes for both of us!

June made me long for a road trip, but we stayed close to home for the summer. Most of what I shot had to do with home renovations we did so they were not published here. But, I did get some good abstracts by shooting tile and marble with a macro lens. The hummingbirds, which had been buzzing around since the beginning of May, finally made my feeders regular stops on their never-ending feeding frenzy. Other delights of the summer were the neighbor’s cat — “S’s Cat” as I don’t know his name — who was always willing to pose for a few snaps if he thought he might get into my house. Dream on, S’s Cat! While June brought the start of the drought, we still had enough produce from the farmers’ markets that I could experiment with canning. Pickles, green beans, corn, beets and jam! Yummy!

The drought continued and everything began to dry up. Watering bans were established and firework shows were cancelled. A few rogue flowers, however, seemed to open up whenever I had my camera. Pictures that weren’t too interesting as-is became inspirations for abstracts and digital art. I was really pleased with my creation titled “Universes”.

Dryness continued and the only flowers available to shoot were ones that I bought at the grocery store. Fortunate for me, most of them look rather thirsty and the price was often reduced. The mosquito-pit — aka our pond with the broken pump — still managed to sustain a few waterlily, which were beautiful to shoot. Finally the rain came, ending the worst drought this part of the country has seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

An unplanned trip to the Panhandle of Florida brought me back to the beach soon after Hurricane Sandy. The damage was still evident, with huge piles of sand plowed to the sides of the roads, much like what we see in the North following a snow storm. The rain rejuvenated flowers at home and many gardens had a second season before the fall.

The leaves started falling later than usual it seemed, although the trees that didn’t make it through the summer had already lost their leaves. I’ve heard that the real damage to the trees will be evident over the next few winters if the trees have been weakened too much to withstand wind, snow and cold. Leaf collection is a never-ending fall task for those who live in the woods, but I always had time to stop to get a few snaps of the last rose of summer or the beautiful colors of Fall.

Frost and fog were the subjects of my nature photography in November. I began using Photoshop Elements and learning lots from my mistakes. I experimented with creating painted looks for my photographs, sometimes just enhancing them a bit, other times creating an image that doesn’t seem to resemble the original. This kind of second chance to create a work of art is fun! As I do more of these, I am beginning to envision the type of photo that I want as my starting point, rather than just “playing” around with different filters. I think that means I’m making progress with learning the software!

And so we come to the end of the year. Where did it all go? In December, I continued to learn more things with post-processing and began to learn how to apply textures to my images. I’ve taken a lot of holiday-themed photos. With Photoshop, I created a daily holiday banner for my Facebook page – a sort of electronic version of an Advent Calendar. I’m not sure that too many of my FB friends noticed that there was something different everyday — or maybe they did because of a high annoyance factor in their newsfeeds yet were polite enough not to mention it. Regardless of whether others noticed, I had fun doing it. For Christmas, my dear sweet husband gave me a Lensbaby with several components of the Lensbaby Optical Swap system. I think I heard him mumbling this morning as I stood with the door to the balcony open, snapping shots of the light bouncing off the snow on the trees, that he had created a monster. Should I tell him that he did that when he gave me my camera three years ago? 🙂

With this post, I’ve officially blogged every day this year – 366 days.  With the exception of four days — one day too busy, one day too sick, two days just plain forgot — I took at least one photograph daily in 2012.   Thank you for reading my posts throughout the year.  I’m honored that you’d spend a few of your precious moments reading what I have to say or seeing how I look at the world through my camera lens.

I’ll be back in 2013, but I may not be posting daily.   You can expect some photographs, some writing, maybe more on recipes and cookbooks. Musings on other things of life.  I plan to continue my Sunday Quote series (I may already have 52 quotes collected!) and I hope to start a series where I feature other bloggers.

Happy New Years! May you have a safe New Years’ Eve and a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013.

Be sure to check out others “2012 in Pictures” submissions to the Weekly Photo Challenge.  If you don’t already, consider participating in this or future challenges.  It’s lots of fun and there are lots of great photogs posting amazing images.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons  is an appropriate theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo challenge as we approach the solstice.

from Love's Labors Lost, Act 1, Scene 1

Shakespeare, Love’s Labors Lost, Act 1, Scene 1

Be sure to visit other blog’s to see different interpretations of Changing Seasons

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Reflection.   In the challenge post, Jared Bramlett wrote about reflections in water, windows and mirrors.  He posted a photograph of a bridge with a mirror used in the composition.

Reading the post gave me an idea:   I’ve had a large mirror — about 3 feet by 5 feet — currently set in a spare bedroom while we work on some remodeling and redecorating elsewhere.  My original idea was to use the mirror to get a shot of the outside through the windows, similar to the photos that I posted about a month ago of the outside reflecting on a glass shower door.   The light wasn’t right — either with natural sunlight or with a flash to get the reflections I wanted.  When I had time to do this, it wasn’t the right time of day.  But, I liked this shot.  It reminds me a little bit about the artistic joke of the artist painting a picture of a landscape artist painting a picture of the landscape artist painting the landscape . . . into eternity.  Except, in this case, the “artist” was not in the picture.   Not sure whether I should title this “Camera: Self-Portrait” or “In the mind’s eye”.

Camera:  Self-Portrait/In the Mind's Eye

Camera: Self-Portrait/In the Mind’s Eye

You can find other participants’ entries at the Daily Post.   A few are listed below.

The One in Which I Use Bad Photographs For A Photo Challenge

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is:  Thankful.

Initially, the theme — to be blunt — irked me.   How lame! I thought when I saw it.  How predictable!  Haven’t we had enough of public displays of “gratitude” and “thankfulness” for a while?    And then I immediately felt guilty for being such an ingrate.  But, how, I thought would I show gratitude in the types of photos that I shoot?  But, I didn’t ponder that dilemma as much as I pondered why I felt so jaded by displays of gratitude via social media.

It isn’t that I’m not thankful for things.  I am:  my family, my friends, my home, my food, my health, my general comfort level, my intelligence, my …..    Perhaps that was it:  everything was “mine“.   Since the beginning of the month several of my friends have been posting daily “I’m thankful for …” status on Facebook.  I started to participate in this exercise but had abandoned it by day four.   I have tried to keep a gratitude journal before, with similar effect.   It always seems that after a few days I realize how self-centered, rather than introspective, my thoughts of gratitude are.  It makes all of the things that I am thankful for seem irrelevant.

If I think of these things in terms of “first-world problems” it makes it seem all the more trivial, and perhaps even down right selfish.   My problems aren’t problems to someone who doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from;  who doesn’t know when they will see their children again because the only work is days away from home — or if those children are safe from war, unrest, famine, disease; who can’t imagine how their children’s lives can ever be different if they can’t read or write.  Or closer to home:  what will happen when the bank account is depleted, when the food stamps and public assistance run out, when the gas is turned off, because there hasn’t been work for several weeks, or there isn’t an affordable and safe place to live, or there isn’t enough money to pay for both healthy meals and medicine.

It is why I always feel queasy when I hear someone say “There but for the grace of God, go I”.  That statement makes it seem as if God took favor upon a person — spared them cancer, or hunger, or financial ruin.  What is the inverse of that?  That the troubled person has not had the Grace of God?    I don’t think it works that way.   If it did, I wouldn’t want to be a part of it.  Similarly, this is why platitudes of thanksgiving ring hollow for me:  much of which I have to be thankful for is due to lucky circumstances of time, class, society.  I wouldn’t want to do without them, but it isn’t what makes me thankful.  I don’t want my thankfulness to be focused on things, on the details of my life.

I was thinking these thoughts today when I wandered by the window and happened to notice a large swatch of red moving quickly out of view.  I went to grab my camera and long lens.   The cardinal was still nearby, though he never stood still quite long enough for me to compose and shoot.   After a few attempts, I looked beyond the patio where the cardinal was to the woods that stretch behind our home and towards our neighbors.  There were more swatches of red — robins, cardinals and woodpeckers.   An afternoon convocation!   At one point, I spotted 1 pileated woodpecker, 2 red-headed woodpeckers and 2 northern flickers all happily flitting from tree to tree looking for bugs.

Again, I could be thankful that I have a warm, safe home with a beautiful view of birds and trees and non-threatening wildlife.  (It isn’t like bears or tigers are likely to maul me here.)  But, can I be thankful for the birds?  And why exactly, would I be?

It was then that I realized that I am thankful for a sense of wonder that I feel when I am taken away from the “stuff” of my life and observe the life that goes on around me. I can laugh that it seems as if there is  a regular 2 o’clock coffee clatch of birds near the feeders, or that I can enjoy watching the squirrels chase each other down the drive and back into the trees.   But they don’t do those things for me.   Those aren’t things that I have.  They would happen whether I observed them or not.  They happen whether I am here or not.   And the animals don’t give a rat’s ass about me; as long as I don’t intrude upon their habitat or try to capture them for food, they are oblivious to my actions, my concerns, my life.

It is this realization that I am grateful for.  To realize that life goes on without me.  It goes on without each of us as individuals.  It isn’t here for our enjoyment, but it is something that we can enjoy.  The world may not be about us, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be about the world.

It isn’t things that we should be thankful for; we should just be thankful for life — the lives of our families and friends, the lives of those we interact with regularly, the lives of those we intersect with briefly, and the lives of those whose spheres do not touch ours directly, but that share this planet as well.   We should be thankful that we can laugh, and cry and share those emotions with others. We should be thankful for our intellect and for our senses of humor; thought and laughter are vital to life and wholeness.

I am thankful that I got up today.  I am thankful that those I love got up today.   I am thankful that those I don’t know got up today and we all keep going on this weird, wonderful planet in our weird, wonderful lives.

I will be thankful tomorrow for the same.  I’m glad that the squirrels and birds helped me to realize this — even if they don’t have a clue that they did.

Squirrel Blur

A Touch of Bright Red in the Barren Trees

Other entries into this week’s Photo Challenge can be found here.  Likely they did not take the same rambling approach as I did. 🙂


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is GREEN.  Most of the trees around me have finished showing off  their fall plumage.   The bright colors are gone and there is little left that is green.  Grays and browns have taken over until Spring.

But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t green things around me:

Below are a few of the entries for this week’s challenge.   Check out more in the comments on The Daily Post.