Lens-Artists Challenge # 205: The Eyes Have It

Thank you, Travels and Trifles, for the prompt.

Self’s post is Prague-themed: In May 2019, she and niece Irene went to Prague, our last trip together before the pandemic. It was self’s first time in that beautiful city.

  • Picture # 1 is Franz Kafka. Self visited his humble abode, just outside Prague Castle. This simple photograph somehow captures the intensity of the artist. It’s all in the eyes.
  • Picture # 2 is the poster for a Young Designers Fair, the last before the pandemic. Loved the translucent red scarf across the model’s eyes.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 199: Mechanical/Industrial Past

Railroads opened up the American west. They were built by cheap labor, imported from China.

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, hosted by Journeys with Johnbo, self is sharing photos of a memorial to these laborers, at the train station in San Luis Obispo, a small town on California’s central coast. The memorial is by artist Elizabeth MacQueen.

Self knows San Luis Obispo, as son attended Cal Poly there. Last summer, when California opened up again after over a year of lockdown, she drove there to see if it had changed. It hadn’t.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Light and Shadow

When you see the shadows, you will also see the light.

Rick Ohnsman

More from P. A. Moed about Prompt # 198: Light and Shadow:

  • This week, we’re exploring the interplay of light and shadow–at different times of the day, in different seasons, under natural light, in artificial light. Choose whatever conditions you like. It’s totally up to you. You may also want to process your images in black and white to highlight the light and shadows.

Self is traveling. Her “light and shadow” photos were all taken in Bloomsbury, where she stayed last week:

Self’s Room, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The British Museum

The Coral Room of The Bloomsbury Hotel

Lens-Artists Challenge # 196: HUMOR

Thank you to John for coming up with the great theme! As he explains:

I’m occasionally accused of having a (weird, warped?) sense of humor, so my first thoughts for a theme were: humor, humorous, fun, funny, pleasing or pleasurable. Objective, subjective? Simple, nuanced? Can we photograph such an abstract, humanoid concept?

I hope, as this is published, we can still find at least a corner of our lives for some humor. ‘We must keep our sense of humor, sometimes it’s all we have left.’

Self has spent most of April in County Down, Northern Ireland. It’s a lovely, peaceful place, filled with sheep, lambs, cows, horses, and myriads of birds. The animals just did not know what to make of self and would stare. And stare. And stare.

Lens-Artists Challenge: BOKEH

Yesterday, the weather in Northern Ireland was pretty gloomy. It rained almost the entire day. No one, not even the most committed walkers, felt like going out.

Self had been fascinated by the window sills of this old stone house: moss grows on them. She’d been wanting to take a picture of the moss growing on the window sills ever since the first day she got here. Yesterday’s weather, combined with the Lens-Artists Challenge this week, motivated her to give it a try. Without further ado:

Self was photographing through a rain-streaked windowpane, hence the smudges.

Not sure what bokeh is? Here’s how Sofia over at Photographias explains it:

  • What is bokeh? We all have seen this effect; we have photos with it. The term bokeh was first used to distinguish normal motion blur from the blur obtained when things are out of focus. It literally means blur in Japanese. The Nikon website, after a more complex and technical explanation reduces it to simply this: “bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph”. Personally, I believe a good bokeh is as important as the subject itself, it can really transform a photo from ordinary into something a little bit more special.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 187: WATER

Slow Shutter Speed, the host of this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge, has picked WATER as the theme:

  • What water fun have you had? Please show us your water fun and tell us about it. Go through your archives and retrieve some memories or find new liquid delights to photograph this week. We’re anxious to see your images. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and to link to this post.

Self picked four from her archives, all taken during the last time she was in England, November 2019. Here are the locations: Canary Wharf (London), Lambeth Bridge (London), Christ Church (Oxford)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #186: Low Light

Guest-hosting this week, Sofia from Photographias. Read her take on taking pictures in low light, her gallery is gorgeous:

  • I’m still quite proud of my first real low-light photo. It was taken inside Lisbon’s Cathedral, a 12th Century building in a Romanesque style, that is dark and refreshingly cool in a summer’s day. This feels like an intimate portrait of a group of friends. I could have reduced the shadows even further and get more detail, but I think I would be losing more than adding to the shot.

Here are self’s low-light shots, taken December/January in Mendocino on the northern California coast: That second picture is of Mary-Ellen Campbell’s kayak, which is strapped to the top of her car. We were going out to dinner. She flew with it to Mexico last week.

The large photo is of one of self’s favorite bookshops in the entire world: Gallery Bookshop, on Main Street. The other is a picture of Out of this World, corner of Main and Kasten, which sells telescopes, binoculars, cameras and science toys.

Whatsoever Is Lovely Challenge: Bookshelves

XingfuMama hosts the Whatsoever Is Lovely Photo Challenge. Thinking back over the past week, self thought of the last time she was in one of her favorite places: Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

Books are a special thing of self’s.

Someone was commenting on the bookshop’s newest book display stand:

Self got the name of the people who did the bookshelf: Wood Joint Studio, Fort Bragg.

She doesn’t know why, but wood of all kinds really appeals to self. One afternoon, she called Taimi Barty and asked if it would be okay for her to drop by (because self is such a nosy, nosy writer). And Taimi was the soul of graciousness. Self sped over and met Taimi and Bob, her other half, and self was completely in awe of the space (which was huge. Canoes were hanging from the ceiling).

“Do you build treehouses?” self asked. Which was probably the weirdest question Taimi was ever asked.

And guess what. After self and Taimi had been talking for at least a half hour, self found out that Taimi was a Harvard grad. And she also remembered reading an article on the front page of the Mendocino Beacon in December: the wood shop program at Mendocino High School had just received a grant. The head of the wood shop program was a Harvard grad. Suddenly, the scales fell from self’s eyes and she blurted out: “I read about you on the front page of the Mendocino Beacon! Oh, wow! You’re a rock star!”

And Taimi looked very amused and said, “STOP.”

No, seriously. She is a rock star! Self wishes she could sit in on a wood shop class in Mendocino High School!

So this is her “whatsoever is lovely” share: meeting an unlikely hero, in person, in Fort Bragg.

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 183: Memorable Events

Here’s how Leya introduces this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge:

  • This week you will have an opportunity to show us some memorable events – new ones or delightful memories! I had to reflect upon it for some days before I knew what to choose…because life gives us quite some of these very special events, doesn’t it? Happy Birthdays, surprising hikes, meetings with faraway friends, interesting exhibitions, travels to special places…

Yes, life does give us these memorable moments! I’m so happy that my memorable moment happened just two days ago, on the Mendocino Headlands.

I spent a good part of December 2021 here. It’s a quieter time of year, but there were still people around. So it’s quiet, but definitely not lonely. I deliberately stayed away from TV and news, brought a stack of books to read — what more could one ask for?

Since hotel rates were at bargain basement level in January, I decided to drive up again. This time, I was in the throes of editing a manuscript to send out. So, unfortunately, the first couple of days here, I was a hermit in my room.

Then, I got an important call, and I could not get out of it. The hotel is so quiet — I knew I’d be disturbing people if I continued talking in my room. So I headed to the bluffs. It was my first walk in a number of days, the call was cutting in and out, but I didn’t care. Because — WOW! To think this was just a five-minute walk away, and I was so deep into my work I couldn’t even manage getting out. And with the weather so gorgeous, too!

As soon as the call ended, I started taking a bunch of pictures. Here are a few:

Lens-Artists Challenge # 180: Favorite Images of 2021

Thank you to Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles, host of this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge, Favorite Images of 2021.

  • First and foremost, let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. As always, the turn of the calendar page to January 1st brings with it an opportunity to begin anew – having learned lessons, accomplished some of our goals, or perhaps having simply survived to start a new day. Whatever our thoughts about the year just passed, we once again have a chance to make the new one even better. — Tina Schell

Without further ado, here are self’s favorite images of 2021:

Despite the pandemic, self managed to do quite a lot of things in 2021.

HUH. Who would have thought?

Seems the vaccines do work!

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