Lens-Artist Challenge #215 – Planes, Trains and Automobiles

“Life is a journey, not a destination….You are the artist, paint what you will.”

For our challenge this week, John from Journeys with Johnbo encourages us to share images that focus on our journeys, possibly the modes of transportation which took us there. Or to even share images of places we discovered while on our journey.

I think my love for travel started when I was a child. I couldn’t tell you when exactly it started. But if I had to guess it was the trip, we took out west when I was about six (6) years old. It was so exciting because this was my first plane ride. And from what I remember we saw a LOT of the country – everything from The Hoover Dam to The Grand Canyon; San Diego to Disney Land, and lastly to San Franciso. I remember it being so much fun I cried (literally) when we had to come home.

“A photograph is a return ticket to moments already gone.”

Yes, I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life to travel to many places here in the U.S. and to other parts of the world. And I’ve pretty much been on all forms of transportation, too: planes, trains, automobiles, sailboats, cruise ships, helicopters and yes, even The Goodyear Blimp!

But one of my most memorable adventures was another trip out west which Michael and I took Christmas of 2011. We couldn’t decide where we wanted to go, so we narrowed it down to three (3) places. We wrote the names on pieces of paper, folded them up and dropped them into a bowl. I don’t remember which one of us drew the winner, but we landed on a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Our motto for the trip was “No map, no plans, no place to be.” It’s a line from Toby Keith’s song “South of You.” The only parts of the trip planned were our airline and rental car reservations. And so, on Christmas Day we headed to the airport and boarded a plane to San Diego, CA

Once we landed and picked up our sporty Mustang convertible for the trip, we headed to our first stop just outside of San Diego (Carlsbad, CA) for a quick visit with our nephew and his family.

Our activities for the day included lunch, a walk on the pier, and a visit to Mission San Louis Rey de Francia – Oceanside, CA. You can tell the boys were quite warn out from our day’s outing and scooting around in the convertible!

The real adventure of “no map, no plans, no place to be” started when we left San Diego. Our first stop that day was lunch in Laguna Beach. It’s definitely the artist colony it’s known for.

We didn’t stop much that day because we were too busy enjoying the coastline scenery. But, by the time we reached Los Angeles and navigated our way through the traffic, we decided to call it quits for the day.

We pulled into Malibu, just in time to grab a place for the night. And, since we didn’t have any reservations, we had no idea what we were in for when it came to hotels. We were lucky enough though, to find a wonderful little inn on the ocean and were greeted the next morning by a cute seagull at our balcony door (which was at the foot of our bed).

Day 3 – More driving, but we didn’t care, the scenery was amazing. We stopped for the night at Moonstone Beach in Cambria. THIS was the downfall of “no reservations.” We ended up in a dive of a motel. It was one of those places where you wouldn’t dare take your shoes off, let alone get under the covers! But it was a small price to pay for a beautiful sunset.

After that fateful night when we were ready to stop for the day, we would go to the nearest restaurant/bar and ask the locals for their recommendations……they never failed us.

“Due to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”

~Charles Kuralt

This is one of Michael’s favorite quotes and it’s so true. We may not have been driving coast to coast, but the quote is still appropriate for our south to north journey on the PCH. Afterall, if we had chosen to take the interstate look at all we would have missed.

Our last stop just in time for New Year’s Eve was San Francisco. We decided to return the rental car and walk or take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) instead. We wrapped up our trip with a nice dinner catching up with some longtime friends.

Thanks, John for this wonderful challenge. It was fun re-living this road-trip and all the wonderful memories Michael and I enjoyed together.

Next week it’s Sofia’s turn. Be sure to follow her at Photographias so you don’t miss out on her theme.

Until next time,

~donna

Lens-Artist Challenge #214 – Favorite Finds

We have a wonderful new challenge this week by Ann Christine, “Favorite Finds.” In her post she encourages us to dig deep into our archives and find something hidden that once surprised us or filled us with awe.

In our many travels over the years, Michael and I have stumbled upon some wonderful treasures. Whether it be hidden courtyard tucked away down an alley in Charleston, South Carolina;

Or a road less traveled away from the hustle and bustle of a busy highway;

Or an abandoned boat in front of a lighthouse in Cancun, Mexico.

Along the way, however, there have been some unique discoveries which have found their way home with us.

Like this “Ice Boy and Dog” statue. We found it one Fall Day while traveling in Boone, North Carolina. The shop had all kinds of yard art, plant stands and such. But this little guy and his friend caught our eye. If you know Michael, you know he is truly a dog lover, and they love him too! That’s what made this such an amazing find.

Sadly, the bees and hornets eventually found a way to make a home in the statue and it met an untimely death. But not before I could grab this shot of him one icy, winter day.

There have been other unique discoveries along the years all finding their way home in our garden. But none hold a candle to our bicycle plant stand. This was one of those finds that almost didn’t happen.

One Saturday we were wandering around an antique mall and stumbled upon it. It immediately caught both our attention, but at the time we were living in the condo. With no place to put it we walked away.

Fast forward six months later and we found ourselves with a summer home on St. Simonds Island and a garden that needed some attention. Our thoughts went back to the bicycle, and we kicked ourselves for not picking it up when we first ran across it. But lucky for us, it was still there, and we found the perfect spot under a tall pecan tree.

Eventually, we sold the property, and the bicycle found its way to our new garden (although we did have to persuade the new owners to let us keep it).

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall it continues to be a focal point of color, character and joy all year round.

Thank you, Ann-Christine for this fun challenge. Next week, John will host us in a theme of plane, trains and automobiles. If you’d like to join in on the fun, be sure to follow him by clicking on this link: PhotobyJohnbo

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. I’m scaling back on my Etsy shop to spend more time on my true passion Photography and not running an on-line shop. So, I have an inventory clearance (available in the U.S. only and while supplies last) on all notecards and matted photography. If you, or anyone you know may be interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the link below: Shop Donna Robinson Photography

Lens-Artist Challenge #213 – Here Comes the Sun

This week Amy has chosen the theme “Here Comes the Sun.” In her post she writes “explore the sunlight and things under the sun, whether it’s in the morning, middle of the day, and/or before sun goes down.”

Michael and I have been very fortunate to travel many places together on this big round ball and we’ve seen our share of sunrises and sunsets. But for this particular challenge I decided on a selection of photos from right here at home in Atlanta, GA.

Several years ago, we lived in a high-rise condominium which had a Southern facing view of Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown Atlanta. A city scape may not sound all that appealing but let me tell you it was a different view every day. We never grew tired of sitting on our balcony looking at the changing scenery….condo living, yes. But the view never!

Depending on the time of year and the weather we had some spectacular sunrises like the one below. The mist you see in the foreground is coming up off the Chattahoochee River which meanders its way through Atlanta.

Watching the storms roll in any time of the day was incredible. Sometimes the sky would just open up in one area of town, while the sun was shining everywhere else.

But at sunset after a rain, Mother Nature had a way of painting the city in a manner only she was capable of doing.

And sometimes, that included a rainbow or two after the storm. If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the faintness of a rainbow just to the right of the city.

In the photo below you can see the outline of a second rainbow. I have so many photos of rainbows I could probably devote an entire post to them!

Our building was also in the flight pattern for Dobbins Air Force base, and they frequently gave us quite the show. This was taken at sunset during one of the C-130’s touch and goes at sunset.

As much as we didn’t care for condo living, I have to admit our time there was very pivotal for my photography, because it gave me so many opportunities to practice and sharpen my skills. For instance, using my 200 – 400mm lens for shooting wildlife in mid-flight like this hawk out searching for its next meal.

Thank you, Amy for this challenge which allowed me the opportunity to stroll down memory lane and re-live some of our views from the condo.

Next week, Leya/Ann-Christine will have a new theme for us. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge.

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. I’m scaling back on my Etsy shop to spend more time on my true passion Photography and not running an on-line shop. So, I have an inventory clearance (available in the U.S. only and while supplies last) on all notecards and matted photography. If you, or you know of anyone interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the link below.

Shop Donna Robinson Photography

Lens-Artist #210 – Picking Favorites

Sarah from “Travel with Me” guest hosts the challenge this week.

I have to admit when I quickly read the title, I thought I was picking my favorite photos I had ever taken. But, “no” Sarah writes “I want to ask you all to join me in sharing three of what you consider to be among your very best shots.”

Timing for this challenge is ironic because just the other day one of my sisters-in-law asked me what my favorite photo was. As I thought about it, I explained, “Trying to pick my favorite photo is like trying to pick my favorite child. I can’t choose one over the other. They’re all so special.”

Goodness! This was a little difficult. But here it goes!

“Photography, is a way of feeling, of touching of loving. What you have captured on film is captured forever. It remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything.”

~Aaron Siskind

7 Mile Bridge – Key West, FL

Why this is my favorite? I love the black and white and how it captures the age of the bridge, it’s textures and the depth of field.

Why is this one of my best? It was shot in 35mm (color) film; limiting me to the number of shots I could take with the roll of film. If I’m really honest with myself on this one, I think I may have set the camera on “Depth of Field” setting. It was really early in my photography journey, and I had no clue about manual settings. Ironically, this is one of my best-selling digital pieces.

“The whole point about taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.”

~Elliott Erwitt

Red Tail Hawk

Why is this my favorite? If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I love the wildlife in my backyard. I love the challenge of trying to photograph each and every detail. I must have snapped about a dozen photos of him before he took off.

Why is this one of my best? Quite honestly, a little bit of everything; the details of the hawk (his feet, his eyes, his coloring); the Bokeh and lighting; the overall composition of the photo. The end result was a little bit of “in the camera” and a little bit of “photoshop.”

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”

~Ansel Adams

A Fall Walk in the Park

Why is this my favorite? It’s just a peaceful image and it could have been taken anywhere. I feel like I nailed the essence of early Fall in Atlanta.

Why is this one of my best? There’s a lot going on in this photo, but the elements draw you to water and its path from the front of the image backwards through the middle. The added bonus (to me) is that it almost looks like an oil painting.

It’s probably a good thing that Sarah gave us a limit with the number of photos and requiring us to also choose a different genre for each. I can think of about (at a minimum) 20 – 30 other images to include.

Many thanks to Sarah for this fun challenge! Up next week is my long-time photographer/blogger friend, Anne. Her theme is “What’s Your Groove?” Knowing Anne, this will be quite the challenge!

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the link below.

Shop Donna Robinson Photography

Lens Artist Challenge #209 – Surrealism

This week our guest host, Tracy over at “Reflections of an Untidy Mind” challenges us with the theme of “surrealism.” Be sure to read her post, it’s quite interesting and chock full of fun examples: Lens-Artists Challenge #209 – Surreal – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

Photoshop and other editing software are great tools to help a photographer distort or recreate their images. But I found a unique setting in my camera several years ago which lends itself to creating surreal images. I shoot with a Canon DSLR 6D and within the camera is a multi-exposure setting and it lets me choose up to 9 exposures in creating one image. You can read my original post here to learn more about multi-exposure in camera art.

Below are the images from my original post:

First up, yellow daisy in the birdbath. My base/background image was the birdbath with some leaves floating in the water. I then took the second image, the yellow daisy. As you can see the final image looks like the daisy is floating along with the leaves in the birdbath.

Next up, fire in a glass vase. The base image was the glass vase, and the fireplace was the overlay. I suppose with photoshop I could really get creative with this image and make some smoke out of it or change the background.

My last image is the same glass vase but with a glass of chilled wine as the overlay. Again, I suppose I could get a little more creative with the image in photoshop.

If your DSLR has this capability you should give it a try. I know after revisiting my original post I’m ready to start playing around with this setting again to see where my creativity takes me!

Until next time,

~donna

P.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.