Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #53: Your Choice (Gratitude)

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #53: Your Choice (Gratitude).

Lens-Artists is one year old, do you believe that? The subject of #53 is “Your Choice”, and gratitude is what in my mind/heart.

Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and Tina are 4 amazing bloggers. In the past year, they have come up with a subject every week, produced wonderful posts for the challenge, read every participant’s post, and left meaningful comment for each. I don’t know how they did it… probably because they are young – my excuse for everything nowadays.

Because of this challenge, I had been motivated; learned more on photographing and learned more about myself; had a few ah-ha moments… and I enjoyed every moment of it.

There were times that I would like to comment on other’s post, but because I was still busy working on mine so I didn’t (I am sorry). There were times I struggled, but when I finally got it, the joy was so huge. Once in a while, I knew right away what photo I wanted to post – that made me happy 😉 And I think I probably had become wiser. 😉

Thank you, Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and Tina! This is for you… with gratitude and love.

I counted… due to different reasons, I had missed a little more than 1/3 of the challenges. If you had missed some like I did, here is the list.

1 Patti, 7/7/2018, Wonder
2 Ann-Christine, 7/14/2018, Cooling
3 Amy, 7/21/2018, Time to Relax
4 Tina, 7/28/2018, Soft
5 Patti, 8/4/2018, Blue
6 Ann-Christine, 8/11/2018, Patterns
7 Amy, 8/18/2018, Everyday Moments
8 Tina, 8/25/2018, Colorful
9 Patti, 9/1/2018, Action
10 Ann-Christine, 9/8/2018, Fences
11 Amy, 9/15/2018, Small is Beautiful
12 Tina, 9/22/2018, Path
13 Patti, 9/29/2018, Look Up
14 Ann-Christine, 10/6/2018, Windows+
15 Amy, 10/13/2018, Changing and/or Changeable
16 Tina, 10/20/2018, Big Can Be Beautiful
17 Patti, 10/27/2018, Just For Fun
18 Ann-Christine, 11/3/2018, Blending In or Standing Out
19 Amy, 11/10/2018, Magical Light
20 Tina, 11/17/2018, Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways
21 Patti, 11/24/2018, Splash
22 Ann-Christine, 12/1/2018, Happiness is
23 Amy, 12/8/2018, Celebrations
24 Tina, 12/15/2018, Seasonal
25 Patti, 12/22/2018, Reflections
26 Ann-Christine, 12/29/2018, Photographic Review
27 Amy, 1/5/2019, My Travels
28 Tina, 1/12/2019, Curves
29 Patti, 1/19/2019, Cityscapes
30 Ann-Christine, 1/26/2019, Unexpected
31 Amy, 2/2/2019, Landscapes
32 Tina, 2/9/2019, Shadows
33 Patti, 2/16/2019, Nature
34 Ann-Christine, 2/23/2019, Close-Up
35 Amy, 3/2/2019, Architecture
36 Tina, 3/9/2019, Around the Neighborhood
37 Patti, 3/16/2019, History
38 Ann-Christine, 3/23/2019, Weathered or Worn
39 Amy, 3/30/2019, Hello April
40 Tina, 4/6/2019, Something Different
41 Patti, 4/13/2019, Delicious
42 Ann-Christine, 4/20/2019, Creativity
43 Amy, 4/27/2019, Less is More
44 Tina, 5/4/2019, Harmony
45 Patti, 5/11/2019, Street Art
46 Ann-Christine, 5/18/2019, Delicate
47 Amy, 5/25/2019, Five Elements
48 Tina, 6/1/2019, Wild
49 Patti, 6/8/2019, Favorite Things
50 Ann-Christine, 6/15/2019, Trees
51 Amy, 6/22/2019, Unique
52 Tina, 6/29/2019, Serenity

I didn’t double check all links. I figure I can change it whenever I find something wrong. Also, I took a quick glance of number of pingbacks. Among about 20 that I looked, 76 was the biggest number. (Imagine… whoever that blogger is had to read and comment at least 76 submissions!)

Thank you, Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and Tina!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 13 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #52: Serenity

This is my submission for Tina’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #52: Serenity.

“Serenity” is not a rare word. I knew what it meant, more or less. The first photo came to my mind was a mirror-like ocean when I was at Chesapeake Bay last year.

And, I remember the sunset.

That was all I knew about the serenity. Was that it? I wondered.

I did a quick glance at all photos that were submitted to this challenge. Most of them (97%?) are natural images that don’t have people in them. Hmm… is it possible to find serenity when we are in a crowd?

Watching the 4th of July parade, I stared at people across the street from me…feeling serenity, anyone?

I saw idleness. Serenity? Maybe not. As usual, I googled. I found an article: “Getting to Serenity: 10 Daily Habits for Inner Peace”. The 10 Daily Habits, according to this author, are: Give Thanks Continually; As Soon As Your Mind Wanders Off in The Wrong Direction, Get It Back on Course; Practice Acceptance; Be Kind To Others; Be Careful What You Drink; Get Enough Sleep; Watch and Read the Right Kind of Books, Movies and Television; Keep a Clean, Uncluttered Home; Spend Some Parts of the Day without Noise; Spend Time with the Right Kind of People.

So, I don’t have to sit by a mirror-like ocean every day? But I really felt serenity when I was there at that that moment!

Continue reading articles returned by Google. I saw the following quote.

The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
~Robert Pirsig

I got it. I brought the Zen to the ocean; then, the ocean made it alive.

Thanks to Tina for this meaningful challenge.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 16 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #51: Unique

This is my submission for Amy’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #51: Unique.

Last week, we spent 2 nights at Four-Season Suites of Itasca State Park, which locates in northern Minnesota.

Itasca state park is one of 10 MN state parks that have selfie stations installed.

Selfie Stations have an adjustable shelf to set your mobile device for the perfect selfie. So show off your selfie skills and enjoy the beautiful areas that are your Minnesota State Parks and Trails!
(From DNR)

People from around the world come to Itasca State Park in northwest Minnesota to marvel at the serene birthplace of the mighty Mississippi River. They pose next to a large pine log carved with yellow letters that mark the site and the beginning of the great river’s 2,552-mile route across America to the Gulf of Mexico. (From Explore Minnesota)

Visitors of all ages carefully hop rock to rock to rock across the spot where Lake Itasca flows into the river’s humble beginning. On hot summer days, children and hikers seeking a cooling reprieve wade into the gentle waters beneath the shade of fragrant pines that have towered like sentries for hundreds of years.

Itasca also stands out as Minnesota’s oldest state park (established in 1891), one of its largest with 32,000 acres, and among its grandest thanks to a variety of lodging that’s rich in historic character and similar in style to national park lodges built in the early 1900s. (From Explore Minnesota)

Or, you can cross the Mississippi by using this bridge…

Next morning…

Another highlight is peaceful Preacher’s Grove, with its canopy of tall pines.

Itasca State Park is quite unique, wouldn’t you say so? It is huge! For a good visit, one may need spending a week of time and carrying plenty of mosquito repellents.

Thanks to Amy for another interesting challenge. For this challenge, Amy takes us to the Byodoin Temple in Japan. It’s “WOW” for me. 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50: Trees

This is my submission for Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50: Trees. (Sorry I am one day late ;-(

This banyan tree was the first tree that I fell in love with. In that little child’s mind, it was a super-tree, which would always be there for me. (Don’t be fooled by that smile though. Although I was happy to have something new to wear for a change, but the jumper was made from my dad’s wool coat and was very itching.)

When I was a teenager, I had a different favorite tree. It was a guava tree planted by my Dad. My dad had an out-of-town job, so he was away from home a lot of time. Whenever I felt angry, sad… I talked to that guava tree. Many years later, I went back to visit our old house and took a photo of the tree, but it was before digital camera time and I couldn’t locate the photo this week.

I still talk to trees, of course.

A Dead tree and birds in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge…

Banyan trees in Shuang Xi Park, Taipei, Taiwan…

Street photo of a tree 😉

A view at the top of a 100-foot observation tower, at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, MN.

Who wouldn’t hug a million dollar tree? (Photo taken at Taipingshan in Taiwan)

Thanks to Ann-Christine for a wonderful theme. Every tree is precious 😉 I am sure all other three lovers having problems selecting photos like I did.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 16 Comments

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Flower of Any Kind

Here is my submission for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Flower of Any Kind. (This post was ready 4 days ago, but I forgot to post it ;-(

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in Cee’s Black & White Challenge, photo | 6 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #49: Favorite Things

This is my submission for Patti’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #49: Favorite Things.

Patti said, “This week, you have the chance to showcase your favorites–people, places, activities, animals, food, hobbies–just about anything that brings you happiness.”

Buying notebooks makes me happy. I always think I’ll have a lot to write about. However, to journal or not to journal is a constant struggle. For me, journaling is a good way to connect to (maybe even pamper) myself, unless an entry is written as a letter to someone as I, once in a while, do.

I can’t believe I bought two more notebooks last week. Most of these are half empty (half full?) and a couple of them are totally blank. Maybe I should sign up for a 12-step program.

Sunshine makes me happy, too. It has the magic to turn anything into my favorite thing.

Of course, I love my D750!

Thank you, Patti. The best part of having this challenge is that it really makes me think. After doing this challenge, I realize that, nowadays, a lot of things bring happiness to me. I am so grateful.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 19 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #48: Wild

This is my submission for Tina’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #48: Wild.

In my wildest dream…

This is my neighbor’s garage. It is a 3-car garage, and a wall separates the single garage door and the double. Walking in from the single door, you’ll see a sofa, a couple of chairs and a TV… etc. Full of stuffs, that’s what I am trying to say.

And he managed to park his pickup truck in the garage. Yes, the door can be closed. In fact, the above photo was taken with the truck inside.

Am I the only one who thinks this can only be accomplished in my wildest dream?

Thanks to Tina for an interesting theme. My original idea was to post a photo of my great-nephew, but RFRAZIER beat me to it. 😉

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 12 Comments