Category Archives: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #131-Emotions

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #131, Patti invited us to focus on Emotion. We choose the photography or a theme that evokes emotions. I could think of many situations for this theme, but for this post, I narrowed down to a couple of thoughts.

The latest excitement for us was on January 3, less than three weeks ago, when my husband Lynton turned 65. He retired in November 2016 and had an extension of health insurance for another 18 months, and then just paid cash for prescriptions without paying the premium for full coverage. He started the Medicare on the first of this year. It has been less than three weeks, but he had a Zoom visit with a family doctor, got all the prescriptions filled, and made all the other doctors’ appointments to establish a baseline of his health. He was like a kid in a candy store.

My friends and I arranged a surprised birthday party at their house for him. I told him they invited us for brunch but hearing me talking on the phone and running to the store; he wanted to know what was going on. I’m not good in keeping a secret, so I told him it was a surprised party. He had to act as if he was surprised to see the guests.

There were eight of us meeting at our friends’ patio. We didn’t go to any parties for ten months and were hungry for chatting with friends of thirty years. We were in no hurry to finish the meal. Even when we did, we continued to talk, and the party lasted for four and a half hours.

My daughter Mercy, and her husband Will, enjoy outdoor adventures. They regularly go cross-country skiing, camping, kayaking, to name just a few. They are in good company with a core group of friends who have the same passion. In June 2015, Mercy, Will, and their friend took part in the triathlon–swimming, biking, and running. Two other friends who didn’t enter the race but rode their bikes along the trail to cheer them. Will kept Mercy in sight all the time. The last leg was running, and they ran side by side. At the last stretch they were holding hands, pushed through the finish line together. Their proud smiles were ear to ear.

Friends came with signs of cheering messages. It was my honor to be there to join the cheering team and photographed the event.

In early 2017, I had a strong emotion connection with Mercy and sensed that she was pregnant. She didn’t say too much when we talked on the phone. In February, I couldn’t withhold my feeling and asked if she was pregnant. She changed the subject. My husband and I scheduled to visit them late in March, but early in the month, she and Will skyed us and showed us the ultrasound. She was going to surprise us during our visit, but their excitement couldn’t wait for another two weeks.

It is a blessing for them to have two adorable and intelligent girls. The three-year-old Autumn is a toddler nerd. She started reading by herself in her bedroom when she was 15 months old. For the first two years, she preferred books than toys. She now loves to play with problem-solving toys. Like parents, like daughter, she is a daring rock climber, hiker, and biker. She is her mom’s proud helper in cooking. Nora is an all time happy child with a biggest smile.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #131-Emotions

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

This week, as we are approaching the end of 2020, Amy invited us to share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic.

I love travel. I know I won’t return to many places I had been and always treasure the experiences of being there and seeing those places. Yet if I must choose between travel and spend time with family and friends, I choose the latter. It is the relationship that makes the moments precious.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho

Our family photo which was taken in 2006. One young girl on the left got married a few years ago and now has a baby daughter. The other one on the left just got married last month. The three little ones are in college. Lynton’s dad, second from the right, died 12 years ago.

Every moment of life is precious and can never happen again and therefore is a reason to appreciate, be grateful for and celebrate the fact that you are alive.” – Zelig Pliskin

Eight years ago, we took our family trip to China and stopped by Hong Kong to see my family. Seven of us were in the middle of this photo, with my siblings and their families on the left and right sides. Will’s mom (behind Will, in green) died three years after the trip. My sister, third from right, died last year when we were in Hong Kong for my nephew’s wedding.

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” – Thomas Jefferson

This is a group of my lovely lady friends celebrating Christmas in 2019. We missed each other tremendously.

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” — Elisabeth Foley

Many of my friends and I were in this chorale last year singing in the annual performance of Messiah. The past weekend would have been the usual schedule for the performance. It didn’t happen this year.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” – George Moore

This precious photo was taken with my daughter Mercy and granddaughter Autumn last year. We cancelled our trip this year because the Covid cases were worse than when it started.

Precious moments are small elements of time, we show and share love and kindness, with those we care about.” – Tom Baker

The family of four – from left, Autumn (3 years old), Mercy, Nora (8 months), and Will. Our hearts are together even when we’re apart. We’ll keep in touch with them and will see them very soon.

Thank you for reading!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge – A: Australia

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126, Patti invited us to go back to basics–namely, the ABC’s. We’re starting at the very beginning with the letter A.  I chose A for Australia.

Australia was my husband, Lynton’s birthplace, and childhood home for 10 years. When we started our travel journey, it was logical that it was our first choice. We like to fly nonstop as much as possible and it was a 17-hour flight from Los Angeles, the longest flight we have had.

Our first visit was to tour the Sydney Opera House. I was especially interested in the design and the structure. From the tour I learned that 233 designers submitted the designs for the Opera House international design competition held in 1956. Jørn Utzon from Denmark was the winner, receiving ₤5000 for his design. There are over 1 million roof tiles covering approximately 1.62 hectares sitting over the structure. They were made in Sweden. Besides the tour, we watched an opera available during our visit.

The Sydney Harbor bridge opened in 1932. It is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world, measuring 134 meters (440 feet) from the top to water level. It spans about 500 meters (1,650 feet). You can walk and cycle across the bridge. We joined the guided tour to climb the Bridge. We wore the special hooded suit that wrapped around us with nothing loose outside the suit.  There were belts and connecting straps buckled on to each climber of a group and each climber had hooks attaching to the steel railing leading to the top of the bridge. The view on top of the Bridge was breathtaking. It was a climb of a lifetime.

Lynton’s aunt and uncle lived in New South Wales which is less than a two-hour drive from Sydney. They took us to Blue Mountain, and we went down to the visitor area that provided a spectacular view to the Jamison Valley below the Three Sisters.

We went to Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney. Koalas are cute and calm creatures. They could cling on to the tree trunks for a long time without moving. We had photos taken with a koala at a photo booth.

Koorana Crocodile Farm was established by John and Lilian Lever and was open in 1981. It was the first crocodile farm in Queensland. The person at the gift shop told us that the average heart rate of crocodile is 9.8 beats per minute, and it can reduce to 2–3 beats per minute to save energy as reduced cellular respiration. Crocodiles do not have sweat glands and release heat through their mouths. They often sleep with their mouths open.

We flew from Sydney to Cairns and rented another car. At Cairns, Lynton went diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the corals lost the colors due to climate change. The dive was his highlight of the trip. I don’t dive but had a pleasant boat ride and a spectacular view of the ocean. We drove north to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation before flying back to Sydney to return home.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge–A: Australia

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – Save the Ocean

This week it’s all up to us – Tina asked us to choose our subject and to share whatever it is about it that we find interesting. 

I’m always interested in our planet earth. April 22 this year marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. For this post, I would like to reflect on what oceans mean to us and the part we play to save the ocean.

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and all the creatures that live there. They cover nearly three-quarters of the earth and hold 97% of our planet’s water. We depend on the oceans for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and even the products that keep us warm, safe, informed, and entertained. Ocean water can give our brain and senses a rest from overstimulation, get into a mindful state, and trigger insights and ideas. It also inspires us to be more compassionate and connected.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

A morning walk with some lady friends on Huntington Beach, California.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides, and, in its depths, it has its pearls too.” – Vincent van Gogh

My husband dived in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. His diving buddy took the photo.

“The sea knows no limits, makes no concessions. It has given us everything and it can take everything away from us.” – John Ajvide Lindqvist

Our last trip to Maui, Hawaii, on the way to Road to Hana.

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” – William James

We loved to visit Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

“Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” — Christy Ann Martine

This was one of the surfers paradise day with waves at 10 feet high at Newport Beach, California.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland

I was so excited to see the school of dolphins swam under our diving boat in North Carolina.

“Like the ocean that remains calm in its depths even when waves rage over its surface, and like the sun that continues shining on high even during storms, we can at each moment create value and develop our state of life, enjoying our existence to the fullest in times of both suffering and joy.” –Daisaku Ikeda

Our first day of the Ensenada cruise on the North Pacific Ocean.

Ocean Threats and Solutions

Human Activities are threatening the health of the world’s oceans. More than 80 percent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. From coral bleaching to sea level rise, entire marine ecosystems are rapidly changing. Global warming is causing alterations in ocean chemistry and many oceanic processes, and it is threatening many species of marine animals that cannot cope with higher temperatures. Overfishing is a serious problem in many parts of the world.

Conservationists advocate creating expansive marine reserves to protect the biodiversity of the oceans. We can play our part to reduce carbon dioxide, use reusable instead of single-use plastic products, properly dispose of hazardous materials, use less fertilizer, pick up garbage and littler near beaches, and buy ocean-friendly products and eat sustainable seafood – Sustainable seafood guide.

The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative asked Sir David Attenborough and four other leading thinkers on ocean conservation how they would invest $1 billion to protect the ocean.

YouTube June 8, 2020 12:11 minutes

~

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – Save the Ocean

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Happy Thanksgiving from Beach Ford! | Beach Ford

This week Amy invited us to reflect on our time staying at home mostly due to the pandemic, compared to what happened to our life prior to this situation. What happened then, and what happened now?

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer

It has been over eight months since COVID-19 hit. Did time go by fast?

It did not; it was like forever. The second week of March was difficult to be confined at home. I wanted to run outside to do something. I wanted to shout or talk to someone. It was boring to do the same things day after day. There were no special events such as travel, movies, family and social gathering, birthdays, or holidays to punctuate the different seasons. As time went by, I accepted the new normal and set up my new routine. In fact, I appreciated the concentrated time to do certain tasks without interruption. Even when the social distancing was relaxed, I was not ready to take risk except going to see my granddaughters with great caution.

On the other hand, time went by fast. This one enormous bubble of a single day was in fact eight months long. Yet, it will not last forever. History told us that this will end. I will do my part to observe the safety regulation. I will stay safe and keep healthy, so when this is over, I can fully enjoy my family.

We had been doing major traveling since 2000, went to Australia, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany, Austria, Spain, and China, to name some countries. We didn’t go anywhere except Portland to see Mercy and her family. I spend a lot of time gardening.

Toledo, Spain

Thanksgiving is our major family gathering time. Two sister-in-laws and I took turns to host the Thanksgiving dinner. Mercy and her family came to California to join us. Two weeks ago, California, Oregon, and Washington jointly announced a new restriction. Upon arriving in Oregon, we would have to be self-quarantine for 14 days. The new spikes of cases spread throughout the country, it is worse than March when the pandemic started. Hubby and I will spend the holiday just the two of us, and cook a 15-pound turkey, eat some and freeze some for later.

Autumn had a big birthday party with many friends her age in 2019. We are not big cake eaters. Autumn had a birthday pie. This year, she had a smaller birthday party in the front yard serving a cake to her friends and aunties and uncles. They came in masks keeping the social distancing.

Nora is growing fast. The first two years of a kid’s life is the fast growing period in proportion to the remaining of one’s life. When I visited her in August, she was not sitting up yet. She turned eight months two days ago. She is now sitting up and enjoys eating many mashed veggies.

.

Lens Artists Challenge # 124: Now and Then

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge #123, Ann-Christine invited us to look at our neighborhood and see what we can find regardless of being trapped in our Covid19 bubbles.

It has been a while since we last walked around Laguna Lake which is within walking distance from our home. The weather in the last several months has been crazy with record breaking heat, stubborn fires, and a sharp drop of temperature with pouring rain. We had no other options exception staying home especially under the restriction of Covid-19.

After the cold spell, the temperature warmed up to 89oF this afternoon.  The trail around the lake is only ¾ mile. We walked around it twice. The waterfowls normally migrate in the winter but it’s not cold enough yet. They are still around in the afternoon sun. When the Egyptian geese first came to Laguna Lake, they only showed up occasionally. A year ago, they decided to make the lake their home.

The lake was built in the early 1900s as a watering hole for livestock. The lake originally was up to 11 feet deep, by the mid-1990s, had decreased to 5 feet as years of sludge piled up. In September 2004, the renovation started with the funding of $2 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, because the muck from the lake drained to the ocean after storms.

In the process of draining the lake, the workers discovered a monster, known to locals as Old Bob, who turned out to be a 100-pound alligator snapping turtle.

When the restoration completed in 2006, the lake was restocked with 1,000 trout, bass, catfish, and bluegill. Anybody with a fishing license can cast a line into the lake, but only the trout are large enough to keep.

Today, Laguna Lake Park is a pleasant park for joggers, hikers, bikers, horse riders, fishing, picnic, parents walking with their kids or baby in the strollers, or owners walking with their pets.

Home owners by the lake built staircases to have easy access to the lake.

524-Laguna Lake – Fullerton,CA – Where In The World Is Scott
Old Bob, Google Image
Fullerton asks: Why is Laguna Lake leaking, and how can it be stopped? –  Orange County Register
Old Bob, Google Image

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121: Focus on the Subject

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121, Patti shared “some helpful techniques from the experts that can help us create images that lead our viewers to our subject.”

Using Lines and repeated patterns to bring focus to the subject

At Valencia, Spain, we visited Hemisferic which is a splendid Laserium, Planetarium, and IMAX cinema (over 900 square meters of the screen). It is in the City of Arts and Sciences complex. The building was designed by Santiago Calatrava. The lines and repeated patterns draw the viewers’ attention to the shape of the eyes (one eye opened, one eye shut).

The tour bus arrived at a large parking lot. We entered a 124 m (407 ft) tunnel which leads to an ornate elevator that ascends the final 124 m (407 ft) to the building of Eagle’s Nest in Germany. The lines on the wall and the lights point to the elevator at the end of the tunnel.

Using colors and contrast to draw attention to the subject

The contrast light color of the flower and dark green background bring the attention to the single yellow Daffodil.

Using arches and doorways to frame the image

This is the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. The bridge has a 1,207-foot (368 m) center span and a total length of 2,067 feet (630 m). The arches of the bridge towers framed the Gothic cathedral-like image. The adjacent park and neighborhood of Cathedral Park are named after this appearance.

Using freezing the moment to capture the subject

Hummingbirds flap the wings more than 60 times a second. I had fun freezing the moment of the hummingbird flapping the wings. My baby Ruby Throated hummingbird was in a “standing” still position.

Using the eyes to draw attention to the subject

I had fun finding the eyes of the animals for you to fall in love with them. The cat in the neighborhood, the deer, and the monkeys in Nara and Kyoto, Japan.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121: Focus on the Subject

.

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

This week, at the Lens-Artists Challenge community, Tina shared with us her thinking behind the theme: “There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling ‘quite a treat.'” 

Visiting my family is always an enjoyment, but our last trip was surely a treat to me and my husband.

When Autumn was born, I flew to Portland, Oregon once a month to spend time with her and my daughter Mercy. After her first birthday, I went every six weeks. Being an educator, watching her growth and learning unique skills was an amazement. In March this year, because of the Covid, I cancelled my trip when Mercy gave birth to Nora. Eventually, I took a trip to meet Nora five months after she was born. As to my husband, Lynton, his last time being with Autumn was January 2019 when we took a family trip to Hong Kong and Japan.

Early this month, it was a real treat to me and Lynton to visit Mercy’s family and spend time with Autumn and Nora.

Autumn was attached to Lynton right away. She came into my room to wake me up gently every morning and said, “Where is grandpa?” “I think he went to the store to get a newspaper,” I said. She wanted Lynton to read to her, doing puzzles and other projects with her.

Nora grew so fast. She loved to smile and make distinct sounds. Lynton enjoyed interacting with her.

I took tons of photos, of course!

We did many activities, even though it was limited by the Covid. We went to a pumpkin farm. Autumn visited the cows, goats, and pigs. She and Daddy went on a hayride, train ride, and jumped on a giant bouncing bed.

We went to the school playground across the street from my daughter’s house. We went on a walk in the neighborhood. Three nights in a row, we played board games after the kids went to bed.

What a Treat!

Taking family photo is a challenge to get the kids look at the camera.

The rain stopped when we arrived at the pumpkin farm and the rainbow appeared.

Reading and cuddling

Interacting

“I want grandma to get in.”

We played Yahtzee, Scrabble, and a detective game. I’m as competitive as Mercy and Will.

Autumn’s new favorite is the geometric block patterns. She knows the names such as hectogon and trapezoid.

Autumn is a loving big sister. When Nora fusses, she would pat her, hug her, and bring her a toy. She can hardly wait to run around with Nora.

Reading and learning through playing are important for the kid’s growth and development. Mercy and Will read to the kids from the beginning of their lives.

Our next visit to them is Thanksgiving. We look very much forward to it.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

.

.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

Ann-Christine invited us to explore the theme of Hideaway and would like to see our interpretation.


There is no time like this when we all need a hideaway. A place in which we could find safety, calmness, beauty, feel the contentment of being, and sustain the patience of riding out the storms.

My garden is my hideaway. Nature and the little creatures speak to me and I find comfort in their messages. The branches bend when the wind blow. The roots reach deep to draw water and nutrients. The flowers dance in the breeze. Some plants go dormant in the winter. Some creatures migrate south in the cold season. They don’t fight against nature but make the best of what nature offers and maintain their balance at their present state.

Music is my great hideout.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

.

.

.

« Older Entries