Category Archives: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #143 – Colorful April, National Poetry Month

This week, for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy invited us to look at the colorful April that spring brings us. Every year, the cold of winter melts away and spring brings a new beginning.

April is National Poetry Month. I’ll include a poem “A Light Exists in Spring” by Emily Dickinson.

Every year, the cold of winter melts away and spring brings a new beginning. The nature and the creatures wake up from their hibernation, stretch the limbs and pop the heads up to give us a big smile.

The flowers in my garden invited me to give them a visit.

When I take my afternoon walk, the vibrant colors stopped me more and more frequently to capture their beauty.

I’m grateful for living in a community with the walking/hiking/horse trails snake through the cities. These trails are in the neighborhood yet they seem to be away from the distractions of voices and noises.

A Light exists in Spring
by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Written in around 1864 but not published until 1896 (as with many of Dickinson’s poems), ‘A Light Exists in Spring’ beautifully captures the way that spring slowly appears in our consciousness, like a light in the distance. The final stanza of Dickinson’s poem also seems to acknowledge what we now call ‘SAD’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder, with the passing of spring affecting our contentedness.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #143 – Colorful April

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 – A Change of Scenery

The host for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 is Beth at https://wanderingdawgs.com and the theme is A Change of Scenery. We want to thank you, Beth.

A change of scenery can happen in a short distance such as from room to room, from outdoor to indoor or from indoor to around the neighborhood. But last week we changed a scenery from state to state.

Before leaving town, I took a few photos of the spring blossom in my garden. The Freesia was in full bloom. The plum trees just started blooming. It looks like we’d have a promising harvest this summer.


The scenery changed from sunny to rainy in the weather but our hearts are warmer.

My husband and I landed in Portland, Oregon last Thursday from California. We came for a week to spend time with our granddaughters. Our younger granddaughter Nora’s first birthday was Sunday, March 22. My daughter Mercy planned a party on Saturday in a park close to home. We had a wonderful time warming up with our granddaughters Autumn and Nora on the first two days. We had not seen them since October 2020. We canceled our trips for Thanksgiving and Christmas because of Covid.

It was pouring on Saturday early morning. Mercy changed the location to a school site with a covered area. We didn’t know how many people would show up. An hour before we left the house, the rain stopped.

Many families with kids came to the party. The school has a large playground for the kids. It was the first time some friends got together since Covid started. Both the grown-ups and kids had a wonderful time.

Later in the afternoon, the sky turned dark and it was pouring again. We were thankful that the rain stopped for a few hours so we could have a great party.


A friend made three dozen cupcakes for everyone. Mercy bought a small birthday cake for Nora. It was Nora’s first time to have cakes, and she sure loved it.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 – A Change of Scenery

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Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

This week for Lens-Artist Challenge #139, Tina invited us to visit our special moments. While there are so many, I would included three events.

Mount St. Helens in Washington state was erupted on May 18, 1980. I was a student at Seattle Pacific University. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused a lateral eruption that reduced St. Helens’ height by about 1,300 feet (400 m) and left a crater 1 mile (1.6 km) to 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 0.5 miles (800 m) deep. It was a major eruption among the 48 states since 1915. The ash drifted over many states and could be seen as far as Chicago. The evacuation was announced before the eruption. Mr. Harry Truman, a caretaker of a resort lodge, refused to leave. He said he belonged to the mountain and would die with the mountain. He, along with fifty-six people were killed.

My family and I went back to visit on September 10, 2016. The mud and debris still filled the river, and the crater was still very much alive. It seemed like nothing or few things would survive. I was in awe to see miles of century-old forests destroyed by the eruption have come back, richer and different from before. There were many beautiful wildflowers. Life overcomes!

I came to the US as a student in 1977. In all the years I was in Hong Kong, I had never visited the Great Wall. In 2012, some family member expressed the interest to take a family vacation in China. I got some tour information from the Chinese Newspaper and made contacts. One tour company offered a private tour with a van and a driver for ten people. After I got the commitment of eight members, I started planning. By the time we set the itinerary, made reservations for air and hotel, three members couldn’t make it. I was a little disappointed. The tour company contacted the tour in China they agreed to accommodate the seven of us. It was a special vacation because I have other countries on my visiting list and may not return to see the Great Wall.

We rarely get to celebrate the birthdays or anniversaries on the day of the event. In 2016, I could plan a trip to Spain in August during our anniversary. When we visited the Mosque of Córdoba, the architecture fascinated me, and I was busy taking photos. The tour moved on without me. It panicked me. Fortunately, my husband is tall, and I spotted him, and quickly merged back to the tour saying nothing.

We were in Barcelona to celebrate our anniversary. I wish to tour inside of Basilica de la Sagrada Familia but the tour didn’t not schedule it. We only had time to take photos. I literally was lying flat on the ground to get the view from the bottom to the top. Of course, my husband was on guard so people wouldn’t step on me and kill me.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) in Barcelona.

Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #138 – Natural Light

This week, the theme from Amy for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Natural Light. She invited us to look at photography uses the sun as a light source and share photos of changing light throughout the day.

I took this opportunity to study the phenomena of changing light.

In photography

The different colors of the natural light determined by the sun’s rays during the light phases of the day. They depend on the elevation of the sun. The phases are the nighttime, morning twilights, morning magic hours, daytime, evening magic hours, evening twilights, and nighttime. The dramatic colors of blue, red, orange and yellow are in the golden hour and blue hour when the sun is lower in the sky during the morning magic hours and evening magic hours shortly before and after the appearance of the sun.

In science

Steven Ackerman, professor of meteorology at UW-Madison said, “Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter. Scattering affects the color of light coming from the sky, but the details are determined by the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle. The short-wavelength blue and violet are scattered by molecules in the air much more than other colors of the spectrum. This is why blue and violet light reaches our eyes from all directions on a clear day. But because we can’t see violet very well, the sky appears blue.”

Brian Resnick at the Vox.com further explained, “At sunset, light has to travel through a greater distance of atmosphere to reach our eyes — so even more blue light, and even some green and yellow light, gets filtered out. That leaves us with the warmer hues of the visible light, the reds and oranges, and it’s why many sunsets look like fire.

As we approach the winter solstice, the time the sun takes to set lengthens, due to the angle the sun takes in setting into the ground. During the equinoxes, the sun pretty much sinks into the ground at a 90-degree angle. Nearer the winter solstice, the sun sets on more of an angle, drawing out the time it takes to set. Which is to say: Sunset colors linger closer to the winter solstice, which allows us to enjoy them for longer.”

Here are some examples of my photography showing the colors of light shortly before sunset in different months.

These two photos were taken on my walk in the neighborhood in July. They were taken in a less than one minute apart.

These two photos were taken during a Columbia River Gorge Cruise, Washington in September. The two photos were taken in just minutes apart while the cruise ship traveled.

These two photos were also taken in my neighborhood. They sky was clear with spots of scattered clouds in this December early evening before the sun disappeared. Again, the photos were taken in a few seconds apart.

I love taking sunset photos because of the dramatic change of light.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #138 – Natural Light

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Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137 – Soft

This week for the Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137, Ann-Christine wanted to continue with another S – Soft. This is all about how we interpret Soft.

I see soft Physical appearances, softness of characteristics, and hear soft sounds everywhere. The photos included here represent the several things that are soft in sight and in touch.

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.” – Sharon Draper

This photo was taken from the ship of the Ensenada Cruise. It was my first time watching the soft glow of sunset in the middle of the ocean, even though we were not too far from land.

“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We saw the fluffy clouds all the time when we were in Maui, Hawaii. They don’t seem to bring any rain except on one trip among our multiple trips.

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This clearly shows the principle of softness overcoming hardness. ” Lao Tzu

Water is soft, but when it combines with other natural phenomena, it can be powerful. The tide was coming in this sunny afternoon on the Makena Beach, Maui.

“The red rose whispers of passion, and the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, and the white rose is a dove. ” – John Boyle O’Reilly

I love the softness of the Iceberg Roses. The innocent color brings me refreshing calmness.

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…” – Albert Einstein

This was my daughter’s neighbor’s cat. She had such an unusual combination of soft fur colors and soft blue eyes, and I wondered if it was a kitten. I would love to have a kitten like this one.

“A wee bit of Heaven drifted down from above, a handful of happiness, a heartful of love.​When the baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into thousands of pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” From Peter Pan

Thank you for Balroop Singh‘s comment on the softness of a newborn baby. I added this photo of my younger granddaughter Nora. My daughter Mercy did a photoshoot of her when she was three weeks’ old. Nora will be one-year-old on March 22! I look forward to going to her birthday party.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137 – Soft

Weekend Sky #19 – March 6th

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet. This time, Patti invited us to focus on the letter S. She quoted Mike Wilks who strung a sentence with all the words begin with the letter S and indicated on the shelves in his store stacked with stock of 1,234 Ss to see.

I don’t want to list some seventy-seven S-things. I only chose several to be included in this post. I simply tried to have samples.

“May you see sunshine where others see shadows and opportunities where others see obstacles.” – Anonymous

Sunny sky above the summer sand

“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” – Mario Fernandez

Sunny sky above the snowy summit

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” Helen Keller

“If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.” Matshona Dhliwayo

Sunflowers surged into the sky searching the sunlight

“Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts, then forget where they hid them. Do good and forget. It’ll grow someday.” – Anonymous

“Little squirrel opens human heart because they have lots of practice with the nuts.” – Swapna Ch

Squirrel, squirrel, what do you see?

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” -Tom Wilson

“Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” – Peace Pilgrim

Sweet smiles from my daughter Mercy

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” – Amy Li

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” – Margaret Mead

Songs sisters Autumn and Nora sing together

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

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Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’She invited us to show the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.

The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.

I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.

There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.

I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.

I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.

My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.

Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.

Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.

The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.  

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Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

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Lens-Artists Challenge #134 – From Forgettable to Favorite

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge #134, Tina invited us to show a few images that may not have met our original expectations but that through editing we’ve turned into “keepers”. I turned two originals into three edited photos. The originals are at the end of the post.

The small Alcatraz island in San Francisco was once a fort, a military prison, and a maximum-security federal penitentiary. The prison is famous because no prisoner had ever successfully escaped. The 1966 American action thriller film The Rock was filmed at this site. The film, stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, is about the eighty-one civilians on a tour of Alcatraz. During the tour, Marine General Francis Xavier Hummel takes the civilians hostage with the help of other Marines. He threatens the F.B.I. to launch the VX rockets. The F.B.I. is forced to resort to John Patrick Mason, an ex-con who broke out of Alcatraz in 1962, to break into Alcatraz to defuse the launch.

Sean Connery is one of my favorite actors, and we watched The Rock at least twice. Alcatraz Island fascinates me because of the film and the history. I have never taken a tour on the island, but during one visit, my friends and I leisurely walked on Fisherman’s Wharf and I took several shots of the Island.

I had a small pocket camera. The day was smoggy. I looked at the shots afterwards and was disappointed. Then something caught my eyes. A bird flew in front of the camera and showed up in one shot. I did some cropping and editing the colors and clarity to make two version, one to bring out the bird and the other with more clarity of the Island.

2017 was the first year the plum tree had an abundant blossom. I just needed the bees to pollinate the flowers. Yellow flowers were not my favorite color until this year. I had clover plant with yellow flowers popping up in early spring every year. I usually pulled them out and tried hard to replace with other plants in the same spots. But clover bulbs multiply and multiply, and there seem to be no way to get rid of them. One morning this early spring in 2017, I pulled a couple handfuls of clover plants out, but at the corner of my eyes, caught some bees hovering on the yellow flowers.

It surprised me with excitement, and I wanted to plug the plants back into the soil. From that moment on, I had a keen interest in the clover and the bees. I cropped and edited one photo of the clover and brought out the focus on the bee.

Here are the originals.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #134 – From Forgettable to Favorite

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Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped & Checked

This week, Ann-Christine invited us to look at striped and checked images.

I started looking around the house both indoor and outdoor and noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. There is a striped area rug in front of the fireplace. There are horizontal blinds for the windows, vertical blinds for the patio door, and the striped fabrics on the couches. Going outside the patio, I could see the stripes of the patio cover and the beach chair.

I looked in the closet next. Twenty-five percent of my husband’s shirts have stripes or plaid. I think it’s true in general that most of the men wear stripes or plaid dressed shirts. On the contrary, I only have one pair of pants and one sweater with stripes, and one plaid sweater. If my office had a stripe and check day in the summer, I would have to buy a new top.

When I investigated the archives, there are several of my favorite images have stripes and checks on the indoor structures, outdoor structures as well as in the nature.

The Huntington Library Arts Exhibit, Los Angeles
Lobby on the Ensenada Cruise Ship
Garden outside of a restaurant in Hong Kong
Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain
Bamboo Forest, Maui, Hawaii
Wire fence to keep the ponies in the backyard, Laguna Lake

What interesting stripes and checks do you see around your home?

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Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped & Checked

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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.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #131-Emotions

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