Category Archives: photography

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

This week, the theme from Tina Schell, for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is focused on one of the most well-known and widely used rules of photography, the Rule of Thirds. She said, “For those who would like to study the concept further, there are many online descriptions and examples. Adobe offers an excellent summary here. Basically, the rule is a compositional guideline that encourages placement of your primary subject on at least part of three equal rows and three equal columns as illustrated below.”

The Adobe article entitled: How to use, and break, the rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds Grid

The idea is to place your subject on one (or more) of the grid lines, or even better on the dots, theoretically making the image more pleasing to the eye.

I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager when there were only Black & White photos. As indicated in the Adobe article, “The more you do it, the more it gets ingrained into your head.” I apply the Rule of Thirds most of the time in my photo compositions.

I learned drawing and painting at a young age, the Rule of Thirds also applies to the composition of drawing, painting, and some other forms of art. I’ll post my photos and two of my paintings in this post.

There are many kinds of butterflies in my garden, Swallowtail, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Cabbage butterflies. A Monarch came back from the south early this year and is busy laying eggs. I collected 10 eggs so far. Three are in the chrysalis form, two are growing strong, and five are 1/8″ babies. I’ll post some Monarch photos later. I saw a Nymphalis antiopa, known as Mourning Cloak, a few days ago but didn’t take good photos. I took the following one a while ago.

There are many turtles in the lake within walking distance from home. This colorful turtle was sunbathing when I walked around the lake one day. The entire colorful body is attractive. The reflection of the sunlight made part of his body draw more attention.

I took the following photo in Maui, Hawaii. The crashing waves evoke my imagination. I strive to take photos with droplets dancing in the air as the waves splash the rocks.

The following are my two paintings. Naturally, the tree is the focus of the first painting and the butterfly is in the second painting.

~ ~ ~

Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

.

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Bokeh

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Sofia Alves invited us to look at bokeh in photography. The following is her discussion.

“What is bokeh? We all have seen this effect; we have photos of 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 the out-of-focus blur in a photograph’”. 

My newest photo today would do the job.

This is my first caterpillar of the year. I saw a Monarch flying around a few weeks ago but didn’t expect to have caterpillars soon. This little guy is early. Basically, my milkweed from last year is not grown yet. I bought two pots with one in a good shape, enough to feed one caterpillar. After this little guy, I’ll wait until summer to raise more butterflies.

The first caterpillar in my garden, 2022

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Bokeh

.

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Birthdays

This week, the theme for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge from John Steiner is Birthdays. I don’t have fancy birthday celebrations. But I love going to birthday parties, especially my grandchildren’s birthdays. My husband and I just returned from a trip to my younger granddaughter, Nora’s birthday. She turned two.

In the previous years, my daughter had outdoor birthday parties for the girls. When Autumn turned one, we had a party at the park. It started raining toward the end. Many friends helped to pack up things. Last year, when Nora turned one, we had an outdoor party. It was raining before and after the party.

I thought it was a good idea when I found out Nora’s birthday party was indoors. The mask mandate was just lifted. Many people came without masks. A few people were still wearing masks. The outfit has a nice setup of various activities and playrooms. Grown-ups had a wonderful time visiting with each other.

My daughter brought cheese and crackers, fruits, and cupcakes and bought Starbucks coffee. She made the raspberry-filled cupcakes. The staff helped to do the decoration and clean up afterward. It was a lot easier than setting up the outdoor party.

Autumn helped Nora open the birthday gifts

We had a wonderful time with the kids. We went to the nearby school playgrounds twice, but mostly we played with the kids and read with them at home. This is also the time for Mercy and Will to take a break. They had date nights while we fed the kids, bathed them, and put them to bed. Autumn loved to have me read to her at bedtime because she could ask me to read many books. Nora is attached to my daughter and prefers mommy put her to bed. We somehow managed to do the job.

Going to the playgrounds

Playing, playing, playing

Reading, reading, reading

I booked the flights to spend Mother’s Day with my daughter and see the grandkids again. In fact, I also booked the flights in September for Autumn’s birthday. The birthday after that is Mercy’s birthday, the day after Christmas. I enjoy going to these birthdays.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Birthdays

Happy birthday, John!

.

.

Thursday Doors – London 2

London was the first stop on our Europe trip. We bought the Europe land tour package from a travel company and purchased air tickets separately because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.

We arrived in London five days prior to the tour so that we could visit family and friends. After that, we joined our tour for the resting of sightseeing. The tour bus drove us around London to overview the major attractions, then took us back to the hotel. Some people elected to visit places on their own, but we paid for the excursion for the guided tour. On the last day of the tour, we took the cruise around the city on River Thames.

Windsor Castle is in Berkshire, England, and was built as a motte and bailey castle by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087). Converted into stone by Henry II of England (r. 1165-1179), the shell keep tower was rebuilt by Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377). The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II (r. 1953-).

Windsor Castle entrance

As part of the admission, we received the audio device for the self-guided tour. It is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin. When we key in the room’s number or place where we were in, we could hear a full commentary.

Queen Mary’s House, Windsor Castle

Framlingham Castle was built during the 12th century and maintains much of its original features, including its incredible stone architecture and many features that were classic of that era. It is here Mary Tudor, “Bloody Mary,” was crowned Queen. Queen Mary I made no secret of her religious beliefs and she was a devout Catholic upon taking the throne in 1553. To convert England to Catholicism, she would persecute over 300 protestants in the name of religion. This reign of religious terror earned her the nickname of ‘Bloody Mary.’

Guard

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and a burial site and 17 royal weddings.

Westminister Abbey

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Palace of Westminister

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Big Ben

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

Tower of London

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones and engineered by John Wolfe Barry. The double-leaf bascule, movable bridge raises to permit passage of a ship having masts too tall to pass under at this point.

Tower Bridge

Thursday Doors – London 2

.

.

.

Thursday Doors – London

London was the first stop on our Europe trip. Amsterdam was the second stop. We bought the Europe land tour package from a travel company and purchased air tickets separately because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.

We arrived in London five days prior to the tour so that we could visit family and friends.

My childhood friend Shirley lives in London. Shirley and her husband took us to the cities outside of London. We went to Bath, Longleat House, and Stonehenge.

Bath is famous for its Roman-built baths. While in Bath, we visited the Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen was living and writing in Bath from 1801 to 1806. While her most well-known novel Pride and Prejudice takes place in the countryside, her two books, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are set in the historic city of Bath that captures a unique Georgian metropolis. They both have the spa town as a primary location. Our visit was after the BBC Masterpiece Theatre broadcasting the show Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth, the actor’s portrait was on canvas painting, stationery, CDs, and other souvenir items.

City of Bath

Longleat House is in Wiltshire, Somerset, 97 miles west of London. The house is set in 1,000 acres of parkland with 4,000 acres of farmland and 4,000 acres of woodland. It is not only a historic visitor attraction but also a residential home. The house is the best example of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. The estate includes the first safari park outside Africa. This incredible estate was completed by Sir John Thynne in 1580 and has now been called home by 15 generations of the Thynne family.

We took a tour in the section open to the public. I saw a painting with Hurdle as the last name of the author. I pointed it out to my husband. He got a chuckle.

Longleat House
Longleat Estate, well kept

It was a cloudy and windy day when we visited Stonehenge. Lynton said during his two years in London, there was no fence around Stonehenge. He remembered going around and under the stones. Because of tourism and preservation of the historical site, there was a fence with signs prohibiting tourists from getting close to the stones.

Archaeologists believe England’s most iconic Stonehenge was built in several stages. The work started on this super stone circle around 5,000 years ago in the late Neolithic Age. It took over 1,000 years to build, in four long stages! The last changes were made around 1,500BC, in the early Bronze Age.

No one knows the purpose of the stones, but the stones themselves give the experts a few clues to many theories. But one thing is for sure Stonehenge was used as a cemetery. Experts estimate that about 200 people are buried on the grounds. They also think that important funeral ceremonies would have been performed at the site.

Lynton’s family is from England and moved to Australia. Before immigrating to the United States, his family went from Australia to London and lived with his grandmother for two years. After we arrived in London, his cousin picked us up from the hotel and took us to visit the house where his grandmother lived. We also visited the school he attended. There were two entrances to the school courtyard, with one marked Boys and the other one marked Girls. He bought some candy from his favorite store. Another cousin lived by a river and had a boat. He wanted to take us on a boat ride, but there was pouring rain. We had a barbeque in the rain and a pleasant visit, catching up with the latest news.

Thursday Doors – London

.

.

.

« Older Entries