Tag Archives: photography

Photo Challenge

Hello and Happy Thursday. Yes, I normally publish this post on Wednesday, but because of the 4th of July holiday, my whole week has been thrown off. I hope you enjoyed your holiday!

Last week’s photo theme was from this poem below–I chose a line from the poem –The Peace of Wild Things.


Then when I went to find images for this post, it occurred to me that just about every image I have ever made fits this theme, as when I am out doing photography–something I love more than just about anything else–I am almost always at peace.

I love the peace of wild things, whatever those wild things are. The theme is so WIDE open! So completely open to interpretation. Who is to say what brings one person peace? Wild things can mean so much, from plants, flowers, trees, rocks, beaches,waterfalls, to all kind of animals from the tiniest snail to a giant caribou. Are you like me, finding peace easily when you are outside in nature?

Here is the collection of images then for the week:

Feather in the Sky, by ArdenFawn with Mother in WNY, by Chris MWater Lily, WNY, by Chris MGrand Canyon, by ArdenDuck with many ducklings at Reinstein Woods, NY, by Chris MSwan, by ArdenPeacock, by ArdenMama and baby in WNY, by Chris MDove on her nest, by ArdenBy ArdenAlligator sunning, by ArdenLibrary in the woods! by Chris MCoot nest, by ArdenRoseate Spoonbill Spotlight on a deer In Florida, by ArdenPerfection of flying My Zen Spot, by ArdenDupont State Forest, by ArdenBy ArdenOsprey nest in Florida, by ArdenDragonfly Not a Crack in the Sidewalk! by ArdenGreat Blue Heron, by ArdenFlorida by ArdenCaribou in Denali Bear in the backyard! By ArdenSiesta Key, Florida, by ArdenNC waterfallsSeagull on the coast in MaineLiquid MirrorAlaska and the very special Denali Roan Mountain Wild things Egret feeding Wild things! Preening SnailIn the Adirondacks Along the John Muir Trail Perfect great blue heronWood duckStillness Preening egret Morning reflectionThe perfect camping spot! Vermont mountains A Perfect sunset White pelicans make art in the skyIn Alaska Beauty in NYOn the John Muir Trail Reddish egret landingWood storks White Ibis feedingFlying southSparkles on the waterWatching the wild things

This is the last post from me you will see for a while (except to answer the puzzler on Saturday) as I am on the brink of an exciting road trip adventure that will take me away from my desk for a few weeks. You may see a few random posts during that time, but some of the regular features, including the photo challenge and puzzler, will be on hold.

Have a good month! Thanks, as always, for reading!

I will leave you with this poem, one I first published last Wednesday, but one I love so much I wanted to read it again–and let you read it again too. Do you like it?

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


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Weekly Photo Challenge #8

Happy Wednesday! The last one in May. Can you believe it’s already June?

Did you see anything that fit last week’s photo challenge theme of pink? Once you see a few pictures from this theme I think you will agree the color pink is common, especially in spring.

Here are some of the pictures from this theme:


Lizard by JockTulips by ArdenTrees by Ardenby ArdenPink by ArdenBy JockLiquid mirrorSecret GardenArboretum by ArdenRose by Ardenby ArdenBee on Milkweed, by Jockby ArdenSkipper on Milkweed by Jockby ArdenWall Street in Asheville, by ArdenCarnations by ArdenOcean Beauty by ArdenFlowers by ArdenOrchids by ArdenPink by ArdenFlowers by ArdenPink! By Ardenby Ardenby ArdenBy Ardenby Ardenby Ardenby ArdenRoses by ArdenSunset by Ardenby Ardenby ArdenAt BiltmoreTulips at The NC ArboretumRedbud reflectionPetalsPink flowerMagnolia blossomWater lilyPeonyPink lady slippers in GSMNPLined with pinkPink backgroundLilySweat bee on pink flowerOn the ATTrail of pink petalsPink tulipsPink tulipWater on pink petalsPink heartPink in our backyardPink azaleaAll pinkLots of pink!Magnolia

So last week I asked readers to suggest a theme. Let’s choose one that Joe suggested: Things that are Round

Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Please email me any photos you want to share and they will be put in the next Wednesday slideshow.

Happy photo hunting to you! See you again soon.

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Weekly Photo Challenge #5

Hey there! Happy Wednesday to you. I hope you are having a fabulous week and getting to spend lots of quality time outside. Isn’t this a great time of year?

So did you send it any images for our last photo theme of Sky TV? Here is a collection I put together with this theme.

Rays from HeavenNC sky, by BarbaraSky TV looking Down, by ArdenHeron and Sunset by Lloyd, FloridaAt Carl Sandburg by Barbara, NCNC Sky TV by BarbaraSky trailsWestern NC by BarbaraPerfect eveningThe Blue Ridge ParkwaySky in AlaskaClouds over the French BroadGeese heading southWow, what clouds!Rainbow in WNCTogether Drama in the sky!Spectacular sunset in New ZealandFollowing the sunMore from the Blue Ridge ParkwayFire in the Sky!While picnicking on the BRPWIn Great Smoky Mountains National ParkAlgonquin CanadaSunSunset in New ZealandAdirondack SkyBlue sky and pinesWinter is comingSunset to rememberSky TVFiltering lightSea of blueA sunrise in WNCReaching into the HeavensClouds in NZColored cloudsAspens

Our next theme is:  Water Art. How can you portray this in an image? What comes to mind when you hear the words water art? Have you ever looked closely at plants after a rain? Or on a dewy morning? Ever notice the way the tiny drops cling to everything, creating ephemeral works of art? Have you noticed how they hang on silk like suspended jewels? Then, as they sunshine pours through the air, the drops fall silently, a wordless music to those who know how to pay attention.



I can’t wait to see what you come up with for our theme WATER ART! Happy photo hunting. See you again soon!

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Weekly Photo Challenge #4

So last week’s photo challenge was SPRING. Thanks to those who sent in some images to add to the slide slow!  Isn’t this a great time of year! Let’s look at some of this week’s slides:

In Germany, by ArdenDogwood, by RoseViolets, By BarbaraOpeninBuds, by BarbaraYellow Trillium in W. Asheville, by ArdenFiddlehead heartBy RoseIn Germany, by ArdenIn Germany, by ArdenBloodroot, By BarbaraRed budsPinkAzaleaRedbudsPetalsArt in one dropTulipsMay appleFramed in pinkMy backyardDrop of rain on DogwoodBrand newBeautiful VeinsFoggy ForestIn Biltmore gardensHerald of spring--a spring peeper!DropsCurvesHoneybeeCherry blossomMagnolia blossomDogwoodAzaleaRed and pinkFirst flowersNew leavesTiger swallowtail

Speaking of spring, if you live in western North Carolina, here’s a special invitation for you to come out and join me this Friday for our first Game Night. On the last Friday of each month  I am going to be hosting a unique version of Jeopardy–a game night for adults! The focus will be getting together with some new friends, having fun, and learning something about the monthly topic–this month it is Signs of Spring. Have you ever watched Jeopardy on TV? Well my version will be just like the TV version–up on the “big screen” with lots of animation to keep it interesting. There will be photos, and sounds and lots of great interaction.

You don’t have to be a nature whiz or a walking encyclopedia!! You just have to enjoy having fun!

Won’t you come out and join us? To learn more and to RESERVE your spot, see my Meetup Page.

Next week’s photo challenge is: SKY TV

tv-That’s the title of this image which I took on the first day of my 5+month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Do you think it’s a good title? How will you interpret that? Send in your images to my email at sharenaturemore@gmail.com, then tune in on Wednesday to see the collection! Have fun looking UP for GREAT examples of SKY TV!

See you again soon. Have a great week!

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Quote of the Week #61

The famous Biltmore Estate brings in lots of visitors!

The famous Biltmore Estate brings in lots of visitors!

Rather than heading to the gym each morning as is my habit in the winter months, I have been spending mornings outside–doing what I most love, which is looking for beauty that I can capture with my camera. In the past few weeks I have been spending time in the gardens and on the trails of the Biltmore Estate where it is not unusual for me to be crawling around on the ground, face-to-face with the unfurling ferns and newly sprouted greens. My knees are usually dirt-covered, my pant-legs dew-soaked and my focus clearly not on the bigger picture that everyone else is focused on. I do look at and appreciate the magnificent house, the blooming azaleas and other flowers but it is the “little wonders” that thrill me most.

Have you seen the way the water drops sometimes line the leaf edges? Or noticed the art in the unfurling of a leaf?

Everyday that I am out with my camera is a good day and I can always find something worth capturing. The challenge comes when I try to describe it to others, not just the thing I photographed, but the feelings associated with it.

Here then is my quote for the week along with two of my favorite Ansel Adams quotes:


“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

What great photographs have you made lately? What stories do YOUR pictures tell? Where do you most love to spend your time? What “little wonders” have you noticed recently?

WaveCurvesHanging flowersLoveLooking skywardSpiderSitting prettySuspendedArt

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Hidden Drama on an Ordinary Morning

As the sun cleared the horizon recently, filling the world with light, I was exploring a nearby wild space that I frequent. In this place time stops and drama is everywhere. There are no paths or gates, no fees or kiosks detailing the acreage. Instead, vegetation is allowed the rare freedom of growing how and where it will and my presence is unnoticed. Here I am given a glimpse into worlds unseen by most.

On this day, dew drops glittered in the sunshine like diamonds and the wind took the morning off. I moved along slowly, giving myself time to unfocus on the larger scene so I could focus on the miniature. Like an infinite treasure hunt I found subjects worth photographing at every turn.

To me, the “Spineless Majority*” make some of the most amazing subjects. Dragonflies and damselflies danced in the sunlight while orange and black pearl crescent butterflies settled to soak up the warmth. Cicadas sang from nearby trees as red-winged blackbirds claimed their territory.

Hours later, I had walked away happy, having witnessed and captured a handful of fascinating creatures, including the amazing encounter of a crab spider and a Japanese beetle. Guess who won that battle?

Here are some of my moments captured:


Splendor in the grassA calico pennant dragonflyA fly rests on grassLeaf artJapanese beetle becomes breakfast What beautiful colors in nature!Hummm? Sex or lunch? Oh wait, I can have BOTH!A Riley's Clearwing mothA male eastern pond hawk dragonflyA viceroy butterflyThis assassin bug feeds on a beetle More eyes looking at me! An ant tends some aphidsA grasshopper sits on a dew-covered blade of grassA Slaty skimmer dragonflyA Cloudless Sulfur butterflyA damselfly restsTiny eggsA female widow skimmer dragonflyNo shortage of butterfliesA shieldback bugEyes see you! Lovely damselfly A pearl crescent soaks up some rays A female eastern pond hawk dragonfly Lovely damselflyBeautiful eggs!

I hope you make some time sometime soon to GET OUTSIDE and look for some of your own amazing moments…. they really are everywhere once you start looking!

* The millions of small creatures that lack a backbone like insects and spiders.

Posted in Animals, For My Soul, Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates, Just for Fun, Little Wonders, Nature NOW | Also tagged , , , , Comments Off on Hidden Drama on an Ordinary Morning

Bear in the Backyard!


2bear-6063As I sit here on this Saturday morning, the last in July, after having spent a glorious chunk of time outside, I can recognize and feel thankful for my blessings. Sometimes it’s easy to see only the negative side of things, but days like today show me just how lucky I am. I love that I have total and complete freedom to spend my time exactly as I want, not having to check with someone or plan my schedule around another. On weekends I usually have no place to be, nothing I must do and hours to spend as I see fit, which almost always includes my favorite thing in all the world–nature photography. What freedom! How can I not love and be thankful for this!

Before the sun rose today, I lay in bed and contemplated how to spend my morning. Yesterday I rushed off to The Biltmore Estate, hoping to photograph a male hummingbird in the walled garden where 6 feet tall red flowers beckon like bells to the winged wonders. I saw plenty of hummingbirds, but none of them cooperative ones who wanted to be famous. I stood in the sun forever, waiting, waiting, waiting, with sweat pouring down every inch of skin. It was hot and crowded and though I enjoyed my time there and found plenty of beauty and things worth photographing, today I needed some solitude. So a little after sunrise, I headed out, walking the short distance to the wild spot of land beside my home.

The field there is unnoticed and for sure, unloved. (Except by me!) It is not one of these lovely meadows filled with wildflowers of every color. Instead, it is overgrown, teeming in spots with poison ivy and pricker bushes along with queen anne’s lace, clover, vetch, milkweed, thistle, and a mix of grasses and other plants. In some places the growth is nearly as tall as me–6 feet, which makes my progress slow. On my way to the far side which has become my favorite spot, I passed two round patches of matted-down grass where some animal slept recently. I smiled, thinking about the curled up bear or deer, spending the night under the stars. It is always a joy to read the tracks and traces that are present everywhere.

honeybee-5172At a place where grasses were thick, weighted-down with tiny drops of dew, I stopped and proceeded to look closely, searching for possible photographic subjects. The water drops decorated everything, hanging silently like miniature ornaments. I set my tripod up and began closing in on some of the more interesting drops, loving the way the sunlight reflected in each one.

After I’d been working for a while, I heard breaking sticks in the forest and stopped to look there. Was it a bear or a deer? More noise came–enough to tell me it was a bear– and then, sure enough, a bear emerged from the thick wall of forest, entering the field at a slow pace and taking a dozen steps out before stopping. In this split second when I realized it was a bear, my only thought was, I have on the wrong lens! My macro with the 2x converter on the end was not going to work to photograph the bear!

Meanwhile, the bear sensed that something was amiss in the field, suddenly standing up and looking my way. The sun behind me on the horizon though was blinding and though I was only 30 feet away, it seemed unlikely he could make me out. By then I had switched lenses, but the camera was still screwed on the tripod which was low in the grass. I undid the screw as my heart threatened to beat right out of my chest. My hands shook, as I hurried to get ready to take at least one shot.  It was an OMG moment! And I thought I would die right there of a heart attack, I was so excited. The bear by this time had moved away, to the edge of the field, where he promptly sat down, looking back my way. I had time to lift the camera and take two photos–both of them bad–before he disappeared into the trees…..


Woo hoo! I live in an amazing place! It is extraordinary for me to think that today I saw a bear–not in Great Smoky Mountain National Park or Pisgah Forest, but right here, steps away from my door. To some this would be alarming and cause for fear, but for me, it only reinforces what I have known since I moved here. I am in the right spot. I am where I want to be. I am surrounded by wildlife and wild land; my little slice of heaven. For me, witnessing a wild animal in its natural habitat is a HIGH that’s hard to beat.

After that I stood for a long time, switching to my 300mm lens and hoping with everything I have that the bear would step out again and I could get some decent shots. A second chance to photograph him when we were not so close and not so rushed. But of course, it was not to be–in my experience with nature photography, one rarely gets a second chance at wildlife.

Eventually I moved off and continued my photographic foray, finding much beauty to capture…. a perfect tiger swallowtail butterfly, a common buckeye, a spicebush swallowtail backlit, dragonflies with golden wings that shimmer in the sunlight and lots of “water art” waiting to be photographed. I love my life! I love the chance to find and capture these ordinary moments that recharge my spirit and bring me a joy that I can find no where else. Such a beautiful world we live in!

Have you had any exciting animal encounters lately?

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