Favorite Photos – Lens Artists Challenge

Several years ago learning more about photography became a personal goal. Studying and practicing photography opened up a world beyond the aspiration of taking nice vacation pictures. All of a sudden, my mind’s eye was framing shots wherever I went. Clouds, a sunrise, the feathers of a bird, veins in a leaf…Finding a perspective that captures not just the image, but a feeling is always my goal. Otherwise, they are just pretty pictures. Most attempts fall short, but sometimes I get lucky and the emotion and the image emerge as one.

Sarah, at Travel With Me, is hosting Lens Artists Challenge this week and has asked us to present three of our favorite images. Any photographer, from hobbyist to professional, knows that is an impossible task. My favorite photo is always the one that I will take tomorrow or next week or next year. However, I have selected a few that are favorites for a singular reason – each captured a sweet memory.

When it comes to photography, study and practice taught me to be observant, patient, and in the moment. When you expect something wonderful to happen, it most often will. A scene presents itself, the lighting is right, emotions surface, and the shutter clicks. The image freezes for a split second in my viewfinder and I release my breath, knowing I just captured that moment in time forever. It is unique and beautiful (at least to me) and will never again be duplicated.

It took about three years to get to a point in my photography where I felt like an image was good enough to frame. The photo above was that photo. For many years it was the central focus of a black and white gallery that I had in my former home. What I saw and what I hope I conveyed is the beauty and artistry of the artist and subject connected at that moment in time.

Laughter is the sunbeam of the soul…

Thomas Mann

This moment presented itself on a gray day in Biloxi, Mississippi when Malcolm and I were sightseeing along the Gulf Shore. I assume this is a gull of some sort, but beyond that, I have no idea. There were dozens of them territorially squawking in the most rhythmic, borderline manic way. Their interaction was highly entertaining and they didn’t seem to mind us at all. After observing the scene for a while, I quietly approached, getting as close as allowed. Shooting from ground level with a zoom lens I fired in burst mode to capture the action. Of the dozens of shots I took that day, this is the one that still makes me laugh out loud. There are so many potential captions…..what would yours be?

When I shot this Magnolia blossom, my emotion at the time recorded ‘romance.’ I liked the natural version that included green leaves and stems, but, when I darkened the background to highlight the flower, the simplicity of the image and black and white contrast created a somber note which seems to convey sympathy and concern. I printed this on note cards with ‘Thinking of You’ scripted in white letters in the lower left corner.

You are the Sunshine of My Life…..

This was an impromptu moment captured with my cell phone set on portrait mode with stage light. It was Malcolm’s birthday and we were sitting in a bar at the Montage at Palmetto Bluff, killing time with easy conversation while awaiting our dinner reservation. It had been the most perfect day – nature trails, bike riding, pleasant weather, no worries. When I looked across the table I saw a relaxed, happy person looking back at me. There is nothing more beautiful than contentment on the face of the person you love. To capture that in a photograph makes me happy.

Obviously, these photos resonate with me differently than they will with you. Art, in any medium, is like that and each of us gets to assess a value of our own estimation.

My WOTY this year is more and as we have navigated these past few months with the uncertainty of change, I can’t think of a more fitting way to express what having more means to me than through this post. My beloved hobby is all-sustaining and just writing this has reminded me of how it contributes joy and abundance to my life. Creativity, in whatever manner you choose produces more – more joy, more satisfaction, more purpose, more inward reflection, more direction, and ultimately, more self-knowledge.

Linking With

Lens Artist’s Challenge

Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share

WOTY Monthly Update Donna + Sue, Deb, Jo

Writer’s Quote Wednesday

65 thoughts on “Favorite Photos – Lens Artists Challenge

  1. I truly appreciate individuals who have worked to perfect their photography skills, and then I follow them and enjoy the fruits of their labor. These photos are perfect examples of a dedicated photographer who continually works to improve her skills. Thank you for sharing these four shots that each tell their own unique story.


  2. This is an extraordinarily beautiful post. It made me smile and grow thoughtful all at the same time. I love the magnolia. I have done that too, darkened the background and found a stunning image remaining. And your husband’s portrait is really good, it’s so hard to get people to be natural when a camera (or phone) is turned their way.


  3. Hi Suzanne, I envy you the ability you have to see so deeply and to capture a moment in time that resonates into the future. My idea of a photo is a snapshot to keep as a memory, but yours are so much more and you understand the added layers. Thanks for sharing a few of your favourites and for educating those of us who aren’t as insightful. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Leanne, your insight may not be tapped through photography, but it certainly is in words and I personally appreciate that you have been blessed with that gift. It is within us all, we just have to find the ‘thing’ that nurtures it forward until it spills out.


  4. One of the things I most love about photography is the way it causes us to notice everything around us. Our images speak to us and sometimes also to others. Your choices are wonderful and your reasons for choosing them are beautifully expressed. Thanks for sharing them with us this week.


  5. You are such a gifted photographer… I think it would be difficult for me to pick my three favorites of all the photos you’ve shared over the years. I loved the background info you added for each one. The gull made me laugh too and the magnolia is breathtaking. But, I think my favorite is the one of Malcolm since it captured not only his personality (I assume, since we’ve never met ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but his joy at having just spent a perfect day and his love and appreciation for you.


  6. Suzanne, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Your favourite photos are all stunning. I think my favourite is the one of Malcolm’s. You captured his contentment and relaxed state beautifully. I’ve always found taking pictures of people challenging, especially adults, as people tend to stiffen up or pose for the camera when they know they’re photographed.


  7. Suzanne, these photos are all prize-worthy, in my opinion. Every one of them was perfect in its own way. The stunningly beautiful face and artist’s hand made me catch my breath as I scrolled down. The tiny gull or whatever he is poured out his thoughts. I think he’s yelling at his mom, “Where are my slippers? It’s cold and wet out here!” He is almost working himself into a tantrum. Of course, the picture of Malcolm is a favorite. You captured his inner beauty. Truly a lovely assortment of photos. I’m honored that you linked them to WQW this week. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Marsha, I love your caption for the gull. Laurel just informed me that he is indeed a ‘Laughing Gull.’ ๐Ÿ™‚ Linking to your ‘sunshine’ post seemed a bit of a stretch for a post with no sunshine photos, but I think folks got what I was trying to convey. We experience ‘sunshine’ in many ways, not just the literal sense. Thank you for appreciating that as my contribution. It is always a pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I wrote the post, looking for quotes took me in an entirely different direction than I had originally planned. Your post inspired me to begin tagging photos to find just three for Sarah, Lens Artist Challenge. I have not narrowed it down yet but there arenโ€™t too many fives in my early pictures. Yours are hauntingly beautiful and I can see them in my head even now.


      2. Thank you, Marsha. It was incredibly hard to pick three favorites, but when I narrowed my focus to what ‘favorite’ means to me, it became easier. Best of luck, I have seen many of your beautiful images and imagine you are having a hard time narrowing. It’s a fun activity though, going down memory lane – enjoy!


  8. Suzanne, I love that you consider not only composition and lighting, but that you also search for a perspective that captures emotion. All of these photos are beautiful and evocative. You really did capture the essence of a special day in Malcom’s relaxed posture and smile. And guess what? Your gull that makes you laugh is a Laughing Gull. How perfect is that? And it’s in beautiful breeding plumage. I always enjoy your photos.


  9. Hi, Suzanne – Your images here are absolutely stunning. I had never thought of the connection between ‘more’ and ‘creativity’ — but your thoughts on this are spot on. I continue to learn a great deal from your blog.


  10. These are all wonderful photos, but I like the one from Malcolmโ€™s birthday the best. Also, “sitting, waiting for your reservation” shows that any time can be the best time to capture an image.


  11. Suzanne,
    As someone who has followed your blog for several years, I’m always impressed by your skill as a photographer (and your writing). It’s a skill that we never perfect, but it’s worth trying. It took me several years to feel comfortable framing one of my pictures. The image certainly wasn’t a work of art, but it always reminds me of the fun I was having at the time. Great memories are great to have around…Have a great week! Joe


  12. Wonderful photos! It’s quite interesting to me how all of them are almost black & whites. Not a lot of color, when so often your photos are full of the blues and greens of nature. Just an observation.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ And I adore your picture of your husband… not only contentment – you can see the love of you in his face!


  13. Pat, I love the artistry of a natural black and white scene with a spot of color like the first three photos. I enhanced the red, yellow, and skin tones in each of those to create a stronger contrast. The photo of Malcolm was an intentional Black & White, which I rarely do, but it seemed fitting for this portrait.


  14. Your personal goal of being a fab photographer is truly evidenced here by your favorites, Suzanne! Malcolm looks at peace and you captured the moment perfectly. But MY favorite is the sea bird caught in mid squawk–excellent work and definitely a LOL moment!


  15. Oh my goodness these images are stunning (my fave is the gull). I get what you mean when you say you want to capture a feeling when you click that shutter. It’s been way too long since I took my Nikon and lenses for an outing… Thanks for linking up.


  16. This is such a fabulous post, Suzanne! You have captured your feelings, passions, talents, and personality within the words and photos of this entry! The photos are stunning and โ€œtell a storyโ€, mostly personal to you. The natural shot of Malcolm is precious and the other photos are surely unique in their capture and what they convey.

    Whenever I have more time, Iโ€™d love to immerse myself in photography as well. Of all the creative pursuits, I think I will enjoy that the most!


    1. Hi Liesbet, the photos are very personal to me and I was hesitant to share my ‘behind the camera’ thoughts about them, but I am glad I did. It is quite heartwarming and reassuring when people respond to vulnerability with sincere kindness. I think I keep the walls a little too high sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: WQW #29: Rivers, the Lifeblood of the Desert – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

  18. Christie Hawkes

    Suzanne, I am immensely grateful that you became interested in studying photography, because your photos always make me feel something. These are particularly lovely selections. The one of Malcom, along with your comments about it (When I looked across the table I saw a relaxed, happy person looking back at me. There is nothing more beautiful than contentment on the face of the person you love.) actually made me tear up a little. Thank you for sharing it.


  19. “Creativity, in whatever manner you choose produces more โ€“ more joy, more satisfaction, more purpose, more inward reflection, more direction, and ultimately, more self-knowledge.” Well said, Suzanne. Love your passion for trying to create an emotional response from the viewer. I feel the love in the last photo. ๐Ÿ™‚


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