#Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing/Photo Challenge #18: Travel

On the Road Again

In addition to being an introduction to the Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing challenge, this post is submitted in response to Lens Artist Challenge #140 “A Change of Scenery” hosted by guest host, Beth from Wandering Dawgs. “Beth suggests trying a different route on your walk, run, or bike ride of our local park. She also extends other opportunities for us, e.g. browsing our archives “to feature images from places we have visited in the past when you needed a change of scenery.”

Lisa Coleman invites us to share in the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge#41 Bird Reflections. Finally my photos also apply to Cee Neuner’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Birds of Any Kind.

This was one of my dad’s favorite songs. He sang it every time we got in the car to go on a vacation. Interestingly, it was Mom who really took us on the road. When she and Dad divorced, the three of us, Mom, Randy and I, packed our belongings into a 1967 VW Bug and got on the road again traveling from Indiana to Oregon in five bumpy cramped days.


Randy and I loved our new adventurous life. He still lives in Portland, OR not far from where we first settled, and I still love to visit. In 2018 when I went up to see him, we decided to spend a few days out of the hot, dusty, smoky, Portland air and go to Newport, Oregon. We stayed in a great suite right on the bay. Every morning we looked out and saw this bird standing in the water.

Same place. From our room he looked real. What do you think?

 “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Gustav Flaubert

LOL! That’s a good excuse for travel, I’ll take it. I disagree that it makes you modest. So what if your tiny? Small and mighty, learned, more interesting, understanding, maybe.

To me, travel is a rare privilege in life. How many people are fortunate enough to have the time and money it takes to travel? I will never see every country in the world. Yet I am so blessed. I take the opportunities to travel as they come to me. Via these reflected birds, I’ll only tell you about a very few places I’ve gone.


Two blogging friends invited me to come to Australia. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. These elegant, photogenic birds swam in the creeks at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, AU. Their reflections told them what they needed to know, “I am so beautiful.”

By the way, I just read Lisbet Collaert’s book, Plunge. Fabulous book, stirring, heart rending, you must read it especially if you are thinking of sailing full time. You can read her promo on my blog here. She didn’t have a lot of money to travel, but made that her lifestyle choice. It’s always a costly choice even on a budget, but this next quote tells why travel is so important.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” –


Central California Coast

Who doesn’t want a strong, vigorous mind? I do, I do!

I have been fortunate enough to change scenery both by traveling and by moving. When we lived in California, it was only a two hour drive to escape the summer heat or the winter valley fog. We enjoyed a change of scenery in San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach or Pismo on the Central Coast of California.

birds on a log
I wonder if they were placing bets. 🙂

One of my favorite things to take with me when I travel is a camera, and my phone has been a dearest travel companion. On this occasion in 2013, I isolated myself for two weeks for NaNoWriMo to write a book. Each day I walked to Avila Beach from our trailer. One day I caught this flock of birds sitting on the log with my phone.

My husband thought it was my best picture ever even though the quality was not great. I always looked expectantly at that log every time I crossed over the golf course bridge hoping to see them again, but I never did.

bird reflection
Dinner time Cannibal bird

This hungry bird awaited me at the beach.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Prescott, Arizona

When Vince and I married in 1995, he mentioned in passing that he loved the high desert and wanted to live there. I had a great job teaching in Woodlake, CA, and was as uninterested in living in a desert as these birds are in moving to the Arctic Circle.

Twenty-five years later, after he mentioned it maybe 30,000 times, I agreed that the time was right. If we were ever going to move to the desert, we should get a move on. As soon as I said yes, Vince sprang into action, and within three months, we had exchanged our California Dreaming for a home in the mountain city of Prescott, AZ.

We enjoy hundreds of miles of trails and a change of scenery as often as we wish.

Now it’s your turn. Are you among the hundreds of thousands ready to get back on the road again? Pull out your camera. Write in your journal, write a post and link to this week’s #WQWWC (Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge).

Or maybe you’d rather make it a photo challenge. That works for me. Maybe you don’t even want to write a post. That works, too.

Find a quote or respond to one of mine.

Where to find quotes

Quotes are great fun. You can see how I quadruple-dipped here with one post. Make your post count for the most visibility and have fun with it.

If you respond to this #WQWWC prompt – Travel, leave me a link in the comment section. I don’t always get pingbacks. I love it when you do that, too, but I have missed people and I hate to do that.

WQWWC Instructions
9 Ways to Respond to a Quote for Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge

You can copy, paste and edit this little logo in your own post and add my link each week to the url and have an automatic pingback. Or just add it if you think its a good logo. Canva is my graphic artistic consultant.

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge Logo

Thanks again for stopping by my blog and playing with quotes.

My Reading List for This Week

A comment about reading. When you commit to submitting to a photo or writing challenge, it’s most rewarding if you meet the people in the community. Reading adds a lot of time to the process. I never thought I could read this many blogs in a month, much less a day. But I found that if I take the time to cut and paste the links into a document – even my blog, but I also use a Google Doc, I can read at least half of these in a day. I’ve never tried to read this many blogs in a day, so this is my challenge.

You are welcome to cut and paste my list into any document and see how well you can do with it. If you put this list of links in your next photo challenge for any of these wonderful bloggers, you give them some extra coverage too. So it’s win-win.


#LAPC List

Bird Weekly Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

have a great week!

#LAPC #138: Natural Light in California and Arizona

This week Amy challenges the Lens Artist Community to focus their efforts on the natural light coming from the sun. That gives us all the variety we need to create what photography is all about, capturing the light. If you want to join in, cut and paste the “natural light” link to Amy’s blog and walk into the light.

All of my pictures this week come from either Arizona or California where I have called home and enjoy sharing.


“I don’t paint people and things; I paint the way light reacts to people and things. This brings me to the basics about light and dark.”

Harley Brown

This photo came from one of the resorts where we stayed in Sedona. I love the way the sun casts shadows on the maze making it even more amazing. I love all the contrasts. The sky is such a pastel blue and the trees trunks are so white in spite of the overall darkness of the body of the photo. The frame blocks out 100 percent of the light adding another dimension of texture.

“We cannot express the light in nature because we have not the sun. We can only express the light we have in ourselves.”

Arthur Dove

I chose this picture because the sun is not the obvious protagonist. Our focus turns to the rocks, the broad valley, and to the ethereal layers of foothills and the group of dormant volcanic peaks known as the San Francisco Peaks beyond the Granite Dells. Humphrey’s Peak, the highest of the peaks located eleven miles north of Flagstaff is 120 miles away from my home in Prescott, and I could see it that day.

“The light in winter is most varied; there are days when it’s clear and bright, carving the earth into light and shadow like a razor. Yet, at times, the light can be soft and quiet as a whisper, with color of the most intense chromatic variations anyone could ever need.”

Peter Fiore

When I went out to take pictures after our first day of snow in Prescott, my mouth dropped open at the color of the sky dripping and reflected in the snow turning everything salmon. I did not photoshop this picture to change the color at all. Amy, I finally experienced the “golden hour.”


To illustrate stark differences in winter photos that caught Peter Fiore’s attention, this picture taken January 16, 2008 “which carved the earth into light and dark like a razor,” can never be replicated. Even if there happened to be another crystal day with that much snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains, the old Visalia Electric railroad bridge burned several years ago leaving a only black scar.

“Why is it called ‘after dark’ when it really is ‘after light’?”

George Carlin

Maybe most of you know George Carlin, “American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author.” Wikipedia. Unlike so many, my television hours were limited as a child, and I grew up liking that lifestyle – so, basically uncultured. But since I started hosting Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays, I’ve run into his sharp humor about several topics.

I took this point and shoot of a gorgeous sunset from our California home, Bellavista.

Most people would guess that the sun is fifty or a hundred times brighter than the moon, but it’s a half million times brighter – evidence of the amazing capacity of our eyes to adjust to light and dark.

James Elkins

Of the ten or twelve pictures I have of the moon, this is the only interesting one. I’m not sure why. It might have been a blue moon, or I might have been shaking as I held the heavy telephoto lens, at its most extended position. Or possibly the clouds make it dramatic. But as bright as it is, the rest of the sky is black. It obviously does not have the power of light that even the little dab of sunshine in the picture above has.

“Light is a thing that cannot be reproduced, but must be represented by something else – by color.”

Paul Cezanne

This dazzling burst of color came from the Woodlake Botanical Garden, which I have talked about so often. I fell in love with these zinnias, but when I planted zinnia seeds in my yard they were much more spindly and not so vibrant. This is a perfect picture for a digital puzzle because of the many colors.

“The sky is the source of light in Nature and it governs everything.”

John Constable

Artists have an “in” when it comes to light. So do these sun worshipers. I chose this picture to go with the quote because sunflowers turn constantly following the sun. It makes them look like spectators at a race.

My Reading Material This Weekend

Amy has over 200 comments on this challenge. Amazingly all four Lens Artists visit everyone who participates. According my my rough estimate that’s about 800 visits a week! The amount of time this takes boggles my mind, so I try to visit 25-50 of them. I’ve been listing them to make it easier for myself, then I cut and past the links to my blogging journal. You are welcome to use my journal or my list if that makes it easier to visit people. If I miss you, feel free to leave me a link in my comments.

  1. Lindy
  2. Showers of Blessing
  3. Rambling Ranger
  4. Pearls
  5. One Letter UP
  6. Geriatrix
  7. Mazeepuran
  8. Jardin
  9. Restless Jo
  10. Erlyn
  11. John
  12. Cee
  13. Susan
  14. Nature
  15. Dutch Pink
  16. Wanderlust
  17. Philosophy
  18. Laura
  19. Brashley
  20. Chris
  21. Jez
  22. David M
  23. Bushboy
  24. Cornwall
  25. Window Box
  26. Janet
  27. Trekkies
  28. Rusha
  29. Woolley
  30. Hammad

Have a great weekend! 🙂

#LAPC 137: The Virtue of Softness

Leya/Anne Christine invites us to “Have a strong mind and a soft heart.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

She considers being soft a virtue and an asset. Maybe not always…but almost always! So many things are Soft…to look at, to touch, to listen to… we even have software for our technical devices. This challenge is all about how you want to interpret Soft – we are looking forward to seeing your choices! Please link to Anne Christine’s post and add the Lens-Artists tag.

Relax and enjoy some soft music while you read.


“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort. … I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.”

James Herriot
2 CATS CURLED UP IN A BLANKET, Nutter Butter and Scardy Boy
“Yes, Nutters, I know you love me.”


“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?”

Neltje Blanchan
walk around Bravo Lake
silky soft evening encases walkers around Bravo Lake


I was influenced a lot by those around me – there was a lot of singing that went on in the cotton fields.

Willie Nelson
cotton bolls
softest cotton grows in Central CA

Soft Highlights from Woodlake Kiwanis July 3rd Blast

What could be louder than an event built around a celebration of explosives? And yet, in the midst of the it all, there were many moments of softness if you looked around. Join me as I introduce you to the softness of Woodlake, CA.


“This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven.”

Rick Bragg
baby sleeping
baby soft skin


“I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.”

Charles Dickens

“The children we bring into the world are small replicas of ourselves and our husbands; the pride and joy of grandfathers and grandmothers. We dream of being mothers, and for most of us that dreams are realized naturally. For this is the Miracle of Life.”

Azelene Williams
little princess
Happy Fourth of July


To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

Jane Austen
sitting under a shade tent
sitting under a shade tent protects from harsh sun


“Free food, free lodging, free entertainment; Who said dogs aren’t intelligent”

Steve Reider
Answer – “Feed me and feed me now!”


I’m just delighted to be living, to be able to have a simple conversation, to feel a ray of sunlight on my skin and listen to the breeze move through the leaves of a tree.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
free face tattoos softly applied on soft skin


When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table (or towel) will keep the campsites on either side vacant.

soft towel
“What’s in the bag, Mama?”

Coming Up

  • Sunday Stills tomorrow.
  • New Story Chat, “Wanda-Lust” written by A. Kid (AKA D. Avery) coming Tuesday, March 2nd.
  • Don’t wait for next week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays’ topic: Citizenship. Comment or participate today about Fairness.
  • Taking time to ready other participant’s LAPC #137 posts. Here are three to start.
  • Chava
  • Yan
  • Tina

#Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #136 The Letter “S”

#Prescott Walk #8 Willow Lake Trail

Hi Friends,

Thanks for joining me on another Prescott Walk through the Lens Artist Photo Challenge.

“For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet.  This time, we’re going to focus on the letter S.  What images can you find that feature a subject that begins with the letter S?”

Willow Lake, Prescott,

Vince and I wanted a bigger challenge that we walked the first few times we went around Willow Lake. The sign tells you how difficult/scary the trail is and we decided to try something substantially technical.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Shadow, Spot

All we had to do was to follow the white spots on the rocks. Usually they were very visible even in the shadows. Sometimes there were slippery rocks and my feet aren’t super stable. I was somewhat nervous about climbing a technical trail.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Slippery Vince says, “You won’t slip on these rock, Marsha.”

Vince, on the other hand, smiled serenely at my fear, spread his arms to assure me that I would be secure on that slippery trail.

Vince was right. I slowly scaled the rocks to his surveillance point at the top. What a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside! Willow Lake is on a substantially busy Prescott street, but you scarcely notice it from the trail. Scrambling up the rocks, you could see it in the distance.

Willow Creek, which feeds Willow Lake had come alive after the snow and snaked its way across the weeds. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Willow Creek Dam as a public works project.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Shadow, Spots, Stripes, Snapshot

Vince’s shadow blends in with the stripes on the rock as he spots a superior snapshot.

Back on solid ground again, we searched strategically for specific items that might scratch us -like cactus stickers. They looked spectacular as sunlight shone through them.

We spied other spectators on the Willow Lake trail. These strangers let us snap their pictures as they staggered up the slope.

Someone surpassed us on a side path and surveyed it by staking pencils ever few inches until they ran out of pencils. Vince named it the Lápiz Trail.

Other “S” Posts You Might Enjoy

Coming Next Week

  • Sunday Stills
  • Story Chat Summary of “The Trophy Cabinet” It’s not too late to leave your comment.
  • How to Organize Your Photos with yours and Lisa Coleman’s best tips
  • #Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge
  • More Prescott Walks

For All These Posts to Matter


Have a great week.

#Lens-Artist 134: How to Turn Car Show Photos From Forgettable to Favorite

Tina has challenged us to practice changing up our photos for #Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #134. I’m not an expert artist any more than I am a photographer, but just as I did with my dad, I can spend hours fiddling in the “darkroom.”

Car show season will be coming up soon in California, if the COVID restrictions are lifted. With a little help from Photoshop Elements 15, or the filters in your camera, you can turn your pictures from ordinary to stellar. What programs do you use to improve your photos?

Vince and I used to love go go to car shows. Hosting one in Woodlake was lots of fun, too. However, as many photos as I took, I wasn’t thrilled with any of them. I loved this car, but I couldn’t separate it from the cars around it and still photograph the whole car.

So, I brought the photo into Photoshop Elements 15, for simple photographers like I am, and made some Guided Fun Edits experimenting with the shape of the blobs, the texture and finally added an effect. Then I cropped it and added a frame resulting in this finished picture. I think it looks romantic.

I love old cars and trucks, and I put a little too much of myself into this next photo. First, the fingerprint at the top and the shadow on the bottom. Since the photograph didn’t showcase the entire truck anyway, I cropped it to death and added a frame and a signature. There was a little too much of another truck admirer as well. 🙂 Notice I didn’t have to deal with tires. This one looks like it is floating on the grass.

After a few little cuts, the flaws faded into the woodwork.

This last picture was my favorite because it included a natural frame of leaves and limbs. But the problem was still too many cars and too many people who didn’t add interest to this fire-engine red beauty.

I played with this one in several ways. I had never tried the radical bursts in the Fun Edits, but I liked the way it came out – sort of.

This first picture had a bit more blurring of the car than I wanted, and somehow I did not notice that my name floated up almost into the car itself. So I brought back the original photo and added more focus and less blur. I added the red frame first then the black so it did not disappear as the first one did. I copied the color from the old license plate for my name. What do all of you do for your signatures?

I still was not done playing with it, though. In Photoshop you can experiment with filters until the wee hours of the morning and you realize that you have someplace to be at 7:30 in the morning, so you’d better stop. That’s where I was tonight. Nonetheless, I still played with a few filters. I like the Fresco Filter because it gave the car a comic book look.

Thanks for joining me today. Please visit some other participants by going to Tina’s website and looking at the comments.

Coming Up

  • #WQWWC – Frank will be hosting the topic of Love at his beach site. It will be posted on Tuesday, so you can link to his blog, and we will both visit you. It’s still not too late to link your posts about respect to #WQWWC this week. Instructions are on the post.
  • #Story Chat in January, “A Postcard from the Past” by Anne Goodwin went so well that there were a record number of comments to summarize and categorize. Thank you all so much!
  • Tuesday the February Story Chat short story, ‘Trophy Cabinet” by Geoff LePard come out! If you look on his website, you’ll see that he has about 13 books published. So, if you don’t know him this is your chance to get acquainted. Leave a comment, and it might just will show up in the Story Chat Summary/Follow-up. 🙂
  • Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic. We have until February 11 to complete the first challenge and to make a donation to help Sue as she is suffering (you wouldn’t know it from chatting with her) but she is dealing with a terminal cancer, and we bloggers have been called on to make a difference.

Have a great week, my friends. See you soon on your blog, various challenges and hopefully here as well.