Silent Sunday: Woodland Wander

a bird hide across a woodland pond
a pair of ducks swimming across a pond

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 200, f/4 – 1/500 s – ISO 200 and f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 400.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #114: Negative Space

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Woodsy

Haiku: Lingering Light

two ducks preening on the pond

spending time
with ducks on the pond
late summer light

© Xenia Tran

close up of a preening duck on the water

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 LS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/100 s – ISO 200, f/5.6 – 1/160 s – ISO 640 and f/6.5 – 1/200 s- ISO 800.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #113: Labor of Love

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #155: Remaining Heat

Jez Braithwaites Water Water Everywhere #44

Wordless Wednesday: Comfortably Entangled

macro shot of a flower seed caught in a spider's web on a conifer
macro shot of a white feather with raindrops between leaves

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 100, f/3.5 – 1/200 s – ISO 100 and f/3.5 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #112: Pick a Word

Creative Collaborations

Tina is inviting us to share examples of how we channelled our creative energies these past few months as the pandemic restricted our movements.

The theme that pops up on both my blogs throughout this period is one of creative collaboration and community.

a calm blue sea under a blue sky with blue mountains

Sadly, within the first week of lockdown, fellow poet Stuart Quine lost his life to Covid-19. I love his poems, especially his monoku (a haiku written in one line) and even though I did not know him personally I felt compelled to create a tribute post, pairing three of his poems with images I had taken the previous day: A Tribute to Stuart Quine (1962-2020).

An estranged family member was alerted to my post by a friend and contacted me. She did not know Stuart had passed away and was not aware of his beautiful poetry either. I was able to provide her with links to poetry journals his work is featured in as well as the publisher of his full-length collections.

macro shot of a red tulip with green veins

The Haiku Foundation invited haiku poets from around the world to contribute to a collaborative poem to celebrate and honour The Year of the Nurse. It was a beautiful project to be part of and I created six new poems, later posting three of them on Tranature: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020 and three on Whippet Wisdom: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020.

The Tanka Society of America invited poets to create a taiga (a photograph, caligraphy or artwork paired with a tanka poem) in celebration of their 20th anniversary and Zen Meditation was one of twenty-one featured. All contributions were later combined with music into a short video:

We sadly lost Susan Hey (1979-2020), a much-loved local art teacher and member of our community when we were still in part-lockdown and funerals were private with restricted numbers. The small procession travelled through our town and gave the rest of us an opportunity to say goodbye. I wrote and posted Final Journey, a tribute poem to Susan. One of her art students later posted a video of herself singing a beautiful tribute song and others created pieces of rainbow art which they left by the family’s front door. Together we wanted to let the family know that they were not alone and the comments and private messages received in return were truly heart-warming.

picture of a mandala by Mike Booth

Julie Williams, a Highland art student, invited local people to send her photographs of the word hope created out of items found in their homes or on their daily walks for her HOPE Art Project. The idea was that every participant created, through their own artistic expression, a historical record of their hope during the current Covid-19 crisis. You can read more about this project and my contribution in Walking with Hope.

the word Hope written in pebbles on a larger stone

Inspired by a number of collaborative art projects and videos I became curious about producing videos too.

Starting with a story board I gathered images and poems before combining them into haiga (a haiku paired with an image) and taiga (a tanka paired with an image) in Photoshop.

Once the five-mile travel restrictions were lifted, I took the camera to record a number of short video clips that would fit within the story. Then came the search for background music that suited the rhythm of movement in the video clips before weaving everything together in iMovie. The project was completed by reviewing and fine-tuning it with the loving and patient assistance of my husband.

The two videos we made are in the sidebar of the blog and if you haven’t seen them yet, you can view them here too:

Most of our regular readers will be familiar with these projects and it was an interesting exercise to bring them all together and reflect on these special collaborations a little longer.

May you all stay safe and well,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs and videos by Xenia Tran, mandala art by Mike Booth.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #110: Creativity in the Time of Covid

Your Daily Word Prompt: Prevail

Tanka: Earthlight

lensball resting on seaweed at sunset by the sea

the air so clean
in our lockdown days
a healing
pulsing through the stars at night
were earthlight weeps and breaks

© Xenia Tran

sunset on the beach at low tide with silhouettes of two people walking

Earthlight was first published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2020: Volume 16, Number 2. A very big thank you to Michael McClintock at Tanka Café and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/40 s – ISO 800, f/5.6 – 1/13 s – ISO 1600 and f/3.4 – 1/30 s – ISO 100.

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #39

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Earthweal Open Link Weekend #32

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Create a sanctuary within yourself where you can go anytime you want to
(Shakti Gawain)

an ancient pine overhanging a mountain stream with a wooden bridge behind it

Your sanctuary is your ideal place of relaxation, tranquillity and safety and you can create it exactly as you want it (Shakti Gawain)

Welcome to the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge, where Patti, Tina, Amy and Ann-Christine kindly invited me to guest-host this week.

Here in the Scottish Highlands we spent more than a hundred days in lockdown where both our home and our community became our sanctuary during the Covid-19 crisis.

We are blessed that we live in a loving home and in a caring community. We have been reaching out to those who are less fortunate, those for whom home is not the safest place to be.

a swan family on a tidal river with sparkling reflections of sunlight

These people have been offered sanctuary with another loving family, with extended family members, neighbours, teachers or in solitude.

thistles, wild wheat and grasses in the dunes

Sanctuary can be found and created in a garden, a park, a field of wild flowers and by the sea …

a house sparrow feeding on wild wheat

… watching wildlife, listening to birdsong …

Cairngorms National Park in Summer, a view across Glenmore

… along the forest trails and in the mountains.

This week we invite you to share what Sanctuary means to you, where you find it or how you create your place of calm and healing. In your post, please make sure you include a link to this challenge and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find your post in the WP Reader.

Last week, you shared your wonderful images of Winter for Ann-Christine’s challenge. Many thanks Ann-Christine for hosting last week’s challenge and to all of you who contributed your amazing images of this beautiful season of snow and contemplation.

Have you seen these?

  • Abrie (Abrie Dink Hardop) takes us on a breath-taking Winter expedition in South Africa and shares a potential front cover for his memoir in Conquering Africa – A Winter Expedition
  • Yan Balczewski (From Hiding to Blogging) shares some beautiful frost flowers in Polar Vortex
  • Rupali (mazeepuran) shows us a magical Norwegian Winter and a poignant sculpture titled ‘Peace is a Promise of the Future’ in Fred er løfte om fremtid

What’s up next week? Stay tuned on 8 August when Amy will be hosting LAPC #109.

Wishing you all a wonderful and creative week ahead and I look forward to your submissions!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Word of the Day Challenge: Introducing

Haiku: Angel’s Share

a sparrow balancing on a wheat stalk by the sea

spirit of summer
sparrows surf their wheat stalks
by the sea

© Xenia Tran

a sparrow surfing on a wild wheat stalk

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/500 s – ISO 100, f/6.3 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160 and f/6.5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #104: Summer

Carpe Diem Exploring the Beauty of Haiku #1827: Paradox

Haiku: Summer Meadow

a juvenile warbler among grass and wildflowers

gliding through
white clover and daisies
my love of wild birds

© Xenia Tran

a smiling carrion crow walking through grass

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/250 s – ISO 100, f/6.5 – 1/640 s – ISO 400 and f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 125.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #104: Summer

Carpe Diem The Beauty of Haiku #1826: Juxtaposition

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Glide

Silent Sunday: Sweet Inspiration

three cygnets swimming by flooded grass
a pair of swans preening in shallow water

It was a lovely surprise when this young swan pair made their nest on the river. They and their three remaining cygnets are a true inspiration and continue to lift the spirits of our community in these challenging times.

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday and a blessed week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 200, f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 400 and f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 160.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #103: Surprise

Your Daily Word Prompt: Inspire

Wordless Wednesday: Cherish the Rose

macro shot of the centre of a red rose with raindrops
macro shot of the top left segment of a red rose with raindrops

We are taking a short blogging break and will be back next Wednesday.

Wishing you all a blessed day and a wonderful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/125 s – ISO 100, f/3.5 – 1/60 s – ISO 100 and f/3.5 – 1/80 s – ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge#101: One Single Flower

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Cherish