ILLUMINATING AURAS and PINPRICKS of LIGHT: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

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This week, The Daily Post at WordPress challenged readers to post photographs on the subject of illumination. Here are  illuminations of scenes that brightened my day: subtle auras surrounding hothouse orchids, a crescent moon rising over New York harbor and twinkling lights screening a landmark building in the making.

The first two pictures were taken at Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle. It’s warm, humid conditions contrasted sharply with dry, frosty January air, and it felt good being surrounded by orchids and tropical plants, basking in radiant sunlight that’s in scarce supply during the Northwest winter. Our winter color palette plays the deep greens of Douglas firs and sword ferns off soft grays and browns, but inside the greenhouse, hot colors soaked up the sunlight, casting tropical candy auras around the voluptuous flowers.

At Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, a November sunset created an unusually quiet moment at the edge of the city that never sleeps.  The street lamps, reproductions of posts dating back about a hundred years, seem to tilt because of the wide angle lens, leaning in towards the distant Statue of Liberty. Smudgy gray clouds almost conceal a crescent moon and a plane heading up the Hudson River.

On a cool fall evening in Lower Manhattan, tiny lights threaded through the trees of Zuccotti Park cast pinpricks of light against the still incomplete One World Trade Center.  Over ten years ago this park and surrounding blocks were severely damaged by the 9/11 attacks. New York politics has prevented timely completion of the Twin Towers replacement – you can see a construction crew elevator ascending the corner of the building –  but it is almost finished.  Zuccotti Park also was the site of the recent Occupy Wall Street Movement; on this night, the delicate filigree of honey locust tree leaves against a soft blue sky belied the unrest of the past.

Illumination, along with those light bulbs constantly popping with ideas behind my eyes, allows me to create photographs that I can share with you. Thanks for visiting!

The challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/lights/

Solitary: Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Photo Challenge, hosted by Cheri Lucas, is “Solitary”. This time of year feels anything but solitary to me, but  there are always moments when people are alone with their thoughts.

When you think about it, just about any kid in the world who has the chance will play with water. I wish there was no hunger and adequate water, especially for kids, because I know some children will never enjoy playing alone like this.

This man has been around and seen a lot, I suppose. On an overcast spring afternoon he enjoyed a cigar and a solitary moment in an alley downtown.  Seattle’s Space Needle brings everything into focus – or not, depending on your aesthetic inclinations.

I was in the right place at the right time on this November evening in lower Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty provides a focal point for this man’s thoughts as the sun sets over New Jersey.

A lone kayaker on Puget Sound, north of Seattle, drifts near a flock of brant. I have yet to see a brant alone, on the east  or west coast – they are decidedly gregarious, and they make the most appealing guttural murmurs while plying the shoreline together for bits of eelgrass and other marine plants.

The Great Blue Heron, however, almost always hunts alone.  But on this warm January afternoon on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the heron stuck close to a solitary fisherman, whose bucket of bait was too tempting to let out of sight.

Running up and over the railroad tracks – another seriously fit Seattlite taking fitness seriously. I’m serious. They’re everywhere, making me feel guilty or inspiring me, depending on my own turn of mind.

This is Larry, who lives alone in an old home in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Though he talked a blue streak the day we met him, he was clearly a man content spending most of his time alone. I think his inspiration comes from inside his own mind and from nature – those trees reflected in the window are about to completely obscure his home, and he told us he won’t cut a single branch, not ever.

A young man leans against the barred window of a water tower, high above Volunteer Park in Seattle. A perfect place for a little solitude.

More offerings from around the world on this weeks’ theme are at:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-solitary/