Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #33: Nature

One of the best parts about our Vagabond trip to Ireland was getting to see a lot of the country in its natural state.

The famous cliffs of Moher, a natural wonder that forms a “signature point” of the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route.

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Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland, created in 1932.  It hosts a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including the island’s last wild herd of red deer.

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We saw many places off the beaten path, including Skellig Michael, a nesting site for puffins and other sea birds.  These birds have very little fear of people and will get quite close to you.  Between the sea, the rocks, the wind, and the birds, on Skellig Michael you really feel close to nature in all its wild glory.  It’s no wonder the ascetic Irish monks were attracted to this place.

You can find more nature at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels

I’ve been lucky enough to travel on three continents; I’ve been to Europe three times and saw new and special things each time.  I can’t wait to go back, but for now I will just have to enjoy looking at the memories of my travels.

Ireland, 2015

I took a tour around the country with my mom, and this was a quick shot on a hike that turned out to be one of my favorites.  It encompasses so much about the beautiful country.

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Venice, 2012

We took a cruise in the Mediterranean, and coming into Venice in the morning was one of the highlights.  It’s an incredible way to see a beautiful city.

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Sicily, 2012

We didn’t just see big cities in Europe, though.  We were able to get out into the countryside in a few countries like Croatia and also Italy.  Here we traveled up a mountain to see the sanctuary and Roman ruins at Tindari, giving us these incredible views.

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Lisboa, 2007

While studying in Spain, a group of friends and I made a memorable weekend trip to Portugal, where we got along with a smattering of English and Spanish.  (And we learned a few words by the time we left.)  Lisboa is a beautiful city and one of the first on my list to return to some day.  The Belém Tower is one of several historical sites we were able to see.

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Salamanca, 2007

Of all the places I’ve been to in Europe, my heart truly belongs to Salamanca.  This is the iconic Plaza Mayor, where many friends were met with and many drinks were had.  It is a wonderful city for young people, and I learned so much during my months there.  I hope to take my family there someday so they can see the place where I grew so much.  It is precious not only for its people and sites, but for the memories now attached to them.

You can find more travels at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

From Dingle Peninsula.

I’m so sad to say goodbye to the Weekly Photo Challenges.  I’ve been doing them since March 2014, and it’s been such a wonderful way to share my trips to the Galápagos Islands and Ireland.  I had never thought about sharing my photography, or even really calling it “photography” as opposed to just some photos I took on vacation.

Until I saw some of the bloggers I follow posting weekly photos based on a theme, and I realized that I could do that, too.  And do it in a nerdy way.

The Weekly Photo Challenge has helped me learn a lot about photography, and I’ve enjoyed doing research so I could explain a little about the photos.  It also has given me an easy, regular source of popular blog posts. I always get a huge bump in views on days I post those photos.  So, it’s been good for my blog, and it’s been good for me, too.

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From Santa Cruz.

I’m sure I’ll still post some photos, maybe even weekly, but it won’t quite be the same.  I’ve found so many cool blogs through the challenges, and I love seeing all the different takes on the theme.

For our final outing, I’m saying goodbye with two of my favorite photos I’ve posted over the years, one from the Galápagos and one from Ireland.  The first photo was from the April 2016 challenge Landscape.  The second is from the December 2014 challenge Gone, But Not Forgotten.

Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

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From Dublin.

Even the little details in Dublin feel distinctly Irish: the lampposts have little shamrocks embedded in the swirls.  The shamrock has been a national symbol of Ireland for centuries; it comes from the legend of St. Patrick using the plant with three leaves to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity (three persons, one God).

I particularly like this image of the lamppost because its curves contrast well with all the straight lines in the Georgian building behind it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

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From Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry.

One of the first words that comes to mind with liquid is “flowing.”  Movement.  But it’s not always smooth.  Waterfalls have a beautiful kind of tumult that’s captivating.

We saw this waterfall toward the end a bike tour of the beautiful Killarney National Park.  My legs were total jelly at that point, but there was no way I was missing this view.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid