Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favorite Images of 2020

Once again, I’d like to say thanks to Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy, and Tina for another great year of challenges.  Lens-Artists is one of the highlights of my blogging activities and right now is one of the things keeping me from dropping this blog entirely haha.

2020 started off so promisingly, with a trip to Disney World with my family at the end of February. In retrospect, we were lucky to have made it there, because only a few weeks after this was taken, everything shut down, including Disney. I shared this photo for last month’s Precious Moments challenge.

During the shutdown, we mostly stayed home for the spring and summer, which meant that I was photographing a lot of the flowers around our house. This hydrangea photo was my most-liked post last year, for the Creativity in the Time of Covid challenge.

The end of 2020 has brought some changes with the arrival of my second kid and a move to a new house. This has actually been the toughest part of the year for me, adjusting to all these changes. And the weather here in Ohio is matching my mood! But it’s good to remind myself that sometimes a new perspective can yield a beautiful view, even in the cold and snow. Here’s the view from under the dogwood tree at my new house in December, a new photo for this post.

It’s definitely been a crazy year full of ups and downs–a memorable year for sure. Here’s to good photos and good memories in 2021!

You can find everyone else’s favorite photos of the year at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

I’m writing this post from my phone, so my pick is one of my recent photos from daily life. We’re moving into winter here in Ohio, and bushes that were recently full of red and gold leaves now have ice on their berried branches.

I was playing around with framing and focus here and this was my favorite of the ones I took.

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

Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

Hello, friends! I’ve been a little busy but I’m back this week to quickly share my neighborhood with you. I recently moved, and one of my favorite things about my neighborhood is all the mature trees. It is absolutely beautiful in fall!

Here in Ohio, we had an early November snowfall, followed by a week of 70 degree weather. Yesterday, we had a huge windstorm with trees down around the neighborhood; luckily the worst at my house was that the Internet was down all day.

I loved the contrast in this picture between the white snow, pops of green grass, and the Japanese Red Maple leaves. This is one of my favorite kinds of trees. I’m so excited to find new things to photograph here. I hope to be back to participating in the challenges more regularly now.

Lens-Artists Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

My photography efforts have stayed very close to home in the past six months since the COVID-19 pandemic started.  Most of the camera roll on my phone involves my two-year-old, with a few of the new house that we are moving into next week.

My most common subjects in the summer are always the flowers in my yard; I gave a few examples for this recent challenge.  Since then, I’ve been working on close-ups of flowers, something I’ve always struggled with in terms of framing and focus (my phone does not have a good macro setting).  I was really pleased with this hydrangea from my front yard.  I will miss this bush when we move!

I used the editor in Google Photos to give it just a tiny bit of pop.  I’ve also been doing some cropping for better focus.

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

 

 

Clawdia the rare blue lobster rescued from local seafood restaurant

Need a feel-good news story to pick you up today?  Here you go.  It’s certainly nice to see Ohio in the news for non-COVID reasons.

The Akron Zoo, where I worked briefly about 10 years ago, recently got a new resident: a blue lobster.  Employees at the local Red Lobster restaurant, which is literally down the road from me, discovered this specimen in one of their shipments and reached out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which put them in touch with the Akron Zoo.  It turns out that only one in about 2 million lobsters are blue, which certainly makes this lobster pretty special!

A blue lobster taken at the Lobster Trap fish market by Jane Carter / CC BY-SA

“Clawde” then got adopted and relocated to the zoo, which happens to have a lot of experienced aquatic animal keepers because many were hired on there after SeaWorld Ohio closed in 2000.  After settling in there, zoo staff discovered that the lobster was actually female, and she was renamed “Clawdia.”  She’s being housed in the Komodo Kingdom building where the aquatic exhibits are located, though you can’t visit her yet as all zoo building are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 precautions (the zoo itself is open).

File:Blue-lobster.jpg
Blue American lobster (Homarus americanus). Taken at the New England Aquarium (Boston, MA, December 2006. Copyright © 2006 Steven G. Johnson and donated to Wikipedia under GFDL and CC-by-SA.

Clawdia’s special color is due to a genetic mutation: she produces an excess amount of a certain protein, which interacts with a red carotenoid molecule known as astaxanthin to form a blue complex known as crustacyanin. As rare as Clawdia is, blue lobsters are caught by fisherman fairly regularly, probably every year.  Even rarer are yellow lobsters and albino lobsters!  And some lobsters can actually be two different colors on their right and left sides, like little crustacean jesters.

So kudos to the Red Lobster staff for recognizing Clawdia’s uniqueness and helping her live out her life in comfort.

ETA: If you want to help support Clawdia, you can donate $50 for her care through the Akron Zoo’s Care for a Critter program, and receive an adorable blue lobster stuffed animal for a limited time.

Read more:

Akron Zoo adopts rare blue lobster from Red Lobster restaurant

Red Lobster employee saves rare blue lobster from becoming dinner