Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #223 – Flights of Fancy

Field of Dreams

According to Dictionary.com, the idiom “flight of fancy” refers to “an unrealistic idea or fantastic notion, a pipe dream. For example, ‘She engaged in flights of fancy, such as owning a million-dollar house.’ This idiom uses flight in the sense of ‘a soaring of the imagination,’ a usage dating from the mid-1600s.”

Though the movie, “Field of Dreams” is based on a novel written by W. P. Kinsella, the story is woven around events in the history of baseball. The story and the movie released in 1989 are a flight of fancy for the purposes of this challenge. My opening image was captured at the movie set location just outside the town of Dyersville, Iowa. Indeed, the large set of light poles in the left background of the opening image is the story coming to fruition in a sense. Behind the cornfield is a regulation baseball field that seats about 8,000 fans. Iowa’s first regulation Major League Baseball game was played at Dyersville on August 12, 2021, the White Sox beat the Yankees 9-8 in regulation play. The second game in Dyersville Iowa was held on August 12, 2022.

Twain Cave-1
Mark Twain Cave

As a youth, I was captivated by the stories written by Mark Twain. My favorite is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. A recent visit to Hannibal Missouri, Twain’s hometown as a youth, brought me to the Mark Twain Cave. Samuel Clemens, Twain’s real name, was a frequent explorer of the cave, and the passage in the image above featured prominence in Twain’s weaving of the story of Becky and Tom in the cave with Injun Joe. At the end of this passage, there is a dropoff negotiated by Becky and Tom in total darkness when their candles went out. On our tour, we got to experience that total darkness when the guide shut off the lights in this section of the cave.

Peggy's Cove-8
Peggy’s Cove

A few miles (or should I say “kilometers,”) outside of the bustling community of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada there is a small fishing village called Peggy’s Cove. These days, it’s plenty busy with the tourist trade, especially in the summer “cruising” season. Even with hundreds of tourists wandering around the small village, though, I was able to find lots of places for uncrowded views like this area of working fishing boats. There are two flights of fancy regarding Peggy and how the cove got its name from her. The more exciting, therefore most likely the flight of fancy is a novel written by William deGarthe. Sailors, schooners, and shipwrecks are so much more interesting than the more likely naming based upon its location near St. Margaret’s Bay, Peggy being a common nickname for Margaret.

Lensball Sunflowers-2
Sunflower field

Another way to look at a flight of fancy is to consider photography styles or post-processing manipulations. Jez Braithwaite on his Photos By Jez blog introduced me to lensball photography. I bought my own lensball for a few dollars from Amazon and using its mini-tripod or a convenient fence post, I’ve experimented with shooting through the unique perspective provided by the clear plastic sphere.


Probably the image above most closely matches the definition of flight of fancy. A junior high school counselor, Robert Asp, lived in Moorhead, Minnesota just across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota. He had a dream, a flight of fancy, to build a replica Viking ship and sail it across the Atlantic Ocean to Norway. Mr. Asp acquired a workshop in nearby Hawley, Minnesota for constructing his dream. He would see the ship completed in six years. In 1980, the ship was transported to Lake Superior and set in the water at Duluth, Minnesota. Although suffering from Leukemia since 1974, Robert Asp found himself on the ship under sail in late September. After his passing that December, his family vowed to sail the Hjemkomst to Norway. With the help of Norwegian sailors, modifications were made to the ship to make it more seaworthy including a larger mast and sail as well as a redesigned rudder system. On July 19, 1982, the Hjemkomst triumphantly sailed into the harbor in Bergen, Norway.

For this week’s challenge, consider sharing images of interesting or unusual subjects that represent notions or ideas that seem incredible even today or seemed unrealistic at some point in the past. For example, some public art such as the Bean in Chicago or a city parks project deemed unrealistic before it came to fruition. Consider places in your community that created a public outcry when first proposed. Famous examples include the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in architecture, the modern addition to the Louvre, or even the Eiffel Tower.

Does your community have some public art such as the Bean in Chicago or a city parks project people thought unrealistic or controversial before it came to fruition?

Maybe your flight of fancy turned out to be a real flight or even a road trip to a nearby or far-off location.

It could be that you accomplished something in your personal or professional life that you considered unrealistic when you were much younger. For me, that was learning to fly an airplane when I was 48 years old.

What was your flight of fancy (or someone else’s) that came to fruition?

Next week, Sofia hosts challenge #224, Exposure. If you’d like to join in on the weekly challenges and want to know how to get started, click here.

John Steiner


  1. Not only did I learn what a “flight of fancy” is (not a native speaker), but this is a truly great challenge: Don’t we all go on flights of fancy now and then, especially as makers of pictures? I love how you work this theme in this post. Thank you!

  2. Such a thoughtful theme, John, with lots of scope for us to create stories. Your photo of the cave drop-off is enough to surge the imagination soaring. No wonder it featured in Mark Twain’s book, and the story of the construction of the replica viking ship and its voyage to Norway is epic!

    • Thanks! I worked to create a scenario where I could be inclusive of everyone’s own concept. Judging from the wide variety of posts, I can brag that I met my challenge. >grin<

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