Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #240 – The Road (most often) Taken

The Tower of Hercules.

A while back (July 2021,) Beth of Wandering Dawgs featured a challenge called “Along Back Country Roads.” It reminded me of the Robert Frost Poem, “The Road Not Taken.” As an inveterate traveler, that challenge was easy for me as I spend lots of time on those back country roads, not only in my home state but in my travels as well.

This week’s theme is metaphoric–and not about a physical road. For this week’s challenge, I want you to think of your favorite type or style of photography as the road you’ve chosen to take most often. For me, it’s landscape photography as it fits so well with my traveling soul. My examples are all landscapes, but I want to see in what style you like to photograph best.

For my opening photo, the Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse in A Coruña, Spain. All of these images were recently processed and all but two were processed specifically to feature in this challenge. They were taken on cruise excursions from London to Rome in October 2022.

Côte St Katharine Docks
Côte St Katharine Docks

Before boarding our cruise ship at Southampton, England, we flew into London to tour the city for a couple of days. On one of our evening walks, we dined at a restaurant near a small marina near the Tower of London. I captured this image of the marina with my Samsung S20U phone.

Arcos de la frontera
Countryside near Arcos de la Frontera Spain.

In the province of Cádiz, in Andalusia, Spain, Arcos de la Frontera is located on the top of sheer cliffs that are high above the banks of the Guadalete river and the farmland below. One of my favorite things to do with landscape images is to use Lightroom’s Panorama mode to merge two images together to make an ultrawide view.

Lisbon Panorama
Lisbon, Portugal.

From the balcony of our cruise ship cabin, while docked in Lisbon, I captured a panoramic view of the city and again merged the two cell phone pictures in Lightroom.

Convent of Our Lady of Arrábida
Convent of Our Lady of Arrábida.

Our excursion out of Lisbon featured a trip to a winery and, according to the tour description, “majestic views.” Well, as it turned out, the only sunny days on our cruise were after we departed the cruise ship in Rome. Though we didn’t see much rain on the excursions, it was cloudy every day. Probably the lowest clouds we encountered were on our excursion out of Lisbon. It was made worse by the fact that part of the tour was in the highest altitudes encountered on our journeys. This large compound, opened in 1542, is a former convent, now part of Arrábida Natural Park. The resulting views from the high terrain were, I’ll just say something less than majestic.

Rio Mandeo
Rio Mandeo.

Rio Mandeo winds through the city of Betanzos, Spain. Our excursion put us on a bus to visit this old town located in a fertile valley relatively close to the cruise port in A Coruña, Spain. If you’ve ever been on a tour bus and tried to capture images through a bus window that is highly tinted, you can do what I did here. The image from my cell phone was almost completely lacking in shades of red and was strong in blue and green. It didn’t look good at all, even when trying to tweak the white and color balance controls in Lightroom. I converted the image to black-and-white and then used the HSL filter to give the image a sepia tone. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. >grin<

Old bridge at Betanzos - 4K
The old bridge at Betanzos.

One of two landscapes I featured in a previous post, this image of the old bridge is one of my favorites of the trip. There is a very little history of this bridge online, so I couldn’t provide many details in my original Cellpic Sunday post.

Bay at Saint Tropez
Bay at Saint Tropez France.

Our only stop in France found us on the French Riviera. This beautiful coastline at Saint Tropez was popular with artists and in the 1960s became a mecca for jet setters. Once a thriving fishing village, there are now far more yachts and tour boats than there are commercial fishing vessels.

Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge.

The wall on the right separates Vatican City from Rome, our last stop on our Mediterranean cruise. The three-arch bridge in the photo was opened in 1911. Named after the King of Italy who reigned from 1861 to 1878, the bridge features four towers, each carrying bonze Winged Victory sculptures. The span is 350 feet (108 m) in length.

I’ve bored you enough with my vacation photos. Now it’s time for you to show us your favorite “road” in photography. Consider a favorite photographic style like low key/high key, monochrome, etc. Maybe a genre of photography like a preference for architecture, still life, portraiture, etc. Whatever your preference, we’d love to see your images captured in your favorite style or genre.

Thanks to Tina for last week’s challenge, Finding Peace, and I will look forward to seeing your posts for this week. My wife and I will be leaving in a few days on another journey, again to regions that don’t always have the best Internet connections. If I don’t respond to your challenge response right away, I will do so when I have a decent Internet connection.

For 2K HD views of my gallery this week, you can click on any image above, or visit my Flickr album here. Next week, Sofia hosts. If you would like to join in on the challenge but aren’t quite sure how to get started, click here for details.

John Steiner


    • From my Nikon and Sony cameras, I shoot in RAW format and the cameras don’t have a panoramic mode so I learned to use Lightroom for the task.
      Even though I usually shoot from my cellphone in JPG mode and the phone would do a panorama for me, I continue to create them via Lightroom as I am used to the procedure.
      I’ve never tried to compare which method might be better. That could be an interesting thing to try. Maybe you’ve given me an idea for a future post. 🙂

  1. Wonderful photos, John, and so much useful information even though I don’t understand much of it. When I read all the technical information most of you put out each Saturday, I realize more than ever that I’m but a rank amateur who doesn’t know anything about photography!! Perhaps that will be something I can work on over the next years. Or not. Who knows? 🙂 Today I particularly like the first shot, the one of the bridge, and the harbor shot right after it.


    • Like most avocations, photography is filled with jargon. Many of us forget that when we write our posts and often don’t always realize when they leave newcomers in the dark.
      As I look through this post, I see I used a few such terms and TLAs (three-letter-acronyms) that are a mystery to many people. Feel free to take me to task in the comments and ask me to define the terms I use. As a former teacher, I should know better. 🙂

      • I didn’t mean that at all, John. I’m still in auto with my Nikon and use Picasa for editing so you can tell my level. 😁. I just realize there’s a lot for me to learn.

      • I still use Auto on my cellphone most of the time. I just got a new phone with a more sophisticated camera and three years newer technology. I’m going back to school via YouTube videos before we head overseas.

  2. Fabulous! The topic is right up my alley 😀..or so I think 😉. Going to look up in my treasure trove right after finishing some chores!

  3. I know how disappointing it is to have cloudy days when you’re traveling. But you’ve still captured great shots, John, despite Mother Nature not cooperating. Sometimes those moody skies provide great backdrops and are very dramatic. I’ve got to try stitching a panorama in PS. I’m lazy, and just use the feature on my Pixel! You’ve given me something to experiment with. I’m off to finish my post now! Safe travels!

    • Thanks, Patti. Sometimes the cloudy skies work and sometimes they don’t. It’s then I’ve had occasion to try sky replacement. I always “fess up” when I perform that trick, however.
      The next time you are out and about with your camera, try a few two-shot panoramas where the subject overlaps by about a third. Once the panorama is created, then you can crop it for the best composition. I’ll be looking forward to seeing one from you in an upcoming challenge. 🙂

  4. […] in your archive and find some images, you can publish your images on your blog and set a link to John’s inspiration post. Don’t forget to tag it with LENS-ARTIST, so we can find […]

  5. Stunning landscapes, John. And I love the journeys through your lens. This time you took me “home”. I loved a short distance from Arcos in the late 90’s and loved our trips there. So many wonderful memories that I revisited though your photos, Portugal too. Honestly, I loved the one you turned to sepia. You are right, sometimes you gotta do… This time is was the right thing to do. Thanks again. And I love the challenge. We see so many photographers in this challenge, it will be nice to see how they define themselves, with your encouragement. Safe travels.

  6. I love landscapes. There’s something about them, a little detached from the action, that creates a feeling of tranquility. These are beautiful shots. The Convent of Our Lady of Arrábida is awe-inspiring with the ocean in the distance.

    • Thanks, Dan! I rekindled my interest in photography through landscapes, so I appreciate your compliment. I worked hard in photo editing to bring out the details on that oh-so-hazy day.

    • I’ve already checked out your post and I can see you have a beautiful collection of black-and-white images you shared. Thanks for joining in. I am looking forward to following your work.

    • Thanks, Sofia. Sometimes I think those dark clouds just follow me. But you are correct that they can provide me an opportunity to completely change the mood in a typical image of a location that is most often seen elsewhere in bright, sunny light.

  7. I always love your landscapes, John, and these are no exceptions. The bridges are my favourites this time. And you made a great sepia out of that bus window scenery. Great challenge, and I am still thinking of what road to take…

  8. I’m certainly not bored seeing your photos – I always love to see where others have travelled and what they saw and experienced there! Funnily enough, my favourite shot in this set is of the convent in Portugal – you may have deplored the way the weather obscured the view but I feel it’s given the image lots of atmosphere and depth 🙂
    Here’s my contribution – I think you’ll be able to guess the ‘road’ I’ve chosen: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-the-roads-i-take/

  9. Fabulous cruise trips! These landscape photos are amazing. Love the bridge image especially.
    I should have my post ready later. 🙂

  10. Hi John, I love your landscapes and marvel that you can do so many things with them. Combining them into one photo is something I’ve never tried. Wow! I love the sepia-colored one. You always have such great ideas to try. I’m afraid my road traveled is more of what to travel in. You will enjoy them and recognize some of the places, for sure. We sure miss you here in AZ! https://alwayswrite.blog/2023/03/08/wq-10-identifying-what-is-rare-and-precious-to-you/

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