Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Soft

Soft focus is an important skill that can affect us metaphorically. In other words, the way we see the future has everything to do with how well we can look up and see the expanded horizon before us.~Peter Kline

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Tina has chosen the theme “soft.”  Perfect!  I’ve been experimenting with soft focus–a processing technique that softens the image, making hard lines less sharp or less clear.  Impressionist artists like Monet used the painting equivalent of soft focus in their work.  In fact, my photo editing software has named the filter effects after different Impressionist artists.

Here are a few shots from our travels this year:

The expression “Having All Your Ducks in a Row” has a literal and figurative meaning in this garden in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Garden Show, Ducks in a Row. Shot with a Fuji X-T2

This gorgeous tree in bloom caught my eye in London’s Hyde Park.


Hyde Park, London.  Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

These petunias became a canvas of color when I boosted the saturation and applied an Impressionist effect.  I didn’t want to totally lose the outline of the flowers and the leaves, so for me, this degree of blurriness was enough.  Do you agree?

Petunia Impressions, Rome. Shot with a Fuji X-T2.

What do you think?  Do you like these “soft” images?  Are you a fan of Impressionist painting?

There’s one more type of soft focus.  As Peter Kline says in the quote above, having a soft focus on the future helps us to not get lost in the present.  He reminds us to keep our sights on the distant horizon where our future is taking shape even as we stumble through the present moment.   This quote is my guidepost as we “pick up” our lives back in the USA where the political situation is more polarizing than ever.   For a clear-eyed look vision of the world and our current challenges, I highly recommend Barack Obama’s address honoring Nelson Mandela.  It is enlightening and reassuring and provides great food for thought–regardless of your political affiliation.

As I end this post here are a few reminders:

  • If you join our Lens-Artist Photo Challenge this week, be sure to link to Tina’s challenge.
  • Include the tag “Lens-Artists” in your post.
  • Stay tuned for the next challenge on Saturday, August 4th when it will be my turn to post a theme.
  • Missed our initial Lens-Artists challenge announcement? Click here for details.

And finally, have an inspiring week, everyone!

27 replies »

  1. I know you’re not surprised that I absolutely love these. Are you using Topaz Impressions? I think it’s a wonderful product . You’ve created some fantastic art Patti – Impressionism is my favorite style of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina. 🙂 🙂 Many thanks for your kind words. Yes, I am using Topaz Impressions. I am giving it a whirl with a 30-day trial. I love the “dreamy” quality of Impressionism too. What did you use on your sheep image?


  2. I absolutely love Impressionism, Patti, and those ducks would be a painting anyone could be proud of. 🙂 🙂 Nice, thoughtful response to the challenge. Not sure why but neither this nor Tina’s post appeared in my Reader this week (I ‘found’ you on Twitter 🙂 🙂 ). Maybe WP are jealous of the new challenge. Oops, better watch what I’m saying or I’ll disappear too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Jo. Thanks so much! That’s a great compliment. I’m so glad you found this post and I saw you subscribed to the blog. Let me know if you don’t get the notifications via email. You should!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love these, Patti – impressionism is my favorite – ism. To me, those petunias are more beautiful in your impression than in original reality.

    And I will read Obama’s address honoring Mandela – two men with glorious ways of words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ann-Christine. So glad you like these! Impressionism is lovely, isn’t it? So delicate and beautiful. I just added a link to Obama’s speech. Hope all’s well. Are you still in the high 90’s?


      • I will go for Obama’s speech. He is such a cultivated man with a way to capture people’s heart and attention.
        I read about fires in California – terrible. Here the fires are eating the middle ofcthe country – and no sight of rain in the southern parts. This is new to us and we have firefighters in from at least ten other countries. No one has died yet here but many evacuated.
        Wishing you a lovely sunday!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Patti, I love your soften technique to turn the photo into impressionist canvas. I would love to try. May I ask what software you use? I need to buy a photo editing software for several projects, I surely would like have one with your option.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Patti I am more realist when it comes to photography but that doesn’t preclude anybody else to add artists to lens. This time round the star of your post (in my opinion) is the underlying philosophy of soft focus,, despite some leaders not focusing at all

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Abrie. As you might guess, political/social issues fascinate me. It seems to me that there is a dichotomy in the ways human beings see the future. Some people cling to the past (or the “good old days”) and want it to continue into the future and others are able to envision change and what it might look like. Do you think “not focusing” by political leaders is a way of stalling and/or hunkering down so they don’t have to do the hard work of bringing about change?


      • Our previous president Jacob Zuma did not focus on what was important (governing) as there was a self serving corruptness in his actions. He certainly was not intent in bringing change as he was focusing on enriching himself. You current president seems to be very good at focusing… on his arrogance and not on American values, but maybe that is just my opinion

        Liked by 1 person

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