Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #164: Looking Up/Down

I’m grateful to Sofia Alves whose challenge this week has me thinking about the contrast in perspectives–looking up and peering down. Many thanks, Sofia!

Here’s a small sample of some of my “up” and “down” images from around the world.

Looking Up at Architecture and the Sky

Once you have tasted the taste of sky, you will forever look up.~ Leonardo da Vinci

When we travel, I often peer upward, marveling at the local architecture and the sky. Here, you can see the changing skies over Melbourne, Australia, a fabulous city.

Melbourne Skyline, Australia

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera. – WB Yeats

Oxford is another place to look up at the sky and admire the historic academic buildings where artists, poets, and great thinkers dreamed, lived and studied. This visit brought back memories of books set here, like Brideshead Revisited.

Oxford Skyline, England

Looking Up and Finding Artistic Treasures

In places with rich artistic history like Italy, I spend hours staring upward at the ceiling. This was true when we visited Ravenna, Italy, once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. If you look closely at this stunning ceiling in the Basilica of San Vitale, you’ll see that it is inlaid with intricate mosaics.

Looking up in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

Looking Down at Landmarks and Nature

When we spend time in New York City, I’m often craning my neck, trying to get a better look at the newest skyscrapers that are pushing upward, creating an ever-changing vista. But sometimes, I look down–like the time this summer when we went for an early morning walk in Central Park and stopped for a visit to the Bethesda Fountain. Here, we are looking down at the fountain, the intricate brickwork and the people stopping to take photos.

Looking Down at the Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, New York

I’ll end this post with an image shot recently on a walk in Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C. When I was wandering through the rhododendron garden, I spotted this marvelous example of nature’s intricate beauty.

Leaf Close-Up

Sofia’s challenge helped me realize yet again that I must be an optimist! As I searched through my archives this week, I found dozens of images captured while looking up at trees, buildings, and the sky. But I’m also a realist with my feet planted firmly on this earth. I see beauty in nature, in creatures that crawl and fly and prowl. All these things fill me with happiness and wonder.

A special thanks to Sofia Alvez for leading the challenge this week and inspiring us. We hope you join us and share your favorite up and down views from all around the world. Thanks also to Amy for her “Keep Walking” challenge last week. I loved getting glimpses of your favorite walks near and far.

Next week, it’s my turn to lead the challenge, so be sure to stop by here next Saturday, September 11th at noon to join the fun. In the meantime, have a joyful and inspiring week, and please stay safe.

75 replies »

    • Hi, MM! I know what you mean about San Vitale. I kept thinking how many generations of artists worked on these ceilings! Amazing. And to think their life expectancy was so much shorter than ours. Astounding. And about the leaf…it was huge! About the size of an elephant’s ear! I hope all’s well. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!


  1. Wonderful. I last went to Ravenna when I was a child. It made a huge impression on me, but I realise now how much I’ve forgotten. That’s some photo. As is that of the leaf – though of course I liked every one of these images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. Thank you! 😀😀. Yes, photography does bring beauty into our lives. Sometimes I don’t look for it enough, but when I do, it’s wonderful. I hope all’s well. Enjoy the week.


    • Hi, John. Thanks so much! I must have taken a hundred photos in the basilica. But that one was one of my favorites. 😀😀. And the leaf was amazing! Have a good week, John. Looking forward to seeing your post, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Xenia. 😀😀. Many thanks. It was amazing. We’d love to head back to Italy, but we’re still figuring out the green pass requirements. It’s tricky for us because our proof of vaccination isn’t digitized….among other things. Take care too and have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would agree with the other comments, the Basilica photo is extraordinary in detail and it is awe-inspiring. How you say you view the world through your lens, with both optimism and realism, it shows in your photos. They are remarkable.
    It was an honour for me, to be able to inspire, so I thank again the Lens-Artists team for this opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sofia. Thank you! The ceiling was awe-inspiring! It’s a struggle sometimes to be optimistic, but fortunately, that attitude has served me well during my life! You’re doing a great job inspiring us this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marvelous images this week Patti. I especially loved both the capture of Oxford and your comments about it. Loved your comment about being filled with happiness and wonder. I cannot imagine a better way to approach life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Andre. Yes, you’re right! It does look Russian, Syrian….etc. At that point the Holy Roman Empire split into an eastern and western empire. Now, I’m wondering whether there was an eastern influence in the style of architecture/mosaics in the west? Um….interesting idea. Thanks so much for your thought-provoking reaction!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sarah. Yes, it is stunning! I’ve never seen such magnificent mosaics like that. It’s definitely worth a trip to see them. And the leaf…it’s huge! I had to capture it on a recent walk. I hope you have a good week/weekend. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happiness and wonder – a great combination! Your photography is beyond beautiful and the text, comments all wonderful. A post to linger on and see again and again. Ravenna! I don’t remember much of my own visit in 1975. I would like to go there again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Patti

    Those inlaid mosaics at the Basilica pf San Vitale in Ravenna are gorgeous. I very much appreciate your thoughts on being both am optimist and a realist. You strike a good balance that way. And this quote is perfect “Once you have tasted the taste of sky, you will forever look up.~ Leonardo da Vinci”

    Here’s my offering for this challenge, belatedly. It includes both a Heron and a Meteor – but not in the same photo. 😊

    Great Blue Heron and Meteor

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Sofia

    I liked your challenge so much I decided to participate again – I hope that’s ok! Your description of the craftsmen chiseling pieces of stone to fit the street mosaics harkens back to an earlier time when cultures valued the work of artisans. Same for your description of the Louvre as not just a place to see beautiful art, but a work of beautiful art in and of itself. I’m a new follower to your blog, btw, and am enjoying the many posts you’ve sent this week. Lovely photos, all of them.

    Here’s my offering, with what else? Photos of a Great Blue Heron…and me:

    Here’s Looking at You Blue Heron

    Best, Babsje


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