Weekly Photo Challenge: Close to Home

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close.  And even though I work during the summer, this last week has been filled with those beginning of the school year meetings and classroom preparation. All of that has kept me close to home, squeezing a few photos in here and there, mostly using my trusty phone as camera.

As I checked out our classroom garden bed in front of the classroom, I noticed the native milkweed has started to take off and the tropical milkweed is still going strong.  There weren’t any monarchs or caterpillars around, but I did noticed this tiny snail crawling on the plants.  (I did play around with prisma a bit, trying to create more color contrast to make the snail “pop.”)

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And then of all crazy things, my husband and I decided to go to a concert on a Tuesday night!  We are lucky to have this wonderful concert venue in town that is smallish and is outdoors.  I caught a glimpse of the sun going down in the distance as we headed to the amphitheater.

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It is such a treat to sit outdoors in the comfortable late-summer evening, listening to good music…and even singing along.  We saw Melissa Etheridge and Pat Benatar…two great shows in one!  It was fun playing around with trying to capture the action, distance, and lighting (this is unedited).

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Yesterday, to end my work week, I grabbed my camera (Sony a6000) and headed to the beach for a quick mental health break on my way home. The tide was high, so the beach was narrow, but there were still plenty of people enjoying the water and sand.  These sneaky seagulls found an apple…probably someone’s unattended snack and managed to carry it to the water’s edge.  They were having quite a party–snatching a bite, keeping an eye out for people and other seagulls, then heading back in for another bite.  At one point one of the seagulls picked the whole apple up, spread its wings and moved it down the beach.  It was quite a show!

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I see this rock pretty regularly as I walk down the beach.  D and T must be quite committed to showing their love to have spent the time to carve it so deeply in this sandstone.  I do wish they would have considered a way to show their love that didn’t mar the natural beauty of the beach!  You can see that my walk was shortened–there was no way to get around that corner ahead without getting wet!

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But the short walk was a perfect way to shift from preparing the classroom to coming home to enjoy a weekend of relaxation before the kids arrive on Monday.  And I couldn’t resist a shot of the ordinary–the railing along steep ramp up to the parking lot with the puffy white clouds in the blue sky.

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So, what are you noticing close to home? What might you capture with that phone in your pocket?  What do you see on that daily walk, at the corner park, or even from your car window (not when you are doing the driving!)?

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #closetohome for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

You don’t have to venture far this week, what will you discover close to home?  I can’t wait to see what you find through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Night

Night is a challenge for me as a photographer.  I have a tendency not to be out taking pictures at night…and when I am, I realize the challenges that night photography poses.  Last night, on a flight to Tucson I had the opportunity to sit in a window seat.  I realize that I often fly during the day, so once I was seated my eye was drawn to the lights against the dark of the night sky.  And as I snapped photos of San Diego from the air, I noticed the moon, nearly full, casting a glow on the water below.

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And every time I try to take night photos, I realize how slowly the shutter closes in low light.  And the slowness means that it’s easy to create blurs, even with the slightest of movement.  So from a plane, blurs become quite prominent.  I love the fun abstraction of this image taken as we landed in Tucson.

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So of course, when I saw this one, I had to try another as we taxied toward our gate.

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Before that, up in the air, I was treated to an amazing light show.  I watched an electric storm light up the clouds like fireworks in the distance.  Since I wasn’t able to get a photograph because of the darkness, I decided to try my hand at some video.  And while it isn’t perfect, you do get to see the beauty of the lightening lighting up the sky.  I know I should figure out how to strip the sound of the aircraft and add some music or something…maybe one of you can give me suggestions for how to best do that!

Once we flew away from the storm, the lights of the city began to appear in the distance.  And as we got closer and began to fly lower, my picture was less blurry and abstract.  I also suspect that the plane’s light, that seems to come on at a certain altitude, helped give more light to my lens to make the shutter speed a bit faster.

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After renting a car and heading out of the airport, I just had to take a photo of the iconic saguaro cacti, especially when I noticed the full moon behind them.  My husband was nice enough to pull over so I could get out to take a few pictures of these magnificent plants.

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So, try out a little night photography this week.  What happens when the light is low?  What light will you capture when the sky is dark?  You don’t need an airplane for this exploration, you can try looking out the window of your house…or maybe even standing outside looking in!

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #night for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So head out into the dark of night with your camera (or phone) in your hand.  What will you find with night as your lens?  I can’t wait to see what you find!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Climb

I live at sea level so you wouldn’t think I would have much opportunity to climb, but as I’ve been noticing this week, there is elevation all around.

To even get to the beach there is always a climb–usually down to get to the shore and then the challenging climb back up.  This ramp is a familiar one for me as it leads to the parking lot at the beach I frequent most. And it’s a steep one!  (I always think of it as a good cardio routine as I trek up and down.)  I took this picture on a day I was noticing light and shadow and the ways that they played with the railings and the plants growing nearby.

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On an early morning walk earlier this week I felt lucky to see the sun burning through the clouds and peeking over the houses as it climbed higher in the sky after plenty of summer gloom along the coast.  I know there is a rule of photography about not shooting into the sun, but I kinda like the effect…so I keep doing it!

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Kites climb high along the beach too with plenty of breeze to keep them aloft.  I’m consistently surprised to find that it is adults who fly kites…although they sometimes have a child alongside helping them out!

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Seabirds are fascinating to watch and I see most of them scurrying along the shore in search of food with their long beaks.  But pelicans fit into a class all their own.  These huge birds are graceful flyers who climb to great heights and also go low, barely skimming the surface of the waves. They dive into the sea scooping fish into their bucket-like beak and then climb into the sky with amazing speed and strength.  My photos don’t even begin to capture all that I see as watch these magnificent birds.

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And then there are the stairs all along the cliffs.  Some seem to start and end nowhere, relics of a time when they were the access to the beach. But mostly these interesting staircases are symbols of exclusive beach access from the multimillion dollar homes perched on the edge of the cliffs. This steep staircase, with a gate at the bottom seemed to climb right into the sun when I noticed it yesterday.

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And these cement steps seem to anticipate the rise and fall of the sand and water as they currently sit far above the ground.  I wonder if they came before or after the wooden stairs?

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So what does it look like to climb where you are?  Are there stairs or mountainsides?  The sun or moon climbing into the sky? Does it involve birds, or children, or something else?

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #climb for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Take a look around for something to climb or take a look at something that’s climbing.  Be sure to share your climb with the rest of us!