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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collection

Like a line of ants, the trucks follow the leader up the length of the state of California along Interstate 5.  An elaborate dance, faster trucks dart out knowing they will slow the flow of traffic then edge back in a bit further ahead in line. Vacationers and other travelers join the line too. Sometimes they patiently blend into the caravan of trucks, other times they show their frustration as they weave in and out of the line accelerating only to slow again and again.

Road trips are an exercise in balancing focus and boredom.  Endless hours in the car–especially when motion sickness limits acceptable activity–means coming up with creative ways to entertain yourself, and hopefully the driver too.  My husband’s old iPod meant an endless stream of oldies to sing along with and my camera reminded me to pay attention to the details of the environment.

The tomato trucks got my attention, double trailers filled with red fruit (or is it a vegetable?) in heaps visible from afar.  I started by taking a photo of one (through the car window as we drove) and sending it to my dad.  He’s always talked about driving tomato trucks in his retirement…  Then I started seeing tomato truck after tomato truck, of all varieties and colors and I started snapping photos.  I tried different angles and distances as we approached and passed these trucks, sometimes taking the photo from a distance and other times waiting until we came right up on the truck.  Timing was tricky, sometimes it was hard to get a crisp focus.

Like a learning walk, this was a kind of learning drive–an opportunity to pay attention to the trucks that drive up and down our state.  I noticed that tomato trucks going north were full, those going south were empty. Trucks carrying produce (tomatoes, nuts, garlic) were most prevalent in the mid section of the state.  I never see them in my part of the state.

Then I started playing with the Prisma app, turning photos of trucks into a series of truck art.  I started with the tomato truck.

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And then moved onto other trucks like the log truck.

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And the garlic truck (we had to pass several before I figured out that those were garlics in the truck!).

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And even the hay truck.

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So, to my surprise, I now have a collection of truck photos and a greater appreciation of the  truckers who move goods, particularly food, up and down our state.

As I think about this collection of trucks, I realize that I often create collections of photos.  I have quite a collection of seagulls.  I’ve collected sandcastles, sunsets, trees, flowers, surfers, and more.  So this week’s challenge is to share one of your collections–or create one!

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 #collection for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

As always, you can define what collection means to you.  It might be a couple of photos of the tree in your front yard, the birds on the fences in your neighborhood, your favorite flowers growing in the garden, the meals you ate in the last week…  What collection will you showcase this week?  I can’t wait to see your collections!