Monthly Archives: July 2014

Contained by Containers?

I’m thinking about containers…at least in part because of the weekly photo challenge over at the Daily Post.  But I don’t want to limit myself to boxes and jars, those typical containers that we find around our homes and in our workplaces.  Instead I want to think about other uses for containers.  What capacities do they have?

Maybe like this skyride traveling high over the San Diego Zoo, containers can propel.  In this shot, my mom–with a tremendous fear of heights–decided to board the ride to quickly descend from one side of the zoo to the other.  She didn’t end up seeing any sights, her eyes were tightly closed throughout the whole scenic ride, but she did get to her destination!


And then there is my coffee cup from a trip to Starbucks the other day.  I took this photo because this is the first time anyone has ever managed to spell my first name wrong!  (Kim is not easily misspelled!)  But then again…it is also a reminder that there is always a first time to be surprised, to be misread, to be redefined.  And in defense of the barista, he has a family member who spells her name with the “y.”


In this photo, my container is the rear view mirror.  Stopped at a stop sign, in a line of traffic, I couldn’t help noticing the beauty of the ocean reflected in the mirror.  Instead of containing the reflection, it magnified and refracted the blues of the sky and the sea reaching into my heart and mind allowing me to relax in spite of the traffic, taking me away from the hustle and bustle of commuting into the wonder and majesty of the natural beauty around me.

rearview mirror

And so I find myself reminded about a conversation going on at the CLMOOC today about the containments/limitations/shallowness about many of the containers we use on the web.  How likes and plusses and hearts and favorites push us like a tide, more flow than ebb if we aren’t paying attention.  Stopping to consider our containers and the forces that move (or don’t move) them can change the quality of our experiences.  Maybe it is in our attention and in our interactions that we can reconsider and reinvent the containers.

What do you think?

The Art of Learning: A Five-Image Story

What makes a story?  That is a question that emerged during a Twitter chat last week that I wasn’t a part of…but somehow kept popping up in my twitter feed.  And this week our CLMOOC make of the week is to tell a story in five images.  I often use images to support my blog posts, prompts for my thinking, metaphors for ideas I am working to understand.  I don’t often think of myself as a storyteller…but I’ve decided to give it a try today.

I’ve decided to call this five-photo story “The Art of Learning”…and it purposely does not have a linear structure, no purposeful beginning, middle and end.  And yet, it reads like a story to me.


library and tree

snake path


falling star

What sense do you make of the story?  If you were to put words to it, what would it say?  What songs would it sing?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Food

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

I don’t cook…but I’m lucky to live with a wonderful cook.  And he’s patient enough with me to let me capture some of his beautiful cooking with my lens.  Earlier this week he was experimenting with a new recipe that included chickpeas, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.  I love that my photo captures the heat as well as the beautiful colors.

pasta sauce

The Summer Institute snack table is often a work of art.  I captured this rainbow of cut peppers last week sitting on the table.

rainbow peppers

To celebrate the 4th of July, my husband went all out with his cooking.  We started with chicken and fruits and veggies on skewers on the barbeque.


food in the backyard

And he made a cherry pie from scratch!  Here’s the “before” with the pitted cherries.


And the after…pie a la mode!

cherry pie

And sometimes I just can’t resist snapping that picture of a guilty pleasure…like these yummy taquitos with guacamole from the local Roberto’s.  (These are the pictures I love to text to my sons to remind them what they’re missing now that they no longer live in our place!)


So this week’s challenge is to use food as the inspiration for your photos.  It can be your ordinary breakfast…even if it comes out of a box…or a culinary masterpiece.  You can snap a guilty fast food pleasure, a fine restaurant meal, or even the raw materials at the grocery store or in the garden!

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

This is your week to be a food documentarian.  What do you eat or what do you see others eating?  Capture some images of food through your lens!

Sunshine on a Stem

I spied it from afar as I was heading to my car this morning.  And I had to stop.  Right in the middle of our gasping-for-water, drought stricken lawn a dandelion stood tall and yellow, sunshine on a stem.

dandelion painting

I’ve definitely become obsessed with dandelions…in all their forms.  They represent the tenacity, resourcefulness, and strength I want to help cultivate in learners and teachers. Learners as hot house flowers that have to be carefully controlled and cultivated seem too fragile to become the innovators and explorers we need in the world.  Teachers are often portrayed as gardeners, nurturing their crop of learners…but I’m wanting to reject that image too, it seems to take all the energy and agency away from students in that scenario.

Like dandelions, I want learners to thrive where they live.  I want them to land in places where they can dig in and grow tall.  And I want teachers to be like dandelions too, not dependent on specialized tools but instead drawing on the processes that honor writers and tinkerers and explorers.  And when they happen to be plucked by the curious child who takes a big breath and blows on the puff, I hope the wishes fly far and wide and land on fertile ground so that these tenacious and resourceful survivors populate our classrooms and our world.