Monthly Archives: September 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

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 continue to learn about and be challenged by light as I take pictures.  Sometimes the photos I take seem flat, without the detail and texture that I see with my eyes.  Just last week when I was walking at the beach in the evening, the sun was just right and I had to snap a photo trying to capture the softness and the glow of the moment (and those sandpipers I am always chasing with my camera).  This unedited result was even more amazing than I imagined, capturing the texture of the foamy edge of the wave against the smooth sand.

beach light

The light that pours into my dining room in the afternoon lit up the roses in the vase on table. I like that you can see the layers of petals and almost feel the softness through the image–even though the light creates a variegated effect on this solid-colored red rose.

rose in the light

Sometimes it is the breeze that creates the texture in a photo.  The Star of India is an old clipper sailing ship that now operates as a museum on the San Diego waterfront.  I like the way the sails…and the American flag billow with a roundness you can almost touch.

sails and flag

My macro lens is always good for capturing texture.  Getting close makes the textured details more apparent like in this photo of dandelion fluff.

dandelion fluff

Or this one of the intricacies of cactus spines on the plant in my back yard.

cactus spines

And then there is the visual texture of the pattern worn by this giraffe.  His distinctive coloring creates a texture all its own.

giraffe

And I love the physical texture I can almost feel with my fingers as my students explored this mystery substance last week in a science lab.  They were mesmerized by the way it was runny and liquid-like sometimes and hard and powdery other times.  I used an app to filter the image that seems to bring attention to the texture of the substance on my student’s hands.

oobleck

So now it is your turn to find and snap a photo of texture.  Will it be something oozy and wet, something soft and furry?  Will the light help to define foamy edges or expose the details of layers?

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

What textures will your lens expose?  I can’t wait to see what you find!

 

 

 

Self Portraits, Photo Style

I experimented with taking self portrait photos today.  The #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day prompt for September 6th is self portrait, which got me thinking about how to be creative in my approach to creating a photo portrait of myself.  I’ve done some playing around with self portraiture in the past (here and here) and have been practicing the art of the selfie as a way to document some of the outings my husband and I take.  (Otherwise I have discovered that I am absent in my own photography.)

But what does it mean to take a self portrait?  And what does it say about me and my photography?  As I set out today, I knew that I was not going to be taking the typical hold your phone out at arm’s length and shoot a photo sort of self portrait.  Instead, I wanted to focus on ways to capture portraits of myself in less typical ways.

Walking along the waterfront, I noticed a monument to those who have served in the military that had shiny marble sides.  I could see my reflection as walked by, so decided to try taking a self portrait by framing myself in the shot.

Monument selfie

I like the way the grain of the marble creates a texture on the photo, and you can see how the shade also impacted the image.

Continuing our walk, I noticed a mirror used to help cars see around corners as I went to cross a driveway.  I stood and aimed my camera as I framed myself in the mirror.

mirror selfie

It’s interesting to me the way the mirror captures the urban elements of the setting, while the background features the branches and leaves of a tree.

As we walked down the Broadway Pier, I noticed the reflective glass of the building there. Along the side of the building I could see the USS Midway, a retired military aircraft carrier, reflected in the window.  I urged my husband to join me and capture this self portrait.

Midway selfie

Geoff noticed this star on a window of a restaurant as we headed back toward where we had parked our car, so of course I had to stop to snap a photo.  The long skinny window makes an interesting frame for the self portrait.

star window selfie

We had talked earlier in our outing about the possibility of me taking a self portrait by framing myself in my husband’s sunglasses.  So as we passed the park at Seaport Village we stopped to try this technique.  It took a few tries…and we left without knowing for sure if my image would be visible.  With a bit of post production editing, this is the resulting image.

sunglass selfie

Today’s focus on self portrait photography had me paying attention to light, reflection, texture, and composition.  I was working not only to capture an image of myself, but also to document my surroundings in interesting ways.  Sometimes I noticed that I held my phone in a way that obscured my face so then I experimented with holding it lower and tried to look into the reflective surface rather than at my shutter button.

I did some post production editing to crop away extraneous material and place the focus on the portrait.  Filters helped me brighten or tone down colors and create an effect that I found pleasing.

I took many other photos today as I walked the waterfront and explored downtown San Diego, but it was fun to experiment with the self portrait too.  Taking photos of myself in reflective surfaces made me aware of the many ways I can use those surfaces to create other kinds of photos as well–things I don’t always think about as I am shooting.  I know I’ll be doing some experimenting over the next week or so!

What do you learn when you take photographic self portraits?  What techniques are your favorites?  I’d love to hear from you!

Food Truck Adventure

I’m not much of a foodie…and that certainly won’t surprise anyone who knows me.  But tonight we decided to have an adventure of sorts…and chase down a food truck.  My husband has been following the Pierogi Truck on Twitter, desperately wanting to relive a childhood taste memory of eating pierogis–a Polish dish that his mom made when he was a kid.  These dumpling-like creations are not easy to find…and honestly, I haven’t expressed much interest in eating them.

pierogi truck

So tonight, with the Pierogi Truck not too far from our neighborhood, we decided to take this taste adventure.  Parked in a business park near a brewery, the purple truck was waiting.  We walked up and were greeted by the two women who worked the truck and Geoff immediately engaged in a conversation about the Polish foods of his childhood.

ordering pierogis

So I had my first taste of pierogis tonight, a potato and cheese dumpling served with a sour cream or yogurt sauce on the side.  They were pretty tasty…with a beer from from Iron Fist brewery on the side.

potato and cheese pierogis

Geoff went for the sampler plate with an assortment of Polish delicacies…pierogis and Polish sausage and more.

polish sausage and more

The food was good and the adventure was better.  It was fun to go out and do something out of the ordinary, to wander into a warehouse and sip a cold beer, watch some arm wrestling, pet some dogs, and do a bit of people watching.

Iron Fist kegs

And even though pierogis will not likely ever be my favorite food, it was fun to taste them, and to watch my husband savor the flavors he’d been remembering and imagining for so long.  It was quite an adventure to head out on a Friday evening in search of a food truck.  We’re already talking about other food truck possibilities…  Who knows where our next adventure will take us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouettes

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!

As a photographer I am fascinated by light.  I know some of the rules that photographers are encouraged to follow…shoot with the light behind you, avoid the harsh light of mid-day, and more.  And light is tricky…it’s hard to get it just right.  Last weekend I was at the beach near sunset…the perfect time for shooting into the sun to create silhouettes.

I found myself chasing birds and people to snap the shutter just as they lined up with the sunlight, creating a sort of spotlight on the silhouette…like this shot of my husband.

Geoff silhouette

And I love the way this one of the seagull also has the oranges and yellows of the sun setting against the clouds with a bit of blue peeking through.

seagull silhouetteThis one of the fisherman surprised me.  It is a silhouette without shooting directly into the light.  It has a softness and blueness that delights me.  I will have to experiment with this technique more often.

fisherman silhouette

This photo of the lifeguard tower is more typical of a silhouette.  I was excited when the lifeguard came around the corner just as I pressed the shutter!

tower silhouette

Looking for photos that I hadn’t taken at the beach and where I still created a silhouette was a bit more challenging for me.  I have a favorite spot on my way to and from work where the sun, sky, and the palm trees interact.  I love playing with the angles of the row of palm trees and their playful dance with the sun.

palm tree silhouettesBut that is still pretty near the beach…so I continued my search for silhouettes and found a couple of interesting ones from my trip to Yellowstone last month.  Here is one of the arch at the north entrance to the park.

arch silhouette

And here is one of a wonderful huckleberry soft serve cone that I enjoyed near Old Faithful.

ice cream silhouette

And sometimes the best silhouette of all is the one I didn’t take.  This picture of me in silhouette was taken by my husband in Yellowstone as he snapped a photo of me taking a photo of the amazing clouds in the distance.

me silhouette

So this is the week to frame a silhouette.  You might catch a pet, a loved one, an iconic building, or something else as you look to the light.  You can create your silhouette with the natural light of the sun or create a silhouette using indoor light.  (I’ll have to try that!)

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

What will you find as you practice the art of the silhouette?  I can’t wait to find out!