Early in 2014 I decided that the word “play” would be my One Little Word (OLW) for the year…my muse, reminding me to make time to play and to plan for fun in my life and in my work. And I have loved my word.
And play I have. I have spent an extraordinary amount of time at the beach this year and learned to see it in ways I wouldn’t have considered possible. Photography has helped me play this year, encouraging my exploration, taking me outdoors, making me more observant, stoking my curiosity.
I mentioned the new camera in my life in this post, a Sony a6000, and with a new zoom lens, we set out for the beach yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my iPhone and have gotten quite comfortable with its photographic capabilities over the last couple of years. So heading out with our new camera is a challenge. So each trip feels like a playground filled with unfamiliar equipment. I’m still mostly in the automatic mode, and with the zoom lens, trying to figure out the boundaries of focus…what is too close, what is too far, how to get a crisp image…
So zooming in, here’s a seagull in the light.
I like the way the background is blurred while the one bird is crisp in the foreground. And you can almost feel the warmth of the sun in this shot.
This guy, in contrast, is silhouetted against the water. I like that you can see that he is wading in the surf, you can even see where his foot is displacing the water.
I was also playing around with action. This particular camera is known for its quick focus, allowing me to focus and capture motion that I might otherwise miss. I caught this gull gliding right into the edge of my frame as I looked out toward the horizon.
And this surfer almost surfed his way into my line of sight. I love the energy of the shot even though he didn’t quite make it all the way into the frame.
The last few days when I have been at the beach I have noticed seagulls flocking, gathering and swooping through the air. Through my lens yesterday I was able to capture some of that energy and the numbers of gulls.
And in contrast to all of this energy, I also captured this moment of solitude as I zoomed in on this hiker with a full pack pausing to notice something in the rocks. I’m not sure where he came from or where he was going, it is not usual to see backpackers on the beach.
There’s so much that I see when I am out taking photos that I am not able to capture in my digital images. As the sun was setting last night, I was able to watch gray whales frolicking offshore as they migrated south. We could see the spray from the blowholes in the distance as they surfaced and then the dark of their bodies as they breached, leaping up out of the water. It was like they also were inspired by my one little word!
And the sunset was beautiful in oranges and reds as the bird flew through. (All of the photos in this post are unedited.)
I’m still contemplating my word for 2015, searching for one that will inspire me all year. I’m looking for a word that is active, encouraging exploration and possibility and that will work in both my personal and work life. I’m open to suggestions if something occurs to you!