Monthly Archives: April 2015

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Not too long ago my son and I were looking at power lines…those big metal structures made up of lots of crossing lines that also hold up more lines.  And then some weeks later, I found myself noticing more power lines in a different place.  I’m drawn to the lines and angles…and to the question, why are there more power lines in poorer communities?

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And thinking about those lines got me looking for other lines…like these that make up the water tower in a small coastal town in northern CA.

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Or these on the lifeguard tower along the pier in San Clemente.  (Notice the line of the pier railing and then the railings and the scaffolding of the tower above)

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Some lines are more organic, like the lines along the cliff that delineate the different rock compositions.  Up close you can see the a line of conglomerate pebbles about halfway up the cliffs.

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The surfboards lined up against this building are each a line individually and then come together to make a line of boards against the wall.

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Nature seems to like lines too.  Like the line of this milkweed stalk behind the caterpillar.  (I’m loving these seed pods that burst open and expose fuzzy seeds that take off in the breeze…almost like dandelion puffs!)

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And the rotational symmetry of this plant, with lines emerging from the center, spreading in all directions.

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So starting looking for lines in your photos.  The straight lines of buildings or the more organic lines found in nature.  Are the lines made of something else?  A row of trees?  Scraps of fabric? Your child’s toys?

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

So, find the lines in your life and share them with the rest of us!  I know I can’t wait to see lines through your lens!

Exploring Technique: May’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

It’s been a while since I’ve focused intentionally on photographic technique…lately I’ve been much more focused on exploring places than working on the more technical aspects of creating interesting photos.  So it seem to be time to create a challenge that encourages me (and you) to explore (my one little word) how the tools of the trade might impact the images created.

So for May’s #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day challenge, we’ll focus on a different aspect of photography each week.

After you shoot, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! (More about learning walks here and here) You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

Week 1: Playing with Composition

1. Simplify the scene—move in closer to remove distracting details

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2. Rule of thirds (or simply avoid the middle)–what happens when you frame your subject off center?

3. Use leading lines—frame your shot by letting the natural lines (fences, roads, walls…) direct the viewer’s eye

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4. Use diagonals—shift the angle, tilt your camera…

5. Check your background—what’s behind your subject? Experiment with finding a background that works with your subject

6. Fill the frame—zoom in or step closer to fill the frame with your subject

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7. Break the rules—experiment with your own compositional style

Week 2: Playing with Light

8. Shoot into the light to create a silhouette

9. Capture a shadow

10. Find the light in a dark setting

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11. Make light the centerpiece of the photo

12. Experiment with light and dark in one photo

13. Include a reflection (water is useful here!)

14. Try something new with light (either natural light or some other light source)

Week 3: Playing with Perspective

15. Get low

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16. Shoot from above

17. Create an optical illusion

18. Play with negative space

19. Get close

20. Try a wide angle effect

21. What other perspective have you tried?

Week 4: Playing with Genre

22. Architecture

23. Black and White

24. Children

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25. Landscape

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26. Macro

27. Nature

28. Street photography

Week 5: Play with filters and effects

29. Abstract

30. Adjust the color

31. Your choice!

Our goal is to explore, share with each other, and learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Each week includes seven suggestions for exploring the technique, and the final days offer opportunities to play around with filters and effects. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or exchange them for a technique you want to try on. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!

Life in Motion

Sometimes life seems to be taking place in fast forward–moving at speeds that make it impossible to  catch up (or keep up, for that matter).  Weekends offer opportunities to reconnect with loved ones, squeezed between chores like laundry and grocery shopping…and when I’m really lucky, time for an adventure or two.

I love the way my camera makes time stand still for an instant, but today I was trying to capture moments of motion.  We headed north to the San Onofre State Beach, also home of the now defunct nuclear power plant.  I’m always surprised by the multitudes of treasures I’ve yet to discover not far from my home…how have I missed this place I have passed by on the freeway so many times?

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The day was gray and threatening.  The weather forecasters had dismissed the rain for the weekend, but the clouds hung dark and heavy in the distance.  We saw a couple of cars with surfboards on top heading away as we pulled in, and my husband joked that the surfers were done for the day.  Until we turned the corner and saw the sea dotted with wet suited surfers afloat on their boards.

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And a few were in motion.

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I love watching sea birds, and I wasn’t disappointed today.  I saw egrets and cormorants as well as the usual seagulls and pelicans.

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I also caught this sandpiper frolicking in the surf.

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Further north, we strolled out on the San Clemente pier with the wind whipping my hair and making me wish for the heavier jacket in the back seat of my car.  The colorful flags danced in the breeze, in constant motion.

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Surprisingly, there were no seabirds on the pier.  But there were lots of pigeons.  I noticed these bobbing their heads to drink from this sink.  (Notice the sign…hmmm, were they drinking salt water or were they sipping from tiny pools left from the increasing drizzle?)

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I love to go under a pier.  There is something about watching the waves through the mussel-laden pilings that I find mesmerizing.  The color of the water, the sound of the rocks, and the rush of the waves creates a musical performance of constant motion.

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As we headed to the car, the rain began in earnest.  And after all that motion, I am now sitting, near motionless, listening to the rain fall outside as I cuddle with the cats, chat with my husband, and try to stock up on some much needed rest to fuel the week ahead.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

Sometimes it seems like I go through phases with my photography, taking lots of shots of similar things.  It wasn’t too long ago when I was obsessed with taking photos of seagulls…in flight, in crowds, eating, posing–you get the idea.

Lately, my eye seems to be drawn to color.  I noticed the brilliant red of this community sign just the other day.

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And the nearby artist supply store was awash in color from ceiling to floor.

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Flowers are blooming around here too.  I couldn’t resist the way the light made the orange of these flowers glow.

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The sharp spines and the vibrance of the red flowers make an interesting composition.

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I love the surprising patches of wildflowers that grow in unusual spots, cuddled up to rocks, brightening the landscape.

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And the unexpected red roof on the lighthouse, highlighting the classic white building below it.

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Where are you finding color?  What colors do you find yourself drawn to time after time?  Are they colors in nature or the ones that people use to decorate or draw attention to their spaces?

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

So, start looking for color…and share your images with the rest of us.  What colors will we see through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sparkling

Today I found a quote that resonated…filling my mind and heart with images of warmth and light.

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.  Theodore Roethke

And I started thinking about my week off from work…which was filled with light and sparkling images.  A long winding drive through a forest of redwoods showered us with shards of light filtered through those tall majestic trees.

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And who knew that wild raspberries grow on the tops of the sea cliffs that overlook the fiercely beautiful waves of the Northern California coastline?  They seemed to wink as I stopped to take their photo!

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How have I missed quaint sea towns like Mendocino, a jewel of weathered historic buildings, sparkling blue water, and tall water towers.

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Even in the shade, an inner glow seemed to sparkle through this luminous purple flower.

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And when we arrived at our destination, Glass Beach…near Fort Bragg, we were greeted by smooth, tumbled beach glass that covered the sand.  This place that once served as a dumping ground is now seen as a treasure.  I watched children clamber up rocks, pretending to be pirates high above the sparkling glass.

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The glass beckoned, urging fingers to search for unique shapes and colors, letting the bits and pieces trickle through our open hands.

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At the end of the day, through the window of our hotel room, we were treated to the sparkling sun dipping down into the Pacific as the fishing boats came in from a day on the ocean.

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So this week be on the lookout for images that sparkle in your life.  Is there an inner light, the sun shining through, or maybe a sparkle less literal that only you can see?

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

What is sparkling in your life this week?  I can’t wait to see what sparkles through your lens!