Monthly Archives: May 2015

ABCs of Summer: June’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Unofficially summer has begun, and even though school is still in for many in this part of the world…summer is on the brain.  Ironically, the weather is cool and gloomy…it’s definitely not the atmosphere to inspire beach going or outdoor sports, so let’s hope that this month’s photo-a-day challenge will put you in the mood for summer!

Let’s let the alphabet guide us this month…with a word prompt for each letter (a few extra to add up to the 30 we need for June).

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!

Here’s the list:

1.  awkward

2.  beach

I love the beach…in all seasons!  There is something about the interplay of the sky and water and sand that creates interesting images.

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3.  blue

4.  curious

5.  develop

I’m working to develop my photography skills.  Here is an attempt at night photography.  I like some things about this image even though it is blurry.  I need to do a lot more experimenting with shooting at night…you’ll likely see some of my trials this month!

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6.  explore

7.  friends

8.  green

You can go literal–like this green succulent–or perhaps more figurative like green with envy or environmentally aware!

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9.  hot

10.  honor

Love that this parking lot employs the honor system for charging for parking.  You slide your cash in a locked metal tube and depend on your own integrity to follow the intention.  (The Julian catholic church owns the lot and the proceeds supports people in need in the community.)

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11.  idle

12.  jump

13.  keep

14.  lost

15.  mmmmm

16.  nature

17.  observe

18.  pause

We paused to take a look at these electrical towers…and then found ourselves thinking about where towers like this are found.  Are there any in your neighborhood?

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19.  play

20.  quench

21.  relax

I love the aroma of lavender…and the beauty of the plant.  I wish I could get it to grow this beautifully in my yard!

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22.  savor

23.  travel

24.  time

25.  unexpected

26.  vary

27.  water

28.  excite

29.  yell

30.  zen

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. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you to create beautiful photos. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. 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!

So let your photography get you in the summer frame of mind…and share those frames with us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Black and White

This week we’ve been plagued with the notorious “May gray,” days with a marine layer so thick that it’s as if the world exists only in black and white.  And in these days of digital photography, I take all my photos in color…but find myself sometimes wondering if a particular image would look better (or different) in black and white.  So since our days have been lacking in color anyway, what better excuse for exploring images in black and white?

I noticed these motorcycles lined up across the street from me when we visited Julian over the weekend.  With the gray skies and their headlights on, I wanted a way to focus attention on the motorcycles and their lights.

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I loved the light in this photo of the dark red tulip and wondered what would happen if it were in black and white.  The light is still the focal point, even with the absence of color.

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That had me looking for an image with movement…like this one of the waves breaking under the pier.  I miss the beautiful turquoise of the water, but love the vibrance of the splash against the pilings.

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And there’s the ever iconic UCSD Geisel Library…this most recent photo was my attempt to capture the clouds behind it.  There is something timeless about black and white images…

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So this is your week to explore with the absence of color.  What images will you capture in black and white?  Which work well…which need color to bring out their beauty?

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

Even if you are not immersed in the gloom of “May gray,” experiment with black and white.  I look forward to seeing black and white through your lens!

Getting Ready for #CLMOOC

While I haven’t participated in #rhizo15, I have been intrigued by the ideas behind rhizomatic learning and the thinking that learners can direct themselves, learn from one another, and transform learning in the process.  (If I have that wrong…someone please correct me!)  And the Connected Learning MOOC, known as the #CLMOOC (massive open online collaboration) is starting up in a few weeks!

So instead of cleaning my house or working on report cards last week, I started playing with some photo apps, creating some photo art.  And then yesterday Margaret Simon initiated a #digilit challenge…with the first week being focused on creating #photoart.  How could I resist?

So I started with the image I had created using the app Waterlogue, creating a watercolor version of the photo I had taken.  Then, because Margaret modeled adding poetry to hers, I decided to create a haiku to express why I had stopped and snapped the photo in the first place.  I shared this image with her on Facebook yesterday.

Preset Style = Natural Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = Normal Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

And then today I decided to do some exploring and mess around with Thinglink to add some other media to the image.  I started by adding a link to the original photo I had taken before turning it into a watercolor painting.  I also decided to add a favorite piece of music, so I linked a YouTube video of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.  And then, just for fun, I added the link to Margaret’s Pinterest page where there are examples of other’s #photoart.  Here’s my result:

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/659592420828119042

I hope you will also join in the fun…create some #photoart…and join us at the CLMOOC starting in June!

Breaking Through

Living where I do, sometimes it seems like the skies are always blue and the sun is always shining.  And lots of people equate the blue skies and sunshine with happiness.  Sometimes, though, it is gray skies, dense clouds, and the promise of rain that soothe the parched land and the stresses of everyday life.

As much as I love my work, the end of the school year brings its share of stresses.  And for me the answer to those stresses is not more work (to catch up–as tempting as that is), but to get away and clear my mind, move my body and appreciate the beauty and love in my life.

Heading up toward Stonewall Peak with thick, wet clouds wrapping us in their embrace quieted the roar of all the tasks that need to be done and made space to listen to the bird songs, the wind, and the sound of my own breath.  And as I broke through my own funk, I also noticed how nature was dealing with the effects of the devastating fires from a few years ago.

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This Tennessee Williams quote captures the quiet power of nature.

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

We found ourselves mesmerized by this tree that had grown into and around a big boulder.

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As we hiked, I noticed details…like raindrops on wildflowers and the still life arranged by the wind.  And as I noticed, the knots in my shoulders loosened and I felt relaxation breaking through.

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When we drove down the mountain heading toward home, the skies were still gray but my own mood had lifted.  I felt the satisfying tiredness that comes from following trails, climbing rocks, and walking miles.  Like the violets breaking rocks, I can feel the healing breaking through life’s stresses giving me energy and strength for the week ahead.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Tonight was Open House at my school, that wonderful evening of celebrating all the learning that has happened all year.  The third graders (and their parents and teachers) are feeling a bit melancholy, realizing that the end of three years is in sight and there is change in the air.

In addition to spending time chatting with families we currently teach, we also met many of the students who will be our first graders in the fall.  Those shy, unfamiliar faces will soon be a part of our learning community.

Tonight’s Open House featured MACville–our student created community made up of twelve 32 x 32 inch grids.  Each grid was planned by a group of four students working within the constraints of a building code.  Here’s a peek at our cardboard community.

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And when I got in my car to head home after a very long day, the sea and sky called to me.  The weather forecasters have been predicting rain, but we often get a chance of rain in the forecast that comes to naught.  But with the sun setting into the ocean and storm clouds gathering, I headed toward the beach with my phone in my pocket.  As the wind whipped my hair and my jacket billowed around me, I snapped shots of the amazing colors of the sky and sea.  No editing was needed, the light and clouds and water did all the work.

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So where is the change in your life right now?  In the weather?  In your classroom?  In your personal life?  In your art?

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

Change is the air for me right now.  What change will you capture through your lens?