Monthly Archives: August 2015

Setting the Mood: September’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Images can tell stories and set a mood by the way the subject is framed, by the quality of light, the angle of the shot…and more.

I’m guilty of taking many, many photos of my favorite places and subjects…sunsets and waves, seagulls and surfers, dandelions and bumblebees, lavender…and my cats! The beauty of taking multiple photos of similar subjects and places is that I have the opportunity to view them through from different perspectives…and notice the moods they evoke.

Sometimes my shot of a seabird is not just about the bird, but about the energy in the background.  This one sets a hurried mood for me as I see the still image but notice the speed of the bird and the force of the ocean.

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Other images feel tranquil, washing me with calm and cool with the lack of color and reflected light.

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There’s a mood of urgency set by this image of a military chopper hovering low over the shoreline…is there an emergency they are attending to?  (And I love the seagulls in the frame!)

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This image definitely feels upbeat and energetic with the musicians belting out their songs, bringing the audience to their feet, dancing and tapping their toes!

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Sometimes distance can give a sense of isolation…and even seriousness.  This photographer creates a mood of isolation…alone in the overcast with only distant surfers visible.

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And other times, the selected use of color and a pair of empty chairs creates a feeling of wistfulness, wishing for a sunset, waiting for a couple to fill the chairs…

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Perfect light on a sunny afternoon can create a reflective mood as the light creates distance and perspective…perfect for thinking and remembering.

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And there is the giddy mood of floating in the wide blue of the sky above and sea below, a bird’s eye view!

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So for September take another look at your favorite subjects and places and see what moods those images can set.  And to help you vary your shots and stimulate your thinking, here is a list of moods for each day of the month!

  1. lonely
  2. amazed
  3. amused
  4. frustrated
  5. hesitant
  6. energetic
  7. anxious
  8. shocked
  9. inquisitive
  10. powerful
  11. pensive
  12. satisfied
  13. indifferent
  14. confused
  15. courageous
  16. isolated
  17. eager
  18. serious
  19. overwhelmed
  20. jealous
  21. tranquil
  22. happy
  23. excited
  24. peaceful
  25. irritated
  26. distant
  27. apathetic
  28. fulfilled
  29. confident
  30. astonished

And as always, our challenge will allow us to 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 as you work to set moods through your images. 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! You can share on Twitter (follow me @kd0602), on Instagram (@kd0602), in the CLMOOC community on G+, on Flickr, or even link back to my blog here.

I’m looking forward to seeing how you set September’s moods through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginnings and Endings

It turns out that the last days of August mark beginnings and endings for some of us.  This week was our first week of school with students, the beginning of the new school year…with sweltering heat (it seems to come only during our first weeks of school) and no air conditioning.  And our students were excited to be back…even taking the time to pick a beautiful rose of two from their home garden to set the back to school mood.

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And in spite of the heat, our learners dove right in, whether it was a first day team challenge to build the highest tower possible using only large index cards,

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or collecting data in small groups to display in graphs to help us get to know each other better (and what student doesn’t love a clipboard?)

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

And while this new beginning was underway, we were also feeling the full blast of the end of summer.  Who can resist the allure of the layers of color from beneath a pier, while dipping your feet in the cool salty water?

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And it seems that the fishermen are also squeezing in the last of the summer fishing season…off the piers, in the surf…during the heat of the day or in the cooler evening hours.

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And last night, to celebrate the ending of the first week of school and to escape the heat of indoors, we headed to the beach at sunset…which also happened to coincide with the moonrise…and a full moon!

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It’s been quite a week of beginnings and endings for me.  What is beginning and ending in your life this week?  You can represent it literally…by capturing a moment, or use a metaphoric approach and use an image that reflects your feelings of beginnings and/or endings.

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

How will you capture beginnings and endings this week?  I’m looking forward to seeing beginnings and endings through your lens!

Savoring Moments

As much as I love my job, these last few days of summer vacation have flown by much too quickly.  I’ll still be in the amazing place that I call home…and have opportunities to walk on the beach, appreciate the natural beauty around me, and watch so many interesting people.  What I won’t have though, is the unstructured time with few expectations that allows me to unwind and relax.

But…what I’ve been learning over the last year is the importance of creating mini-adventures on a regular basis–to keep me from working all the time and to make spaces for play and exploration, as well as opportunities to connect and build relationships with the people I love.  And I’ve learned that taking time to play prepares me for work…and the focus on learning that I need in the classroom.

School starts tomorrow…and I’m excited to reconnect with our second and third grade students…and meet our new first graders!  And I consciously made a choice not to work today.  Instead, my husband took the day off work and we headed out on a local adventure.

I’m not sure why I have never visited Balboa Island in Newport Beach before…what a gem!  (And a Monday in late August was a great choice–light traffic and beautiful weather!)  A scenic drive up the PCH led us to the Balboa Island Ferry.  Only three cars can fit on ferry at a time…and when we arrived we were the only car, joined by some boys on bicycles, to cross over to the island. (This picture is the ferry bringing people from the other side as we crossed.)  I loved the short ride on this small ferry–it was fun to take pictures, feel the sea breeze, and feel transported back in time on this low tech feeling vehicle.

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And then we headed out to walk along the shoreline…and found this gorgeous expanse of beach.  Sand and sun and waves–my favorite combination.  We walked and walked and walked, soaking in the beauty and the calm that only the ocean can bring.

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And I’m ready to head back to work tomorrow, looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm of young students, ready to savor the moments as we live and learn in a community.  I’ll be paying attention, keeping my eyes peeled, trying not to miss anything!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Favorites

Summer doesn’t officially end for a month still, and it will seem like summer for longer than that in these parts, but the beginning of the new school year has me thinking about some of my favorite photos of summer.

Exploring Malibu with my son led me to take this photo of seagulls from behind.  There is something wonderful and whimsical about this shot of seagull butts!

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And there is nothing quite like spending time at the San Diego County Fair–a huge extravaganza of animals, food and light.  I never seem to tire of photographing goats.

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I’ve also been messing with some night photography this summer.  Here a few of my favorites.  Nighttime with the moon at the fair,

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Oceanside from the pier,

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and a Chicago sunset reflected in the windows of the Signature Lounge.

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And I love to photograph nature as I find it.  Bees at work,

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the beauty of a spider’s web in the early morning dew,

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and black sage in bloom.

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I never tire of sunsets,

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or fireworks,

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and water seems to be my life-force!

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So this is your week to look through your summer pictures and highlight a few favorites…or head out with your camera and capture some new favorites before the summer makes an exit.

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

Putting this post together encouraged me to do a bit of photo curating…something I need to be more systematic about…and as I browsed through I also got to reflect on a wonderful summer filled with whimsy, fun, and lots of love.  I hope you enjoy a week of thinking about your summer favorites!  Can’t wait to see a glimpse of summer-in-review through your lens!