Monthly Archives: December 2015

Find it! January’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Keeping myself motivated to take photos and to write are dual challenges. Some days it seems that I’ve already taken photos of all the things around me, that everything feels the same–ordinary, boring, done–without inspiration.  But then I zoom in, turn my camera, snap from another angle, find a different frame, crouch down or climb a hill…and everything changes.

I’m lucky to live near the beach, just a short drive takes me to the beauty of the ocean, the waves, the birds, and endless sunsets.  But sometimes it seems that I have hundreds of images of those very same things. Yesterday I decided to use my zoom lens at the beach, hoping for some pelican and other sea bird sightings.  The birds were scarce, but as I looked up I noticed this wind flag against the brilliant blue of the December sky.

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The monotony of long car rides makes me prefer planes and other modes of transportation.  Some motion sickness keeps me from reading or using my computer in the car…and face it, there’s only so much to talk about on an eight hour drive!  So I started playing around with taking photos out the car window.  It’s not the best of photographic environments.  You have to dodge the bug splats, the reflection through the window, the rear view mirrors…you get the idea!  But sometimes, you can catch a moment that turns that monotony into something beautiful like the glow of the coming sunrise as we headed away from Walnut Creek toward the I5 to head home from a visit to my son and daughter-in-law.

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Or the sun peeking above the horizon, illuminating the power lines that stretch out along the long, straight freeway that connects northern California to southern California.img_8505

Sometimes I find that I have to open myself up to the serendipity of noticing something usual in a new way.  Finding kelp on the beach is usual…noticing the curve that reminds me of a smile is something quite different.  I got down low, kept my camera field large, and found this!

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And anyone who follows this blog knows that I take tons of photos of seagulls.  Seagulls in flight, seagulls in silhouette, seagulls alone, seagulls in groups…  And sometimes you find a pair of seagulls sitting on a railing that you simply can’t resist.  I love these seagull butts!

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So for the month of January, take our your camera and find it!  Find that new angle, the light that casts the magical glow you hadn’t noticed before. Find the treasure among the things you see everyday and take for granted. Find inspiration.  Find perspective.  Find ways to make the ordinary extraordinary, find the interesting in the mundane.

Here’s some prompts to get your creative juices flowing:

1. look up

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2. crouch down

3. inside

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4. through the window

5. beneath

6. find the light

7. on top

8. move closer

9. reflects

10. on the go

11. find a natural frame

12. movement

13. climb

14. something you can smell

15. a new angle

16. zoom in

17. seek color

18. play

19. get close (macro if you can)

20. texture

21. monochromatic

22. above

23. weather

24. people

25. a worm’s eye view

26. ordinary

27. under

28. try a filter

29. black and white

30. everyday

31. right in front of you

As always, our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. The prompts are there to help you find new ways to look at your world, to find the unexpected in the ordinary and the beauty in the mundane. You can use them in order or pick and choose as you like–you are welcome to add a new prompt into the mix if you are so moved. 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.

Let’s find it as we focus our camera lenses in January…whatever “it” might be that inspires, motivates, and keeps us all learning and growing–one photo a day!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Street

I wander around my hometown with my camera (Sony a6000) hanging around my neck.  And I get asked now and then where I am from.  I always think it’s interesting that a camera somehow connotes tourist (of course I do live in a tourist destination–so maybe that comes into play).

With my camera around my neck, I feel like I see this place a bit differently.  Sure, I have lots of opportunities to take photos of the beach. But there are other interesting photo opportunities too.  Today I had a window of time and set out to wander the streets in downtown Carlsbad.

The sun was settling low in the sky…our days are nearly at their shortest right now.  I kept catching glimpses of the sun through the streets when I noticed this fire hydrant dressed in its beach finery (a “woody” with a sign for highway 101…exactly where it is located).

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A couple of blocks further west the street opened to a view of the ocean, framed by palm trees.  If you look closely you can see the stairs that lead down to the beach…but I stayed up on the street today!

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As I looped around to head back to get a cup of coffee before my appointment, I couldn’t resist a few shots of the classic Carlsbad sign.  We have signs like this in many of our San Diego communities.  (I love the way the setting sun is lighting up the historic building in the distance…it used to be a restaurant and is now a retail store.

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Earlier this week I stopped to run some errands on the way to a meeting and couldn’t resist a shot of the way the sun was illuminating this building.  You can see how shadowy things are near the ground…and how bright the sun is (again, near sunset) up high.

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And we ended the weekend last week with a trip to get a Christmas tree. The tree lot at Home Depot doesn’t have the charm of the one I went to with my son and daughter-in-law the week before, but we did find a nice tree.  Here’s my hubby with it hoisted over his shoulder in the yellowy light of the parking lot.

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So what are you noticing on the street?  How does your camera let you see things you might not otherwise notice?  Take a look around and take a few shots to share.

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

So grab your camera and head out to the street…in your neighborhood, downtown, as you go about your everyday life.  I can’t wait to see what you find on the street!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasonal

I’m not sure how it happened, but it’s December already.  And not just the beginning of December, but almost half way through December!

With today’s stormy weather (at least by San Diego standards), winter feels near.  Our students were in for their snack recess…and out in the blustery wind for lunch.  I couldn’t resist swinging by the beach on my way home to glimpse the wind blown waves as the sun started to set. There’s something magnificent about the way the clouds cluster over the sea, walking along the shore with my jacket zipped to my chin and my hood up, and the wind pulling and pushing as I explored.

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Just a few days before I had stopped on my way home to snap a few photos of the sun setting, golden in the distance.  Instead of feeling the wind, this day was warm and sunny–reminiscent of the summer–unseasonably mild.

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This week is also the annual season for computer coding.  Beebot is the perfect tool for introducing students to the principles of coding…and the kids love programming this mechanical robot to move around its grid. You can see the engagement and intensity on their faces.

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We haven’t gotten our Christmas tree yet, but I did go with my son and daughter-in-law last weekend to pick out theirs.  I love the smell of the pines…and I couldn’t resist this shot of the trees wrapped in their webbing.  It was a fun surprise to look through my pictures and notice the red stands contrasted with the green of the trees.

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And my neighborhood is ablaze with light this time of the year.  It seems that each house is more elaborately lit up than the next.  There are the traditional strings of lights hung from the eaves, the palm trees wrapped in loops of lights, and the much more kitchy reindeer, santas, snowmen, and more!  This image is the tiniest fraction of the lights in this neighborhood!

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So take a look around for what is seasonal in your parts this week.  Will you find evidence of the holidays, notice weather patterns, or come up with some other seasonal evidence?

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

Take a look around for the seasonal…and share the view through your lens.  What does seasonal look like in your part of the world?