Monthly Archives: March 2016

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Search Of…

This has been a long week…each day I wake up and think it is Friday.  Of course it is the week wedged between parent conferences and spring break.  It’s only slightly better because it is cold, making it easier to be at work instead of pining for that beach walk!

With weeks like this I have to make time to take photos–the opportunities do not seem to crop up naturally, I have to go out in search of inspiration. After work last Friday I talked my husband into a quick trip to the beach to watch the sunset (after running a few errands first).  It was chilly but clear enough for the sun to be visible and I took a few nice sunset shots. I also found this interesting wind blown tree and found myself ducking behind it to capture it silhouetted against the shore.

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And who knew that my search for sunset would lead me to a search for whimsy…I found this interesting, detailed art piece constructed on the top of a trash can near the beach.  It makes me wonder about the artist. Was this constructed from found objects on the beach? What’s its story? Why mount it here?

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I also found myself in search of beauty this week and I treated myself to some cut tulips at Trader Joe’s on Saturday.  I watched and photographed the blooms all week.  I love the way the afternoon sun illuminates my dining room table, the perfect setting for photographs of these beauties.

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I like the idea of candles but seldom light them, afraid I will forget about them and start a fire.  But over the weekend I wanted to create a pretty smell and enjoy the soft glow of the candle flame. So I lit this one for a while, it almost creates an alter like feel on the fireplace mantle.

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After an early Easter dinner with family, Geoff and I headed out in search of the sunset.  Unfortunately, as we headed away from our house the sun ducked under the thickening clouds.  We knew by the time we reached our destination that no sunset would be visible this day.  So, we made the best of it.  Took some photos, explored the area…and then stopped for a cup of coffee and a walk through the outlet mall.  Sometimes quiet time together is a sunset in itself!

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I was delighted the other day to find this racetrack chalked near our neighborhood mailboxes.  There are some children who live down the street who love to race their skateboards down the hill.  I love that they inscribed the word start…a message that resonated with me.  Don’t wait, just start rolling! (It’s funny that they drew the pathway down too…I didn’t go far enough down to see if there was a stop or end too.)  I only needed the word start!

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Somedays you just have to stop on your way home in search of something…energy, inspiration, a change of pace, fresh air…  I found myself at a little seaside park in Del Mar watching the waves, the clouds,…and the train go by.  It was a perfect pick-me-up during this oh-so-long week.

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So, what are you in search of this week?  Whimsy? Beauty? Inspiration? Relaxation?  Where will you find it…in your backyard? At work? In the sunlight glancing through the window?

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

So take out your camera and start your search…what will you find when go in search of…?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Burst

Sometimes it seems that life happens in fits and bursts.  Things roll along as usual, routines dictate daily activities, and even when life feels busy it still fits into the expected schedule.  And then there are the unexpected bursts…of activity, of color, of life itself.

Last week I traveled to Washington, DC for some writing project work. When I arrived it was sunny and warm, beautiful springtime weather.  As I walked around capitol hill, bursts of colorful blooms caught my eye. Pinks of all shades contrasted with the white of the stately legislature buildings.  You might notice that this is the first burst of spring–bare trees stand in the background, still awaiting their brilliant green dresses of leaves.

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When I returned back home on Sunday evening, I knew my week would be filled to overflowing…with parent/student/teacher conferences.  I have a love/hate relationship with these meetings.  I love talking with parents and supporting students as they share their learning with their families…but conference after conference is exhausting.  We end up cramming a full day of teaching into a minimum day schedule, wolfing down some lunch and then settle into afternoons full of these meetings.  To help brighten my week I couldn’t resist the daffodil stems at Trader Joe’s…they are like a burst of sunshine!

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My schedule was simply too full for my after school walks on the beach, but I did manage to squeeze in a few minutes to stop by the beach on Tuesday just to get a glimpse of the surf.  I stopped at a beach that has steep stairs to the shore and as I walked down them I noticed the native bush sunflowers bursting along the railing.  They seemed to pose, begging me to take their photo!

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To add to my already full week, I had an evening meeting scheduled too. After fighting rush hour traffic, I noticed that I had a few minutes before my meeting and that the sun was getting ready to set so I took a little side trip to find a viewing place.  I was treated to a cute little park filled with people, some doing yoga, some with their bikes, others walking dogs, and some just sitting back on benches watching the sun dip into the ocean. My photo captured that burst of activity in silhouette with the sunset in the background.

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And I noticed that the tree in my front yard…the one I have documented as #onetree…has had a growth spurt, a burst of bright green leaves.  I guess spring is bursting out all over!

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I have also been noticing my students interests and learning bursting at the seams.  They can’t get enough information about the birds and eggs and feathers and nests we have been learning about.  (Our science teacher brought in a collection of nests today for students to get a close look!)

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And to end my week I longed for another burst of nature.  I talked my husband into a short walk along the beach to watch the sunset after our trip to Costco for some groceries.  We wandered down to the rocky jetty and sat for a while as we watched the sun sink lower and lower and the waves rush up higher and higher.  I caught this burst of water while I watched.

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So…what is bursting in your life this week? Colors? Blossoms? Learning? Or something else entirely?  Take a look around and see what you can capture through your lens.

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

Be on the lookout for bursts this week…and share what you find with the rest of us!  I can’t wait to see the bursts in your life.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Small

I’ve been thinking small this week.  Not small as in narrow-minded or short-sighted, but appreciating smallness.  There’s the tiny hands of my newborn grandsons with their perfect miniature fingernails.  (I know, I’m obsessed with these new little people…I just can’t get enough of them!)

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And then there’s the funky small Burbank airport where you walk out of your regular sized airplane outdoors onto the tarmac into an old fashioned small terminal building. And then discover that the baggage claim carousel is outdoors!

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I’ve also been noticing all the small signs of spring–especially in my backyard.  I noticed the small plum tree beginning to bud and bloom.

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And the lavender plant is beginning to flower.  I love when I lean in, I can see the tiny little flowers that make up the larger blossom.

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Arriving in Washington, DC for the National Writing Project (NWP) Spring Meeting, I found myself thinking about how so often I think of myself as a small cog in the huge machine that is our government.  It’s easy to think that your voice isn’t important–that someone with a louder voice, a stronger opinion, or a bigger soapbox will take care of providing input to our legislators.  But as I walked down those long corridors of the House of Representatives, I realized that it is, in fact, small voices that matter. We can’t leave the government to the loud, to the privileged, to the moneyed.

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Our government works best when we participate, even if it feels like my one small voice doesn’t matter.  Even monuments look small when you stand back and look from a distance.

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But being here, in our nation’s capitol, I can see the ways that each small piece fits into the next–building strong, textured, and layered structures that endure.  In some ways I see that the elaborate and ornate architecture of this place is also a metaphor for the feat of social and political engineering that is our government.  And like our buildings, if we don’t care for them, pay attention to where they are wearing or have been neglected, government processes break down too.  It takes all of us–each a small part of the whole–to keep our elected officials true to their duties, to raise our small voices together so they can be heard over the fray of disillusionment and partisan politics and keep our country true to its beliefs and freedoms.

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And like our capitol building, we have to expose the damage and build some scaffolds to reach out and make the improvements. I am reminded that my small voice matters.  I can’t sit out the election because I find it unpleasant or because it seems that decisions have already been made (yep–Californians seem so inconsequential in the primary process during presidential elections) and that my one vote doesn’t matter.

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So…try thinking small this week…or at least looking small.  (I do realize that my small thinking turned into some big realizations!)  And remember that small is relative.  You might notice something tiny by using your macro lens…or something may simply seem small because it is dwarfed by distance or something even more monumental.

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

Take a look around and notice the small.  Share your small, however large, in a photo or two…maybe your small will result in some big new understandings!