My feet retrace the steps I take day after day, so familiar that I notice the smallest of changes. The reef that is uncovered by the autumn tides that pull the sand from the shore, the rounded and smoothed beach rocks tossed in piles by the powerful force of storm-driven waves, the thinning crowds replaced by locals who claim this place as their own. Familiar creates opportunity to see my world in fresh, new ways–even though I’ve seen it before.
The beach never gets old for me. Some days the birds capture my attention as I revel in their playful dance with the sea. Others, it is the texture and colors of the cliffs that frame this ocean community. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with the sky and the interplay of light, clouds, water, and color.
And this focus on the familiar makes me more attentive in other aspects of the my life–away from the beach. As I walked from my house to my car the other morning, this dandelion grabbed me by the eyeballs. I had to stop, offload the things from arms, and focus my camera on the single seed hanging on the empty husk. I spent the day thinking about the idea of a single wish and the dream I might choose…
Right in front of my classroom door, the garden box that is home to milkweed sits. I wonder about the monarch caterpillars and what percentage actually make it from caterpillar to butterfly. I noticed the new chrysalis earlier this week, worrying about its exposed location. And it caught my eye again a couple of days ago with dew drops like diamonds sparkling on the already jewel-encrusted casing. Will this one survive and give birth to the beautiful monarch butterfly?
Fall whispers in this place. So when I came across these vivid leaves when up north visiting my twin grandsons, I just had to pick up a couple and take them back home with me. A blogger I follow, Joyfully Green, did a series of “leaf portraits,” inspirational photos of individual fall leaves, so I decided to use these souvenirs to try my hand at a leaf portrait or two.
So when I noticed leaves clinging to edge of the fountain at UCSD, I saw them as those subtle whispers of fall in San Diego. You’ll note that the colors are not as vivid as in the leaf portrait above, but they do suggest a change in seasons.
The library at the university is iconic, with a design reminiscent of an alien planet or maybe even a spaceship. I take its photo pretty regularly, usually trying my best to capture the entire building in the shot. You’ll notice in this view I inadvertently included the top of the Cat in the Hat’s hat from the Dr. Seuss sculpture nearby.
Nikki de St. Phalle’s Sun God sculpture is a familiar one on campus. This week I noticed the way the sun reflects off the top of it in the late afternoon sun. By playing around with the image in Prisma I was able to highlight the brilliance of the colors and show off the shine I saw as I walked by.
So, how do you respond to the familiar in your life? What helps you see it in new ways or notice the subtle changes in your familiar routines? Head out with your camera and re-see those spaces you frequent.
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 #familiar for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Retrace your steps and walk those familiar paths…and while you do, be on the lookout for the nuances in the everyday. Help us see the magic in your familiar–and help yourself rediscover that magic too!
Lovely post and a great exercise in mindful living.
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