Monthly Archives: January 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weather or Not..

We returned to school, deep in winter.  Flurries of white (paper) mounded as students began their study of snow and inquiry into how to cut hexagonal snowflakes from a square piece of paper.  Outside was cold by San Diego standards with students mostly in long pants and surfers in their full wetsuits.


Weather is rare in these parts.  We hear stories of snow and ice across the country and across the state, but here weather changes are subtle. Clouds change the looks of our mostly blue skies, creating opportunities for dramatic photo images.


More common for us is the grayness of fog.  Sometimes it’s just the grayness of cloudy skies that obscure the sun.  Monochromatic landscapes emerge from the grayness, like these birds in flight near the shore.  I am struck by how much this one looks like a painting with the hints of sunset in the background.


Our oft-promised rain actually materialized this week, giving us a full day cooped up inside the classroom.  At UCSD, the fog rolled in with the rain, painting the world white as the sky crouched low to the ground.  (And what is better than a polka-dot umbrella to brighten a gray landscape?)


Arriving home later that evening after a late meeting, the half moon beckoned, daring me to try to photograph it.  The result, better than I had hoped (no editing or filter here)…with the palms across the street appearing in the dark photo.


And after the rain, yesterday dawned bright.  To cap off the workweek, I headed to the beach for a walk on the beach to clear my head and breathe deeply.  I was treated with creamy sun-kissed waves washing up on the shore as the tide crept to its peak.  I was reminded of a poem we had studied in class with our students about “bubble and froth.”

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.”
― Adam Lindsay Gordon


When I looked up, I noticed the moon again, this time in full daylight. This is the blue sky I am used to, punctuated by the palms on the cliffs above the beach.  Sometimes it’s about the weather…and sometimes not.


So, what will you find when you consider the weather…or not?  How does weather impact your choices in photography?  Do you choose subjects differently?  With weather (or a lack of weather) as your muse, what will you find?

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

How will the weather impact your photography this week?  And weather or not it does, be sure to share some of your images!

One Little Word 2017: Possibility

I’ve never been a resolution maker.  The idea of changing my life by making pronouncements on January 1st just never appealed to me…and I know me, sticking to “rules,” even those I make, doesn’t seem likely over the course of a year.  But when I heard about the idea of one little word a few years ago, I was intrigued.  The concept of choosing a word as a muse, as inspiration and aspiration seemed like a perfect idea.

In 2014 I chose the word playand let it guide my year.  And play I did.  I took some time for reflection on my word before choosing a new word here.  In 2015 my word was explore.  Explore helped me take play to a new level.  It had me searching for new experiences and seeking out new places.  I know that I surprised my husband with my willingness to do things he didn’t think I would do–and I know I surprised myself as I faced fears and branched out in new ways.  By fall of 2015 I learned that 2016 would be a year of change for me and my family as we welcomed new family members–babies!  I selected expand for 2016, going beyond the literal meaning of adding family members.  I knew that I would need to expand my horizons and perspectives in addition to embracing my new role as grandma to three baby boys!

Learning the power that one word can have on my life over the course of the year raises the stakes on choosing a new word.  I often wait a few weeks into the new year to make my selection; pondering, trying on, discarding.  I like to see others’ choices and read their thinking as another window into the selection process.  This year has been the same.  I’ve been reading the choices of others, reflecting on my past choices and considering potential words for 2017.  And even though it’s only the second of January, I feel convinced that I’ve found my word.

I’ve been looking for a word to help me push beyond my usual boundaries, to see past barriers–perceived or real–that limit my thinking.  I want this year to be about possibilities.  Possibilities like dandelion seeds, taking root where they land and thriving in unexpected places.


I want possibility to encourage me to be kind and curious, strong and creative.  To reach out to others and seek new collaborations with possibility as a signpost.


I want possibility to frame my thinking and take me to new understandings…and new actions.  I want to keep growing, personally and professionally, going beyond the usual and predictable and maybe even comfortable paths I have already traveled.


I look forward to a year with possibility as my muse, a reminder to branch out, consider alternative solutions, blaze new trails, and push myself and my thinking.  I want possibility to help me build stronger relationships with family and friends and create better learning opportunities for my students.  I look forward to the possibilities that photography offers as I explore my world, familiar and beyond.

Right now, the possibilities seem endless.