Archives

Writing and Photo Challenge: Reflection

Reflection in writing and thinking has become habit for me…and it’s something I emphasize for my students.  In fact, I did an extensive study of reflective thinking and writing for my MA quite a few years ago now.  I know that reflection helps learning stick.  It creates opportunities for problem solving and connections.  In the classroom we talk about reflection as a way of collecting learning.

Over the last week or so I’ve been playing around with reflection in my photographs.  It’s a bit different from reflective thinking and writing.  Instead of examining your thought processes and searching memory, this kind of photography requires a shiny surface of some sort to catch the reflection.  Low tide walks are perfect when there is some sunshine to create reflections.  I’ve had to tinker with angles, how close to get to the reflective surface, and what kinds of objects reflect well.  Yesterday, low tide was near sunset.  Perfect weather, warm and clear, allowed for a refreshing walk in the water.  I noticed the reflection of the pier, light posts, pilings, and even people, creating a perfect mirror image on the wet sand.

lrg_dsc04835

I couldn’t resist trying to capture the color in this reflective photo of the buildings and palm trees along the shore line.  I love the brilliance of the blue sky reflected on the wet sand.

lrg_dsc04812

I noticed this reflection as I worked to create an interesting photo of some trash on the beach.  As I turned my phone to find an interesting angle, I noticed the reflection of the palm trees.  While the angle isn’t perfect, I was able to get an interesting #litterati photo and get some plastic off the beach and out of the ocean.

img_8901

I’m a bit obsessed with seabirds.  I try to get as close as possible without spooking them, getting low if possible.  These guys are pretty perceptive and love to start walking away when they see me in the distance!  I particularly like the soft light of the setting sun warming up their reflection with the pier in the background.

lrg_dsc04833

I captured this guys’s image earlier in the week.  The day was a bit gray and blustery, ruffling his feathers and making the texture dimensional. This is the only photo in the post that I have edited.  I found that by darkening and brightening the image, I could draw attention to the detail of the feathers, the beak and the reflection.

snapseed-31

Reflecting on all this reflection reminds me how much there is to learn from thinking about the processes we use.  While photography uses different skills and processes than writing, they both benefit from taking time to reflect on successes and frustrations.  And it always helps to study the work of another.

So, head out with your camera and try your hand at capturing reflection. Low tide created a perfect shiny surface for me.  Will you find another body of water?  A wet patio deck? The shiny side of your car?  And what will you learn when you take the time to think back and write about your experience capturing reflection through your lens?

Share your #reflection this week, in images or words…or both. 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 #reflection.

I can’t wait to learn from your reflection photos…and your reflections on reflection this week!

Writing and Photography Invitation: Black and White

We live in a colorful world, filled with blue skies, green grass, flowers of infinite variety and so much more.  But some days, it is by draining the color away that we truly notice details.

I like the way that black and white photos bring the focus to contrast and highlight light and shadow.  This lifeguard tower, empty now that summer has passed, becomes an intricate maze of ladders in black and white as the shadows blend with the actual steps.

img_8662

I’m still working on my nighttime photography, something I just don’t get enough practice time with.  The other night the full moon was rising just before I headed to bed and I stepped out onto our deck to observe.  It’s hard to get a clear moon picture, especially with my phone camera.  Even though there was little color in the original, black and white seems to highlight the glow of the moon against the silhouette of the roof.

img_8710

Low tides at the beach offers expanses of wet sand, another vehicle for reflecting light.  The tide was quite low last week, creating perfect conditions for long walks and interesting photos.  I love the way the wet sand reflects the cliffs in the black and white version of this image.

img_8759

These white stairs to nowhere are a favorite photography subject of mine.  They sit at the beach below the Self Realization Fellowship and I imagine they were once an operational path to the beach.  Now, in their brilliant white, they create an interesting contrast to the sky and the cliff.  (I wonder if they are painted regularly, they seem to maintain that clean white quality over the years.)

img_8760

Those weekend low tides also meant that intertidal creatures were on display.  This sea anenome was hanging out in a shallow pool of water in the exposed rocks on the shore.  You can see some of the other life forms that it shares its home with too.

img_8757

And sometimes the beach itself is an exercise in monochromatic tones.  I used Color Splash to take away color in order to bring attention to this light blue soccer ball and its reflection.  Just a hint of color brings the focus to the ball, seemingly abandoned on the shore while people play in the background.

img_8758

So play around with black and white this week, in your photos and in your writing.  You might take some new photos with black and white in mind or play around with some existing photos, noticing what changes when you drain the color out.  How does that work in your writing?  What does black and white writing look like?  How does focusing on light and shadow change your writing?

Share your #blackandwhite this week, in images or words…or both. 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 #blackandwhite.

So play around with your images…and your words.  Share your favorites with the rest of us!

Writing and Photo Invitation: Change

Change happens.  Sometimes when you least expect it.  It’s still warm and sunny and shorts are my go-to weekend attire, but on my beach walk Sunday I was thankful I had grabbed my sweatshirt.  The breeze was chilly…and honestly, it has felt fall-ish all weekend.

On my way to work each morning I drive along the coast.  Lately I’ve been noticing the field of pumpkins, bright orange and framed by the row of palm trees.  I read something today that informed me that these are grown by people at the Self Realization Fellowship (located just to the west) and they become a magnificent display of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns on Halloween each year.

985b8802-358f-4309-a45d-c77ee775ef28

Seasonal change is subtle in San Diego.  I’m starting to see posts and photos by friends who live further east and further north.  The trees are turning and color is dominating the natural landscape.  Instead of brilliant reds and oranges, I am noticing that the beach is wide open with many fewer tourists visiting and maybe many locals occupied by piano lessons and soccer games instead of those long lazy summer days on the shore.  I love this time of year with the sun warming my shoulders, my feet in the surf, and long stretches of open space in front of me.  The shore birds seem to enjoy it too, less skittish as I come near with my camera.

3ddcfa44-b5ec-4438-be98-46851d58efa6

There is lots of change in store decor these days too.  Supermarkets are filled to brim with pumpkin flavored this and that and those pop up Halloween shops are opening.  A trip to Home Depot over the weekend revealed lots and lots of fall flowers.  The bees were happy, flying around and doing their pollinator thing, regardless of the change around them!

fall flowers and a bee

And all change isn’t seasonal.  My teaching life is profoundly changed this year too.  After 23 years co-teaching a multiage class, I am on my own with third graders this year.  I am adjusting to the change in workflow and loving the intimacy of time alone with my students.  The rhythms are different, but the work is familiar and fulfilling.

img_8389What does change look like in your place, in your life?  You might consider the seasonal changes…or not.  There are lots of changes that we experience, some because of the change in the weather and some because of other changes in our lives.

 

Share your #change this week, in images or words…or both. 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 #change.

Take a look around and notice change in your life this week.  Pick up your camera, phone, notebook and pen and document all that you see and experience.  Be sure to share…I look forward to seeing and thinking about your change too!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distance

Some weeks are about getting close, putting your nose up against the window, noticing every detail.  But for me, this last week has been about the long view, looking into the distance.

There’s nothing like a road trip to get you looking long.  The seemingly endless freeway laid out in front of you, promising hours and hours in the car until you reach that destination.  It seems a shame to waste all that time, lucky for me, my camera turns that long, endless highway into an opportunity for a study.

California is fascinating.  I live at the bottom of the state, the southern boundary, nestled right up next to Mexico.  We are known for our beautiful beaches and temperate climate. And who doesn’t love the beach?  Here’s sign in the distance meant for dog parents (although who is really reading when the beach is beautiful and the water feels so nice?).

aa035804-0e72-4281-8b49-e261f416d4d1

When the high tide prevents you from going in one direction, you simply turn around and head the other way.  This stretch of beach led us to a bridge where the river mouth allows the lagoon and beach to connect…and creates new playgrounds.  Can you see the floaters in the distance?

55910796-fd3f-4e46-835e-62f063f4b8b9

I can never resist a sunset, although the marine layer along the coast has made them a bit unpredictable lately.  We thought we might not see any sunshine as we headed to the beach last weekend, but a bit of sun peeked through the thick clouds.  As we walked, we noticed the bubble man in the distance and I had to stop to snap some bubble photos.

fullsizerender-2

You can see the sun trying to make its way through the clouds behind the bubbles.  It’s such fun to watch the giant bubbles form and float into the distance just out of reach of all the hands trying to touch and pop them.

Another night I noticed the sun setting through the window at home.  I headed out with my camera to see if I could catch the colors I was seeing in the distance.  A bit of editing made the sky pop with the colors I was seeing.

img_7578

Back to the road trip.  We’re making our way up the length of the long narrow state, first crawling through LA traffic (with a quick stop for hugs and kisses from one grandson) and then back on the road, over the grapevine into the central valley to stop for the night.  Of course, again I needed to catch the sunset through my lens, and through the gas station parking lot.

img_7598

The next morning had us back on the road heading to see our other two grandson for the next leg of our adventure.  The tomato trucks always catch my attention (you can see that I’ve written about them before), there’s something about the open trucks piled high with red, ripe tomatoes that makes me pull out my camera.  I also learned that California grows the majority of tomatoes for the nation, with most of them farmed in the central valley area because of the hot, dry summers.  I watched and snapped truck after truck after truck as we passed them on the long stretch of highway.

snapseed-26

As we turned from highway 5 toward the 580, instead of trucks it was windmills that caught my eye.  The Altamont Pass wind farm was one of the first in the United States, a response to the 70’s energy crisis (something I just learned after taking photos of the wind turbines).  There are nearly 5000 perched on the distant hillsides as you make your way into the East Bay.

bb4d4723-4d3f-4214-baab-09df6cfa1c9b

And when I turned back to look behind, I noticed all these cows on the hillside too, seemingly undisturbed by the windmills in the distance.

5e318f12-4358-4d4f-8116-b68e89ff6e5a

So, take the long view this week.  What do you see in the distance?  Will you look through a window, from the top of a hill, from the end of your driveway?

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

Gaze into the distance…what will you see?  I can’t wait to see what you find!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Be Ready

I’ve noticed that my state of mind plays a role in determining what I see.  It’s so easy to overlook what is right in front of you, especially if you are looking for something else.  This week I’ve been working to pay attention to what is in front of me.  I walk past an art installation on the UCSD campus each day as I head to our Summer Institute.  Fallen Star is a tiny house (back before the Tiny House movement) perched on the top of the engineering building.  We’ve had many gray mornings (one of the downsides of being near the coast), the flat gray light seems to make things all blend together.  But some early morning sunshine this week had me looking more carefully and noticing lines, angles and shadows.

fullsizerender

The Independence Day holiday gave us some extra time to explore our surroundings.  We headed out to a local hiking trail–a bit inland where it is hot and dry these days.  This year’s rains mean the creek is still flowing, but our native foliage is drying out.  I noticed these dandelion-like puffs along the trail, bursts almost like mini fireworks spreading their seeds as they wait for moisture to germinate.

4d25a127-7a7d-41af-8a82-79ed6bf5af8c

There are lots of interesting cars in our area.  Near the beach we often see vintage cars, especially “woodies,” those fancy old station wagons that are often featured in surfing movies.  Low riders are much less prevalent.  I’m glad that I stopped to look closely as a parade of low riders drove through the drop off circle at the beach.  I watched the drivers “dance” with their cars, lifting and lowering, showing off and posturing to each other and the crowd.

1f3a75a1-e3c4-4140-8158-bbb1002ae37b

I’ve been finding a lot of glasses on the beach glasses.  Sunglasses are pretty common, often found with an arm missing, only one lens, bent and mangled from their time in the surf.  I almost missed this pair of prescription lens buried in the kelp washed up on the shore.  I’m sure that someone is bummed that these were lost!

img_7334

After running some errands last night, we stopped by for a quick dinner.  As we headed to the car afterwards my husband pointed to the almost full moon rising.  As we looked to the sky we also noticed the oranges and pinks of the sun setting in the distance.  We decided to take the coastal route home, hoping there would be a place to pull of the road and photograph the sky.  The sun had already dipped below the horizon, but the clouds reflected the residual color.

1436a966-7874-4430-bab3-580cf270cdfc

And when I looked in the other direction, I saw the moon again, this time shrouded in cotton candy clouds.  With just a hint of pink from the setting sun and a hint of the blue sky not yet dark, the moon was blanketed in soft swirls.

snapseed-24

Earlier in the day, on my way home from work, I stopped by Torrey Pines State Beach for a walk.  The weather was warm and muggier than usual.  The tide was low-ish, but not too low.  I walked in the water, letting the salty water cool my feet and wash away the work week, clearing the way for the weekend.  As I walked I noticed a big brown rock-like structure in front of me.  Or was it a rock?  As I got closer it was clear it was an animal…a seal?  A sea lion?  Dead or alive?  I was relieved to see it moving.  It was a sea lion laying on the beach.  As I approached, keeping my distance, the sea lion got up to warn some people nearby not to get too close.  I started snapping, wanting to capture the movement and beauty of the wildlife.  I’m hoping the sea lion was simply enjoying the beach and not sick.

img_7429

So, be ready for what appears in your path this week.  What will you notice when your mind is ready to see what is there and not what you hope to find?  Be sure to keep your camera handy!

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

Open your eyes and your mind to all that is in front of you.  Be sure to grab your camera and take some shots to share what you find when you take the time to #beready!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close to Home

It’s summer vacation season…but I’m not on vacation, not yet anyway.  But even when I’m close to home I’m lucky enough to have some interesting places to visit and photograph.  I love living near the beach.  Walking to breakfast the other morning I couldn’t resist this photo of the wetsuit rolled into the car window to dry.  I love how quirky the beach community is and how cars double as drying racks for wetsuits, towels, bathing suits…

b0ae57b5-4f6a-48d3-aee6-c96e37aca657

It was the same morning as the Switchfoot BroAm surf contest, taking place at my favorite local beach, and it’s always fun when you see a world class surfer and recognize him as a community member.  Rob Machado is recognizable with his flowing dreds and red wetsuit, and even though retired from professional surfing, is still exciting to watch.  Although I have a zoom lens for my camera, focusing and capturing action is still a skill I’m working on.  It was fun to see this capture of Rob in action…I love the way both his hair and the crest of the wave spray around him!

snapseed-22

And after a morning at the beach watching the surf contest, we decided to fully play out the idea of staycation and head off to the expensive fancy coffee place on the main street of downtown Encinitas.  Perched at the front bar, we could sip our iced lattes and watch people stroll down the street while the sun and sea breezes came in through the wide open windows.

img_7175

I’m still working, with the SDAWP Invitational Summer Institute in full swing.  The snack table has become a tradition in writing projects across the nation. After all, writers need sustenance to get all that thinking on the page!  (Thanks to Jen for the beautiful table display–food tastes better when it is displayed beautifully!)

img_7237

In the early morning the university is quiet.  I couldn’t help noticing the juxtaposition of this scene as I walked up the stairs…the slumpy chairs lined up in front of the bright orange wall announcing Ballroom.  What message does this image send?

img_7249

Some days we can’t resist exploring other beaches close to home.  This week I found myself at three different beaches, all relatively close to home.  South of me I explored La Jolla Shores in the late afternoon between the end of the Summer Institute and the evening meeting I had in San Diego.  There is something about the pier that draws me to photograph again and again.

cebb85bb-3518-4596-9f62-4ed56043678f

And to the north, in San Clemente, is a new outlet mall that we decided to explore last Sunday.  It has an exquisite location…right off the freeway AND quite close to the beach.  After shopping and lunch we headed to the nearby beach to walk and take pictures.  Later, after washing the sand off our feet, I noticed this sign…shark sighting!  (There were people in the water…and lifeguards watching the beach!)

f9103b55-babb-49e3-8df7-9a26d4eeb259

So, what is close to home in your parts?  What do you do to “get away” when you need or have to stay close to home?  You might find your images in your home, in your neighborhood, or outside in nature.  If you happen to be away from home, you might consider what reminds you of home…makes you miss home…or makes you feel at home.

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

If, like me, you find yourself close to home, take some time to explore the possibilities that being close to home offers you.  Or if you’re away from home, what will you find that reminds you of home?  Be sure to share your photos with the rest of us!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Odds and Ends

Most days I turn to my camera for inspiration, for relaxation, for opportunities for creativity.  It’s flexible and convenient and I find ways to fit picture taking into even the busiest days.  Except when I don’t.  Those days are rare, but this last week was one of those weeks.  I did turn to my camera, but with less frequency and less inspiration…and I ended up with some odds and ends.

Like the afternoon that I wandered about my yard looking for something I wanted to take a picture of.  Actually, I was probably avoiding the pile of work I needed to do…but I did find inspiration…in the light and color of the faucet on the rain barrel on the side of my house.  One of those odds and ends…

41a3198b-fc34-472b-8a5d-c6c83d018231

It has been tricky going directly from the end of my school year on Monday to the first day of the Summer Institute on Tuesday.  I missed having a day or a few to take a few deep breaths and reset my brain for summer learning.  I noticed this table and umbrella with the solar panels fueling a charging station while walking to the room where we hold the SI the other day.  I like that the UCSD triton is visible in the background.  I’ll have to try out the charging station one of these days.  Another of my odds and ends.

img_7138

During my teaching demo I asked the teachers in the room to play and reminded them that robust and long-lasting learning comes from play and playfulness.  There’s nothing like an index card with a piece of tissue paper and some colored markers to encourage a bit of play.  Here’s a couple of creations.  (The photos are mine, the creations belong to others.)

img_7136

img_7135

A trip to the airport late at night to pick up my husband…right in the middle of the week…brought me face to face with this sculpture of travelers.  Hands full, facing forward, waiting in line…it takes some seriousness to navigates the perils of travel.  The airport was surprisingly full, and ripe for people watching, as the hour approached midnight.  Another shot to add to my odds and ends collection.

snapseed-21

One of the highlights of the Summer Institute (SI) is the opportunity (or pressure) to write…and to share that writing for feedback in Writing Response Groups.  As I was working with my group, this view of the long corridor caught my attention, reminding me that thinking and writing and teaching–at its best–requires that we explore the corridors of our minds, making connections, taking twists and turns, opening doors that we might not even have known existed.

img_7151

So…what odds and ends have you collected this week?  Even when you are at your busiest and it seems that an interesting photo is impossible, pause for just a moment and snap one of those odds and ends.

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

Take a moment and snap some of those odds and ends this week.  The advantage of that camera in your pocket or purse (you know, your phone!) is that it is always with you.  Pull it out and see what you can see.  Be sure to share with us!