Best of 2017, Photo Style

I’ve been taking at least one photo a day for many years now (I think I started in 2012), which adds up to quite a collection of photos over the course of a year.  I do like to take the time to pick out some “best of” photos from the year, based on my own criteria of course!  (Here’s a link to last year’s collection.) Instagram, where I post my daily photos, offers a #bestnine each year where the nine are determined by the photos that get the most likes.   (You can see mine for 2017 on my Instagram account @kd0602) For me, those are not my best photos.  Instead they are often related to an event that creates some traffic rather than images that stand out for their photographic merit.

It was hard to pick nine “best” photos for 2017. Initially I came up with eleven–but after some careful consideration I narrowed it down and I am sticking with nine!  I went all the way back to the beginning of last year and found myself drawn to this photo of the ocean lighted by winter’s low sun angles and muted by the clouds, creating a colorful sky.  I love the pensive mood it creates on the delightfully empty beach.

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My annual trip to Washington D.C in 2017 happened to correspond with the blossoming of cherry trees.  I absolutely love the delicate pinks against the brilliant blue sky.  While I wasn’t there at peak bloom, this was close enough for some beautiful photos.

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Some days my photo choices are limited to something in my house or yard.  Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I took this shot of the lavender plant in my back yard with the bee in action.  The macro effect erases the background, creating a watercolor of greens and browns.

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All the lifeguard towers that we see during the summer, winter near the jetty not too far from my house.  This composition begged for black and white, a cluster of white towers against the dark of sky and sand.  I feel like there is a whole story in this one image.

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A spring trip to Joshua Tree National Park offered amazing opportunities to experience the desert in bloom.  Everything that is ordinarily dry and brown was exploding in color.  And the sky at sunset was up to the challenge, silhouetting the distinctive Joshua tree in its colorful descending light.

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A local man is a regular at the beach near sunset creating enormous, soapy bubbles that reflect the setting sun.  I love this particular bubble because of the swirl of color radiating in front of the light from the sun. This guy encourages kids to run in the bubbles, seeing how long they can stay in before the bubble pops.  I have taken tons of photos of his bubbles, but only a few are this spectacular.

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As you can tell from the previous six images, many of my photographs are of nature.  But on the 4th of July I found myself captivated by the action of the volleyball players.  I kept creeping closer, working to time the snap of my shutter with the ball centered over the top of the net.  I am in love with the action of this shot…all the way down to the sand puffs under the players’ feet!

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November took me to the National Writing Project Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.  In spite of full days of conference sessions and meetings, no trip to St. Louis is complete without an opportunity to get close to the Gateway Arch.  Night photography is always challenging for me, I love that I had just enough light to catch the arch as a frame for the cityscape in the background.  Look closely, you can see the American flag off to the right!

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And number nine was taken on New Year’s Eve, just a couple of days ago during a walk on the beach.  I love when the tide is low and the beach is wide.  Obviously, my friend the egret feels the same.  I love the light and color in this image, showing off the vivid greens and reds of the sea grass and algae and the bright white of the egret’s feathers.  If you lean in you might be able to see the brilliant yellow feet of this snowy egret.

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I hope you enjoy my best nine of 2017, I’d love to hear your thoughts about my choices…and suggestions as I go into 2018.  And I’d love to see your best of images for the year…feel free to leave a link to your post so I can enjoy your best of 2017!  (Or even best of today!)

 

 

One Little Word 2018: Stretch

The past few weeks have passed in a blur…just where did 2017 go? School was in session right up through December 22nd, leaving only the weekend to finish last minute preparations for Christmas and the whirlwind that was about to ensue.  And once family left on Sunday, I had time for a bit of celebrating before waking up yesterday to a new year.

In spite of the time warp, I have been thinking about a word to guide 2018 as well as reflecting on last year’s word.  For 2017, I chose the word possibilityPossibility is a great word, and as I read last year’s post I could still feel the reasons I chose this word.  But what I have learned about a word as a talisman is that I need a word that requires action, a word that reminds me to do something when the going get rough or stagnant and I need that proverbial kick in the butt,

So for some weeks now I’ve been trying on words.  Even this morning I thought I had settled on my word, but found myself reconsidering as I pulled out my computer to begin writing.  I thought reach would be that perfect word, encouragement to go beyond my comfort zone, to look past the edges of my sightline.  But suddenly, reach seemed too stagnant, too grabby, too self-serving.  I needed a word with more layers, something to encourage me to go beyond, but also to be flexible, introspective, and compassionate.

Stretch…somehow it feels right.  I need to make space in my life for more stretching, allow this body to bend, to regain the flexibility that I’ve allowed to erode as yoga has faded from my regular routines.  I want to stretch my mind and my thinking, remember to listen carefully to others and to consider perspectives different from my own.

I want to stretch time, gathering up minutes that turn into hours that I waste doing things that don’t matter and return to more writing, reading, and photography.  While I still always fit those activities into my life, I know I can be more mindful and deliberate about making them a priority.  I want to grow my skills, stretching to learn something new each day.

I intend to stretch my legs, walking and hiking into new places and seeing familiar places in new ways.  And I want to stretch out my passport and travel, exploring some new venues–those places we’ve talked about visiting but haven’t quite gotten to.  I will also keep stretching low, picking up those little boys who are almost not babies anymore!  Stretch to reach those small hands that are so eager to explore the world, offering me new insights on teaching and learning.

I can already feel the muscles in my back and shoulders unknot and relax, knowing that each stretch will result in flexibility and strength–a combination that seems perfect for 2018.

And as a reminder, a photo from my New Year’s Eve beach walk of an egret stretching into flight.  Like the egret, I will stretch my wings, pay attention to my surroundings, and even stir up the waters to uncover the tasty tidbits beneath.  (Have you ever watched an egret hunt?  I love the way they stomp and rustle the waters to get the fish to come into view as they search for food.)

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What will you choose as your One Little Word for 2018?