Tag Archives: beach

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…

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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!

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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.

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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!)

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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?

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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.

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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!)

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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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Familiar

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.

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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…

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine

This week I’m borrowing the prompt from the folks over at the Daily Post since so many of my photos this week fit their theme: shine.

I had such a busy weekend last weekend–happily playing with my twin 7 month old grandsons.  We purposely took a late flight back to maximize the precious time we have with them, getting home near midnight on Sunday.  That meant that the alarm on Monday morning came sooner than I would have liked.  Surprisingly, I had plenty of energy at work and set out for a beach walk afterward.

The tide was low after work this week, creating perfect conditions for long walks.  Monday was cloudy–we’d had misty conditions during the school day.  Not enough to keep the kids in, but enough to wet the ground and make us feel a bit soggy outdoors.  When I arrived at the beach, I could see the shine of the sun in the distance, reflecting on the water, almost like there was a portal above.

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Further down the beach, I came across an algae covered reef, exposed by the very low tide. I started thinking about the way the algae creates the fall colors that others usually see in the foliage of trees–this really is fall on the beach–browns and oranges along with the blues of the sky reflecting in the shine of the water.

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As the week warmed up, the sun made itself more prominent.  You can see its shine peeking through as I leaned in to capture this shot of the tree roots.  I was thinking about how they remind me of feet and toes in the sand.

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I noticed that the sun and light kept changing this week.  The days are getting shorter, affecting the trajectory of the sun, making the shine feel more diffuse and muted.  This shot reminds of the light of those “endless summer” surfing posters.  Maybe when you can walk on the beach barefoot and in a sleeveless top in the fall, it is endless summer (if you look closely at the surfer, you’ll see he’s in trunks rather than a wetsuit)!

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I love it when light shines in a way that creates a mirror-like reflection. You can see this seabird has a colorful reflection in the wet sand.

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Things felt a bit less shiny when I spied this seagull with the plastic baggie.  The amount of plastic that ends up in and near the beach is staggering, even when people make an effort to reduce their use and pick up trash.  The beach I walk is pretty clean…and even though I got close enough to take the photo, this bird was not letting me get a hold of his treasure!

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Yesterday’s walk was near sunset–that magical time when the light shines softly, creating a wonderful glow.  I noticed this surfer sitting on her board watching her friend head into the water.  I like the way the sun shines on her face, while everything else has a soft glow.

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By the time I got back to where I began my walk, the sun was just about down, replacing the bright shine with an orange glow.  And I was lucky enough to catch a green flash in the moment the sun set into the ocean…confirmed by the cheers that went up by the other sunset watchers!

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So, where are things shining in your life this week?  What shine catches your eye? Although my examples of shine are from outdoors, I can imagine plenty of shine indoors as well.

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

Thanks Nancy Thanki and the folks at Daily Post for the inspiration this week…and feel free to share your shine with them too!  I’m looking forward to seeing all the shine that catches your eye this week.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

Life is full of texture, the sense of depth and variation that makes it seem as if our eyes can feel the smoothness, the roughness, and the differences in surfaces that we usually notice with our fingertips.

Tonight’s sunset is a perfect example.  Driving home from the Digital Media and Learning Conference (DML), I couldn’t help but notice the ways the setting sun interacted with the clouds along the coast.  Luckily, the rest area right off the freeway overlooks the ocean, so a quick stop when I was almost home allowed me to catch the sunset up close and personal–the perfect opportunity to enjoy the texture of the colors of the sun and the clouds as it dipped into the sea.

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Other days, the texture is apparent in the lack of color.  This week was filled with low tides at times that corresponded with the end of my work day.  As I walked and watched the seabirds frolic and eat along the exposed shore, my camera captured the texture of the silvery waves, bird silhouettes, and shadows, turning the photo to black and white without the use of a filter.

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Last weekend the light was just right to capture the glassy smoothness of the clouds reflected on the wet sand.  This photo feels smooth and shiny, like I could turn the photo over and the same image would be visible.

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While in Los Angeles visiting with my grandson, I found texture in lights.  I was surprised to find a chandelier hanging in the middle of a street.  The layers of wires and lights create a feeling of texture–I imagine what this would look like lit up in the dark!

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Nearby, at the Museum of Neon Art, I watched these lights in constant movement, creating a texture and depth that the still photo just can’t capture.  I love the idea that light also creates texture.

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And then there’s pomegranates.  Smooth on the outside, unless you look into the star-shaped end.  I love the way the macro lens allows me to see the filaments where the fruit once bloomed.

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Today marks the day that I learned to knit–at a digital media conference–as a way of learning about math!  In less than 40 minutes I learned how to use knitting needles to create this swatch of a yarn textile.  I can’t wait to bring this back to my students!

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Drought resistant plants often have an interesting texture.  This tiny bloom was surrounded by the kinds of leaves that preserve moisture and are common in southern California.  The actual bloom is probably the size of my pinky fingernail!

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So, take a look around.  What texture do your eyes detect?  What looks smooth?  What looks bumpy or rough?  Do colors create texture?  What textures do you find in an absence of color?

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

Where will you find texture?  Head out and investigate the textures we usually notice with our fingertips…what textures will your eyes “feel?”  Be sure to snap a few photos and share the textures you notice through your lens.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Best of Summer

With Labor Day right around the summer, it’s time to step back, reflect, and curate some of those summer gems!

Some of my favorite images from the summer come from our trip to the Pacific Northwest, outside of Seattle.  There’s this wonderful town called Sequim that boasts a lighthouse accessible only at low tide.  And even though we didn’t time our visit to allow for the (long) walk the lighthouse and back, my zoom lens let me capture this view from a distance.  I’m in love the with monochromatic effect featuring all the shades of blue.

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And this is the same area where we glimpsed several bald eagles.  These magnificent birds were not easy to photograph, but I fell in love with this one perched on a piling recognizable by its distinctive white head.

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Back at home I continued my practice of taking regular walks on the beach.  This hasn’t been a particularly warm summer–in fact there were many days when the marine layer kept the sky gray all day.  I noticed this seagull on one of my walks with its head tucked in. Since the day was already so gray, I played around with black and white making the seagull and the shadow even more the focal point of the photo.

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Living in a place that others travel to creates opportunities for “happening” upon special events like the Switchfoot Bro-Am surfing contest and concert at our local beach.  We enjoyed exploring the exhibits on the beach, listening to the opening band of young teens, and watching the surfers paddle out to compete.  We were even lucky enough to watch a local favorite, Rob Machado, in action!

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I love it when I’m fortunate enough to capture the quirkiness of beach life in an interesting photo.  I noticed these wetsuits laying up along the seawall as I walked not long ago.  When I saw them I couldn’t help thinking of snakes, leaving their empty skin behind when they shed.  I like that you can see the flatness of the wetsuits against the depth of the stairs.  I took this picture as I walked one direction, and when I walked back passing this place again, they were gone.  Sometimes it’s all about timing!

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And no set of “best of” photos would be complete without a food shot. My favorite of the summer is this shot of Geoff’s homemade beignets and cafe au lait…a wonderful treat of a breakfast on a lazy summer weekend!  The overhead shot captures the contrast of light and dark–perfectly fried southern “doughnuts” awash in powdered sugar, yum!

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I ended my summer with some work in Tucson, AZ and managed to squeeze in a few photos before and after the long days of work.  The University of Arizona campus is an interesting one and the building I was in had many interesting architectural features.  I captured this unedited image of the endless corridor with brick walls.

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And who can resist the natural beauty of our National Parks?  We discovered that Tucson is home to Saguaro National Park, a place where the majestic Saguaro cactus grows abundantly.  I loved seeing these tall cacti up close, I’ve read many books and taught many children about these unique and special plants.  The monsoonal rain clouds and setting sun create the perfect backdrop for Saguaro silhouettes.

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So, here’s an invitation to take a walk down memory lane and relive a bit of your summer.  Take some time to curate your summer photos and pick one or two (or more) to share as your gallery of “Best of Summer” photos.

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 #bestofsummer16 for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

And if you haven’t yet taken those summer photos yet–no problem! Head out with your camera and get snapping…don’t forget to share your best of with the rest of us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close to Home

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close.  And even though I work during the summer, this last week has been filled with those beginning of the school year meetings and classroom preparation. All of that has kept me close to home, squeezing a few photos in here and there, mostly using my trusty phone as camera.

As I checked out our classroom garden bed in front of the classroom, I noticed the native milkweed has started to take off and the tropical milkweed is still going strong.  There weren’t any monarchs or caterpillars around, but I did noticed this tiny snail crawling on the plants.  (I did play around with prisma a bit, trying to create more color contrast to make the snail “pop.”)

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And then of all crazy things, my husband and I decided to go to a concert on a Tuesday night!  We are lucky to have this wonderful concert venue in town that is smallish and is outdoors.  I caught a glimpse of the sun going down in the distance as we headed to the amphitheater.

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It is such a treat to sit outdoors in the comfortable late-summer evening, listening to good music…and even singing along.  We saw Melissa Etheridge and Pat Benatar…two great shows in one!  It was fun playing around with trying to capture the action, distance, and lighting (this is unedited).

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Yesterday, to end my work week, I grabbed my camera (Sony a6000) and headed to the beach for a quick mental health break on my way home. The tide was high, so the beach was narrow, but there were still plenty of people enjoying the water and sand.  These sneaky seagulls found an apple…probably someone’s unattended snack and managed to carry it to the water’s edge.  They were having quite a party–snatching a bite, keeping an eye out for people and other seagulls, then heading back in for another bite.  At one point one of the seagulls picked the whole apple up, spread its wings and moved it down the beach.  It was quite a show!

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I see this rock pretty regularly as I walk down the beach.  D and T must be quite committed to showing their love to have spent the time to carve it so deeply in this sandstone.  I do wish they would have considered a way to show their love that didn’t mar the natural beauty of the beach!  You can see that my walk was shortened–there was no way to get around that corner ahead without getting wet!

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But the short walk was a perfect way to shift from preparing the classroom to coming home to enjoy a weekend of relaxation before the kids arrive on Monday.  And I couldn’t resist a shot of the ordinary–the railing along steep ramp up to the parking lot with the puffy white clouds in the blue sky.

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So, what are you noticing close to home? What might you capture with that phone in your pocket?  What do you see on that daily walk, at the corner park, or even from your car window (not when you are doing the driving!)?

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.

You don’t have to venture far this week, what will you discover close to home?  I can’t wait to see what you find through your lens!