Tag Archives: Christmas

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasonal

I’m not sure how it happened, but it’s December already.  And not just the beginning of December, but almost half way through December!

With today’s stormy weather (at least by San Diego standards), winter feels near.  Our students were in for their snack recess…and out in the blustery wind for lunch.  I couldn’t resist swinging by the beach on my way home to glimpse the wind blown waves as the sun started to set. There’s something magnificent about the way the clouds cluster over the sea, walking along the shore with my jacket zipped to my chin and my hood up, and the wind pulling and pushing as I explored.


Just a few days before I had stopped on my way home to snap a few photos of the sun setting, golden in the distance.  Instead of feeling the wind, this day was warm and sunny–reminiscent of the summer–unseasonably mild.


This week is also the annual season for computer coding.  Beebot is the perfect tool for introducing students to the principles of coding…and the kids love programming this mechanical robot to move around its grid. You can see the engagement and intensity on their faces.


We haven’t gotten our Christmas tree yet, but I did go with my son and daughter-in-law last weekend to pick out theirs.  I love the smell of the pines…and I couldn’t resist this shot of the trees wrapped in their webbing.  It was a fun surprise to look through my pictures and notice the red stands contrasted with the green of the trees.


And my neighborhood is ablaze with light this time of the year.  It seems that each house is more elaborately lit up than the next.  There are the traditional strings of lights hung from the eaves, the palm trees wrapped in loops of lights, and the much more kitchy reindeer, santas, snowmen, and more!  This image is the tiniest fraction of the lights in this neighborhood!


So take a look around for what is seasonal in your parts this week.  Will you find evidence of the holidays, notice weather patterns, or come up with some other seasonal evidence?

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

Take a look around for the seasonal…and share the view through your lens.  What does seasonal look like in your part of the world?

A Gift to Ourselves

Is there ever a good time to work on your house?

For some reason we seem to get motivated sometime around Christmas to do major home renovation.  Last year a plumbing issue initiated some major work shortly after Christmas.  And this year we had planned to replace the floor in our living/dining room so that it would be done before Thanksgiving.  But given our hectic schedules, we are deep in the midst of it right now…a week before Christmas.

This weekend was spent tearing out carpet and throwing away draperies that had seen better days.

renovation collage

The emptiness of the room creates a cavernous echo that magnifies every sound in the house.  And the cats are not quite sure what to make of it.  They did spend a good portion of time on Saturday in supervision mode…making themselves comfortable in the midst of pulled up carpet.

cat supervisors

I’m amazed at the difference paint makes on a space!  It feels fresh and clean, ready for the new floor that will be laid tomorrow.


So we may or may not get a Christmas tree up and decorated this year…and somehow that feels okay.  There is something about the process of clearing out, reevaluating what we need and want to keep, and donating usable goods to someone else that is satisfying.

The neighbors are curious.  They’re wondering if we are planning to move since that often happens when people do major work on their homes.  But this work is a gift to ourselves…updating and improving our home to make our living environment more comfortable and welcoming.

It sure takes a lot of work and discomfort to make things better.  I can’t wait til the end of the week when we have a freshly painted room with a new floor and new window coverings.  There’s no furniture…guess we’ll have to stand to admire our freshly transformed living room.

Following the Tracks of Lights

It’s December and the frenzy of the holidays is in full swing.  With only a week until school breaks for the winter there are projects to complete, plans to create…not to mention the shopping, decorating, event attending and more that comes with the season.

Our neighborhood is one that hangs their Christmas lights on Thanksgiving weekend, with each house just a bit more sparkly than the one next door.  With the short days and early dark I notice the lights coming on as I head home on the evening.  We’ve been talking about taking time to go out and walk our neighborhood after dinner one night so we can look closely at the lights rather than simply drive by them on the way home.

So, in spite of being tired on a Friday evening after a busy, work-filled week, we headed out tonight to follow the tracks left by the lights.

Bundled up in heavy (Southern CA heavy) jackets and with camera in hand, we set off.  We decided to go in the direction that we don’t see on our way home each day, up and around the corner.  In addition to the lights on the houses, we also noticed the tracks left by the stars in the sky.  As I photographed electric lights, my husband searched the sky for tracks of constellations (and consulted his constellation app for more information about what he was seeing).

The traditional white icicle lights are definitely the most common decoration in the neighborhood.  But there is no shortage of the traditional trappings of Christmas.  We found Santa…with a couple of arctic bears.


And a variety of versions of reindeer, including the red-nosed Rudolph.  I’m partial to this more natural version set in among the trees (even if they are palm trees).


And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trail marked by candy canes!


A couple of houses sported these inflatable characters.  During the day they appear to be melted as they sit deflated until they are plugged in at dusk.


We saw twinkling lights, flashing lights, lights that were all red, lights in trees, on bushes, wrapped around pillars and poles.  Lights arranged in the shapes of trees and wreaths. Sometimes the simplest were the most beautiful.


I often wonder about the electric bill of the people with the most lights.  Do they plan for the increased usage as part of their annual budget?  I have to admit, my house is one of the unadorned with only the porch lights to penetrate the dark.  And yet I enjoy the display of lights my neighbors set out, adding light to the long nights of December.


Following the tracks of lights was a perfect ending to a busy week.  Walking in the crisp cool evening was energizing and it was fun to notice the details of the displays and even get some new perspectives on decorations I had only previously seen from a particular angle.

I might just add this activity as a December tradition…and maybe even branch out a bit further to take a look at how others create tracks with lights.  This was definitely a learning walk…my first focused on lights!