Tag Archives: clouds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

Some days and in some places you just have to look up.  I’m always surprised and fascinated by what I see when I look at the sky.  The sky here where I live is often blue (or almost invisible when cloaked in the gray of a thick marine layer), so when puffy white clouds appear, I notice.

Last weekend I couldn’t help but notice that the sky almost seemed like the sea with these colorful octopi floating in the foamy white of the clouds.  Kites mimicking the ocean below.

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Drones have become prevalent in our skies along the coast.  During the surf contest a few weeks ago I counted four at one time hovering over the heads of the surfers.  I couldn’t resist this sign–not in the sky–restricting drones from the sky at our local state beach.  I suspect they are restricted here because this is a path often used by military aircraft flying back and forth from Miramar Air Station.

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I had the opportunity to spend time in the Denver area this week as I worked with National Writing Project colleagues.  Somehow at “mile high” altitude, the clouds seem closer.  I noticed them as I waited to take the light rail from our conference center into the city, billowing above the pedestrian bridge.

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I noticed the clouds and the sky reflected in the towering glass buildings when I explored downtown Denver.

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The sky fell away from my focus as my eyes followed the lines of this structure up, up and up.  I turned this way and that with my camera trying the capture the size and wonder of this…I’m not even sure what it is…going from the ground high into the sky.

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And there is never enough time.  Time to explore new places, to chat with friends and colleagues, to work on interesting project…and much too soon I found myself back at the Denver airport.  From the windows of the car as I arrived my eyes were drawn to the peaks of the white sails against the stacked pillows of clouds and I wished I could just ask the driver to pull over so I could take some photos, but I resisted, capturing that image only in my mind.  But as I walked into the airport, I caught a glimpse of one sail peak and some clouds reflected in the glass of the airport building and I stopped.  The contrast of the angular lines of steel and glass with the curves of the tower and the organic billows of clouds captured my imagination.  I find myself coming back to this image.

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Once near my gate, I kept walking, noticing large windows in the distance.  Would I get another glimpse at the sky?  Could I capture the closeness of the clouds and vastness of the sky through the airport windows?  Not really.  But here is a fragment of the sky as seen through the window of the Denver airport.

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So, this is your week to look at the sky.  What does it have to offer in terms of photographic interest?  Will you be looking at summer blue skies or the threat of storms brewing in the distance?  Maybe you’ll focus on a bird or an airplane or a balloon floating, soaring, diving.  As always, you get to choose.

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

So grab your camera and point it toward the sky.  Be sure to share what you find with the rest of us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Organic

In a place where clear blue skies are the norm, clouds are a novelty. Puffy white clouds catch my eye, drawing it upward.  There is something about the organic nature of these floating shapes that captures my imagination.  I find myself taking photo after photo, like this one of the clouds reflected in the windows of the buildings at our local university.

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Or this one that makes if feel as if you are walking on clouds.

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I know that clear skies create perfect sunsets, but there is something about clouds that give dimension and the unexpectedness of organic designs to the colors and reflections of the setting sun.  Halloween is my husband’s birthday, and this year also included a perfect low tide for a sunset beach walk punctuated with organic streaks and shine.

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And when the sky isn’t enough, there are many organic treasures revealed by the sea. With low tides all week, the ocean revealed rocks covered in these organic skeletons.  I’m not sure exactly what they are, but I love the textures.

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And I always feel rich when I come across a sand dollar, especially one that is mostly whole.  I love the simple design, almost like a delicate pencil sketch.

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And then there is the human form, organically represented in these clay skulls arranged in alters celebrating ancestors in honor of Dia de los muertos found in our meeting room at UCSD last weekend.

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My students are currently fascinated with rocks and minerals as we’ve dived deeply into the study of geology.  Today’s “museum” featured a specimen from each student and created an organic opportunity for some interesting informational writing (I plan to feature some of that writing in a future post).  Here’s one of nature’s organic beauties.

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So look up, look around, maybe even catch a reflection of something organic.  What’s catching your eye because of it’s organic quality?

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

Head out with your camera in search of organic…will you represent it through the natural world? Express an organic idea? Explore the intersection of organic and geometric?  Take the prompt wherever it leads you and share your photos with us!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Week

As much as I love my job, it still takes some effort to come off the two week winter break and get back into the groove of work.  And to make it even more challenging this year, we began our week back with rain! (Remember, this is San Diego and rain is a major weather event.)

It was damp, but not wet enough to keep kids indoors as I headed out for Monday morning playground duty.  I love our view…with the ocean visible in the distance.  We could see that we had some stormy weather in store…

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Rainy days at school tend to be a rare occurance, and the kids love them! Teachers, however, start to feel the energy building as kids who are used to lots of outdoor play spend too much time confined in small spaces. When we finally got outside late in the afternoon, there was a wonderful light illuminating the playground.  I love the brightness of the light, the ominous dark clouds in the back, and the colorful kids in this view.

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On my way home I couldn’t resist stopping by the beach to see how the storminess was affecting the shoreline.  I was greeted by tractors pushing sand, building up the protective mounds to create a defense against the high surf and powerful waves.

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Between the tractors and the power of the water, the beach is always changing.  The sand comes and goes, shaping the shoreline and creating pools of water in unexpected places. As I looked up at the clouds I also noticed the pelicans in formation.  img_8655

The rains continued through the week  (dropping more rain in a few days than we get in a month or more in other years) and the news has been filled with reports of flooding and road closures…and even a tornado warning on Wednesday! The alert system on my cell phone has indicated flash flood warnings several times over the last few days. I even dug out an umbrella on Tuesday to try to keep my bags dry as I headed from the parking lot to the writing project office on Tuesday.  By Thursday, I knew that working from home (instead of heading to the writing project) was a good idea.  As I took a break from grant writing, I noticed the sun glimpsing through a break in the clouds.  I take many photos of this tree…and here it is still hanging onto one lone leaf against the brilliant blue sky.

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Less than an hour later, the skies darkened and the wind picked up.  The rain was coming soon.  The tops of these palm trees leaned into the breezes and you can catch a peek at the sun setting as the storm rolled back in.

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Today we got a reprieve, and the rains have left…for now anyway. (They’re expected back tomorrow night.)  I couldn’t resist pulling off the road on my way to work this morning to capture the sunrise reflected in the clouds.

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And our students carry on with their learning.  Piles of kelp collected from the storm-strewn beaches were the basis of today’s science lab.  Students observed, labeled parts…and eventually photographed and sketched our local giant kelp.  And they love big words, like the scientific name for giant kelp.  You’ll notice this first grader has labeled his sketch macrocystis pyrifera, commonly known as kelp.

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So, what has been going on in your week?  Are you back to work after a break or out enjoying your local winter weather?  Have you experimented with some aspect of your photography or documented something you are noticing in new or different ways?

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

So what has happened during your week?  How might you document it through a photo or two?  I’m looking forward to seeing your week through your lens!

Holiday Twinkle

My neighborhood is filled with light this time of the year.  Icicle lights hang from eves, nets of lights hang on shrubs, and I even noticed some new light sources projecting light on the walls of houses and words onto a garage.

Tonight, with peppermint hot chocolate in hand, we set off for a nighttime walk around the neighborhood to appreciate the twinkle of lights decorating the neighbors’ houses.  With only my iPhone as camera, I tried my hand at some night photography.  It’s pretty clear that I still have some work to do at improving in this area of photography.

I loved these lanterns hanging from a tree.  They seem to be a string of colored lights arranged in chicken wire.

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I had fun playing around with this snowman.  Using the app Big Lens, I was able to focus on the snowman and blur the background and then use a filter called snow to create a chilling effect! (And trust me, it’s not snowing here!)

snowy snowmanHere’s a version without the snow effect.

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There are lots of colorful lights hanging from bushes, wrapped around palm trees, and outlining doorways.  Some flash, some blink, and some stay lit steadily.

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There are elaborate displays…some reminiscent of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation…and others more serene like this one with two deer in lights.

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And as much as I enjoy these twinkling holiday lights, I find myself drawn to nature’s twinkle of sun on water.  I am a sucker for a beautiful sunset…and take too many photos of them.  This one from earlier this week was particularly beautiful with the clouds hunched along the horizon.

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And I love the twinkle of the clouds reflected in the still water of the lagoon after yesterday’s storm.  If you look closely you can see a ripple of the breeze along the water.

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As we head towards our shortest day, light becomes the focus of holiday celebrations.  I notice myself seeking out the light…looking for sunrises and sunsets, holiday light displays and candlelight.  There is something both calming and energizing about the light of late fall as we celebrate winter holidays.

What light draws your attention?  Where do you find the twinkle of light in your life?

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wet

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

Here in Southern California we’re in the third year of drought conditions…and our normal rainfall is only ten inches annually, so you know it’s dry.  So when we get a forecast of rain, it’s an event!  Yesterday we were hearing the news of the storm that hit Northern California and watched the clouds begin to gather on our own horizon.  I love the drama of the clouds yesterday afternoon along the coast with the lifeguard tower in the foreground.

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As promised, rain arrived this morning.  The morning commute was quite an adventure with dark clouds and rain making it look almost like nighttime at 7:00am!  My windshield wipers raced and my tires created plumes of water as I drove through the rain pooling in large puddles in the street.

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And in spite of the leaky roof in my classroom and a rainy day schedule with kids spending their recesses and lunch in the classroom, we had a great day.  And we so need the rain!  Lucky for all of us, we were able to head outdoors for Friday afternoon Cardio Club…into the sunshine with blue skies in evidence!

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After school I couldn’t resist heading toward the beach to take a few pictures of the clouds and sun along the coast.  This view is looking south near the mouth of the lagoon.

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And even though it hadn’t rained in a few hours, when I arrived at home and opened my car door my eye was drawn to the raindrops on the clover-like grass growing in my lawn.  These truly precious wet jewels glistened in the afternoon sun against the green of the grass.

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Where do you find the wet in your world?  (And I’d love to learn some techniques to take better photos of rain!)  It could be on your dishes as you wash them, trickling down that festive holiday cocktail, in your pet’s water bowl, or outside…in your yard, community or the natural spaces around you.

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

So follow the water and find where it pools…what does wet look like through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Skyward

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

This week I have found my eye drawn skyward.  Maybe it’s because we have had some weather in the first time in ages!  I’ve been noticing the gathering clouds, and the way the light plays with them.

Over the weekend, before the storm headed in this week, I noticed the sliver of the moon hanging above the Christmas tree decorating the local mall.

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And a few minutes later I noticed the way the jet contrail and the moon were playing hide and seek.  I took several shots waiting for the moon to peek out.

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By Sunday, more clouds began to gather creating a soft, white, and puffy backdrop for the palms dancing in the increasing breezes.

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And here you can see the sun shining through the clouds, highlighting this brilliant orange bird of paradise growing in a meditation garden on the cliffs above the ocean.

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On my way home from work on Monday, it was clear that the promised storm was on its way.  I stopped by the beach, unable to resist the textures in the sky meeting up with the textures of the water.  Blue on blue on blue…

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And I’m not even sure which day this week I looked up in my front yard and spied the moon lighting up the tree.

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After two days of much-needed rain, watching the sun break through this morning while I was on playground duty brought a smile to my lips…and the sound of children playing outdoors filled the air.

morning skyWhat do you see when you look skyward?  Is the moon peeking through the trees?  Can you spy hints of weather to come?  Do buildings interact with the clouds and sun?  How does light enter the mix?

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

So crane your neck and look skyward this week.  I can’t wait to see skyward through your lens!

Clouds and Rain: Objects of Fascination

It seems that we always yearn for what we don’t have.  Around Christmas time I was fascinated by snow…I longed to try my hand at capturing a macro photo of a single snowflake.  But I live in a place where it never snows…I didn’t see snow fall from the sky until I was well into adulthood and I have never had a white Christmas.

This last week some of my fellow photographers at the iAnthology have been posting pictures of snow and ice in response to the prompt, Playing with Light.  One particular photo of an icicle lingers in my mind and I find myself wishing for an opportunity to photograph ice…and the play of light…for myself.  And then my teaching partner emailed me a link to some photos created by a man on snowshoes…intricate, gorgeous designs…made by his intentional walk on snow.  Oh…I know a trip to somewhere cold is in my future!

But I live in Southern CA…in a place where we are having a drought and unseasonably warm winter temperatures.  More people are wearing shorts and flip flops than sweatshirts and Uggs…and umbrellas have been stashed or lost or are coated in the dust and grime caused by lack of use.

The last couple of days have teased us with hopes of rain.  The air is moist and fog has been rolling in along the coast in the mornings and evenings.  And yesterday we had some hints of rain…that misty mess that muddies the windshield but doesn’t produce any measurable precipitation.

I awoke this morning wondering if it had rained overnight.  The app on my phone said no…and gave no suggestion of rain for the day.  But as I was dressing for no rain, planning to wear the kind of shoes you wouldn’t choose on a rainy day, my husband came upstairs to announce that it was, in fact, raining!

I rethought my wardrobe for the day, choosing my boots instead of my Toms, and headed out the door.  For those of you who live where rain is common, you would probably laugh that we were considering this rain at all.  But the first objects that caught my eye as I walked out the door were the poinsettias near the front door.  They were glistening with drops of rain.  I immediately pulled out my phone and began to photograph the droplets glistening on the bracts.

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I love the way the black and white photo draws attention to the precious drops–something we see so rarely these days.

Honestly, this “rainy day” turned out to be not so rainy after all.  I would be surprised if we even measure a quarter inch of rainfall in the county.  But as I left work today, I found myself drawn to the clouds.  In some directions the clouds were white and wispy, sitting in a backdrop of blue.  In others, they gathered in tall white towers…and in others, gray and black framed the edges.

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I was compelled to drive towards the clouds on my way home…and pulled off to the side of the road to attempt to capture the complexity of the clouds with my phone’s camera.  The clouds became the object of my fascination and I took shot after shot, trying different angles to take advantage of the varieties of light available.

I don’t think I am done with clouds yet.  And I hope the clouds are not done with us yet either.  We desperately need some rain, although the forecast doesn’t look promising.

What is the object of fascination for you right now?  Is it something within reach…or are you yearning for something you don’t have?  I’d love to know more about your object!