It’s Earth Day, a day established in 1970 to appreciate all the earth has to offer and to raise awareness about the need to take care of the precious resource that we call Earth. My camera definitely helps me appreciate the earth and notice more about this wonderful planet. This week finds me at home, back at work, instead of out exploring a National Park (like I was last week at Joshua Tree). And still, there is so much life and beauty around me.
On my way to an evening meeting on Monday, I decided to take a side trip away from the crowded freeway (still with plenty of traffic even on the side roads) to stop at Mount Soledad and appreciate the view. Now this is hardly a mountain, but it is a high spot that overlooks the city and the bay to the south and west and La Jolla to the north and west. Wildflowers are blooming everywhere, creating a beautiful frame even if the haze and low clouds make the view less than crisp.
The wild mustard has gotten tall this year, with vivid yellow blooms waving in the breeze. I see this plant often along the side of the freeway (no, I don’t stop!) and other places visible from the car, but not convenient for stopping. Before I left Mount Soledad, I noticed a patch of wild mustard and couldn’t resist leaning in for a shot. I love the bokeh effect in the background, adding sparkle to the beautiful weed/flower.
Later in the week I took another side trip on my way to an appointment. This time I headed to a place where I would have a view of the famous Carlsbad flower fields. The ranunculus are in bloom, creating ribbons of color that stretch for acres right above the outlet mall with the old Encinas power plant in the background. They charge quite a price to go in close, but there is a lovely view from a sidewalk outside the property.
And when I turned the other way I noticed these brilliant tiger’s claw trees, bright against the blue of the sky. As I moved closer, I noticed this hummingbird flitting from flower to flower–a pollinator in action! I was lucky enough to catch a shot of this tiny bird at work with the help of my lens.
I’ve been back to the beach this week too. The tide has not been right for long afternoon walks, but a quick stop after dinner last night offered views of seagulls as the sun reached that golden hour. With the help of a filter, I could emphasize the colors of the sun beginning to set behind the bird in flight.
Today’s short walk drew my attention to the cliffs and the sky, and reminded me of a favorite Rachel Carson quote,
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery if the world we live in.
I try to be that adult for kids in my class…for my own children and now for my grandchildren. I know that I appreciate opportunities to explore the outdoors more than ever these days. Nature is right here–right under our feet–when we take the time to look closely and appreciate each small treasure.
And sometimes within nature’s frame you see other interesting views. I couldn’t resist these “wintering towers,” huddled together along the edge of the beach. They begged for a black and white filter to emphasize the contrasts in light and dark…and I obliged.
So, while Earth Day is officially celebrated on April 22nd each year, in my opinion every day should be Earth Day–taking time to appreciate and take care of our planet, even in small ways. Head out with your camera and capture Earth’s everyday specialness. What will you notice when you pay attention to Earth?
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 #earth for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Celebrate Earth Day all this week. Let’s create an album of Earth’s treasures and needs and help our next generation shepherd our world to health and longevity by sharing our fascination and appreciation of our planet Earth with them (and with each other).