Tag Archives: dandelion

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Flight

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!

As I think about possible photo prompts, I try to think about the variety of images that might be possible with the particular prompt.  I like to think about “out of the box” interpretations as well as those  that might be expected.  So this week as I considered pictures I might include along with the prompt, I was thinking about the relationship between a photo of a hang glider, a bee, some geese, and a balloon rocket…and they all seemed to suggest something along the line of in flight.

The most literal is the hang glider I couldn’t resist following with my camera while walking on the beach on Sunday.  We were down at La Jolla Shores, not far from the glider port, and could see gliders in the distance.  One came over the bluffs and got quite close…and here is a shot.

glider at La Jolla Shores

And I was recently in Ohio where I saw many things that are different from the things I see in San Diego.  One example is this family of geese walking across the parking lot.  They are clearly not in flight…but seeing them creates images in my head of that magnificent “V” of geese in flight, most often seen by me in movies and picture books.

geese on parade

And school is still in session in my district.  This week we were out in the garden, enjoying the abundance growing in our Scrumptious Schoolyard.  There were birds, butterflies and bees diving in and out of the blossoms taking care of the business of pollination.

bee on sunflower

For the last few weeks our students have been busy with balloon rockets in the science lab. They developed hypotheses, created launch procedures and data tables, and then tested their theories as they flew their rockets across the room.  It wasn’t easy catching these rockets in action.  Here’s one in flight.

balloon rockets

I couldn’t resist this final photo of one of my favorite photo subjects: dandelions.  I love this version of a dandelion with most of its seeds blown away.  For me it suggests that the fluffy, wisps of seed pods are in flight…heading toward a place where they will take root and proliferate, maybe even in a sidewalk crack.  I love the tenacity and strength of the dandelion!

dandelion fluff

So this week’s challenge is to find subjects that are in flight.  Those flights might be the literal leaving of the ground of an airplane or bird or the fanciful flights of imagination and whimsy. Maybe your photo is grounded…but suggests flight (like my geese).  As always, you are the one who gets to decide what counts as in flight…so have fun, and take to the air!

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

So let your imagination and your camera lens take flight! I can’t wait to see what you find.



It’s the Little Things

Yesterday I dug out my macro lens and started playing with it again.  It’s one of those things that I love, but I have to stop what I’m doing, take the cover off my phone, unscrew the macro lens from the wide angle, attach it and then lean in to photograph my subject.  Using the macro means coming close, taking time to steady myself and my breathing, and holding still for the perfect shot.  It’s easy to get the focus wrong and come away with a blurry shot.

And in spite of all of that, I love the vantage the macro lens offers.  I get to see small things in new ways.  Things that are easily overlooked suddenly come into focus, creating a stunning new way of understanding the subject.


A familiar TED talk also crossed my Twitter feed this morning.  Angela Duckworth talking about her research about what makes students successful…was it intelligence or something she calls grit?  She found in case after case, holding all other variables steady, that grit made the difference.

This 6 minute video is well worth your time.  But it’s also important to think about not just students and how hard they work, but also how teachers view persistence and effort.  A growth mindset, as described by Carol Dweck, means that errors are seen as part of the learning process.  Mistakes are an opportunity for learning, not an indicator of lack of effort or lack of intelligence.

So back to the macro lens and the little things.  With the help of the macro lens I can appreciate the beauty of things I hadn’t paid much attention to before, like this half blown dandelion in my yard.


And with a growth mindset I can also appreciate the little things about my students as I notice how they approach a math problem or understand a science concept or even where their struggles are with decoding.  Instead of seeing what they can’t do, I pay attention to the beauty of what they do know and help them use their strengths as tools to make progress where things seem hard.


Like these tiny, ethereal dandelion seeds, learners can take the seeds of understanding from one subject and plant them in others.  And as teachers paying close attention, we can help our students identify their strengths and repurpose them in other situations.

When I went outside this morning the cactus flower blossom in the pot near my front door was closed…looking droopy and like it might be ready to fall off.  But since I was playing with my macro lens, I leaned in and got close…and captured this.


Without the lens, my eyes did not capture the beauty and colors that my camera could see (all of these photos are unedited originals).  I noticed later in the day when the sun had reached the door that the blooms opened, yellow and vibrant.

I’m glad that I took some time with my macro lens today…and with Angela Duckworth’s TED talk.  Tomorrow I return to my classroom after a week away for the Thanksgiving holiday. And I’ll be looking closely and leaning in to notice all that my students bring to the learning…even when it seems hard…to appreciate their strengths and re-view their mistakes. We’ll be developing our grit…together.