Tag Archives: December

Looking Closely to Look Back: December’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

We’ve reached the twelfth month, the last of the calendar year.  Traditionally, it’s a time for reflection, of taking stock of the year in order to make progress in the new year.

So…what if we look to the world around us, paying careful attention to what is currently in front of us–and use those images and related thinking to look back, to reflect on the year?

Just last week I had the opportunity to watch some college students dance (many thanks to my niece, a dance major).  Their energy and passion were obvious–and contagious!  Looking at this image reminds me that we are not attached to the the ground…we are also in flight, ready to follow our imagination.


We tell ourselves so many stories–including stories that fuel our frustration and impatience.  Sometimes we need to reframe a story, view it from a new perspective to change our feelings and perceptions. Traffic can be a pain…or an opportunity depending on how your look at it.


And sometimes doors don’t look like doors.  They might just be spaces you haven’t noticed before.  I’m determined to ride the train to Los Angeles one day soon…and this image will remind me to include this on my to-do list.


Those quiet moments of waiting and watching sometimes pay off in a beautiful photo, but always fill my heart with wonder and joy…even when the photo doesn’t happen.  I get just enough rewards like this one to remind me to stop, listen, watch, enjoy what is right in front of me.


I see dozens and dozens and dozens of seagulls–at the beach, when I drive down the freeway, at school–and yet I never tire of them.  There is a certain elegance about taking flight, gliding on the currents, and over the currents (and waves) below.  Does anyone remember reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull back in the day?


Going to different places means seeing things that are familiar…and well, ordinary.  I like to notice the new…the magnificent architecture, the iconic art…but sometimes find myself snapping a photo of the familiar, like this walk sign.  (Now I find myself wondering if walk signs are really the same all over, maybe I need to take some more photos of them!  This one is from Minneapolis.)


And then there is light.  Sometimes it is sunlight, sometimes moonlight…and sometimes a wonderful art piece that is all about light.  Add dark to the light and the camera creates effects that are even more interesting, reminding me that we can’t always capture images as we see them…sometimes they create themselves right in our own hands in front of our eyes.


To get you started, here are some prompts for the month:

  1. Spaces
  2. Places
  3. Movement
  4. Relationships
  5. Home
  6. Outdoors
  7. Family
  8. Story
  9. Favorite
  10. Gift
  11. Memory
  12. Dozen
  13. Night
  14. Nature
  15. Quiet
  16. Rhythm
  17. Sharp
  18. Warmth
  19. Flame
  20. Moment
  21. Light
  22. Sky
  23. Doors
  24. Ground
  25. Celebration
  26. Water
  27. Delicious
  28. Hands
  29. Reflect
  30. Dance
  31. New

As always, our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. The prompts are there to help you pay attention to your world and reflect on the year and your experiences. You can use them in order or pick and choose as you like–you are welcome to add a new prompt into the mix if you are so moved. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life.

Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! You can share on Twitter (follow me @kd0602), on Instagram (@kd0602), in the CLMOOC community on G+, on Flickr, or even link back to my blog here.

Let’s look closely to look back and move forward as we bring 2015 to a close.  Enjoy the winter holidays, whatever version you celebrate, and let your camera help you find the joy and wonder of the season.

A Gift a Day: December’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

While it often seems that December is all about shopping and buying, the spirit of the winter holidays is about giving.  I often think about photography as a gift to myself…it allows me to explore, to see the world anew, to get outside and interact with nature, time for reflection and relaxation, and more.  And I can also see that each image could also be a gift to others, an opportunity to enjoy a view through my lens.

There are so many gifts that are intangible, you simply can’t go to the store to buy them.  And yet, through a photograph you can get a glimpse of the possibilities.  I can think of many who would appreciate the gift of abundance.  I couldn’t resist this shot of the shelves at the Filippi’s Pizza Restaurant in Little Italy today.

abundanceAnd I know that I appreciated this gift of creativity from an artist who created this lighted sculpture that I found in front of the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

lighted sculptureSometimes the gift is spending time with others who love doing what you love.  These surfers caught an occasional wave and seemed to spend lots of time hanging out together in the water on their boards.

surfer in the wavesThe gift of exploration is one that I treasure.  Something as simple as finding pieces of sea glass as I walk on the beach is a wonderful pleasure…and quite a gift.  Each tiny shard feels like a jewel mined from the sea.

green seaglassI often find the gift of design in historic architecture, in those buildings that somehow withstand years of weather and use and still maintain their grace and beauty.  I found this building in Alexandria, VA.

Athenaeum in Alexandria

And these in silhouette on the mall in our nation’s capitol.

buildings in silhouette

Sometimes it is the symmetry, somewhere in the image, that catches my eye and draws my interest.  These train tracks seem to point the way to the heart of downtown San Diego.

lines downtown

Time to play is another gift I wish for myself and others.  Children spinning on a carousel as the sun sets

carousel play

or adults sailing off cliffs high above the Pacific, play creates an attitude of possibility and offers relief from life’s stresses.

three gliders off the cliffs

And nature’s gifts are innumerable…whether it be watching geese in the tidal basin with the Jefferson Memorial in the background

across the basin

or lifeguard towers gathered together to winter on the beach, there is so much beauty, peace and joy in these sights.

wintering lifeguard towers

This month’s #sdawpphotovoices challenge is to gift the world with a photo a day.  To help you cast your photo net wide, here is a list of prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Abundance

2. Light

3. Peace

4. Laughter

5. Symmetry

6. Courage

7. Generosity

8. Compassion

9. Silence

10. Time

11. Hope

12. Trust

13. Vision

14. Curiosity

15. Health

16. Patience

17. Gratitude

18. Creativity

19. Relaxation

20. Music

21. Design

22. Reflection

23. Empathy

24. Nature

25. Family

26. Food

27. Life

28. Community

29. Solitude

30. Place

31. Energy

So be on the lookout this month for images that represents gifts you would like to give to the world or to people you know and love.  Post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you would like to expand your gifts, write the story that the photo tells, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall this month (or maybe just in addition to those trips to the mall), keep your eye tuned for possible gifts through images.  You can capture a gift in a single photo or in a series. (You might even try a 5-image story as a gift.)  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can post your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it. You get to make your own rules…after all, they are your gifts to give! Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! So go out and explore, what gifts would you give through your photography?  I can’t wait see the gifts you find and present through your lens!

‘Tis the Season: December’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Short days, long nights, decorations, parties, presents, shopping, vacation, lights, food, family, and friends…  December is full of fun, frenzy, tradition, and celebration.  No matter your religious beliefs, December is filled with signs of the season–whatever that season means to you.

Let’s take this month to interpret the season in ways that make the most sense for us as photographers.  Here’s a list of 31 seasonal prompts to be used in whatever ways stir your creative urges.  You can use the prompts daily in the order they are displayed…or you can pick one to use all month, you can mix and match them, combine them, focus a week on one or two…it is totally up to you!

Be sure to post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the merrier!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are feeling daring, you might compose a blog post about a photo…about a week’s worth of photos…create a photo essay…the possibilities are endless!  Be sure to link back here to create a pingback by linking to this url…or post your blog address in the comments (or create your entire response in the comment section).  It’s fun to see what others do!

Here’s the list to get you started:

1.  green

2.  deal

3.  gift

4.  garland

5.  candle

6.  bargain

7.  decorate

8.  poinsettia

9.  feast

10.  red

11.  Santa

12.  hearth

13.  tradition

14.  elf

15.  tree

16.  present

17.  holiday

18.  star

19.  festive

20.  frosty

21.  winter

22.  candy

23.  celebrate

24.  bells

25.  wreath

26.  fruitcake

27.  retrospective

28.  light

29.  party

30.  parade

31.  new

Have fun, be creative, explore the limits of your photography…after all, 2013 is nearly over!  You can post every day, once a week…or sporadically throughout the month, whatever works in your life.  Be sure to share…and to tag your photos so we can all find them!

I hope you’ll join me as your photos help you express your experiences of the season!