Tag Archives: documentary

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…

wet playground

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

good morning

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.

macrocystis pyrifera

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!

#beachpeople: a documentary

As I have worked to grow and stretch with my photography over the last few years, I discovered a genre of photography called street photography.  The idea is to document the people and activity on the street.  I haven’t studied much, but it seems that this photography comes out of cities…places where activity on the street is common, especially if you are paying attention.

This is a harder kind of photography for me, my natural inclination is to pay attention to nature and scenes rather than people and their activity.  It’s also about feeling intrusive, taking pictures of people instead of things.  I’ve read that many street photographers talk to their subjects and ask permission to take photos of them.  And this makes sense to me…but also takes away some of the candid nature of capturing the action in the moment.

So, I have been exploring this idea of street photography on my own terms, in my own place.  I started to capture interesting moments and interesting people on my beachwalks and hashtagging those photos with #beachpeople.  I love the variety of #beachpeople I come across.  They are interesting and diverse.  Some are obviously tourists visiting from other places–across the county and across the world.  And some are natives, the beach is their place.

As this week’s make cycle in the CLMOOC comes to an end, I’ve been considering what the idea of re-mediation means for me…and what my make might be.  And I started thinking about this collection of #beachpeople images.  I decided to I would take these still images and create a documentary-of-sorts.

That took some doing.  I considered using animoto and just tossing my photos in and letting animoto do the work.  But I felt constrained by the 30 second free movie and the lack of editorial control.  So I decided on iMovie–I’ve fiddled with it before (here and here)…but that also meant if I didn’t want to use the overly familiar iMovie music, I would have to figure out how to access open source music. I found this track called Folka Dot Tie by Mr Crispy–The Rat Room that created the sort of mood I was looking for and went to work.

As the mother of a filmmaker, I know what I want things to look like…but not necessarily how to do those things myself.  I did discover some options that I didn’t know about as I positioned the photos and got them to move.  And after spending hours getting to this point, I’m going to let this be good enough for now.  I hope this re-mediation captures the variety and character of this small subset of #beachpeople, documenting just a few of the many reasons I treasure my beachwalks…and enjoy viewing the world through my lens.

I’d love to know what you think when you take a peek at my #beachpeople

Documenting Light: July’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

July is the heart of summer. Long days, warm nights, all filled with light. Morning light, light at dawn, midday and afternoon light, the dwindling light of sunset and twilight, and the glow of lights at night. July is a month to capture light.


Nature is painting for us, day after day,, pictures of infinite beauty.

John Ruskin

And inspired by the work of Paccarik Orue, I find myself thinking about documentary photography—photography that celebrates place, people, culture, and customs that uncovers and illuminates beauty that others may miss or dismiss.

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s light shining somewhere nearby.

Ruth Renkel


So let’s explore the light of July, in all its variety and glory and document the places and people we experience.

Light can be gentle, dangerous, dream-like, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violet, springlike, falling, straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm and soft.

Sven Nykvist

The harsh man-made lights at the end of the pier,


midday light illuminating a wave and its surfer,


filtered light through the windows of your house for the cats to discover (that’s Jack!),


and looking up into the clear blue sky at wild fair rides.


Lingering seems most at home in the late afternoon. Other words belong to other times. But lingering (like dawdling and dallying) works best when the day is slipping away, and we don’t care.

Jim Richardson


Here’s some prompts to get us started this month:

1. Home

2.  Shadow

3.  Outside

4.  Color

5.  Bright

6.  Undercover

7.  Discover

8.  Warm

9.  Night

10.  Dawdling

11.  Misty

12.  Clear

13.  Dangerous

14.  Bare

15.  Violet

16.  Dead

17.  Gentle

18.  Falling

19.  Dream-like

20.  Straight

21.  Hot

22.  Living

23.  Sensual

24.  Limited

25.  Poisonous

26.  Dallying

27.  Soft

28.  Calm

29.  Lingering

30.  Fear

31.  Care

So let’s explore the light of summer and document the people and places and things we encounter.  Our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you to document the spaces you inhabit as you explore the light. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. 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.

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

Maori proverb


And don’t forget to play around with nighttime light too!

Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.

Lucy Maud Montgomery


What light will you see and document through your lens?