Tag Archives: flowers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

When your week throws you curves…take photos of them!  It’s been one of those stressful weeks.  Our third graders grappled with the mandated state testing, tensions are running high as decisions are made about staffing for next year, and the oft-promised rain actually came yesterday…the day before our annual (outdoor) ice cream social!

In spite of wanting to go home after work and just sit…I stopped by the beach to walk.  I’m so glad I did.  The rhythm of the waves and the wind in my face seemed to wash the stresses of the week away.  I didn’t walk far or fast, but my walk was deliberate and healing.  I went as far as this “corner,” and looked back on the beach from the curves in the wall.

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There are plenty of beach warnings after the rain–the surf is rough and unpredictable and the run-off from the storm drains introduces bacteria into the ocean water.  I sat for a few minutes watching the water run through the large curved drain pipes that allow water from the watershed into the ocean at the beach where I most often walk.

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Lucky for us, the rainy morning turned into a glorious afternoon and allowed students from our other school to come down for the promised band concert.  It’s fun to watch former students play their instruments…and then stop by afterward to give a hug to their past teachers!  The towering piles of curved clouds suggested there still might be storm to come…

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Our school is a place of much natural beauty.  While I was on playground duty earlier this week the curves of these roses caught my eye.  I love the hint of pink…

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And I continue to love the way the late afternoon sun comes in through my dining room window.  That light even makes the curves of a dying sunflower beautiful!  I love the contrasts of darks and brights, reminds me of paintings of “old masters.”

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When I did finally get home last night and took some time to sit and do nothing, I noticed this shadow and the curved lines of light and shadow. Was it a reflection from the blinds? A recording of my brain waves? Abstract art?

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So, what curves were thrown your way this week?  Grab your phone or camera and start snapping!

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

What curves will you document this week?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Floral

I’ve noticed flowers everywhere lately!  Even the little rain we’ve had lately (and this photo was taken last weekend on a rainy day) has brought out the wildflowers–especially the natives.  These bush sunflowers crop up whether or not they are invited.  I love the juxtaposition of the warning sign and fence behind the brilliant flowers.

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Most of the native flowers seem to come in yellows, so this purple thistle caught my attention.  The raucous wild fuzzy head atop the grayish-green prickly stem seems too beautiful to be a weed!  (And the more I notice weeds, the more I notice their beauty!)

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A walk at the lagoon this week (in preparation for next week’s field trip) brought more wildflowers into view. The hillside was ablaze with orange nasturtiums, bush sunflowers, and these other white and yellow blooms. If you look in the distance you can see the ocean where the lagoon meets the sea.

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There were also these spiky white-ish flowers laying close to the ground along the salt marsh.  In this shot I managed to catch the bee buried in the blossom.  I pulled this in close to make the pollinator even more evident.

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I had caught a glimpse of some prickly pear cactus in bloom–but was too far away to take a photo.  But as I began to drive away, I noticed prickly pear growing in front of a house along the road.  I just had to stop and snap a few pictures.

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And my sweet hubby brought me home some flowers from the market this week, a treat to brighten the house.  I love arranging them in simple clear vases in the dining room where the afternoon sun creates the perfect lighting.

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And who can resist these crazy blooms?  Orange and wild, in perfect contrast to the prim and proper red roses.

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So what’s floral in your life this week?  Grocery store flowers, blossoms from the garden, wildflowers in untended places…or a painting, upholstery, or a new favorite outfit?  Take a look around and see what you can find.

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

Be on the lookout for all things floral…I can’t wait to see what you find through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monumental

Yesterday Abby and I spent our day on Capitol Hill talking with congressional reps, exploring the history of our county, and thinking about the multiple meanings of words (more details of that here).  So as I thought about a weekly photo prompt, the word monumental came to mind.

There are the obvious images of monumental, like watching the sun rise behind the Capitol building. (It’s being renovated, giving it an almost Minecraft-like cubism.

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There’s some less obvious uses of monumental too–at least in my mind.  Like the monumental effort it took to capture this image of the squirrel sitting on this piece of branch, facing out, eating breakfast.  I wanted to get close, but not so close that I would cause him to dash.  So I did a bit of editing to bring him more into focus so you could get a glimpse too.

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And what teacher wouldn’t love a monument made of books?  I was a bit flabbergasted by the enormity of the stack–tower–monument of books written about Abraham Lincoln on display at Ford’s Theater.

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I was also thinking about my visit to the desert near my home last weekend…and the monumental majesty of the mountains that frame our local desert spaces.  I love the blooming ocotillo in the foreground, bringing a touch of color to the endless palette of browns against the brilliant blue sky.

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And then there is the monumental beauty in the ordinary…like these yellow flowers that somehow find enough water to survive…and thrive and bloom in this dry, hot environment.

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Back to my day on the hill yesterday…I had a monumental amount of fun with Abby.  We worked hard, talked a lot, and Abby’s playfulness is contagious!  After me filming her dancing on the steps of the Supreme Court (she was tempted to ask the armed security guard to dance with her!), she asked to take a photo of me…and encouraged me to move, react, not just stand still.  I’m no Abby…but I appreciate the invitation to push out of my comfort zone of standing back, out of the limelight, to take in the sun on the hallowed steps of this historic place.

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So…what seems monumental to you?  Is it a place?  An event?  An experience?  An emotion?

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

So explore the multiple meanings of the word monumental and represent it in your way through a photo (or two or three).  I can’t wait to see monumental defined through your lens!

Fresh Eyes

I live in a place where there are plenty of beautiful and interesting things to see…and I work to see my place anew each day.  But it’s hard sometimes.  And sometimes I end up seeing the same things I always see.

And I think that happens for students too.  The classroom becomes familiar and learning looks like the same old thing.  That’s where field trips come in…they offer opportunities for students to see learning through fresh eyes, in a different context, in a different place.

I was definitely feeling the need for some fresh eyes today.  After working for eight straight Saturdays, today was rare free one and we made plans for a “field trip” to the desert.  We’re lucky here in San Diego, we have coast–beautiful beaches–near where I live and not even two hours to the east, we have the desert.  So today, we headed to the desert to see what spring had to offer.

We were hoping for a riotous spring bloom knowing that we’ve had a bit of rain since the new year.  But once we arrived, we learned that spring had sprung…in February!  Luckily, there were still beautiful desert flowers in evidence–maybe not a riotous display, but definitely worth the trip.

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Our first glimpse of the desert this morning came from above.  As we looked over the valley below, we noticed the quiet.  I caught this moment of my husband drinking in the silence.

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The desert is already warm this time of year, so we set out early for a hike, knowing it would likely be near 90 degrees by the time we got back to our car.  We watched for desert flowers, for snakes (especially rattlesnakes), for big horned sheep, and birds and bugs too.  And we weren’t disappointed.

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The cholla cactus (the first photo), was pretty plentiful and many were blooming.  The prickly pear was less obvious, and many were not blooming.  I felt lucky to catch this one right near the end of our hike!

Lizards skittered across our path, sunned themselves on rocks, and raced into cracks in the rocks.  Butterflies, moths, and bees were drawn to the plentiful yellow flowers.  I noticed this caterpillar hanging from a slender stalk.  (Love that caterpillars will pose!)

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The snake we saw was slithering in the spaces between rocks…and luckily we only caught a glimpse…and it didn’t appear to be a rattler.  We didn’t linger–no sense tempting fate when it comes to snakes!  But we did catch sight of some big horn sheep.  There was quite a group–12, I think–coming down to a stream near the oasis we hiked to.  Here are a few we watched from some rocks above.

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Their coloring is amazing–making them nearly invisible in the rocky locale.  We saw babies as well as adults…you can see them stopping to check out whether to bolt back up the hillside!

It was surprising to see a waterfall deep in the desert.  We could hear the running water before we saw it.  And the California fan palm, the only palm tree native to California, completed that iconic image of oasis.  Shade, water…and a nice place to rest before heading back into the hot sun to finish our hike.

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My husband snapped this shot of me traversing a shallow portion of the small stream!

I feel like I got to view spring through fresh eyes today.  I was looking closely and responding to novelty.  I snapped photos and then when I returned home, looked up information about some of what I saw.  I had to try and retry framing my shots, not sure how to capture the tall ocotillo reaching up toward the hot desert sun with the desert cliffs as backdrop.

IMG_4834Today’s field trip was just what I needed…a chance to see the world with fresh eyes, to go beyond the familiar and rekindle my interest in learning about this place I call home.

 

 

A Macro View: Texture

I love using the macro lens.  It magnifies subjects so that what is ordinarily unnoticed suddenly takes shape and comes to the forefront.  So when I saw the Daily Post weekly photo challenge topic of texture…I knew exactly what I wanted to post.

The macro lens on my iPhone is not particularly convenient, I have to take the cover off my phone and then attach the magnetic lens, so I don’t use it as frequently as I would like.  Earlier this week I was in a beautiful garden…meant to be a replica of a homestead garden…in Bozeman, MT at the Museum of the Rockies.  A bounty of flowers and vegetables flourished…calling my attention.  There were poppies, sunflowers, and myriad flowers whose names I don’t know.  And the onions were magnificent!

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And while we needed to head out to the airport for our flight home, I just had to steal away a few minutes for some macro shots.  Here is one of the onion above.

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And here is one of the blossoms of a different variety of onion.

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The brilliant red poppies also caught my eye.  They are gorgeous without looking closely, but magnification brings out the delicate tendrils and the distinctive centers.

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And I also saw these same centers standing alone without the crimson petals.

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As I wandered through the garden I continued to move close and zoom in on blossoms.  This one with the spiky center looks almost like a bouquet of colored pencils

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This fluffy tan ball revealed small individual flowers through my macro lens.

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I’m not sure what this tiny purple ball wrapped in green spines will look like when the bloom opens.

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When looking closely through the macro lens, centers pop, revealing intricacies of design.

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Looking closely creates opportunities to pay attention.  Seeing the contrast between hard and soft edges and elaborate design with repeated patterns also seems to draw attention to the vibrance of color…like in this purple blossom.

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Textures often go unnoticed when we look at flowers and vegetables.  Instead we tend to notice the overall shape and general color, and sometimes the fragrance as well.  I love the ways the centers of flowers uncover distinctive details about how the flower reproduces and unfolds.  What originally appears smooth and soft is more complex and nuanced with a closer look.

And that is true of life too.  Looking closely and paying attention can change our observations and our perspective.  Sometimes you just have to lean in and take the time to smell…and photograph the flowers!