Tag Archives: growth

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spaces

I’ve been thinking about creativity and making and the spaces we need to thrive and grow. Watching my baby grandsons as they wake up and stretch from the tips of their toes to the tops of their nearly bald heads reminds me that we need spaces, both physically and mentally to grow and develop.

My cats seek out spaces, even now that they are old.  They are particularly partial to spaces with sun where they stretch and curl.  Phil even posed, turning his face to me and the sun when I called his name.


I watched a little girl as I walked down the beach today, she came running from behind me at full speed in the shallow surf along the shore.  She was small, probably not more than 5 years old.  I wondered where the adult in charge was.  When I turned back I could see mom in the distance–and the girl kept running.


She seemed so at ease, running with abandon and delight, occasionally looking back to see where mom was.  The distance between them was too far for my comfort, so I watched, especially as she got closer to the crowd near the lifeguard tower.  Mom did catch up before I left the beach–and she was mad!  I guess we have to find the balance in the spaces too.

I do find myself looking up…at the spaces between the earth and space where the birds and the clouds float by.  Birds are hard to capture with my camera, especially pelicans that tend to fly higher than my lens can see.  I was delighted today when I looked up and snapped these three pelicans in the spaces between the heavens and the palm trees. (Sometimes timing is everything!)


Sometimes you have to make spaces in your life for micro vacations, time for a break from the everydayness and responsibilities of life.  Last night we headed to the beach to watch the sun set and put our toes in the sand.


We watched a family with a bunch of balloons as a prop for a photo shoot for their daughter.  I have mixed feelings about balloons.  They are colorful and festive, floating and bobbing in the breeze.  And they are dangerous to the ocean and its inhabitants.  I both gasped and clicked when I saw the balloons float free into the expansive spaces of the sky.


As the sun began to set, we walked back up the hill toward the parking lot and sat on some benches to watch the sun in the spaces between the palm tree and the sea.


So where are the spaces in your life? Where do you find inspiration, relaxation, reminders to run free and appreciate the little things?

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

Take a look around for those spaces that allow you to grow, to create or even to breathe and snap that shutter!  I can’t wait to see the spaces in your life.


Documenting Growth

The garden metaphor is pretty common in education–you know, planting seeds and watching them germinate, grow, and eventually bloom.  And as a teacher who keeps her students for three years, I really do get to plant some of those seeds, watch them germinate, grow…and bloom–sometimes a year or two after they are planted.

One of the families in our class gave each of us a mason jar planted with a narcissus paperwhite bulb for Christmas with a note on the lid telling us to be sure to take the top off and water.  And since taking that top off three weeks ago, I’ve been watching that bulb.  It began by stretching roots down, filling the jar with stringy white texture.  And then green shoots began to emerge, quickly growing tall above the rim of the jar.

Earlier this week those tall shoots got taller than they had the strength to hold onto and bent over, startling me as I looked up and found the shoots looking down at me.  My handy husband found some old chopsticks and propped the shoots back upright.

Close examination over the last week revealed buds, and I checked daily to see if they were ready to open.  And today when I got home from my morning San Diego Area Writing Project Leadership Group meeting, I found that the blossom had opened.  And of course I had to get my camera out and take some photos to document the growth and capture the beauty.


I’m loving this still life, an unedited photo taken with my iPhone.  If you look closely you can see the blossom at the top and the one to the left that is getting ready to bloom.  (You can even see the chopstick props if you really look closely!)

Of course I also wanted to lean in and capture the detail with my macro lens.  The detail of the blossom is revealed by the magnification of the lens.  This is another unedited photo.


And sometimes it’s nice to get a different view.  In this shot I used the regular iPhone lens and then brought the image into Camera+ to crop and enhance. I like the effect and how it emphasizes how the shoot changes as it gets close to the blossom.


I’ve enjoyed documenting the growth of this bulb through my photography.  It also has me thinking about how we document our students’ growth…and how they keep track of their own growth.  We keep samples of students’ work and have them reflect on their own learning, encouraging them to notice, stretch, and build on what they have learned.

My photographs document my growth as a photographer.  I can see how my composition has improved and as I examine my photos I make plans to try new techniques.  I seek out mentors on other blogs and on other internet sites.

We plan to start our students blogging next week.  We began blogging last year…figuring out how this might work with young students as we worked through each step of the way.  We’ve let the blogs idle as we established our classroom community and let our first graders develop some fluency and confidence with writing.

As we get ready to restart our blogging, I want to think about student blogs as documentation of learning…as portfolios of growth over time. And I want to capture snapshots of their growth like I have with the paperwhites, documenting their progress and their process over time.  Maybe the blogs will be like my camera lens…