It seems that this time of year is all about the numbers. There’s the constant countdown of shopping days, days til the new year, and as a teacher, days until our winter break. Today was that day, the last day of school before the break…and it was a rare rainy day. A day that resulted in a canceled assembly (ours take place outdoors), canceled recesses, indoor lunch (we do not have a cafeteria), and canceled cardio club (a school-wide running club)–which meant that on the last day before a two week break, the kids were in the classroom all day long! Luckily, we had the novelty factor to help us out and we really do need the rain. I can count the rainy days we’re had on one hand! Here’s the view from the library window where we went for a change of pace to read a story.
I’ve been noticing numbers in other places this week too. A walk at the beach early in the week had me look up and notice this 2 groups of 2 arrangement of pelicans and palm trees. I had fun playing around with the image to layer in some color too.
I also found these three seagulls hanging out in the silvery gray light of a late fall sunset. I’m always excited when reflections are crisp against the shiny shore–it is all about the light!
And the Christmas lights are in full effect in my neighborhood–and the number of lightbulbs seem uncountable! My neighbor consistently puts on quite a display, with hundreds of lights on display (quite a contrast to my undecorated abode!). I always have fun trying to capture the colors of the light in the darkness–this is the view from my front yard. (Night photography is still a pretty steep learning curve for me!)
This shot, taken with my iPhone, features one light and one moon as the focal points. I love the Hopper-esque quality of the light in the image. (Think Nighthawks)
And then there’s that tractor making trip after trip, carrying sand from the shore to build up a protective berm along the high tide line. I am continually fascinated when I spot a tractor on the beach…always at low tide, counting the minutes ticking away as the water inevitably rises.
So, how might your view change if you look by the numbers this week? What are you counting? What is involved in your countdown to the holidays or the new year? What numbers emerge for you?
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 #bythenumbers for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Start counting…or multiplying or subtracting. What will you see when you look at your world by the numbers?
Sometimes I find myself in a rut–stuck in the mud, sinking lower and lower so that it seems that all I see are shoe tops. Instead of appreciating the beauty around me, I get mired in the minutia of everyday–dishes and laundry, report cards and meetings, and traffic!
When I’m in that rut I don’t always see the possibilities. I find myself traveling the same paths, butting up against the same barriers…and even thinking the same not-so-inspiring thoughts!
And I know that I am lucky. I enjoy my work–most of the time–and all it entails. My students are a source of energy, my colleagues keep me learning and growing, and the end of the school year means my work will change–adding variety and new stimulation to the mix. But…there’s that rut…and at this time of the year lots of others are in it too.
Yesterday, after a long work day I was heading to a planning meeting with some colleagues. And instead of the provocative thinking I knew I would experience when I got there, my mind was on the traffic and the frustration of the snail’s pace I would experience as I got on the freeway.
So I ventured out in another direction. There was some traffic as I set off, but as I crossed the intersection that could have taken me to the freeway, I headed into the hills. The road was narrow and steep as it curved through neighborhoods with breathtaking views. As I reached the top I pulled off into a park–well known in these parts. A place I had been before, but never think to visit. It’s off the usual path, less direct, with a lower speed limit.
And this path not taken led me to wonder and inspiration…and jubilation!
I was treated to amazing views of my city. I could look north to La Jolla shores and the Scripps pier, east toward the mountains and the communities between. As I looked south I saw the iconic structures of our downtown and the bays and ocean that frame it.
I felt like I could touch the clouds from this place on the hill. And in spite of the clouds I could see forever in all directions. The sky was clear and the sun peeked through, brightening my outlook and my attitude.
I don’t have to stay in the rut, mired by routine and overwhelmed by the demands of the end of the school year. But I do have to find the spaces of inspiration, make time for moments of vacation and renewal even when time is in short supply.
This is one of those lessons that I need to remind myself of over and over again. It’s easy to stay in the rut, to do the same thing, travel the same roads, talk to the same people, see the same sights. I’m already thinking about other ways I can shake up my ordinary and pull myself out of the rut…the view is so much better here!
Exotic photo shoots just don’t happen very often for me. Most of the time I take pictures here…right where I am. And most days the only camera at my fingertips is my phone, so I take it out and look for something interesting or just ordinary and snap away.
On Monday when I stopped to check the mail on my way home from work, the magnolia blossoms caught my eye. In particular, I was drawn to this one that seemed to be unraveling–well past the prime of the bloom. I pulled out my camera and captured this.
Light traffic on Tuesday meant that I arrived for an appointment with plenty of time to spare. So I headed to the beach nearby to take in a breath of two of salty air. Right here I found a secret pathway down to the beach. I love the way the ocean peeks through.
But right here I also found an abandoned mylar balloon. These things are simply too common on our beaches. I picked this one up and placed it in the trash.
This week has been beyond busy with too many meetings, too much to do, and Open House! (I love Open House–the perfect celebration of learning, but it definitely involves a push to get ready and to help students be ready too!) With a few minutes to spare before I needed to get back to school for Open House last night, I stopped by the beach (you might notice a theme here). I didn’t have enough time for a walk…but I did have enough time to stack up some rocks and watch the waves roll in. Sometimes balance means taking available minutes here and there to let my mind wander and refresh my perspective.
My students got some of those minutes today. Our third graders had won extra PE by averaging the greatest number of laps at our school jog-a-thon, so here they are enjoying the parachute with our PE teacher.
And right here, outside the classroom door, the monarchs are back! The butterflies we saw last week obviously laid some eggs and now the caterpillars are munching away on the milkweed. This is a favorite place for students to stop and study the caterpillars in action. No chrysalis yet…
So, what’s happening in your here this week? Where’s your go-to “here” for a mental break, for a moment of relaxation, to enjoy the moment?
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 #here for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
So here you go…find here with your camera and give us a glimpse! I can’t wait to see what you find.
I’ve taken lots of photos this week, but most of them are of my precious new grandsons, which means I am not able to post them on social media. But I have taken a few shots along my way here and there this week. Today was a rare southern California rainy day, the perfect day to head out for a trip to an indoor mall–and allow my son and daughter-in-law to have an outing with the baby (getting out of the house is still a challenge). When we arrived back home after a few hours out, I noticed the white roses in the front of their house with raindrops on them. I rushed inside to grab my macro lens and snapped some raindrops on roses (yeah, that song runs through my head whenever I see raindrops on roses!).
I love this view of one perfectly focused raindrop–it’s not a great view of the rose, but the raindrop…
And the Bob Hope airport is a funky retro place. When I arrived on Wednesday, it was unseasonably warm (over 90 degrees)…just to have a 20 degree drop of temperature today along with rain! As I waited for my son, there was something about this sign that caught my eye, especially when planes took off in the background (although I missed those shots!).
At my other son’s house earlier in the week, we took the twins for a walk to the nearby park. As I pushed the stroller I also noticed the enormous trees, brilliant green against the blue sky. And I found this line from a Pablo Neruda poem that captured the feeling I had when I looked at it.
What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?
Sometimes when I take a photo and later look at the results, I notice that the focus is not where I intended. In this shot, the flowers in the background were focused, but the ones in the foreground were not…I played around a bit in Vintique to see what I could do with the image. Here is my result.
And as I headed to my car to leave (oh, how hard it is to leave those sweet babies), I noticed this thistle. A weed…prickly…and beautiful, growing along the edge of the yard.
The beauty of carrying a camera at all times (most often, just my phone) is that you can take photos along the way–wherever you are, whenever you have the chance. So this week’s challenge is just that, take photos along your way to here or there, with an eye for something interesting…or maybe even something ordinary in a new way.
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 #alongtheway for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
What will you find this week along the way? I look forward to seeing what you discover!