Tag Archives: LA

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through the Window

Family is everything.  And sometimes you do crazy things to make sure you can spend time with your loved ones.  Like battling Los Angeles traffic on the day before Thanksgiving, knowing that the drive that should take between 90 minutes and 2 hours will likely be at least double that.

We left early in the morning on our way up to LA, well before sunrise, and were treated to a huge and gorgeous full moon sitting over the Pacific ocean as it got ready to set.  I would have loved to have had time to park at the beach and try to capture this rare moon viewing through my camera lens, but this was a day for travel.  And since I wasn’t driving, I pulled out my camera and did my best to shoot through the car window.  In the dark, my camera shutter was slow–and the car was fast (yay…no traffic yet!), creating a streaking and blurring effect.  I was delighted to find this abstract portrayal of light as I shot the moon.


After a wonderful day with my son and daughter-in-law, we got back in the car to head back home knowing that traffic would be heavy–but wanting to get home not too late so my husband could start baking his pies for Thanksgiving.  And heavy was an understatement.  After inching along the I5 for about 30 minutes and covering less than 10 miles, we decided to let Google maps on my phone take us on an adventure.

As we moved from one freeway to the next, we glimpsed views of downtown LA, watched airplanes and helicopters in their own freeway in the air, and noticed public transport rolling by on raised platforms.  All along the way I pointed my lens out the window, trying to capture the interesting and beautiful things that caught my eye.


With the drought on our minds, we’ve been noticing the aqueduct system running below the power lines.  Without the ability to stop and frame shots, I had to focus and shoot quickly hoping that I captured the image I was envisioning.  This is my personal favorite, a serendipity of light and shadow and composition.


Part of the time we found ourselves on city streets, deep in an industrial area.  Street art decorated the walls of buildings–some sanctioned (like the mural on the Farmer John compound) and some probably not. As I looked up, I noticed the graffiti-laden train overpasses and snapped a few more shots.


Heading onto yet another freeway (we found numbers we didn’t even know existed in Southern California!), I noticed tons of white birds sitting in a nearly empty aqueduct.  Since I couldn’t see over the railing, I shot through the cement openings hoping to capture what I was seeing below. I’m pretty happy with the effect!


As the sun began to sink, the sky took on a gentle glow, silhouetting another of the miles of power towers that line the freeways.


And while our adventures in LA were fun and interesting, we were not alone or without traffic. Brake lights glowed red, lighting up the freeway like Christmas decorations.


Our trip ended much like it began as we watched the full, huge moon rise into the sky.  It played hide and seek, first with the buildings and overpasses and later with the clouds.


It’s hard to know whether our “fastest route” actually saved us any time (we’re guessing we saved about 30 minutes), and it certainly wasn’t fast.  But it was such a relief to keep moving and not spend hours inching in stop and go freeway traffic.  We explored, we chatted, we noticed, and I took photos.  We arrived home tired, yet relaxed.  And we might just try that choose your own adventure route through LA again someday.  There is so much to see when you take the time to look through the window.

So…what are you seeing through the window these days?  Is it a car window, your house, or someplace else?  Or is it a metaphorical window–the space between stormy weather conditions, phases of activity in your life, the break between holidays?

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

What are you seeing through the window?  Take out your camera and give us a glimpse through your lens!