Tag Archives: light

Weekly Photo Challenge: Water

I know I often take it for granted–that precious liquid that fills our bodies, covers most of our planet, and that has been rare here where I live for the past six years.  Drought reminds you how much you depend on water and all the dead lawns in the neighborhood are visual reminders of the impact of ongoing water restrictions.  But it’s been raining a lot around here lately.  Normal rainfall is about ten inches a year…and this year we’re already over eleven and a half inches with March still to come.  We returned to school on Monday after a week off with the rain steadily falling–and it rained and rained and rained.  We had rain for nearly 24 hours straight–something our area doesn’t handle very well.  When it rains like that, a waterfall appears in front of my classroom door.  I noticed this overflowing drainpipe Monday.

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And needless to say, our students were not enjoying their usual lunch area–instead they were ensconced in our classroom all day long.

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You might notice that there are few ways to get around without getting wet when it rains like this.  Kids get soaked going to the bathroom, we all got soaked on our way to the school library.  Water was everywhere on Monday!

On the day before, it was pretty clear that a storm was coming.  A walk on the beach was an exercise in dodging raindrops (success on that point!) and reveling in the many shades of gray as the clouds gathered overhead.  The wind attracted an intrepid windsurfer with a bright green sail…and my camera followed him around as I walked along the shore.

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And after a rainy Monday, it was surprising how beautiful the rest of the week has been.  By Wednesday, I walked in the afternoon sunshine after work.  You can see that this seagull and the surfer in the background where also enjoying the water…and the sun!

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After work today, I knew I would head for the water.  But I also wanted a change of pace–a new view, something to spark my imagination and my photography.  I headed to a nearby beach–but not the one I walk routinely.  The tide wasn’t very low this afternoon so I had mountains of rocks to climb.  I also found flights and flights of stairs.  I climbed for  a view above the water–and was rewarded with a treat for the eyes!  (No editing was needed or used as I captured this view of endless water.)

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But I did play around with this shot of a paddle boarder enjoying the cool waters on a Friday afternoon.  I wanted to intensify the colors and highlight the way the sun was shimmering on the water’s surface.

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As I scrolled through my photos this week, water was ever-present in one form or another.  What role does water play in your life and photography?  Does it fall from the sky or flow from the hose in your garden?  Do bodies of water call your name or do you find water in less obvious places?

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

Take a look around for water–in any of its forms.  What will you discover when you look at that amazing substance through the lens of your camera?  I know I can’t wait to find out!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: #findjoy

When I get up each day and make my way into the world, I find myself looking for scenes and images that speak to me.  Sometimes I take ten photos and one “works,” the others lacking in something that makes them special.  Sometimes I take one photo, seemingly a throwaway, and it sings, bringing me joy and helping me frame my day.  I was reminded by a blogger/photographer that I follow, Joy over at Joyfully Green, that photography can be a way to find joy and peace in our turbulent world.

I walk this path frequently, it is familiar yet ever-changing.  This week’s weather has brought lots of clouds our way–this day my attention was drawn to the clouds that seemed to be sitting on the horizon line.  I was having trouble getting a shot that captured that sense of the low-lying clouds.  This seagull caught my eye…and helped me frame the cloud formations as well.

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Some days my photo opportunities are related to the errands I need to run.  I noticed the moon the other evening as I got back into my car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  And when I didn’t love the photo, I set to playing around with some apps to see if I could produce a different  effect.  I like the monochromatic effect and the way it helps bring focus to the moon peeking through the tree branches.

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Another beach walk brought the light to my attention.  I think my favorite time of day for photos is the time before sunset when the sun seems to kiss faces and highlight waves.  Again, clouds were my muse allowing me to capture the color and light like a watercolor painting.

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Sometimes it’s that one shot that calls my name.  I stopped on my way home the other afternoon and was drawn to the silhouetted trees framing the ocean and sky in the background.

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Rainy days as a teacher means the kids are cooped up inside all day long…no recess time, nowhere to go to eat their snacks or lunch.  The classroom becomes a space for playing and eating as well as learning…blurring the boundaries and offering fewer outlets for youthful energy.  It was a relief to have no rain on Friday so the kids could get out and RUN! I love the way the ponytail is flying back in this image, hinting at the action and the joy in releasing energy taking place in this still photo.

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I’m sure our plants are always confused here in southern California.  It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s dry, then it rains…  The tree in my front yard recently burst into tender green new leaves…in December!  And the trees outside my office at UCSD were raining down fall colors with the raindrops earlier this week, adding some liveliness to an otherwise dreary and gray day.

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And when I look closely, I can find joy and beauty in the dry, dead blossom clinging to the orchid in my kitchen window.  There is so much inspiration around us if we just take the time to look and pay attention to details.

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So, for this week, take a look around, snap some picture that bring you joy.  You might find it in the petals of a dying flower or the beauty of a sunset.  Or you might notice an interesting pattern of light and shadow or the smile of a stranger.  Maybe you take joy in preparing food or folding clothes for your family…snap a few shots and see what you notice.

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

Head out with your camera with joy as your muse…what will you find to share with the rest of us?

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

During these short days, light becomes a focus.  And many of the winter holidays include light as an aspect of celebration.  There’s something about light that brings out the reflective qualities–those caused by the light, and those internal reflections provoked by the magic of light.  As a photographer, light has become an obsession for me.  I notice it, but don’t always master all I need to know and do to create the shots I envision.

We’ve had stormy weather here this past week, bringing some much needed rain to our parched earth.  I love the period after the storm (or between storm cells) when the sunlight peeks through the dark clouds creating a magical sky view.

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Sometimes light becomes quite literal.  I noticed these industrial lights when we were at Home Depot picking a Christmas tree.  Even though it was mid-day, the light was on.  I couldn’t help noticing the brilliant green of the leaves behind it and the bright blue sky.

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With the tree home, we set to work decorating.  Sorting out the string of lights is just the kind of job the cats love to help with (Jack is just outside this shot).  I like the way the lights glow and reflect on the wood floor.

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It was nice to take a break from the cleaning and decorating and shopping for a dinner out with my hubby.  As we waited for our pizza at a local brewery, I noticed the lights reflecting off the window.  I like the way the inside and outside come together–it was a perfect way to spend a rainy evening.

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With a short reprieve before the next rain storm hits later tonight, I squeezed a quick walk on the beach into my schedule.  It was as empty on the beach as the roads and stores were full today.  I appreciated the quiet of the rush of the waves and the wind in my face as the light played with the clouds and water.  This is where I come to think–and to not think.

If you look closely, you can see the pelican.  It was soaring and diving, obviously enjoying a pre-storm lunch.

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So, take a look for light in your life.  You might find it in holiday celebrations, in nature, or maybe just in a quiet moment of reflection.

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

Share the light in your life this week–literal or metaphoric–I know I am looking forward to light through your eyes, and your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Play

When things get busy…like during this time of the year…I forget to do really important things, like play!  But playing is the very thing I need when I am feeling over-the-top with all the demands of work and responsibility and the holidays (I always forget how much cleaning and organizing comes with decorating).

Maybe that’s why we scheduled a field trip in the first week of December (what were we thinking?) to the Children’s Museum.  We planned our trip around the idea that play and experience would inspire writing for our students.  I brought my camera with me…and I both played with my camera and with my students.  I loved the way that play was physical…like climbing these ropes suspended like a web.

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On hands and knees I crawled around dark corners in tight spaces until it opened up into a room with hundreds and hundreds of spoons suspended from the ceiling, creating a visual and aural experience.  The low light meant the photo images were about play too, as reflected light bounced off the gently swaying metal as my camera attempted to freeze time.

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Writing became part of the play as well.  “Taking 5” meant time to be inspired and play with words.  Our students also found interesting places to perch themselves for this writing, playing with the physical act of writing too.  (I played around with Prisma to disguise my student, but still let you see the writing perch he found!)

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And when the walls are filled with quotes and images, my mind wants to play with those too.  I found myself fascinated with the ways the light was coming in the windows, illuminating bits and pieces.  I love that Ask Great Questions is highlighted here…knowing that curiosity is the key to learning.

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I was still playing later in the week when I noticed the heavy fluff of the dew-laden dandelions in the front yard.  I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking when they saw me kneeling in the wet grass as I headed out for work trying to capture that heaviness.  I decided to pull this iPhone image in close and make it black and white to emphasize the beauty of the simplicity.

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I feel like the moon has been playing chase and tag with me all week.  I’ve been noticing the waxing moon in the late afternoon all week.  After I got my phone repaired this week (I had one of those defective 6s batteries!), I noticed the moon working hard to be a decoration on the local mall Christmas tree and I played with angles using my newly repaired phone to capture the moment.

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And in spite of that heaviness of exhaustion, after school yesterday I made a spur of the moment decision to find the street entrance of a beach I have only previously seen from the sand level.  I was not disappointed–in fact, I felt energized.  The tide was getting high and as I walked over mounds of rocks I looked back at the cliffs and noticed the moon following me in a playful game of follow the leader–with me leading this time!

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So, let’s focus on play this week.  How will you capture play in your photos…or play with your images?  How will you push pass the demands of each day and discover moments for playfulness in your busy routine?

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

Get out and play around!  Be sure to share your play with the rest of us!

 

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: In Search Of…

This has been a long week…each day I wake up and think it is Friday.  Of course it is the week wedged between parent conferences and spring break.  It’s only slightly better because it is cold, making it easier to be at work instead of pining for that beach walk!

With weeks like this I have to make time to take photos–the opportunities do not seem to crop up naturally, I have to go out in search of inspiration. After work last Friday I talked my husband into a quick trip to the beach to watch the sunset (after running a few errands first).  It was chilly but clear enough for the sun to be visible and I took a few nice sunset shots. I also found this interesting wind blown tree and found myself ducking behind it to capture it silhouetted against the shore.

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And who knew that my search for sunset would lead me to a search for whimsy…I found this interesting, detailed art piece constructed on the top of a trash can near the beach.  It makes me wonder about the artist. Was this constructed from found objects on the beach? What’s its story? Why mount it here?

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I also found myself in search of beauty this week and I treated myself to some cut tulips at Trader Joe’s on Saturday.  I watched and photographed the blooms all week.  I love the way the afternoon sun illuminates my dining room table, the perfect setting for photographs of these beauties.

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I like the idea of candles but seldom light them, afraid I will forget about them and start a fire.  But over the weekend I wanted to create a pretty smell and enjoy the soft glow of the candle flame. So I lit this one for a while, it almost creates an alter like feel on the fireplace mantle.

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After an early Easter dinner with family, Geoff and I headed out in search of the sunset.  Unfortunately, as we headed away from our house the sun ducked under the thickening clouds.  We knew by the time we reached our destination that no sunset would be visible this day.  So, we made the best of it.  Took some photos, explored the area…and then stopped for a cup of coffee and a walk through the outlet mall.  Sometimes quiet time together is a sunset in itself!

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I was delighted the other day to find this racetrack chalked near our neighborhood mailboxes.  There are some children who live down the street who love to race their skateboards down the hill.  I love that they inscribed the word start…a message that resonated with me.  Don’t wait, just start rolling! (It’s funny that they drew the pathway down too…I didn’t go far enough down to see if there was a stop or end too.)  I only needed the word start!

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Somedays you just have to stop on your way home in search of something…energy, inspiration, a change of pace, fresh air…  I found myself at a little seaside park in Del Mar watching the waves, the clouds,…and the train go by.  It was a perfect pick-me-up during this oh-so-long week.

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So, what are you in search of this week?  Whimsy? Beauty? Inspiration? Relaxation?  Where will you find it…in your backyard? At work? In the sunlight glancing through the window?

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

So take out your camera and start your search…what will you find when go in search of…?