Tag Archives: light

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Tree

We have a quirky tree that grows along the side of our driveway.  At one time it was nearly choked to death with ivy growing up its trunk.  It has a strange spiky trunk and a few broken branches that jut out in odd directions.  But it is that very character that draws my attention to it almost every day.  And it makes a perfect frame for varying light and sky conditions.  I have tons of photos of this one tree.  I took this one earlier in the week when I noticed that it was blooming…and the sun was reflecting off the leaves.

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A few days before that I was noticing the sun, bright and summer-like, a very different kind of glow.img_9716

We had a foggy morning recently…and I had to stop as I got ready to get in my car to head to work to pull out my phone and capture the mistiness in a photograph.  I love the way the morning sun creates an almost silhouette effect

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Sometimes this one tree is the perfect frame for the sherbet colors of sunset, with soft and wispy clouds.img_9236

Or with the reds and pinks of a clearer sky.  (You may also be noticing that the tree wasn’t in bloom for these pictures.)

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The moon sometimes peeks through its branches, partially hidden in the milky white clouds.

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Gray clouds with just a splash of blue appeared on one of those rare stormy days.

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And the white puffballs look so soft you can almost feel them against the brilliant blue of the sky on this day.

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There is just something about the twists and turns of the branches of this one tree that creates interesting angles and draws my eye.  It reminds me to look up, to pay attention to the light, to the clouds, to the moon…and more.

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So, this week be on the lookout for your one tree (or one building or one hillside or one street corner) and document how it changes in different light, in different weather, at different times of the day or night.

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

Fine your one tree (or one something else) this week and spend some time noticing and documenting.  I can’t wait to see what you learn when you pay close attention to your #onetree.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

How many photos is too many to take of the beach? That question runs though my mind as I take photo after photo at this place I treasure. Looking through my lens I see the constant change…in light, in tide, in surf, in people, in rocks, in sand, in shells, in surfers, and more.

The unseasonably warm temperatures (80’s in February) and convenient after-work low tides collided to make perfect conditions for walking and taking photos all week long.  I found the most unexpected treasures as I walked.

The warm temps created different layers in the sky…and early in the week an almost misty condition.  These seagulls seemed to be playing tag, chasing each other into the sun.  I love the golden glows in this treasure.

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Early in the week the tides were particularly low, exposing large expanses of reef.  I walked way out toward the end of this outcropping where the treasures of tide pools were exposed.

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Walking north instead of south another day revealed the treasure of tiny shells instead of rocks under my feet.  I love the colors and textures of the thousands of shells.

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There are lots of varieties of seagulls too.  These guys always crack me up…I swear they look like Groucho Marx with their thick eyebrows and funny hairdos.  And I caught this guy in quite a pose!

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And thanks to my husband and my friend Janis, I can’t walk the beach without noticing the trash that washes onto shore.  This was a week for interesting trash…shoes, pvc pipe, electrical cord, and many surfboard fins.  I’m kind of a trash snob, I prefer to photograph and pick up the most exotic trash…like this piece of shoe that seems to be turning into its own island!  (Thanks #litterati for featuring this one as your Facebook and Twitter photo of the day on Thursday.)

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Yesterday as I bent down to photograph this fin, I was in the perfect position to catch the surfer in the background.  I can imagine him thinking, “Where did that fin go?”  Once photographed, I pick up the trash and carry it to the trashcan (or sometimes take it home–I seem to be starting a surfboard fin collection!).

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And I can never resist taking my favorite shot as I head toward the parking lot…one that features the sun setting behind the lifeguard tower, truly a treasure to behold!  (Complete with sun flare)

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So where do you find your treasures?  Are they revealed as the snow falls?  As you dig in the garden? Exposed by the light shining through the window of your house?

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

The beach revealed many treasures for me this week.  I can’t wait to see the treasures you find through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Outlines

I was recently reading a newsletter from a blogger I enjoy (joyfullygreen.com) and something she wrote caught my eye…that the word photography comes from Greek roots meaning writing with light. Now that makes sense to me.  Sometimes I feel like I draw with the light…and sometimes I feel like I am drawing the outlines between the light.

The other night I was walking back to my room at the retreat center where I was staying in Austin and started to notice the shadows of trees along the walkways.  As I stopped to take pictures, I also noticed that I entered some of the images as well, outlined in shadow.

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The tree in front of my house has become a favorite of mine, drawing my attention upward. It’s bare branches outline interesting angles creating a perfect frame for viewing the sky and clouds, helping me notice the blues and grays and whites beyond.

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Sometimes I find myself chasing the setting sun, trying to capture the nuances of light and color.  Hiking in Austin meant searching for the sun through the trees along the trails. This shot caught the sun outlined thickly in orange peeking through the trees.  (That’s not snow or water…those are rocks on the ground!)

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Apparently prickly pear is as common in Austin as it is here at home.  I love the way the light outlines this view of the flat, spiky pads and the rounded red fruit.

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Finding the word “Exit” outlined in thick black marker makes me wonder how many people have felt lost or confused trying to complete this loop trail.  I know when I climbed the many log stairs at the end of the loop, I was looking for the exit!  I didn’t need the sign…and actually overlooked it the first time I walked the trail.

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And there is something about sunsets.  They seem to outline the landscape in color: rich reds and oranges and yellows.  And if you look closely, you will find the moon–a thin sliver outlined in light.

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So, where do you find the light creating outlines?  Or shadows and color outlining images you see?  How do you write with light and see those outlines you find in your world?

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

Take a look around for outlines you notice.  Which are created with light? With shadow? With color?  How will you interpret outlines through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasonal

I’m not sure how it happened, but it’s December already.  And not just the beginning of December, but almost half way through December!

With today’s stormy weather (at least by San Diego standards), winter feels near.  Our students were in for their snack recess…and out in the blustery wind for lunch.  I couldn’t resist swinging by the beach on my way home to glimpse the wind blown waves as the sun started to set. There’s something magnificent about the way the clouds cluster over the sea, walking along the shore with my jacket zipped to my chin and my hood up, and the wind pulling and pushing as I explored.

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Just a few days before I had stopped on my way home to snap a few photos of the sun setting, golden in the distance.  Instead of feeling the wind, this day was warm and sunny–reminiscent of the summer–unseasonably mild.

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This week is also the annual season for computer coding.  Beebot is the perfect tool for introducing students to the principles of coding…and the kids love programming this mechanical robot to move around its grid. You can see the engagement and intensity on their faces.

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We haven’t gotten our Christmas tree yet, but I did go with my son and daughter-in-law last weekend to pick out theirs.  I love the smell of the pines…and I couldn’t resist this shot of the trees wrapped in their webbing.  It was a fun surprise to look through my pictures and notice the red stands contrasted with the green of the trees.

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And my neighborhood is ablaze with light this time of the year.  It seems that each house is more elaborately lit up than the next.  There are the traditional strings of lights hung from the eaves, the palm trees wrapped in loops of lights, and the much more kitchy reindeer, santas, snowmen, and more!  This image is the tiniest fraction of the lights in this neighborhood!

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So take a look around for what is seasonal in your parts this week.  Will you find evidence of the holidays, notice weather patterns, or come up with some other seasonal evidence?

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

Take a look around for the seasonal…and share the view through your lens.  What does seasonal look like in your part of the world?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

Yeah…it’s cliche, but it is the holiday season.  The days are short.  The sunset comes early enough that I see that golden glow most every day as I drive home from work.  Today on my way home I dropped by the beach because I heard there were high surf advisories (with sets up to 9 feet!).  I caught the golden glow, but it’s hard to see that the surf is a bit larger than usual.

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A few days ago I managed to catch the sun behind the lifeguard tower. The angle I caught created this red glow (along with the sun spot reflecting on my lens)…an interesting effect.  (Does it have a technical name?)IMG_8055

Somedays the glow is less obvious, but there is something wonderful about this late afternoon light before the sun sets.  The edge of the waves look so creamy and dimensional and the sand seems so flat and smooth in contrast.  I love the beach this time of the year when it belongs mostly to those who can’t resist the lure of the sea.

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Sometimes the sea and the sky seem to dance, intertwined as they swirl and swoop, partners in blue and gold.  This particular vantage gives an expansive view looking out, looking down, and looking up.

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And because it gets dark so early, we have lots of electrical light too.  This tree was a-glow, lit from top to bottom, shining in the early evening darkness.  There’s definitely a festiveness that comes with the wearing of the lights.

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And there’s the sparkle and glow of indoor light.  In this case, reflecting on the large glass globes adorning the tree.  And if you look closely, you’ll see me glowing in there too.  A nifty selfie reflected in the holiday glow!

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So…what’s glowing in your world these days?  Nature’s lights?  Holiday lights?  Or the warm smile of a friend?

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

Be on the lookout for glow, and capture it through your lens!  I’m looking forward to your interpretation.

Beach Hues: Monochromatic

The beach offers me endless inspiration, stimulating my senses with the light, the life, the variety…and the sameness.

The ocean and the shoreline is an endless variety of blues, whites, and grays.  Some days the colors are vibrant and fully saturated, other days, they are muted–layering hues of a single color in subtle textures like this image of a seagull taking flight toward the wave rolling in.

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Sometimes the sky is reflected in the wetness of the ground.  Clouds to walk in, waves to walk in…echoes of each other.

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And look up and see the clouds like waves, a backdrop for a tiny airplane, perhaps a biplane, awash in blue and white.

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It is the monochromatics of the beach that help me see texture, that force me to look closely to notice the daily changes and the endless variety of the cliffs, the waves, the sky, the shoreline…

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Light and angle–twin photography tools–teach me about seeing and finding the beauty in the extraordinary sameness of the beach.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Golden

I’ve been noticing light a lot lately…especially when it’s not there.  We’ve had an unusual July–thunder and lightening and rain and cloud cover so heavy it feels like a wet towel around your shoulders.  (And record rainfall–although we are still deep in a persistent long-term drought!)

As a result, I feel like I’ve taken lots of gray photos, where the sky looks like the ocean that looks like the sand.

So as the sun began to break through this week, I wanted to head out to catch the glow.  The beauty of the summer is that the days are longer, making evening walks a treat…and giving me a chance to play around with the golden light that comes as the sun begins to set.

Giant kelp is always amber in color, golden and brownish.  But giant kelp has floats about the size of grapes, shaped sort of like teardrops.  Now and then I see huge floats–the size of our small playground balls–that I know as bull kelp, a variety of giant kelp.  I see these more often in the winter, maybe because it takes rougher seas to pull them up to shore.  But yesterday, maybe as a result of the storm earlier this week, there was definitely bull kelp on the beach. The sun brought out the golden qualities of this amber algae.

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I watched this boy for a while as he flipped his skim board out in front of him and then ran to step aboard and ride on the slim layer of water.  I was pleasantly surprised to catch this action shot…and the warm golden glow of the sun on his skin.

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Surfers come in all shapes and sizes and I often see them looking out to sea, watching.  I wish I could get inside their heads and know what they are thinking as they stand on the shore. I know that surfing is a physical sport, but I also suspect it is meditative as well.  I watched this surfer…and couldn’t resist a shot with her bathed in the warm, golden light of the early evening.

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And I the clouds were calling to me…and when I looked up through my lens, they opened up to reveal the golden light treasure inside!

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So, what is golden in your life right now?  You can be literal of figurative, examine the natural world or the artifacts of civilization.

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

Be on the lookout for a golden opportunity to snap a photo!  I can’t wait to see golden through your lens.

Documenting Light: July’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

July is the heart of summer. Long days, warm nights, all filled with light. Morning light, light at dawn, midday and afternoon light, the dwindling light of sunset and twilight, and the glow of lights at night. July is a month to capture light.

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Nature is painting for us, day after day,, pictures of infinite beauty.

John Ruskin

And inspired by the work of Paccarik Orue, I find myself thinking about documentary photography—photography that celebrates place, people, culture, and customs that uncovers and illuminates beauty that others may miss or dismiss.

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s light shining somewhere nearby.

Ruth Renkel

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So let’s explore the light of July, in all its variety and glory and document the places and people we experience.

Light can be gentle, dangerous, dream-like, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violet, springlike, falling, straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm and soft.

Sven Nykvist

The harsh man-made lights at the end of the pier,

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midday light illuminating a wave and its surfer,

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filtered light through the windows of your house for the cats to discover (that’s Jack!),

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and looking up into the clear blue sky at wild fair rides.

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Lingering seems most at home in the late afternoon. Other words belong to other times. But lingering (like dawdling and dallying) works best when the day is slipping away, and we don’t care.

Jim Richardson

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Here’s some prompts to get us started this month:

1. Home

2.  Shadow

3.  Outside

4.  Color

5.  Bright

6.  Undercover

7.  Discover

8.  Warm

9.  Night

10.  Dawdling

11.  Misty

12.  Clear

13.  Dangerous

14.  Bare

15.  Violet

16.  Dead

17.  Gentle

18.  Falling

19.  Dream-like

20.  Straight

21.  Hot

22.  Living

23.  Sensual

24.  Limited

25.  Poisonous

26.  Dallying

27.  Soft

28.  Calm

29.  Lingering

30.  Fear

31.  Care

So let’s explore the light of summer and document the people and places and things we encounter.  Our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you to document the spaces you inhabit as you explore the light. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! You can share on Twitter (follow me @kd0602), on Instagram (@kd0602), in the CLMOOC community on G+, on Flickr, or even link back to my blog here.

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

Maori proverb

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And don’t forget to play around with nighttime light too!

Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

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What light will you see and document through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Black and White

This week we’ve been plagued with the notorious “May gray,” days with a marine layer so thick that it’s as if the world exists only in black and white.  And in these days of digital photography, I take all my photos in color…but find myself sometimes wondering if a particular image would look better (or different) in black and white.  So since our days have been lacking in color anyway, what better excuse for exploring images in black and white?

I noticed these motorcycles lined up across the street from me when we visited Julian over the weekend.  With the gray skies and their headlights on, I wanted a way to focus attention on the motorcycles and their lights.

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I loved the light in this photo of the dark red tulip and wondered what would happen if it were in black and white.  The light is still the focal point, even with the absence of color.

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That had me looking for an image with movement…like this one of the waves breaking under the pier.  I miss the beautiful turquoise of the water, but love the vibrance of the splash against the pilings.

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And there’s the ever iconic UCSD Geisel Library…this most recent photo was my attempt to capture the clouds behind it.  There is something timeless about black and white images…

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So this is your week to explore with the absence of color.  What images will you capture in black and white?  Which work well…which need color to bring out their beauty?

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

Even if you are not immersed in the gloom of “May gray,” experiment with black and white.  I look forward to seeing black and white through your lens!

Looking Beyond Ugly

When I walked into the house today after work I noticed that the tulips in the vase on my dining room table were ready to throw out.  They were leaning over, their dried blossoms hanging upside down nearly touching the table.  I started to move them to the trash can…and then the afternoon light through the window shining on the near-dead plant caught my eye.  And suddenly I could see the beauty in the crumbling blossoms that had seemed so ugly only moments before.

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A  photography tip aside: It was just last week that Joy from Joyfully Green had posted an article where she described the place–her dining room–that served as a photo studio because of the light it offers.  (Joy has many tips to share…about photography and about living green.)

As a teacher, it’s my job to look beyond the ugly–the spaces where learning isn’t happening in the ways we want or expect–and figure out how to find the light that transforms.  And it isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it just seems easier to place blame, give in to frustration, or pass the buck.  But then the light shines through my dining room window and I can look beyond the ugly and find the beauty.

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(Five Stories…not sure if I followed the rules, but thanks for encouraging me to tell a story today!)