Tag Archives: Litterati

Buoyed: #litterati Day 16

Daily beach walks make me keenly aware of the ways that trash finds its way onto the beach. Straws and plastic wrappers are common, along with bottle caps and bits of aluminum from decomposing cans.  Sometimes I find more interesting bits of trash–plastic toys, sunglasses, pieces of surfboards and more.  Today I found an escaped boat bumper or buoy being tossed in the surf…and it became today’s poetry inspiration.

Taking a photo of trash and then disposing it properly is the habit of many camera wielding activists…the #litterati.  Small acts add up to a big difference.

buoyed litterati

Buoyed

 

Bobbing in the waves

an escaped boat bumper

heads toward shore

 

Styrofoam bullet

breaking

spreading harmful trash

in its wake

 

We can all help

one photo

and one piece of trash at a time

#litterati

 

Douillard 2018

And a student photograph and poem…inspired by the palm tree that stands tall in the center of our playground:

tyler pineapple palm tree

A Pineapple Palm Tree

Way up high in the sky
A pineapple sits on a stem with leaves swaying every which way,

held high by the stem

about as wide as your hug and as high as the
Seagulls soaring above
Us

a rainbow of thought to feed
Your imagination

Tyler

Like photography, poetry offers new perspectives on ordinary objects and actions.  What can you see anew today?

Writing and Photo Challenge: Reflection

Reflection in writing and thinking has become habit for me…and it’s something I emphasize for my students.  In fact, I did an extensive study of reflective thinking and writing for my MA quite a few years ago now.  I know that reflection helps learning stick.  It creates opportunities for problem solving and connections.  In the classroom we talk about reflection as a way of collecting learning.

Over the last week or so I’ve been playing around with reflection in my photographs.  It’s a bit different from reflective thinking and writing.  Instead of examining your thought processes and searching memory, this kind of photography requires a shiny surface of some sort to catch the reflection.  Low tide walks are perfect when there is some sunshine to create reflections.  I’ve had to tinker with angles, how close to get to the reflective surface, and what kinds of objects reflect well.  Yesterday, low tide was near sunset.  Perfect weather, warm and clear, allowed for a refreshing walk in the water.  I noticed the reflection of the pier, light posts, pilings, and even people, creating a perfect mirror image on the wet sand.

lrg_dsc04835

I couldn’t resist trying to capture the color in this reflective photo of the buildings and palm trees along the shore line.  I love the brilliance of the blue sky reflected on the wet sand.

lrg_dsc04812

I noticed this reflection as I worked to create an interesting photo of some trash on the beach.  As I turned my phone to find an interesting angle, I noticed the reflection of the palm trees.  While the angle isn’t perfect, I was able to get an interesting #litterati photo and get some plastic off the beach and out of the ocean.

img_8901

I’m a bit obsessed with seabirds.  I try to get as close as possible without spooking them, getting low if possible.  These guys are pretty perceptive and love to start walking away when they see me in the distance!  I particularly like the soft light of the setting sun warming up their reflection with the pier in the background.

lrg_dsc04833

I captured this guys’s image earlier in the week.  The day was a bit gray and blustery, ruffling his feathers and making the texture dimensional. This is the only photo in the post that I have edited.  I found that by darkening and brightening the image, I could draw attention to the detail of the feathers, the beak and the reflection.

snapseed-31

Reflecting on all this reflection reminds me how much there is to learn from thinking about the processes we use.  While photography uses different skills and processes than writing, they both benefit from taking time to reflect on successes and frustrations.  And it always helps to study the work of another.

So, head out with your camera and try your hand at capturing reflection. Low tide created a perfect shiny surface for me.  Will you find another body of water?  A wet patio deck? The shiny side of your car?  And what will you learn when you take the time to think back and write about your experience capturing reflection through your lens?

Share your #reflection this week, in images or words…or both. 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 #reflection.

I can’t wait to learn from your reflection photos…and your reflections on reflection this week!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Be Ready

I’ve noticed that my state of mind plays a role in determining what I see.  It’s so easy to overlook what is right in front of you, especially if you are looking for something else.  This week I’ve been working to pay attention to what is in front of me.  I walk past an art installation on the UCSD campus each day as I head to our Summer Institute.  Fallen Star is a tiny house (back before the Tiny House movement) perched on the top of the engineering building.  We’ve had many gray mornings (one of the downsides of being near the coast), the flat gray light seems to make things all blend together.  But some early morning sunshine this week had me looking more carefully and noticing lines, angles and shadows.

fullsizerender

The Independence Day holiday gave us some extra time to explore our surroundings.  We headed out to a local hiking trail–a bit inland where it is hot and dry these days.  This year’s rains mean the creek is still flowing, but our native foliage is drying out.  I noticed these dandelion-like puffs along the trail, bursts almost like mini fireworks spreading their seeds as they wait for moisture to germinate.

4d25a127-7a7d-41af-8a82-79ed6bf5af8c

There are lots of interesting cars in our area.  Near the beach we often see vintage cars, especially “woodies,” those fancy old station wagons that are often featured in surfing movies.  Low riders are much less prevalent.  I’m glad that I stopped to look closely as a parade of low riders drove through the drop off circle at the beach.  I watched the drivers “dance” with their cars, lifting and lowering, showing off and posturing to each other and the crowd.

1f3a75a1-e3c4-4140-8158-bbb1002ae37b

I’ve been finding a lot of glasses on the beach glasses.  Sunglasses are pretty common, often found with an arm missing, only one lens, bent and mangled from their time in the surf.  I almost missed this pair of prescription lens buried in the kelp washed up on the shore.  I’m sure that someone is bummed that these were lost!

img_7334

After running some errands last night, we stopped by for a quick dinner.  As we headed to the car afterwards my husband pointed to the almost full moon rising.  As we looked to the sky we also noticed the oranges and pinks of the sun setting in the distance.  We decided to take the coastal route home, hoping there would be a place to pull of the road and photograph the sky.  The sun had already dipped below the horizon, but the clouds reflected the residual color.

1436a966-7874-4430-bab3-580cf270cdfc

And when I looked in the other direction, I saw the moon again, this time shrouded in cotton candy clouds.  With just a hint of pink from the setting sun and a hint of the blue sky not yet dark, the moon was blanketed in soft swirls.

snapseed-24

Earlier in the day, on my way home from work, I stopped by Torrey Pines State Beach for a walk.  The weather was warm and muggier than usual.  The tide was low-ish, but not too low.  I walked in the water, letting the salty water cool my feet and wash away the work week, clearing the way for the weekend.  As I walked I noticed a big brown rock-like structure in front of me.  Or was it a rock?  As I got closer it was clear it was an animal…a seal?  A sea lion?  Dead or alive?  I was relieved to see it moving.  It was a sea lion laying on the beach.  As I approached, keeping my distance, the sea lion got up to warn some people nearby not to get too close.  I started snapping, wanting to capture the movement and beauty of the wildlife.  I’m hoping the sea lion was simply enjoying the beach and not sick.

img_7429

So, be ready for what appears in your path this week.  What will you notice when your mind is ready to see what is there and not what you hope to find?  Be sure to keep your camera handy!

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

Open your eyes and your mind to all that is in front of you.  Be sure to grab your camera and take some shots to share what you find when you take the time to #beready!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

In lots of ways it’s been a colorless week as I struggle to recover from a nasty cold that found me somewhere between the east coast and home, find myself pushing against the impending report card deadline, and anticipating the demands of next week’s parent conferences.  Luckily, opportunities to get outside always brighten my attitude…and that makes everything better!  And better yet, my week went from colorless to vibrant as yellow began to pop up everywhere!

As I left the doctor’s office earlier this week, the wildflowers growing along the side of the road called my name.  I had to pull my car over and pull out my camera.  The vibrant yellow of this sunflower-like variety screams sunshine.  I’m not sure what this little beetle like insect is (I don’t think it’s a ladybug) that has latched itself firmly to the bloom.

9f1be277-7a6e-4fb8-9f66-2ebd6eb7875e

As I started to feel better and with most of the report cards done, I set off midweek for a beach walk.  The #litterati in me couldn’t help picking up these abandoned minion sunglasses…after I took a shot or two of these yellow frames laying on the beach.

e30c4490-11e7-4385-a95b-9abf08136f9b

And as I looked up at the cliffs as I walked I couldn’t help but notice the brilliant green growth along with the patches of yellow flowers.  This is such a difference from our usual drought year hillsides.

4a961f5d-59dc-497d-8d4e-5e75bb60d1c7

For a change of pace, I headed to the lagoon the other day.  The sky had turned overcast, but that didn’t take away from the beauty of the scene all dressed up in yellow blossoms.

ce3e42e2-c295-4567-a840-9faaa8bc359d

I tried to capture the density and pervasiveness of these blooms…they are literally covering huge swaths of ground in their sunny yellow.

fa6f1ac9-2ee0-4312-acb3-2c4ff2b03823

I always admire the tenacity of natives that seem to grown in unexpected places.  I found these blossoms creeping up the fence line as I watched children play on recess duty.  I love the juxtaposition of the rusty chain link fence and the pretty yellow wildflowers.

img_6012

And just to shake up the prompt a bit, I found myself mesmerized by the yellow bees doing what bees do best…pollinating!  I stopped and watched and waited, trying to capture this guy in action.  My patience paid off!

52316724-876c-4c8c-88a7-502ccd4bb50a

So what yellow are you seeing this week?  Don’t feel confined by the idea of flowers or blossoms…you might notice that banana shifting from yellow to brown as it sits on your counter or maybe it’s that scarf you notice your friend wearing.  Be bold!  Capture yellow!

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

Be on the lookout for yellow!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine

This week I’m borrowing the prompt from the folks over at the Daily Post since so many of my photos this week fit their theme: shine.

I had such a busy weekend last weekend–happily playing with my twin 7 month old grandsons.  We purposely took a late flight back to maximize the precious time we have with them, getting home near midnight on Sunday.  That meant that the alarm on Monday morning came sooner than I would have liked.  Surprisingly, I had plenty of energy at work and set out for a beach walk afterward.

The tide was low after work this week, creating perfect conditions for long walks.  Monday was cloudy–we’d had misty conditions during the school day.  Not enough to keep the kids in, but enough to wet the ground and make us feel a bit soggy outdoors.  When I arrived at the beach, I could see the shine of the sun in the distance, reflecting on the water, almost like there was a portal above.

a07a2966-26b0-4a84-abce-c6a49d853102

Further down the beach, I came across an algae covered reef, exposed by the very low tide. I started thinking about the way the algae creates the fall colors that others usually see in the foliage of trees–this really is fall on the beach–browns and oranges along with the blues of the sky reflecting in the shine of the water.

img_3768

As the week warmed up, the sun made itself more prominent.  You can see its shine peeking through as I leaned in to capture this shot of the tree roots.  I was thinking about how they remind me of feet and toes in the sand.

img_3772

I noticed that the sun and light kept changing this week.  The days are getting shorter, affecting the trajectory of the sun, making the shine feel more diffuse and muted.  This shot reminds of the light of those “endless summer” surfing posters.  Maybe when you can walk on the beach barefoot and in a sleeveless top in the fall, it is endless summer (if you look closely at the surfer, you’ll see he’s in trunks rather than a wetsuit)!

a247990e-28b9-43a0-be55-c7bf900f7718

I love it when light shines in a way that creates a mirror-like reflection. You can see this seabird has a colorful reflection in the wet sand.

f4cbc29f-7076-4886-af06-606d6ffdb1e6

Things felt a bit less shiny when I spied this seagull with the plastic baggie.  The amount of plastic that ends up in and near the beach is staggering, even when people make an effort to reduce their use and pick up trash.  The beach I walk is pretty clean…and even though I got close enough to take the photo, this bird was not letting me get a hold of his treasure!

7aeb8a5c-5f57-4a1c-aa93-69b7588c9971

Yesterday’s walk was near sunset–that magical time when the light shines softly, creating a wonderful glow.  I noticed this surfer sitting on her board watching her friend head into the water.  I like the way the sun shines on her face, while everything else has a soft glow.

9c78d310-0ce9-4b27-ad4b-e24cd4d055b4

By the time I got back to where I began my walk, the sun was just about down, replacing the bright shine with an orange glow.  And I was lucky enough to catch a green flash in the moment the sun set into the ocean…confirmed by the cheers that went up by the other sunset watchers!

4a0f0934-6dd4-4817-9898-0ce05ed5b194

So, where are things shining in your life this week?  What shine catches your eye? Although my examples of shine are from outdoors, I can imagine plenty of shine indoors as well.

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

Thanks Nancy Thanki and the folks at Daily Post for the inspiration this week…and feel free to share your shine with them too!  I’m looking forward to seeing all the shine that catches your eye this week.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Appreciating the Ordinary

Some weeks just don’t lend themselves to extraordinary photography. Now I’m not complaining about my week–it’s been fun and busy, with lots of writing and thinking as we complete week two of our 4-week SDAWP Summer Institute.

Sunsets are not always a sure thing here on the coast–night and morning low clouds can interfere with sun sightings.  Last weekend, we decided to risk it and headed to the beach near sunset.  We were treated to some pretty orange as the sun dipped low.  If you look closely you might noticed the pelicans in the upper left corner flying through the frame.

img_2190

It’s not unusual to see these flying billboards–banners attached to small planes that buzz the coastline mostly advertising alcoholic beverages.  I noticed these two different planes flying by and saw that they would cross paths right overhead.  They were not dangerously close, but I’m glad they were paying attention to each other!

img_2200

We’re pretty fortunate that the beach we frequent is mostly free of garbage in spite of the heavy usage, especially in the summer.  Balloon trash is pervasive though.  This balloon looks to have been around for awhile–with most of the words worn off.  The #Litterati movement (and my friend Janis) reminds us to pick up trash where we find it and dispose of it properly.  I love the sky and the sea in this unfiltered photo, there’s something about the clouds and the sea foam of the waves that creates a texture and an echo.

img_2196

The walk from the parking lot to the building where the SI takes place each day can be both ordinary and interesting.  I noticed these two small orange birds as they perched on the sign near the sidewalk where I walk. Using the app Colorsplash, I turned the photo to black and white and then allowed the bird color to remain in my hopes of highlighting them.

img_2216

I was reminded of the power of nature…even just a tree in a parking lot…to affect my mood.  Rachel Carson’s quote captures the jolt of strength and sense of oasis that I experience when I look up through the leaves of the tree.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
— Rachel Carson

img_2228

The practice of noticing makes an incredible difference in my life.  The photos I take capture only a fraction of what I notice, and noticing helps me appreciate the little things in the ordinariness of my life. So take a look around, how might you view the ordinary in new and more appreciative ways?

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

What will you find when you pause to appreciate the ordinary?  I can’t wait to find out!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: 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.

img_1287

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.

img_1308

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.

img_1317

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.

img_1333

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.

img_1386

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…

img_1363

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.