Tag Archives: macro

Considering Scale

Exploring different camera lenses changes my experiences with scale.  With the macro lens, I am able to magnify things that are small and make them appear larger than life.  The blossoms on this flowering tree look much different when you get up close.

cherry tree

cherry blossoms

Yesterday I was playing with my telephoto lens, and exploring the options it gives me when I take photos.  Pelicans up close are huge birds…here’s an old photo I took on the Oceanside pier with my iPhone standing pretty close to the bird.

pelican in flight

Here’s another I took yesterday using my telephoto lens looking out into the distance as I watched the pelican soar over the waves.

peleican in flight

I also noticed these hang gliders in the distance as the fog began to roll in.  They are tiny specks in the distance, framed by the beach cliffs.

hang gliders in the fog

I also had the opportunity to zoom in as the glider came closer and closer to me.

hang glider up close

What I know is I have a lot more exploring to do with determining which kinds of shots lend themselves to which lenses.  I was wishing for my smaller lens at some points during my beach walk yesterday when I had my telephoto with me.  And I definitely have moments when I am wishing for my telephoto when I have my smaller lens.  I’m not all that comfortable changing lenses in the moment…maybe I just need to accept that I will work with the lens I am using at the moment.

And as always, I find myself thinking about how this idea of scale works in the educational area. When do we need to pull back and look at the big picture, dismissing the fine details to see the overall view?  And when do we need to zoom in…with the telephoto to bring things that are in the distance closer or with the macro to magnify the small details and make them visible?  I definitely love the way my camera helps me think about my work…the macro, the telephoto, the big picture, and the individual learner.  Scale definitely matters.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curiosity

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

When I am out with my camera, I notice things in the world that I somehow overlook as I go about my daily business…and I find myself asking questions and wondering about so many things.  I think my neighbors must think I am crazy when they see me out in the middle of my lawn as I head out to work, crouched low with my phone in hand, trying to photograph the strange little gray mushroom that somehow cropped up overnight.  Where did it come from? Why is it gone before I get home in the afternoon?

mushroom in the grass

The macro lens constantly piques my curiosity.  It’s amazing when you are able to bring what’s ordinarily too small to notice to full scale.  I love the layers of stacked petals on this mum.  I can see why Georgia O’Keeffe painted so many big pictures of flowers!

mum

I didn’t have my macro handy for this shot…and I doubt the butterfly would have stood still enough for me to get close anyway.  I was curious when I saw this monarch in Raleigh…just like I do at home in San Diego.  What is the ideal habitat for monarchs?  Is it about temperature? Available food sources?  Are they native to both places?

butterfly in Raleight

I’m also curious about learning and how to best support it.  We like to have our students sketch, especially when looking closely at something real.  This is a sketch of an aspen leaf (not commonly found in our area).  I like the way this student paid careful attention to detail, both in the contour shape and in the placement of the veins that run through it.

leaf sketch

And what is it about bubbles that draw our attention and make us smile?  We use bubbles in the classroom as a way to celebrate birthdays…the birthday child gets to pop bubbles we blow as the kids sing.  It always brings a sense of joy and a big smile–to the birthday child and to the rest of us too!  Is it the translucent hint of color or the temporary nature of these fragile balls that delight us?

bubbly birthday

What has piqued your curiosity lately?  Has something stopped you in your tracks, to crouch low, drop your guard, and focus that lens?  What are you still thinking about long after the photo has been snapped?

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

So now I am curious about what makes your curious!  What are you noticing?  What has gone from ordinary to extraordinary as you paid more attention?  I can’t wait to see curiosity through your lens!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wonder

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

As I headed out my front door this morning a dew covered dandelion puff caught my eye.  I was filled with wonder as I noticed the heaviness of the strands of fluff and I couldn’t wait to put my work things in my car so I could head back over to take a photo. Seeing the dew all over my car and windows, I decided to start my car, squeegee the windows and then set up my macro lens to capture that image.  At that moment, as I sat in the driver’s seat and pushed the button to start my ignition, my car let out a short groan and then nothing. I tried to pull the key out to try again…but it wouldn’t release and when I tried the ignition button again…nothing.

Lucky for me, my husband was working from home this morning so I was able to head back in to see if he could help.  And while he was checking out my car, I got the opportunity to attach my macro lens and snap a few shots.  I love the way you can see the dandelion fluff encased in a dew drop in this shot.

dandelion in dew drop

(As I write this, my car is in the shop.  My husband was able to take me to work and hopefully we’ll be picking my car up later today.)

Yesterday, I reveled in the wonder of my students as they took a close look at some fall leaves my teaching partner brought back from her trip to Colorado.  My students had the opportunity to observe, sketch and photograph the leaves…and these will also serve as information and inspiration for some poetry and art.  I found myself taking photos of students taking photos of leaves (and you can see some sketches in progress in the background).

photo of leaf photoOn Monday, we celebrated the National Day on Writing (for details you can see this post) by writing collaborative poetry with the older multiage class at our other school.  My students continually amaze and delight me as they embrace the wonder of words…and of collaboration. It was such fun to watch kids, from six to eleven years old, figure out how to bring their ideas together in a collaborative poem.

poetry collaboration

I spent the weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Association for Science and Technology Centers conference.  Unlike a usual educational conference, this conference is mostly attended by museum professionals.  My colleague from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and I presented as part of our participation in a partnership between writing projects and science centers.  Since we have been exploring ways to transform field trip experiences for students, we included a mini field trip “exhibit” as part of our presentation.  It was such fun to catch the wonder and delight on the face of adults as they explored with a science “toy.”

mini field trip joy

I also had the opportunity to explore the North Caroline Museum of Natural Sciences (I wrote more about it here).  This museum is quite unusual and includes many unique features.  I got to watch these veterinarians work with this snake, including using a “trach” tube.  We got to listen to the snake’s respirations and ask the vets questions about the procedure.  You’ll notice that they are also projected onto the screen on the right hand side of the photo.  I can only imagine the wonder children will experience as they watch these animal doctors at work!

vets with a snakeAnd in the more traditional part of the museum I happened to look up with a bit of surprise and wonder as I noticed these pterodactyls above my head.  You can also see the lights of the city through this windowed dome where the pterodactyls flew.

pteradactyls

And sometimes it is the simple things that fill me with wonder.  Raleigh is known for its oak trees.  While they were not experiencing full blown colorful fall leaves, there were leaves and acorns falling here and there.  I love the simplicity of this leaf on the brick walkway.

oak leaf

What fills you with wonder?  Is it the simplicity and beauty of nature or watching students at work?  Did you catch a scientific wonder (like today’s partial solar eclipse) or revel in the intricacies of man-made structures?

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

Open your eyes and heart and pay attention to what fills you with wonder.  Breathe in and take that photo, not so much to make art, but to capture the moment for further reflection.  I can’t wait to see those wonder-full moments through your lens!

 

 

 

A Macro View: Texture

I love using the macro lens.  It magnifies subjects so that what is ordinarily unnoticed suddenly takes shape and comes to the forefront.  So when I saw the Daily Post weekly photo challenge topic of texture…I knew exactly what I wanted to post.

The macro lens on my iPhone is not particularly convenient, I have to take the cover off my phone and then attach the magnetic lens, so I don’t use it as frequently as I would like.  Earlier this week I was in a beautiful garden…meant to be a replica of a homestead garden…in Bozeman, MT at the Museum of the Rockies.  A bounty of flowers and vegetables flourished…calling my attention.  There were poppies, sunflowers, and myriad flowers whose names I don’t know.  And the onions were magnificent!

texture_red and white onion

And while we needed to head out to the airport for our flight home, I just had to steal away a few minutes for some macro shots.  Here is one of the onion above.

texture_onion macro

And here is one of the blossoms of a different variety of onion.

texture_onion

The brilliant red poppies also caught my eye.  They are gorgeous without looking closely, but magnification brings out the delicate tendrils and the distinctive centers.

texture_red poppy

And I also saw these same centers standing alone without the crimson petals.

texture_poppy bud

As I wandered through the garden I continued to move close and zoom in on blossoms.  This one with the spiky center looks almost like a bouquet of colored pencils

texture_red bloom

This fluffy tan ball revealed small individual flowers through my macro lens.

texture_tan

I’m not sure what this tiny purple ball wrapped in green spines will look like when the bloom opens.

texture_spiny

When looking closely through the macro lens, centers pop, revealing intricacies of design.

texture_white

texture_indigo

Looking closely creates opportunities to pay attention.  Seeing the contrast between hard and soft edges and elaborate design with repeated patterns also seems to draw attention to the vibrance of color…like in this purple blossom.

texture_purple

Textures often go unnoticed when we look at flowers and vegetables.  Instead we tend to notice the overall shape and general color, and sometimes the fragrance as well.  I love the ways the centers of flowers uncover distinctive details about how the flower reproduces and unfolds.  What originally appears smooth and soft is more complex and nuanced with a closer look.

And that is true of life too.  Looking closely and paying attention can change our observations and our perspective.  Sometimes you just have to lean in and take the time to smell…and photograph the flowers!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

One of the things I love best about the summer is the light.  Days are longer and filled with warmth and flooded with light.  I find myself noticing how light shines from different angles, how different objects catch light, and how some light seems harsh while other light feels soft somehow.

I’ve been messing around with selfies (and subjecting my husband to them too!), trying to capture different angles and places and light too.  I love the sky in this one and the way the light catches my hair and shoulder.

selfie light

During a late afternoon glance around the back yard I noticed the way the light and shadow played with this succulent.

succulent light

And I was drawn to the burr on this weed and the way the light served to highlight the prickly spines.  I had to get my macro lens to capture it’s miniature beauty.

burr light

Yesterday was Hack Your Notebook Day, which meant we were playing around with lights and writing and notebooks…and I captured Henry testing the limits of his parallel circuit, lighting up one, two, three, four…

circuit lights

Today I was craving the outdoors and sunshine and solitude…so I took a lunchtime photo walk out on the UCSD campus..  There are so many interesting art installations (part of the Stuart Collection) on campus…I found myself heading off toward the rock bear and noticing the light bouncing off the boulders that are the bear.

bear in the light

And if you look closely into the light and shadow of this shrub you might just see the little bunny rabbit that froze when it saw me…allowing me to snap a photo (although I couldn’t get close enough for a great shot of the rabbit).

rabbit light

So this week’s challenge is to find the light in your photos.  Indoor light, outdoor light, dim light, bright light, direct light, diffuse light…take advantage of all the light that summer has to offer!

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.

Chase the light with your lens…can’t wait to see what lights up your life!

 

A Burr in Your Sock

Today was a prickly kind of day in the SDAWP SI.  There’s something about confronting formulaic writing that sticks in your socks like those little burrs you find on weeds that seem to plant themselves in the most unlikely places.

burr

Over the weekend we read a collection of articles about formulaic writing, thinking about why this approach to writing instruction persists, and the implications for student writing.  Even teachers who are proponents of using a formulaic approach to teaching writing still complain about the deadening experience of reading the resulting student writing.  Who wants to read paper after paper of repetitive phrasing and uninspired thinking?

I contrast that with the playfulness of this week at the CLMOOC.  This week’s make is to hack your writing.  And already on day two interesting writing is filling my feeds.  I woke up this morning to a poem by Kevin “stolen” from yesterday’s blog post:

I live in contrasts
in the space between here
and there
I find the nook to hide in
and observe the world
through many lenses
I seek but never find
the whys of the world
so that every movement is
equally beautiful, equally interesting
and entirely different from each other
but only if we take the time to pause
and notice.

And this creation by Sherri:

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.41.27 PM

Both Kevin and Sherri played with language and writing, creating their own message and meaning from words I had written.  They wrote for fun, for their own purpose, and gifted their words to me on my blog.  I grant you that they are adults and they are not composing “academic” texts, but I know that the spirit of fun and play supports them as writers.

I worry about who in our schools gets the most formulaic writing.  Why are our English learners, our students of color, our students who live below the poverty line most likely to get writing instruction that is pre-chewed, scaffolded to the point that no thinking is required?  In the name of being helpful, we are robbing students of the opportunity to make sense of their thinking through writing.

And yet, letting go of the formulaic means inviting messiness, losing control, welcoming confusion in order to find clarity and coherence.  What replaces the formula?  That is a question that I am asked over and over again.  The answers aren’t easy, they aren’t neat, and they mean teaching writers rather than writing.

Sometimes that search for answers feels like a burr in your sock.  But if you look closely–maybe using your macro lens–you’ll see the details of the beautiful weed, a natural hacker, springing up where you least expect it.