Tag Archives: moon

Over My Shoulder

It’s there, a constant, even when I can’t see it, hanging out over my shoulder.  It follows me around as it changes form, exerts its influences on the tides, and even becomes invisible.

As our students learn more about the solar system and space, I realize how little I really know about these things myself.  Of course I know the names of the planets and some basic information about them.  I know that the sun is our star and that our solar system is heliocentric.  I know that scientists continually update their own understandings about space and its celestial inhabitants…that Pluto has been demoted and a new solar system was recently discovered.

But honestly, it’s the moon that fascinated me.  I love that it appears large and low, orange like a pumpkin at some times of the year.  I’m fascinated by that Cheshire cat smile that greets me on a dark, clear night. And I can’t resist those slender crescents that seem to wink into view in the warm, short nights of summer.  I constantly wonder at its presence during the day…and today was one such day.

I looked up during my walk this afternoon, the sky was particularly blue as the sun shone brightly.  This is really the first warm day we’ve had in a while.  Tucked under the large palm, there it sat…not as bright as in the dark of night, but noticeable all the same.

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I’ve struggled to photograph the moon effectively at night, but during the day, I’ve had a bit more luck.  But that doesn’t mean I will stop trying to take a portrait of this friend of mine.  I like knowing the moon is right over my shoulder, a constant companion I can depend on, even when I can’t see it and even when I can’t photograph it.  It’s there, and that’s enough.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weather or Not..

We returned to school, deep in winter.  Flurries of white (paper) mounded as students began their study of snow and inquiry into how to cut hexagonal snowflakes from a square piece of paper.  Outside was cold by San Diego standards with students mostly in long pants and surfers in their full wetsuits.

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Weather is rare in these parts.  We hear stories of snow and ice across the country and across the state, but here weather changes are subtle. Clouds change the looks of our mostly blue skies, creating opportunities for dramatic photo images.

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More common for us is the grayness of fog.  Sometimes it’s just the grayness of cloudy skies that obscure the sun.  Monochromatic landscapes emerge from the grayness, like these birds in flight near the shore.  I am struck by how much this one looks like a painting with the hints of sunset in the background.

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Our oft-promised rain actually materialized this week, giving us a full day cooped up inside the classroom.  At UCSD, the fog rolled in with the rain, painting the world white as the sky crouched low to the ground.  (And what is better than a polka-dot umbrella to brighten a gray landscape?)

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Arriving home later that evening after a late meeting, the half moon beckoned, daring me to try to photograph it.  The result, better than I had hoped (no editing or filter here)…with the palms across the street appearing in the dark photo.

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And after the rain, yesterday dawned bright.  To cap off the workweek, I headed to the beach for a walk on the beach to clear my head and breathe deeply.  I was treated with creamy sun-kissed waves washing up on the shore as the tide crept to its peak.  I was reminded of a poem we had studied in class with our students about “bubble and froth.”

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.”
― Adam Lindsay Gordon

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When I looked up, I noticed the moon again, this time in full daylight. This is the blue sky I am used to, punctuated by the palms on the cliffs above the beach.  Sometimes it’s about the weather…and sometimes not.

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So, what will you find when you consider the weather…or not?  How does weather impact your choices in photography?  Do you choose subjects differently?  With weather (or a lack of weather) as your muse, what will you 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 #weatherornot for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

How will the weather impact your photography this week?  And weather or not it does, be sure to share some of your images!

Weekly Photo Challenge: By the Numbers

It seems that this time of year is all about the numbers.  There’s the constant countdown of shopping days, days til the new year, and as a teacher, days until our winter break.  Today was that day, the last day of school before the break…and it was a rare rainy day.  A day that resulted in a canceled assembly (ours take place outdoors), canceled recesses, indoor lunch (we do not have a cafeteria), and canceled cardio club (a school-wide running club)–which meant that on the last day before a two week break, the kids were in the classroom all day long!  Luckily, we had the novelty factor to help us out and we really do need the rain.  I can count the rainy days we’re had on one hand!  Here’s the view from the library window where we went for a change of pace to read a story.

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I’ve been noticing numbers in other places this week too.  A walk at the beach early in the week had me look up and notice this 2 groups of 2 arrangement of pelicans and palm trees.  I had fun playing around with the image to layer in some color too.

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I also found these three seagulls hanging out in the silvery gray light of a late fall sunset.  I’m always excited when reflections are crisp against the shiny shore–it is all about the light!

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And the Christmas lights are in full effect in my neighborhood–and the number of lightbulbs seem uncountable!  My neighbor consistently puts on quite a display, with hundreds of lights on display (quite a contrast to my undecorated abode!).  I always have fun trying to capture the colors of the light in the darkness–this is the view from my front yard.  (Night photography is still a pretty steep learning curve for me!)

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This shot, taken with my iPhone, features one light and one moon as the focal points.  I love the Hopper-esque quality of the light in the image. (Think Nighthawks)

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And then there’s that tractor making trip after trip, carrying sand from the shore to build up a protective berm along the high tide line.  I am continually fascinated when I spot a tractor on the beach…always at low tide, counting the minutes ticking away as the water inevitably rises.

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So, how might your view change if you look by the numbers this week?  What are you counting?  What is involved in your countdown to the holidays or the new year?  What numbers emerge for you?

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

 

Start counting…or multiplying or subtracting.  What will you see when you look at your world by the numbers?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Night

Night is a challenge for me as a photographer.  I have a tendency not to be out taking pictures at night…and when I am, I realize the challenges that night photography poses.  Last night, on a flight to Tucson I had the opportunity to sit in a window seat.  I realize that I often fly during the day, so once I was seated my eye was drawn to the lights against the dark of the night sky.  And as I snapped photos of San Diego from the air, I noticed the moon, nearly full, casting a glow on the water below.

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And every time I try to take night photos, I realize how slowly the shutter closes in low light.  And the slowness means that it’s easy to create blurs, even with the slightest of movement.  So from a plane, blurs become quite prominent.  I love the fun abstraction of this image taken as we landed in Tucson.

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So of course, when I saw this one, I had to try another as we taxied toward our gate.

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Before that, up in the air, I was treated to an amazing light show.  I watched an electric storm light up the clouds like fireworks in the distance.  Since I wasn’t able to get a photograph because of the darkness, I decided to try my hand at some video.  And while it isn’t perfect, you do get to see the beauty of the lightening lighting up the sky.  I know I should figure out how to strip the sound of the aircraft and add some music or something…maybe one of you can give me suggestions for how to best do that!

Once we flew away from the storm, the lights of the city began to appear in the distance.  And as we got closer and began to fly lower, my picture was less blurry and abstract.  I also suspect that the plane’s light, that seems to come on at a certain altitude, helped give more light to my lens to make the shutter speed a bit faster.

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After renting a car and heading out of the airport, I just had to take a photo of the iconic saguaro cacti, especially when I noticed the full moon behind them.  My husband was nice enough to pull over so I could get out to take a few pictures of these magnificent plants.

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So, try out a little night photography this week.  What happens when the light is low?  What light will you capture when the sky is dark?  You don’t need an airplane for this exploration, you can try looking out the window of your house…or maybe even standing outside looking in!

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

So head out into the dark of night with your camera (or phone) in your hand.  What will you find with night as your lens?  I can’t wait to see what you find!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through the Window

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #window for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Skyward

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!

This week I have found my eye drawn skyward.  Maybe it’s because we have had some weather in the first time in ages!  I’ve been noticing the gathering clouds, and the way the light plays with them.

Over the weekend, before the storm headed in this week, I noticed the sliver of the moon hanging above the Christmas tree decorating the local mall.

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And a few minutes later I noticed the way the jet contrail and the moon were playing hide and seek.  I took several shots waiting for the moon to peek out.

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By Sunday, more clouds began to gather creating a soft, white, and puffy backdrop for the palms dancing in the increasing breezes.

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And here you can see the sun shining through the clouds, highlighting this brilliant orange bird of paradise growing in a meditation garden on the cliffs above the ocean.

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On my way home from work on Monday, it was clear that the promised storm was on its way.  I stopped by the beach, unable to resist the textures in the sky meeting up with the textures of the water.  Blue on blue on blue…

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And I’m not even sure which day this week I looked up in my front yard and spied the moon lighting up the tree.

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After two days of much-needed rain, watching the sun break through this morning while I was on playground duty brought a smile to my lips…and the sound of children playing outdoors filled the air.

morning skyWhat do you see when you look skyward?  Is the moon peeking through the trees?  Can you spy hints of weather to come?  Do buildings interact with the clouds and sun?  How does light enter the mix?

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

So crane your neck and look skyward this week.  I can’t wait to see skyward through your lens!

Wishing on the Moon

We are having an unusually warm winter here in southern California.  It was 75, sunny and dry on the coast today and the forecast is suggesting 81 for tomorrow!  My students have gone back to their shorts and tank tops…and many are not even wearing sweatshirts when they arrive at school in the morning.

Our school garden is growing like crazy and trees and other plants think that spring has already arrived.  Even though we see pictures of snow in other places, it’s hard to imagine that it is still winter.

It’s still getting dark early and the moon was making its presence known as the sun was setting around 5.  Even knowing that my moon pictures never turn out very good, I headed out across the street to try a photo or two of the moon near the palm tree in my neighbor’s yard. With a bit of editing, I was able to produce this interesting moon photo.

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And although warm weather is beautiful, I’m ready for some rain.  We’re well below our already pitiful yearly ten inch rainfall total…and no water now will mean a real threat of devastating wildfires in the summer and fall, the scariest of our weather conditions!

So while I looked up at the moon tonight, I was wishing for rain.  Is it true if you make a wish on the rising moon it will come true?  Or is it just wishful thinking?