Tag Archives: photo-a-day

Energize Your Leap Year: February’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Leap year comes only once every four years, bringing an extra day that evens up the calendar with the rotation of the earth around the sun. With all that rotating and leaping going on, it seems like a perfect month to continue the theme of energize with our photographs too!

Out hiking in San Diego’s back country today I noticed this sign advertising the dangers of entering the area…along with the bullet holes evident through the metal!  Luckily today was not a fire risk day and the hike was beautiful!

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On a beach walk I took recently I noticed this surfer with his surfboard carefully balanced on his head.  I couldn’t resist snapping a picture…and he smiled when he noticed me.  It’s importance to practice balance in lots of ways.

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I’ve been noticing other photographers “in the field” and have enjoyed photographing the photographer.  Watching others with their cameras gives me a way to think about and understand my own processes.  I couldn’t quite decide what this guy was focused on.  You can see the fisherman in front of him, but I never did confirm his subject–he might have been photographing the waves.

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I love watching seagulls and capturing their antics through my lens. Many of the photos are static, making this one even more interesting as I caught the seagull wading as the rising surf moved into his space.

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And here’s one from a while back when I went to watch my niece dance at her university. This recital ended with an exuberant African dance to the beat of music played by drummers in the room.  I love the energy of the dance and the way even the small movements seemed to leap from the floor.  (I loved my niece’s dance too…but this African piece was contagious!)

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When I heard the giggles of these kids playing in the surf, I immediately turned my camera lens to catch them in silhouette.  I love all the ways to enjoy the beach–regardless of age–

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from playing to meditating (like this guy crafting a meditative mandala maze)–there is something for everyone!

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So for the not-quite-as-short-as-usual month of February be on the lookout for shots that energize.  Look for action both subtle and obvious. Capture the moment of the leap, figuratively or metaphorically.  To get you started, here is a list of verbs to remind you of the variety of action and energy you might find as you head out with your camera.

  1. Advertise
  2. Balance
  3. Bloom
  4. Craft
  5. Design
  6. Ease
  7. Flip
  8. Giggle
  9. Help
  10. Inquire
  11. Jot
  12. Knot
  13. Leap (of course!)
  14. Meditate
  15. Nurture
  16. Ooze
  17. Practice
  18. Question
  19. Revise
  20. Shine
  21. Think
  22. Understand
  23. Vanish
  24. Wait
  25. Wade
  26. e”X”amine
  27. Yawn
  28. Zip
  29. Your choice!  (This day only comes once every four years!)

As always, our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. The prompts are there to help you find new ways to look at your world, to find the unexpected in the ordinary and the beauty in the mundane. You can use them in order or pick and choose as you like–you are welcome to add a new prompt into the mix if you are so moved. 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.

Energize February with your photos of action, leaps of imagination, and innovative designs.  Let February be your muse as you view the world through your lens.

 

Connecting to Learn and Grow: March’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

I’ve been studying the concept of Connected Learning for a couple of years now, and have spent lots of time working to understand how the information in this infographic is relevant to me as a learner and how it might also impact my students.

Connected Learning

And through my studies I have become a connected educator…and a connected learner, especially when it comes to photography.  I learn so much from my fellow photographers and following their blogs.  Joy and Margaret and Janis and Cee and Naveen and Connie and Lynn and so many more people inspire me, teach me, encourage me, and support me as I explore what it means to take photos every day, striving to improve my skills and challenge myself.

So for this month I thought it might be fun to highlight connections in our #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day challenge.  The connections might be environmental like those that Janis makes. Janis is passionate about keeping the beach clean and regularly posts gorgeous photos of trash she collects on the beach using the hashtag #litterati on Instagram.  Here’s an interesting post called Yuck! she wrote about the trash she collects.  Yesterday, maybe because of our stormy weather, the beach where I do most of my walking and photographing was much trashier than usual…and like Janis, my husband always walks with a trash bag to pick up the trash we find along the way.  Here are a couple of pieces of trash we picked up (and disposed of) yesterday.

love lost litterati

found float litterati

Many of the photographers mentioned above highlight the beauty of the natural world in their photos…often capturing the uniqueness of the place where they live.  Connecting with the local environment means paying attention to the details that others might overlook.  I’ve been pretty obsessed with seagulls lately and have tried to capture in photos the variety of seagull behavior I observe. Quirky is often hard to snap…but if you look closely, you can see that this seagull is shouting out directions to the others around.  What you can’t see is that there are lots of other seagulls nearby, seeming to respond to his directions!

seagull sounding the alarm

I’ve also noticed the ways the gulls gather during low tides, milling around together in pretty large groups.  They don’t seem to be eating, but do seem to enjoy hanging out together.  I notice when I walk toward them, they start walking away from me.  If I get too close, they often take to the air!

seagulls with clouds

And there aren’t many lifeguards on duty in the winter, but the few who are there make regular runs in their trucks when the tide is low.  I always love seeing the red lifeguard trucks on the beach!  (No one else drives on our beaches…and during high tides, there isn’t much beach exposed!)

lifeguard truck

Other photographers I connect with highlight the urban experience in interesting and unusual ways.  I find myself having to stretch to take interesting pictures in the suburbs where I live.  (I’m much better when I visit interesting urban, metropolitan places.)  But I did notice the balloons against the cloudy sky over the newly opened Petco.

balloons over the strip mall

And these rows of flags when I looked up.  The flags remind me of swimming lane lines…and I purposely included the palm tree peeking into the frame!

flags and palm

Then there are the photographers that take gorgeous images of flowers.  I love macro shots…but yesterday I only had my phone with me when I came across many native species seeming to thrive after the morning rain as I headed to my car after presenting at a science conference on a local community college campus.  These California golden poppies caught my eye!

poppy

So March’s photo-a-day challenge is to connect…with another photographer, with nature, with the environment, with architecture, with your place, with the unique quirkiness of the subject… and more.  Here is a list to help inspire you as you connect.

1.  weather

2.  plants

3.  work

4.  transportation

5.  environment

6.  animals

7.  people

8.  inspired by a photograph

9.  nature

10.  household

11.  sky

12.  architecture

13.  interaction

14.  explore

15.  color

16.  sound

17.  celebration

18.  green

19.  ugly

20.  ordinary

21.  beauty

22.  connecting to art

23.  taste

24.  local

25.  exotic

26.  pets

27.  tree

28.  signs

29.  children

30.  movement

31.  still

Let’s spend March making connections…to each other, to our place, to ideas and passions.  Let your interests drive your subjects…and your peers support your continued growth. Pick a single photo to post each day or create a gallery of your efforts. Post a photo or gallery each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you would like to expand your exploration, write the story that the photo tells, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can post your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it–or make up your own prompt for the day or the week! You get to make your own rules…and find your own connections. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!

Let’s connect through our photos, our passions, our goals, and our interests.  I can’t wait to see what connections you make through your lens!

Overcoming the Familiar: January 2015 Photo-a-Day Challenge

The New Year arrives soon…and with it, often a list of things we plan to do to improve our health, appearance, productivity, attitude, and more.  And, if you’re like me, you are still striving to improve your photography, paying attention the details that take ordinary photographs and make them something special.  Sometimes I lament that I don’t travel to exotic places where I could try my hand at perfect snowflake photos or capture the colorful beauty of an outdoor market in Asia.  And while travel remains on my to-do list, this month’s challenge is about seeing the familiar as though you were a stranger—seeing everything as new or at least with new eyes.

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I spend lots of time at the beach.  And sometimes it starts to look so familiar that I can’t even imagine finding something new to focus my lens on.  But just last week as I walked near the shore at high tide, I tried framing a shot of the empty lifeguard tower in some new ways.  And as I was shooting, I noticed that I could see surfers in the shot.  I tried some different ways of shooting and came up with this one with the surfer visible to the left of the tower.

surfer and tower

I found this locked box on another day.  And it took a few shots to figure out how to see the detail (notice the raised letters), but in my opinion, it is the seagull that I caught in the background that makes this shot interesting.

locked box and seagull

That same evening, we had stayed out for the sunset.  And I took a number of shots with the silhouette of the lifeguard tower in the background, or a palm tree, or another tree.  But this construction crane caught my attention and I loved the juxtaposition of it with the tree with the sunset in the background—the sunset not as exclusively nature’s beauty, but also a backdrop for construction equipment.

crane and tree

Sometimes my own front lawn turns from the ordinary grass into a fairy land.  These little mushrooms almost look like a couple in love as they snuggle in the grass. 

mushrooms in the grass

And if you keep your eyes open (or in this case, start searching for your missing cat), you might overcome the familiar.  This shot was actually taken by my husband with his iPhone…and I love the image of our cat, Phil, nestled among the Christmas presents.

Phil under the tree

Sometimes a walk is just the inspiration I need to look with fresh eyes.  I’m always trying to catch interesting photos of the train that runs through town…and I nearly always miss it.  This time, as I was out walking, I caught not only the train, but also this runner going in the opposite direction.

chasing the train

As i walked through our local botanical garden, I noticed this fig tree…with no leaves, but with figs in abundance.  I couldn’t resist this shot looking up into the blue sky.

figs on a bare tree

And even the succulents that are so prevalent around here can look interesting depending on the photograph.  For this one, I leaned in closely and played around with the rule of thirds.  I love the color in this unedited shot.

succulent

So your #sdawpphotovoices challenge for January 2015 is to overcome the familiar in your life to find great photos wherever you happen to be.  Here’s some prompt possibilities to help you vary your view:

1. inside

2. outside

3. home

4. neighborhood

5. work

6. pets

7. signs

8. transportation

9. light

10. people

11. plants

12. animals

13. place

14. buildings

15. kitchen

16. weather

17. night

18. day

19. hands

20. eyes

21. apparel

22. reflection

23. surprise

24. feet

25. fences

26. machine

27. technology

28. everyday

29. unexpected

30. interior

31. exterior

So start the new year by overcoming the familiar and challenge yourself to see your everyday life in new ways.  Post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you would like to expand your exploration, write the story that the photo tells, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

The new year doesn’t have to be about lofty goals, you can start the year out right by simply vowing to see the world around you anew!  You can capture your view in a single photo or in a series. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can post your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it. You get to make your own rules…after all, this is your opportunity to overcome the familiar!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!

So go out and start looking!  How will you overcome the familiar in your photographs? I’m looking forward to seeing the world in new ways through your lens!

A Gift a Day: December’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

While it often seems that December is all about shopping and buying, the spirit of the winter holidays is about giving.  I often think about photography as a gift to myself…it allows me to explore, to see the world anew, to get outside and interact with nature, time for reflection and relaxation, and more.  And I can also see that each image could also be a gift to others, an opportunity to enjoy a view through my lens.

There are so many gifts that are intangible, you simply can’t go to the store to buy them.  And yet, through a photograph you can get a glimpse of the possibilities.  I can think of many who would appreciate the gift of abundance.  I couldn’t resist this shot of the shelves at the Filippi’s Pizza Restaurant in Little Italy today.

abundanceAnd I know that I appreciated this gift of creativity from an artist who created this lighted sculpture that I found in front of the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

lighted sculptureSometimes the gift is spending time with others who love doing what you love.  These surfers caught an occasional wave and seemed to spend lots of time hanging out together in the water on their boards.

surfer in the wavesThe gift of exploration is one that I treasure.  Something as simple as finding pieces of sea glass as I walk on the beach is a wonderful pleasure…and quite a gift.  Each tiny shard feels like a jewel mined from the sea.

green seaglassI often find the gift of design in historic architecture, in those buildings that somehow withstand years of weather and use and still maintain their grace and beauty.  I found this building in Alexandria, VA.

Athenaeum in Alexandria

And these in silhouette on the mall in our nation’s capitol.

buildings in silhouette

Sometimes it is the symmetry, somewhere in the image, that catches my eye and draws my interest.  These train tracks seem to point the way to the heart of downtown San Diego.

lines downtown

Time to play is another gift I wish for myself and others.  Children spinning on a carousel as the sun sets

carousel play

or adults sailing off cliffs high above the Pacific, play creates an attitude of possibility and offers relief from life’s stresses.

three gliders off the cliffs

And nature’s gifts are innumerable…whether it be watching geese in the tidal basin with the Jefferson Memorial in the background

across the basin

or lifeguard towers gathered together to winter on the beach, there is so much beauty, peace and joy in these sights.

wintering lifeguard towers

This month’s #sdawpphotovoices challenge is to gift the world with a photo a day.  To help you cast your photo net wide, here is a list of prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Abundance

2. Light

3. Peace

4. Laughter

5. Symmetry

6. Courage

7. Generosity

8. Compassion

9. Silence

10. Time

11. Hope

12. Trust

13. Vision

14. Curiosity

15. Health

16. Patience

17. Gratitude

18. Creativity

19. Relaxation

20. Music

21. Design

22. Reflection

23. Empathy

24. Nature

25. Family

26. Food

27. Life

28. Community

29. Solitude

30. Place

31. Energy

So be on the lookout this month for images that represents gifts you would like to give to the world or to people you know and love.  Post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you would like to expand your gifts, write the story that the photo tells, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall this month (or maybe just in addition to those trips to the mall), keep your eye tuned for possible gifts through images.  You can capture a gift in a single photo or in a series. (You might even try a 5-image story as a gift.)  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can post your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it. You get to make your own rules…after all, they are your gifts to give! Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! So go out and explore, what gifts would you give through your photography?  I can’t wait see the gifts you find and present through your lens!

Beyond Paint by Number: October’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Oranges, browns, yellows, reds, greens…the colors of fall are legendary.  Leaves turn, pumpkins grow, candles flicker, and we can see the sunset as we head for home after the work day.  In the midst of all this spectacular and extraordinary display, we live our mostly ordinary lives.  So what do we take photos of?  How do we challenge ourselves to pay attention to the colors and wonders that only October can bring?

Let’s spend October painting what we see through our lens by paying attention to the extraordinariness of the ordinary.  I used the term paint by number to play with that idea of the hum drum ordinary of taking that same uninspiring photo over and over again.  To avoid that burnout of boredom, you’ll need to pay close attention to what your photo might be if you move in a bit closer, frame it a little differently, or look under the rock instead of just at it! I’ve come up with a prompt for each of the numbered days of this month to suggest an idea for you to paint through your lens…by taking a photo.  With the extraordinary of the ordinary in mind, here are a few of my paintings for inspiration…

These red converse hightops highlight the shift to fall…and notice the hat with a splash of orange sitting on the floor under the chair.  (And you might even notice the other kid with the florescent yellow shoes in the distance!)

kid shoes

A walk on some hiking trails last weekend brought the dry and scratchy brush into full view…along with a tiny splash of color provided by the monkey flowers.

monkey flower

I love the warmth and glow of the sun on the cliffs bringing out the oranges and reds that often go unnoticed.

sun bathed cliffs

And what do you think of these whimsical pink stripes on the outstretched arms of the reader holding her book just so as her wispy bangs obscure her eyes and brush the side of her face?

young reader with stripes

Saturday’s amber brew was a perfect match for the locally grown veggies on the pizza…and a great way to view the community outside the window.

amber beer

Don’t you love all the hues of green this painter made using only the primary colors and a dab or two of white?

green dots

And I love the layers of oranges and yellows of this early fall sunset framed by the lifeguard tower.  If you look closely, you can see the people along the edge of the surf enjoying the last days of summer.

sunset tower

So let’s go beyond “paint by number” and explore the extraordinariness of the ordinary.  Here’s a list of prompts to help you look in some new ways…or create your own prompt and share it with the rest of us!

1.  brown

2.  dry

3.  scratchy

4.  wispy

5.  orange

6.  hollow

7.  alive

8.  dark

9.  growing

10.  yellow

11.  thumps

12.  falling

13.  spooky

14.  lit

15.  red

16.  fresh

17.  spicy

18.  morning

19.  crisp

20.  setting

21.  harvest

22.  scary

23.  hue

24.  flicker

25.  outside

26.  under

27.  golden

28.  light

29.  stacked

30.  delicate

31.  glow

Once you go beyond painting by numbers and take that shot, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

So push past the ordinary, beyond paint by numbers and discover the extraordinary in your everyday routines. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!  So go out and use you lens to start painting!  I can’t wait for you to share what you are seeing through your lens!

Get Creative! September’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

September is one of those limbo months.  Summer is ending, schools are beginning, we are beginning to get hints of fall.  And where I live the weather is warm, often warmer than we have experienced during the “official” summer months, confusing our bodies and senses.

It’s that time of the year when you might find yourself in the creative doldrums as you move from summer vacation mode back into work and family routines.  So that means that September is the perfect month for a creativity focused photo-a-day challenge!

This month’s list is meant to encourage experimentation and challenge you to break out of some of those routines that have become uninspiring and maybe a bit monotonous.  Each prompt this month asks you to try a specific technique, a particular subject, or to break a rule of photography or try a rule of photography.  For example, it’s common as photographers to shoot with the sun over your shoulder to light your subject and ensure that the color is good. But sometimes, it is perfect to shoot into the sun–especially if you want to capture a silhouette like this photo of the lifeguard tower.  (And I was lucky enough to snap just as the lifeguard walked into my shot!)

lifeguard silhouette

It’s not unusual to take photos of your food, but perhaps it is less usual to try to create a shot that showcases the food as though it is an advertisement.  I’m not sure this photo is that quality, but I do love the color of this unedited shot–especially of the mango salsa.

fish tacos

Sometimes it is the difference in positioning yourself or your lens that creates a new way of seeing your subject.  You might try shooting from above like in this shot of the subway train in Pasadena.  (And you might try going from color to black and white for added effect!)

from above the subway

Or in this case, climbing up a ladder and shooting up in a tight space to capture a glimpse of the light in this lighthouse.

unusual angle

Sometimes I get stuck taking shots of things that stand still.  So sometimes the creativity comes from trying to capture action as it happens.  Here’s a sandpiper (and his shadow) just as he lifts off!

taking flight

I’m still experimenting with taking photos of weather…and there isn’t a whole lot of weather to experiment with in my parts.  I was excited about seeing this family in their yellow slickers walking toward me on a rainy day in Yellowstone.

family in yellow slickers

And who doesn’t love a photo of flowers?  I particularly like this shot where the large poppy in the foreground is crisp and the others are slightly out of focus.

poppies

And water is always a source of inspiration for me.  I have to work at creating something new and different from my photos of the ocean, but this shot of the top of the waterfall was a novelty for me.

top of waterfall

So September’s challenge is to inspire your creativity by pushing yourself to try different subjects, different techniques, different angles and more.  And to help you stretch creatively, here are some prompts—one per day—to push you out of your ordinary routines.

1. get low

2. shoot into the sun or create a silhouette (or both!)

3. create a photo that is stunning in black and white

4. shoot something ordinary in a new and interesting way

5. make something ugly look beautiful

6. create a self portrait

7. take a photo of traffic

8. make people your centerpiece (strangers if you dare!)

9. shoot from above

10. use the rule of thirds

11. find a natural frame (a branch, a bridge, or ???)

12. shoot on a angle, what happens if you make it extreme?

13. photograph your pet (or someone else’s)

14. photograph water in a new way

15. capture movement

16. photograph an abstract pattern

17. shoot from an unusual angle

18. what’s interesting about windows?

19. where do you find reflection?

20. make your subject off center

21. capture emotion

22. where do you find texture?

23. take a shot of the weather

24. what’s interest about clouds today?

25. something old

26. something new

27. focus on light

28. flowers

29. take a shot of food–would it work in an advertisement?

30. feet

Once you stretch your creativity and take that shot (or many shots), post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

So stretch yourself this month and feed those creative urges!  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!  So go out and get creative!  I can’t wait for you to share what you are seeing through your lens!

In Search of the Unexpected: August’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

August means deep summer; those warm, sun-drenched days when energy wanes and you look forward to a light summer read and cool drink, preferably in front of a water source.  It’s easy to stop noticing and see each day as a replica of the one before, sameness after sameness lulling your senses into summer-time hibernation.

There’s nothing like a camera lens to wake up the senses…especially if you are on the lookout for the unexpected.  Sometimes it is the sound that first captures your attention…this military helicopter came unusually low to the ground as I walked on the beach, swooping in close to the cliffs along the shoreline.  Military helicopters are usual—but so close we could wave at the pilot and he waved back is unexpected!

unexpected-copter

At the zoo, it was the unexpected color—or lack of color—that attracted my attention.  Baby flamingos are fluffy and gray, in great contrast to their vibrant elders.  These guys almost look like they were photoshopped to black and white.

unexpected-flamingo

Hiking can bring it’s share of the unexpected as well.  Climbing to the top of Mt. Woodson we found some natural beauty, along with a forest of communication towers!

unexpected-mountaintop

And on another hike, this phone booth sat along the trail…I guess you never know when you might need to make a call!  (I didn’t check to see if it was in working condition.)

unexpected-phone booth

Where I live, we seldom find the unexpected in the weather.  Night and morning low clouds with afternoon sunshine is almost a mantra for forecasters.  So the unexpected rain the other morning created quite a stir at the restaurant while we breakfasted.  Lightening flashed and thunder boomed…and the raindrops poured from the sky.  Walking across the street to the car had me walking in ankle deep runoff!

unexpected-rain

At UCSD, I had walked by this metal tree many times…there are a few as part of an art collection there.  But until a few weeks ago, I had not noticed the contrast between the organic shape of the metal tree and the angular lines of the distinctive architecture of the library behind it.  The unexpected similarities and differences made me pause when I saw it from this new angle.

unexpected-metal tree

It was a gathering crowd that drew my attention as I walked down the beach yesterday.  A surf class? A party?  No…a dead shark with a not-so-dead octopus slithering out of its mouth.  The crowd moved in, fascinated by the close up view of this creature.  I found myself equally interested in the people in the crowd, the ways their bodies leaned in.  And notice the mom holding onto her boys…

unexpected-shark

And my macro lens can always be depended on to help me see unexpected beauty.  I’ve been watching the dandelions in my yard (there are only two or three) and photographing the different stages of their growth.  Between the yellow flower and the iconic fluff ball stage, there is a stage where the dandelion looks dead.  But through my macro lens, I was able to capture the hint of what was yet to come.

unexpected-dandelion

So August’s challenge is to look for the unexpected as you enjoy the last of the long light and warm days (at least in the northern hemisphere).  And to help you look, here are some prompts—one per day—to focus your attention and spur your thinking.

1. People

2. Place

3. Nature

4. Plants

5. Animals

6. Horizon

7. Food

8. Transportation

9. Light

10. Home

11. Smell

12. Sound

13. Garden

14. Inside

15. Thing

16. Drink

17. Sky

18. Outside

19. Neighborhood

20. Weather

21. Early

22. Texture

23. Words

24. Interaction

25. Walk

26. Arrangement

27. Trash (#Litterati)

28. Architecture

29. Close up (Macro)

30. Landscape

31. Pleasure

Once you find the unexpected and capture a photo of it, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time for some playfulness and experimentation…look for the unexpected in your world–let it surprise you, delight you, maybe even horrify you!  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!