Tag Archives: Rain

Poetry Day 8

With a forecast of nonstop rain for today, our plan was to find ways to be out exploring…and also to not spend our entire day drenched to the skin.  We did pretty well, starting our day with some time in Seaside’s tiny aquarium.  I have mixed feelings about places like aquariums and zoos, but I also know that the opportunity to see and learn about animals helps to build empathy and ultimately, appreciation and a sense of protectiveness for wildlife and nature.

I was drawn to the octopus.  I read The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery a couple of years ago,, an account of the author’s experience with an octopus at an aquarium.  These strong and nimble creatures are purported to be smart, the problem solvers of the sea.  I was lucky enough to be in front of the tank when the octopus began moving this morning.  I was fascinated as I watched its suction-cupped arms navigate the glass pane of the aquarium wall.

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Great Pacific Octopus

master of disguise

color changer

hide out finder

squeezing into the tightest space

Armed times eight

thousands of suckers in place

climber, acrobat, magician

practicing sleight of suction

on rocks and clear glass windows

showing agility and strength

only possible from this

shell-less mollusk

Giant Pacific Octopus

Douillard 2018

Here’s a student poem that seems to capture my mood for today:

The Peace of Wild Things

When wonder for the world

grows in me

and I wake in the shining rays of the sun,

I drag myself out of bed and to the water’s edge

where I feel the peace of wild things.

Oliver

And another that is more reflective of a southern CA perspective on rain:

Wait for Wet

I wait for wet.

I wait for the gentle pitter-patter of wet on my green umbrella that waits on a dusty hook in the closet.

I wait for the sound of rubber boots splashing and stomping through wet, sprouting a tail of murky water in wet’s wake.

So much depends on a light sprinkle of wet that tumbles through the clouds and dusts my eager face.

Sadie

For tomorrow, I am waiting for dry…and off from the seashore to explore mountains!  And of course, continue my April poem-a-day adventure.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Water

I know I often take it for granted–that precious liquid that fills our bodies, covers most of our planet, and that has been rare here where I live for the past six years.  Drought reminds you how much you depend on water and all the dead lawns in the neighborhood are visual reminders of the impact of ongoing water restrictions.  But it’s been raining a lot around here lately.  Normal rainfall is about ten inches a year…and this year we’re already over eleven and a half inches with March still to come.  We returned to school on Monday after a week off with the rain steadily falling–and it rained and rained and rained.  We had rain for nearly 24 hours straight–something our area doesn’t handle very well.  When it rains like that, a waterfall appears in front of my classroom door.  I noticed this overflowing drainpipe Monday.

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And needless to say, our students were not enjoying their usual lunch area–instead they were ensconced in our classroom all day long.

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You might notice that there are few ways to get around without getting wet when it rains like this.  Kids get soaked going to the bathroom, we all got soaked on our way to the school library.  Water was everywhere on Monday!

On the day before, it was pretty clear that a storm was coming.  A walk on the beach was an exercise in dodging raindrops (success on that point!) and reveling in the many shades of gray as the clouds gathered overhead.  The wind attracted an intrepid windsurfer with a bright green sail…and my camera followed him around as I walked along the shore.

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And after a rainy Monday, it was surprising how beautiful the rest of the week has been.  By Wednesday, I walked in the afternoon sunshine after work.  You can see that this seagull and the surfer in the background where also enjoying the water…and the sun!

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After work today, I knew I would head for the water.  But I also wanted a change of pace–a new view, something to spark my imagination and my photography.  I headed to a nearby beach–but not the one I walk routinely.  The tide wasn’t very low this afternoon so I had mountains of rocks to climb.  I also found flights and flights of stairs.  I climbed for  a view above the water–and was rewarded with a treat for the eyes!  (No editing was needed or used as I captured this view of endless water.)

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But I did play around with this shot of a paddle boarder enjoying the cool waters on a Friday afternoon.  I wanted to intensify the colors and highlight the way the sun was shimmering on the water’s surface.

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As I scrolled through my photos this week, water was ever-present in one form or another.  What role does water play in your life and photography?  Does it fall from the sky or flow from the hose in your garden?  Do bodies of water call your name or do you find water in less obvious places?

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

Take a look around for water–in any of its forms.  What will you discover when you look at that amazing substance through the lens of your camera?  I know I can’t wait to find out!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Some weeks I find myself retracing my steps, traversing paths that are familiar, my feet knowing the steps almost automatically.  But sometimes I have to stop, bend low, and take another look to see the path in a new way.  I felt that way in my back yard earlier this week.  It’s been raining a lot here this winter–or at least it feels like a lot after six years of drought, so plants are growing, weeds are growing, cacti and succulents are sprouting these magnificent blooms.  And the scented geranium beckoned with a green that nearly glows.  I love the sense of abstract art conveyed with this shot.

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Over the long weekend I was lucky enough to be in Los Angeles (playing with my grandson) and hanging out with my son and daughter-in-law. My usual path as the sun sets leads me to the ocean.  But in this part of LA, the ocean isn’t near.  I found this sunset while standing on the upper level of a parking garage, looking out over the LA skyline.

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I frequently walk this path at a local beach…this is the place we call “the corner,” where the beach seems to turn slightly.  It’s also a place that is difficult to get past when the tide is high.  This particular shot feels like a painting to me.

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I’ve been playing around with black and white this week as the clouds create paths in the sky and diffuses the light, creating shades of gray.

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Yesterday, after a rainy morning and with forecasts of rain all day today, I decided I needed to squeeze in a walk on the beach on my way home from work.  I stopped at Torrey Pines–a path I frequently drive by, but seldom stop to walk.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Ansel Adams as we’ve introduced him to our students through the book Antsy Ansel written by our colleague and friend Cindy Jenson-Elliott as part of a study of photographers, photography and biography.  As I walked I found myself drawn to light and shadow, trying to capture the contrast knowing that I would be transforming my image with a black and white filter.  I know from experience that I need the right image to get my intended effect in black and white.  I loved the path the sun was taking across the lifeguard tower, the dark of the cliffs and the shades of white and gray of the clouds in the distance.  Here’s the original photo (no edits).

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And here is my Ansel Adams inspired black and white version.

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I do love the effect!

As predicted, this morning dawned wet, painting my morning’s path with raindrops, puddles, and watery lights reflecting in the darker than usual sky.  I couldn’t resist a quick photo while stopped at the intersection, capturing the action in that split second.  It was also a reminder that I would spend my day inside with more than 40 energetic children excited by the wind and rain, a path that we don’t often travel in this arid climate. Mixed blessings…needed rain, the exuberance of childhood, and an opportunity for me to practice patience and appreciation.  I do love my work!

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So, as you head out on your daily pathways what will you find?  What’s usual?  What’s unexpected?  Will you seek out a new path with your camera in hand?

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

Whether you let your feet determine the path or your eye, head out with your camera and document what you find.  What will your path reveal?

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: Finding Fall

Today is the first day of fall…according to the calendar.  Seasons aren’t prima donnas in these parts.  They don’t demand a lot of attention.  In fact, seasons are subtle, making their entry is small, sometimes overlooked ways.

A predicted heatwave over the weekend never materialized on the coast. When we headed to the beach for walk late Sunday afternoon, instead of heat we were greeted with damp, gray mist.  It was warm, but not your picture perfect beach weather.  That didn’t bother the seabirds though. They were out enjoying the low tide and the emptiness of the beach now that the tourists have mostly left town (for now).  I couldn’t resist this little fellow with its foot in action and  its crisp reflection visible on the sand.

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I like the mood the fogginess brings to the beach.  It brings the world in a bit closer and adds that fall-like mystery.  I wasn’t feeling like I do in the summer, escaping from the heat and relishing the sun on my shoulders. Instead, I was noticing the cool and reveling in the emptiness of the wide open space in front of me.

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Surprisingly, Tuesday brought rain!  (Remember, average rainfall for us is about 10 inches annually…and we’ve been in a severe drought for several years now.)  The sky was beautiful in the morning, with the dark blue skies and thick layers of clouds.  It was definitely a sign that we would have a rare weather episode!

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It did end up raining a good part of Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.  We were loving sandals and skirts and sleeveless tops in the warm, balmy rain.  Our students showed up in rain boots and jackets–I guess you deal with being too warm when you have so few opportunities to sport your rain wear!

A trip into the backyard yesterday afternoon had me thinking about fall!  I noticed the unusual pools of water filled with the seed pods that fall from the tree.

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And the brilliant red of the Japanese maple shouting at me to pay attention to the impending change of season.

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I’ve never noticed these seed pods before but I love the gold, tan, and black–neutrals that remind me of fall.

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And I’m noticing the light changing as the days get shorter.  The lowering sun was making this dandelion glow.  I decided to mess around with it in prisma to see what effects I might get.  I like the way this one captures the glow and the textures of the plant.

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So, what will you notice when you set out to find fall?  Maybe you’ll find the traditional colorful leaves dressing the trees in brilliant colors or maybe like those of us in these parts, you’ll have to pay closer attention and look for more subtle seasonal changes.  Or maybe you’ll find fall indoors, or through the food you eat, or in some other way!

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

Grab your camera and head out in search of fall.  Don’t feel confined to iconic images of fall foliage–embrace what you find!  What does fall look like when you look for subtle, often overlooked evidence?  I’m looking forward to seeing what you capture when finding fall through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Week

As much as I love my job, it still takes some effort to come off the two week winter break and get back into the groove of work.  And to make it even more challenging this year, we began our week back with rain! (Remember, this is San Diego and rain is a major weather event.)

It was damp, but not wet enough to keep kids indoors as I headed out for Monday morning playground duty.  I love our view…with the ocean visible in the distance.  We could see that we had some stormy weather in store…

wet playground

Rainy days at school tend to be a rare occurance, and the kids love them! Teachers, however, start to feel the energy building as kids who are used to lots of outdoor play spend too much time confined in small spaces. When we finally got outside late in the afternoon, there was a wonderful light illuminating the playground.  I love the brightness of the light, the ominous dark clouds in the back, and the colorful kids in this view.

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On my way home I couldn’t resist stopping by the beach to see how the storminess was affecting the shoreline.  I was greeted by tractors pushing sand, building up the protective mounds to create a defense against the high surf and powerful waves.

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Between the tractors and the power of the water, the beach is always changing.  The sand comes and goes, shaping the shoreline and creating pools of water in unexpected places. As I looked up at the clouds I also noticed the pelicans in formation.  img_8655

The rains continued through the week  (dropping more rain in a few days than we get in a month or more in other years) and the news has been filled with reports of flooding and road closures…and even a tornado warning on Wednesday! The alert system on my cell phone has indicated flash flood warnings several times over the last few days. I even dug out an umbrella on Tuesday to try to keep my bags dry as I headed from the parking lot to the writing project office on Tuesday.  By Thursday, I knew that working from home (instead of heading to the writing project) was a good idea.  As I took a break from grant writing, I noticed the sun glimpsing through a break in the clouds.  I take many photos of this tree…and here it is still hanging onto one lone leaf against the brilliant blue sky.

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Less than an hour later, the skies darkened and the wind picked up.  The rain was coming soon.  The tops of these palm trees leaned into the breezes and you can catch a peek at the sun setting as the storm rolled back in.

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Today we got a reprieve, and the rains have left…for now anyway. (They’re expected back tomorrow night.)  I couldn’t resist pulling off the road on my way to work this morning to capture the sunrise reflected in the clouds.

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And our students carry on with their learning.  Piles of kelp collected from the storm-strewn beaches were the basis of today’s science lab.  Students observed, labeled parts…and eventually photographed and sketched our local giant kelp.  And they love big words, like the scientific name for giant kelp.  You’ll notice this first grader has labeled his sketch macrocystis pyrifera, commonly known as kelp.

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So, what has been going on in your week?  Are you back to work after a break or out enjoying your local winter weather?  Have you experimented with some aspect of your photography or documented something you are noticing in new or different 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 #myweek for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So what has happened during your week?  How might you document it through a photo or two?  I’m looking forward to seeing your week through your lens!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growing

Even though January is deep into winter, I always think of it as a time of growth and growing. This is the time when my students flourish and they begin to display their independence and initiative  as learners.  And if you look closely, you can see evidence of growing all around.

Having spent time in the temperate rain forests outside of Seattle last weekend, I saw many evidences of growing all around.  I’m still thinking about these tree that seem to be covered with fur, as the mosses gather and grow.

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And I learned about the ways that even dead trees contribute to the growing process of the rain forest.  This tall tree in the center is actually dead…and yet is hosts fungi, mosses, lichens and more, contributing to the life cycle of the forest.  And when it finally falls down it will likely become the fertile nursery for tree seedlings to take root as new trees begin to grow.

even dead trees contribute

And there are also many kinds of mushrooms sprouting all around.  These particular mushroom grow very large and some are quite high on the tree trunks.  (You can catch a glimpse of some others in other posts about the rainforest, here and here and here.)

fungus on tall trunksEven as I moved away from the forest, nearer to the beach where plants seemed dormant, when I looked closely, I could see that they were still growing.

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And in addition to noticing plants growing, I am also working to grow my own skills.  I played around a bit with night photography on my trip, trying to figure out how to capture the glow of light in the background of dark…and the rainy weather added some reflective interest and challenge.

This shot was my attempt to capture the shine of the wet streets and the way the light reflected on them.

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It was hard to get a picture of this tanker ship, so I was trying to shoot through the chain link fence.  I like the effect of the edges of the fence framing the ship.

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As I was getting back in the car, the gas station caught my eye.  I was reminded of Edward Hopper’s paintings of buildings and tried to capture the emptiness and the light in this space.

gas station at nightSo this week’s challenge is all about growing…what you notice growing or ways your are growing yourself and your skills.  Take some shots of what growing means to you right now.

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

What is growing in your life right now?  How can you document it through your lens?  I look forward to seeing what is growing through your lens!