Tag Archives: spring

Tiny Celebrations

It’s easy to get involved in all the chores and duties of life and leave the actual living behind.  Loads of laundry, stacks of dishes, the carpet that needs vacuuming, stopping by the gas station after work, the quick trip to Trader Joe’s for cat food and yogurt…  In that blur of activity, a focus on what matters most can easily slip.

For me, that’s where my camera comes in.  When I head out with my camera, even if it is only out into the backyard, I start to pay attention to the beauty and life around me.  I find an appreciation that might otherwise be overlooked.

Today, instead of a walk after work, I headed home.  But even though time was short, I knew I needed time outdoors, so to the backyard I went. The ground was pretty muddy from all the rain, weeds sprouting where grass used to grow.  Plants in pots have gone crazy, with succulents growing large and lavender beginning to blossom.  I leaned in, zooming close with my macro lens.  I love the way that this close up shot brings the lavender into focus, blurring the background into a beautiful abstract painting.  And I was delighted by the bokeh effect, scattering the light behind the lavender without using any special effects.

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As I walked along the fence line, I noticed some blossoms on the pear tree that we thought had died.  The drought has taken a toll on our yard, killing most of the lawn and any other plants that were not well established.  This young tree is showing some signs of life…but is certainly neither robust or likely to bear fruit any time soon.  But the blossoms are delicate and dainty–reminders that spring is on the way.  Time outside helps me find focus and reminds me that there is more to life than daily chores.  Tiny celebrations make all the difference!

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I read an article I found on Twitter the other day about the power of five post-it notes to make you happy, confident and successful.  I feel like I can achieve the same effects with my camera.  Look closely and find something beautiful, something unusual, something funny (like this photo of the little girl hula hooping in her tiara and long pageant gloves)

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…all reminders of what life has to offer when you make time everyday to appreciate the world around you.

Staying Afloat

I love my job. And yet, I still need time off to refresh and recharge…to stay afloat amid the demands of the work I love. Sometimes I am tempted to use my time off to catch up on the work details that build up in the course of my daily work life or to tackle those cleaning and organizing projects that take so much time. But this week, I mostly spent time exploring, enjoying…and not too much else.

And for this week staying afloat meant climbing the California Tower with my sister and looking out over the beautiful city where I live. The tower, that has been closed to the public for most of my life, offers 360 degrees views…to the ocean, to the mountains, and more. And because of the unique flight path in San Diego, I was watching planes descend right over the city skyline.

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We also met up with this mallard duck couple enjoying a private swim in the small garden fountain. The morning light in this unedited photo seems to emphasize the beauty of the ducks and the surrounding fountain and gardens.

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We found these overturned boats and flowers near the place where Geoff and I lived many years ago, right after we first got married. In the background you can see the boats that are afloat and the brilliant blue of Mission Bay.

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And as much as I love this place I live, getting away helps me to unwind and push work into the background. So afloat, high in the air (is that a stretch of the word afloat?), we journeyed up the coast to San Francisco. This is one of those places I have been to many times, but sometimes forget to “see” it. As we headed out of the city to a destination further north, we took the time to stop and appreciate the towering icon that is known as the Golden Gate Bridge.

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I love San Diego beaches…but northern California beaches are a different breed. These are rough and wild…and in the springtime, adorned with beautiful wildflowers. As we stood looking off the cliff near the Point Cabrillo lighthouse, we watched an osprey soar toward us with a fish gripped in his talons. We heard about the migrating whales another couple had just seen, and watched this squirrel nibble near the edge of the cliff.

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A highlight of our trip was a visit with my son and daughter-in-law. They treated us to a hike up a local mountain…Mt. Diablo. As we drove the curving mountain roads, dodging intrepid bicyclists, my son told us about this peak’s unique qualities—including unobstructed views for miles around. Our day wasn’t crystal clear, but the views were breathtaking!

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And all too quickly, our trip must end. As we drove back to the airport for our trip home, I caught another glimpse of beautiful San Francisco and its golden gate…from the Bay Bridge. And with a bit of editing on my iphone photo, you can see what my eyes noticed as we said goodbye.

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I’m wishing for one more day…to wash clothes, pick up some groceries, and maybe catch a nap. But alas, I will be back at work tomorrow…loving every minute and squeezing those essential chores into the creases of my day, and I think that’s where they belong anyway.

Morning Light

When you live in a place with moderate temperatures all year long, the end of winter and the beginning of spring often pass unnoticed.  Plants grow and flowers bloom all year long…outdoors!  So this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge at the Daily Post was a hard one.  I feel like I have already posted photos of beautiful blooms and outdoor fun…so what does spring really mean to me?

We had a few days of unseasonably hot weather last week…it felt more like September than the end of April/beginning of May.  But this week we’re back to more usual, cooler temps (in the 60’s).

I came across this quote from photographer Henri Cartier Bresson last night and realized that I, too, use my camera as a sketchbook, capturing moments and feelings as I come across them.

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

I’ve been paying attention to changes in light and color, especially when it comes to my photography, trying to capture those instances of soft glow and light that seem to kiss the subject. And I have instances in my camera roll that capture these noticings.

This morning my eye was drawn to the clouds on my way to work…and I had to pull over to snap a few shots of the ocean and the clouds above.

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And while the original was nice, I love the way the filter adds even more dimension to the clouds.

Even before I left the house this morning I had my camera (phone) out as I noticed Phil laying on our new rug (no furniture in that space yet) in the morning light. This is unedited and unfiltered.

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On Saturday morning my husband was up early baking.  I could smell his handiwork as I woke up, knowing that he enjoys the early morning quiet for his cooking creativity.  When I made my way down to the kitchen, I saw the blueberry pie cooling in the morning light and couldn’t resist taking a photo.

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Later that morning, when I was walking on the beach I noticed the reflection of this fishing pole on the sand.  And I managed to not only capture the reflection of the pole in the wet sand and also the soft light on the beach on a sunny Saturday morning in May.

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Now that spring is here, the days are longer and I’m noticing differences in the quality of light, especially in the morning and early evening.  So maybe spring is about light for me. At least right now it is.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Here’s the week 10 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt for the NWP iAnthology!  (Here are weeks 12345678, and 9 if you want to look back.)

It seems like spring is a tumultuous time of the year, the seasons shifting erratically–not quite sure whether to let go the grip of winter or to emerge into the growth of spring.  Even in sunny San Diego, I’m not sure whether to head out in flip flops and a sweatshirt or to pull on my boots and cozy jacket…and sometimes I need both on the same day!  But whether it has arrived or not, it seems that we yearn for spring as March progresses.  St. Patrick’s day is right around the corner with its show of green and by the end of next week spring will be official.

I find myself wanting to capture images of spring lately.  I couldn’t resist buying some daffodils at Trader Joes and then using my macro lens to look closely at the emerging bud.

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I did the same with the shamrock plant, focusing in on the small white flowers that decorate the beautiful three-leafed plant.

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But I was reminded that it isn’t all buds and blossoms when I walked on the beach and came across this lobster trap tossed up against the rocks in the storm last week.  Strong waves wrestled with the anchored traps…as well as the kelp plants holding tight to rocks on the ocean floor, ripping them from their moorings and rearranging the beach.

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So this week’s photo challenge is to share photos that conjure spring. It can capture the emerging life or the harshness of winter’s end…or something I haven’t even thought of yet!  Post either the photo alone or along with writing inspired by the photo.  I also invite you to use others’ photos as inspiration for your own writing and photography.  I often use another photographer’s image as “mentor text” for my own photography, trying to capture some element in my own way.

I like to share my images and writing on social media…and I invite you to share yours widely too. (You might consider Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+) Use the hashtag #spring and include @nwpianthology to make it easy for us to find and enjoy.  You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @kd0602.  I’d love to follow you if you share your handle.

You can also share your photos and writing by linking to this blog post or sharing in the comment section below.  I am excited to see how you represent spring through your lens!