Tag Archives: summer

Weekly Photo Challenge: Staycation

Sometimes I long for exotic vacations, opportunities to explore places I have never been.  I imagine wandering through iconic museums, looking up at skylines made familiar through movies and artwork, and a peek at a way of life different from my own.  And then I remember that I live in a pretty special place–one that is exotic for others!

Today I had a rare day off and set off with my mother, my sister and my niece to enjoy a wonderful staycation day.  We headed off to Coronado–best known for the Hotel Del Coronado (a historic, high-priced beachside hotel), a naval station (North Island), and miles of exquisite beaches.  Locals call it an island and mostly access it by driving across the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge, a curving stretch with breathtaking views of the bay and the San Diego skyline, but it is actually a peninsula.

We walked and walked, feet in the cool water while the sun (even pretty early in the morning) warmed our shoulders.  We noticed some posts in the distance and found the fence that separates the public beach from the Naval Air Station.

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We also found that this far end of the beach was designated as a dog beach and the dogs were loving the water today.  They chased and retrieved balls and chased and played with each other. There were dogs of all shapes and sizes, and like people, they seemed relaxed and happy as they played along the shore.  They were obviously enjoying their own staycation!

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After lunch at El Indio, a favorite San Diego Mexican restaurant, we decided to head to Old Town.  I can’t remember the last time I explored this part of our city.  It was HOT today, so the cool greens of the beautiful botanical art sculptures were soothing to the eye.  I love the way the plants were a growing changing part of the art piece.  (This is a full body, taller than me piece…but I was drawn to the face and the juxtaposition of light and shadow.)

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Earlier in the week, as a part of our Summer Institute, we took folks out around the UCSD campus for a writing marathon.  This University of California campus is a jewel, filled with natural beauty and with interesting art installations called the Stuart Collection.  As we visited different parts of the campus, we took time to study the art, consider it in relation to our own thinking after nearly four weeks together, and wrote.  We started with this piece by Michael Asher.  As often as I have been on this campus (weekly for years) and have walked past this piece, I never knew it was an art installation.  This ordinary looking water fountain is made of polished granite to look (and function) exactly like the metal ones we are used to seeing.  I find myself still thinking about its placement, its ordinariness, and wondering how it ended up in the UCSD collection–and I know I will never look at it in the same way as I did in the past.

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And then we headed off to another piece in the Stuart Collection–the whimsical, enormous engineering feat that is Bear by Tim Hawkinson. Made of local boulders, this bear stands more than 23 feet tall in a courtyard formed by three engineering buildings. This piece is a favorite of our young writers, an enormous reminder of childhood.

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So consider a staycation in your place.  What sights and sounds will capture your imagination?  What might others see as exotic?  Or how might you see your local place in new 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 #staycation for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Share your place with us this week, taking us on a #staycation journey with you.  What hidden treasures will you uncover when you vacation (even for a few minutes) right at home?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sound

I tend to be drawn to silence, those quiet spaces where my mind can wander while my feet move. But it’s summer in San Diego, crowds gather and space becomes a premium.  The sounds of the waves are dwarfed by the screams of delight as kids rush into the cool, salty waves, families laughing and talking over chips and sandwiches, and the loudspeaker of the lifeguards reminding swimmers to stay in the zones deemed safe from the dangerous rip currents.

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But early in the morning, the quiet remains. The beach is mostly empty, wide open for exploration and introspection. Damp morning air kisses my cheeks as my feet delight in the almost warm summer surf.  (I did say almost–probably not warmer than 68 degrees!)

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I notice others who revel in the sounds of the morning beach too. A seagull tucks his head as I appreciate the mirror-like effect of the wet sand.

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I wonder about the sounds the surfers hear as they ride the waves.  Are their ears filled with the whoosh and roar of waves and water?  Or is there an exquisite quiet that happens when the waves wash away sounds from the shore?

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And what is the sound of dilemma?  Rock or surf or smile?  You pick which direction to head!

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I can hear the sounds of conversation in these windows, fun artistic silhouettes I found in these warehouse buildings.

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So…take a look around for sounds.  Sounds of silence, of delight, of pain, of loneliness, of summer–you decide.

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

Listen with your eyes this week–what sounds do you hear and how will you represent them in your photographs?  Be sure to share…I can’t wait to hear your sounds with my eyes!

Savoring Moments

As much as I love my job, these last few days of summer vacation have flown by much too quickly.  I’ll still be in the amazing place that I call home…and have opportunities to walk on the beach, appreciate the natural beauty around me, and watch so many interesting people.  What I won’t have though, is the unstructured time with few expectations that allows me to unwind and relax.

But…what I’ve been learning over the last year is the importance of creating mini-adventures on a regular basis–to keep me from working all the time and to make spaces for play and exploration, as well as opportunities to connect and build relationships with the people I love.  And I’ve learned that taking time to play prepares me for work…and the focus on learning that I need in the classroom.

School starts tomorrow…and I’m excited to reconnect with our second and third grade students…and meet our new first graders!  And I consciously made a choice not to work today.  Instead, my husband took the day off work and we headed out on a local adventure.

I’m not sure why I have never visited Balboa Island in Newport Beach before…what a gem!  (And a Monday in late August was a great choice–light traffic and beautiful weather!)  A scenic drive up the PCH led us to the Balboa Island Ferry.  Only three cars can fit on ferry at a time…and when we arrived we were the only car, joined by some boys on bicycles, to cross over to the island. (This picture is the ferry bringing people from the other side as we crossed.)  I loved the short ride on this small ferry–it was fun to take pictures, feel the sea breeze, and feel transported back in time on this low tech feeling vehicle.

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And then we headed out to walk along the shoreline…and found this gorgeous expanse of beach.  Sand and sun and waves–my favorite combination.  We walked and walked and walked, soaking in the beauty and the calm that only the ocean can bring.

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And I’m ready to head back to work tomorrow, looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm of young students, ready to savor the moments as we live and learn in a community.  I’ll be paying attention, keeping my eyes peeled, trying not to miss anything!

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ABCs of Summer: June’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Unofficially summer has begun, and even though school is still in for many in this part of the world…summer is on the brain.  Ironically, the weather is cool and gloomy…it’s definitely not the atmosphere to inspire beach going or outdoor sports, so let’s hope that this month’s photo-a-day challenge will put you in the mood for summer!

Let’s let the alphabet guide us this month…with a word prompt for each letter (a few extra to add up to the 30 we need for June).

After you shoot, 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! (More about learning walks here and here) 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!

Here’s the list:

1.  awkward

2.  beach

I love the beach…in all seasons!  There is something about the interplay of the sky and water and sand that creates interesting images.

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3.  blue

4.  curious

5.  develop

I’m working to develop my photography skills.  Here is an attempt at night photography.  I like some things about this image even though it is blurry.  I need to do a lot more experimenting with shooting at night…you’ll likely see some of my trials this month!

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6.  explore

7.  friends

8.  green

You can go literal–like this green succulent–or perhaps more figurative like green with envy or environmentally aware!

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9.  hot

10.  honor

Love that this parking lot employs the honor system for charging for parking.  You slide your cash in a locked metal tube and depend on your own integrity to follow the intention.  (The Julian catholic church owns the lot and the proceeds supports people in need in the community.)

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11.  idle

12.  jump

13.  keep

14.  lost

15.  mmmmm

16.  nature

17.  observe

18.  pause

We paused to take a look at these electrical towers…and then found ourselves thinking about where towers like this are found.  Are there any in your neighborhood?

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19.  play

20.  quench

21.  relax

I love the aroma of lavender…and the beauty of the plant.  I wish I could get it to grow this beautifully in my yard!

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22.  savor

23.  travel

24.  time

25.  unexpected

26.  vary

27.  water

28.  excite

29.  yell

30.  zen

Our goal is to explore, share with each other, and learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you to create beautiful photos. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. 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!

So let your photography get you in the summer frame of mind…and share those frames with us!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!)

I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #light for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

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

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

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!

Summer officially arrived last week, with the longest day of our year.  Coincidentally, it is also the same day as my wedding anniversary…and this year we celebrated by heading off to a “secret” speakeasy downtown.  It was fun to dress up and spend time exploring my own city–and slip into this hidden specialty bar tucked in behind a wall of kegs that is actually a door to another world.  Inside, glass topped tables reflected the interesting photos on the ceiling and bartenders created magical libations that I might not otherwise try.

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Summer also means time on the beach.  Living close to the coast, I spend time on the beach all year round, but the summer brings out different dimensions.  There are lots more people on our beaches in the summer…last week, when the tide was low, we came across this group of people enjoying the tidepools.  And it seems that someone created a still life arrangement…with the green bucket carefully arranged atop the pile of kelp.  A little app magic turned it into a beautiful painting.

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Summer also means a lot more activity.  More walks and more runs, playing in the water and on the sand.  It seems that the same holds true for the egrets too.  I caught this guy in midstride as he played in the surf.

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And the beginning of summer also announces the start of our SDAWP Invitational Summer Institute.  We spend 4 weeks together on the UCSD campus…writing and reading and thinking and talking…with some making and playing thrown in too!  With only 3 days under our belts we are already making connections and taking risks, sharing and learning with each other. There’s no better way to spend a chunk of the summer!  The Geisel library is an iconic image of UCSD and always conjures the intense days of writing and learning with a community of dedicated educators.UCSD-summer

So this week’s challenge is all about summer.  What evokes summer for you?  How will you represent the carefree days, the warm weather fun, or even your summer learning and work? It can be travel, staying at home, time with family and friends…start capturing those images of summer in your world!  I know that summer is a busy time for me…but there’s always time for a photo or two or three…

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

Let’s see summer in all its glory…through your lens!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two

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 weekend is the summer equinox, the first day of summer…and it is my wedding anniversary.  I’ve been married a long time, but it seems like just yesterday that I stood in that white dress on a beautiful first day of summer afternoon and vowed to join my life with my husband’s.  So this week I’ve been thinking about the number two and all its connotations.  I’ve often heard marriage described as two lives becoming one, but that doesn’t seem true to me. It seems more like a braiding of lives…or maybe even a weaving or tapestry–becoming inextricably linked, yet still each maintaining their unique features and substance.

So I started to look for photos that represent two…and some were easy and quite literal. There’s my two cats.  They spend lots and lots of time together…but check out their facial expressions here.  They take turns being the one who begs…obviously it’s Jack’s turn here.

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And then there are these two up in handstands…showing off their balance and strength. They just happen to be my teaching partner and one of our students when we were at the rock climbing gym a week ago.

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Here’s a less obvious two.  This is actually two separate photos I took and then combined using the app union.  It was interesting to figure out what to put in the background and then what to put in the foreground and what to mask…much more complex than I thought when I began. (It’s a picture of a piece of driftwood and an LED light, both shot with my macro lens)  I did add some filter effects as well to create the unusual coloring.

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And here are a couple of bikes nuzzled up to each other while parked at the bike racks.

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And I better add a picture from nature…here’s a double blossom taken with my macro lens during a walk last weekend.

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So this week’s challenge is to represent two…two of something, twice as much, double the fun, two of your favorites (like my cats and kids and blossoms)…you get to interpret two in ways you find interesting.

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

It’s time to document the twos in your life…can’t wait to see them through your lens!