Tag Archives: sunset

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distance

Some weeks are about getting close, putting your nose up against the window, noticing every detail.  But for me, this last week has been about the long view, looking into the distance.

There’s nothing like a road trip to get you looking long.  The seemingly endless freeway laid out in front of you, promising hours and hours in the car until you reach that destination.  It seems a shame to waste all that time, lucky for me, my camera turns that long, endless highway into an opportunity for a study.

California is fascinating.  I live at the bottom of the state, the southern boundary, nestled right up next to Mexico.  We are known for our beautiful beaches and temperate climate. And who doesn’t love the beach?  Here’s sign in the distance meant for dog parents (although who is really reading when the beach is beautiful and the water feels so nice?).

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When the high tide prevents you from going in one direction, you simply turn around and head the other way.  This stretch of beach led us to a bridge where the river mouth allows the lagoon and beach to connect…and creates new playgrounds.  Can you see the floaters in the distance?

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I can never resist a sunset, although the marine layer along the coast has made them a bit unpredictable lately.  We thought we might not see any sunshine as we headed to the beach last weekend, but a bit of sun peeked through the thick clouds.  As we walked, we noticed the bubble man in the distance and I had to stop to snap some bubble photos.

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You can see the sun trying to make its way through the clouds behind the bubbles.  It’s such fun to watch the giant bubbles form and float into the distance just out of reach of all the hands trying to touch and pop them.

Another night I noticed the sun setting through the window at home.  I headed out with my camera to see if I could catch the colors I was seeing in the distance.  A bit of editing made the sky pop with the colors I was seeing.

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Back to the road trip.  We’re making our way up the length of the long narrow state, first crawling through LA traffic (with a quick stop for hugs and kisses from one grandson) and then back on the road, over the grapevine into the central valley to stop for the night.  Of course, again I needed to catch the sunset through my lens, and through the gas station parking lot.

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The next morning had us back on the road heading to see our other two grandson for the next leg of our adventure.  The tomato trucks always catch my attention (you can see that I’ve written about them before), there’s something about the open trucks piled high with red, ripe tomatoes that makes me pull out my camera.  I also learned that California grows the majority of tomatoes for the nation, with most of them farmed in the central valley area because of the hot, dry summers.  I watched and snapped truck after truck after truck as we passed them on the long stretch of highway.

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As we turned from highway 5 toward the 580, instead of trucks it was windmills that caught my eye.  The Altamont Pass wind farm was one of the first in the United States, a response to the 70’s energy crisis (something I just learned after taking photos of the wind turbines).  There are nearly 5000 perched on the distant hillsides as you make your way into the East Bay.

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And when I turned back to look behind, I noticed all these cows on the hillside too, seemingly undisturbed by the windmills in the distance.

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So, take the long view this week.  What do you see in the distance?  Will you look through a window, from the top of a hill, from the end of your driveway?

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

Gaze into the distance…what will you see?  I can’t wait to see what you find!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Organic

In a place where clear blue skies are the norm, clouds are a novelty. Puffy white clouds catch my eye, drawing it upward.  There is something about the organic nature of these floating shapes that captures my imagination.  I find myself taking photo after photo, like this one of the clouds reflected in the windows of the buildings at our local university.

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Or this one that makes if feel as if you are walking on clouds.

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I know that clear skies create perfect sunsets, but there is something about clouds that give dimension and the unexpectedness of organic designs to the colors and reflections of the setting sun.  Halloween is my husband’s birthday, and this year also included a perfect low tide for a sunset beach walk punctuated with organic streaks and shine.

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And when the sky isn’t enough, there are many organic treasures revealed by the sea. With low tides all week, the ocean revealed rocks covered in these organic skeletons.  I’m not sure exactly what they are, but I love the textures.

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And I always feel rich when I come across a sand dollar, especially one that is mostly whole.  I love the simple design, almost like a delicate pencil sketch.

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And then there is the human form, organically represented in these clay skulls arranged in alters celebrating ancestors in honor of Dia de los muertos found in our meeting room at UCSD last weekend.

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My students are currently fascinated with rocks and minerals as we’ve dived deeply into the study of geology.  Today’s “museum” featured a specimen from each student and created an organic opportunity for some interesting informational writing (I plan to feature some of that writing in a future post).  Here’s one of nature’s organic beauties.

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So look up, look around, maybe even catch a reflection of something organic.  What’s catching your eye because of it’s organic quality?

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

Head out with your camera in search of organic…will you represent it through the natural world? Express an organic idea? Explore the intersection of organic and geometric?  Take the prompt wherever it leads you and share your photos with us!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spaces

I’ve been thinking about creativity and making and the spaces we need to thrive and grow. Watching my baby grandsons as they wake up and stretch from the tips of their toes to the tops of their nearly bald heads reminds me that we need spaces, both physically and mentally to grow and develop.

My cats seek out spaces, even now that they are old.  They are particularly partial to spaces with sun where they stretch and curl.  Phil even posed, turning his face to me and the sun when I called his name.

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I watched a little girl as I walked down the beach today, she came running from behind me at full speed in the shallow surf along the shore.  She was small, probably not more than 5 years old.  I wondered where the adult in charge was.  When I turned back I could see mom in the distance–and the girl kept running.

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She seemed so at ease, running with abandon and delight, occasionally looking back to see where mom was.  The distance between them was too far for my comfort, so I watched, especially as she got closer to the crowd near the lifeguard tower.  Mom did catch up before I left the beach–and she was mad!  I guess we have to find the balance in the spaces too.

I do find myself looking up…at the spaces between the earth and space where the birds and the clouds float by.  Birds are hard to capture with my camera, especially pelicans that tend to fly higher than my lens can see.  I was delighted today when I looked up and snapped these three pelicans in the spaces between the heavens and the palm trees. (Sometimes timing is everything!)

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Sometimes you have to make spaces in your life for micro vacations, time for a break from the everydayness and responsibilities of life.  Last night we headed to the beach to watch the sun set and put our toes in the sand.

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We watched a family with a bunch of balloons as a prop for a photo shoot for their daughter.  I have mixed feelings about balloons.  They are colorful and festive, floating and bobbing in the breeze.  And they are dangerous to the ocean and its inhabitants.  I both gasped and clicked when I saw the balloons float free into the expansive spaces of the sky.

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As the sun began to set, we walked back up the hill toward the parking lot and sat on some benches to watch the sun in the spaces between the palm tree and the sea.

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So where are the spaces in your life? Where do you find inspiration, relaxation, reminders to run free and appreciate the little things?

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

Take a look around for those spaces that allow you to grow, to create or even to breathe and snap that shutter!  I can’t wait to see the spaces in your life.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

As I looked through my photos this month, I noticed that many of them are monochromatic (grays and blues and whites).  Maybe this is a side effect of winter–a time when flowers are less likely to bloom, people wear dark colors, and the sun may be muted by cloudy skies.

And although my photo-a-day prompt for today was black and white, I went out in search of color when I stopped to walk after school.  I walked along the beach for a while, watching the extra large waves crash onto the shore (we’re expecting a storm this weekend).  I noticed this bright plastic piece among the rocks and bent down to investigate.  After taking a photo, I picked up the electronic chip to dispose of (in the spirit of #litterati) and continued on my way.

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After watching kids playing tag with the waves, I headed up some stairs in search of a different view.  As I neared the top these orange plants came into view…along with the view of the ocean behind them.

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As I continued my walk back through an alley, I spied a bouquet of balloons in the park that overlooks the beach.  They were tied to the top of a small doll house…and they glowed in the sun.  I did play around with some editing apps to see what I could create…and here is one version.

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Yesterday I also did some filter play…enhancing the sunset that was already irresistible. The colors in the sky were inspiring!  (I do wish you could see the paddle boarder out there, silhouetted in the sunset.

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I take lots and lots of photos of this tree near my driveway…especially when the sky calls out to me.  We’ve had lots of pink and orange skies lately…like this one I snapped earlier this week.

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Last weekend I had my zoom lens out on the beach (you can read more about that here), and noticed this girl laying in the warmer, shallow waters of the tide pool.  I wasn’t quite quick enough to catch her laying down, but I did catch her brightly colored wetsuit as she flipped her hair forward and sat up.

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And I love playing around with night photography–and the full moon offered a great opportunity over the weekend.  I love the bright red and yellow colors of In and Out Burger foregrounding the full moon.

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So, even though it’s still winter and colors are harder to find, search out some color to feature this week.  Or you might do like I did, and experiment with some editing apps to deepen or brighten the colors you do find.

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

So go out in search of color.  What will you find when you search for color through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quiet

Some weeks the noise and activity of daily life build up to a roar and I crave quiet.  Quiet doesn’t always means perfectly silent, instead it is a place where I can hear myself think…or not think at all.

It seems that when my feet are moving, my brain can quiet.  Sunday’s hike in the Torrey Pines Reserve helped me find that quiet space.  While it wasn’t isolated, the iconic beauty of these rare trees, the endless blue of the sky, and the calming white noise of the waves let me focus on the natural beauty and the movement of my feet instead of the much too long to-do list and the busy week ahead.

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There is something about looking down on the freeway where I spend so much time commuting through the frame of a bare tree that feels calming.  The freeway was a whisper instead of a roar, my attention was drawn to the layers of hills and sky instead.

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The beach called me all week, inviting quiet walks after work several days this week. I watched the seagulls playing in the wind currents as the sun settled into the sea.

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I picked up a tulip plant at Trader Joes over the weekend, treating myself to the quiet beauty of the blooms.  It was also an opportunity to play with my iris macro lens attachment for my iPhone, looking closely from a variety of angles.

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Pulling into my own driveway offered a moment of quiet appreciation of the sky framed by this crazy, interesting tree.  The tree doesn’t grow particularly well, but makes an interesting focus for sky gazing (I take way too many pictures that feature this tree!).

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I was back at the beach again after work today, walking in the quiet, soaking in the sea air, enjoying the solitude.  I picked up this sea fan (not really sure what it is called) and played around with photographing it.  I like the way the sun peeks through this view.

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I saw quite a few of these turban snail shells.  This one was snuggled into the sand…much bigger than the ones I usually see.  Instead of picking it up, I stooped low to collect the photo rather than the shell.

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I noticed the colors…the green of the algae, the blues of the sky and water, the gold of the setting sun and the darkness of the shapes silhouetted by the light behind them…and I heard the quiet of nature’s beauty.  I felt my shoulders relax and dropped my burdens for a while.  I still have some work ahead of me…but the quiet allowed me space to recharge–both my energy and my spirits.

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So, where do you find quiet?  Is it amidst the noisy clatter of the kitchen as you work magic preparing food?  In your garden, tending the plants trying to survive unpredictable weather?  On the playground watching your child at play?  With busy hands as you knit, crochet, sew, paint…?

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

How will you express quiet through a photo?  Where do you go when you seek respite from the busy of your life?  This week go out and find your quiet…and share it through your lens!

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Outlines

I was recently reading a newsletter from a blogger I enjoy (joyfullygreen.com) and something she wrote caught my eye…that the word photography comes from Greek roots meaning writing with light. Now that makes sense to me.  Sometimes I feel like I draw with the light…and sometimes I feel like I am drawing the outlines between the light.

The other night I was walking back to my room at the retreat center where I was staying in Austin and started to notice the shadows of trees along the walkways.  As I stopped to take pictures, I also noticed that I entered some of the images as well, outlined in shadow.

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The tree in front of my house has become a favorite of mine, drawing my attention upward. It’s bare branches outline interesting angles creating a perfect frame for viewing the sky and clouds, helping me notice the blues and grays and whites beyond.

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Sometimes I find myself chasing the setting sun, trying to capture the nuances of light and color.  Hiking in Austin meant searching for the sun through the trees along the trails. This shot caught the sun outlined thickly in orange peeking through the trees.  (That’s not snow or water…those are rocks on the ground!)

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Apparently prickly pear is as common in Austin as it is here at home.  I love the way the light outlines this view of the flat, spiky pads and the rounded red fruit.

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Finding the word “Exit” outlined in thick black marker makes me wonder how many people have felt lost or confused trying to complete this loop trail.  I know when I climbed the many log stairs at the end of the loop, I was looking for the exit!  I didn’t need the sign…and actually overlooked it the first time I walked the trail.

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And there is something about sunsets.  They seem to outline the landscape in color: rich reds and oranges and yellows.  And if you look closely, you will find the moon–a thin sliver outlined in light.

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So, where do you find the light creating outlines?  Or shadows and color outlining images you see?  How do you write with light and see those outlines you find in your world?

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

Take a look around for outlines you notice.  Which are created with light? With shadow? With color?  How will you interpret outlines through your lens?

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Street

I wander around my hometown with my camera (Sony a6000) hanging around my neck.  And I get asked now and then where I am from.  I always think it’s interesting that a camera somehow connotes tourist (of course I do live in a tourist destination–so maybe that comes into play).

With my camera around my neck, I feel like I see this place a bit differently.  Sure, I have lots of opportunities to take photos of the beach. But there are other interesting photo opportunities too.  Today I had a window of time and set out to wander the streets in downtown Carlsbad.

The sun was settling low in the sky…our days are nearly at their shortest right now.  I kept catching glimpses of the sun through the streets when I noticed this fire hydrant dressed in its beach finery (a “woody” with a sign for highway 101…exactly where it is located).

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A couple of blocks further west the street opened to a view of the ocean, framed by palm trees.  If you look closely you can see the stairs that lead down to the beach…but I stayed up on the street today!

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As I looped around to head back to get a cup of coffee before my appointment, I couldn’t resist a few shots of the classic Carlsbad sign.  We have signs like this in many of our San Diego communities.  (I love the way the setting sun is lighting up the historic building in the distance…it used to be a restaurant and is now a retail store.

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Earlier this week I stopped to run some errands on the way to a meeting and couldn’t resist a shot of the way the sun was illuminating this building.  You can see how shadowy things are near the ground…and how bright the sun is (again, near sunset) up high.

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And we ended the weekend last week with a trip to get a Christmas tree. The tree lot at Home Depot doesn’t have the charm of the one I went to with my son and daughter-in-law the week before, but we did find a nice tree.  Here’s my hubby with it hoisted over his shoulder in the yellowy light of the parking lot.

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So what are you noticing on the street?  How does your camera let you see things you might not otherwise notice?  Take a look around and take a few shots to share.

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

So grab your camera and head out to the street…in your neighborhood, downtown, as you go about your everyday life.  I can’t wait to see what you find on the street!