Tag Archives: tulips

Looking Beyond Ugly

When I walked into the house today after work I noticed that the tulips in the vase on my dining room table were ready to throw out.  They were leaning over, their dried blossoms hanging upside down nearly touching the table.  I started to move them to the trash can…and then the afternoon light through the window shining on the near-dead plant caught my eye.  And suddenly I could see the beauty in the crumbling blossoms that had seemed so ugly only moments before.


A  photography tip aside: It was just last week that Joy from Joyfully Green had posted an article where she described the place–her dining room–that served as a photo studio because of the light it offers.  (Joy has many tips to share…about photography and about living green.)

As a teacher, it’s my job to look beyond the ugly–the spaces where learning isn’t happening in the ways we want or expect–and figure out how to find the light that transforms.  And it isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it just seems easier to place blame, give in to frustration, or pass the buck.  But then the light shines through my dining room window and I can look beyond the ugly and find the beauty.


(Five Stories…not sure if I followed the rules, but thanks for encouraging me to tell a story today!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light and Shadow

I notice light…the way it washes over images, bringing vibrance to colors and highlighting details. And I notice shadow, spaces between light and color that create texture and definition. I love the interplay of the two…and the challenge of capturing what my eyes see through my camera lens.

I came home today to my tulip plant opening in the light of the late afternoon shining through the window. The yellow blossom seems to bring the spirit of spring right into the house.


Last week when I was back east, I was mesmerized by the shadow of bare tree limbs.  Spring wasn’t much in evidence, but the beauty of nature in all its shadow was.  I love the way that looking up into the tree branches creates images of lace.


And when I looked up inside the the train station in Baltimore, I noticed light playing with the intricate stained glass ceiling.  My photo doesn’t begin to capture the beauty of the glass and the light!


Earlier this week at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum my students and i entered this Native American kiicha made of willow branches and wetland reeds.  Looking up I noticed the way the light played with the shadows inside.


And after school today I treated myself to a short walk on the beach–this is the beginning of my spring break–a much needed week off to gather energy and inspiration for the rest of the school year.  It was warm today…and spring breakers were out in full force.  I noticed the kites flying above the lifeguard tower and the way the sun created silhouettes in the distance.


So, whether you are on spring break or yours is long over, take some time this week to notice light and shadow.  What time of day does the light catch your eye?  What do the shadows reveal?

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

So go into the light and explore the shadows in your life.  I can’t wait to experience light and shadow through your lens!