Tag Archives: ucsd

Things I Love: SOLC 2019 Day 7

Thursdays are my SDAWP day.  That means that I spend the day at UCSD doing my work as the director of the San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP).  Inspired by Margaret Simon‘s list of things she loves in her slice the other day, I’ve been thinking about things I love about my SDAWP work.

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I love being on campus at UCSD.  I’ve taken so many photos of the library–it’s unusual architecture means it always makes an interesting picture.  This one was from this morning–I wanted to capture the billowing clouds to the east.  As I neared the library, I could hear music.  If you look closely you’ll see the people singing.  The acoustics of the cement building made their voices soar, those few people sounded like a concert…before 8am this morning.

I love the many opportunities I have to talk with educators across disciplines, across educational roles, across levels.  Rich conversations about access and equity, what constitutes success and how to bridge the instructional gaps that happen along the K-college pipeline for some students.

I have a love/hate relationship with writing grants.  I love imagining the possibilities and creating structures to support teachers and students.  I hate deadlines and the institutional hoops you have to leap through just to submit–and that doesn’t even ensure the grant will be awarded.  I’m deeply in the writing process of a grant right now…and probably should be writing that right now instead of blogging.  Wish me luck!

I love working with and supporting teachers.  I especially love talking educational pedagogy, best practices, and all things writing.  I love reading the latest research and thinking about both tried and true approaches and new ideas that I haven’t yet tested for myself.

I love that my doctorate didn’t pull me out of the classroom.  With my dual (or more) roles, I get to retain my expertise and credibility as a classroom teacher and stretch beyond my classroom to work county-wide, state-wide and nationally.  There is never a dull moment with my multiple hats balanced on my head.

And I love that on my way home I can stop off at Torrey Pines Reserve for a walk on the beach.  The cliffs at Torrey Pines are spectacular!  Today I chatted with a photographer whose camera lens was the size of a small child.  He was watching a mating pair of peregrine falcons, waiting for a chance at a perfect photo.  He patiently waited and watched, chatting with beach walkers as they passed.  I’m grateful to have gotten a chance to see the falcon–although my camera lens wasn’t able to capture it.  The view below is of a raven.  A pair of them were swooping and diving…and I’m sure I saw them carrying twigs or other nest building materials in their beaks.

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The tide was low today so I was able to walk to the southern end and catch a glimpse of tons of hang gliders in the distance at the Torrey Pines Glider Port.

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Don’t think for a second that this is a comprehensive list of things I love about directing the SDAWP…I’m sure I could go on and on and on!  I do love my work.  What would you include in a list of things you love today?

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: Time Change

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!

I’m not a fan of the time change in the fall.  I mean, I love getting the bonus hour…for sleep, walking, exploration, photography…but I hate getting home when it is dark, especially when it isn’t even 5pm!  But in this first week of the time change, I have found some interesting images BECAUSE of the time change.

I’ve been trying to squeeze more time for physical exercise into my life…and this week I’ve been carrying my gym shoes so I can take the time for a walk at the end of the day.  Earlier this week I had a late meeting near UCSD, so when I finished my regular work day I put my gym shoes on and took a nice long walk around the campus.  As the sun dipped lower and lower into the sky, I loved watching the way it caressed the buildings and played hide and seek through the trees.

In this image, the low sun found its way through the tall buildings, lighting up the midsection of the eucalyptus trees in front of them.

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In this shot, the harsh setting sun created a flare of light as I shot directly into it.  Using an app to convert it to black and white created a neat effect with the light.

sunset in black and white

The Geisel Library at UCSD is such an architecturally interesting building that I couldn’t resist framing some shots.  You can see the sun setting behind the building in this shot focused toward the west.  Again, I changed it to black and white, creating lines of light framing the building.

library light

And as I walked I noticed the moon rising.  I chased it through the trees, tracking it down when it hid behind buildings.  And as I circled back toward the library, I found the moon sitting on its shoulder with the colorful afterglow of sunset in the background.  This image is almost otherworldly!

moon over library

Yesterday I was at school late, after all, it is report card season.  And it’s hard to stay focused on work as the classroom gets darker and darker as the sun sets.  About a half hour after the sunset, my teaching partner and I headed out…and looked out toward the end of the hall and saw the most incredible colors in the sky.  Brilliant oranges sat on the deep turquoise sea, and even as I took the time to snap a few images I knew that my camera would not do justice to the intensity of the colors.

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And here is one more, looking across the field at the baseball backstop with the ocean just beyond.

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How has the time change impacted you?  What are you seeing and capturing in your photos that are because of the time change?  My pictures happen to take place as the sun went down, but I can imagine that the morning light is also different, changing what you see.

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

How did you take advantage of your extra hour?  What are you noticing now that our days are shorter and our nights longer?  I look forward to seeing the time change through your lens!

 

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!

 

Rubbing Elbows with Nature

The Wabi Sabi photo-a-day challenge has me looking at my surroundings differently.  I find myself looking for beauty that presents itself in unusual ways.

Today I had the opportunity to head out around the UCSD campus for a short learning walk in conjunction with a demo presented by a kindergarten teacher in our SDAWP Summer Institute. She explained how nature inspires her own writing and some of the ways she inspires writing with her students.  As I headed out with the charge to spend some time in nature, tuning in the sights, sounds, smells, and feels, I also had my phone/camera in hand ready to capture evidence of my experience.

Down the metal stairs, past the row of ATM machines, across the cement walkways, sandwiched between the architectural wonder of the Geisel Library and the tall buildings that are Warren College, lies a secret garden.  Garden often conjures lush foliage and brilliant blooms, but the space lives under a canopy of Eucalyptus trees.  And to my surprise, growing from a fallen trunk were three new tall, thin trees.

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Heading off to the Snake Path, an art installation leading to the library inspired by Milton’s Paradise Lost, I found the natural beauty and familiar smells of the native plants that thrive in our arid, coastal climate.  With phone/camera in hand, I noticed the contrast of the angular, metal and glass library poking up behind the fragrant, wild-ranging brush.

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As I continued my walk, I came around the front of the library and found myself drawn to to the barrier poles laying on their side…with flowers growing nearby.

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As I headed back to our meeting room, I noticed another of our participants lounging on some large boulders and working on her writing.  I admit, I snuck up on her–wanting to capture the image that tells a story in one frame.  (She does know about the photo…and has approved of it!)

writing on the rocks

I find myself looking for the Wabi Sabi of nature rubbing shoulders with the not always so beautiful man-made.  And some of that Wabi Sabi I noticed was not only visual…I heard the buzzes of insects and the chirps of birds joining with the melody of car engines, back-up beeps, and snippets of conversation in the songs that are uniquely UCSD.

Where do you find nature rubbing shoulders with man made structures?  Have you noticed any Wabi Sabi?

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!

 

 

Reflections on Photography and Rain

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams

I saw this Ansel Adams quote on Instagram (thanks @lyndango) today and had an immediate and visceral connection to it.  I wasn’t always a photographer, in fact, I am only now beginning to identify myself with that description after taking and posting daily photos for more than a year and a half.  It is that daily practice that has transformed my photographs.  Before I took photos of people I loved and things I wanted to remember, but I didn’t put a lot of thought into the composition and I didn’t pore over my photos the way I do now, thinking about the messages they carry and convey to others.

I am coming to understand this Ansel Adams quote as I reflect on what I choose to photograph and how I choose to compose my photographs.  Even the editing process draws on my experiences and interests.

On a rainy Saturday morning, in the midst of the San Diego Area Writing Project Spring Conference, I was drawn to the windows to try to capture the rain and its energy through my lens. It’s hard to see rain through my camera lens…but the rain splattered window helped me out.

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And I love the juxtaposition of the name of this building, The Sun God Lounge, with the rainy morning.

And across the room I noticed the interesting lines of the window panes.  As I walked closer,  I could see the distinctive architecture of the Geisel Library through the lines of the panes. Even though I have been in this building many times before, I had never noticed this view of the library.

library through the window

I like the iconic eucalyptus trees between the window and the library building…trees that are prevalent on the UCSD campus.

And yesterday we experienced the rare stormy day at school.  My students were fascinated by the bending of the palms… “Look,” they said as they pointed!  “The trees are bending.”  I like the way this photo not only captures the wind and windiness, but also the school-ness of the context with the four square courts in the foreground.

windy palms

I definitely bring the pictures I have seen, the books I have read, the music I have heard, and the people I love to my photography…and my photography brings them back to me, helping me to better understand who I am in the world.

How does photography impact your understanding of the world?  Or do you have another form of art/creativity that serves a similar purpose?

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