Tag Archives: video

Weekly Photo Challenge: Night

Night is a challenge for me as a photographer.  I have a tendency not to be out taking pictures at night…and when I am, I realize the challenges that night photography poses.  Last night, on a flight to Tucson I had the opportunity to sit in a window seat.  I realize that I often fly during the day, so once I was seated my eye was drawn to the lights against the dark of the night sky.  And as I snapped photos of San Diego from the air, I noticed the moon, nearly full, casting a glow on the water below.


And every time I try to take night photos, I realize how slowly the shutter closes in low light.  And the slowness means that it’s easy to create blurs, even with the slightest of movement.  So from a plane, blurs become quite prominent.  I love the fun abstraction of this image taken as we landed in Tucson.


So of course, when I saw this one, I had to try another as we taxied toward our gate.


Before that, up in the air, I was treated to an amazing light show.  I watched an electric storm light up the clouds like fireworks in the distance.  Since I wasn’t able to get a photograph because of the darkness, I decided to try my hand at some video.  And while it isn’t perfect, you do get to see the beauty of the lightening lighting up the sky.  I know I should figure out how to strip the sound of the aircraft and add some music or something…maybe one of you can give me suggestions for how to best do that!

Once we flew away from the storm, the lights of the city began to appear in the distance.  And as we got closer and began to fly lower, my picture was less blurry and abstract.  I also suspect that the plane’s light, that seems to come on at a certain altitude, helped give more light to my lens to make the shutter speed a bit faster.


After renting a car and heading out of the airport, I just had to take a photo of the iconic saguaro cacti, especially when I noticed the full moon behind them.  My husband was nice enough to pull over so I could get out to take a few pictures of these magnificent plants.


So, try out a little night photography this week.  What happens when the light is low?  What light will you capture when the sky is dark?  You don’t need an airplane for this exploration, you can try looking out the window of your house…or maybe even standing outside looking in!

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

So head out into the dark of night with your camera (or phone) in your hand.  What will you find with night as your lens?  I can’t wait to see what you find!


How to: Inspiring Writing

“…smell the sea, and feel the sky

let your soul and spirit fly…”

Jim Morrison

With the end of the school year and the beginning of the SDAWP Invitational Summer Institute beginning next week, I find myself with a small window of unstructured time. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of “work” to do…but I am determined to play this week and the CLMOOC is helping me.

This week’s “make” is to make a how-to.  You might notice that I tend not to follow directions in a literal way, but as I headed off to join the SDAWP Young Writers’ in Nature campers on a field trip to the Scripp’s Coastal Reserve today, I was thinking about how to write under the influence of nature…and science…and children.

As we headed off on our walking field trip, I already felt inspired.  There is something about kids with notebooks and their innate curiosity that sparks my own learning.  The kids had been learning about native plants–a favorite topic of mine (see this blog post) and Janis (their teacher) encouraged them to explain what they had learned to me as we walked.  I loved listening to them describe coyote brush and its adaptations and watching their keen eyes on the lookout for lemonade berry.

I love the earnestness of young writers at work.  This little guy caught my eye…and I love that he is framed with the gorgeous blue of the Pacific Ocean behind him.

Young Writer

And I decided to push out of my comfort zone and make a video of today’s experience.  I suppose you can loosely define it as a how to write under the influence of nature (and science and children) video.

Here’s a few lines from my own writing under the influence today:

Sitting on the cliff looking out into the vast endless ocean I see clouds crouch on the horizon, retreating from the blaze of the mid-morning sun.  Relentless breezes dance with my hair and with the natives on the cliffs.  Children hunch over the words that pour from their pencil tips, inspired by the sights, sounds, smells, and touch of this visit to Mother Nature’s living room.

And here is my video capturing the experience of writing under the influence of nature and writing and kids.




Made With Love

Food is love.  In so many ways, whether we grow it, buy it, prepare it, or serve it, the act of sharing food is a way of showing that we care for another. Our holidays and rituals often have food associated with them, and they involve rituals of planning and shopping and preparing that invest the food with memory and meaning far beyond its nutritional value, flavor, and calorie count.

And I don’t cook.  It’s not that I can’t cook, in fact, like many women, I learned to cook at my mother’s elbow and even went through a period in high school where i prepared dinner each night for my family in exchange for not having to do the dishes.  It didn’t last for long.  If I were going to cook, I wanted to create.  But I’m not interested in eating as much as I am in creating.

Luckily, I married a man who enjoys cooking and has cooked for me and our family since the beginning of our relationship.  He cooks for holidays and occasions, he cooks for my friends and family, and he cooks each and every day, day in and day out, even when he doesn’t want to, even when he doesn’t feel like it.  And each and every meal is made with love.

This morning, Easter morning, he had already planned to make buttermilk biscuits from scratch.  Inspired by a meal last week outside of Nashville at the Loveless Cafe, he looked up a recipe, bought a quart of buttermilk, and decided to see if he could make biscuits as good as the ones we ate last week.

And when he got ready to cook this morning, I got out my camera to capture the steps in the process.  (I’m lucky that he is a good sport about my photography–even when it gets in his way!) So I snapped some shots of the biscuits in process.  As I was taking pictures I was also thinking about my friend Karen’s Make With Me invitation at the NWP ianthology this month–which is all about making food.  I knew I was unlikely to contribute a food make since i really don’t make food…but with my photos in hand and Geoff’s great food make, I was inspired to use the photos to build a movie about the biscuits.

The biscuits were amazing…and delicious!  And he even made lattes at home to go with them. Making the video was fun too…completed start to finish on my phone.  This is my first solo video…I’ve done bits and pieces before, but never the whole thing and never on my phone.  So it felt good to put this together.  And it’s funny, I’ve written about making biscuits before…here...and the memories entwined in that process of making food in my childhood. Even for someone who doesn’t cook, food is associated with memories and with love. My Easter, with an empty nest and no kids at home, was filled with food and love today as Geoff cooked for me this morning and reveled in his own creation and my creation based on his creation…and then later cooked for my parents, treating us all to an Easter dinner made with love, creating space for talk and memories and full bellies.

buttermild biscuits

In many ways the video I made today was a love letter back to my husband for the love he puts into the food he makes.  And the process of making with someone else in mind fills me, as the maker, with love and appreciation.  Food is love.  And today, making this movie (about food) was love too.